So Friday nights are reserved for quality time at the Ale House (and often the Deeeluxe afterwards).  I meet Barry Bonds, Kit Kittredge, and Skotch & Kobb shortly after 6, and we hold court over the pertinent issues of the day.  It’s a tradition–a young tradition, but an undeniable one to be sure.  I am sad to be missing it for the next three weeks.

This past week, I had to stop at my parents’ house in Yonkers before heading to the Ale House.  They’ve got a large suitcase.  I am going to Chicago for three weeks.  I tend to overpack in these situations (and boy, did I overpack tonight), and besides, my duffel bag that I usually use for these occasions reeks of Bikram sweat.  So I go to the Yonx to get the suitcase.  When I get there, I swing by the apartment complex pool because my niece and nephew are there for the day.  We have some fun at the pool, playing a game called, as far as I could tell, Drummer, Singer, Dancer, in which one of us is the singer, another is the drummer, and the third (usually me) is the dancer.  Good times all around.

By the way, my niece is four.  My nephew is a bit over two, I believe.

So I tell them I’ve got to go, and I leave, and I try to get my act together, but miss two trains (damn internet is too addictive), so I decide to load the suitcase into the trunk of my mom’s car, drive to Brooklyn to drop the suitcase off at my place, then meet up at the Ale House.  Only before I can do that, the kids come back upstairs, and we start playing new games, including a rousing game of 52 Pickup in which my nephew dutifully picked up all 52 cards, then asked to play again.  We also played a game that pretty much has to be called Walking Up a Stepstool, because, well, that’s what it consisted of.  It was awesome.

ANYWAY…towards the end of one round of Stepstool, I tell the kids that I’ve got to get going, because my friends are waiting for me, and they’ll be angry if I don’t show up soon.

And my niece, my brilliant adorable niece, she looks right at me and she says…

…I swear to god, this is what she says…

“Your friends are more important than your family?”

And I say:

“No.  No, they’re not.”

Two and a half hours later, I finally made my way out of the apartment and down to the city, albeit to a chorus of “Don’t go!  Don’t go!”

Awesome.  Cuteness.

(Note: the chorus of “Don’t go!  Don’t go!” was very similar to Kit Kittredge’s claims that I was “not allowed to go to Chicago” because I had not cleared it with her in advance.  Now that’s friendship, people.  Or maybe she just doesn’t want to be the only 30-something crashing on the couch in the Deeeluxe.

I'm supposed to walk out on these kids?

I'm supposed to walk out on these kids?