I had just gone through a rough patch, the kind that leaves you looking for a new place to live, the kind that finds you living at a friend’s house for a month sharing a bed with a cat, even though you’re completely utterly allergic to cats, the kind that causes you to lose fifteen pounds inside of a month, the kind that leaves you oblivious to the compliments on the weight loss, the kind where the arrival at work each day is fraught with victory because you didn’t ram the car into the freeway divider at sixty miles per hour after all, the kind that ends on a rainy day when you decide to weed whack your friend’s backyard even though they didn’t ask you to weed whack and even though they urge you to come back indoors but you don’t stop until the waist-high weeds are gone and you’re covered head to toe in grassy confetti like breaded fish. And then you eat. And you sleep. And you can finally laugh. Not a lot, but you can laugh.
And then you think about where you’re going to live. You look at apartments in the City, because maybe it’s time after all to move to San Francisco. Or maybe it’s time to buy a small cottage in Berkeley. You call your old boss, a real estate broker. In the interim, you think you’re strong enough to go back to your apartment, the one that overlooks the apartment-of-the-guy-who-just-broke-your-fucking-heart.
And you get a dog.
You don’t know what kind of dog you get before you get the dog. But there’s a little diner you frequent on weekend mornings, the kind of diner with just eight seats, where everyone moves over one seat if needed. The kind of diner where the dishes are named after regulars. The kind of diner with a killer jive sandwich, which is like hash browns plus a frito-corn-ship scramble with hot sauce and jalapeños that you eat with gusto in your twenties because you haven’t yet been told you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol.