It was a friend’s birthday, and in support of her Vegan Lifestyle, a few friends and I eschewed the steakhouses and went for Vegan fare- Herbivoreon Divis and Fell.

The group of us who joined young TinaBelle at this special event were comprised of one vegan, and a host of carnivores. I freely admit there were a few nervous glances exchanged as it came time to order. In fact, it turned out that two of the crowd had taken extreme preventative measures, eating before we’d even arrived! Turns out though, that everyone was very happy with the delicious (and gigantic!) meals. The atmosphere was very stereo-San Francisco. Two handsome thirty something men sharing a pleasant first date at the table next to us. Our waitress wearing a bright red corduroy jumper and thigh high tube socks with orange and green detail. Her bright, brown face and afro-puffs sitting on either side of her head. Her deep knowledge of the genetic origin of the olallieberry. The entire restaurant banding together to sing a raucous rendition of “Happy Birthday,” complete with kitchen staff slamming around gigantic pots for added effect. It was perfect.

To finish off the night, we planned to hit up Rosewood Lounge. We heard it was a place with a nice, relaxed atmosphere, and that turned out to be truer than we’d guessed. Turns out, things are so relaxed there, that management doesn’t even make sure someone’s around to open the doors. At 11pm on the Friday Evening, the place was dark. Misstep? My guess is they’re gone forever.

We decided then, to head to Matrix in the Marina, having to split our crew in two to fit into cabs. You may remember I’m not the hugest fan of the area, but strength in numbers can turn around any experience, and we were rolling deep enough to make a splash. I of course, was in the cab with the other directionally challenged people, which meant that we got out of the cab too early (or too late) and had the following conversation regarding my misreading of the navigation directions with my new buddy Smiley:

me: I thought we going to the blue dot!

Smiley: But the blue dot is where we are right now!

me: That’s why I thought we were close to the club!

Smiley: Why would I have a line navigating to another point if we were already there?!

me: I don’t know your life!

Smiley took over as lead navigator, and under her watch, we walked three big Marina blocks in the wrong direction. Screeching with laughter at our many failed attempts, we finally righted our path and made it into the lounge.

When I say lounge, I mean that there were a few seats. And people were drinking. So that’s a lounge. But also, there was deafeningly loud techno/house music playing. So it is also a club? But people weren’t dancing. So it is a bar? I just don’t know anymore. The Marina confuses me.

When we walked in, TinaBelle and jvr were sitting on a small love seat in front of two little tables with “reserved” signs on each of them. “Reserved for who?” I asked. jvr shrugged. “Us?” Well alright then. A spritely waitress with a black version of La Roux’s signature coif served us warmly.

We made screaming-over-the-music conversation with each other until an older dude in a deep purple velvet, contrast-lining blazer showed up. He had salt and pepper hair, and the look of a man who’s spent many years making calculating demands of others, and accruing money as a superpower. I’ll call him Mr. Gillespie, because he might not want his crazy drug-laiden spot blown up, and because he seems like the kind of guy that gets off on being referred to as Mister, like Big.

To give you an idea of what kind of high level ratchet Mr. Gillespie brought to the party, please read a selection of quotes from the man himself:

“Harvard ladies?! And you work where? You’re the cream of the crop. God, I can’t believe I’m here!”
“You ladies have got style- No one has style in San Francisco. I know ‘cuz I used to live in London.”
“Ladies, I have the best idea. Let’s just go up the hill, and have a dance party at my place!”
“And then one day you’re rich and 35 and you feel like an a**hole because you don’t have a kid.” [speaking about himself]
“People at Harvard don’t drink.
“You want to go to a place where you can leverage your diversity. Private equity would love to have one Black Woman.”
“This is my friend from grade school. We’re hanging out while my wife’s out of town. She’s pregnant. Baby’s due in August.”
[Senior VP, Analysts, The Street, Allocation of Resources, Bond Trading, Other Financial Words]
“I went to Lynchburg. It’s the Harvard of Lynchburg, I guess that doesn’t mean anything. But hey! I’m rich!”
“Listen Smiley. You need a different style of leather jacket. You need a bomber. It’s fitted. More slimming through the waist.”
“What do you think about those girls over there? I’ve been in a few brothels in my day. They look lined up and ready.”
“I’m surprised there aren’t more hunks around you beautiful ladies. I should call up some friends. I have really hunky friends. There really should be more hunks here.”
“My wife is awesome. She just stays skinny! She’s skinny and beautiful and rich! She comes from old New England money. What more could you want??”
“I’m on ecstasy.”
At some point, all of us looked around at each other, lifted our shoulders slightly and decided it’d be best to beat the crowds and cut out a little before closing time. TinaBelle pointed out the torrential downpour happening outside the large windows of the club. Even more reason to dip. Mr. Gillespie and his pal were also ready to leave, and as they made their way to the door, I reminded him that the bar still had his credit card. He thanked me and went to go close out. We gathered our things and went outside and … the weather was clear. As if we’d imagined the whole thing. Confused, we stepped toward the sidewalk to look for transportation. Immediately, a cab appeared. And stopped. The first cab we saw actually stopped for us. There was magic in the air.

The perfect birthday outing had been had. Happy Birthday TinaBelle!

~ dara.
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