I met Jeremy at Vegan Beer Fest. Have I ever told you that story?
I met Jeremy at Vegan Beer Fest. He was tall and handsome and really outgoing, and he talked a lot which was great because I was pretty shy. And if I’m being honest, I wasn’t super interested in Jeremy that day. I mean, I wasn’t disinterested, I just . . . I wasn’t looking for love. I was looking for adventure — a great story to tell my friends back home. “A wild night in LA” sort of thing. So when this rather persistent, rather attractive vegan dude stuck himself to me like glue, I thought “Well hey, let’s have an adventure.”
Beer Fest ended at 5:30 and Jeremy suggested that my friend and I join him for dinner. We agreed, and in a flash he was popping into the corner store to purchase a nice bottle of wine. He called us a Lyft (my very first experience with ride sharing, I was so confused) and whisked us off to this adorable little Thai restaurant on Melrose Avenue. It was an awesome dinner, followed by a stroll down Melrose, a pint at a pub, and lots of talking and laughing. And like I said, I was just along for the ride. I felt no sense of attachment. I was living in the moment, with no thought of the future.
My friend decided to bail around 10:00, so we walked her back to the hotel room, and suddenly Jeremy and I were left alone on an empty sidewalk in Hollywood. It was at that moment that he kissed me for the first time, and that’s the moment my entire life turned upside down. Panned out while zooming in, disorienting in perfect, crystal clear focus.
You either have it or you don’t, and damn — we have it. In that one moment all my feelings towards our interaction changed. I went from “whatevs, it’s an adventure” to “MORE I WANT MORE OF THAT YES PLEASE AND THANK YOU”
Pretty powerful, a kiss.
After Jeremy said goodbye that night, I couldn’t get him out of my head. I was buzzing the whole next day, and I texted him the following evening. He was a little surprised (he had planned to play it cool and wait a few days), and for the first time in my life, I was bold and aggressive in my pursuit. I was basically like, “Hey, in a week I’m going to leave for Vida Vegan Con, and I’ll be there for a whole week, and I really don’t want to wait almost 3 weeks to see you again, so how about I come back to LA in 4 days and we go out for a real date?”
I mean, what can I say? It was a really good kiss.
That Thursday I drove back down to LA, met Jeremy at his work, and off we went for a fancy dinner at Crossroads. He brought a really amazing bottle of champagne and gave me a Tom Waits CD and we ordered a vegan cheese plate and it was all just delightful. And then afterwards, on the way back to his house, he pulled out this CD. He told me “This is one of my favorite musicians — I’ve been following him for years. He just released this album, you’ve got to hear it, it’s amazing.” And he put on Matt Pond’s The Lives Inside The Lines In Your Hand.
I remember driving through LA, warm summer air on my face late at night, snaking down the 405 on a first date with an incredible man, feeling like my life was cracking open to wild possibility. I felt heady. And this music was the soundtrack to it all.
And then track 3 came on. The song is called Starlet and Jeremy said “This is the one I keep listening to, over and over.”
If you don’t want to watch the whole video, I’ll just quote the chorus:
I know, I know
I know, there’s so much I don’t know
I still know someday I will make sense to someone.
And this became our song. Jeremy and I have talked every day since that first date. And while we were falling in love, living 100 miles apart, I would fall asleep listening to this song. He would text me lyrics from this song. We would slow dance together to this song. And even now, I can’t listen to this song without feeling a flood of love and emotion.
So anyway, flash forward 4 years.
Jeremy has moved to Santa Barbara, opened and closed a business, I have started and finished graduate school, and we now run a weekly pop-up wine bar that operates every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night out of an eclectic little French Crêperie.
And we still love Matt Pond, who just recently released his latest album, Winter Lives. Jeremy is on Matt’s email list, and Matt has embarked on a “Living Room” tour, traveling across the country playing small intimate shows in people’s homes. It’s a great idea for a musician, cutting out the middle man much like ride-sharing (Lyft) and home sharing (AirBNB) and, well, restaurant sharing! And anyway, so then Matt pond sent out an email looking for a place to play in Santa Barbara.
Which is how it came to be that this past Sunday, February 26th, we pulled up in front of our own little wine bar, and we got out and greeted Matt Pond, fucking Matt Pond you guys, and he was like “Hey, thanks for having me play here” and we were like “Sure dude, thanks so much for playing” and it was all so casual and normal and completely unreal.
All the pictures are blurry. The whole thing was kind of a blur, really. It was a packed house, a happy crowd. Matt and his guest musicians were so sweet. Jeremy and I were both just kind of in awe the whole time. Working, serving wine and making chit chat. Just a blur.
And yes, he played Starlet. Jeremy had emailed him beforehand to ask, and he obliged. He dedicated it to us, and he stood there right in front of us, and he sung us our song. I really just can’t describe that feeling.
I still have trouble believing that it happened. Even now, writing this post, looking at these pictures, it doesn’t seem real. Like if I saw it in a movie, it would seem so cliche, so “tidy”. What a perfect ending.
But it was real, and it really was the perfect ending to Five & 1/4.
Sunday was our last night of operating the wine bar. It was a decision we came to pretty quickly, but one that we feel very confident about. Jeremy got that new job and he’s really loving it. It’s a good job, a really good one, and he doesn’t want his attention to be divided. And me, I have my garden kids. But I also have some really exciting potential opportunities for a more lucrative, more long-term sort of gig. For now, I’ve added a temporary position out at UCSB, back in my same bio department, back with the old familiar faces and people that I love. And who knows what will happen next?
What Jeremy and I both know is that we are done with burning the candle at both ends. Done working twice as hard for half the pay. Done having no social life, no energy, no down time. Owning your own business is exhausting, and working every weekend is a bummer! For the past year and a half we’ve missed every birthday party, every art opening, every music show. We are sad to leave behind the community of small business comrades, wine geeks, and vegan foodies that we’ve built, but we’d be lying if we said we weren’t also completely relieved.
Right now, as I write this, it’s Thursday evening. Usually right now I’d be bustling around in a flurry, trying to get the wine bar ready to open after already working a full day outdoors in the garden with 11 (YES ELEVEN) groups of kindergarteners. That’s what my Thursdays used to look like.
But no, instead I’m lying in bed blogging with a cat on my lap. And later, I’m going to get gussied up, and I’m going to go on a date with that sweet, hard-working, handsome man that I met so many years ago at Beer Fest.
Life is hard, guys. Life is work and life is failure and life can feel absolutely unrelenting. Unforgiving. It’s all so messy and complicated, and it pretty much never works out how you expect it to. But also, if you’re living it right, if you’re living all in with your wild heart thrown wide open, then sometimes life will give you these incredible moments of pure, unadulterated magic.
That’s what I felt last Sunday, and I’m going to carry that moment with me forever.
As always, thanks for reading and for sharing in this adventure with me.