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That Saturday Night When We Bought Not-John a Drink

Laurie and Sean moved to San Francisco. Laurie likes the weather there, Sean likes the work there and I like nothing about the move. Not one thing. In fact I’m still having abandonment issues. Shortly after they moved Laurie was celebrating her birthday and I wanted to fly up for the weekend but my schedule didn’t allow.

I couldn’t let Laurie’s birthday pass because it’s a big one. Every birthday is a big one I suppose. So I called for a flower delivery. I did the same thing I do when I order flowers in any city in any country and I call John from Touch of Romance. I’ve been buying myself flowers from his shop since I was a 23 year old college graduate. He happens to be next to the best car wash in the city and every time I walk I’m greeted with a, “How you doing?” He asks about the family, the kids, the husband and the house. He knows his clients and he’s been making my home beautiful for twenty years. His designs walked down the aisle with me and he’s been with me for a half a lifetime of events.

I wouldn't dare have an event with anyone else's centerpieces

I wouldn’t dare have an event with anyone else’s centerpieces

I’m here to tell you that not all florists are created equal. There was a moment in the late 90’s when I thought I’d want to have flowers from Mark’s Garden all over the house because their thing was fruit in the vase. It sounds weird but it looked great. Here’s the rub. They’re not that nice and when you’re spending anywhere from $80 to $300 (I personally have never spent more than $300 on flowers besides my wedding) part of what you’re paying for is a nice experience that begins the second they pick up the phone.

So whatever. I’m totally devoted to Touch of Romance and I have been and I know that if I call John he’ll know the best florist in every city and I’ll pay a fair price and my friends will be delighted.

That’s boring. What’s the point?

The point is that I called John for Laurie’s flowers a few months ago he sent them off to her. A few days after her birthday I was on the phone with Laurie and tried tactfully to ask if she enjoyed her flowers since I hadn’t received a thank you note (and by “note” I mean “text”). To which she replied, “What flowers?”

After getting off the phone with Laurie I promptly called John to let him know that no flowers were received. He pulled the ticket and we realized that a number had been transposed. I have no idea whose fault it was but it’s very likely that it was mine. John clearly thought it might have been his and graciously resent flowers. Keeping in mind that this is a San Francisco area delivery and not a local Los Angeles one this is very generous. He himself has another florist to pay.

Had any other business been this kind, really above and beyond, I’d have sent them some flowers from John’s shop. How does one thank the florist? I’d been meaning to swing by with a bottle of bubbly or box of really special chocolates but for some reason I haven’t been in the area at the right time of day and it just kept getting pushed back.

I thought about reviewing the shop on Yelp but I don’t really feel like writing on someone else’s site. I also don’t have any other reviews there so it’s unlikely to have much impact. Then I thought about writing about Touch of Romance here and reconsidered because there is no story. If you’ve read this far, hang on because there is.

Saturday night we head to dinner at Lala’s. There’s a wait to be seated so Mr. G and I sidled up to the bar (don’t get too excited it’s just beer and wine) and Mr. G nudged me, “Isn’t that John the flower guy?” And then he went on to tell me about what a madhouse it was there Valentine’s Day. I told him the story about Laurie’s flowers and he sort of nodded. We mumbled a few words about what a decent guy John is and what a great business he runs and then we bought him a drink. Then I lifted my glass and smiled at him.

So when John got up and we both realized he was about a foot shorter than he should have been Mr. G and I sort of looked at each other and gulped. We thought that Not-John might mistake us for swingers.

Well, Not-John came and shook our hands, identified himself as Tracy and told us it was unnecessary to buy the drink. We gave him the story and we all had a giggle and I realized that Tracy not John gave me the perfect way to talk about Touch of Romance and twenty years of stunning floral arrangements. Tracy is the luckiest guy in the world, when your doppelgänger is a mensch there’s bound to be free booze.