If you have friends like mine.. Take this past Friday, for example. I was really trying my hardest to be pissed about my situation. I wasn’t so much fuming about not being offered the position i so wanted, as I was fuming over the fact that they weren’t prepared to give me an explanation as to why I wasn’t given the position. Regardless, the fact of the matter is I was fuming.
Actually, for large parts of the day, Friday wasn’t a particularly good day. Aside from me being upset, it just seemed like one of those Murphy’s Law days where everything that could go wrong did indeed go wrong. Which, frankly, worried me a bit because I had a long-awaited date Friday evening with my two, little guardian angels, Tina and Emelie, whom I had promised to cook dinner for while they did their usual Friday afternoon workout routine.. And, well, let’s just say that I REALLY didn’t want to be the one to play the rule of the grumpy old fool screwing up dinner and wrecking all sorts of havoc in such great company.
But with the way my day was going, for a long while it seemed like it was gonna turn out that way. It’s not that the girls, in their own lovable ways, didn’t try to lighten up my day from the beginning with sweet, caring text messages and it’s not like I didn’t try to make the best of the day.. I just seemed to fail miserable at whatever I did. Be that taking active part in my job seeking course, writing applications, even grocery shopping I seemed to fail miserably at, earning me several consecutive trips to the store before managing to get everything I needed for the evening..
When I finally made it back from my umpteenth trip to the store, I only barely had time to bag up my stuff, get everything ready and head on down to Tina’s where I was supposed to have dinner well under way by the time the girls got back from their workout.. I was in a hurry, it was gonna be close, but if my calculations were correct, I’d make it. I’d even brought a Belgian Xmas brew that I figured I’d share with myself in a moment of quiet reflection while cooking dinner. As I neared Tina’s, I checked my watch and triumphantly thought: “I’m gonna make it.. I’m gonna make it.. Wait, I’m a fucking idiot!” The last line of that thought came to me as I realized that I’d forgotten my recently purchased huge chunk of Parmesan cheese at home in my effort to quickly empty the fridge.. And well, my Pasta Bolognese just wouldn’t be the same without it.. So with time running out, I turned about and power walked back home for it as fast as I possibly could. Which, incidentally, wasn’t very fast as I’m horribly out of shape.
Fast forward some 30 minutes and I was back at Tina’s, only this time packing the all-important lump of cheese. I was also quickly running out of time, sprinting up the stairs. locking myself in, getting everything out and ready to start dinner preparations, wiping the sweat off my forehead and trying as nonchalantly to kick back and look not at all stressed out as I knew that the girls were due home from their workout any minute. It was as this time I decided to relax, grab a glass and open the expensive brew I had brought to share with myself after an impossibly hard and stupid day. So I broke out the beer, the bottle opener and popped the bottle only to find out that it was now not only a horribly expensive beer, it was also a very shaken up horribly expensive beer, almost half of which was now flying all over the kitchen much to my dismay. Sulking, I cleaned up my mess, poured what little I had left of the beer into a wine glass and stood there looking at it sadly and hopelessly..
Which is exactly the point when the girls decided to make their entrance.. And came crashing through the front door and straight into the kitchen only to be met by a pouting Johan.. “Aww, what’s wrong?,” Tina enquired, unleashing a hail of complaints from yours truly: “I had a really horrible day and people are stupid and I messed up and I forgot stuff and I had to make extra trips and now I gone shook up my comfort beer and spilled most of it in the sink,” I whimpered in the saddest, most undignified voice I could muster. “Aww,” she repeated, extending her arms and wrapping them around my neck, “need a hug?” – “Yes, please,” I said gratefully and hugged her back, only to have her giggle “I’m really sweaty, btw,” into my ear.. “Yeah, thanks, babe,” I replied squeezing her back, “me too, I think.”
