Saturday, February 09, 2008

Sixteen Years

Tall Drinks of Water
Originally uploaded by Rozanne.
Sixteen years ago today* B and I went out on our first official date. We went to the all-you-can–eat buffet at the Red Apple, a Polish restaurant in Chicago. I picked the restaurant and obviously had no qualms about what kind of message that all-you-can-eat choice might send. B ate very little; I tied on the feedbag.

B didn’t talk much but listened with interest to me blather on. He even went so far as to write down the names of movies I recommended (Life Is Sweet was one) on a napkin. By our next date, he’d rented and watched those movies. Nice.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t bowled over at all by B, but I liked him. He seemed a pleasant enough chap. I told all my friends that he had a refreshing lack of “objectionable qualities.” For example, he didn’t monopolize the conversation with his views on how he believed Lee Iacocca would make a fine president (ralph, hurl, spew!), like one guy I dated a couple of times. (I believe Lee got worked into the conversation on every single date—big ugh. I hate it when guys repeat themselves.) Nor was B so deadly boring that I had to pound back most of a pitcher of margaritas just to get through the evening, like I did on one unmemorable date with yet another dud.

And he was infinitely brighter than a guy I'd recently gone out with once who would not stop calling me and leaving messages on my machine. I never returned his calls, but eventually he got through. Exasperated that he wasn’t getting the message, I bluntly told him that I simply didn’t think we had anything in common. His response? “Do you breathe air?” Me: “Yes.” Him (triumphantly): "Well, then we have something in common!” Me: "I never thought of that! Let's get married!" (I didn't actually say that last bit.)

Anyway, it gradually became evident—but it took about a year or so—that not only was B lacking in objectionable qualities, he had a number of excellent and admirable qualities. It just took a while for them to reveal themselves. B is no braggart (hey, yet another rare and splendid quality!). And, as it turned out, we have at least a few more things in common than the air we breathe.

And here we are 16 years later, having weathered going on vacations together, moving in together, the death of my mom (B was a rock), relocating to a new state together, and freakin’ buying a house together. Pretty, pretty, pretty good!

*The only reason I know that today is the day is because B reminds me (sweet, no?). I cannot ever seem to remember the exact date, but a few days before February 9, B always sidles up and informs me that Red Apple Day is coming up. Then we both do brain-straining backward arithmetic to try to figure out how many years it's been. Sixteen seems to be the correct answer this year, although I wouldn't want to bet the farm on it.

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