Earlier in the day, I 'texted' our friend Banky, to see if he wanted to do the proverbial "something" later that night. He wrote back that sure, that would be fun. Clara would also be coming by... and they had planned on playing Scrabble and watching Bill Maher. Banky rather enjoys Maher and turned us on to him. (I liked him previously, but Bart and I don't have HBO so we don't see his show. Thus, it's a good excuse to hang out at Banky's.) Well, Bart isn't fond of Scrabble but knew he'd have fun just being there, so... we headed on over later.
Clara, to clarify, is a sheer delight of a woman who is Banky's 'lady friend.' We'd met her before and instantly took a shine to her, wondering where she's been all our life. When we first met her, she told of us her various theatre gigs. She mentioned a famous theatre here in Chicago. Our friend Dragonfly worked as a public relations and fund raiser manager there at one time. Yes, Clara met him, loved him. (It's hard not to love Dragonfly.) Small world.
About to get a little bigger.
Clara phoned and said she'd be bringing a friend. Banky had never met this guy, but he's very fun loving and happy to meet new people. (Thank goodness, or else he'd not be in our life. A conversation struck up on the El* when he rode with Bart one evening. We've been getting together ever since.) Okay, so eventually Clara arrives with Cowboy. [Note: This psuedonym is not based on his attire.] Before she came over with him, she apparently had asked him if he knew Bart and Peter. Nope. Didn't ring a bell. So, we met in the usual way, shook hands, exchanged pleasantries.
We never made it to Scrabble, but a decanter of wine (Banky's first use of it) flowed copiously. Not so very long into the night, we discovered Cowboy also knows Dragonfly. Clara knows who he is and has seen him around, so to speak. But Cowboy hangs out with him. We'd not known about Cowboy (or so we thought) but it's not surprising, for Dragonfly has a plethora of people he partakes of, as he is a social Dragonfly, both personally and professionally. Okay, so Cowboy mentioned that he's the one who accompanied Dragonfly to the So You Think You Can Dance! Tour. Neither Bart nor I are fans of that show (not not fans, just never watched it) and it seemed like something to tease him about. He must have mentioned Cowboy. But he certainly mentioned Bart and me to Cowboy, as now that bell rang. "You're that Bart and Peter?!" Yep.
I couldn't help but wonder about this group of people. Suppose, for instance, that Bart had not met Banky on the train. We then wouldn't know Clara. Nor Cowboy. But wait. Obviously, Dragonfly could have navigated his friendship to introduce me and Bart to Cowboy. But Cowboy knew Clara from college. Thus, we could have met her through him, and if Clara's meeting of Banky remained intact, it could have been Bart and me going to a stranger's house and meeting Banky for the first time. In other words, would 'Great Spirit' have stacked the cards so that this group of individuals would have met in this configuration no matter what? It's almost Dickensian.
We had plenty of fun that evening. Banky's a musician, so he treated us to some guitar playing which prompted some singing along. But not campfire stuff... more like "Pork and Beans" by Weezer (yes, again), some Phish, Tenacious D and The Cranberries. Reminded me a bit of my freshmyn year of college. And such spontaneous crazy behavior seemed just what the doctor ordered. We also had some references back to topics that had been brought up during the course of the day for Bart and me, but we were not the ones who instigated talking about them during our soiree. You know..."coincidences."
Much later in the evening (or morning, depending on your perception) Cowboy took his leave. Clara, Bart, Banky and I chatted away, then...bumfcht. The power went out. Banky seemed eeriely cool with it, in a refreshing sort of way. He just lit a few more candles and we continued along. (He'd said it happened once before, to the whole block and it seemed like this had been another case of that as the whole building had shut off.) The fun continued, a little more mellow and thrilling in the darker room. (We had also been diving into the "virtues" of YouTube earlier, so it also proved a nice change from the previous activity. Suddenly you couldn't look up "just one more thing...")
So there we sat, talking, playing a game akin to Mad Libs but far more creative and wacky. Banky and a friend back home invented it. At one point, nature called for Bart so he traversed down the hall by bringing a candle with him. He returned and asked Banky where he got the candle. From one of his clients, it seemed. He elaborated. A bit of a sad story: The client lost a daughter in an untimely death and the candles and other items had been part of a collection on a website to raise awareness or money, or some such goal...Banky couldn't remember for sure and did not get all of the details. He did, however, know the name of the "organization." [We'll call it Amanda's Wish] Bart's red flag waved! I didn't remember it, but apparently Amanda's Wish had a large function recently, which, yes, Dragonfly had handled all the arrangements for at his current job. Another unexpected and strange connection for the night. But what makes this funnier...
Dragonfly "hates" Banky. Note the quotes. Actually, Dragonfly has never met Banky. But Dragonfly adores being ornery, in the most delightful ways. Suddenly you and he are "in a fight" because you like, say, cucumbers over tomatoes. He's not serious, of course, but his delivery provides entertainment value. Dragonfly is a very quick wit, quite fond of pushing the envelope. Trust me, you'd want his shenanigans to occur. Dragonfly, Tall Boy, Bart and I had planned to see a movie, but it took a while before our schedules matched. By then, Banky had expressed an interest. So I texted Dragonfly and said Banky might come. (Just days before, Dragonfly, in an imaginary huff, inquired about "this Banky" Bart and I had been talking about. The sparks of the "hatred" for hanging out with "this guy" so much.) Well, Dragonfly did not take kindly to Banky trying to barge into the scene...and hoped that he didn't get into an unfortunate accident on the way to the restaurant. [Turns out Banky could not make it, but didn't mind us going without him.] So...when it's revealed that the two of them are separated only by this woman's campaign to help the ill, it's almost too much. Especially since Bart related that Dragonfly worked very hard on the project and it began to wear on him. Another reason to hate Banky? Nah... For the record, the two of them will meet for the first time, today. For it's Lage's anniversary of her birth. The Earth has gone around three decades since she's been on it, and we're celebrating with a big party.
Looking back through it again, it all seems fictional. Almost like someone wrote it up. The connections, the random events... concocted. But by whom? Well, whomever it is, I'm enjoying this chapter very much.
* The Elevator Train