Romance and Anniversaries

Don't worry bruh. We got this.
This is a story about romance. Romance that is seldom talked about, and seen even less so. To understand where we end up, it helps to back up a bit. On February 2, 2002, I was lucky enough to be married to Christina Hurley. The quote above will make so much more sense at the end of this little story. I promise.

Watson Wedding
Watson Wedding
The wedding itself was something of a dream. To be honest, I don’t really remember much about the day as I was mostly floating through it. We were married at a small house overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Santa Barbara, CA. We had opted for a small affair, with only about 50 people in attendance. But I digress. We were talking about romance.

She was really quite captivating when I met her. I really didn’t stand much of a chance. When we met in Jan 2000, there were other forces at play. She was supposed to be in Europe, where she had been working for the prior 8 or so months. She pulled the pin on that job and came back to the States early. Upon returning to Seattle, she got a chance phone call from an old friend who was recruiting for a new start-up. My company, as luck would have it. She wasn’t looking for work yet, but figured what the hell. The rest is, as we say, history.

Both Christy and I have always loved to spend our money on experiences rather than things. Before the kids arrived, we wanted to make sure we were taking advantage of travel around the world. We had both had Thailand on our short list of must-do countries, owing in no small part the exotic nature of the locale, the beauty of the scenery, and that neither one of us had been to Asia.

Immediately we were captivated by the beauty of the country. It was relaxation as we could not have imagined. The sunsets were the stuff of storybooks, and we found it difficult to consider returning stateside.

Jokingly called the prom pic.

During our travels, we did decide to pick up a few things to send them back to Texas for our new home we were building together. When I say a few things, you would think that through the use of the word “few” I mean a small amount. Sadly, the double play of low prices, and “everything is negotiable” pricing caused my wife to short circuit and decided to buy the country.

The pile of stuff
We were fortunate that we had made the acquaintance of a young woman in the area who was willing to help us out with getting any and all purchases back to the USA. She acted as a way point for our purchases, and even offered to get them to a shipping point off the island (where were in Koh Samui at the time). There was no reason not to trust her, so we bought some stuff from her, some stuff from others, and left the rest to faith in people.

Our romance story starts upon the arrival of this package of goods in Texas. After several confused phone calls with various shipping companies and customs officials, we were informed that we could collect our goods from a warehouse quite a ways away from where we lived. Christy and I piled into my small SUV, and we headed off to get the “small box.” I put “small” and “box” in quotes because that is how it was described on the forms I filled out at the customs office. It turns out I am such a silly, silly man who did not consider to ask such basic questions as “how big is this box?” and “will this box fit in a small truck?”

When we arrived at the shipping warehouse, we spent a fair amount of time wandering around simply trying to find someone who could help us. When I did find a guy with a radio, he didn’t think too much of me. It was clear from the outset that I wasn’t on his plan for the day, and he wasn’t rushing to get anything done for me. After about 30 minutes, a forklift showed with a crate. A. Crate. A crate that was most assuredly not a “small box,” and it definitely wasn’t going to fit into my car.

Christy and I sat there staring at this thing, wondering how we were going to get the contents from the box into the car. It was bad enough that this was a crate that wouldn’t fit, but even worse that it was a crate. With nails. Big ones. I started to spin around looking for someone to help me, but, like I said, I wasn’t in the plan for the day.

Christy was becoming a bit alarmed at what was increasingly looking like either leaving one of us here while the other went driving looking for a crowbar, or making multiple trips back to this location. Neither option was really working for me, and so I made a decision to solve the problem. I turned to Christy and said “take off your wedding ring.”

“What? Why?,” she asked.

“Just take it off. You have to trust me on this one.”

She grumbled something and took off her ring and slipped in her pocket. With that out of the way, I went in search of the guy in charge. Check that. I went searching for the young man in charge. One thing I had noticed about the guy who wouldn’t help me was that he wasn’t the guy on the other end of the radio. That guy was someone else, and he was a young-ish male who looked like he didn’t believe in wasting time. He also looked like he would understand the plight I was about to present to him.

I walked up to him, and with my best affected street accent (which is comical for a host of reasons we don’t need to get into here) I approached him. “Excuse me. Can I talk at you for a minute?”

The foreman looked up, and looked through me as he considered the source of the inquiry. His eyes immediately drifted back to his clipboard as he said “I don’t have time right now.”

“Just for a minute,” I implored. “Help a brotha out.”

Apparently I hit the right note, because at this he stopped, looked up again, and replied with a simple “yeah?”

“You see that shorty over there?,” I asked, tipping my head slightly back and to the left to draw attention to Christy, whom I had left standing by the crate.

“Yeah, what about her?”

