January 10, 2009
Intrigued by the title? Prepare to possibly be alarmed by a brief glimpse inside my brain. Julie is providing some of the writing in this post, but, to be fair to her, she doesn’t know the full context, and she’s a little leery about the exercise. We’ll see how it goes. I suspect it will be lengthy, but, hopefully, entertaining.
Part I — Idle Thought Pursued
This all started with a thought. The most textbook of examples of an “idle thought.” I honestly have no idea what prompted it:
“I wonder what the day is/was when I had known Julie for exactly half of my life?”
When the question popped up in my mind, I didn’t immediately know whether the date was in the past or the future. Some rough mental calculations had me thinking that it was in the vicinity of now, but probably several months in the past.
A couple of days passed. And those days turned out to be part of a completely mentally exhausting week. This was capped by a Friday afternoon/evening where I was at work a good two hours after most people had cleared out for the weekend, which probably contributed to my low-grade OCD (self-diagnosed) kicking in on the drive home and returning to my idle thought. Which led to this post.
It took a bit of digging to get to the specifics. First, ChaCha let me down. Then, MIT’s Nightline let me down (no answer when I called). I had just resorted to pinging a few of my classmates using Facebook, when I managed to nail the right Google search, which reminded me that MIT’s student newspaper, The Tech, has all of their old issues online (and I do mean all of their issues — going back to 1881). That led me to an article (second paragraph) that gave me the information I needed (if you followed that link and are interested in the single most embarrassing piece of information about me that is posted on the internet, the search box on that article’s page will get you to it — I’m not going to make it any easier than that and would be happy as a clam if you don’t pursue it). I did a quick check with a calendar calculator and then had what I needed. With Microsoft Excel, it took me less than two minutes to get to:
I knew Julie for exactly half of my life on September 29, 2008
Julie will have known me for exactly half of her life as of July 24, 2010
So, maybe my initial idle thought was sparked by some sort of Cosmic OCD Force, because it turns out that Julie and I are in an interesting window, in that I have known her for over half of my life, yet she has known me for less than half of hers!
I already had the formula set up, so I had to check: we will have been married for half of my life on February 10, 2017, and for half of Julie’s life on December 5, 2018. Which leads me to a tangential pet peeve: anyone who proudly proclaims that their wedding day was the “happiest day of my life.” Think about it. After the wedding, when you’ve just gotten married to (hopefully) your true love…and it’s all downhill from there?! That’s really kind of sad. Getting back on track (albeit, a meandering track), March 23, 1990, will likely go down as one of the luckiest days of my life, and I didn’t have a clue until years later. AND I had to track down an old school newspaper article to get the exact date. All days prior to March 23, 1990 are Before Julie (BJ), and all days since are After Julie (AJ). Ergo, September 29, 2008 (it was a Monday) was the date when, for me, BJ=AJ (see title).
That brings me to Part II, which is partly a one-shot blog post real-life homage to the concept behind the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, and partly a tribute to the 1991 Kevin Bacon movie He Said, She Said. (Now might be a good time to re-read the first paragraph of this post). I mean, hey, if you’re going to have a semi-coherent-but-hopefully-entertaining-at-least-to-the-kids-in-another-twenty-years-or-so post, you might as well put some context around March 23, 1990, right? The last one of those posts was back in June of last year.
Part II — How We Met: He Said, She Said
Unfortunately (perhaps for you), I was only halfway home this evening when all of the above musings had already crossed my mind. On the latter half of the drive, I came up with the idea that Julie and I could independently document the key points around exactly how we met…and see if/how they matched. I came up with the basic structure, we both wrote down our memories, and the results are below. Julie’s are in italics.
Describe the circumstances that led up to the first time we met.
Tim: Four of my pledge brothers (Andy, Mike L., Horace, and Tomjay) and I decided we were going to road trip to Fort Lauderdale for our first spring break of our college careers. Horace was from Fort Lauderdale, so we had a place to stay that was cheap (read: free). We split the cost of the cheapest rental car we could get for the week, which turned out to be a Ford Taurus, and we were set. All of us were good friends with Aoy (OW-ee), who was a member of MIT’s gymnastics team. She’d met Julie from that and they lived in the same dorm, so she had also become friends with Julie’s roommates: Leila and Wendy. Through Aoy, we had all gotten to know Wendy and Leila pretty well over the course of our freshman year to that point. None of us had ever met Julie. For spring break, Julie, Leila, and Wendy had decided to drive Julie’s car — a Pontiac 6000 — down to Pompano Beach and stay at Julie’s grandparents’ house there. Someone realized that a better scenario than “1 car with three women driving down and 1 car with five men driving down” would work better as “2 cars with eight people on a road trip adventure.” As best I know, Julie was lukewarm to the idea, but she agreed.
