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Sandwiched between dozens of exposed fuzzy potbellies, we shook our groove thangs. Rosa swung her head like an '80s rocker girl, Amy's moves were slow and sexy, and I gyrated to the beat like a kid stomping in a rain puddle.

To cope with the aggressive-looking bears towering above her, Amy, an itty-bitty thing, downed a few of the strong vodka concoctions for which Rich's is known. When the music became redundant almost two hours later, I suggested a change of venue.

"We'll do this again soon," I said, as we walked back up University Avenue. "Only, next time, I'll check to make sure the crowd is more our style."

"Yeah!" said Amy. It was after one and the street was closing down. Amy was irritated when we were turned away at both Wine Steals and Baja Betty's.

"I guess it's for the best. If places were open later, people would just keep drinking," I said. My opinion surprised me. I used to crave New York's up-all-night mentality and lament San Diego's early-to-bed policy. But now that I've come to appreciate the joys of early rising and down comforters, I couldn't get home soon enough to brush my teeth and swath myself in Egyptian cotton.

Amy, teetering on her heels, said she'd leave her car at my place and catch a cab home. When she tried to get into a taxi that was already taken, and then needed reminding that her house keys and wallet were back at my place, I insisted on driving her home myself. Rosa perked up at the idea and asked if she could ride along. After we'd dropped our angel by her front door, Rosa turned to me with a guilty, impish smile on her face and spoke the words that are meant to be spoken after clubbing -- words I hadn't heard since the last time I'd been dancing at Rich's over five years ago: "Hey, let's go to Jack in the Box!"

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