Chance Meetings

Restaurant art could produce love

Is someone smitten with you? Are you the sassy brunette in the cereal aisle, perhaps? The blonde in the green Honda on the 405 freeway at approximately 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday?

Do you check this paper's Chance Meetings section—buried in the personals before the phone-sex beauties and after the "Woman to Woman" ads—every week, just in case? I do. Someone was looking for me once; it seems he'd seen me on a recent JFK to LAX flight. The universe was coming together around little old me, and the giddiness lasted two days. I bragged to everyone—until I found my boarding pass and saw that the "redhead" on my flight who was being desperately sought by a man who'd never so much as spoken to her had sat 10 rows behind me.

Surely he meant 14-C!?

Oh, yeah: he'd gotten the date wrong, too.

Mindy has ignored the Chance Meetings ad that ran in big, bold type a few weeks ago. "Working at Memphis? You waited on me. Reading OC Weekly, had sandwich/gumbo, which I proclaimed 'Better than good.' We talked about the bad artwork. Been back 4x looking. Where are you?"

But what a tempest Mindy has created, unwittingly and unwillingly! For God's sake, Mindy, he's been back four times. What do you do? Hide in the kitchen with the cornbread?

Andy Christianson, one of Memphis' owners, says, "We were trying to figure out which waitress it was, and when the guy came in looking for her, he said she looked like Meg Ryan. Mindy's the only one who looks like Meg Ryan." Mindy does look like Meg Ryan. She's awfully cute.

Matt Driggs is the artist behind "the bad artwork" referenced in the ad. They're line drawings of chicks, peacocks, what look like quail and maybe some terns; I'm not sure Driggs even knows. Each bird is sectioned off with Mercator lines, like a head in a "How to Draw a Face" book. They're hilarious. People get really angry when someone cheekily suggests they pay $200 ($240 with the nice frame) for a pencil line drawing of a chick. Some are in ink, filled in badly. Oh, and there are bunnies, too, with very few features (not even whiskers) and no fur, just seams. I think they're terrific.

Driggs shot back three responses in the personals—cleverly titled "Response to 'Memphis'" Nos. 1, 2 and 3, for which he shelled out 93 clams. The first questioned the seeker-of-Mindy's taste in art. The second questioned his taste in gumbo, stating, "I have had the gumbo at Memphis, and I thought it was OK and not 'better than good.' I generally do not like gumbo." The third said, "To the waitress at Memphis who did not like my artwork, I would like to ask you out on a date. We can talk about how I can make my artwork better, etc. I am not married, and I have no kids."

She should take him up on it: Driggs is handsome and really buffed-out, and, after all, he's not married and has no kids. His mom's nice, too. Matt Driggs is a catch! But Mindy hasn't responded to him either.

"I just want to stay out of the whole thing," she says uncomfortably. "I didn't think it was me [being sought in the ad]."

Does she remember the conversation about the art? She shakes her head almost imperceptibly. But she doesn't want to hurt the guy's feelings by not remembering him, and she doesn't want to hurt Driggs' feelings by not liking his art! "I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings either way," she says, cornered but maintaining gracefully. She looks like Meg Ryan, and she's softhearted, too! Mindy is the one who got away.

 
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