Bullitt's Bros

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Announcement

Okay, there I was.

I had just arrived at my apartment in New York after a trying day with the airlines. I had been scheduled to arrive the day before, namely Valentine's Day, but my flight had been cancelled; this day--my birthday!--my flights had been delayed a total of three hours. I wanted to tell my lady something important, and it couldn't wait. Consequently, as soon as I arrived in my apartment, I asked, "Do you want your present?"

"Sure. Do you want your present, too?"

I really wanted to get my announcement off my chest, but I love presents. So I barked,

Me: Yes!
Lady: Well, sorry; it didn't arrive. But...I got you a sweater vest!

This was too much! I'd never been able to pull off a sweater vest before, and now here was my lady practically begging me to start wearing a sweater vest. What had started out as a frustrating exercise in impatience was fast becoming memorable.

Me: Okay, I have your gift, but I want you to close your eyes.
Lady: Okay.

She moved to the couch and held out her greedy little hands.

Lady: Should I hold out my greedly little hands?
Me: Uh...sure.

I took out the engagement ring I had bought earlier, got on one knee, and asked,

Me: [Name omitted], will you marry me?

My lady was stunned.

Lady: Oh, my God! ... Oh, my God! ... Oh, my God!
Me: Well, is that a yes?
Lady: Yes! Yes, I will marry you.

Then she kissed me.

***

Oh, what a long, strange product roll-out it had been. How did I get to this point?

Here's the long version:

Cut to: February 14, 2003. It was Valentine's Day, and it was a simpler time. Writing my dissertation was the name of a hilarious joke I told myself, Stouffer's frozen dinners hadn't yet come out with their "Corner Bistro" line, and the war on Iraq was obviously justified. A week earlier, I had made contact with a delightful-seeming soul named "ethelredunready", and we had agreed to meet today at a local Ann Arbor joint called Red Hawk. She--I assumed it was a she--told me that I didn't have to go if I was sick, but I ignored that advice as yet another instance of typical female devilry.

It was Valentine's Day and our first date. That was a lot of pressure; would I send her an unfriendly message if I didn't show up with flowers? Would I indicate to her that I was creepy if I did? I didn't know what to do, so I asked that fount of romantic wisdom, Chris D, a.k.a., "photon boy".

Me: Should I buy her flowers?
Photon Boy: Of course! It's Valentine's Day!

That settled that. I went down to the florist.

Me: I'd like a Valentine's Day bouquet!
Work-lady: Lovely! What does she like?
Me: Well...I've never met her before. It's our first date.

The work-lady looked me over and quickly realized two things: (1) he's got no idea what he's supposed to do with woman! (2) I want his money!

So she sold me a massive nosegay of roses and what-nots. Probably orchids.

I showed up to my meeting with my future future-wife. I was sick. Sniffling, even.

She was there, too; she looked good. And most important, a lot like a 24-year old female law student, and hardly at all like a balding, skinny, 40-year old male with blue slacks and a button-up short-sleeved shirt.

I ushered her inside Red Hawk and, as soon as we were seated, I made sure to take out my time piece. I had class in two hours, and I didn't want to miss it for this chick.

I later learned this was a bad move.

I also blowed my nose a lot through the meal.

Also: bad move.

Finally, one of the first conversational moves I made was this:

"So, you study law. Right now, I'm TA-ing for a class in law and philosophy. We're investigating the model penal code for rape. What do you think of rape law?"

Worst move.

Amazingly, we had another date. And another one. And four years' more. A lot happened during those four years--Crash won best picture--but not all of it is worth telling here. Really, from November 23, 2004 on you got most of it on this blog or its predecessor.

But let's get to that last week before I proposed.

***

So, it was February 7, 2007--funnily enough, four years to the day when ethelredunready first contacted me. Ever since I was a lad, I was a firm believer in marriage (as a teenager, I would often lazily write, "Mr. Robert G" over and over). Four years of courtship was a long time, so I finally resolved, "yes, I'm going to propose to m'lady; I need to stop referring to her as 'my girlfriend' and start referring to her as 'my horrible shrew of a wife'." But before I could get to that second title, there was an intermediate step needed: fiancée, or as I call her, "future-wife".

