Friday, August 26, 2005

reader requests: how i met joe

(First in a series of requested stories)

The short answer to how I met Joe is, "In med school." You know, we were in the same class and all. But I guess you all want the longer version.

(By the way, I often find these stories of how people met their spouses sort of insufferably boring, so if you feel the same way, I totally understand. "Oh, so you met each other through a mutual friend? Wow, what a great story! Tell it again!" But so many people asked and wanted to know that I say hey, just give the peoples what they want.)

The first time I met Joe was during a rooftop barbecue the first day of med school, right after we moved into the dorms. I suspect that most med schools have a similar first-night activity, probably involving the grilling of meats and quaffing of cheap beer. Well, unless you go to one of those vegetarian Mormon med schools. It was the first time that our whole class was assembled all together, and everyone was trying to meet everyone else as quickly and memorably as possible, hoping to stake out our reputations as fun, easygoing people before the masks inevitably came off before the first exams and it was revealed that 75% of the class were actually insufferable, Type A stress-case gunners. When I finally met this kind of stocky jockish-looking guy who introduced himself as "Joe," I actually thought, thank god, because I had just finished meeting an Amit, a Mehul, a Vatche, a Tao, and an Amresh, and I was thankful that I had finally met one person whose name I didn't need a mnemonic to commit to memory. Joe. A nice, easy name.

Then we didn't speak again for about three months. I moved off campus after about a week of realizing how insufferable dorm life can be after college, he became entrenched in his friend network of 5th floor denizens and other jockish-types who frequented the basement gym. I wrote him off as a probable Ortho gunner (you med types can probably infer why I assumed that) and continued living my life.

Then, right before Thanksgiving, Joe approached me before Anatomy lab (I think we were up to the pelvis at that point, the most insufferable block of the Anatomy curriculum to my mind) and asked me if I knew where there was a Toys 'R' Us in the city. He knew I had grown up in New York and that I lived off campus, and he was looking for a recommendation of where he could buy some toys.

After getting over the mild surprise that this meathead jock-type was talking to me, I told him that his best bet was probably the Toys 'R' Us in Herald Square. But why did he need toys?

Well, he explained, he was flying to San Francisco for Thanksgiving, and was going to visit his friends who had two kids. He used to live there prior to starting med school, and he had these neighbors, a lesbian couple, who had adopted two children that he had gotten pretty close to. So he wanted to bring them each a present when he came.

In my mind, I thought: open-minded, check. Likes kids, check. Not ugly, check. Then, before I knew what I was doing, I said, "You know, I need to stop by Toys 'R' Us too to get a present for my sister. If you want, we could go together this weekend, and I could show you where the store is." This was partially true--I had been planning on getting the Millennium Edition of Trivial Pursuit as a Christmas present for one of my sisters. Not necessarily that weekend, but sometime, anyway. Joe, thankfully, didn't point out that he was a 25 year-old man and could probably find a Toys 'R' Us in the middle of Herald Square without needing to be bodily led to it, but he gamely agreed and we made plans to meet up that Saturday.

(Then we both changed into our nasty-smelling scrubs for Anatomy lab and spent the next three hours hacking away at our respective cadavers' urethras. Thank god I never have to be a first-year med student again. Isn't that one of Dante's ten circles of hell?)

So anyway, Saturday rolled around and we walked over to Toys 'R' Us. He was wearing a tight black t-shirt and a pair of green army pants, which I can now recognize as his "dress to impress" variant on casual wear. (Otherwise, he would just wear a white T-shirt/undershirt and jeans, not unlike Hank Hill.) I, in my best imitation of a beatnik poet, was wearing a black turtleneck sweater and jeans. At least I didn't wear a beret and a tiny little goatee. It turns out that the store didn't have the Millennium Edition of Trivial Pursuit in stock (which I realize must have looked suspicious), but Joe found some presents for the kiddies--I believe one item was a giant bucket of toy bugs--so at least that mission was accomplished.

Afterwards, we were pretty much finished with the agreed-upon parameters of our outing, but I think we were each looking for reasons to prolong our time together. Should we eat lunch? Sure! Do you want to come over and listen to that CD I was telling you about? Sure! Do you want to...walk around? Sure! Finally, I did have to leave (my old high school friend was having a housewarming party in Brooklyn), and somehow, against my better judgment, I asked Joe if he wanted to come along. But what was I, crazy? Why would someone I just met want to spend a perfectly good Saturday evening hanging out with me and a group of my old high school friends at some apartment all the way the hell out there in Brookl--

"Sure! Thanks! I'd love to come!" Joe said.

So we took the F train out and spent the entire time at this party talking with each other and pretty much ignoring everyone else. We started dating as soon as he got back from his trip to San Francisco the following week, and got married three and a half years after that.

And now you know...the rest of the story.

Currently reading: The Consumer Reports 2005 Buying Guide. I'm looking to get a new laptop, because my current computer is something like 4 years old and kind of suicidal. I thought this Buying Guide deal would be more helpful, but I think it's written for old people who don't know anything about computers. It's like, "Laptop computers come with a keyboard and a hard drive on which you can store files!" Wow, thanks, useless book.

And also: Remember how yesterday I was talking about setting up a forum or a bulletin board type thing on which we could all post and discuss topics? Well, that's just what I did. So if you want, head on over and take a look. I don't have starter threads posted for most of the categories yet, but I'm sure you guys can think of better topics than me anyway. Just promise to be nice to each other and not write dirty things in there like shit ass piss whore motherfucker, because I don't have time to extensively moderate the boards, and if I hear that people start are getting all fractious in there I'll just close it up. (Not that you guys are the type to be like that anyway.)

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