Julie: We met freshman year, on a Friday afternoon, after 4:00pm, when our caravan of two cars was leaving for Spring Break in FL. I had had surgery on my knee in January of that year and was extremely ready to flee school and the stress of life there. My preference had been to leave at noon, after my class was over, but I had been convinced by my 2 girlfriends that we should caravan. It was seen as a win-win. We had only 3 people in our car and the other car had 6 people. I did not know any of the guys who were going, but we had some mutual friends. We could use the extra driver and the guys could use some extra space. BUT, that meant waiting for Tim to get out of studio – which went until 4:00pm on Friday.
Describe the 10 minutes prior and 24 hours after we met.
Julie: I was chomping at the bit to go – did not really feel like we needed the extra driver enough to stick around when we could get a 4-hour jump on our trip. So, when 3:45 rolled around and Tim was not there, I was starting to get grumpy. By 4:00pm, I was ready for us to leave, and by 4:10pm, I was asking why we would bother delaying for someone who would take a class that lasted until 4:00pm on a Friday.
When Tim finally walked up to the cars, which I think were parked outside the dorms, I was doing all this fussing and fuming from the middle of the back seat, as I needed to keep my leg perched up between the seats most of the time to prevent swelling, which was still an issue as a result of the recent surgery. My recollection is that Tim was told “you get to ride with her”, though I did not hear it if it was said.
We left campus in time for rush hour traffic and headed south, stopping at my Mom’s house in Connecticut for dinner before heading out to drive all night to get to Florida. I don’t recall a whole lot about the drive – though we found a really great, upbeat oldies radio station in the DC area – and the stopped-dead traffic jam we sat in in the middle of “Nowhere”, South Carolina or Georgia. It is the only time I have gotten out of my car on I-95. I think some of the guys even played frisbee or something of that nature. By the time we got to Florida, we made plans to do some hanging out there together, which included heading to the beach and hanging out at my grandmother’s house.
Tim: I have to go a little more than 10 minutes prior. As it turned out, on the Friday before spring break, most professors let students out early from their afternoon lectures. Mine did not. It was an architecture studio, and the professor kept us right up to when the 3-hour scheduled class time was over. It was a small class, so virtually impossible to duck out of unnoticed. Julie was ready to leave at some ridiculously early time due to her class schedule, a decision to skip a class or two (possibly — I’m not sure), and her mental calculations of when we needed to leave to miss the traffic around New York City. All I know is that Julie was the first person who was ready to leave…and every person who arrived at their dorm ready to go after that was one notch lower on her “favorite people for the day” list. I arrived last. By at least a half hour. Tomjay, Andy, Mike, and Horace greeted me with, “You’re riding with the girls first. That Julie chick is pissed at you!” I’ve actually blocked out the next few hours, but I have some sort of mostly-suppressed memory of sitting in the back seat trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. We stopped at Julie’s mom’s house in Greenwich, CT, for dinner. (A couple of years later, her mom swore that she absolutely remembered me from that visit…but we figured out later that she actually remembered Andy. Hah! I bet she doesn’t remember him now! There’s some irony in the fact that he is now a Commander in the Navy as a naval pilot, but that’s the one tangent I won’t pursue in this post.) From that point on, things got steadily better, and, by the time we arrived in Florida (we drove straight through), all of the guys had decided that Julie was pretty damn cool, and she seemed to have forgiven me my academic diligence.
Describe the first time I proposed to you.
Tim: “The guys” hung out with “the girls” off and on over the course of that week, mixed in with doing our own thing and with meeting up with some other friends who had headed to the area for spring break as well. The plan was for us to all drive back together the same way we drove down. But, the day before we were to leave, Julie proposed that we extend spring break a little bit and stay for an extra night or two. In the end, part of our crew drove back to Boston in the rented Taurus, while Julie, Wendy (I think), Tomjay, and I stayed in Florida for another day or two at Julie’s grandparents house. One of those evenings, the four of us sat around the pool (and on the roof, I think) talking and drinking late into the night. At some point very late in the evening (there may have been a time when I could honestly claim to remember this directly, but that time passed years ago), I stretched out on the couch to go to sleep. Julie covered me with a blanket, I briefly opened my eyes, gazed into hers…and I asked her to marry me. I was apparently extremely touched by the fact that she was extending the hospitality of ensuring my warmth for the remainder of the evening.
We didn’t actually start dating for another year-and-a-half. But, clearly, my subconscious knew a good thing when it found it!
Julie: Toward the end of the week in Florida, we all ended up at my grandparents’ house. Grandma was a great sport and allowed everyone to crash at her house. This meant spreading people out on couches. The first time Tim proposed to me, I was getting him a blanket and covering him up on the yellow leather couch in the living room. He was a bit inebriated at the time. I gather that being tucked in was enough for him to say “Will you marry me?” to which I think I told him we could talk about it later, or something of that nature. It was cute, but not anything I took too seriously.
Overall, we have pretty similar memories, it seems. Maybe that’s as much an indication of accuracy as it is that, inevitably, after knowing each other for 6,867 days (thank you again, Microsoft Excel), we’ve told parts of this story in each other’s presence a few times and discrepancies in our recollections have softened.
And THAT is the end of this post. I hope you have been sufficiently entertained!