Sunset, Oakland Hills

sunsetatmaxsrestaurantShe said she would meet me there, but at 6:00, and now it’s 7:15, and I just ordered my third drink.

I am glad it’s a beautiful spot, and a beautiful evening. The sun is setting, and as I look back over the bay, the light is such that I can’t really see San Francisco anymore. I can see the trees in the foreground, and some lights snapping on below, and an island, and this amazing sky. I am not the type to take out a camera in public, so I am glad for my cell phone, glad that I don’t draw any more attention to myself than even a passing glance.

My waitress is young and lovely. I don’t ask, but something tells me she is new to the area and this is just a job for her. She’s here to do something very different, and if I were the type to start talking to a much younger woman, I could probably learn what. But I am not that type of person. I am just glad I didn’t mention I was meeting someone. In her mind I am here from out of town, on business, and I can spend the money to sit here, have a few drinks, and enjoy the view.

When you are from the East Coast–which I most certainly am–certain things about San Francisco catch your attention every day you are there. The hills. The bay. The flora and fauna. The weather.

The weather.

As Mark Twain famously quipped, “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Tonight is no different. It’s mid-June and it never cracked 55 during the day, but when I came out to Oakland for the evening it was delightfully warmer. Now with the sun setting, a cool is overtaking the veranda where I am sitting, and the staff is turning on tall heat lamps. A manager comes over and asks if I want one closer, and before I can answer he has a bus boy shift one next to my table. It does indeed feel good.

I order an appetizer that only a chef could have put together–Brussels sprouts, pork belly, and a poached “hen” egg. I make a mental note to look up whether there is anything else but a hen egg, but for now I am going with the flow. It looks and reads like comfort food, and my waitress, who is growing prettier by the minute, smiles and tells me it’s her favorite. “Well not my favorite, I guess, but it’s new to the menu and I’ve had it every day this week.” I decide that if I were 20 years younger I would make her my wife. I would help her find that job she really wants. Then she wouldn’t be out on this veranda, making small talk with this polite but decidedly dull older man. She would be home by now, satisfied after a long day’s work, sipping wine and waiting for me to walk through the door. We might decide to go out. We might even decide to go here, but it would be warmer. The sky would still be this amazing sky, but we wouldn’t need the heat lamps and we wouldn’t be alone.

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