I don't know if you've caught on yet, but I love going out for drinks and/or dinner. When I lived in Minnesota, where there is a rich coffee shop culture, I would park myself at one of my favorite cafes and do homework all evening long. I'd usually arrange for a constant stream of friends to stop in and interrupt me, but when none were available I'd make new friends. In 2006, I moved to Boston for school and was devastated by the small selection of coffee shops and cafes that catered to late-night (or all-night, in some cases) coffee drinkers such as myself, so instead of planting myself at coffee shops, I'd make myself at home on a bar stool. I read books, edited papers, and wrote short stories at bars around the city and made a handful of new friends along the way.
After graduation, my habit of stopping in at a bar had become ritual. Instead of going straight home to a tiny apartment after work, I'd stop at a bar for a drink or two and chat with whoever was around. That's how I met David, and together we've become fixtures at a number of local restaurants/bars, but none more-so than Franklin Southie. I've always been drawn to the idea of a Third Place and believe that having a hub- whether it be an athletic club, cafe, pool hall, whatever- where you can unwind and casually meet people is integral to creating a robust social life. Without the Franklin, David and I wouldn't have nearly as many friends, but because we clocked in some serious time and have gotten to know the staff and patrons, we've made a number of lasting friendships with people we would never have met otherwise. Doctors, painters, teachers, lawyers- until we started talking, we thought we'd have little in common with these people, but over a cocktail (or a couple) we've come to be great friends.
Last night we went to Hungry Mother with a couple we met through a FF (Franklin Friend) and had a lovely time indulging in boiled peanuts, pimento cheese, and homemade pie (amongst other delicacies, naturally). Through our conversation, I learned that families in the south will pass cast iron skillets down from mother to daughter and that some of these skillets haven't been washed in decades (fascinating!). I also learned that having a filthy skillet is actually quite good and made a mental note to stop putting ours in the dishwasher every time David leaves it oiled on the stove top. Through our conversation I learned about authentic Cape Cod Dennis Bracelets and how difficult it is to get one. Together, we ate slowly, laughed loudly, and happily got to know each other better.
Being a social animal can sometimes be exhausting, but going out and meeting new friends (especially at Hungry Mother, which is YUM to the EXTREME) sure as hell beats sitting in bed watching TV- even if it is a really good rerun of Downton Abbey...