Sure enough around 6:50 this evening the doorbell rang and there he was, the prodigal visitor. We climbed into my truck and drove up to Vernon Hills, making very good time on the roads since rush hour was almost completely over. When we got there we knew right away that Howard was managing (his music choice is very distinct compared to the other managers) and we were able to select Matt (the red-haired fellow who helped me move) as our waiter. Matt was really enthused to have us as his table, he'd never had a chance to serve us before. He took good care of us! Howard did too... he comp'ed us a desert which Roho and Duncan got to share since it's out of bounds for Kestral and myself. He made our dining experience a very pleasant one.
All four of us did a lot of talking at BDs and really had a good time. On the drive home the topic wandered from one area to another in the way that conversations tend to do when you have a group of people who haven't had nearly enough time together in far too long. We returned to the apartment sometime around 9:15. I mixed drinks for everyone (gin and tonics for Duncan and Kestral, Dirty Birds for myself and Roho) and then we made our way out onto the patio to lounge and talk a while longer. Finally around 10:30 or so Duncan had to excuse himself so he can begin his long trek downstate to where he'll be crashing for the evening.
It was wonderful to get the chance to talk with him as well as to have him as our guest. I don't see nearly enough of this man, I'm starting to realize. His very presence is cathartic. I suspect it's because we share a few things in common, such as work ethic and opinions. He's a bit more diplomatic and level-headed than I could ever be, but that's certainly a point in his favor. I could learn a lesson or two from him. Of course it comes as no surprise to me that I relate to him so easily -- he's got to be at least 6 years my senior, and I believe that I've mentioned in previous journal entries that I have a difficult time relating to most of my "peers" who occupy my age group, and usually find myself clicking much more easily with those who are older than me. I suppose there's something interesting to be gleaned from this (perhaps I relate better because of the greater maturity of those older than me? I don't know for certain, but it's a thought) but that's an exercise for another time.
All told it was a very pleasant evening despite the way it was sort of thrown together at the end with little to no notice. Fortunately I'm not a very rigid person, I can go with the flow as necessary to make it all work out I need to have more nights like this. The lesson I'm taking home from tonight is clear: it's important to focus on my own priorities, and while doing so I must surround myself with trustworthy people, good friends and good times. New-age self-actualizing buzzword management prattle? Perhaps, but I'm starting to believe it has the distinctive ring of truth to it. I think if I discard the untrustworthy people in my life and leave the negative experiences behind me while focusing on the good (As Duncan said repeatedly tonight, "take the good and leave the bad") then most of the experiences will naturally lead themselves to positive outcomes. I'm not sure how to incorporate this with my philosophy of cynicism, but I'm sure I'll find a way to do it. Like my father has always said, "If you've stopped learning, it's because you're dead."
I'm not dead yet. Not by a long shot.
Awaiting the hour of reprisal
Addendum: Yes, I've already made sure my window blinds are closed tonight.