Last weekend I visited Ratha. The previous visit had been bad (this seems to have happened a little less than 50% of our visits the past year and a half), but I wasn't really worried about this one. If anything, I knew that we hadn't been talking much (and thus, hadn't been making each other sick of one another).
Friday evening dinner
When I got in, the first thing we did was go to Trader Joe's. The 365 Vegetable contest gave us something obvious to do, and we took quite a bit of advantage of it—I added probably 15 or 20 items to my list over the weekend (and brought home one more, a black truffle, which I just now had part of with some spaghetti). At home, Ratha had a cat-shaped bottle of white wine, which I marvelled at since I had considered asking to buy a bottle of wine while we were at the grocery store, but had decided against it since Ratha generally has a low tolerance for alcohol. Indeed, we finished off the bottle and she had less than a full glass of that (it was only a 500 mL bottle, so that wasn't as bad as it sounds, but I was definitely feeling it).
Alcohol's effect on me
I've concluded that a lot of my silence is in fact due to repression which is unhealthy and irrational, caused by rarely-justified paranoia that I will say something wrong. Alcohol makes this go away quite easily, and with this I think I can explain why I seem to deal so much better with social situations when I've been drinking, if I can avoid the need to drive and can pace myself enough not to pass out (too much alcohol puts me right to sleep).
Over the whole weekend Ratha convinced me to take some naps while I more often convinced her to sleep in. I'm a little afraid that I was a bad influence on her, but I knew I couldn't abide by polyphasic rules (since I'd have been in the transition period and it would have been awful).
On Saturday we stopped for brunch at Brown Bag Cafe, then went to the Space Needle. That was the only really touristy thing I did the whole time I was there, actually. I established a brand-new tradition of buying shot glasses, since I never have any shot glasses (though I like them) and since I never buy anything at gift shops. I hadn't realized that the Seattle metroplex was so large, and it is also quite pretty, though Seattle almost set a record for most consecutive days of rainfall recently, so it was a little dismal. (It's also surprising how cold I found it—I guess my lack of body fat has made my adaptation to Texas easier and more complete than I realized.) After that, we went to an independent (but still quite large) bookstore where I bought a couple of novels for the trip home or whenever. Then we picked out glasses for Ratha (I tried to be helpful, but didn't want to be pushy so I ended up a little quiet—though she did choose the pair I had favored in the last round, so maybe I had some influence after all :-).
Saturday evening we met Ratha's friend Austin and headed back to her place for food and games. We played Set, which is a card game involving trying to see patterns faster than the other players (I felt tired and thought I would do awful, but I actually was reasonably good) and one round of Robo Rally which I barely won.
Sunday morning we went to brunch again, at Cafe Flora. I had jasmine tea and it smelled like perfume. Then we went to Ratha's workplace. Even though MSN has its own satellite campus, the landscaping and the architecture of the lunch hall were very impressive, almost ludicrous (not that my workplace is necessarily more reasonable). Ratha, meanwhile, is crammed in a fairly small office with another person. I have a cubicle, yet I still have probably three times the space she does. Though I'd probably be willing to take a walk-in closet as long as I could have it all to myself.
Organization software and dinner
Later, at home, we talked about organization software. From a Getting Things Done perspective, the Palm Tasks list is a reasonably functional list of next actions, but there's really no corresponding tool for projects. (I'm not completely into Getting Things Done, but I'm using Tasks on my Treo quite heavily now and there does definitely seem to be something missing.) We discussed requirements and also worked on setting up a Palm development environment, which proved quite frustrating (though we did get Hello World to run on Ratha's Treo). We continued to talk about it as we went out to get Ethiopian food so I could add teff to my vegetable list. The restaurant, Awash, was not nearly as well decorated as Abay in Pittsburgh, and the honey wine I ordered was not actually mead but just honey added to wine, and the food took a long time to arrive—but when it did, it tasted pretty much as good as Abay's food, and it was cheap.
The next morning, we ate a little at home and Ratha took me to the airport. It's a long flight from Seattle to Dallas (or vice versa), but my sleep pattern had deliberately been odd enough the past night that I slept quite a bit of the time, and read most of the rest.
Ratha's and my relationship
I found that Ratha still makes me feel all funny inside. I guess it wasn't much of a surprise, since that's been the case for about two years now—there have been times when my attention was directed away from Ratha, but not many when my attention has been directed towards her and I haven't been strongly attracted to her. At the same time, it is clear that she sees me as a very close friend. Yet somehow we seem to have made this work, at least enough that we can have positive interactions without unwittingly finding ourselves at each other's throats. I have to admit to some nervousness—the situation seems at least a little precarious—yet I can't really imagine myself choosing to cut off ties with her. And I guess the fact that we keep coming back to each other shows that there's some real substance to the relationship. Whatever the underlying psychological explanation—if there even is one—I can't deny that she makes me really happy, nor how important to me she is.
Writing for people who are only paying partial attention (like typical LJ readers) is hard. If you got this far, let me know how I did, or if there are any obvious ways I could improve. (Other than to write more often so I don't feel the need to let my entire brain drip out on the page. :P)