Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy Meetiversary!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  

If you are in Boston, I hope you are recovering, as apparently the festivities began like… Friday.

I am old however, and spent Friday night in bed watching the old John Goodman movie, the Flintstones!  I had that on VHS…. recorded off of the TV when it aired during TGIF or something.

The heat in our apartment was also being weird, so it was too cold to move (aka, below 75) and I felt like I was glamping.  Not a fan.  Luckily it’s back on track now. I swear sometimes things in this house just exceed my technological capacity to understand.

Saturday however, we went out.  I came home from some spring self care in the form of a pedicure and Owen had laid out an outfit for me on the bed with a note that said “Dinner at 7?”  We had discussed this before, because I guess he had seen someone else do it and someone commented that it was controlling and creepy. WELL.  I still believe in chivalry and being treated like a princess if someone desires, so I found it super romantic, and I was SO excited that he asked me out! Hooray!

We went out to Shang Hai Social Club, which is across the street from our apartment, and reminisced because it was 3 years ago today that we met.  I can’t believe it has already been that long.

For those that may not have been following us since the “beginning,” I thought it might be fun to recap and tell the story of how we met, and ultimately ended up together.  Again, I think it’s pretty romantic.  

First of all.  We did NOT meet online.  I get asked that so much, and although kudos to those people who can find love on the interwebz, we met in person.  I was a keynote speaker at a health care transition conference in Las Vegas that Owen was helping to plan.  This is WHY it is important to fund youth to go to conferences, just saying!

However, right before the conference, I ended up in the hospital. I was terrified to even tell the people organizing the conference, because the year before, I was supposed to present when it was in Reno but there was that horrible storm in DC and I had to present on Skype. All day.

so technically, Owen met me on a JUMBOTRON (ok, an overhead projector… but similar), before I met him.  Never again.

Luckily, I was sprung from the hospital, on 2 antibiotics, and destined for St. Patrick’s day in Vegas.  Woo.  Hoo.

The conference ended up being one of the best ones I’ve spoken at to date. I won’t bore you with all the details, because I already wrote about it here:

But it’s interesting how I totally left out the entire first night!!  I had gone to this conference for the first time with the attitude of “I don’t care if I meet someone, I’m doing this for me!”  And you know how it is said as SOON as you adopt that, BAM, love.

Truthfully, and as Owen will tell you, I wasn’t super nice when I met him.  It was like 7 a.m. in the room with the continental breakfast and I was just trying to find coffee… which of course I couldn’t reach when it’s DIY (FYI, DIY coffee in hotels is one of my biggest pet peeves.  Just let me sit down and order a latte.  Yup)

My mom was traveling with me, to help me.  So I kept trying to find her to attempt to string together the words “I need coffee,” but she was preoccupied with me meeting some guy.  so I did.
“Mal!! This is Owen!”
“Oh.  Hey.  Can you help me get coffee?”

Over the course of the day, I just had a blast.  I kept my eye on Owen for some reason, as he clearly had a ton of friends here, and oddly they all kept trying to get us to interact.  

Truthfully, I don’t even remember much of the first day except that I was just comfortable, had a great time and made some friends.   Then we went back to the hotel.    

I did my IV antibiotics, woke up from my Benadryl nap and my mom and I began discussing the plans for the night, as it was St. Patrick’s day, and we were in Las Vegas.

I had seen it was Karaoke and “Lady’s night”  across from our hotel, and since we weren’t actually on the strip and still needed to get up early for the conference the next day, I wasn’t up for too much of an adventure.  

“You should call that Owen kid and see if he wants to go with us.”  My mom suggested.

Um, what?  There was not so much any problem with inviting our new friend, as I wouldn’t mind having someone in my own demographic to revel in the St. patrick’s day craziness with, but she wanted me to CALL him.  Lke pick up a phone and speak to?  With words?!!?!!

Another thing people don’t often know about me, is that I have significant phone anxiety.  I have actually memorized peoples’ numbers before because I just stare at it for so long trying to psych myself up to make a call.
“Yea, sure, he’s alone here.  Don’t be rude.”  

Ugh.  Ok fine.  

“Hi, um, we’re going to Scooter’s pub for dinner, and it’s lady’s night [which obviously he cared about!?!?!]  and karaoke… so um, you should come.  Cool, see you in 5.”
Which really meant 10, because now I had to put eyeliner on.  Thanks mom.

For some reason, I remember feeling nervous, and I had no idea why.  Perhaps because as I was trying to enjoy my grilled cheese and pile curly fries (the ultimate “I don’t care what you think of me” meal)   My mother was grilling this poor boy about his future plans, interests, and family history.

At one point she said, “How many Broadway shows have you seen?”
Owen paused for a second, apparently counting in his head, at which point my mother turned to me and not so silently mouthed, “HE’S COUNTING.  THAT’S A GOOD SIGN!”

but secretly, I was intrigued as well.

