Not to keep you waiting, I promised more to come, and here’s part two of the Canadian incident. I went to work for the day the next day, called and arranged to change my table for one to a table for two, texted the details to the Canadian, threw on a semi-acceptable dress (I don’t generally pack for dinner dates on work trips), and flew out the door.
When I got to the restaurant a few minutes early, I had one of those awkward moments- should I go in and sit down until the Canadian arrived, call and see when to expect to meet, stand like a big geek outside looking confused? Luckily, I was rescued by a text: “I’m in the bar next door- come join me when you arrive.” The Canadian was right inside the door slowly nursing a Red Stripe and watching hockey news. We made small talk about Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup chances and headed over to the restaurant.
I’d made sure to ask for seating in the outdoor courtyard where they were showing Chinatown, but was a little nervous about the chilly, breezy night. No need. The courtyard was glowing with candles and white string lights, and heaters spaced all over which made it Florida warm. We checked out the menu, were relieved to find neither of us had weird food issues, and the waitress asked about wine. I know nothing about wine. The Canadian asked if I minded a suggestion and ordered a bottle of red and an appetizer to share.
I’m a little out of practice on the dating front. It’s been four years since I had anything resembling a first date, and even then, I had met my eventual ex through friends, so I knew I could make small talk. What if we had absolutely nothing to talk about? My hockey knowledge was not going to be enough to get us through a two hour dinner. I was rescued again by the lovely couple seated next to us. They were doing shots of Jameson’s with a tasting menu, so were feeling very friendly and asked us where we were from, made suggestions from the menu, had hilarious tales of road trips, and took frequent smoke breaks which gave the Canadian and I a chance to bond over how amusingly drunk the two of them were. By the time they had finished their meal and left, we were clipping along nicely on our own.
A month on the road in San Francisco and five years teaching English in Korea left the Canadian with a wealth of stories to tell, and I fell back on travel disasters and work stories. We toasted our general good fortune, to being young and travelling and in a fine restaurant in a beautiful city. And by the time the check came around, the waitress was asking us how long we had been together, which made both of us blush. And did I mention that the Canadian is a fellow redhead? When two redheads blush, you can see the glow from space.
We slipped out into the chilly night and somehow, on the walk to the BART, one hand slipped into another and we strolled along, thumbs rubbing, and at least in my stomach, butterflies fluttering about while we grinned like Cheshire cats. And when the Canadian decided to get off at my stop and walk me back to my hotel, and we lingered to share a kiss with the sounds of the streetcar bell in the background at Union Square, well….
Let’s just say… it was quite a date. And that I had one more night in San Francisco to go.