Anyone remember the first time you met your significant other? Was it like in the movies where everything goes into slow motion and stars appear around them? Did you know at that moment that you were in the presence of “the One?” I do remember the exact moment I met Joanna and because it was around this time of the year, I thought I’d post about it to see how it compares with some other peoples situations.
It started back in November of 1994. I had been out of school for a couple of months and I was living at home with my mom. She was getting annoyed with me because I was being a lazy slob that sat around playing video games all day. So to appease her, I started applying for jobs that I knew I had no shot of getting, stuff at the mall where they need bodies for the holidays. You see, I’m not a people person and I was sure that no one would hire me for a job involving customer service. But to my surprise, I got a call back from the bookstore at the mall. Turns out they needed a shipping clerk and since I had previously received deliveries at a restaurant, I guess they thought I knew what I was doing. After accepting the job, I was told to attend an all hands meeting on the following Sunday to discuss what was expected of all the employees during the busy holiday season and that I would be introduced to everyone then. The manager told me that I needed to dress business casual, no sweatshirts or jeans. That eliminated 98% of my wardrobe, so I ended up wearing a pair of ill-fitting khakis and a pretty loud sweater.
As I walked into the store, a girl yelled at me that the store was closing, and I replied that I was there for the all hands meeting. She made some comment about my sweater that I didn’t really hear because the manager grabbed me to take back to the shipping area to fill out paperwork. When I came back out, the store was being cleaned up after closing. It seems that a lot of people who shop in malls really have no respect and they just throw things anywhere, so after the store closes, a lot of time is spent trying to put stuff back into the right place. As I was wondering through the store, the same girl yelled over for me. She was standing behind a counter with a stack of magazines and she proceeded to yell “hey sweaterboy, can you put these magazines back in the rack in the front of the store.” I came over and took the magazines and noticed that the girl had on a striped long sleeve sweater, a long black skirt that stopped at her shoes (they were Birkenstock sandals with blue fleece socks), she had on Lisa Loeb glasses, and her hair pulled back just above her forehead. She looked like a younger version of my high school librarian. (I can't imagine what she thought of me and my baggy pants and ugly black and grey sweater!) As I took the stack of magazines from her I saw that the one on the top was an open Playboy, which she noticed as well and so she said, loudly, in front of four other female employees, “think you can get these over there without drooling over the girlie mag?” At that point, I was thoroughly embarrassed and annoyed, and it took all I could muster to not retort with the first jab that came to mind, which was, sure thing Miss Future Cat Lady. But I held my tongue and over the course of the next couple of weeks I found out how smart, witty, and kind she was. After our initial encounter and how I usually don't warm up to people who tease me, I was really surprised at how much I liked her. It was really disappointing that she got transfered to another store after the holiday season was over. But being that I'm lazy and not into change, I still had the same receiving job when she returned to the store as a manager later that year. A few months after she returned, we became pretty friendly. Two years later, we were dating. Sixteen years later we’re married and have a wonderful child.
So this is the story of how sweaterboy and future cat lady librarian came to meet, fall in love, and live happily ever after.
Thank you Joanna for being the best friend, wife, mother, and all around greatest person I know. I’ll never forget the day we met, because it really was the best day of my life!