My wife is a newspaper reader. Let’s get that out of the way right off the bat.
Most of the time that’s a great thing because I write for a newspaper. But there was one time, at the very beginning of our courtship, when her appreciation of the craft didn’t turn out as either of us would have hoped.
Karen and I met the new old-fashioned way: on the Internet.
We first touched base via email. Then we talked on the phone. And finally we decided to meet in person and find out whether mutual interests would lead to something more long-lasting.
It’s important to point out that it did. Our first date was a success, but there was that one awkward moment that we kid about to this day.
We met at a local pub-and-grub establishment, one that’s no longer in business. Over the course of an hour or so we chatted, learned more about each other and fell into comfortable conversation. It was, in a word, wonderful.
Each of us was on our best behavior, I suppose, and were intent on putting our best face forward. Because we’ve been together ever since, I’d say we succeeded on that front.
But toward the end of our date, our well-choreographed plans took an unexpected turn: One of Karen’s acquaintances walked out of a back room, toward the exit.
She and the man exchanged greetings, and when he paused she knew she had to introduce me. But what to say?
“We’re on our first date”?
“We met on the Internet”?
For a tense, silent moment, the man hovered over our table, waiting for an introduction.
Flustered, Karen started to make the introduction.
“This is …” she began. Then, clearly nervous about how to describe me, she paused. “This is …”
As he stood there — in my mind invading our space — the interloper’s eyes bugged out.
“Dude,” he said. “She doesn’t remember your name!”
Karen blushed, paused for a moment, told the man my name, then he eventually — thankfully — left.
We’ve laughed about the incident for years, and I imagine our interloper would as well, if he had stuck around for the real punchline.
Karen admits now she momentarily drew a blank on my name. And as she blushed and her acquaintance did his best to embarrass her, she nearly blurted out the only Bangor Daily News-related name she could think of.
“I almost called you Tom Hennessey,” she says, referring to the artist and outdoor writer who spent more than four decades working for the BDN.
Luckily, she didn’t — though that would have been OK, too. Tom’s a great writer and an artist to boot.
And luckily for me, that was just the first of a series of wonderful days with the woman I’m proud to call my wife.