I’m so glad I went on the Art Walk MeetUp! This was the third time I’ve hung out with the people I met there, and I really really like them. Hanging out feels very natural, and we’re able to balance conversations so that everyone is included and happy, and I feel very comfortable just being myself around them. I can say the weird things that I think (I love the warm feeling of the tube on my wrist when I give blood), and I get some funny looks, but they aren’t hostile, and these people actually get it when I’m joking, which doesn’t happen all the time.
Today was The Engineer’s birthday, so we went out to Merge. I had never been there, but they have a lot of allergy-alternatives, and most of the group is gluten-free, so it was a great option. It’s a nice space, attractive, and well-lit, with pleasant music (Iron and Wine), and while I was slightly dubious about the menu (I’m not vegan, or gluten-free in the least) I had a great meal. I ordered a hard cider, and spaetzel with chicken sausage. I hadn’t had spaetzel in years and years, and it was delicious. The portions were perfect (it didn’t look like a whole lot when it came, but it was actually just right), and we all finished at the same time, which is great. I sometimes overthink my eating pace when I’m with people I don’t know well, but I can be close to 90% at ease with these guys. The whole evening was just lovely, and not just because I didn’t have to awkwardly pace my chewing, but because I really like this group. I’m interested in what they have to say, and I love that we’re already developing inside jokes. Having friends makes such a world of difference as far as quality of life.