Today marks ten years being married to my lovely wife, Julia. It’s been a most unusual ten years, and for that I am grateful.
I took this photo* about 10 years ago outside of the Woods Gerry building. We had just moved to Providence, Rhode Island a few months after getting married. It was definitely the most trying and fulfilling move we could have made. She finished her photography degree at RISD, and I continued a roundabout journey into the design field of which I had just discovered.
Below are some thoughts (in no particular order) on relationships and life in general:
*The above photo was taken with a twin-lens medium format Rollop camera. As you might have guessed, I have very long arms. And I still wear that shirt.
Last weekend, I went around the corner to the new deli to pick up one of their delicious (and gigantic) Italian tuna sandwiches. It was only my second time there since they’ve just recently opened for business. I’ve ordered tuna each time, because my wife is a pescatarian, and I quite enjoy tuna sandwiches so we tend to split them.
The man who owns the place is incredibly nice, and I find myself intrigued by his appearance. He’s an older gentleman with poor eyesight. You wouldn’t notice that at first, though. You would notice his fluorescent green glasses, and his wide smile. Tonight he introduced himself to me as Johnny, but a few months ago, when he was working on turning a florest shop into the deli, he introduced himself to my wife as Johnny Hollywood.
As I said, they’re a new operation, which in this case, means they don’t have all of the kinks worked out. Johnny took my order and gave it to the man at the cutting board. They had a sort of unfriendly exchange as Johnny told the man a few times what I had ordered, and added a touch of flare to how it should be prepared. “Just a touch of mayo on the bread,” he humored, “that’s the best way! Not too much mayo.” Johnny was particularly pleased I had ordered the tuna, because he and the other man had just had one for lunch. He loves their Italian tuna sandwiches!
One of the things Johnny told the other man a few times while they were having their brotherly transaction was that I had asked for a pickle on the side. The man got more upset each time he had to have Johnny repeat himself, but Johnny was playing it cool. When I got back to my apartment to share the sandwich with my wife (who had requested I order pickle), there was no pickle. Nonetheless, we enjoyed our sandwich greatly.
I stopped by the deli this evening to pick up some cured salami for the three-day weekend ahead, and Johnny was outside talking to a neighborhood friend. He looked up at me to let me know they were only serving hot sandwiches tonight, but as he was finishing his sentence, he recognized me. With the most dreadful look on his rugged face, he reached out and grabbed my arm and said in his smooth Hollywood manner, “Man, I’m so sorry about the pickle.” ”Oh, it’s incredible you even remember that!” “Well, I felt so bad, man! Thing is, the guy said I never told him you wanted a pickle.”
So I was his witness. And I suppose he spent all week worrying about it and having arguments with the other man about a pickle I never even paid for. In the meantime, I’ll keep going back, and they’ll soon have all the kinks worked out.