Incidentally, the time at which you get a loving smile and a heartfelt hug from Tina is around the same time as you start having difficulties feeling upset about the state of the world and it’s determination to break you and bring you down.. When, at exactly the same time, a breaming Emelie presents you with the official feed back letter and grading of her Master’s thesis showing that she earned fucking top grades on her piece of work.. Well, then you just plain stop thinking about yourself and feeling upset all together.. And jump into another big hug with another sweaty girl! Coz, yeah, that’s the way I roll and when my girls deserve a hug, they get a hug, no matter what.. And, luckily, I have come to the conclusion that girls have an entirely different perception of being sweaty and disgusting than we guys do.. But, once again, I digress.. The points I was trying to make are that it is hard to be upset and stressed out when you have caring, awesome friends like mine, and that the night of your friend receiving top marks on her master’s thesis is not a night to be upset or sad, it’s a night to celebrate! With good food, good wine.. And Champagne! Because Emelie, being the awesome friend that she is, had bought a bottle of Veuve Clicquot to celebrate the milestone with her friends.
Having thusly cheered up considerably, I sent the girls off to shower while I got dinner ready and enjoyed what little was left of my beer.. Or what little was left of my beer that I could pry out of Tina’s greedy little hands 😉 Speaking of dinner, it’s kinda funny that even without knowing there’d be anything to celebrate, I’d decided to treat the girls to a little extra that evening, in the shape of my now (in)famous take on Heston Blumenthal’s Perfect Bolognese served with Rustichella pasta, home-made garlic bread and obscene amounts of genuine Parmesan cheese.. As I don’t have 12+ hours to spend cooking food every Friday evening, I had prepared the bolognese in advance and so all I had to do while the girls got ready was to grate some Parmesan, make garlic bread, heat the sauce, boil a large amount of water for the pasta and sip my beer.. Oh and help Tina pick out a wine to go with our little feast.. And then, once both girls had finished showering, set the table, add the pasta to the large amounts of boiling water, get them seated and then serve them the slightly improvised celebratory meal. Which was very much enjoyed by all, thank you very much!
Funny thing about seeing people eating Rustichella brand pasta for the first time is that until they encounter said brand they generally are of the perception that pasta is pasta.. Then, when you serve them the good stuff, you suddenly see them marveling at the taste and texture in sheer amazement at the difference that a few Euros a pound makes.. Usually, you’ll also see someone who takes the fascination to the extreme and starts to play with their food to see just how much sauce they can adhere to the pasta or other crazy endeavors along those lines. In this case, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that TIna (bless her) was the one to pretty quickly pick up the role as the one playing with the food.. But that’s okay, I’d have been sorta weirded out if she hadn’t!
After dinner, we fell into our usual Friday mode of watching episode upon episode of the Big Bang Theory while zoning out on the couch. Only this time we did that while sharing a pretty nice bottle of sweet Veuve Clicquot. Not that anyone had planned to have sweet Champagne, but Emelie had misunderstood the admittedly somewhat confusing classification in the Champagne district where Sec (which would usually mean dry) means sweet and brut means dry.. She was a little bummed when she found out and I explained to her the ways of the Champagne world.. But what were we to do? Nothing but try to enjoy the mistake that had been made. So a sec it was.. But it wasn’t a half bad one at that, surprisingly enough, as I’m really not a fan of sweet wine.. All I can say is that it didn’t taste as sweet as I’d suspect a sweet wine to taste and that, well, fuck it, most Champagne is good Champagne in the company of beautiful women.
So the Champagne was very much enjoyed in a pretty alarming pace and it was right around this time where my day had gone from a living hell to quaffing Champagne with a couple of lovely young women that maybe things weren’t so bad after all and that maybe I couldn’t complain too much.. Because, really, how can you be sad when you’ve got friends like this? And how can a day that ends in sympathy, loving hugs, awesome dinner, good wine and Champagne with above-mentioned lovely young ladies possibly be a bad day? Just asking.. Oh girls, will you ever let me stay upset for more than a few hours at a time.. I hope not..