November 7, 2013: A Date

Not the best picture, but thank-you to the 22 year-old young man kind enough to snap it
(obviously I was worried about someone taking my drinks!)
Four years. Seriously. Can you believe it? Four years ago today, Garrett and I went on our first date. Sounds like a typical night out. But not really. I flew to Denver. The few who knew I was making the flight were taken aback. With my last date being twenty-three years earlier, I now get their consternation.

As this little story makes me smile, I think it is appropriate for me to share.

So, yes, Garrett and my first date entailed me getting on a plane and flying to Denver that Saturday night, November 7, 2009. We met a few weeks previously at a conference. Garrett was the presenter. I was an attendee. We communicated by phone and e-mail over the course of those weeks. And then he asked me out.

I initially laughed it off with the 550 mile distance between our respective homes. After three days of reflection, I accepted the invitation. And then I stayed silent to my Omaha inner-circle. After the many hours of mentoring from my family and friends on how my future dating life should look, how could I explain this to them? My first post-divorce date required a flight to Denver.

But it felt completely right. I wasn't worried a bit. Other than explaining it. So I kept my mouth shut. My cautious side told me I better tell someone. Just in case my plane went down. So I confided in my friend, Angelique. Her response was positive. She thought it sounded exciting. Perfect. A first good step in my mind.

And then I told my soon-to-be ex-sister and brother in-laws. Their response was very cautious. As they rationalized the sanity of my action out loud, they relied on my typical sound judgement. "Sandy makes good choices" was Russ' final analysis. Robbie lectured me on potential alcohol consumption and the buddy system.

"Only two glasses of wine, not three. Text me when you land and then again when you are safely in bed. I want your flight information. If I don't hear from you, I'm calling the police."

Perfect. A good strategy if Garrett ended up a crazy man. I like a good plan B. The last person I told was my brother, Matt. He worked by my house and had stopped by over his lunch hour. As we watched college football and shared a turkey wrap, I blurted out my plan.

"I have a date tonight. I'm flying to Denver."

As he choked on his wrap, Matt looked me in the eye to reaffirm that I wasn't joking.

"Today? You are seriously getting on a plane to meet a stranger from Denver??"

I went on to explain that Garrett wasn't a stranger. And although our acquaintance was brief, our circle of colleagues had long-time connections. Garrett's references checked out. Matt hesitantly went with it while still wondering if I was in some strange stage of post-divorce delusion.

The flight to Denver was relaxing. I was excited. A out-of-town date; kind of edgy for a conservative accountant and middle-aged mom. Who would have thought? The reality was that my date was also middle-aged and a conservative IT guy. Two peas in a pod.

Garrett picked my up at the airport and we instantly reconnected like a couple of old souls. Dinner was Mexican fare in Downtown Denver. We drank margaritas and ate endless chips. The conversation never lagged. There was no awkwardness, just pleasant enjoyment of each other's company.

What I remember most was asking Garrett early in the night to tell me about his first chapter. He initially looked at me blankly. In our previous phone conversations, we had often referred to our new single lives as a new chapter. I quickly explained that we were both now in our third chapter of life. Our previously married chapter was Chapter 2. I had never heard about his life growing up; the pre-marriage chapter. I wanted to hear all about Chapter 1.

Garrett lit up and told me everything about about his childhood, parents, grandparents, college. He told me about his grandma waking him up to watch the first man walk on the moon as he sat on her lap. He told me about his childhood dog and his first girlfriend.

Everyone has a story and I love hearing them. Garrett's story was exceptional. I really liked this guy with a sparkle in his eyes.

Later Garrett told me how it took him aback that I was so interested in hearing about him. Past dates entailed women who did most of the talking with the conversation was centered around them. I unintentionally scored some points. We both past muster with each other. Our date was comfortable and fun. We were quite the duo.

Now four years later to the day, we sit drinking margaritas and sharing tacos again. And we share life. We talk about our kids and football and all those wonderful, but sometimes crazy things, that have filled up our Chapter 3. I am starting to think that it's time to move on to Chapter 4. A good writer always knows when you have reached a perfect close. Is it time to a break into a new Garrett and Sandy chapter? Hmmmmm........

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