We took the long way back to Joy’s apartment, traversing Rittenhouse Square and tiny streets that have been pretty much the same since our founding fathers walked them in the 18th century. The cobblestones are worn thinner than they were back then, though, and the UPS truck at street’s end also shattered the illusion, but I still imagined it the way it was.
We also peeked in shops that were beginning to shut down for the night as it approached 5 o’clock, window shopping at places like a pie shop and a tailor. I wondered what it would be like to go to those places every morning and work there all day. At the pie shop they were holding a class on how to create some confection or another. As I peered in through the glass I noticed that most of the people inside appeared to be couples. It felt like one of those romantic comedies with the beautiful people who don’t know they’re beautiful. Which is the real funny part of it all.
I hadn’t walked that much in years, at least on streets and not in grandiose circles at work all day. And the day was a beautiful fall day as it motored toward dusk and we finally arrived back at Joy’s place. For a Friday night it felt surprisingly calm on the streets as passed person after person, all of whom were involved with their own insular worlds, on their phones as they walked in wavy lines to get to their destinations. We passed them and smiled to ourselves as we kept talking.
Dinner was frozen pizza, fries, and whatever else we could throw together from the freezer and fridge. It was quite the contrast from the night before, when we were worldly and ensconced in the trappings of weekend extravagance. It reminded me of the juxtapositions in life itself, but we had to eat quickly or we were going to be late for the night’s event. So we took a moment to pause and get our fill before heading right back out the door and into the evening air that was cool as a cucumber and just as refreshing.
Then we hiked the ten blocks to another theater that was both the same and different from the one the night before. A young man met us in the deserted lobby and checked us off of a list of prepaid patrons. It felt good to be on the list, like we were guests at a ritzy nightclub that had a name like “Paul’s” or “Swim.” The atmosphere of the place was an eclectic one, with a narrow, winding staircase that seemed like it would fall apart as we climbed. The place had what I would call character. I liked it immediately.
The theater was on the third floor and it was dominated by older folks, who were mostly talking in clusters or at the small bar in the next connecting room getting spirits. We slid into seats that were as narrow as the stairs, and onto cushions that were as bare as those cobblestones, and readied ourselves for a series of three one-act Irish plays. Ahhhh, I love all things Irish so it was an especially fulfilling treat.
And they spoke with varying degrees of Irish accents, too, which was the perfect icing on the cake. I love Philadelphia for many reasons but the small theater scene has to be somewhere near the top of the list, and my sister knows me well enough to appreciate that as well. After another lovely evening out we headed towards home, or at least my home away from home, tired but satisfied.