What do you get when you mix one part grundoon, one part dann, eight parts assorted other noders including yours truly, alcohol, bad traffic and MAYHEM?

Obviously you get something you're sorry you missed, you poor sucker.

Oh, it started off uneventfully enough. After work last Friday I hopped on my usual Metro train. But instead of taking it to Union Station, I cleverly diverted to the Yellow Line at Gallery Place/Chinatown, and shortly found myself at the Braddock Road station (which was good because I'd looked all over Reagan National Airport with no luck).

After a moment to orient myself, I proceeded north on Mount Vernon past a schoolyard occupied by several young scamps. Some blocks later, I stood before the Evening Star Cafe and was confronted by a conundrum: now that I was there, grundoon was not answering her cell phone. My brilliant plan to avoid looking like a stalker thus foiled, I entered and struck up a conversation with the hostess, that went something like this:

Me: Hi, uh, I think my party's probably already here.
Her: Oh, what's their name?
Me: Uh... I'm not sure what name it's under.

At this point she displayed the wit to look at the reservation list and say "Are you with Chris?"
"It's listed under e-2."
"Oh! Yeah, that's me."

I was directed upstairs where I found a nearly empty lounge area... nearly empty, that is, except for the bartender and someone who could only be Chris/grundoon.

It still being a few minutes before the appointed hour, we weren't too concerned about the lack of other people. But worryingly, grundoon's phone had apparently decided it didn't like the cachet of the cell signal in Virginia, and was being a poopy-head about it. My elderly Nokia thus became the Official Emergency Backup Cell Phone of the E2Hons Nodermeet of Doom. A call to momomom resulted in a number and a message left for dann, who we knew (from her) was somewhere between Delaware and DC.

Eventually, shortly after 6:30 with no sign of actual other people yet, grundoon and I elected to adjourn downstairs and partake of the fare prepared by the establishment. We noticed four suspicious-looking men standing outside the front door. They appeared to be deep in some kind of debate. grundoon fortuitously recognized Jurph, and we acquired new revelers! Besides he who should not be allowed near anything explosive or even flammable, we acquired controlling interest in unperson, NotFabio and Gorgonzola.

At this point my second pint of beer (not to be confused with pint the noder, who is pronounced differently and of whom you shall hear more anon), consumed immediately prior to these goings-on, was beginning to kick in, so things may be recounted slightly out of order. We all took a table and orders were placed. grundoon having discovered that the cashless society ain't all it's cracked up to be, and that it's really hard to cash a check if your bank has no local branches, the other five of us kicked in to cover her tab. I had a salmon fillet that was slightly larger than a pocket calculator and set me back $17; other entrees were comparably sized and priced. At that rate I felt water would be a smart choice for the beverage portion of the meal.

Dinner conversation ranged widely, as noders are wont to do; at one point I was giving NotFabio, seated immediately to my right, a quick tutorial on SR-71 fuel and range considerations from my hazy recollections of an account by one who worked with them, while occasionally glancing nervously at the opposite end of the table where Jurph sat in the refulgent glow of his brand-new promotion to Captain in the Air Force, wary of any incoming shells of hard fact he might take occasion to lob into my rhetorical position. Somehow the discussion involved grundoon and napalm as well, a scary thought if there ever was one...

We relocated postprandially to the lounge upstairs, ordered a fresh round of drinks, and the conversation continued. After I returned to the table with my Scotch, others became interested in the history and practicalities of consumption of Scotches, whiskeys, whiskys, and related things. Sadly, the bar lacked Guinness, Bailey's, or small shotglasses, but that didn't stop two noders (I believe it was Jurph and NotFabio, but could be wrong) (edit: I was in fact half wrong: It was Jurph and pint. NotFabio knows better than to mess with unstable explosives like that.) from trying to improvise car bombs by pouring whiskey into a glass of stout. According to them, not only did this concoction taste nothing like a car bomb, it didn't taste all that good at all.

About 9:00, we were truly blessed by the arrival of dann, siobhan, indigoe, and pint (who is very emphatic about his name: he is not a pint, long I, of beer, he is a pint, short I, of noder). Shortly thereafter the outliers colonized the Del Ray Dreamery, some blocks up the street, acquiring tasty custard for certain of the new arrivals who were still eating. Sadly, NotFabio and I missed out on this goodness as we started off later and in the wrong direction. By the time we corrected course and reached our destination, it was 10:00, the Dreamery was closing and we were left custardless.

Migration back to the cafe resulted in an attempt to lounge outside and enjoy the balmy night breezes, which was put paid to by the manager who said he had an agreement with his neighbors not to have customers lounging about outside after 10:00 PM.

Our fellowship cast adrift, we began going our separate ways. The noble and selfless Gorgonzola provided me carriage to my doorstep, and along the way provided a primer-slash-capsule history of Baltimore city and Maryland state politics, with special references to leading lights Martin O'Malley, Kurt Schmoke, and Parris N. Glendening (don't forget his N. or you'll be sorry).

Truly an occasion that will never be forgotten, ranking with Bastille Day, the Fourth of July, and Talk Like a Pirate Day.