When did this happen? Am I really at that point in my life? Whatever happened to the wild times? The road trips that nobody remembers? The multiple ‘friendships’ along the way??
When did I get to be the guy who has been married eighteen years?
It happened yesterday. A day like any other day, but this time, something was different. I was officially starting my nineteenth year of marriage.
How did I get here? It just seemed like (I know, cliche) yesterday that we were dating. I remember the day I decided to ask her…
Don’t laugh, but I was watching the Meg Ryan and Alec Baldwin movie, “Prelude to a Kiss” on HBO, alone. (I’ll pause for a second to allow you to laugh at a 23 year old guy watching this movie by himself… I deserve it.)
I was thinking to myself, “Self, some day you are probably going to marry that girl (no, not Meg, my now wife, smartass).”
It was then that I also thought about what was holding me back from asking. Was I not ‘ready’ yet? Nope. I knew that eventually we would get married. What the hell, I thought, and went downtown to check out rings.
It was the next week that I finally did ask her. We were on our way to, get this, a ‘gig’ for the band I was in, in all places, Yakima, Washington. If you’ve never been there, congratulations. Think of it as a small island in the middle of a sea of apples, hops, and barren hills. Throw in some pickup trucks and lowriders, and you’re just about there.
Anyway, I had this great plan to ask her right along the Columbia River Gorge, a pretty cool place along the way. The plan was to pull over at the viewpoint, take her to the best possible location, drop on the knee, and watch her eyes well up like Meg Ryan could only dream of.
The only problem was, well, I was scared poopless. I am not sure why. As stated above, I pretty much knew that this was a sure thing, like finding a pitbull chained to a Wal-Mart. Or the chances of a woman applying her eye makeup in the rearview mirror on the way to work getting in a ‘fender bender’… that kind of sure thing.
The soon to be wife, however, was not. She was actually excited. To go listen to her husband’s band churn out REM covers in a bar that serves beer that is so over hopped it tastes like someone’s ear canal, I am not sure why. Regardless, she wouldn’t stop talking and playing REALLY energetic music.
It was driving me crazy. I needed mellow time. Put on the Toad the Wet Sprocket kind of mellow time.
SO, as you could probably imagine, we were both getting a bit on each other’s nerves by the time the off ramp to wedded bliss approached.
I hit the turn signal.
“What are you doing?” My soon to be life partner uttered.
“I need to do something.” I replied softly beneath my pounding chest.
“Is there something wrong with my car? What did you do?” She ‘sang’…
“Just give me a second…”
I stopped the car. Scared and tense. I got out.
As I crossed around the car, I could hear my bride to be, speaking in dulcet tones, that I was acting like a dork, and that something had better not be wrong with her Honda Accord.
I got to her door, opened it, and heard her, ever so lightly, curse my name.
It wasn’t her fault. You see, on this model of Accord, the seatbelt is attached to the door, so when it is opened, the belt has some strange way of tangling the passenger. I can’t quite remember how, but it did, and she let me know.
It was at this point that I lost it.
I dropped to a knee, right there in the parking lot, right next to a garbage dumpster that had been filled with a high amount of urine filled Gatorade bottles (who can’t stop to pee , honestly?) McDonald’s bags of half eaten ‘burgers’, and what could only be diagnosed as diapers from children of the corn.
“WILL YOU MARRY ME?!?!” I, um, proclaimed.
I had the ring out, on her lap. I looked up at her.
She was crying! YEAH! Suck on that Alec Baldwin!
After what I am still pretty sure, to this day, was a ‘yes’, I got back in the car, and pumped up the Smithereens.
My fiancee? She wanted me to play the Counting Crows.
Eighteen years later, and we’re still fighting over the radio.
But in a good way.
And she still tells me to shut up.