Day One, Three Days In.

So the deal is done and much of the day was spent in Oakland, some of it at our lawyer’s office high above Lake Merritt. I don’t spend much time in that city, but suffice it to say that much of it simply doesn’t deserve its daunting reputation. It commands a real sense of history and boasts a true blending of cultures, wonderful and varied architecture, and a pulse that San Francisco lacks due to its preoccupation with scene and its segregated race and district mentality. I will always love S.F., but I’m keenly aware of its shortcomings. It’s true, though, that anything on the ground looks ironically angelic from way up in the sky.

We signed a sheaf of seemingly endless papers to finally close the purchase, silently musing over Andre’s special pen that he’s used for every important document throughout his entire adult life. Thank goodness it didn’t run out of ink right then and there. I felt sick for a moment as we reviewed the oceans of legalese, confident on a soul level that I’d be okay with pretty much anything in that contract. Just want it done now. I watched Bob out of the corner of my eye, looking for hesitation or glimmers of emotion. He’s letting go of a massive part of his life and legacy, and though he knows it’s in good hands, every changing of the guards brings with it a certain remorse. I’m sensitive to this and will be for some time. We’ll continue to have a lasting friendship and working relationship, and we’re already staking our claim on the S.F. store, some years down the road from now.

It was done quickly and without grandeur, and soon after we hit a local bar downtown in order to grab a bite – this time on me. A cheese plate, some Belgian fries, and a nice, malty ale. I brought along a cigarillo for each of us, as seems customary for deals like this. We thanked each other earnestly on a busy street corner as we smoked and noted how much of a headache this transaction could have been, had it been under different circumstances. Bob walked away with pretty much the biggest check I’ve ever seen; certainly the biggest one I’ve ever written. And that, as is penned in dime-store novels and ancient theological texts, is that.

Giddy from a rare dose of nicotine and the pleasure of entrepreneurial gnosis, we zoomed over to the warehouse district of Emeryville to meet up with one of our major game distributors, currently in town for a trade meeting. Over barbecue ribs in Jack London Square that hermiston might have served at his last Americana supper, eight of us caught up on some of the local industry gossip and bandied about the history of our store. This feels good, guys. There’s so much respect there, from both retail and far beyond. We’ve got quite the community of Bay Area game stores here, and a few of us are close-knit and fairly symbiotic. There’s always a good word to say and a hot tip to pass around. And the distributors value us highly, and are going out of their way to make this transitionary time a short and easy one. It’s part of that legacy, and a testament to the hard work that has been put in for the past decade.

And then back to the store until 10:30 pm to check in the first tricklings of X-mas orders into our new computer system, an entirely different feeling this time, creeping up the wooden steps, through the back door, and across the floor…this time, as ours. No longer will every hour be logged, figuring out exactly how long I have to work to pay the bills, how many hours I’ve put in unpaid so that one day I would be a trusted choice for proprietorship. This will never happen again, and we marveled at that, not caring how late it got anymore, because we know with utter clarity that what will come out of this place is entirely dependent on what we put in.

24 Responses to “Day One, Three Days In.”

  1. lunesse Says:
    November 4th, 2006 at 10:09 am

    CONGRATS! Sir! Even though my little glass business has no outside home I recognize that feeling…when suddenly its not overtime, overwork, etc…it suddenly is a very obvious balance and no longer a job. =)
    Huzzah

  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    November 6th, 2006 at 2:24 am

    Yes! How lucky are we that we can do something that we love for a living?
    You saying you never feel overworked? 🙂

  3. podle Says:
    November 4th, 2006 at 10:56 am

    Congratulations again, especially on getting through all the firey legal hoops. It sounds like you were in my working neighborhood (I'm at the APL building at 11th and Broadway). How fitting that you should celebrate the changing of the guard with good liquor and nicotine, just like 19th century captains of industry!

  4. FunkyPlaid Says:
    November 6th, 2006 at 2:25 am

    Captains of drunkestry, you mean. Shit, next time I buy a business, let's meet for lunch – I had no idea you were so close! Thanks for your congrats here.

  5. fairyarmadillo Says:
    November 4th, 2006 at 5:48 pm

    Big congratulations! I have a special fondness for that store and I'm so happy to see it in fabulous and deserving hands.

  6. FunkyPlaid Says:
    November 6th, 2006 at 2:26 am

    Why, thank you! I could tell you about all the times your husband used to chase me around the counters there, but I fear it might make you love him even more.
    🙂

  7. scotis_man Says:
    November 4th, 2006 at 6:24 pm

    Congratulations. I raise my glass to you.

  8. FunkyPlaid Says:
    November 6th, 2006 at 2:27 am

    *clink*

  9. sleepycinderell Says:
    November 4th, 2006 at 11:18 pm

    It's real! It's all real! : )

  10. FunkyPlaid Says:
    November 6th, 2006 at 2:27 am

    I've pinched the flesh right off my arm, Mo. 🙂

  11. redshrike Says:
    November 5th, 2006 at 1:10 am

    hooray! and congratulations!

  12. FunkyPlaid Says:
    November 6th, 2006 at 2:28 am

    Thank you, dear.

  13. vervassal Says:
    November 5th, 2006 at 10:37 am

    Dear lord, I'm getting nostalgic over Oakland. Time for a trip home, I think.

  14. FunkyPlaid Says:
    November 6th, 2006 at 2:29 am

    Oh, shit. You'd better do just that, so you can be reminded. Just roll up the windows. 😉

  15. avalokita Says:
    November 5th, 2006 at 5:28 pm

    Congrats on your acquisition. 🙂

  16. FunkyPlaid Says:
    November 6th, 2006 at 2:28 am

    Cheers, Amanda. Keep on the lookout for a place for me in Jersey, wouldja? Heheh.

  17. avalokita Says:
    November 7th, 2006 at 5:51 am

    There are lots of stores to acquire here. Come live with me!

  18. FunkyPlaid Says:
    November 7th, 2006 at 10:35 am

    You'd kill me in a week or less.
    🙂

  19. avalokita Says:
    November 7th, 2006 at 5:31 pm

    I couldn't afford your lovely lifestyle. 😉

  20. jacesan Says:
    November 6th, 2006 at 10:16 am

    My lawyer's office used to overlook Lake Merritt too. It's nice of you to stick up for this city, even if some of that reputation is deserved. 😉
    Congratulations again!

  21. FunkyPlaid Says:
    November 7th, 2006 at 10:40 am

    Gotta keep it real, yo. Figure if I put out the good Oaktown vibes now, there's less chance of this white boy gettin' rolled next time I'm in the city.
    😉

  22. Anonymous Says:
    November 7th, 2006 at 11:11 pm

    This is wonderful! Congratulations!! I wish you great success and a lot of enjoyment.
    (I think it makes you a grownup, though, right?)
    🙂 🙂 🙂
    –Kirsty

  23. angledge Says:
    November 8th, 2006 at 9:43 am

    Wow, we really do need to talk!
    Congratulations on the achievement of your long dream, Mr. Businessman!

  24. mkan Says:
    November 8th, 2006 at 9:55 am

    o/
    Congrats. Owning your own business is a wild ride.

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