The table that we are taken to is large. I am seated next to a girl whom I have met before. Her name is Andrea. She is from Hawaii. Across from me is a blonde haired boy whom I have never met. His name is Daniel. He is from Austria.
He is curious about me, the outsider connected to his ‘friend’ Musette from work.
What do you do, he asks.
I tell him that I’m a writer, which is kind of new for me. Usually I would tell somebody like him that I work at a pipe shop, but ever since the talk that Musette and I had about my online life, I’ve been trying to own myself and my career choice.
Daniel is intrigued.
He asks me what kind of writing I do.
Vignettes mainly. Scenes from my life. Like this dinner. I will probably write about it when I get home.
Who is interested in something like that? he asks.
I have a small amount of followers. Some more loyal than others.
I give him a rounded estimate of my WordPress followers: 350.
That’s boring, he says.
I know that it’s not a lot. But I have a plan. I’ve got goals. I’m taking steps to be somewhere further along than I am today. I’ve been published in some small presses recently.
Have you ever tried submitting to The New York Times? he asks.
I never have. I don’t know if my style is appropriate for them. Neither do I feel as though my resume has earned me a place within their publication. I believe that the small presses are a better fit for me right now.
You’re an artist, he says.
I suppose you could say that.
He tells me that he is also an artist.
I used to have my own design company, he says. I have dealt with fashion, sculpture, I cook now, but that is getting boring. I also, as well, am a writer.
What kind of things do you write? I ask.
Food mostly. The foods of various regions. Currently New York. I would like to write about the foods of San Francisco. That is where my parents have a summer home.
Do you like the food there? I ask.
I’ve never been, he says. But I’m going to visit this summer.
The waiter comes taking drink orders. I start by ordering a water but then attempt to get a Sapporo on tap.
The waiter tells me that they are currently out of that and offers something similar which I order.
He asks if we want any appetizers.
Andrea asks me how we’re going to do this.
The waiter tells us that the appetizers are good for sharing.
We could order one of everything, I say.
But who knows what they want to do, she says, referencing the other side of the table.
Will you ask them first, she asks the waiter.
He does, and they end up ordering a lot of chicken wings.
Okay… says Andrea. I guess then that we’ll get some of those as well…
And maybe some spring rolls, suggests the waiter.
And one of these flatbread things, says Daniel pointing at his menu.
Okay, says the waiter. And do you know what you want for your entrees?
Almost everybody gets the Pho. It’s the house specialty. Musette gets it. Daniel gets it – even though he doesn’t know what it is. Andrea gets it…
I’m serious, just about everybody gets it.
Not me though. I end up asking the waiter for some recommendations. The first thing he recommends me is the Pho.
This is my wife right here, I say, indicating Musette. She’s going to be getting the Pho, and I imagine that I’ll be sharing some of it with her. So if there is something else that you could recommend, I’d appreciate it.
He suggests a skillet steak, which is not something that I would normally order, but I end up getting it because it’s good to try new things.
Hearing me talk about my marriage, Daniel asks me how long Musette and I have been married.
I tell him three years, but Musette corrects me, telling him that it’s been two years. We’ve been married for two years. Only two years, and I’ve already forgotten how many years it’s been. I guess to me it feels like two years has been three years. But it’s hard to keep track of all of these numbers. The dog has been alive for three years. That’s the three! Musette and I have been together for seven. That’s probably why it feels like we’ve been married for longer than two years.
Come on guys, give me a break…
He wants to see her ring.
She shows it to him.
He asks if it’s real.
I tell him that it sort of is.
This really embarasses Musette.
So I correct myself into a lie and tell him that it’s totally real, that I was just being modest.
He asks me if I’m rich.
I tell him that I am.
Authors can be very rich, he says, telling me that he has an author friend who lives in a seventeen room apartment here in New York, and who also coincidentally has a home in Park City.
She goes there to relax and think, he says. I can give you her information.
Alright, I say. Why not?
He tries looking it up on his phone, but he doesn’t have any service.
You can get it to me when we go outside, I say.
He never gives it to me.