Harley gives the best rides - the first date

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My parents’ jobs meant we all moved to California when I was in my late-teens, so I finished school and college in the UK. I spent long lazy summers in their place in Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco, flying back to London each term. I didn’t really miss them that much, as college life was pretty full on – if you know what I mean!! But when I finished my studies the UK economy wasn’t doing that well and I found it hard to find a good job to start a career. I did a few short contract jobs building website backends for large retailers but didn’t find them particularly stimulating so when, during one of our weekly catch up calls, mum said “Why not come over here? There are loads of jobs on offer.”

So that was it. I packed up my meagre belongings and off I went. My friends were like “Wow, Jules, California, I’m so jealous.” And, “Can we come see you?” But at heart I think they were really sad, and I wasn’t. I’m not a hard-nosed kind of girl I’m just a bit of a realist. There was more pushing me to go than there was pulling me to stay. I always say, that the best coders are logical!

My United Airlines flight left Heathrow at 3.20pm one cold and rainy Wednesday in November, (blimey it was 6 years ago – 2014! Time flies when you’re having fun) and after a pretty uneventful 11 hours later, landed in a cool and foggy San Francisco at 6.30pm local time. I’d taken a couple of anti-histamine tabs so had managed to sleep, well drowse really, on the flight, but even so it was 2.30am Thursday according to my body clock. Mum and Dad were there to meet me, after I cleared customs, not the most pleasant experience I can tell you, US customs that is, none of that “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” spirit! Dad grabbed my bags and Mum hustled me out to the waiting car. Did I say car? More like a massive SUV. Huge thing, a Chevvy Something or other! But wonderfully comfortable as we drive through San Mateo on US-101 S and CA-92 W to Half Moon Bay. It was close to 9pm (5am my time) by the time we pulled up at their condo and I was knackered. I left my bags in the corner of my room and crashed.

I spent most of Thursday and Friday getting myself straight, you know, clothes put away, phone contract sorted, updating my location on all my social apps and generally saying “Hello world. I’m here, come and say hello”, digitally! Then it was the weekend and family stuff took over, meeting up with their new neighbours, and the old ones ..again! Family dinners, lots of Mum & Dad talks about what I was going to do with my life, ideas about where I could get a job, hell they even suggested I work for them! No way Jose! Like I said I was in no hurry, my UK work had given me a bit of a nest-egg to fall back on. Towards the end of the second week I started to get bored of just hanging around the house or heading down the ocean for a coffee, I know, terrible isn’t it? I decided it was time I changed my profile pic, so I nipped into the back garden and snapped a shot standing next to some strelitzias, they’re also known as the “bird of paradise” plant, subliminal messaging at its best I thought!

Over the weekend I started to get a few hits from the dating apps I had been using in London, thankfully they’re global these days. The usual series of weirdos who thought I might be some new “meat” to devour, but thankfully some that looked serious options. Mostly they were based in San Francisco, which was a pain to get to, almost 2 hours by bus or an expensive taxi ride, yet only just over half an hour to drive! As I was already on the family car insurance, I’d asked to borrow Mum’s run-about, yes of course it was a Prius! Mum said that was fine so thankfully I was mobile! I wanted to go into San Francisco anyway to check out the scene, the IT scene, I’d heard lots of stories of companies moving out and I wanted to hook up with some agencies to see if that was true and get an idea of what opportunities there were for me. Right, I figured, let’s kill two birds with one stone – well three actually! One, check out the agencies and two/three, arrange to meet a couple of guys who’d made my shortlist – Rick and Harley.

I checked out the reviews and identified a couple of agencies that seemed interesting. I emailed them my CV and added a message that I’d be in the city next week. Happily, both of them replied and I made a couple of appointments, one mid-morning and the other mid-afternoon for the following Tuesday. OK, number one sorted now for two and three. I messaged them both to see if they could meet up, it worked out perfectly, Rick could make lunch but not later and Harley was completely relaxed about the time. I’d told them I was checking out job agencies so we agreed to meet up at one of the many Starbucks downtown. Public and safe, with lots of people around!!

Come Monday morning Mum and Dad left early for work, they didn’t wake me but I heard the Chevvy start up and I wasn’t able to get back to sleep, so I slid into my dressing gown and went in search of some orange juice and coffee! I sat at the large breakfast bar with a glimpse of the ocean in the distance. The OJ was fresh, tart and scrummy. The coffee? Not so good. I was used to a delicate French blend, but the only thing I could find was too bitter for my tastes. Feeling peckish I hunted through the cupboards and fridge and came across some bagels and cream cheese. Excellent! Five minutes later I was happily munching my breakfast, when a message pinged up. It was from Harley. He was suggesting a change of meeting place. He proposed we met at the Top of the Mark. I hadn’t been there in years, I remembered the view of the sunset being pretty fantastic, and it was usually pretty busy, so I felt both safe and excited! Definitely one nil to Harley! And that set my mind racing. I was going to be meeting two new guys in less than 48 hours,

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Written by Wordsmith Andy
Uploaded November 24, 2020
Notes Over the weekend I started to get a few hits from the dating apps. The usual series of weirdos who thought I might be some new “meat” to devour, but thankfully some that looked serious options, including Harley. This is the story of the first date.
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