Have we got a treat for you!
Last week, we featured our first story in our How We Met series. It was written by Danielle Swimmer Morris and in case you’re fuzzy on the details, you can read it again right here. And then, you gotta read this post. It’s the very same How We Met story told by none other than her husband, Alan.
Yep, just in time for Valentine’s Day, here it is, Ladies: Real life romance from a place we’re always keen to learn about—the man’s perspective. Get ready to swoon.
How We Met: From the Man’s Perspective
Bloody hell, I was tired. I don’t think I’d slept much if at all, over the last 48 hours. I had just returned the night before from a white water rafting trip in Ottawa. Five friends, a musty tent, bottomless beer bottles and thousands of like-minded campers.
It was midday, June 30, 1992, and my rafting rudder-man Robby was in the passenger’s seat of my Suzuki Sidekick convertible with the top down. The flow of fresh air through the car distanced the smell of three days of wet and campfire smoked running shoes. Sticking six foot tall out of the back of the car was my cousin’s couch. Yes, we were tired, but never too tired to help friends move apartments.
It was a beautiful summer’s day for taking the furniture for a drive north on Bathurst Street. Somewhere driving behind us was my cousin in a rented moving truck that we were supposed to be following.
Robby and I were still basking in the glory of all the excitement of the previous few days. Pulling people in the raft when the rapids sucked them out and then pushing them back overboard when they weren’t looking. Screaming at the top of our lungs a “SOO-EE” chorus whenever we couldn’t contain ourselves. I didn’t even know what that meant; it was just this sound we picked up from other campers over the weekend.
As we headed north, I noticed this erratically driven car in my rear view. A black Honda Prelude navigated by a flowing mass of dark, curly, amazing hair. The hair seemed to be in a rush. Ah well, not my problem.
Then I noticed this windblown coiffure trying to maneuver ahead of traffic. I decided to have a little fun. As the curly mop probed for gaps in the slower moving traffic, I always managed to forecast each move and beat this head of wavy tresses to each maneuver. As we caught each red traffic light, I could sense the indignation as this beehive of locks adamantly attempted to overtake this unsightly couch-carrying-car. Each time ending in frustration and a greater desire to get ahead by the next light. In hindsight, I don’t think it helped please anyone within earshot when Robby and I kept shouting out “SOO-EE” every few minutes.
You can’t hold back a good thing too long and I must admit, this hairball with extensions knew how to handle a vehicle. There we were, at yet another traffic light. Now the light wasn’t going to change for another minute, but something in me did right then. You see, she didn’t turn to look my way. Instead, she seemed too preoccupied to be able to see anything around her. But I had glanced over to my right and saw more than just Cousin It.
I saw this magnificent face, well, one side of it anyway. She was so beautiful. Her face reminded me of something that was missing from my life. Maybe of a childhood friend. Had I seen her before? There was something so familiar about her.
The light changed. Robby screamed “SOO-EE” again and I joined in at the tail-end (as the bro code demands) and the lady in the Prelude turned her head away from her myopic stance, glared in our general direction and sped forward.
Red light. There we were ten traffic lights on this stretch and this was the sixth one we had shared, the second one side by side. Only now she seemed to be laughing. I needed to say something before she drove off again, maybe for good. What do you say when you have maybe seconds before the light changes with a beautiful stranger in the car next to you? Argh! The Pressure! I opened my mouth and it just came out: So what are you doing on Shabbos?
Robby looked at me. Could I have said a more weird thing than that? If I could just take it back and say ”…..??”. Anything but that! But while I was second-guessing myself, she replied. How did you know I was Jewish?
The truth is, I didn’t. I thought maybe Italian, Greek or even Arabian. To me Jewish was a state of mind, a culture if you will, and not limited to any specific country or race. But, we were on Bathurst Street in the 90s so the odds were stacked in my favour. There it was. Was it weird? Yes, Wacky? Yes. Did it work? She was still talking to us!
The light changed. Her car was faster than mine even when not weighed down by a friend and a velvety couch, as aerodynamic as it seemed. I noticed how she sped forward, but not so hastily this time. She paced herself; she let me catch up to her.
Another red light. What’s your name? Robby shouted between the speeding cars. Danielle! she yelled back.
The light changed. We accelerated.
Red light. Are you from Quebec? Because you drive like a Montrealer! Danielle laughed. The light changed. We drove on.
The light changed. We sped forward.
I turned to Robby. Quick, write down a phone number and pass it to her at the next light. Robby hunted around in the car. At the time, I worked in the stationery business. Please, please let there be a pen in here. He found a half-chewed biro and a shred of paper and began to scribble.
Red light. I asked, So what are you doing on Saturday night?
The light changed. We all moved forward; Robby leaned out of the passenger window to pass the paper. Their hands connected. As she took it, I shouted, Please come to the party Saturday!
Light ten. It was just turning green. We’d passed our destination and realized that we didn’t even know which of the several apartment buildings it was. Time was ticking so Robby grabbed the couch to steady it as I pulled a sharp U-turn while Danielle continued north.
As we turned back, I asked what my friend had written on the note. Your phone number, name, party Saturday, please come, he said.
The next day, there was a voicemail message. How is it I drive like a Montrealer? Click. The next day, she called again. I picked up. We had no caller ID but I recognized the voice right from her Hello.
We chatted for a bit, officially exchanged phone numbers then agreed to meet at the Keg. Danielle explained to me that the term “SOO-EE” was used by farmers to round up pigs, hence her dagger-like glare. I also discovered her purpose on the road that day was to locate her about-to-be ex-boyfriend. To say the least, we found we had so much in common. Our families had done business together. We both loved animals and each once had Great Danes as pets. We even discovered we’d met about eight years earlier through a common friend.
I will always remember not wanting that night to end even though we talked for more than four hours. When you have something to lose, you act more cautiously. In my case, not wanting to reduce our date to a wrong move, I drummed up the courage to say Nice meeting you before pecking her cheek and racing off to my car.
Twenty-five years on, she is as beautiful to me as she ever was, in fact, better. She’s intelligent, but continues to learn, she has a great attitude with an infectious laugh. Age has blessed her in so many wonderful ways. We have two magnificent boys and a life full of the riches of family and friends including the four-legged ones.
Ironically enough, the only thing we ever really fight about these days is my driving. But in my defence, I would like to point out that she did view the brochure before she bought the package. So I guess earlier when I said Not my problem, well, I was wrong. She is my problem and she’s the best damn problem a man could ever ask for.
Alan Morris is a Senior Business Analyst in the Banking Software industry, devoted Husband and Father of two. When he’s not shirking responsibilities at home, you can find him building a shed, dismantling a baby grand piano, expanding the deck or adding another unneeded stone patio in his Yarden. His lifelong dream is to get the word ‘Yarden’ (Hybrid of Yard and Garden) accepted into the Oxford dictionary.