I had to get a ring. Happily, though, m'lady didn't want diamonds. Blood diamonds and all that. This was good, because not only was she making a negligible positive difference to the plight of the Sierra Leonians, or however plucks the diamonds off the birds from which they grow, she was making a massive positive difference to me: I didn't have to pay $2,000 for a ring (or, 70 months' salary). Instead, I needed only to pay [amount omitted, but you can bet your ass it was less than $2,000] for a sapphire.

I bought the sapphire, and all was well, except for the day I had to leave.

See, there had been a snow storm in Dayton on February 14, 2007, the day I was originally scheduled to leave. And our driveway was something of a snow drift. It was hard to exhume our cars from the drive-way. What it took was speed: I had to speed, in reverse, from the top of the driveway past the snowbank at its mouth. And I had to turn out at an extreme angle to avoid hitting the house across the street.

There was one problem, though: a man named Nico.

Dad has this habit--picked up, I think, from my mom--of waiting at the entrance of our driveway for the car. That is, unless he's driving, he will not sit in the passenger's side until you're at the entrance of the driveway. Then he will enter the car.

The problem was, if I stopped at the entrance to the driveway, my car would be parked in the snowbank. And then it wouldn't be able to leave.

Happily, though, Dad wasn't standing at the entrance to the driveway. He was standing right next to it. On the street. Basically, if I had sped out the driveway to surmount the snowbank, and then wheeled out at an extreme turn to make sure I didn't crash into the house across the way, I would clobber Dad.

At least, it looked for all the world like I would.

So as I sped out, I saw dad in the line of traffic, and I braked. On the snowbank. And I got stuck.

I had to be towed out by a jeep next door.

Luckily, the flight was cancelled that day.

So let's move forward to February 15, my birthday.

Same driveway situation. Same Dad situation. Same result. Except this time, I didn't get stuck on the snow bank. I managed to rock the car out of the bank. After doing that, I went up to Dad and said, "Dad, please don't stand where you're standing. Stand, like, 20 feet away so it doesn't look like I'm going to run you over."

"Okay. I will do that."

I speed out the driveway, and what do I see in my rearview mirror? Dad. Where is he standing? Why, where he was earlier, of course.

I run out of the car, and beg him beg him, "Dad, please, please, please don't stand where you're standing. Stand somewhere else!"

He did. I got out. I got to the airport.

But I was annoyed. My annoyance was like a second bag I had to check. It traveled with me all throughout the flight to New York.

But once I got there, and I saw my wife-to-be, it all vanished, to be replaced by the gentle caresses of an astonishingly wonderful, supportive woman and dissertation-anxiety.

8 Comments:

  • Did Nora Ephron write that?

    Seriously, very funny and sweet. Like Kevin MacDonald dipped in chocolate.

    By Blogger Joe, at 4:44 AM  

  • I don't think Nora Ephron would have put your dad along the driveway a third time. That's just not believable.

    Congrats Bobcat!

    By Blogger Christer, at 11:13 AM  

  • Congrats. I think.

    By Blogger kmosser, at 11:57 AM  

  • Congratz Snert!!!

    You have successfully moved past the "No kidsy stuff" phase in life from the old WSU days. :-)

    Next life phase:
    "Uncle JoeBob"

    Some advice for Joe… If you get a niece keep an ax in the truck to help fend off overzealous boyfriends.

    Excellent John Candy movie!

    By Blogger Keith, at 4:44 PM  

  • Wow. I think that this may well be the most touching blog you've ever written, Bobcat. Funny and sweet at the same time.

    I can't believe that your fiancee is only 28. I feel so old! At least I can understand now why you never hit on me. You're an age-ist.

    On a completely different topic, I've come to the conclusion that many philosophers who work in moral theory are sociopaths (see my most recent blog post). Fortunately, though, I can say confidently that you're not one of them.

    Pax and congrax, mon ami!

    By Blogger Akrasia, at 5:34 PM  

  • Fortunately, though, I can say confidently that you're not one of them.

    "confidently"? Really?

    Maybe it means something else in Canada.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:29 AM  

  • congrats you big lug. and a mountain of happiness.

    By Blogger jessica, at 12:08 PM  

  • Hey, the joke is funny, but your full name is in the post.

    Love,

    me

    By Anonymous YFW, at 2:57 PM  

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