The Original Diesel Love Story – Meeting Jennifer Park
Prelude: My Diesel Love Story is impossible to put to words. Diesel has meant everything to me in my adult life. Not only has it been a dream job, it has brought me most of things that mean something to me. For example, I met my totally dreamy wife behind these counters in 2003. Without Diesel I wouldn’t be a Mom to my two beautiful sons. I have made lifelong friendships and met the most interesting, creative and kind people that I could ever dream of meeting. Without Diesel, there would be no Bloc and all of the wonderful people there. Without Diesel, there would be no Forge and all of the wonderful people there. Without Diesel, I wouldn’t be reliving my teenage dream by serving up the best ice cream in Somerville at Forge Ice Cream. This list of Diesel related things that I am thankful for is without limit. I am in love with Diesel Cafe. Diesel is my love story. However, my “official Diesel Love Story” is about meeting Jen, because without her, there would be no Diesel. I wrote it 13 years ago, when I tried to introduce the Diesel Love Story concept for the first time…in a zine…social media has made this launch of Diesel Love Stories much easier!
The Original Diesel Love Story- Meeting Jennifer Park
I guess it started with coincidence, a lot of it. Perhaps a different way to see it is as a tale of impeccable timing. Some may look towards something larger, but I tend to lean into the theory of good, old fashioned luck. I could suspend my disbelief a bit further to accommodate a more scientific approach. Newton’s Law of Gravity states that every particle on the planet is attracted to every other particle and that each attracts at a force that is determined by their proportionate masses and is inversely proportional to their proximity. It stands to reason that she and I were almost bound to intersect, she being an arguable inch shy of five feet and a few pounds under one hundred and me standing not one hair taller nor one pound heavier. Gravity had us moving towards each other with a relative pull, complimented by the fact that we had been sharing the same general radius for the better part of our individual lives.
The history of a single intersection will never cease to amaze. I know enough to know that the odds are against it. It doesn’t simply begin with the events that unfolded on that fifth day in December a decade prior. You can forget about those. Forget about the fact that I hit snooze an extra time that morning, or hit three greens on my way to work, followed by five long reds. And forget about the school bus picking up children on the opposite side of Concord Ave, forcing me to stop the requisite fifteen feet back for what seemed like fifteen minutes too long. Forget that I arrived at my destination on Dunster Street that day some 22 minutes later that I should have. And similarly, we can forget everything that happened to her that same brisk, winter day – everything that landed her on that Harvard Square corner at the exact moment that I was frantically running by. We can forget it all because it is simply too big to consider. We can purge the thought of every detail, not only on that day, but for each that came prior. Each moment had to go just the way it did, from the time that sperm greeted egg in order to facilitate the navigation of our collective gravitation. And it gets exponentially bigger because each detail matters in the lives that came first and worked to bring us here. If my Grandfather Ralph’s elementary school teacher hadn’t decided to do the seating assignment in reverse alphabetical order on that first day of forth grade in 1916, who knows what other girl might have sat in front of him and tantalized him with mesmerizing braids of molasses. Without them I am nothing. And without their parents they are nothing and on backwards as far as we can conceive. Every last effin’ moment exactly the same, otherwise, it’s all effin’ different. So, automatically our story begins with more luck than I can conceive, with an infinite (and I do mean absolutely countless) number of details dictating our intersection. But, for the sake of the story, lets take it from where it faux-begins…Mass Ave and Dunster, we intersect.
In a single moment, it is near impossible to recognize the ones that someday you will choose to sew together and re-tell your story with. This love story was one of those moments. A meeting of chance, that at the time seemed not distinctly different that any other coincidental point of greeting. And although the fast friendship and four-year love affair that followed were admittedly profound on their own merits, they are still accompanied by a sense of misunderstanding for their significance. It isn’t every day that you intersect with someone with whom there is unquestionable connect. This alone should dance somersaults off the pages. Yet, sometimes you need the benefit of time to reveal the picture fuller. Sometimes it is impossible to grasp the impact of a single detail until you are allowed distance to understand how something so big could arrive from something so seemingly small. Without that improbable intersection at Mass Ave and Dunster, there would stand no Diesel at the corners of Chester and Elm, that much I am sure. It’s unfathomable to imagine that Diesel could have remained a massive mass of potential energy, instead of the heap of kinetic it became, had I not hit snooze and extra time that December morning, one decade prior.
On May 29, 1999, Jen and I gave birth to a two-ton baby, the spawn of our connection. Our offspring, or what I like to jokingly refer to as our giant love child, we affectionately named Diesel. And through this child came all of this. Four walls with boundless space between. Four walls inside which tell at least four million stories and harbor four million more. Four walls that seem to connect pretty much everything that means anything to me.
I often ponder all of the other connections that were made possible indirectly through a meeting of chance – Mass Ave and Dunster Street. Luck or something larger, it matters not, because I couldn’t feel any more thankful than I do for this big story of my big, big love. My coffee cup runneth over.