Friday, August 26, 2011

"Kaiser is where God lives. I am not so sure it is at churches."

Mario S.'s Yelp Reviews

Oliveto Cafe

I met a first date, Craigslist-derivative, from among the many responses, mostly naked pictures of women derived from one or maybe two men, I guess, who acquire e-mail addresses. I can't quite figure that scam. But, she had long flowing black-brown hair with blue eyes; she wore a gray and white plaid trench with an inexactly similar Gap scarf, part American Indian and Nordic. When she moved, it was like she was scattering pixie dust. Her coral-colored finger nail polish and the smoke that was her hair dazzled. The first thing I noticed was the open drink menu, turned to an early page. It said: "Negroni," which was exactly what I wanted. She ordered a Moscato. Hers was lighter, a bit like Lillet Rouge and mine was viscously thicker and stronger. We immediately enjoyed each other's company and the drinks made us loose and giddy. It is hard to be serious when someone seems to like you. You open up, say just about anything, and you may even read a poem to her. It was the poem I read at the Calistoga Inn and then another one, and she didn't seem to get it. I guess you have to read poems to know what they mean, but I am not like that. You don't have to know the meaning of every word, but you hear them. There's enough of the sense of where something is going to know that there's a wonderful world opening up. So, I stopped. Maybe the woman who was correcting papers at the other table heard me and could appreciate what made me want to be a writer. When I was in intermediate school, I sat in the Kaimuki Public Library listening to T.S. Eliot read "The Wasteland" on a record player. We ordered the beet salad with almonds and watercress or arugula with a subtle dressing. It cannot be beat, pardon the pun. She ordered and got the cannelloni, I the hen. I am allergic to wheat, so I didn't want any of hers. My hen was moist, glazed over with herbs and oil. It was hot and perfectly cooked. I loved the stuffing. There were two more drinks for her, and I had a glass of red I let the waiter pick. I had planned to say: "What you would like, but by then I was less articulate. The man, who made my drink, wore a black shirt. He had a moustache and beard. His glasses were black-rimmed. He was strong and reminded me of a close friend, who had the same smile. It's as if he had traveled the world and he had seen everything and the Negroni was a reflection of his wisdom. And the waiter, I bet Spanish, thinner, I think long hair, and beard. I remember his modesty, and respectfulness. How he made me feel was like I was royalty. I want to tell both of them now, how good I felt, how safe to be myself with this woman, who was making me feel good. Everything the waiter did was kind. The bartender was professional when he brought the drinks. There was no flaw, no complaint, only the sense of being in a fine room with generous friends. In all, the meal and drinks were about $70+. I left $20. It was not just a light meal; it was being in a room with people who made you feel better than you might feel about yourself.