The only people I barely knew were my loft neighbors - and since most of them introduced themselves by their loft number, "Hi, I'm in loft #302. Stop by." "Hi, I'm in loft #601. Glad to meet you." "Hi, I'm in...." Yada, yada, yada.
I mean - how many people can you be friendly with who refer to themselves by numbers? Obviously, I had to make a new life of my own. FAST.
So before Tales of Downtown was even a reality, I decided to host a "Conversation Series With Co-Creators and Visionaries." The visionaries would be downtown leaders. That way I would get to know people. Brilliant!
I picked up the phone and started calling total strangers. "Hello, would you like to be in my series?" "I'm Nancy Mills (as in, I'm sure you don't know me from Adam)... but it's going to be great."
That's how I met Bert Green. The guy who founded the art walk. The owner of Bert Green Fine Art, the guy who said "yes!" to my call and to being a part of my series. The former New Yorker who has lived in downtown (forever) and has become my friend over time.
So the other night we met up in front of Banquette's. Our plan was to have dinner out - the thing is though - we had no idea where we were going. That was okay. Because walking with Bert is like walking with the downtown Encyclopedia Britannica.
As we made our way to Little Tokyo (by a unanimous vote), he talked to me about how the big trees on the corner of 3rd and Main were planted by Lady Bird Johnson, the story behind the new police center park, and how downtown has evolved from drug shoot outs to a place of revitalization (which he humbly left out that he had a lot to do with).
When we got to Little Tokyo - we first went to the The Lazy Ox Canteen - the new restaurant on San Pedro that is winning raves. We looked at the menu and realized that we might have to sell our cars to pay for dinner. Leaving quickly...
We ended up in this fantastic place, Yakitori Koshiji, which is on the upper level of the Weller Court shopping center. Bert is a foodie, and his friend had taken him to this place once before. The food was so good that I almost started singing. A habit from childhood.
Long story short, or short story long, we spent the night walkin', talkin' and schmoozin', and I realized without a doubt how far my life had come.
Wow. It felt good.