It was a strange day in the graveyard, with exhumations coming as quickly as burials. I’m tired now, not sure how far I’ll get through this narrative, and not sure how much you will care. I’m tempted to use shorthand that only certain people will understand (pitcher of water on the table at China Inn), but in the end it was a day of being recognized, back in the old places I used to haunt.
First off was BinaryLabs, my place of employment back when you could use that label on me. I knew then that I was working with dedicated, hard-working folks who knew what it was all about, not afraid to have fun, and that is still true today. I wandered through, undermining productivity, and had a great time. It is a matter of pride to me that a company I helped create, and a culture I in no small part defined, lives on. Tom and Kristin were gone, but the rest of the nucleus is still intact, and that’s pretty cool.
From there I pointed my feet toward China Inn. Brian, they asked about you. They do the orange chicken differently there — not fried — and man oh man is it good. If you’re in the US, you should drop by for lunch. Tell them Jerry sent you.
Next was Tiki. I walked in and there was Tom. I had run into him the day before in Ocean Beach, had a beer at Tiny’s, and heard about his roommate. Tall, redhead, built like a guggenheim shithouse. Somewhere in the shuffle I had missed that Erica was a bartender. Turns out, she works Tiki on Tuesdays. I sat next to Tom, and turned to regard a strikingly distracting bartender. Much of the conversation was how she was a shirt-optional kind of girl. While it goes without saying that I am far too classy to ever encourage a friendly and efficient bartender to expose herself, I really was hoping that the clumsy efforts of the guy to my left would work out. They didn’t, of course.
Erica is a storyteller. She’s got the gift of gab, something that includes a little smile that tells you that while what she says is all true, she knows that even the worst moments are somehow funny. It’s all right if the joke’s on her, as long as we both see the ridiculousness of it all.
Before too long it was time to move on. “Leaving already?” she asked. “I can’t stay,” I replied, “I’m already in love with too many bartenders.” She laughed and took the compliment for exactly what it was. I could have stayed, but I had a hankerin’ to see Rose. I left without seeing Tiki Dave. Maybe I’ll have to go back.
To Callahan’s. To Rose. (Lifting glass) To Rose!
We talked Penguins (rhymes with hockey). She broke a glass (just for me, I suspect). I told her she rocked, something I always reminded her of back in the day; she almost squeaked when she said, “I haven’t heard that for a long time.” Honestly, I can’t imagine why she doesn’t hear that every day, but life is crazy. I was happy to remind her. I joke that I’m in love with bartenders, but Rose and I have got past that. (Well, Rose probably never was even at that, and if she was I don’t want to know about it.) I can’t imagine anyone I’d rather go to a hockey game with, though.