Continuing in my delightful birthday series, I wanted to say Happy Birthday to one of my favourite people - Yalie and Maryland native, Eric. After a capering friendship which has taken in the heady environments of New Haven, New Canaan and Paris, I thought I would post sixteen of our shared "best bits." Some of these may seem cruel.
1. "Gareth, I don't understand what you're saying, but you're wrong."
2. Eric to our fabulous waitress, Karen: Can you tell me about the risotto?
Karen (cheerfully): For sure. OK, so the risotto is one of our best-selling items on the menu. It's really filling, it's really rich; it's got some great herbs used in it. Cooked to perfection and so flavourful. It's really delicious.
Eric (bantering): Oh, wow. I guess you really want me to get the risotto then, right?
Karen (instantly stony): I don't care. I mean, I'm not the one that's going to be eating it.
3. "I feel like my life has suddenly turned into me being like a 1950s housewife, permanently acting as a buffer between you and the rest of the world. Like, you know the kind of wife who wipes the beer glass down when a waitress brings it over and some beers sloshes down the side? And the wife wipes it up before the husband sees it? That's me."
4. "Gareth, if you don't shut up, I'm going to take you to where the Bastille stood, laugh, and then bring you over to the Place de la Concorde, trip you up, and run away."
5. "Of course it's not good enough for you, Gareth! Because you think you should be with Scarlett, murmuring 'Lover' in each other's ears, while you lie on a cloud spun by Chanel and are served Fiji water by angels!"
6. You introduced me to the world of froyo. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
7. "If I wear what he's wearing, he can't make fun of it!"
9. One night in Mory's, when I had to drink from an ENORMOUS tankard while you all sang Yale songs, Alexa and I had a serious breakdown in communication and I didn't quite entirely understand the rules of the game. It turns out that I didn't have to keep chugging until the song finished, but I had to have finished chugging the entire thing by the time the song had finished. My mistake was made clear to me when I realised that the second part of the game was having the cup placed atop my head to make sure I'd drunk it all. A full third of this enormous pitcher still remained and I was therefore soaked. And I thought you were going to have an aneurysm you were laughing so hard. I then informed you that some day, one day and somehow God would take revenge on you on my behalf for laughing so hard at my liquor-created misfortune. Then, a glass of wine was spilled in your lap. And you proceeded to yell at me for praying for it to happen.
10. You patting my shoulder and murmuring, "Take your time," when I drained of all colour and got a far-off, misty look in my eye when we entered the site of Marie-Antoinette's final prison cell in the Conciergerie.
11. "Are you drunk?"
"Of course I am."
12. The night you came to the Pi Phi house to discover that Coco and I had somehow concocted a plan to have a baby together.... "So, dinner went well then?"
13. The world's slowest sliding automatic doors and your face of pure, frustrated rage.
14. "This is a picture of a manatee. Manatees are protected against the cold by a layer of blubber; I can only assume that this is how fat professor copes, since he refuses to turn up the heat in this room."
15. BBM-related sleep sync-up
16. The fact that for the first two weeks of our friendship you repeatedly referred to my book as Fabulous
Hope you had an amazing birthday and remember, Harry Potter Day.