In March 1997, my job at the Children’s Museum was going to end; for whatever reason, there just wasn’t the money there to fund it. I’d been doing some job-hunting, but nothing had turned up yet. I was about to go on vacation*, and before I left, I decided to apply to the temp agency up the hill.
It was raining. I didn’t own an umbrella or a rainhat; if I remember it right, all I had was a long London Fog raincoat that had once belonged to my father, and that looked a bit Colombo-esque. Back then, I just didn’t care that much about getting wet. I often showed up at work looking a bit drowned-rat, but I always dried off pretty quickly, so it didn’t matter.
But I was going for an interview, so I was a little nervous, hoping for a break in the rain for those few blocks uphill.
Instead, a guy who had just started working there, doing something with the point of sale system, came over and offered his umbrella. It was a plain little black folding umbrella, and it kept me dry going up the hill to my interview and testing. (I typed hella fast. I still type pretty fast.) Back down again, too, where I gave it back to him, and thought, “how sweet.” It was the first time I really noticed him.
When I came back from my vacation, it was to the very good news that my job had been extended a few more months. I would end up working until the end of June, which meant I got to spend more time around that sweet guy. We started dating in late March, with an outing to see Hamlet, and that was basically that.
So yeah, the first time I noticed C, he loaned me an umbrella, and I always smile when I think of that little gesture.
* The vacation itself turned out to be a pivotal moment. I’d originally planned on a week in Austin and a week in SF, and cancelled the Austin leg at the very last minute for complicated emotional reasons. (It was almost a decade before I finally went there, under radically different circumstances, but still visiting the same person!) Ended up spending a few days at a cabin near Mt Rainier, which had its own strangeness. SF, on the other hand, was glorious. Also, for some reason I’d gotten the impression that my boss had finagled a way to get me a paid vacation…and that wasn’t so…and that was the beginning of some really hairy experiences with that job….