I live a kind of lonely life. Being a naturally social person it sounds like a misnomer, but it has more to do with a lack of real friendships than just being “friendly.” I guess that’s what happens when you choose to move 2000 miles away from the place where you went to college. Floating around from job to job, place to place, the past year hasn’t left me many opportunities to just hang out with people my age.
I’m guilty of exasperating this lack of a social life, if for no other reason than proclaiming that taking the time and money and effort to get together with people who are close to me would somehow endanger my career prospects or “master plan.” I’ve come up with a million excuses, especially when it comes to trying to get together with friends visiting Washington D.C. From not wanting to waste gas money driving down, to using my work schedule — which, oh by the way, I control — I’ve put off more than a few chances to reconnect with people from my past, including my good friend Rhett and his wife, Allie.
Former classmates of mine at Utah State, Rhett and Allie are the kind of people I love hanging out with. They’re positive, funny, and incredibly humble, and every second with them reminds me how much I loved my time in Logan, and how real and caring the people there are. People like Rhett took me into an extended family when I was at college — the Utah State family, for sure, but in a way, the entire cultural family of Utah’s Mormon population. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it as long as I live: The LDS community is filled with some of the nicest, most giving people you will ever meet.
It was about time I returned the favor to some old friends, and after driving down to D.C. to pick them up, the three of us checked out Old Ellicott City for some window shopping before Mass. While there, we stopped off at Sweet Cascades. I love this place. The guy who runs it just exudes that “kid in a candy store” nature that tells you he’s happy to be alive and enjoys every minute of what he’s doing. And what he’s doing is apparently making some wicked chocolate confections. This place covers everything in chocolate. Twinkies. Cheetos. Bacon. Old Bay seasoning. Most of it’s great, and most of it has precedence in the sweet and salty kingdom of foodies.
Most, but not all.
Say hello to the Chocolate Covered Bacon and Provolone Sandwich.
Need I say more? Amazingly, I do. Allie actually found the sandwich to be somewhat palatable, although Rhett, ever the diplomat, proclaimed “I was hungry” when later asked by my parents if he liked it. As for me, I passed. I’ve eaten quite a few questionable things in my life, and given the urge of hunger, might be so inclined to go for something as bizarre as a cold panini covered in chocolate.
More traditional palates eventually prevailed when we came back to my house later in the evening for some hot dogs and hamburgers, and after hanging out playing yard games and Nintendo-64 the next morning, I drove them back down to DC. For me, ever the cautious, usually self-absorbed person, the whole weekend was exactly what I needed. With the economy the way it is these days, and with a million competing voices telling us what we “should” do to get ahead, it’s tempting to go into a shell and act like a business man each day, denying yourself the kinds of out-of-your-way experiences of friendships like the one I had with Rhett and Allie. But we can’t live that way. We have to remind ourselves that life isn’t a series of transactions, and that the truest forms of love are those which see us invest ourselves in making other people happy. Because that’s what ultimately makes us happy. And, if along the way we chomp down on some truly bizarre culinary creations that remind us of just how fun we can be, well, then what more can we ask for?
Food for Thought: Eating out with friends. Are you cautious or adventurous. Epicureon or tried and true? And if you could cover one and only one sandwich in chocolate, what would it be?