11377 Bellflower Court
Cleveland, OH 44106
Bite: Don't mix what you don't understand.
By Beau Cadiyo
I grade friends on multiple scales. Two are closeness (i.e., knowing a little or a lot about each other) and goodness (i.e., friendship based on similarities and mutual respect, not circumstances or closeness). You don’t need to be close to be a good friend; I prefer good friends over close, and my best friends are good and close. Bob was a good friend. I liked and respected him a great deal, but there was always a barrier up to getting too close.
We both had some free time and he suggested the diner. We got a back corner table, which I think is always a symbol of power – you can see everything that goes on if you’re the one with your back to the wall. Chicago establishments used to do the same for Al Capone. Diners not so well-respected included professors and a student couple I knew who conversed intimately over their retro table. The décor, though contrived, projected an impressive authenticity. It wasn’t a bad thing in this situation but if they’d gone any less than whole-hog on, it would have been a disaster.
I had a cheese Spartan Stack. I appreciate the concept of fries on a sandwich. It’s cute, and I might have let it slip were it not for the fact that the coleslaw was also on the sandwich. Imagine pouring red wine on a steak and telling the diner that it will cleanse the palate while you’re eating. Coleslaw goes ON THE SIDE, IN A MINIATURE BOWL. If they’d put the sandwich, fries and coleslaw separately on a plate I think it might have been very, very good. But.
After lunch we sat around. Bob told me about his children, and how he was writing books, and the things he would never forget but didn't quite know how to remember. I ran business ideas by him and talked about fighting blind people. We moved a little more toward the closeness quadrant. An attorney I work with told me that at her first clerkship, a partner made her call all the partners by their first names so that she quickly established herself as an equal. I don’t know that I’ll ever feel comfortable enough to call him “Bob” in person – face to face, he’ll always be Professor Lawry. But going toward close with a good person and a good friend is rare and special, and I’ll always be thankful for that lunch, even if the sandwich was disappointing.