When my best friend from college told me that she was going to be leaving DC to attend grad school at UCLA this year, I didn’t think I could believe her. Not because I think she’s a liar – she’s actually one of the most honest people I know (she’s never afraid to tell me when a top I like is not so cute) – but it seemed, as the cliché goes, “too good to be true.”
Even now that she is here, residing seven miles away from my apartment, it feels bizarre to be able to get together on a Saturday night to watch bad movies (or if she had her way “Flipping Out”), or meet up for a drink on a week night like we did this past Thursday at Bodega Wine Bar in Santa Monica. When I picked her up on my way out west, I couldn’t shake the sense that I was somehow engaging in an illegal activity by getting to hang out with my dear college friend so spontaneously. This sort of fortuitous social behavior is a rare occurrence -- especially in LA where nobody makes time for anyone unless it fits into their neatly choreographed schedule and doesn’t conflict with their bi-weekly Bar Method class. (I’m admittedly very guilty of the latter.)
On the Richter scale of exciting evenings (10 being flying to San Francisco for the opera a la Pretty Woman), our wine date probably registered at about a 4. We both only ordered one drink – she selected a glass of the Poppy Pinot Noir, I chose our server’s favorite Terre des Papes Cotes Du Rhone Grenache/Syrah (all wines by the glass are $8) – and we warmed the seats of our bar stools for less than an hour and a half. Yet, the simplicity of the evening and comfortable surroundings of Bodega Wine Bar made the night a poignant moment in my week.
The bar itself was uncluttered with scantily clad women (well, aside from the girl in the egregious denim short shorts) and out-of-work actors with an iPhone full of the aforementioned scantily clad women’s phone numbers. The full-bodied wines we selected were smooth, lush and vivid with flavor, and actually at the right temperature for a red (ie. slightly below room temperature). And the music, which included the Arctic Monkeys among other Indie and not-so-Indie favorites, provided the ideal soundtrack for our quiet conversation about school, work and my dad’s bizarre affection for the show “Meet the Kardashians.”
It was an ordinary night, but was the perfect way to call a time-out in the middle of our respective work and school weeks. It’s not always about doing something the producers on the “the Hills” would deem entertaining enough for the masses in South Dakota. The point is (to steal a line from Ashley) “making time” for a special friend who I am lucky to have in my life. Especially lucky since I no longer have to fly 3,000 miles to have her tell me my shirt is ugly in person.
Bodega Wine Bar
814 Broadway (@ Lincoln)
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phone: (310) 394-3504