Now (ish) – 2012
Sadly the photos are now digital
It seems kind of fitting that the first time we met was over food. I had recently moved to SF and, while I wasn’t dating anyone at the time, I had *somewhat* recently broken up with an ex and was not ready to date either. If I could give advice to my younger self it would be to just get over it. Move on. Stop wasting precious time fretting over lost causes when you could be spending time building a relationship with someone that is worth your while. If only I had known then what I know now — think of how much more time Sly and I would have had together — another four years — had I just had been open to the possibility.
To be fair, Sly wasn’t looking for anything more than friendship either, so I suppose it all played out as it should have. In March 2003 we were at House of Prime Rib to celebrate a mutual friend’s birthday. The six degrees of separation is kind of confusing but essentially Sly knew two of my SF roomies — one who was a good friend of mine since college (C) and one that he went to high school with. They were all connected through another set of friends. Anyway, long story short, we were at HOPR to celebrate a shared bday month (Sly, C, and our mutual friends). I tagged along because I liked to eat.
Sly flew in from Japan? where he was stationed at the time and we all met up at HOPR. When C and I arrived, Sly was already there drinking scotch. After introductions I asked him what he was drinking. He said scotch. I asked if I could try it since at that time I had never tried Scotch. I took a few sips. Then a few more. Then a few more. And said I really liked it. Sly was surprised because as he said, “I didn’t know of many girls that enjoyed scotch.”**.
During dinner we ate and drank SO much that we just felt like Jabbas. Someone came up with the idea to make what we now call “fat face.” Not only did we make “fat faces” all night but we took photos of them. Lots of photos. Lots and lots of ugly photos of us drunk and full. Notice these photos have not made the cut.
After HOPR we went to a Korean bar in J-town where people still smoked illegally inside. Me and Sly pounded down a couple jugs of Soju mixed with fruit juice. Then I felt sick, puked in the bathroom, rallied and drank some more. I think I did this like 3-4 times — at the bar and at the karaoke place we went to afterwards where we, for some reason, kept drinking.
We never really stayed in contact after that night despite C telling me time and time again that she thought we would make good friends. It wasn’t until a few years later when we kept bumping into each other at mutual friends’ weddings, birthdays, and bachelor/ette parties. After running into each other for like the 5th time or so, I added him as a friend on MySpace. He added me back. We started talking first via email, then IM, then long all-night calls that would end up with us watching the sun rise and having to rush to get ready for work. We dated long distance for about a year and then Sly moved out to SF where we lived until just after we were married.
SF has changed a lot since we left — a lot of our old favorite restaurants and stores have closed, no longer able to afford the crazy sky-high rents from the most recent real estate boom. It’s the worst thing about going back to a city where memories are encased in amber: nothing is as it was.
Except for House of Prime Rib. It’s one of the landmark SF restaurants that has changed very little since it opened in 1949. The photos they take to commemorate your meal have changed over time -they have gone from polaroid to digital print w/frame, to fully online digital albums. But other than that, the restaurant remains wonderfully trapped in time.
Nine years after we first met at HOPR we returned to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary at the restaurant where it all began. Everything was exactly as we remembered and for some reason there was a huge comfort in that. I hope it never changes. I hope that it is around for more crummy photos, more glasses of scotch, more massive plates of red meat, seasoned salad and creamed spinach, and many more anniversaries.
** When Sly proposed, he gave me a bottle of scotch to celebrate. It was a nod to the first time we met at HOPR.