My visit to the Bay Area was an education in the business of law practice, a comparison between city and country life, and a personal triumph over a bad case of bloggerphobia.
I braved public transportation Tuesday night to meet Maisnon. While I had faced my fear of meeting other bloggers earlier in the week, I was still nervous about meeting a fellow blogging attorney. How competitive would it be? Would we take turns shouting exceptions to the hearsay rule? Would we overhear conversations at neighboring tables and try to spot the most legal issues? Would we have to chug a glass of wine every time the server mentioned Justice Alito? All good concerns, I think.
We dined at Maverick at 17th and Mission. I was disappointed that I couldn't run with the Top Gun theme by ordering the goose, or the iceman. Maisnon used her adept wine wisdom, and I mean that earnestly. (I am much more of a wine slob than she is a wine snob. I usually pick the box with the fewest dents.) After dinner we joined her friends (some or all of whom also blog) for dessert. As the outsider, I listened intently and began to understand the pecking order of the mini-society. As a people watcher, I found it fun.
Wednesday night I decided to try my luck with Janelle once more. I clung for dear life as she raced across the Bay Bridge to meet up with fellow blogger Mike, a native of San Francisco. (He recounts the evening here, and Janelle offers her dreamy interpretation.)
We met at the Chenery Park restaurant, one of many business fronts where Mike is a well-regarded investor and semi-godfather. It was like out of some Coppola film circa 1972 or 1974. As we entered, our eyes naturally landed on a man sitting alone in the back table, decked in a white suit and hat, like some Caribbean villain. Several wine glasses lay in front of him, as he was sampling that week's shipments. He twirled his moustache and shouted at the sommelier in some unidentifiable accent. Like the weather outside, a fog of mystery surrounded the man. We treaded cautiously.
"Oh good. I thought you were with the Zamboni family," he said, motioning for us to join him. As I wondered what kind of business he had with the ice resurfacing company, he grinned wickedly and complimented us on our all-black attire. "I hate to be shown up at my own table." I think Janelle and I both breathed a sigh of relief.
Servers were always on hand, and we were treated like the kings of dinner. Never afraid to show his power, Mike suggested a comely young waitress sit on my lap, cut savory bites of my entree, and feed me. I wondered about the repercussions should anyone decline his requests, but was too afraid to find out. When he asked me to sit on Janelle's lap and feed her dessert, I did as I was told.
After a joyous if awkward meal, Mike wished us well and let us live. I suggested that we take a look around the hipster areas while in the City, but Janelle wanted to call it an evening. Window shopping wasn't her thing. She has a point: quirky neighborhoods are to people in the Aughts what restaurants were to people in the Eighties. I read that in a magazine.