Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Second Day I Knew Andrew

Since I now appear to have two readers, I guess I should do another post.

This is the text of an email message I sent to a friend around midnight on Saturday, February 4, 2006, the second day I knew Andrew. It is sort of childish, I know.

OH, Silvio, I am so glad you advised me to go ahead and please my father and meet this guy!

We spent the whole day together again today. Andrew came by early this morning to pick me up and take me to the gym, and the first thing he asked me was whether I was free for dinner tonight. However, he said, there was a sting to it: it was at the home of friends of his parents, and he was already obligated to go. He said if I wanted to go, he would call them and ask whether it was OK for him to bring a friend.

Silvio, I didn't know what to say, so I said "What do you want me to do?"

He said "I'd like you to come" so I said I would come.

[I omit here a totally juvenile paragraph about getting to see Andrew’s naked body in the gym locker room and showers.]

When we first were getting undressed, he looked at me fully, like he was examining me, and I looked back. After the game, when we were drying off after showering, he looked at me again in the same way. After we were half dressed, standing at the lockers, right next to each other, getting ready to put our shirts and sweaters on, he stopped and looked right into my eyes for about 30 seconds and then he nodded. I'm not sure what that meant, but I think that meant that Andrew liked me, and wanted me to know that he liked me. I nodded back! I just love to look into his eyes.

We went straight to the National Gallery from the gym. We had lunch there, and the food was awful, really poor. "Guess we won't eat here again" is what Andrew said, which suggested to me that he would like to do a lot of eating with me. Silvio, I sure hope so! Boy, do I hope so!

We went to see the Winslow Homers, most of which were watercolors, not oils. The only one both of us thought was really good was the oil painting of the kids in the boat, and that one IS a good painting. What's it called? "Breezing Up" or "Breezing Away" or something like that.

The Winslow Homer exhibit was pretty small, so Andrew asked what else in the gallery I wanted to see. I said "Show me what you like", and he said he would.

First he took me to see the Van Dycks, and he told me about each single Van Dyck painting on display. He told me about the sitters, and the contexts of the portraits--some were painted in Genoa, and some were painted in Britain, but none were painted in his native Flanders--and the symbolism of the clothing and settings. He said that these were the equals of any Van Dycks in the world, and that the National Gallery only had top-tier Old Masters by Van Dyck and Vermeer, and by no one else.

Then he took me to see the Vermeers, which he said he did not know much about except that they were supposed to be among the very best Vermeer paintings in the world.

Then he took me to see "Watson And The Shark" and a couple of Gilbert Stuart paintings, and he knew all about those paintings, in great detail. "Now you've seen my favorite paintings. What else do you want to see?" he asked me, and I said "Let's go see the Impressionists".

Then we just walked around a bit through the Impressionist/Post-Impressionist paintings and afterward we went and had coffee and talked. We talked all about our families--our parents, siblings, grandparents, that sort of thing--until it was time to go to the house of his parents' friends.

His parents' friends were very nice and very gracious. They live in Georgetown and were probably in their late fifties. Their own kids are grown, and live in Pittsburgh and Milwaukee and Chicago, and I learned that Andrew goes to have dinner at their house about once a month. It was clear, right off the bat, that he was like family to them, and we helped set the table and carry food and dishes back and forth, and afterward WE washed and dried the dishes while the hosts sat down in the kitchen and talked to us. They were a very charming couple. Andrew's parents have known them for years, and Andrew also goes to their church. They were both very intelligent, both academics and authors.

The wife is currently writing a book about Laura Bridgeman, and she remarked to me that she was stunned, two years ago when she told Andrew that she was researching a book about Laura Bridgeman, that he knew who Laura Bridgeman was! He already knew the Dickens connection, the Perkins connection, the Annie Sullivan connection, practically everything about Laura Bridgeman! She told me that she had asked him back then how he knew so much about such a seemingly forgotten figure as Laura Bridgeman, and Andrew had answered that he had read a lengthy book review in The New Republic a couple of years before that that had touched upon Laura Bridgeman. Then she got out the TNR review--from 2001--and showed it to me! How could Andrew have remembered, in 2004, a lengthy book review (about twelve pages, and a very boring twelve pages it was, I can say, having just read it tonight) from three years before, on a subject that really does not even interest him? Jeepers! This guy must be brilliant!

When we left their house, we walked M Street for a little bit, just like we did yesterday afternoon, and then Andrew took me home.

On the way home, Andrew said to me "I'd like to see you tomorrow if you're free".

I told him I'd like that, and I asked him what we should do.

"I dunno" he said, "But why don't you come over and see where I live and meet my roommates? I'll make breakfast for everyone, and then you and I can decide what we are going to do."

"Sounds like a plan" I said.

Silvio, I cannot wait for tomorrow.

However, Silvio, I have one problem. I want to meet Andrew's roommates, and I'm dying to see where he lives, but I don't want Andrew to meet my roommates, because my roommates are basically jerks.

I haven't even asked Andrew in yet, in order that he NOT meet my roommates.

Andrew and I have only known each other for 35 hours and 30 minutes, but at some point in time I will have to show him where I live and introduce him to my roommates.

How do I handle this one? Any ideas?

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