Tip of the Hat
The weekend officially started when I pulled into Cincinnati International Airport to pick up my best friend, Angela, in from Philadelphia for the weekend. No longer can you wait curb-side for your arrivals, so I went inside baggage claim to claim her.
Tons of travelers emerged looking like they needed a weekend to revive memories of how inconvenient business travel really is. Face it: Travel interferes with life in general.
Executives and airport employees toiled like ants in the ant mine, reminding me how fortunate I am that I got off that merry-go-round a little over a year ago. Now I can get on with the important things in life, like living it up in Cincinnati with my girlfriend!
Angela and I decided to pretend she'd never lived here, though she had for about 10 years, and that I was visiting, too. The Westin Hotel on Fountain Square would be home for two nights, with ready access to all our old haunts by cab or by my car. How convenient!
When we checked in around 4 to freshen up for Happy Hour, we were thrilled to see the Westin's heavenly beds waiting. Now that's what I call comfort: down pillows (four of them), down comforter and all white cotton! Plus we don't have to share. There is a God!
Havana Martini Club was the meeting place, and who cared that is was before 5. Not us! The games were on, and the drinks were flowing. Cincinnati was fired up to support the Bearcats, Musketeers, Buckeyes and good ol' downtown. I didn't even mind the cigar smoke, though it's a good thing we pulled out of there before I was inclined to light up, since even Starbucks doesn't solve that the following day.
We cabbed it up the hill to the Cincinnati Art Museum for a quick glimpse at the opening of the Eygpt exhibit. I always find it best to start with a vodka in hand and then go on to the galleries. Angela and I realized fairly quickly that we wouldn't make great archeologists but could still appreciate viewing items that had 5,000 years on them.
Needing fresh air, we walked up Ida Street to where Angela used to live. The memories were vivid and so was the chill in the air, so we hustled into the Promontory for a bite to eat and another beverage of choice.
Then the rain came. And the hail. And the wind. We dove into our cab and headed back to those waiting, warm and inviting heavenly beds. We were lucky girls, and the late night scene would have to wait 'til tomorrow.
The downside of going to bed at 10 is that we woke up at dawn. No fear, since we had plenty to catch up on. Isn't that what girls do? Talk. Talk. Talk.
We took our talking across the river for those delectable scones and cocoas at Wildflour. The Enquirer is fun even with an out-of-town fan of Jim Borgman. And Angela's favorite DJ was in the news, Robin Wood. Where has time taken all of us, and were we really that lame last night?
Shopping was next on the agenda. Followed by treatments. Facial. Nails. The all-time best way to spend time is, of course, on a table with a man's hands devoted to rubbing every inch of me. So we did that, too. Which led to discussing sex, 'cause all that rubbing made us think about it. We poured over details of past, present and future sexual encounters over lunch at Don Pablo's in Rookwood Commons. Exhausted and satiated, we headed back to the hotel for naps.
Relaxed and determined to prove it was really us who used to tear up Chicago, New York and Paris, we showered and draped our bodies in black like good city girls. Still, we've matured to the point where the symphony appeals more to us than a sports bar and the games, so we headed to Music Hall. We people watched. We jockeyed for a better view of the new conductor, and I fantasized about those future acts she and I devised over lunch. Oh, and the music wasn't bad either.
She wanted a cosmopolitan and I wanted to eat, so we went to Jeff Ruby's, which she insisted on calling "Jack's" all night. The guy who singing in the trio was pure Harry Connick Jr. We indulged and people watched. We thought about Lava, Jump, The Spy Club, The Blue Wisp and those beds. We opted for the beds and blamed the chill in the air. We used to be wild. Really.
Sunday morning we were met by more rain, but the downtown Starbucks was open and the Paddy's Day fans were coming out of the woodwork. We packed up and left our slice of heaven to head to the airport. I offered to stop by a Gold Star or a Skyline, but both of us were full of coffee and liked it that the size 4 pants we bought yesterday still fit.
I gave her a warm embrace that said "I wish you still lived here" and vowed to make it to Philly soon. She had a plane to catch, and I had a game to watch.
Dick was meeting me at Claddagh's at 12:30 for UC vs. UCLA. It was a good thing I didn't burn it up at Lava after all, as the crowd was thick and the Guinness was pouring double time. Luckily, Dick arrived early and secured two of the best seats in the house for us to view the game, which turned into a rollercoaster ride that broke everyone's heart.
I swear I had palpitations in the first overtime, and it was pure heartbreak at the finish. Not only would UC not proceed, but a whole lot of us would be in town this week instead of on our way to San Jose. It just didn't bounce our way, but Huggins and Logan both said it best post-game: They did their best.
I did meet two really great gals at the bar cheering for the home team, Dooley and Cleary. Cleary clarified that she was a Bailey before she met Cleary, which she thought was Irish. Cleary said Bailey is mostly English but she could be Irish by injection. She blushed when she told me, but I rolled my head back and laughed.
Tip of the hat to you, Cleary, and to you, Cincinnati. I call this home, and you showed me you are there for a fun weekend any ol' time.