Monday, October 17, 2005

The Evolution of a Restaurant

When I started writing the last post, I intended to start out with a description of my dinner at Bateman's last night, but end up someplace far different. But that didn't happen - so it's on to a new post for me.

On our way home from dinner last night, Cooper and I talked about how it had been a month or so since we'd met Bill and Jen for half-priced burgers at Bateman's, and that we'd missed it. During the late spring, it became something of a tradition for the four of us, along with two or three other couples, and it was nice. We'd recap the weekend, gorge ourselves on food, and complain about what we had to do Monday morning. (I was pretty quiet during the complaining part. I'm pretty sure "go to the gym and grocery store" is nothing to complain about.)

It made me think, though. Bateman's for us hasn't always been about easy, laid-back socializing. Before I ever knew Cooper, it was a place to go after my evening MBA classes to celebrate the end of a group project, or a particularly good presentation. For Cooper, it was a constant just-post-college hangout. When we first started dating, it was a place for bar trivia (which was taken a little to seriously by, um, me). And in the months leading up to and just following our engagement, it was an entirely different place altogether. It was the place were we talked about money.

Probably the toughest thing Cooper and I had to do as we got to know each other was figure out how to meld our financial selves. I'm a spender - and a bad one - and he is...not. And doesn't understand how anyone is. There might not be anything more awkward than the initial conversations a couple has to have about their finances. Sharing histories, making plans, setting goals and guidelines. For us, it was more than awkward. I cried a lot.

For a long time, every time we went to Bateman's (and that's a lot - it's only a few minutes from our house) I was tense, waiting for the money talk to start. But then as we continued to talk, and got to some agreement, somehow we stopped having to use Bateman's as our neutral ground, and it became fun again.

But I didn't even notice that subtle shift - like most subtle shifts it was, well, subtle. Until last night, driving home, talking about the new tradition we've started there.

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