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Charlotte Again, With Friends

I told myself the next time I would go to Charlotte, NC, would be with friends. Well, I did, and it was a rollercoaster.

The day started with me waking up at 6:30 am in my friend’s Raleigh apartment. I drove up the night before, a wonderful two-hour excursion with a long five-hour break to visit an older friend.

For the trip to Charlotte, I was the designated driver for various personal reasons (that have absolutely nothing to do with me) and ended up driving in the torrential rain. Bean, my car, was about to hydroplane FOUR times, and it freaked me out each time. I did everything I could to focus on the road, but there were certain elements about the car ride that made it difficult…

Once we made it to Charlotte, we decided to start the dreary day at Snooze, an AM Eatery, but after waiting outside in the rain for over thirty minutes, we went to Optimist Hall, which I’ve shared on here before. All of the restaurants at Optimist don’t open until 11 am, and since we got there at 10:42 am, we spent eighteen minutes wandering and looking at what foods worked with our budgets.

At Optimist, I stuck with what I know and ordered from Papi Queso again. I got the Pig Mac, added tomatoes, with French fries on the side and their addicting (I could cry just thinking about it) maple mustard sauce. I have driven great distances for food, and I would totally make an irrational drive for that maple mustard sauce.

Leaving Optimist was mildly chaotic. A woman was asking to take our table, and as the extrovert of the group, I ended up being the one to speak to her. While I was talking to her, a relative called my phone, and I answered because I thought it was a family emergency. I couldn’t hear him over the noise; I was trying to grab my trash and items from the table; and I was trying to talk to the blonde taking our table while she was ushering her friend into my seat.

To make it more chaotic, Friend A wanted to go to the bakery before we left. While Friend B and I were waiting on her, I remembered we get free parking if we only park for 90 minutes. I left Friend B to wait on Friend A and did a weird waddle-run to my car in the drizzly rain to get out of my parking space. To not get charged, I had to completely leave the parking lot and made it with thirty seconds to spare. Then I circled the property and sat in traffic for seven minutes to pick the girls up from Optimist.

Afterwards, we went to Plant House and made terrariums. I chose their cheapest vase size and two air plants. It had so much potential to be peaceful, but my overthinking mind—who used to thrive in crafty situations—could not make a decision about her terrarium. However, all three of us agree it was the best part of the day.

Once we were done with our creations (well, Friend B bought a plant instead of doing the terrarium; she decided to be the photographer instead), we went to 2nd & Charles in hopes of finding books priced like McKay’s, which ended up being a little difficult. The structure of the place was unique; discounted books were mixed in with full-priced books, and there were three different labels for what the price of the book could be. Still, I walked out of there with a copy of Every Other Weekend by Abigail Johnson and The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler. I also walked out a rewards member, though I know I’ll never be going back there.

Because my period started while we were in the bookstore and Friend B wanted pork buns (though she ended up getting cheese fries from Papi Queso), we went back to Optimist. Fortunately, it was on the way to IKEA, which was on the way home.

We went to IKEA as our final-ish stop, and I got more than I anticipated, which resulted in me running around for thirty minutes trying to figure out how to get a temporary IKEA credit card while I wait for mine to arrive in the mail—a credit card I accidentally signed up for. The trip to IKEA definitely boosted my apartment in the right direction, and now all I need is a funky-shaped pillow and crochet coasters to complete my living room.

On the drive back, we stopped at Taco Bell because I needed to shut my eyes after the driving, walking, and everything in between, such as:

To end the night, we made it back to Friend B’s apartment in time to stop Friend A’s car from being towed. We thought all visitors were safe to park in the back of the parking lot, but the tow guy said they were only safe if they parked in a space that said “Visitors.” Though, I definitely feel like someone called him because there were hardly any cars in the parking lot. After paying $115 (which I still feel so guilty about), Friend A went home, and I watched the tow truck move on to the next vehicle, a brown Honda, and take it away.

Word of advice: Put your emergency brake on when you park. It makes it harder for tow trucks to take your car away.

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