About eleven years ago, I was an impoverished recent law grad madly in love with this awesome (albeit crazy; she loved me too) woman. We’d been seeing each other for a couple years, suffering through a NY to DC commute and a host of other hurdles. Did I mention the poverty angle? Yeah, living on a few dollars a day.
Did I mention the cantankerous bastard bit yet? Yeah, we were perfect for each other because, among other things, we’re curmudgeonly, bah-humbuggy anti-commercial fusspots. But we were in love.
So there we were. We’d talked obliquely about marriage, about our mutual dislike of diamonds, and in a roundabout way about ring preferences and all that happy horseshit. So I knew things.
Then a freakin’ miracle happened. We were in Old Mystic CT (a touristy-ish quaint New England town with curio shops galore) visiting with my folks. And this old, independent jeweller was going out of business. Not bankrupt, but retiring to Florida and everything he had was ridiculously marked down. And she saw The Ring.
The right cut she had described, the right stone she wanted, the right everything. As if it was custom ordered. Beautiful.
She left the store kinda bent out of shape. First, she had no idea I had even seen the ring. I played the nonchalant boyfriend bit perfectly, sitting quietly in the boy chair when necessary. But I knew.
She wasn’t pissed or anything, but it definitely bothered here just a wee bit that here she was dating an all but penniless guy who was likely years away from being able to afford a basic ring. Sigh, but we were in love and such was her lot.
But I was prepared for an emergency. Okay, so it wasn’t a burst appendix or anything, but from gifts here and there (some going back years) I had my meagre emergency fund. Not a lot, but did I mention the jeweller was going out of business? As in 90 percent off going out of business? Holy shit it was within reach. I called when we got back home, directed them to the (hopefully) right case and to the (hopefully) right ring. They had no Internet, so I blindly ordered it and had it shipped to her mom.
Everything was working out according to plan. Ring arrived; the right one. Convenient excuse to take her mom out to lunch and have The Talk. Check. Everything was set.
Everything except one thing. It all came together the week of Valentine’s Day. Maybe that’s not a problem for most of you, but fuck. me. Get engaged on Valentine’s Day? Really? That’s just not ‘us’. But on the same token, to not get engaged just to spite Hallmark is equally absurd. WTF was I going to do?
So I call a friend and tell him my dilemma. He’s a great listener, and more than that had great advice. “Look, sure it’s a cheesy holiday, but no one really remembers or celebrates the day they got engaged. Don’t sweat it.” Great listener because that was exactly the absolution I was looking for.
So hooray, these cantankerous bastards got engaged on Valentine’s day!!!
No, wait, get this shit.
So we end up throwing this kick-ass engagement party. Not burdened by the hundreds of relatives or formalities, we throw an epic bash in a Russian restaurant. Great time.
Then wedding planning kind of fell on the back burner. We were building a business, we moved, we got distracted. Oops.
So about a year later that friend was up visiting our new home—we were about five hours away from each other now. He was there for about a half hour and everyone was still in that chit-chat catch-up mode when he asks, “hey, you guys through this amazing party, but when’s the wedding?”
I look at him. I look at her. I look back at him and say “uh, I don’t know, you know … these things kind of happen. But tell you what; fly to Vegas with us this weekend and we’ll get married.”
We scrambled to make absurdly complicated plans—he had to be at work on Monday and was driving a rental car, etc. But hours of Pricelining later and we had our flight booked.
Then the snow came. The epic North American Blizzard of 2006closed airports up and down the east coast. All plans cancelled.
All plans cancelled.
We replanned again. And again. It took us four days of constant re-trying and almost giving up to finally fly out from an airport a hundred miles away. We barely made it, but once things started moving, everything went right.
And the payoff: The day our flight finally worked out? Valentine’s Day.
So much for being cantankerous bastards—Happy Anniversary dear!