“I’ve been trying to shout at her for a minute, you know what I’m sayin?” He nodded. “She’s the office manager at my company. She’s been with this dude for like 6 months or some shit. Don’t got no time for nobody sniffin’ around.”

“Yeah,” he responded, though his posture had noticeably softened. He shoulders relaxed and he got a sly smile that told me he understood exactly what I was trying to say. At which point he started shaking his head and offered, “but dude didn’t drive her here. You did.”

He was quick on the uptake, I’ll give him that.

“No doubt. Last Friday she sent out this email to some peeps asking if anyone had a truck. Shorty needed help picking up some things she sent home from a trip.” I leaned in conspiratorially and continued, “Boyfriend has a truck. I figure, dude must be slippin’. So I send her back saying I got a truck and I can be there for her.”

The foreman continued smiling, nodding his head, and said in a low tone “creepin’.”

“Creepin’,” I agreed.

Story time was over, and our foreman had to get back to being officious. Perhaps looking to conclude our bro-ment (copyright!), he asked, “what’s this got to do with me?”

And there we had it. Now I just had to thread the needle. “That box a’int fittin’ in my car, yo, and you know I a’int got no crowbar. Imagine what a Shleprock I can make dude look like when I get shorty and all her stuff back to her apartment. Ya feel me?”

Foreman considered this for a moment and turned around to walk away. I lost him! Damn it! Dejected, I started to turn around when I heard the tell-tale double beep of his radio. “Joey, come back.” Foreman was on my side. I started to turn back around when I caught his eye, with a slight twinkle in it, and he said to me “Don’t worry bruh. We got this.”

I quickly walked back over to Christy and told her that we were sorted. She looked at my quizzically and asked “what was that all about?”

To which I responded, “there are some things that are better kept under wraps. Let’s just say he and I came to an understanding.”

Not one to miss a beat, Christy looked up at me, with a touch of doubt in her voice, asked, “what did it cost you?”

“To be honest,” I replied, “I really don’t know yet. I figure this is at least $40.”

It didn’t take long for Joey to return. Or rather, Joey and his boys. 4 very large looking me emerged from somewhere, each brandishing a crowbar. My first thought was to turn and run, but I had to trust that Foreman was a true as a romantic as I pegged him to be. Joey walked right up to me and asked, “that your truck?” To which I simply nodded and the crowbar quartet set to work. Within seconds they had dismantled the box. To be honest, that’s all I could have hoped for, but the Foreman’s crew crushed it for me by taking the contents of the crate and started loading my truck. They loaded my truck. Loaded. Truck. Mind. Blown.

I could sense alarm from Christy, and she made it plain when she tugged on my shirt and demanded, “what exactly did you say to those guys?” I was speechless, so I didn’t really have anything to offer. In just 5 minutes, we were ready to go.

As if understand his role of Foreman Godmother, he returned, this time with a smile and a wink. “You all have a nice day, and make sure this pretty lady gets her things home.”

“We will,” is all I could muster, but knew that I had to do more. I reached into my pocket for my cash, and got the hustle up on over to the foreman. I pulled out $40 to slip into his hand as I said, “thanks for the hookup. Shorty asked me if I wanted to go to dinner on the way back. I can’t thank you enough.” As I finished those words, I palmed the cash to his hand.

With a move that screamed of practiced efficiency, he put the clipboard under his arm and unfolded the two $20 bills. He considered them for a moment, and then folded them back up as he looked me dead in the eye and said, “take her to Red Lobster,” as he handed me the money back.

It’s rare that we hear stories about male driven romance. We see hapless boobs on TV and in movies who don’t seem to have a clue about romance. Well, romance as Hollywood would sell it to you anyway. However, I would submit to you that this was a romance story that played out, 10 years ago, in the warehouse on the outskirts of Houston where one man understood the stakes of love, and he pulled out all the stops to help out another man.

The story wouldn’t be complete without a glimpse into Christy’s reaction in the car upon hearing what really happened. “You guys are unbelievable! They did all that to help you get laid?”

Yes. Yes they did. But that was an outcome, not a reason. They did it because they believe in the romance of a young man trying to impress a woman. A young man who would do anything for that woman. They didn’t know we were married at the time, but they could tell how I felt about Christy, and deep down inside, we all want to see the nice guy get the super model.

It’s been 12 amazing years. I know that I don’t deserve my wife. She is better than me by almost every measure. Honestly, if I could make it happen, I would kiss her in the high school cafeteria and then walk out while everyone slow clapped and the outro music played. How very 80s cheesy movie of me, but that’s how I feel every day I am with her. The painfully uncomfortable in his own skin geek who tried way too hard to fit in who somehow convinced the all american girl next store beauty that he was worth her time.