Every once in a while, your evening should require a waiver.

And a helmet.

It was St. Pat's and I, who had a misspent youth of church pews and sobriety, wanted to party. I have done a number of unpredictable and even dangerous things in life, but can count on the fingers of one hand experiences that merited "party" as a verb. So I suggested to N. (who spent his youth more wisely in a cloud of diverse chemical composition) that we go out for an unprecedented-for-us-since-grad-school night of drinking, dancing, and watching other lunatics do same. We made a date. I was secretly excited about this prospect all week. We have not had a laugh-your-ass-off date like that in TWO YEARS. It's a long time.

And then that day sez N: "I think I'm riding with the guys tonight."

What to do? Ride trumps all. I would actively conspire with any other friend whose spouse got pissy about a ride canceling out a date. So of course I said: "WHA?? What about our date?! Gah. Yes! Ride. Of course you should ride. I'm still going out."

So: pent-up need for fun. Jealousy that N. was going on a fun night and I didn't have one planned now. Spiking desire to go somewhere nobody would expect me to be. I thought about getting in the car, driving west, and trolling dive bars.

Then I called Elise and Kelly. "Wear comfortable clothes," I said, "be ready to spend $40, and trust me."

And this is what I had in mind.

Oh. My. Goodness. Static photos do not do justice to the rush of 10 minutes of cornering with no brakes and the gas pedal pressed to the floor in an open cart designed to go 45 mph.

Me, to the 19-year-old football player who had arrived on motorcycle w/his friends and who was chickening out: "You're kidding me, right, we're driving and you're not?"

Dude's friends: "Whoa! Ha! She called you out!"

Elise, to chicken out dude:
"Um, excuse me, did you ride up here on the BACK of one of those bikes?"

"Trust me."

Kelly: "It says if we vomit in the helmet we have to buy it."

Kelly: "That felt like way more than 10 minutes."
"Well, you were in a time machine."

Back in the car for surprise two. Sixty-five mph on I-35 in the Versa felt way too tame. I drove us downtown and parked in Crown Center.

"Gonna tell us where we're going?" says Kelly.

"And might there be food and lots of red wine?" says Elise, who has, not by plan, subsisted for her hectic day on nothing but lettuce and joie de vivre.

"Yeah," I say. "We're going up to the revolving restaurant."
"Awwwwww!" they say in unison. "This is the best date!"

Kansas City over Fat Tire and cocktails