Scott and I were both customers at the Cup Diner in Astoria, Queens for a couple years before we even knew each other. I used to order the L.A. Salad which had strawberries, blueberries, walnuts, greens, blue cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette. Eventually after being a customer there for such a long time, I decided it would be a good place to work. It was only a few minutes walk from my apartment, and the food was good.
As you can guess from my lack of make-up or hair brushing, I worked the 6 am shift. The world is a different place that early. There aren't that many people out and about, and so people interact differently, with a little more conversational intimacy. I served coffee to people who worked at the Kaufman Astoria Studios across the street. Then there were the celebrities. I waited on Larry David, Steve Wiebe from The King of Kong movie (this actually turned out to be our first date movie - Wiebe was there for the premiere of his movie at the Museum of the Moving Image across the street), Spike Lee, plenty of people from "Law and Order", Josh Lucas (who thought he was too hunky and famous to pay for his $5 check of chicken soup and iced tea), a variety of gentlemen suitors (some better than others), and neighborhood families who loved me and would say hi to me at the grocery store and on the street when I wasn’t working. My fellow waitresses were often fabulous – it was the closest my life will ever come to an episode of Pan-Am. The food was great in the beginning – BLTs, deep fried French toast coated in coconut with strawberries, Junior’s cheesecake, coleslaw made from scratch, and pretty good coffee.
When I first started there I worked nights, and they wanted me to be a manager. It actually turned out to be a horrible deal financially, and I fought to work the day shift as a server. I am glad I did, because one of the first day time shifts I worked was when I met my husband-to-be. The first time I met him I was folding napkins around silverware, and he had a newspaper with the NBA playoffs being featured which mentioned the Pistons. I started talking about LeBron James, and after that day coworkers started to put him in my section because they thought I wanted to talk to him. I think the third time I waited on him he told me his name. Then, one time I pressured him into ordering the fish and chips. He thought it was way too many fries and kept feeding them to me. I don’t think that is a normal thing to do with your waitress, and it made me think he liked me. Another day I was getting ready to leave, and he just kept saying "Wait, I am getting my check!" And I waited five minutes, and I didn't think that was normal either. Very smooth.
He told me stories about people who I’ve now known for years, and it’s funny to think back to that moment of him saying “My friends in CT…” or "My friend who is an English professor" and now having memories of them now in my own life. In between me filling his coffee he talked about going to France on his honeymoon, and I thought “that is a honeymoon I’d like to go on” (4 years later it was Napa we went to instead, and had great food). He was adorable, the smartest guy ever, knew about stuff I thought was interesting (even though that was 4 years ago now I think we had a lengthy discussion about Mitt Romney's chances running for the presidency), and fun to talk to. It was an uncertain time in my life. I was applying to grad schools all over, my life could have gone a million different directions. It was both terrifying and extremely exciting. But one thing I was sure of, almost immediately, was that he was the guy for me. I don't mean that in an overly dramatic way. It just very simply true.