It was a sunny summer afternoon. My friend QuiltArtist and I decided that it time to forget all our troubles, forget all our cares, and go downtown.
First, we went to a gathering at an art museum, a workshop with Famous Writer from BigCity. I knew about half the people in the room, mostly feminists, artists, and peace activists. We sat in a circle of chairs that had been set up on the hardwood floors, with white walls of paintings all around us, sunlight coming in through the big plate glass windows.
Because the workshop had been billed as a community gathering, I did not want to admit to being associated with the university. When it was my turn to introduce myself, I gave only my first name and said: "I have five canoes, four children, and seven cats." Unfortunately, this sentence so pleased the Famous Eccentric Urban Writer that she kept repeating it throughout the workshop, making gestures towards me. "FIVE CANOES!" she would say dramatically, "I cannot even imagine what such a thing would look like."
But the workshop was stimulating, and it felt great to be a participant rather than than the person leading the workshop. Famous Drama Queen Writer did a great job keeping the energy level high, mixing in just the right amount of jokes and compliments. She was warm and smart and funny.
Afterwards, we went to dinner in a restaurant with brick walls and small tables, the place that serves delicious bread with hot tomato dipping oil. By the time we left the restaurant, the air was cool and comfortable. We walked to a smaller art gallery for the opening of an amazing photography exhibit. The photographs had all been taken by local working class people, and I liked looking at each group of photographs, trying to see the world through the eyes of the person who had taken the picture. I've lived in Snowstorm region my whole life and yet I saw some images I had never noticed before.
The afternoon ended with a stop at the downtown store where QuiltArtist works. It's a small place filled with colour -- all kinds of beautiful pottery, carvings, quilts, candles, and jewelry made by local people. I'm not the shopping type, but I will say that I do love to look at pottery. And on gift-giving occasions, I like to buy locally made mugs, trying to match the colour and shape of the mug to the person I am giving it to.
Quilt Artist and I talked, of course, during the car ride downtown, and between the events, both chatting furiously as we walked about the streets of the city. We talked as we lingered on the sidewalks where the neon lights were pretty. I came home tired but relaxed. An afternoon with a close friend was just what I needed.