One summer day in 2002, with fulfilling this dream being the farthest thing from my mind, I started talking in a tiny room to almost no one in particular. Talking to myself, mainly. Over the next year, I’d see people on the street and nod a hello, sharing a conversation every few weeks or so. I started to know folks around the block.
In 2004, I moved shop to a bigger neighborhood and, in a sense, opened the doors. One by one, visitors started to make their presence known. It was a time when a handful of guests still seemed like riches, and under no illusions that we amounted to anything significant, you could feel a warmth. At the end of July that year, those of us who were there bonded over what for us was a cataclysmic event. We bonded over a mutual, natural belief in seeing the light during an uncertain time.
The following year, I joined a smaller band of shopowners in yet another neighborhood, that to me has always felt a little less urban, a little more pastoral. A colony. It wasn’t that life slowed down – if anything, it became exponentially busier. But we really flourished here. It has been a fecund setting, with utterly unexpected growth. Deep, personal friendships have sprung from conversations reminiscent of a endless late-night college dorm room, reminiscent of the bar of one’s dreams.
And I’m not just a regular. I’m Sam Malone. It might seem arrogant for me to write that, but believe me, it feels humbling. Because without the good grace of my customers, I’d still be the guy talking to himself in the tiny room.
Perhaps it could be like this forever. I don’t know. Part of me remains curious to find out. But there’s another part of me that’s ambitious. The part of me that has wanted things when I could only dream about them, now has a chance to go grab one of them.
Now to be fair, calling Jon “one of our own” isn’t really accurate, as Jon is informally known as the dean of all Dodger bloggers and respected by all during his years covering the team and building a fantastic community of fellow fans. Congratulations Jon, and the Dodgerfan guys look forward to continuing to join in the conversation over at the Times!
Oh, and if you can’t get enough of Dodger Thoughts, be sure and pick up Jon’s new book, 100 Things Dodgers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die at Amazon. It’s coming out in April, and should be a great companion piece as we open another season of Dodger baseball.