Celebrating Chanika

The woman I met on Tinder is named Chanika, which rhymes with “Hannukah.” It was a GREAT evening, and I can’t wait to do it again. We ended up with drinks and Sri Lankan chicken curry, courtesy of the fact that Chanika is a badass cook. I’ve worked professionally and her knife skills look like it. She has nothing on me. She says it’s because when she cooks, she always cooks for large groups of people. I can attest- I have seen pictures of her village and like every small village, if you cook for one person, you’re cooking for them all.

Last night, the group was the two of us, the aforementioned gays, Dru and Steven, Chanika’s American “older sister,” Sarah, and the also aforementioned coworker, Shay. Chanika books appointments for the massage clinic, and Shay is a massage therapist. It was a good mix of people, and the conversation never faltered. Steven and Dru work for a company in Alexandria that coordinates between other companies like TicketMaster and StubHub. They’re sort of like customer service, except that they don’t actually have to talk to customers. I jokingly said, “JESUS. Where can I get a job like THAT?” They’re going to ask. Sarah is in the middle of planning a wedding, and her fiancee, honest to blog, looks like Bradley Cooper. She’s in between jobs, just like me, but it works out in her favor, as anyone who is in the middle of planning a wedding will tell you.

Chanika had just been released from the evils of finals. I said, “I know you probably haven’t gotten your grades back yet, but how do you feel they went?” She said that she already knew she had an A- for the semester in pharmacology, and was a bit perturbed that they wouldn’t give her the half a point she needed to make an A. I teased her about getting an Asian F, and she got the reference (Glee, if you’re wondering). She wants to be a nurse practitioner eventually, but says she needs some nursing experience, first. So far, the rotation she’s liked the best is oncology. I agreed with her- there’s a lot more actual patient care in oncology vs. being an ER nurse where the visit with each patient is relatively quick. I told her she might want to apply at Georgetown, because as a teaching hospital, she’ll see everything under the sun. That’s the key with medicine. If you haven’t seen it before, you won’t be able to diagnose it as easily.

I didn’t so much talk as just listen and soak up everyone else’s stories. I made lots of jokes, but in terms of actually revealing anything about myself, mostly it was age. No one in the room had heard of Bette Midler. Let THAT one sink in for a few minutes, bitches. Not even the gays had an opinion on Team Barbara vs. Team Bette, because they didn’t know who Streisand was, either. Steven, however, is not ignorant to music- he can freestyle rap like no one’s business. I was telling him that as a writer, rap is my favorite genre because it’s all stories. He agreed with me, but only to a certain point, saying there is a lot of shitty rap out there.

Ummmmm. Yes. There’s also a lot of shitty music in every genre, but I’m talking about the greats. Biggie. Tupac. Nas. Talib Kweli. Kendrick Lamar. Eminem. I asked him if he’d heard much Tupac, and Drew was like, “…..because he’s (Steven) is black?” I said, “no, because he can freestyle like a motherfucker, but it’s interesting that was your first leap.” To me, it would be like asking a country music singer if they liked George Jones and having someone else in the room say, “is that because he’s white?”

They won’t know who George Jones is, either.

With Chanika, though, age is relative. She doesn’t get a lot of cultural references anyway because she’s an international student, and the village where she lives in Sri Lanka is TINY. Her English is impeccable, but she also has her own Gloria Pritchett moments that make me laugh. I won’t share them because I don’t want to embarrass her, so you’ll just have to meet her in person. I am thinking this won’t be the last time we hang out, because their group is tight and to get an invitation was marvelous. They are definitely friends I could see growing with.

I just ended a sentence with a preposition. I’m having Gloria moments, too.

Chanika has a lot of responsibility on her shoulders because her family is working so hard to send her to school in the US. She takes it seriously, and her drive to give back is enormous. She can adult a hell of a lot better than I can, which gives me a drive to protect her from me because I’ve got shit to do before I am comfortable standing toe to toe with her. I may be older chronologically, but I think she’s a hundred years older than me mentally… a sage old owl in a young dyke body. I am comfortable enough to admit how much I don’t know, and I suppose that is the wisdom of being chronologically older. The drive to have the answer to everything is just gone.

My nurturer kicks in hardcore, though. For instance, Shay has lupus and I was on it in a half second. What are they treating you with? How long? Do you take pills or do infusion? How are your organs? She gave me a lot of food for thought because as a massage therapist, she does a combination of eastern and western medicine that turned on my brain like a supercomputer. In terms of actual clinical knowledge, what I know about SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus) could fit on the head of a pin. However, having worked in a rheumatology practice for two years, I at least know the right questions to ask.

Maybe next time, I’ll let them ask questions, too. šŸ˜‰


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