The date: April 15, 1985. At 10 a.m. my graphic designer and I met with the company that did the typesetting for our college's alumni tabloid. We had gotten our first computer at the office, and sent files of all the stories to the typesetter. The process should have been faster and cheaper than the old system, when typesetters had to retype everything into their machines. But they had messed it up, needlessly keyboarding a lot of stuff, introducing errors, and then charging us to correct their mistakes.
On this morning, the company's sales manager and account rep introduced us to a third person--a man who had joined the company less than an hour earlier. "He knows a lot about this process," they said. "He is taking over this department." He looked through the file, including my letter of complaint. "You're right, we messed up your job," he said. "We'll give you a five-hundred-dollar discount. And I promise that if you give us another chance, you won't regret it."
Okay, I said.
The tour ended and the new guy offered to take us to lunch, to make up for our inconvenience on the job that had gone wrong. The designer and I accepted, and the account rep joined us. We went to a restaurant in downtown Minneapolis, the temperature got up to an unseasonable 81 degrees that day, and I was wearing my short-sleeved turquoise belted polyester dress.
We ate and talked, and eventually the designer and the account rep headed for the ladies' room. The guy and I continued to talk, talk, talk. He and his daughter had season tickets to the Children's Theater. I had season tickets to the ballet. He had been at Woodstock. I had beaten Bob Dylan in a talent contest. He'd been a hippie. I'd fancied myself a radical and voted for Eldredge Cleaver for president in 1968.
The designer and account rep finally came back to the table, and it was time to leave. I found out later they were wondering just what was going on between the two of us--the conversation was of no interest to them, and yet we were totally engrossed.
We've been celebrating the anniversary of our first meeting for 25 years now.