Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery
Sunday, July 16, 2006
The Secret Origin of Married Man
So this weekend--specifically Friday--was a significant date around here. Twelve years ago on Friday, my wife and I went out on our first date. Exactly eight years after that, we got married. It was, then, our twelfth/fourth anniversary. That's fairly impressive to me, considering that my longest relationship prior to that had been four months.
I don't think I've ever written here about exactly how all of this came about, so let me take this opportunity to rectify that.
I was living in Phoenix, having moved there after I graduated from college. I moved to Phoenix because... Y'know, I don't think I really know why the fuck I moved to Phoenix. It was far away from home, I guess, and I was feeling the burning need to just experience something completely different than what my life had been like up until then. My favorite uncle lived in Phoenix, though, so I knew that, if I was arrested, I'd have someone who felt duty-bound to bail me out. Always nice to have that. I'd planned to work on my writing, which is a good thing, because it's not exactly like Phoenix was bursting with opportunities for an actor. I did one show while I was there: a dinner theater production in Sun City in which I played a ninety-year-old guy. It wasn't pretty. The audience, already upset that they were getting creamed corn instead of peas, threatened to erupt into a very arthritic riot when they realized that I was in my early twenties. If they'd had the strength, I'd have been lynched.
Anyway, I was working in the receiving department of a giant chain bookstore (actually, I was the receiving department of a giant chain bookstore) after a brief, but disastrous, tenure at Mail Boxes, Etc. I liked working in the receiving department, because I didn't have to deal with customers. I got to basically be on my own in the back room all day, listening to music and drinking way too much coffee. If I'd been one of those people who are good at going to work high, it would have been perfect. I was never even slightly good at going to work high, so I never took advantage of that perk.
It was also nice because the booksellers stocking shelves would come back to load up their ridiculously ineffective carts, which meant that I often had visitors, but that they didn't stay long enough to become really bothersome. The cool ones would linger and talk, though, as it was a break of sorts. There was this cute girl who lingered from time to time. Petite, brunette, excellent eyes, wonderful laugh.
I was in the break room one day, eating my daily ration of two microwaved hot dogs (I lived on one package of hot dogs per week) when this same girl was on the phone with the weasly little fuck with whom she'd recently broken up. I did my best to keep my nose in whatever I was reading as she yelled at him. She got off of the phone and made some comment about what huge assholes men are. I told her that, as a man--my new-found ability to grow a moustache gave me the right to call myself such--I resented this generalization. I thought, after that, that I noticed her hanging out a bit more in the receiving room and even being, dare I say it, ever so slightly flirty.
So I screwed my courage to the sticking place and I called her up and asked her what she was doing the following night. She was highly annoyed, as she thought I was going to ask her to work for me. Which doesn't actually make much sense, as we did completely different jobs; it would be a bit like a hospital janitor asking a doctor to switch shifts. Eventually, I stammered out an invitation for her to accompany me to a preview showing of The Client. She accepted.
As my car was at the beginning of a nine-month period of sitting fallow because I couldn't afford to fix it, I asked if she'd mind driving. Classy. We got to the theater hellaciously early, 'cause that's what the ticket said to do, and we staked our place in line, which just happened to be immediately behind a guy who apparently did nothing but go to movie previews, giving him an expertise that he thought would prove very useful to the theater staff, to whom he offered various suggestions on how they could run the proceedings more efficiently. Experience had also taught this guy that it's a lot better to bring your own snacks to these sorts of things, so he carried a cooler of drinks and yogurt. He ignored the "Dude, don't talk to us" vibe that I'd been trying so hard to give off and regaled us with the very newest O.J. Simpson jokes, this being not long after The Juice's famed Bronco ride. Then he ended a sentence with the phrase, "...that's because I have a head injury." I think I might have chuckled at that, thinking he was continuing his attempts at humor. He said, "No, seriously. They haven't put the plate in my skull yet, so I've got this gap." He pointed to his head, which we could see was, indeed, concave. He invited us to touch the soft spot. We declined.
The doors opened, fortunately, soon after the soft-spot moment and we filed in and took our seats. We enjoyed some more conversation and then we enjoyed the thrilling suspense of a John Grisham plot. After the show, we stopped off at a Denny's, where I wowed my date with my spectacular "coffee shots" shtick, which was, at the time, my only means of impressing girls.
She drove me back to my place and we sat in the parking lot and talked for another hour or so. Finally, she got tired of waiting for me to make a move and kissed me. Which was exactly how I'd planned it. Oh yeah.
About nine months later, we moved to Seattle together and I began the long, slow process of convincing her that it wouldn't be that stupid of an idea to marry me. Took me eight years, but I landed her. So now we've been together for a decade plus two. And I still don't have my own car.
Happy Anniversary, honey.
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