Kenski first left a comment on this blog back in August 2008, and he's been a regular commenter ever since. In general, I've always found his comments to be very insightful, and so I'd been interested in meeting up with him for quite a while. But we're both busy guys, with the result that for a long time it hadn't been possible. However, early in January we agreed to make time to meet up, so after a bit of negotiation a date and a restaurant were chosen so we were all set.
The day arrives and I'm in a taxi on the way to the restaurant when I get a txt msg from Kenski to let me know that he's already there:
Hi, arrived. Having a martini at the bar ;) I would appear to be the only one at the front of the bar with something of a beard who isn't a lesbianImmediately I know that it's going to be a good evening :-).
Just like meeting guys for activities, one never really knows what someone's going to look like or what their personality will be like until you actually meet them. So the first face-to-face contact with someone is always an interesting moment.
"Hi, Kenski I presume :-)?" I say to, presenting myself to the only person who fits the description that he sent me in the txt msg.
"Errr, yes :-), hi!" says Kenski looking slightly nervous.
"So are the martinis any good?" I ask, trying to break the ice.
"OK I guess …"
"Actually, I can see that they've got my favourite gin, so perhaps I'll just have a G 'n' T :-)" I say decisively.
A waitress interrupts us to ask whether we'd like to go to our table immediately, but with Kenski's glass still almost full and with my gin and tonic on the way, we decide to start the evening sitting at the bar.
"Sorry that I dragged you over to this restaurant …" starts Kenski.
"No problem," I interrupt, "I've never been here and it looks great, a perfect venue for a meeting like this :-)."
"Well there's this gig that I told you about that I'd really like to go to that starts around 10pm," explains Kenski, "but now that we're here I don't need to worry because it's just round the corner :-)."
A lot of Kenski's blogging has been about his music hobby, and as the evening unfolds it becomes even clearer to me how important this is to him.
The conversation gradually becomes easier as we start getting to know each other, and once we've finished our aperitifs, we move to our table to get something to eat.
"Thanks so much for all the comments that you've left on my blog over the years," I say, "you've always got some useful points to make on those Dear GB posts that I do :-)."
"Well, I think I've made just about all the relationship mistakes that it's possible to make, and more besides," laughs Kenski, "so I guess that gives me a useful perspective for some of those readers that write in to you!"
We look at the menu and before too long we've ordered our food, together with a bottle of red wine. During the course of the evening, we talk about many things, but one subject that we keep returning to is our current and past relationships. It turns out that we're both on our fourth boyfriend.
"The first three guys that I was with only lasted for a year or two, but it's now been well over ten years with the fourth guy," says Kenski, smiling, "and I think, I hope, we're pretty solid :-)."
"Whereas I've only been with boyfriend K for a little over ten weeks!" I say, shaking my head at my own relationship failures, "But I really hope that boyfriend K will be The One :-). I was with my first boyfriend, boyfriend number 1, for about eighteen years, but since then things haven't lasted nearly so long :-(."
"Do you ever see boyfriend number 1?" asks Kenski.
"Yes, actually he's still got a key to my house!" I reply, "Obviously we went through a difficult patch, otherwise we'd still be boyfriends. But these days he's like a brother to me :-). I don't think I could be boyfriends with a guy if he didn’t get on well with boyfriend number 1."
"Anyway," I continue, "seems like you're a little less busy at work at the moment, given that we've finally managed to arrange to meet each other :-)."
"Thankfully my current project will be finished in a couple of months or so," replies Kenski, "and after that I think I'm going to take a bit of a break. I can't help thinking that I need a career change."
"I get the impression that you don't really enjoy your work," I tell him, thinking back to some for the things that he'd told me in emails that he'd sent me last year.
"My job pays the bills nicely, but my heart isn't in it. But I don't know what else I could do which would give me a similar level of income."
"Have you heard about the 10,000 hours that you need to become good at something?" he continues.
"Actually yes," I reply, "a friend of mine told me about it. The way he phrased it was, you need to spend 10,000 hours doing something to become world class at it."
"I'd love to turn my music hobby into a career, but I don't think I've spent nearly enough time on it to be good enough :-|."
We talk a bit about more about his career and I get the impression that if Kenski has any problems in his life, it's trying to find a way of doing something he enjoys and believes in, and which also gives him a decent income.
The time passes quickly and before we know it, it's time to go.
"Do you mind if we pay the bill now," says Kenski suddenly, looking at his watch, "I've just noticed the time and if I don't go soon, I'll miss this gig after all!"
It took well over a year to arrange this dinner but it's been a great evening, every bit as enjoyable as I hoped it would be :-). Maybe we'll be able to meet up again, perhaps when Kenski's current project finally finishes. In any case, hopefully it won't take another year to arrange our next meeting!