THE MAGNIFICENT OBSESSIONS OF DAN JANVEY (OR: ODE TO MY BESTIE)
Last night, I hung out with my best friend Dan for the first time in a few months. We won't see each other again until summer. Our evening reminded me that Dan is preoccupied with a thing or two.
- •LaCroix Sparkling WaterDan meets me at my parents' house. I open the door to find him draining a Pamplemousse LaCroix. He cradles a nearly-empty 8-pack carton with his free hand. He flashes a smile, revealing the space where his upper right lateral incisor used to be, and kisses my forehead. He gives the remaining two cans to my parents as a gift. "Roberta," he says to my mother, "you really haven't had LaCroix? It's. The. Best." Later, Dan drinks one of the two cans. I love him.
- •NicknamesMy mother is not named Roberta. To Dan, I am Robert or Rob or Ol' Rob or Hairy Jew Rob or My Rob or My Rah. Therefore, my mother Ann is Roberta. Dan is also a Rob. Michael is Ol' Rob or Dumpy Rob. Everyone gets a nickname. His girlfriend Katherine is My Zombie. Ben is Peter or Benpeter. Noah is Giancarlo or G.C. Ray is Jean-Paul. Benh is BenHass or The Lezzie. Nathan is Son of Baya. Josh is Ol' Josh or The Corinthian. Dan loves nicknames. I love Dan.
- •Movie TheatersWe head to Century City to see Furious 7. Dan browses showtimes on the automated ticket machine, trying to identify the biggest auditorium. I pick seats dead center, and Dan argues that we should go two seats over to the left so that we may have empty seats next to us. Dan once called the Ziegfeld to see if they would be turning up their projector lamps for their 3D presentation of Transformers 2, as per Michael Bay's instructions. They had no idea what he was talking about. I love him.
- •Asian FoodWe decide to get a snack at the Sichuan place across from the theater. Despite the fact that we've just had vegan stew at my folks' house, we order four dishes to share. Dan tells me he's been eating regularly at the Panda Express Innovation Kitchen in Pasadena, where they're testing out orange chicken and lo mein burritos, wrapped in a combination mu shu pancake/scallion pancake. Dan is taking business meetings there. It has supplanted ShopHouse in his "fast casual Asian" book. I love him.
- •TelevisionsWaiting for our green beans and fried rice, which are taking forever, Dan looks up at the flat-screen hanging above the bar. "The only thing that looks good on these new TVs is sports. That's it." I instantly flash back to the time Dan dragged me to Best Buy near the airport in New Orleans a few years ago, and had a blue-shirt demo at least ten different television models. Dan was very curious about the subtle differences between them, but had zero intention of buying any of them. I love him.
- •Global WarmingThe food takes even longer to make it out of the kitchen. We're thirty minutes late for Furious 7, and too tired to see a later showing, so I get a refund and Dan gets a validation. We eat frozen yogurt in front of the Tesla on display outside. He questions the veracity of the term "zero emissions," and we express dismay about the California draught. He tells me he's genuinely scared about our future. I am as well. But in the present I get to see my Rob when our busy lives allow. I love that.