Picture it: A crowded restaurant. A table full of friends. All other tables full of strangers. And a three-year-old with absolutely no inside voice.
I was having dinner with friends I haven’t seen since my wedding (nearly five years ago, how did that happen?)
There was music and memories. Hot chocolate with impressive whipped cream, and lots of coffee and more than a few laughs.
There was also a locked accessible toilet. Some people would call that an inaccessible toilet. But to me, a locked toilet is a clean one that’s free when I need it.
On Thursday, after all those beverages and laughs and not a lot of bladder control, I needed the accessible toilet.
I backed away from the table, and Isla lead the way. Toilet trips are family trips. We arrived at the locked door, and I turned around to go ask for the key.
Before Neil and I could reach anyone, Isla ran over to our waitress.
‘Scuze me, do you have the key for my Mummy’s toilet?’
Our lovely waitress was serving another table.
‘Hurry up, my Mummy needs to pee and poop!’
Well. That about covered everything.
New meaning to where everybody knows your business, yes?
So, we’re there and I’m kinda red, and someone comes and hands us the keys from a really rather close by hiding spot.
‘Thanks very much.’
The evening continued.
There was a tea party with hotel spoons and cookies in tiny packages. Isla was up past her bedtime, but it was time with Auntie Enemy and Uncle Alice, who we visited years ago in Cambridge, but who Isla had yet to met.
It turns out that all those wordy conversations with Isla that I post on FB are all true. And better in person.
Emily and I met through our posts on a now-defunct but sadly missed goal-setting website and generally groovy global community, 43Things.
43T is where I pledged to go on a road-trip with no pre-determined destination, where I planned and wrote about my cross-country Amtrak trip, where I met online friends who became 3D friends.
43T is also the reason why some of my best friends are people I haven’t actually met yet.
For instance, on Friday morning, over waffles and yet more beverages, Emily and I wrote a postcard to a friend in Amsterdam.
Two Americans on opposite ends of the UK, meet in the middle and write to more far-flung friends.
I think I actually got all the feels.
We said goodbye, promising next time in whatever part of the world we find ourselves in.
And until then, there’s always online.
Who’s your best online friend?