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A Homecoming, of Sorts

After Reclaim Open, I popped up to New York for HASTAC 2023, being held at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. It's been a homecoming of sorts for me, both because of my long-standing relationship with HASTAC and because I lived for several years in nearby Park Slope. (Of course, one might prefer not to have your homecoming take place in quite such a postapocalyptic environment, but thankfully things got better.) Given that I was so close to my old stomping grounds, and given that the thing I've most missed is the restaurants, I decided to take myself out to dinner at my old favorite sushi place, Ki.

With the exception of the pandemic-built terrace out front, the restaurant looked exactly as I remembered, and much of the staff was still there, which is something considering it's been six years since I left. I sat in my old favorite seat at the sushi bar and ordered the omakase, and tried to figure out how to reintroduce myself.

The sushi chef was super busy, and so I waited for him to hit a bit of a lull, and apologetically asked him to remind me of his name.[1] He looked at me a bit quizzically and said "my name?" and then told me. And it all fell back into place. I said that he probably didn't remember me, but that I used to eat there all the time --


I was floored. He said he'd asked his colleagues if it was me when I walked in, but they had said no (my hair is super short now so I'm not surprised at all that they didn't recognize me). The manager exclaimed "it is you!" and asked how my partner was doing -- by name! -- and they asked how things were in Michigan, and what brought me back.

And on top of all that, I had without question the best sushi dinner I've had in years. So good I wanted to cry.

I get why they say you can't go home again. Lots has changed in the neighborhood, and it's clearly not where I'm grounded anymore. But this was an amazing little bit of homecoming, and I'm hugely grateful to have gotten it.

  1. I am, not to put too fine a point on it, crap with names. And I hate it. It's mortifying. I discovered while having dinner in a bar in Fredericksburg that I have all of the lyrics to the entire Sirius XM Yacht Rock catalog stored in RAM, and I'd really love to clear that out and install better data structures for recall of actual people and their actual names. ↩︎


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