Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Invasion From Planet Sag

Dave Sag and I shared a flat a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. Neither of us had any real civilisation, or frankly, even house-breaking, at the time. Suffice it to say that a decent number of Mr Birmingham's more horrendous anecdotes in HDWAFIHH originated from houses lived in by Dave, or myself, or both of us at once. But Dave began a life of globe-trotting degeneracy back in the early nineties, about the time when I started the slow crawl towards something like respectability, and we didn't really cross paths a whole lot after that.

And so it was with just the tiniest hint of trepidation that I discovered he was on a driving tour of Tas, with someone of the female persuasion by the name of Caroline. Dave + driving tour + unknown female person has been, in the past, a recipe for disaster. (Ask him sometime about Mercedes-Benz timing chains.) What, I wondered, would this icon of my moderately misspent youth mean to my children here in rural Taz?

Well, we found out pretty quickly. True to form, Sag & Co rocked up about a half hour late, which meant I had to dash off and collect Younger Son from the bus stop pretty much just as their car was pulling in the drive. I duly delegated Elder Son to show 'em where the toilet and the teakettle were to be found, and with no more greeting than a "Hi, Dave!" I scarpered.

Eight minutes later, when I returned with the Younger Son, the Elder Son had already adopted Dave and Caroline both. But mostly Dave, because all of a sudden, Elder Son was hearing oddball stories about his father's time in Briz.

We had a damned good evening. It had been too long between drinks, for sure. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed talking and arguing with Mr Sag. He has a protean intelligence, and a curiosity much like mine: he's interested in nearly everything. It's good to be able to run wild in a conversation, cutting back and forth across topics and ideas, not having to slow down for the other end of the game to catch up.

Caroline was a fine surprise too. I don't think I officially knew Dave got married. (I know. It's on his 'Facebook' page. Like I pay attention to that. I mean, knowing that Facebook is designed to hoover out data for advertising purposes, I pretty much lied in every detail there. And I always assumed most of my friends did too...) Caroline was articulate, funny, thoughtful, and cute, too. Very disturbing indeed, if you know Dave... she's waaayyy too good for you, dude. (But then I can hardly talk!)

They brought along some very fine Pepperberry Gin, and we fought off the vicious afternoon heat with some gin drinkies. Then we dropped the boys at Scouts, did a whirlwind drive through of Scottsdale, and returned for the Cookfest: Chili and Basil Scallops on Croutons; thick-cut, rare, smoky charcoal-grilled scotch fillet steak with my favourite salad of smoky grilled veg, and finally, home-made leatherwood honey mascarpone ice cream.

Mmmm. And we did the wine thing nicely too -- a decent bubbly to go with the scallops (thank you, Clover Hill) and a good, solid red to support the steak. And port after the ice cream.

Through it all, the boys sat wide-eared, soaking up stories about late-night fence climbing entries to swimming pools, and hamfisted attempts to make off with Ronald McDonald statues, and stolen police lights/sirens, and university scavenger hunts thwarted, and rugby-playing transexual computer programmers now become Freelance Mathematicians For Hire... by the time the boys had to go to bed, they were thoroughly rapt. I can see that it's going to be difficult trying to convince them that their dad is a decent, law-abiding, mild-mannered citizen after this.

Nice evening, though. I wasn't entirely sure I'd be able to say this, but -- it was totally excellent catching up with Mr Sag again, and I'm already looking forward to the next Sag/Mills Tasmania expedition.