At the table across from us at San Tung was a gentleman wearing a white polo shirt with an intriguing logo: "Square Sanders." This classification fit him so well that I don't even need to describe what he looked like. But I will. A shortish, balding man with glasses and a Southern mouth, wearing white shirt tucked into brown trousers neatly pressed and loafers. He was taking a call on his cell when I noticed the "Square Sanders" logo and began teasing Matt by calling him a Square Sanders.
By Southern mouth, I mean a turtlish mouth that you can imagine a drawl escaping from. His wife sat directly to his right, engaging the rest of the table in conversation and making the head bobs and sympathetic glances which solidified my conception of them as "Southern." The rest of the table was comprised of grandma, a younger son, and an older daughter with her boyfriend. (They smooched shortly after I decided they were involved, which helped me cement my story of them). Now what was this family doing at San Tung, a Chinese restaurant by Chinese people for Chinese patrons? This hidden gem in the Sunset was a secret spot we had discovered through word of mouth, and if this family was Southern, how did they find it?
I decided they were tourists, first off, based on mom's choice of gray socks with a casual shoe. Nothing against gray socks, mind you, but it was the combo of those and red shirt and a general vibe I was picking up on. But them being tourists made no sense, b/c San Tung is 180 degrees from the tourist route. I finished off my Mu Shu and thought about it further.
The lightbulb went off and I excitedly explained to Matt that they were dropping off the daughter at college, as mid August is the time for these types of goodbye dinners. They all travelled from the South to wish her well, even bringing along her boyfriend for good measure. Taking a few more bites of my meal, this hunch was confirmed when her Cal Berkley student ID was passed around the table for all to view.
Then, they got a doggie bag. This complicated matters, as visiting parents don't eat leftovers, and how is the daughter going to schlep the food back to Berkeley and then heat it up? Regardless, if the parents took the bag, it meant they were local. The bag was passed down the table to the daughter. Whew. The story still stood.
As they got up to leave, I perked my ears to gather any vocal clues to their hometown. They silently filed past our table, but I leered into the young boy's face and looked at the t-shirt he was wearing: Boyle Park Tennis. This plus Square Sanders would be enough clues to google their existence.
Now I'm in front of google, and Square Sanders turns into Squire, Sanders, and Dempsey law firm (with offices in SF, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus), and Boyle Park is a tennis court in Marin (Mill Valley). 'Twas fun dreaming up your story, Square Sanders, but the truth is not as interesting.