(Note: This is the sixth in a series of posts about the first meeting of three online friends.)
Did I forget to mention that Moonshot and Norah left Saturday morning, so we guys were on our own? Wouldn’t it be funny if we took advantage of that to use the cups as props in public without embarrassing a spouse?
Saturday after the City Museum we stopped at a liquor store and grabbed a bottle of 12-year-old Single Malt Scotch. As Simon and Moksha poured from the bottle of The Balvenie Doublewood, I thought maybe I was on a roll with my tastebuds, so I asked for a small taste.
My throat and my sinuses revolted. Oh, the burning. I somehow averted an embarrassing coughing fit and said, “No more for me, thanks,” or something to that effect, hoping fire didn’t shoot out of my mouth and burn off what hair was left on my buddies’ scalps.
That night we played the Zombies board game while watching Dawn of the Dead. Do you see a theme developing here? Apparently Moonshot (Moksha’s wife — remember?) has quite a thing for all things zombie-related, and Moksha shares much of that enthusiasm. I always liked a good movie on the topic, but that was about as far as my interest had led me.
We hit our respective racks sometime between two and three o’clock in the morning.
We rose and ate Simon’s grandmother’s pancakes from scratch and Moksha’s eggs over medium. It was a bit late to call it brunch. We each then found a semi-private corner and called our wives and our mothers to say “Happy Mother’s Day.”
From there we ran by Moksha’s workplace and then saw a great little flick you might have noticed burning up the box office its first couple of weeks. Iron Man was a lot of fun, and the bit at the end of the credits is a nice tease for at least one sequel.
After Moksha and I showed little enthusiasm for a seafood supper, Simon changed gears and said he wanted an American cheeseburger. We landed at Ruby Tuesday’s, where Simon ordered a seafood dish to two sets of raised eyebrows.
After a relaxing stop back at the house, we went to Dave and Buster’s. I had been only once, in Dallas years before we moved to the area, and remembered it as a lot of fun. It still was, but I think the video game scene in large part has passed me by since my first trip. We played games you might expect from a geeky group — Pod Racer, Star Wars Trilogy. Then, following the theme set the night before, we played a few rounds of House of the Dead III.
But the big hit of the night was a bowling game. A full-size bowling ball sits in a stand, like a huge trackball. The player chooses from several scenes, including redwood forest and futuristic downtown San Francisco, and then must quickly spin the ball toward the pins, dodging obstacles along the way. It’s kind of like a mix between golf, bowling, and spinning the hell out of an oversized trackball. Click the play button below to see Moksha try to pick up a spare.
Monday served up the best weather for our time in St. Louis. We had mentioned the famous Gateway Arch every day of the trip, but until the final day winds and rain had kept us away.
We wandered around outside the Arch while live jazz wafted over from a riverboat docked on the Mississippi. I think I successfully avoided the “me too” shots.
For the four-minute ride to the top, we crammed inside a five-seater bubble tramcar with a man and his young son. Our knees almost touched as we made ourselves small.
To keep passengers level as it ascended the curve, the tramcar tilted at regular intervals every few seconds. Click! Clack! Click! Clack! Through a small door window we watched the Arch’s innards go by.
The top was roomier than I had expected. “You may stay as long as you like. The tram runs every 10 minutes,” a voice informed us over the public address system. Everyone was courteous and friendly as they waited their turn at the windows, one set facing east and the other facing west. In the middle we were 630 feet above the ground.
We took up window space for several minutes, but nobody commented or complained.
Moksha joked that the “stay as long as you like” policy could provide a nice view of a Cardinals game for a cheap admission price. With a powerful set of binoculars or a good spotting scope, that is.
Lunch was at Cunetto’s House of Pasta, a restaurant on The Hill, the little Italy of St. Louis. Delicious.
We wandered around a bit in the Mini and found ourselves back at the Grenstead in time to prepare lazily for the airport. Simon left first, and I returned to the house with Moksha and hung out with him and the ladies of the house, who had just returned from their trip. He and Moonshot have done very well with Norah, and they make a great family.
Later I boarded my plane and rode it all the way back to Texas without incident. Southwest Airlines did a great job both coming and going; neither of my flights was delayed, my gate never changed, and my luggage appeared on the conveyor belt shortly after my arrival and my return.
Next year — on to Canada, you hosers!