Why is it in the movies, computers work so seemlessly? You just type these commands into the computer, and all the information you need comes up within seconds. In real life, computers make me cry on a regular basis. I was on the verge of tears last night. For Valentine’s Day, Miguel just wanted to bring me to his house, to do laundry. That would only plunge me deeper into my depression — and it’s a temporary depression, mind you — so I said, No, for the love of God, please, I need to be amongst other human beings, far away from a computer screen, or I’m going to throw it out the window, if not myself.
We ended up at Gaylord’s, the fancy Indian place in Sausalito. This was after at least several long minutes of driving around Sausalito’s quaint neighborhoods, looking for parking, the minutes elongated into hours due to our increasing hunger, jeopordazing the fragile state of what is supposed to be the most romantic night of the year.
Dizzily, with few nutrients left in our bloodstream to fuel our foot steps, we walked into Gaylord’s by the bay. The restaurant looked half empty — when you are starving, it is difficult to be an optimist — but we were told there were no tables left. The bar would be fine. I just wanted to sit down. I needed Mario the bartender’s companionship.
“You don’t remember me,” he said to Miguel, winking.
“You know me?”
“You forget so fast,” he said. “I’m Mario. Ring a bell?”
Miguel scratched his head. “Is it from the running club? Do you go to the hash? You look familiar.”
Mario’s eyes darted around nervously before stopping at me. If we could read faces like words, I would swear he was saying he just made a grave mistake. “Oh, man, I meet lots of people,” he said, moving on to his mixed drinks.
“No, but you look familiar. Are you sure it wasn’t on a run?”
“No, I know I don’t know you,” said Mario, brushing him off.
“But Mario, man, I swear, you look familiar!”
“How did you know my name!”
“You just told us!” I said.
“Forget it, man, you’re confusing me with someone else.”
Miguel and I split a bottle of Castle Rock Pinoit Noir at the bar, and enjoyed a four-course meaty meal, underscored by the Indian-Japanese banjo stylings of a man clothed entirely in white. I took some deep breaths and relaxed into my bar stool. Whatever was bothering me with my computer was far away now. I told Miguel that I cried today, walking to the bus. Why did you cry, he said. Because, it’s like nature’s emotional colon cleanse. There were some white lillies on the bar counter, in a small glass of water. They smelled like Gramma’s garden. She used to laugh so hard, her jewelry would rattle in her bosom. We used to drink wine at dinner together all the time, starting when I was four. When I was older she’d tell me stories about Minnesota and how she saved Boppy from drowning on their first date. I wonder what she and Boppy did for Valentine’s Day. I wish I had asked. I wonder if they ever went to Gaylord’s.