Ours was a carefully planned reunion, two old high school friends meeting for a few hours of nonstop reminiscing and girl talk. For weeks we had planned to meet at a quiet little restaurant near the bay where we could visit undisturbed.

I pulled into the restaurant parking lot at 8:15. There was not a space to be had. I circled the block and settled on a spot down the street. I met Beverly on the steps of the restaurant, where a long line of waiting customers chattered loudly. She yelled to me, “I’ve been inside and it’s packed. Let’s get out of here and meet at the Bridgeport Inn.”

The Inn was small, old, and located off the main road. It should meet all our requirements: quiet and deserted. Fifteen minutes later we were riding the elevator to the Inn’s top floor lounge. The room was tiny, dark and there were only a few couples talking quietly. We giggled over our triumph and took seats at a corner table.

Within a few short moments, a server seated a party of 8 at the table next to ours, the women’s bowling team from Community Dry Cleaners and Laundry. In tones which would rival the percussion section of the Boston Philharmonic, they relived each and every frame of their victory over the team from Super Buy Grocery Store. Having lost all interest in bowling in the eighth grade, we took our drinks and moved to the opposite corner of the room.

The overhead lights flashed and a woman with a guitar mounted the tiny stage, where she proceeded to do the world’s worst imitation of Loretta Lynn. So pained were some of the notes she hit, I guessed she might be imitating Loretta giving birth. In homage to the real Loretta, we left.

In the parking lot we debated the merits of McDonald’s over Holiday Inn. Something just didn’t seem right about spending a coveted evening with an old friend over a Big Mac. The Holiday Inn won by a landslide.

As I pulled into the parking lot, I was rewarded with an empty space right near the door, but inside, it was the same old story; the lounge was packed and the music was deafening. Determined to have some quiet time to ourselves, we wandered out to the pool, which was serene and totally deserted. We found two adjacent deck chairs and stretched out. We must have worked our way through two, maybe three friend’s divorces when we were approached by the hotel’s security guard. He insisted the pool was closed and we were not permitted to be in the area. Did he think we came here to steal the chlorine? Siphon the sand off the bottom of the pool or to rearrange the lounge chairs? We surrendered our seats and left peaceably.

On the way to our cars, we passed through the lobby. It was void of clerks, kids, bowlers, teens and guards. We found a couch behind a palm tree and sat down. After digging around in my purse, I came up with a stick of gum. I tore it in half and we shared.

We’ve planned to get together again this summer, but to save time, we’re going straight to the Holiday Inn lobby. Although with our luck, it’ll be the hottest place in town.

Diane Blanco
Author: Diane BlancoEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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