Monday, October 11, 2010


When you're in love, sometimes it really IS just like a fairy tale. It's those moments when you catch a little look, share a crooked smile, and hear that laugh that it really hits home. Alone, you're half a person. When you're together, it just clicks and Air Supply songs start playing in your brain out of the sheer ether of love.

What follows is the story of a weekend. Not just any old weekend, mind you -- a VERY SPECIAL weekend for yours truly. Why? Because it's the first weekend in recent history that I haven't had a single thing to do. In the past decade, I can count on one hand the number of weekends I haven't had a work-related gig.

But last weekend, no gig. No family functions to attend, no friends coming in from out of town, no THING whatsoever. This, I had convinced myself, would be a weekend for the ages.

In the many, many free weekends I used to have Once Upon A Shane, I had one distinct weekend pastime. I would call up Friend Jason and together we would hit the open road. Sometimes it would start with little more than, "Hey, wanna go grab lunch?" and the next thing you knew, it was 2 a.m. and we'd be in St. Louis. Or Nebraska. Or a state park in Minnesota. Or -- in one especially botched trip -- Beloit, Wisconsin.

And oh the trouble we would get into. There was that one time when we, umm, saw a dog. Annnd, uhh, once the car got stuck in mud. And then one time we passed this guy and he totally waved at us, and, and... okay, so usually nothing at all happened on our epic roadtrips. But they WERE epic and among my favorite memories of the 20-something years.

And it was high time Amy learned. I was gonna grab her, grab Friend Jason, and kick it old school. Maybe it sounds weird to invite your best friend on a daytrip with your girlfriend, but I'd talked up our past adventures so highly that it wouldn't have been the same without him along. This was my plan. It would work. It would be epic.

"Baby?" Amy asked. Uh oh. It's only taken 1.6 years of dating to discover that "baby" is the reddest of red flags. "Baby" is never followed by "I sure do love you." No, "baby" is reserved for one purpose only: "Baby? Can we go do something you absolutely abhor for an extended amount of time?"

And this one was a doozy.

"Baby? Can we swing by the shoe store real quick? They're having a sale!"

Never fall for this again. Shoe stores are always having sales. And girls + shoe stores = nothing but trouble. But I gave in and sat there while the Parade o' Shoes came trapsing by. Shoes that, as far as I could tell, were identical and black but with varying little baubles on top of them.

"Which do you like better?" Well, shoes is shoes is shoes as far as I'm concerned. They keep your feet dry and your toes comfy. I have NEVER looked down at a girl's feet and admired their choice in shoes (except maybe Lady Gaga.)

"That's because you're not a girl, silly," Amy explained. Happily, we made it out with plenty of time to aimlessly get our drive on.

"Baby? Can we stop by my house real quick? I forgot something." Sigh. Sure, honey.

"Baby? Aren't you hungry? Can we go somewhere to eat?" Grr, but I suppose food IS a human necessity. When it comes to eating out, Amy and I have NEVER been on the same page. I prefer fast, American, and simple. She, on the other hand, goes to places like Bob's House Of Exotic Panda Curry Tofu Spicy Diarrhea Nightmare. Places where you look at your food and can't exactly ascertain what it is. She even eats (shudder) spinach.

So we compromised and I treated her to an exotic meal of worldly international cuisine. Namely, the International House of Pancakes. It would be my only victory of the weekend.

"Baby? Can we stop by the book sale at the library real quick?"

"Baby? Look! A second-hand store selling kid's clothes [despite us having no children]! Let's go look at the cute Halloween outfits!"

"Baby? Can we run over to my work real quick? I need to drop something off!"

"Baby? Can we hang out with my friend So-And-So for awhile? She's only in town for the day!"

Before I knew it, Saturday's aimless driving opportunity evaporated in a puff of Baby's. It's okay, though, I thought to myself, there's always Sunday.

"Baby?" said the voice on my phone Sunday morning. "Can we go to lunch with my mom?"

Little did I know that on Sunday, the WORLD would be my Baby. To say that the service at lunch was a little slow is like saying that Lindsay Lohan is a little crazy. I won't say where we went, but it might be a while before I take my babybackbabybackbabyback there.

Then my dad called. "Hey, ace [baby], if you're out and about, could you pick me up a tube of silicone caulk?"

Finally I had the time and opportunity to call Friend Jason and inform him as to my epic plan.

"Oh, sorry man [baby], didn't I tell you I was painting my house this weekend?" D'oh. He did. I forgot. Et tu, Amy?

"Baby? Can we just hang out here? The season premiere of "Dexter" starts soon!"

I surrendered to the gods of a sucky weekend. No aimless drive, no epic plan, I just wanted to make it through the rest of the night without one more --


Teeth clenched, blood pressure elevated. This was it, I was going to stroke out right here on my couch.

"Baby, you know what's a weird word? 'Among.' Among, among, among..."

Before I knew it, I was laughing so hard I was crying. THIS was why I fell in love with the girl. Because among IS a weird word. And because I'm dating someone who knew the EXACT moment to point it out. Suddenly it all made sense. I didn't need an epic plan or an aimless drive to have a great weekend. I just had it. I loved buying silicone - with her. I loved going to lunch - with her (and her mom!) I even loved shoe shopping - with her.

Do I hear Air Supply?

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