Friday, November 19, 2010


I got up this morning at 7. This is early for me.

I had a very important meeting with a start-up lawyer who I would hope to convince to take on my start-up and defer costs even though at the moment I have no "live" product and no partners. Hope springs eternal.

I met Joshua C. at a place in SF called The Summit... it is a quasi-cyber cafe meets incubation headquarters for start-ups. If you don't live in SF then you are probably saying, wth?

That was fancy for "it is a cafe full of 25-35 years old nerds with coffee, hopes, dreams and macs". Just above us nerds in an open second floor lives what they describe as:

"I/O Ventures incubation space, The Summit is home to 40+ telecommuters and 4 startups, which receive mentorship and funding from leaders in the tech industry. I/O Ventures is backed by the founders of seminal tech companies: MySpace, BitTorrent, and YouTube. The Summit is their public living room"

Not sure how relevant it is to my story, but I figured it might help paint a picture.

I walked into the place and spotted my lawyer. Picture a really tall and uncomfortably good looking guy fresh out of a Burberry catalog. So now, not only was I super nervous to show this guy my start-up wares, but I had to worry about whether I had croissant in my tooth. It doesn't matter that I am very happily engaged to be married and that he is happily recently married. Gorgeous guy = goofiness. I told my fiance that Joshua was sickeningly attractive and he said, "well, I guess we won't be working with him."

I presented to Joshua and to make matters worse, he is super nice. Needless to say, I did not eat my croissant. I slurped up my potent Blue Bottle Macchiato and could feel my eyeballs beginning to buldge. We ended the meeting and I wondered what would be? I guess we will see.

I decided to stick around the Summit and chill when I realized that I needed to feed the meter. I looked toward the end of the long and expensive oddly shaped table and found my neighbors to be engrossed in conversation and no matter how long I stared at them, they did not budge. Finally, I saw a really old guy walking towards me with a cup a joe and I said, in my caffeine high voice, "um, would you mind watching my computer"? and then I joked that he could take it if he wanted… he looked at me quizzically and said, "I don't know what to do with that, but ok."

I ran to the car and put 12 more minutes in the meter. When I returned, the old gentleman put his hand out and said, "I'm frank" and I said, "I'm Claudia" thank you for watching my stuff. He then explained that he has nothing to do with computers. I smiled across the table with one butt cheek off the edge of the stool and my purse still over my shoulder, ready to pack it up and go. I had 12 minutes.

Frank proceeded to tell me that he is a native of San Francisco, a rare specimen, and that he now he lives in Las Vegas. He explained that he was in town because he had written some memoirs and was getting some help from a local guy to put them together. I told him that this was exciting news and he replied by telling me that he wasn't really a writer. He was only compiling these stories for his family, for posterity. I then said someone was most likely going to be upset or at the very least surprised when they read them. His eyes opened up huge and he smiled. He said, how did you know that? and I said, well, I know that if I wrote my memoirs and shared them with my family that shock and anger might ensue. He said, well actually, my sister is a nun and I had an affair with a friend of hers years ago. We are both still friends with this woman. He seemed embarrassed and stated that he probably should not have said the word "affair”. He said that in the book he mentions that if you are ever walking in Golden Gate park that you would have been lucky to have this lovely young woman as a companion. I guess this is what he and his "lover" used to do. I can't wait to hear what the nun says about that!

I decided to put both butt checks on the stool and hang out with Frank. If I got a $55 ticket, I figure Frank was probably worth it. Afterall, he must be an expert on a few things. He is 87. Consultants cost way more than that.

Frank had lived in the Basque country in Spain where he coached basketball. He said he had traveled all over the world and that he loved the Spanish language. I told him I was Colombian and he said that his wife was Peruvian. I also told him that I was engaged. He smiled and said, oh, I thought that you and the good looking fellow were together to which I responded, yes, he was good looking, wasn't he? and thank you for the compliment. We both agreed that he was sort of "crazy good looking" Joshua, if you are reading this, A. I am embarrassed B. tell your wife I mean no harm and C. I hope you are my lawyer at this point, which knowing me, might be a day after writing this, so that might be a lofty goal. Digression over.

Back to Frank.

So Frank says to me, I want to tell you something, I'll make it short. "next week I will be traveling to Las Vegas with my 13 year old grandson who I met three months ago." He said that he had a daughter who died. He said she was beautiful, but that she had emotional issues and major problems with drugs. She had a son who had been in foster care all this time, but nobody knew. Someone got a hold of Frank in Las Vegas and frank’s 50 year old son in Gilroy 3 months back to tell them about Mark. I told him what a blessing that must be and that I could see how happy he was. He said that he took Mark out the other day to have coffee, which is what Frank likes to do.

Mark brought his Labrador with him to coffee. A little girl walked up with her dad to pet the dog and asked if he was friendly. Frank then introduced Mark as his grandson. On the way home from coffee Mark turned to Frank and said, I was really proud when you said I was your grandson. So here I am holding Frank’s hand across the table, both of our eyes, welled up with tears and connecting to a perfect stranger.

I had mentioned earlier in the conversation that I really wanted to read his memoirs. Just after our sappy moment, Frank said that he was going to get me a copy of his memoirs, but that he wasn’t sure how. I suggested that he ask the guy who was transcribing to make me a pdf. He said, no, I am not sending my book through the machine. I will send you a real copy.

I told Frank that I had to split. He got up and walked me to the door. He looked at me and said, I live my life in short moments. I am old and I could die walking out that door. I said, DON’T DIE! And smiled. He said, the point is, that if I do die, the last 15 minutes of my life would have been amazing.

I didn’t get a parking ticket.


Blogger Alter by Jackie Page said...

Wow! What a great story. It's the kind of story you would read in a book, yet it's real and really happened to you. Awesome. You will remember that experience forever.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Leigh Ann said...

I'm so glad my dear friend found you to marry.

6:01 AM  
Blogger marcy said...

Claudia, you make me laugh and cry all at the same time and I wonder why you are not a full time writer. You have a gift not just with writing but with people. I want to read the memoirs too!! Can I ?

12:33 PM  

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