Lobster and Laughter

My friend Priya and her husband Jamie came to visit last week. We ate our required lobster dinner at the Portland Lobster Company. I don’t know what I enjoyed more—the lobster or the laughter.

Actually I do know. Definitely the laughter.

Pryia showed up at exactly the right time—which is something good friends know intuitively how to do.

My anxiety had been in full rage. Red if you rated it on the old Homeland Security Threat Advisory Scale. A former client had subpoenaed me to turn over all documents and correspondence between me and one of their former employees, S. S is also a close friend.

I cramped up immediately. Stress always goes right to my stomach. How could emails about decorating my new condo in Atlanta be useful in a lawsuit?

But being me, I jumped to (and dwelled on) the worst possible outcome: What if something I’d written could be used against S? How could I live with that?

My muscles ached. Every morning I stared at the ceiling over my bed until well after the time when I should have been at my desk. I didn’t feel like cooking, I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to write about. Even taking photos—my current favorite activity in the world (with the exception of vacationing with my family)—didn’t appeal.

Late Thursday afternoon, I got a call from S. The lawsuit was settled. Amicably, whatever that means. I felt better, but just a little

It takes time for my head and body to go from severe alert (red) to their standard guarded state (blue).

Two hours later Priya arrived—exactly on cue.

Saturday night, we went to the Portland Lobster Company for dinner. It is a traditional lobster shack right on the Old Port Portland waterfront. Tiny building, white-shingled exterior, barely enough room inside for the kitchen, steam piping out the round metal chimney.


We sat under a tent at a lobster-red picnic table on the dock. We gazed at boats, sipped beers and listened to a band called the Matt Damons. Jamie overheard the Matt Damons talking and reported that they had just assembled two hours earlier. They played remarkably well together for a two-hour old band.

I love this old boat Portland Discovery uses for its tours.

Pryia smiled—which made me smile.

Jamie held the lobster-shaped beeper. When it began to vibrate and flash he retrieved our lobsters.

Priya and Jamie are newlyweds. They shared their hopes and concerns regarding family life. I warned them that sometimes, despite our good intentions, parents just can’t win. Like when a teenage girl says she doesn’t feel pretty. You can tell her she’s beautiful (which you truly believe). Or you can tell her shirt doesn’t fit her right and she’d look better in something else (possibly true also, but definitely the wrong answer).

“Either way, she will stomp off grunting, ‘You don’t know anything,” I said.

Priya laughed, which made me feel good. I like feeling like I’m funny.

Priya and Jamie had spent the afternoon on a lobster boat tour—and had procured dinner from their catch—then brought it to the restaurant to have it cooked. “Jamie caught the lobster with his bare hands,” said Priya, with a very slight eye roll. We laughed again.

We ate corn and fries—and the lobster that Jamie hadn’t really caught with his bare hands. (I believe the full story was he had picked it up out of the holding tank once it had already been caught. The lobster tasted light and fresh and so weightless that I could have eaten two. No butter necessary as that would have just masked the lobster flavor. The fries had that crisp outside creamy interior combination that only happens when you get them just out of the frier.

The sun was out, the water sparked, the Matt Damons hummed in the background.

Portland Lobster Company is the perfect spot—to just be.

I realized that I was relaxed. Finally. The corset of the lawsuit had loosened its grip. Ahhhhhh.

I hope Priya and Jamie come back soon.

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