These Places Matter.

It was hot in Nevada. We got off the tour bus to the welcome breeze at the edge of the Hoover Dam. You know the one. The big one. It makes a lake and lights up the Vegas strip.

I stowed the ring in the bottom of my backpack. I remember because I kept obsessing about it and how dumb it would be to drop it over the edge of the dam. (How stupid would that be?)

I mean I guess this is romantic for somebody

So I had one hand on the pack and the other holding her hand.

I planned to ask her to marry me in some sort of romantic hydro-powered proposal with Lake Mead behind me and the mighty Colorado at our feet. Hell, maybe it’d be inside the dam itself next to a couple turbines.

In my head, it was the best plan. But then we got out there and I kind of felt sick. Nature’s veins, injected with an overdose of steel and concrete. (I mean, cool design and everything praise be to ya Mr. Hoover and hooray for engineering, but I’ll take fly fishing over dynamite any dam day.)

We took the tour, packed up on the bus and rode back to Vegas, my plans aflutter. Now what, dummy?

What does the girl like?

Sushi.

That’s brilliant, Phil. Fucking brilliant. Sushi.

That’s where I proposed to Nicole. In a sushi restaurant.

Not Tsunami. Tsunami is closed now. Just pretend this is what it looked like.

While she was away in the bathroom, I slipped the chef a tenner and had him build a plate with the ring on top of a tuna roll. She came back and he passed it over the sushi bar.

I knelt awkwardly next to the bar stool and asked her something important.

And our lips did that thing that people do when they like each other.

We ate sushi at a place called Tsunami in the middle of the Venetian Hotel. Bellies full of raw fish, rice, adrenaline. And all those super special love hormones.

Because that’s where people go to do special things. Restaurant-type places.

If you break down space and time and hit the pause button on any one of those split seconds of your finite existence, you’ll probably point your finger on the spot where you share bites with your honey. And one of those moments probably happened at a restaurant.

They’re those places you go when your internal couples’ piano is out of tune. The sauce and spice, an overture. The smile, the timing and affable servers, the sonata. The eye mirroring and pupils dilated over a lick of torte, the full motherfucking symphony.

And in a world where culture can be a bowl of vanilla, you find yourself on the receiving end of something inspired. Something that touched dirt, picked, cleaned, shipped, crafted by a chef, (no, a MAESTRO) and delivered by a smiling face in a crescendo of goosebumps.

Hearts bump fists.

So what I’m saying is, these places matter.

Spend your stimulus money at a local restaurant. Without them, you could probably make cool memories, but they won’t be “plates of sushi with rings on top of them asking kinda important questions” cool.

These places matter.

And when we’re back from the haze of the indoors, you’ll find me bursting through those doors to share a bite with my lady friend. 🍣

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Phil K. James

Phil K. James

Weird people change the world. I help people who like to sell things sell more things using a taste-tested digital media strategy. Dad to chickens and boys.