My best friend turned 38 yesterday (although he asked me to say he looks 28) and his girlfriend decided to throw a secret birthday trip for him. I say ‘trip’, it was just the birthday boy, his girlfriend, their (nearly) 7-month old child, my fiancée… and me. If I wasn’t included, a) my best friend wouldn’t be my best friend, b) this trip wouldn’t be as fun, c) there wouldn’t be any blog post, now, would there? And we arguably all live for that.
Anyway, the choice of location was decided way above my pay grade — namely, by the girlfriend — and turned out to be Annecy, a rather small town in the Alps right next to a large and famously beautiful lake. In other words, all you want from nature awaits you there, water, mountains, trails, roads, bikes, and also lounging in the sun in the park. When it’s not raining, and end of May weather is a little unreliable, since we are, after all, standing 1500 feet up in the mountains.
The birthday boy didn’t know about the plan. Well, he knew about going to Annecy — we are opposed to drugging people and carrying them in a city hundreds of miles away against their will — but didn’t know there would be anyone beyond his happy little family. In other words, he thought he would finally be quiet, away from the city — and from us… but the whole point of a secret is not necessarily to be pleasant for the person it is aimed for. Planners have to be rewarded too.
We arrived at the train station a few hours after the couple (+ child), and the girlfriend guided us towards the park they were napping in on private Messenger. We did take ice creams along the way — supposedly at the (second) best ice cream parlour in town (we went to the best one later on in the evening: all I can say is they were all perfectly tasty IMHO) — and peacefully headed to the park. This was Friday evening, in other words, TGIF Spring-secret-wedding-mountain-getaway edition, so we were enjoying ourselves.
Now, I’ll be honest: I’d forgotten that this whole thing was a secret. As in — I’d forgotten the birthday boy didn’t know we were coming. A month ago, I’d already mistakenly talked about Annecy to his girlfriend in front of him, because my memory is starting to wane with age (and I’m not even 38: give it 3 more months). And, on Friday, with my brain freezed from all the ice cream and my eyes dazzled by all the sun (and way clearer skies), I’d forgotten again. And I walked straight in the direction of my friends, once we managed to find them in the park, that is (turns out the park is large, if not as large as the lake).
My friend took a second to recognize me, which shocked me at first.
- Hey, what’s up?!
- But… What are you guys doing here?
- I don’t know, just took the first train out of Paris — I said strictly as a passing joke.
- Are you staying with us for the weekend? Cool!
- Huh… Yeah! Surpriiise!
A little while later, as we were walking towards the restaurant for later dinner by mountain standards (7:15pm), I mumbled to my girlfriend:
- To be honest, I’d forgotten he didn’t know about the plan… Felt strange he was so surprised when he saw us…
- Do you realize that I will never actually hand you any secrets, and I’m engaged to you?
- That’s fair…
If you wanna know anything about the weekend — and I mean anything: you do remember I’m always sober, right? — hit me up. I’ll tell you what the 7-month old said. Inspiring stuff.