Two of my best friends in the entire world came to visit me this weekend. They are both incredibly busy people, so I was extremely happy when they said they’d make the long drive across the state to Ann Arbor on Saturday morning, taking time out of their hectic lives to chill for a day or two.

I was out Friday until early Saturday afternoon due to Hash Bash preparations, but of course I made sure to return to my place around one o’clock in anticipation of Meagan and Jessica arriving. Taking into account the horrific traffic associated with this celebration, I was surprised when they arrived more or less on time. I received their call around two, with the news that they were unable to find parking anywhere within the block. I said I’d be down in a second and take them around and search out the obscure parking spots so they wouldn’t have to walk too far. We managed to smush Gin (that’s Meagan’s nickname, ironically having nothing to do with her fondness for the liquor. In fact it is pronounced with a soft G, in case you were wondering) into the backseat, as she happens to be the size of a six year old, and Jess and I sat up front with a clear view of the endless, colorful parades of Ann Arbor’s underside showing their faces in daylight for Hash Bash. We managed to find parking at the lot on Cross and Division, which was not too close but better than I had feared we’d have to settle for.

Before finding parking, we drove over to my boyfriend’s apartment so I could introduce Jess and Gin to some people. About two thirds of them were passed out on various couches already, having smoked themselves silly. Stef and Ben, my boyfriend’s roommate and his girlfriend, were still conscious and playing Tony Hawk 3 on the X box. They were kind enough to shake hands with the newcomers and take time out from their battle of high scores. Joaquin was slumped in a corner, hat pulled low over his eyes, but he gave a nod of acknowledgment in our direction as we entered the room. Dave was hopeless, and a slew of people I barely recognized were lounging elsewhere around the apartment, just as cracked out, so I ignored them. I found Aaron in his room playing Counter-strike, as always, deeply involved in some sort of clan match. He warmly greeted Jess and Gin, getting shot several times as he turned his back to the game in the process, as they are always friends of his going back as long as he’s known me.

Gin and Jess and I wandered around campus after that, walking across the diag to see the happenings. We saw a group of people producing a rhythmic beat while two girls feinted punches at each other. It looked semi-choreographed. All those involved were surrounded by a white chalk line reading “no police beyond this point.” We moved on, following the crowd through the arch leading onto South U., and then wandered over to the Law Quad, admiring the peaceful tranquility surrounding it as always. On the other side, there was some sort of concert going on, with many signs reading “Cures, not War” hanging around the band’s makeshift stage. The girl who was singing was not bad at all, so we stopped and listened for a while, leaning against the walls leading down to the Underground Library. Then it was down State Street, through the arcade hallway area of shopping, and then on to North U. to admire the spray painted dogs saying Free the Weed beneath American flags. There were more Frisbees and hacky sacks than usual, as well as several pit bulls barking wildly at each other. There were lots of police on bikes, and three or four cars full of teens pulled over along the sidewalk, surrounded by cops and looking dazed.

Jess, Gin and I then went to the U of M Museum of Art in order to see the exhibit entitled “Women Who Ruled: Queens, Goddesses, Amazons, 1500-1650.” First we had to purchase our free tickets and add a dollar to the donation box before heading upstairs to see the display of Chinese snuff bottles, followed by the Buddhism-related statues I often come to admire. There were also separate rooms displaying Japanese and African art. I taught Jess and Gin some kanji, most of which they could not recall when I later quizzed them (they had forgotten all except hito, or jin, meaning person). Then it was on to the famed exhibit, which was one of the highlights of our day. A good portion of the pieces were of French origin, and as the three of us speak the language to differing degrees, we spent quite some time trying to decipher the aged version of writing included in the art. We observed many engravings depicting the beheading and/or decapitated heads of famous men removed by women, including a dozen or more versions of Judith holding the head of or killing Holofernes in a very violent way. We also admired Agnolo Bronzino’s Eleonora of Toledo and Her Son, ca. 1545, the famous Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I by George Gower, painted in 1558, and Massimo Stanzione’s Susanna and the Elders, 1631-1637. One of my favorites was Paris Bordone’s Athena Scorning the Advances of Hephaestus, ca. 1555-1560. Jess and Gin merely admired Hephaestus’s bare bottom, but I liked how the artist reversed the masculine and feminine roles, showing Athena as a powerful woman with the right to scorn whomever she pleased, making Hephaestus look vulnerable, which was shown by his naked bum. There were so many more that I can’t remember the names of, but if ever you are on State Street in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and have a few hours to kill, check out the museum.

I asked a friendly group of Asian men to take our picture in front of the museum. I don’t think they understood until I handed one of them my camera and pointed to the button. Then they were all smiles and gladly obliged my request. As I was getting the camera back, another of the group handed me the most expensive and massive camera I have ever seen in my life, and pointed to a button on top. So I took their picture in return, making sure to follow the directions displayed on the screen on the back of the camera. They were very polite.

Us girls then collected the before mentioned people from the apartment, only they had migrated to Stef’s place somehow, and went to Leo’s Coney Island for dinner. Gin and I had chicken kebob’s, although the waitress tried to dissuade us from ordering them, saying it took a whole twenty minutes to prepare them. I gave her an incredulous look and said I would like it anyway. She huffed and scoffed, but wrote it down anyway. We were not impressed with her at all, but the food was yummy.

Afterwards it was across the street to the ghetto-fied Village Corner to pick up some booze, and back to Stef’s place. We watched Army of Darkness while drinking pretend Strawberry Daiquiris and bottles of Smirnoff between all of us. A wild game of Trivial Pursuit ensued, with Ben and Stef winning due to their incredible obstinacy when it came to getting a question wrong; they would demand we read them another, until they knew the answer to one. We indulged their annoyingness out of fondness, and because that’s just the way the two of them are. If we had argued or said it was unfair, screaming matches would have broken out and everyone would be angry. Eleven o’clock rolled around and the three of us took off for my dorm, where we watched The Black Cauldron on DVD and gossiped for a few hours. We fell asleep at the early hour of two, after setting the clocks ahead.

Now my girls are gone, and I am left with only memories to keep me company in their absence. Before they had to go, they presented me with a picture from the last time us three and several other of my buddies went to Applebee’s for dinner when I was in town. I’ll have to get it scanned. But anyway, we have plans to hang out in a few weeks when I am back in Holland, and before I leave for Boston.