Keith grew up listening to KQED at his Grandpa’s house in the Central Valley. Over on the other coast, I grew up with my Mom’s radio tuned to WGBH in Boston. When Keith moved to San Francisco, he was happy to discover that KQED’s studio wasn’t far from his new place, so he was eager to give back to the station by volunteering. He soon rose to the position of volunteer supervisor.
My reasons for volunteering were perhaps a bit more selfish; I loved the programming, of course, but I was also underemployed at the time, new to the area and hoping to meet someone special. It seemed silly to keep putting things like “must love NPR, Ira Glass, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” in my online dating profile when I could just go to the source: the KQED studio, where I was bound to meet kindred spirits! I was strategic about it; I figured that singles might be more likely to volunteer on Friday nights, so I picked that time for my first shift.
Keith was hard to miss. Standing on the sidelines, arms crossed, waiting to assist the neophytes, he was six feet tall, bearded, with long, curly blond hair, clad in a black t-shirt, black kilt (which I had initially thought was a skirt -- hey, it’s San Francisco) and patent leather stomper boots. He was intriguing, sure, but not what I’d call the public radio type, and definitely not my type. But he was always quick to answer our questions, and was both professional and friendly, asking me about the knitting I was doing between phone calls.
Normally, I’d be demure and flirty, but I had already dismissed him as an oddball, so I thought I’d just let it all hang out. “Yeah, I’m knitting this blanket so I can stay warm while I’m watching TV with my three cats,” I said, almost hoping he would dismiss me as a Crazy Cat Lady.
But without missing a beat, Keith said, “Oh, my cats like to keep me warm by sleeping up here with me” -- and he gestured toward his chest.