We just left Saul’s Deli, house-made celery sodas in hand.
We’d been walking for hours that Saturday, meandering through North Berkeley, California’s verdant, sunny parks. I hadn’t walked this much since living in New York.
The long stretch of brick wall we were passing suddenly called out to me…
…and I took a lean.
“Come lean with me,” I said to my compatriot, Christopher Piatt. “Grab some brick.”
Christopher stopped mid-stride and took a protesting stance: “No I’m quite alright standing, thank you.”
I countered: “When’s the last time you just, you know, leaned?”
Christopher kept walking.
“Come ooonn Mr. Chicago, don’t be so uptiiight. Grab a lean. Look at the angle I’m getting here,” I said, bent over almost sideways.
Then realizing this hadn’t quite convinced him, and now really wanting to get my way, I started laying it on thick. “I’m telling ya man, this is some A-quality leaning. This is…this is…this is the best lean I’ve ever had in my life.”
Bold words, I know.
Christopher stood unmoved. “I am glad you’re enjoying it but I much prefer this perspective.”
Embittered, I tried another approach: ” You! You never wanna lean with me anymore. You always have a headache, or you have to work late…I don’t know if you remember, Mister, but I seen you leanin’ before. Leanin’ in to hear a soft talker or leanin’ back to see over a tall shelf. Why won’t you lean with me? Right here, right now?”
“OK fine,” Christopher caved, “I’ll lean with you.” He collapsed onto the wall, took a deep draw from his celery soda, slowly turned to me, and said, “Ya know, this is some awfully good leanin’.”
“See, see, I told you!” I thought, but just said nothing.
And I learned something that day: I am a natural born leaner. I love to lean.
This hypothesis was reinforced mere hours later when we discovered the Crème Brûlée Cart in San Francisco’s Castro District.