I can’t be trusted to keep my mouth shut. Really. I can’t.
How the state of California expected me to sit through six weeks of jury duty without babbling incessantly about goofy things my kids say or who was on Oprah’s last show, I have no idea. The moment we adjourned for breaks, lunches, and for the day I felt pretty bad for the eleven other jurors.
I may have said the following to any number of jurors
all of them:
“This is a picture of my daughter giving me a dirty look this morning after I suggested she wear something other than my knee high St. Patrick’s Day socks to school. Yup, she’s in kindergarten.”
“My son won’t even wave to me at school and he’s only in third grade!”
“My youngest thinks she going to start preschool the day she turns four. With preschool prices the way they are, she’ll start preschool when she get’s a job!”
I found something to talk about to everyone. How much I love nurses. How funny toddlers are. Isn’t Prince awesome live? When is Salt N Pepa playing up in Reno? You know, normal everyday conversations with eleven complete strangers.
When another juror said she was engaged to an army reservist, naturally I had a bazillion questions for her. When did you move to California? Do you have family out here? Is your fiance thinking about going active duty?
Oddly enough, she only had one for me: “How did you and your husband meet?”
Word on the street (and that means, according to our kids) is that we were boyfriend and girlfriend and then we got married.
The G-rated version is we met while he was studying at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California while I was teaching in nearby Salinas.
Now you are about to read the REAL version of how he and I came to be…
I moved back home to Salinas after living in the Bay Area for six years. I had just finished a tough first year of teaching in Oakland, not because it was Oakland as some would try to tell you but because I jumped into teaching with two feet when I wasn’t ready. I needed to come home.
A few of my colleagues at my new school lived in Monterey and invited me to hit some downtown bars and clubs with them. Now I’m not knocking Monterey but it is a pretty big change from San Francisco. The scene is much more mellow. You’re not paying twenty bucks to dance in a crowded warehouse. And short of Fleet Week up in the city, you are surrounded by lots and lots of single young men.
Your scene too, right?
On one particular night in November, my friends and I danced with some golfers or golf fans or whatever, I can’t remember who they were, until a few got a bit gropey. Needless to say, my dear friend K nudged me over a few feet where a tall guy with a beer was standing with his friends.
I don’t remember the exact details but I’m pretty sure I asked him a lot of questions. Where are you from? (Me: FROM IDAHO? WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING HERE? Yes, I yelled that but we were next to the speakers and also I wanted to hear his little drawl.) What language are you studying? Blah blah blah. All the while he’s probably thinking, man, this girl talks a lot and why are her shoes so high?
I’m sizing this guy up. Yeah, he’s kinda cute. Definitely works out. And then comes the moment of truth.
He says, “I gotta go. My friends are leaving.”
This whole time I’m thinking, “WHAT?! EXCUSE ME? I DON’T GET LEFT! I’M THE ONE WHO LEAVES!”
But I shrug and say, “Okay. Your loss. Maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll get to dance with me again.” Hmmm, I’m beginning to understand why my friends called me a
b!tch diva back then.
I didn’t see him later that night or even that month.
Now fast forward three months and I’m having a drink at the same bar a few feet from where we met, waiting for my friends to arrive. The place is starting to get crowded so when some random guy approaches and asks if the seat next to me is taken, I shake my head. Pretty soon all of his friends surround where we’re sitting. One guy elbows another and says, “Isn’t that the girl you danced with?”
His friend nods and asks me to dance, then to dinner, and then to marry him. In that order. Not that night.
So you see, this is the story of how he and I came to be. And what do you know, he did get to dance with me again. Lucky bastard.