Saturday, February 13, 2010

Beauty In Pittsburgh

Well, I remain in Pittsburgh watching the snow, grateful for friends yesterday, but longing for a home where only my dog waits for me. Well, and the carnival of friends at the Breakfast Club are also waiting for me; and the other carnival of friends who hold the daily Bored Meeting at Fannies too! But I digress.

I had a wonderful evening with my friends Dr. Jim Withers, who is the champion of street medicine, and Dr. Suzanne Atkinson, who does, well…everything. Jim and I picked up wine and Chinese from a really good place, and drove through Frick Park, until Jim plowed into a mountain of snow proclaiming that it was our parking space. We grabbed the wine and Chinese and trudged through the snow to Suzanne’s house.

“Winese!” she exclaimed. She and Jim have been friends a long time. He had said the same thing when I said I wanted wine and Chinese and it wasn’t until Suzanne said it that I understood they were combining the words. All of this snow surely has serious impacts on people’s ability to think.

Anyway, she has a great house and Suzanne has perfected the art of keeping it clean and cluttered at the same time. She stuck the wine in the snow to chill and we opened the containers of shrimp fried rice, spicy shrimp, broccoli and cheese, Tai soup, and egg rolls. We fixed plates and drank a glass of warm wine and sat in her living room and talked and caught up. Well, Suzanne and I did. Jim promptly fell asleep in the middle of the meal. He rallied a half hour later, finished his plate and proceeded to talk with Dr. Dave Buck in Houston.

Suzanne asked if I was ready for the hot tub and I told her that I was indeed. The fact that I had no shorts or bathing suit would not prevent me from taking advantage of her offer. I would go in the buff. She threw me a robe and she changed into appropriate wear and we left Jim on the phone with Dave.

Suzanne gave herself the hot tub for her 40th birthday present. She had shoveled the sidewalk to the tub and we made our way on snow and ice in bare feet. We retried a bottle of wine from the snow and jumped into the tub. And I must say that it was magical. The bubbling water, the snow covered trees above us and the deep snow on the ground surrounding us. We poured ourselves wine and told one another stories, catching one another up as friends do.

Jim eventually made his way out in his underwear and joined us. As I said, these prolonged periods of snow affect the way that people who live in Pittsburgh think.

Anyway, at one moment, I was struck by how special the moment was. My life is at a difficult place right now. Things are happening that I do not want to happen. But here I was in Pittsburgh, a city that I love, with friends whom I love, in a hot tub, surrounded by snow covered trees and grounds. I was as thankful as I have been in a long time.

Then Suzanne decided that we had to make snow angels then jump back in the hot tub because that is what you are supposed to do. And I guess the snow was affecting the way that I think like it does the people who live here so she and I jumped out and made snow angels and jumped back in the hot tub.

I have never cussed so much in my life!

So we talked some more and kept pulling the bottle of wine out of the snow and watched planes above the snow covered trees. And for a moment I was not aware of the struggles or the pains or the loneliness of life. For a moment, there was only this. And it was beautiful.

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