2am in the Mission, and I’m eating whiskey-flavored pizza with my old pal Tom Devaney, who once trained me how to deal with America. A cute Mexican walks in, carrying a full pint from the bar next door. He weaves, then falls slowly onto his backside, raising his glass like an Olympic torch. It’s a move I’ve seen two hundred times in Dublin, but here it makes me laugh out loud. “Shit, man,” he says, and shakes his head. “Shit. You see that?” He picks himself up and staggers over to our table. “I di’n spill any of it. Not one drop. You see that?”
Christ. Here we go.
“We watched you. You held right onto that thing,” says Tom. “Control. Priorities. It was very impressive. ” The guy is flattered.
“Wass your name?”
“Where you from?”
“I’m from Massachussets. I’m visiting.”
“You’re a goo’ guy. I can tell. I can tell from looking at you. I can tell from the way you talk. Educated. But also down to earth, you know?”
“Thank you. That’s very kind of you to say.”
“I mean it. I have a good feeling about you.” He wags his finger at Tom, and turns to me. “You guys just met. You should go out with him. Actually, you should go home with him tonight.”
“We’ve known each other for ten years,” I say. He looks doubtful. So do I.
“Well. He’s a good guy. Also he’s handsome. Thass all I’m going to tell you. He’s a…prize.”
“Your wallet is hanging out,” says Tom. His new friend stares down to where it dangles from a security chain at knee level, and slaps his thigh.
“Man, I always lose shit. I lose so much shit, you wouldn’t believe. And people are assholes. They don’t give my stuff back. I lost three wallets. Thass why I got it on a chain now. Now I can’t go home without it, as long as I got my pants on.”
(This sounds like a worthwhile lifehack. I’m going to start chaining valuables to my pants.)
He draws his wallet back up like a yoyo, and stuffs it back into his pocket. “See, I told you he was a good person,” he says to me, sternly. “You’re lucky to know him.” He shakes Tom’s hand and walks out without buying a slice, still clutching his beer.
“Only in San Francisco,” writes Tom from New York afterwards, “could I be eating pizza with a hot chick and have a drunk guy check me out.”