Saturday, 16 January 2010

Our friends from the restaurant

When you speak to strangers at a restaurant, do you invite them to your house?
We know some people who do just that, and more!

Three years ago, Daniel, Sophia and I went to dinner with my parents, my sister and her husband at the Bridge CafĂ© near South Street Seaport in New York. Sophia had just learned to walk, and was toddling all over the place – mostly up to other people’s tables and into the kitchen.

Respite arrived in the form of Will, a nine-year old from LA jauntily dressed in a three-piece pinstriped suit (his mother, Julia, said he never dressed down). He spent the next few hours entertaining Sophia – at and under our table, and that of his family. Daniel and I enjoyed the rare treat of sitting back for a nice meal, a drink and a chat with our family.

At the end of the meal, Julia took down our email address and said that if we were ever in LA, we would have to visit them.

So three years later, we did.

Julia, a writer of magazine articles, screenplays and now a novel, suggested that we park the Airstream outside their house and said we were welcome to use the facilities and have breakfast inside.

I think we initially took up their offer because it was so crazy. We suspect that they invited us to stay for the same reason.

Julia and her husband Chris, who is a comedy writer for TV shows including ‘Frasier’ and ‘Beavis and Butthead’, live in Hollywood. Also residing there are Will, now a more mellow (waistcoat, but no jacket) 12 years old, their ten-year old extrovert daughter Coco. Grandmother, who at 81 is still a practicing doctor, lives there part-time.

The first night, we were invited to a pizza dinner. The second night, to Grandmother’s birthday party. The third night, room was offered in the driveway, and there was talk of sleeping in Coco’s bedroom once Julia’s niece and nephew – in town to support Alabama at the big national college championship football game against Texas at the Rose Bowl – returned to Birmingham, Alabama.

All the while, Julia provided excellent suggestions for things to do in LA, the whole family played with the girls, and Will asked when I would be updating the blog – noting that the last entry was December 17, and printing out pie charts showing readers’ countries of origin.

After two nights, we had to go. We felt too guilty, and were unsure what – if anything – we were providing in return.

We did return, though, on our way out of LA en route to San Francisco. Airstream-less (the trailer is spending the next week at C&G Trailers, a repair shop that has been highly recommended up and down the West Coast), we were upgraded to a specially converted suite in Coco’s room, edging the poor girl out of her own bed, on a school night.

Once we return with Daniel’s mother, Barbara, we are invited to stay with them once more.

We have been adopted.

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