Happy Valentine's Day! Is it okay to say that? I never know anymore. I get the feeling that this might be one of the last times we can say that without a permit of some kind. Maybe that's just my nearly cowed business owner mentality, but you never know if wishing someone a Happy Valentine's Day is going to invite a lecture about corporate holidays, the evils of men, despair over the state of love in the world, or even some sort of anti-Catholic rant. Can't it just be about the love? (Or St. Valentine?)
Whatever the culturally approved holiday is, let me take a moment to shoot some smooches at my wife. Valentine's Day is kind of like another anniversary for us. We've been married for about five-and-a-half years, dated about one-and-a-half before that. When we got married, both us had...concerns. I was an easy going slacker who couldn't manage a checkbook. She was a why-wait-until-later-when-you-can-do-taxes-right-now kind of person. My ideal weekend was waking up at noon, playing video games until 6:00, then heading downtown to check out some kind of Americana/roots rock band (local, of course.) She on the other hand, might wake up at 7:00 AM on a Saturday and work on her life plan for the rest of the year.
She won professional awards. I got fired a lot.
It was an odd relationship, and one that didn't really get started for some time after we met. But I was never able to shake, much less answer, a question came out of nowhere the night we met. At some happy hour thing for budding journalists and activists (yes, that's pretty incestuous, I know), the guy who basically enabled my moved to Washington saw her and and brought me over for introductions. "Hey, I think you two are going to be colleagues," he said. We were -- I'd just gotten a job as an editor, and she was on a different desk in the Metro section of the paper we worked. "I'll let you two chat."
We did. I think I was still feeling pretty much like a big DC hotshot. I'd just moved here from Montana, and through a series of conspicuously lucky events, landed a job I could brag about. She's a local girl, and worked her butt off to get her job. So, even as I was speaking, all I could hear was "blah, blah, blah." She didn't seem impressed, but when we finally said goodbye, that question leaped to my mind: Did I just meet my wife?
It was an odd, unprecedented thought. I mulled it over for a few years.
Our friendship grew out of 30 second conversations as I'd deliver a piece of paper to her desk every day. Eventually I made up other reasons to visit her desk. When I finally decided to sort of potentially think about making a plan to consider whether I should decide to ask her out, we more or less went out on an accidental date.
We were talking about skiing, and how there were no good places around here. She said she loved skiing (a lie, as it turned out). We made plans to go skiing that weekend. But then the water pump in my Jeep blew up, and she hit a pothole that took out her front wheel. "Ah, dang," I said, feeling like it was my fault. "How about if we just get dinner?"
To give you an idea of how clueless I am, I made plans for whatever the next day was. It was Valentine's Day. I had no idea until I looked at the calendar later. She knew which day it was, of course.
And that was our first date. We went to Mama Ayesha's in DC. Back then, it was a red-and-white checkered table kind of place, but still awesome. Since it's renovation, it's apparently gotten even more awesome. (As of right now, it has 191 reviews with a 4-star average on Yelp -- to have that many visible reviews and such a high rating, it's GOT to be good.)
I don't remember anything we talked about, but afterward I remember thinking "Uh oh. I'm dead. This wasn't in the plans..." (What plans?!?) It was still a while before we officially began dating, but like small comet caught in Jupiter's gravity well, impact was inevitable. Hah.
So, here's to my beautiful, intelligent, dedicated and inspirational wife. I'm so glad my Jeep blew up and you hit a pothole just before Valentine's Day. Love you, hon!