I belong to a local blogging group, and the question has been asked, "How'd you meet your significant other?" I thought that I'd detour from my normal geeky ramblings to answer this question if for no other reason than I think the answer is actually a good story. Here's how the whole thing went down...
Back in May of 2007, I was a man on the move. I was working as a Training Captain with the fire department, and had divorced from the Devil just two short years earlier. My life at that point basically consisted of going to work, training firefighters, buying equipment for the fire department, going home and finally laying any ground work I could in order to truly, honestly meet the right woman. That's pretty much all I did...with the exception of bathe and eat every now and then. I would also try to see my two daughters as much as possible, but it was difficult dealing with their mother.
One of my best friends was also laying ground work to try and get me to meet the right woman as well, and he already had a plan once he knew I wasn't actively dating anybody. When he saw his opportunity, he put on his Cupid wings, strapped on his golden bow, filled his quiver with the Arrows of the Matchmaker and cinched up his little diaper. Actually, it was all quite disturbing, and I asked him if he could please change into real clothing, and put the weaponry back under his bed. Reluctantly, he complied and continued to make contact with a certain lady to see if she, too, was available for a lunch rendezvous to meet me.
Her name was ALSO Nigel...
I got a phone call from my friend asking me if I was available for lunch, and he wanted to see if I would meet this "other" Nigel, the girl. I was intrigued, but after having met and dated several women who were in the less-than-stable category, I was hesitant. He told me that she was a single mother of three daughters, and that made me feel a little better, since our daughters were around the same age. He sent a picture to me via email, and after laying eyes on this girl Nigel for the first time, my interest was, indeed, piqued. I agreed to the lunch date, with the understanding that he would also be there so that nobody felt uncomfortable (his idea).
The noon lunch date arrived, and I drove up in the 1996 P.O.S. fire department training van to the CiCi's pizza on the North side of town. I was a tad bit apprehensive about the whole thing, simply because I have a tendency to underestimate ANY capabilities I may have. As I exited my Crapmobile, I saw her and the feeling I got when I saw her picture a few days earlier was renewed. I was tingly and nervous, but exuded nothing but confidence. After all, I was a professional firefighter, right?
Our eyes met as Bryan introduced us, and I stuck out my hand like I was a vacuum-cleaner salesman. "I'm an idiot." was all I could think as I fumbled with the introduction. Come on, Nige...you're a pro. A PRO, dude! I collected myself a bit more, and opened the door for her (you see, I'm a gentleman like that. At least I didn't forget and screw THAT up). Once we stepped into the pizza joint, things changed immediately. One small incidental joke (unfortunately directed at our mutual buddy, Bryan) was the catalyst for conversation. Not only conversation, but fun, genuine and comforting conversation!
At that point, the floodgates were open. All it took was that one crack in the ice, and the glacier shattered. We were talking like two best friends who hadn't seen each other in years. We laughed, joked and made more fun of our friend Bryan (sorry brother). After about an hour, he bailed to take care of a much-needed nap and left us by ourselves. From that point on, we didn't need the crutch of a mutual friend in order to converse and enjoy each other's company. We spent the next hour and a half swapping stories of our pasts, talking about our interests and just generally getting to know each other. I was happy beyond explanation that I had found somebody like her. The fact that we had the same name didn't hurt, either!
Well, I was late back to the office and she needed to get things ironed out for her trip to Oklahoma to see her sister. As we exited the restaurant, I once again felt nervous. "What do I do now?" was the question that popped up in my mind. I felt like a little boy who sorely wanted to give that little girl a kiss, a hug...anything to show her that I was interested and honestly had a great time, but I didn't quite know what the etiquette was and I CERTAINLY didn't want to screw anything up. I opted to ask her if I could give her a hug, and she gladly agreed. We embraced. I asked if I could call her, and she happily handed me her phone number. We smiled, waved and parted ways from our first meeting. I called as we exited the parking lot so that she had my number on her phone, and was already eagerly awaiting the next phone call, the next meeting.
That weekend as she departed for her sister's house, we texted back and forth, filling in the gaps from our initial meeting. The one thing that I will always remember about that particular text conversation (she was actually an hour away from Springfield in standstill traffic due to a huge accident on the highway) is that I asked what her favorite music was. When she replied that she loved "Q102.1 FM" (our local hard-rock station) and basically liked anything but country music, I KNEW I had to marry this woman! My next text to her was, quite literally, "will you marry me?"
...she texted back: "Yes."
Almost three years later, we're still the best of friends. We're each other's confidant. We have never had a cross word, and continue to support each other beyond what each of us had ever experienced previously. As cliche as it sounds, there IS a perfect someone out there for everybody. I still shake my head every day and wonder how I was lucky enough to find mine...