A few years ago we were having a dinner party because we like to have dinner parties. One of our guests asked me how John and I met. As people in long-term relationships do, I rattled off the story that has been told so many times I remember it more in the retelling than in realtime: “our roommates were best friends.”
But this guest wanted to know more. “How did you fall in love?”
Ah. The story of our first date. It was the beginning of spring semester 1994 and John was teaching Geography 101, a large lecture class. His mom Betty had given him lots of gorgeous new shirts, colorful, (Betty loved clothes!) but John needed ties to match and it was going to get complicated. He asked me to help him shop and I said yes. After picking out ties, we went to have a few beers and some food. Shopping, beers, and food? How could I not fall in love?
But this guest was on a mission, “What was it about him?”
Okay. Right. You want details. First off, he’s smart. I remember writing a letter to my father telling him I met someone, a fluvial geomorphologist. My father’s ensuing letter had more exclamation points than should be written by a former English major’s hand. I’m like my dad in that I geek out over nerds. Takes one to know one I guess? Secondly, he loves adventure. Early on, John wanted me to go backpacking. I told him sure, that I had backpacked all over Europe. But then we went backpacking and, um, the trail was decidedly NOT PAVED. Even though I cried, I loved it. And after my blisters healed, I couldn’t wait to go again. And third, he’s curious. At heart, John wants to know more: more about systems, about places, and about you.
This guest, was she planted? “But how have you stayed together so long?”
Well, I think it’s very rare to find someone with whom your values are so closely aligned. John and I don’t want to get married, we don’t want children. Our spiritual and political views are compatible. We have similar life goals. It’s rare to find such a close match.
“Except on the Internet,” the guest said.
I laughed hard. True. But back in 1994 Internet Dating had not been invented yet. John and I were lucky to find each other the old fashioned way. And we’ve had 17 years of joy because of it.
I can’t imagine my life without him. I love you Johnnie!