After dinner, we moved into the bar area where the festivities were occurring.  I remember, they had only really high pub tables, which simply weren’t going to work for us.  But we were not about to hang our head and go watch Spanish cable in our hotel room.  The bar was amazing and actually brought us a table from the dining room so we could hang out.  Looking back, maybe all of Vegas was in on this little plan.  I have no idea.

At one point, my mom said she just needed to take a picture of Owen and I together.  We leaned in for her multiple cell phone photo attempts, and once she was done, I realized Owen still had his arm around me.

What do I do?   Well… duh…. I got up and sang my girl Britney’s “Oops I Did it Again.”  There was no doubt I had.   Now I was just having fun.

The night progressed, the drinks flowed, the bad karaoke filled the bar.  Owen was quiet, as he is, but we bonded quietly, mostly judging the antics of others and analyzing our drink choices, but there were times during the night I remember just thinking, “there is something about this kid… I just don’t know, but I feel like he is significant…”  It was unspoken.

Then, as if on a perfect episode of the OC,  a song came on in the bar.  An epic throw back to Oasis, Wonderwall.

There are many things that I would
Like to say to you
But I don't know how

Because maybe
You're gonna be the one that saves me.

We both glanced at each other, knowing this night would not be the last for us.

The next day was the last day of the conference,  and one I spent basically teasing Owen.  I tried my signature move of putting my number in his phone, but he had a phone I had no idea how to use and failed miserably.

Throughout the day, people who knew Owen and who I had befriended, cornered us separately and asked us about the other person.
We lived across the country from each other, I had no idea what I wanted in life and couldn’t understand how this would possibly work out, or why people were pushing it so much.

At the end of the day, somehow Owen and I ended up together, alone, trying to find our way out of the conference center. Random people kept stopping and asking if we needed help.  One person even asked us if we wanted tea.  I just remember laughing so hard, and Owen and his quiet one liners, made me start to wish we weren’t leaving.

I was staying on the strip for a couple more days after the conference, and Owen had to leave.  My mother had come down with a horrible stomach virus and had to check into the hotel early, so I got a ride with one of the conference staff who was also bringing Owen where he  was going.

With work behind us, we drove with the windows open, Kesha on the radio.  Soon we pulled up to the valet parking of Planet Hollywood.

“Well… it’s been fun.  You have my number, use it or don’t.”

and I went into the hotel.

A few hours later, as I was getting ready for a night on the strip, Owen texted me.  “It was great to meet you. I hope we get to see each other again.  You’re amazing.”

Truth be told, the first thing that made me raise my eyebrow was the PERFECT use of grammar! Who does that?  No “u” or “l8r”... again.  I was intrigued.   I smiled to myself, replied, and put my phone away for the evening.

It wasn’t until 2 months later that we saw each other again, but Owen and I had talked a lot after that.  We talked online, and texted, to the point where we knew something was there, but we didn't want to confirm anything over a text message that couldn’t be taken back. After all, we had only met each other once.

Memorial Day weekend, I was going back to Vegas for my birthday, and for anyone who is not from Nevada, you know that basically, Nevada is Las Vegas.  Duh.
Having this belief, I told Owen I would be going, and if he wanted to come hang out, it would be great to see him again.

This was the clincher.  Not knowing if he would ever have another chance to see me, he booked a room, a flight, and flew to Vegas, just to see me again.

I was staying with a friend in our hotel, and Owen and I got there first.

Within moments, and cracking our first Corona, it was like we had never been apart.

I can’t explain those 3 days except to say, I had never felt that way before.  I had never felt such happiness, such confidence.  Sitting by the pool in Vegas, I didn’t care what was going on around us, or what other people looked like. I felt beautiful, I felt unstoppable.

I think I laughed and smiled more that week than I had in years previously.

Our last night in Vegas, Owen and I “walked” the strip.  Then he took me out to dinner and gave me a necklace.   Finally, as the night turned to day, we asked the question, “What are we doing?”

One thing that brought us together, was our belief in not playing games.  We both believed that life is too short to not know what you want, and we didn’t want to be a “thing.”  An unspoken, gray area of feelings and confusion.

3,000 miles is room for a lot of gray area.

So I closed my eyes and jumped.   And that was 3 years ago.

And you know what?  I still feel that way.  We are not always by a pool in Vegas, but I still laugh, and I still beautiful, even if it’s just a Saturday morning and I’m in my BU sweats.

We decided that we probably don’t need to document, every single year anniversary that we met, except for like… 5 years and 10…. but I thought it would be fun to relive the story of how we actually met and fill in some gaps as to how we got where we are now!  

Maybe Owen will tell his version one of these days :)

3 years, and going strong.  No regrets.   

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