During the night of October 30th, as we watched John Carpenter’s 1978 horror classic Halloween and hurricane Sandy raged outside devastating coastal parts of the city I call home, I asked my girlfriend Sarah to marry me. As the main theme from the film played in the background, I showed her the ring and told her that is was important to me that she know that no matter what happened that I would be there for her. That I was not going anywhere. That she could rely on me. I wanted her to know that no petty squabble or disagreement or fight was going to scare me away. I said some other, more personal things I won’t repeat here, but in the end her eyes welled up, she said yes, and put on the ring.
I texted my mom and she texted hers. Our moms were excited for us. The next day I was making my way through my myriad siblings and immediate family members when I saw that she had changed our Facebook status which led to a couple, “OMG U R ENGAGED?!?” texts. I followed those up with phone calls and felt satisfied that everyone knew and I could get back to finding out what the hell turmoil the hurricane had caused. Unfortunately, I completely forgot to tell my brother Patrick and he didn’t find out until I invited the whole family to the engagement party. Sorry, Patrick.
Overall the response was incredibly positive. Many congratulations, many ZOMGs, many questions about the date (we don’t know yet, chill out), but overall the weirdest reaction I got was, “Is this for real?”
Yes, god damn it, it’s for real. And if it wasn’t, it is an incredibly unfunny joke. Why would I lead people I care about to believe I’d gotten engaged as a joke? That is so rude. Granted, I post almost nothing on Facebook that reflects my real feelings about things or are indicative of my real character. For me, Facebook is a place to make jokes and fuck with people. Who takes that shit seriously? Why would I post something serious about myself there? So, yeah, I see where people were coming from, but I found the response (which came from a number of people) incredibly odd. Not enraging, just weird. I am not mad, it just stood out as a curiosity. Whatevers.
Regardless of how some people reacted, I am really excited about it. The idea of getting married was always a scary one. What if I picked the wrong person? Would I get bored? Do I secretly hate this woman? That sort of thinking was certainly the block in my last serious relationship. I could never imagine myself married to the woman I was with—through no fault of hers—so we stayed in this stupid holding pattern for years. In retrospect, she and I would have both been much better off ending the relationship halfway through the 7 years we ended up spinning in circles. But, hell, live and learn, right?
I knew this time that is was the right decision when the thought of marrying Sarah produced none of those questions in my oh-so-worry-prone brain. Sure, I was nervous and excited, but who wouldn’t be? The important thing was that there was no fear mixed into the emotional stew involved with this sort of decision. That was the key.
I remember the moment I initially knew I was going to marry this woman. I was in Los Angeles working on a Ford job. I spent the day with friends drinking beers, spent some time in the emergency room, went back to drinking beers, met my other friends, and then went to a very late dinner. As I was sitting with Paul and Ariel in some diner somewhere half nodding off, half picking at the food in front of me, I was talking talking talking about this girl I had been seeing. She’s so this! She’s so that! I described her to them as “smart and funny and beautiful and a little bit mean, in the right way.” Ariel laughed and told me that was pretty much how she would describe me too. And I said, “Fuck it, you know, I’m just going to marry this girl and bring her out here to California and it’s going to be awesome!” Then I fell asleep for a moment. When I woke up a moment later, still at the table, I remember thinking, Huh, well that wasn’t very scary. I guess it’s a good idea.
Besides, I really like her.
I suppose the 16 months between the dinner and the presentation of the ring were just months she and I both needed to get things in order for the proposal to make sense. Our relationship took a turn for the worst and then ended and then picked back up again for a much much stronger take 2. And now here we are. There were bumps in the road, but there always are. Some things have been difficult, but nothing that’s worth doing is ever easy. And there’s still a whole bunch of stuff to figure out, but isn’t that all part of the fun?
Keep your eyes peeled for further musings on this process of getting married. I am sure I will have a lot to say.