How did Ronnie and I meet, you ask? Well, it’s a long story. Actually, you didn’t ask, and it’s a pretty short story, but I’m going to tell it anyway.
I was employed at a home improvement super store which was not Lowe’s while I was a college student. Here’s some advice for all you eighteen-year-old girls out there: this is a great job if you don’t mind being propositioned, objectified, hit on, flirted with, asked out, and stared at by customers and employees, most of whom are at least twice your age, on a very regular basis. Anyway, I worked there, and I hated it. I was offered money to give a father and son who came through my check-out line a private dance. An employee asked me to stay with him while his wife and kids went out west to visit family. And those were just the stand-outs. I was literally asked out so often that I quit even looking at the person I was turning down. You’d think a woman had never stepped foot in that store before.
So, one day I was working the register in the lumber end of the store. I didn’t have men on my mind at all, but then a really attractive man came through my line with a cart full of materials to build a privacy fence. I rang him up slowly and tried to catch his eye the whole time. He wouldn’t look at me. I checked his finger for a ring. Nothing. He was driving me crazy by not looking up. All those men who asked me out constantly, and the ONE TIME I wanted to be noticed, this guy wouldn’t give me the time of day! Arg!
Finally, he had to look up as I gave him his total – somewhere around $300. I smiled as I took his debit card from him, and he smiled back a little. I was thinking he might actually talk to me, and then the dreaded thing happened – the end of any conversation we may have had – his debit card was declined.
Darn it. Darn it. Darn it.
I bashfully told him the news, and he fumbled around with his wallet and mumbled something about a paycheck not going in and running home to get the cash and being right back. I knew it would be a miracle if Mr. Hottie ever came back. I just knew he didn’t have the cash at home. I pulled his cart over to the side, fully expecting to have to return all the lumber to its rightful place before my shift was over.
He came back.
I rang him up again, and we didn’t talk the whole time. I had given up on even trying to be cute with him. I gave him his total and he paid with cash. He thanked me and started rolling that cart right out the door.
I sighed and watched him leave. He sure was a good-looking one. Strong. Polite. Ooo, and he builds fences, so he’s handy. And those eyes! Those big blue eyes…Oh, well.
The automatic doors opened as his cart passed through. Instead of walking, though, he turned around and blurted out, “Do you want to go out sometime?”
I think it surprised both of us.
He recovered a little and walked back to my register, leaving his purchase in limbo.
“Umm…what’s your name?” I asked. I couldn’t remember it off the debit card. After all, it didn’t actually work.
And then, from some deep-rooted, recently burned-by-an-idiot-who-said-he-loved-me place inside me, all these questions came pouring out like the rat-a-tat-tat of machine gun fire:
“Do you smoke? Do you drink? Do you party? Do you go to church? Do you still have your tonsils? Do you or have you ever supported Ross Perot? Coke or Pepsi? Butter side up or butter side down? Do you have any children? Do you enjoy bonsai? Do you speak Spanish? Do you wish you spoke Spanish? Are you divorced? Do you use drugs? Are you gay? Do you have any skeletons in the old proverbial closet? Do you brush your teeth with hot water? Do you snore? Are you a vegetarian? Do you have a criminal record?”*
Whew! I took a deep breath. Ronnie was still alternating between nodding and shaking his head with a very confused look on his face. When we both recovered, we stood there looking at each other for several moments.
I shrugged. “Well, I don’t go out with people I don’t know, but here’s my number.” I handed him a scrap of a yellow sales flyer with my name and number written on it. He took it and put it in his pocket. He walked back to his cart and pushed it on out the door.
I never thought he would call me. Especially after the irrational interrogation I had just subjected him to.
But, he did.
We talked for an hour that first time. We went out the next night. And we’ve been together ever since.
Don’t ask me why he would have called me even after I went all crazy-girl on him. But I’m sure glad he did. We are perfect for each other.
Maybe he knew that.
* This was twelve, almost thirteen, years ago. I can’t remember exactly what I asked him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this were pretty accurate.