“How did you two meet?” is the question.
What is the beginning, anyway?
Our story begins one evening when I decided to clean the filter of the air conditioner. It was pretty dirty, and it was, in the scheme of life, one of those totally forgettable moments.
A few weeks later, I set out one morning to work (teaching) on my bicycle, as I’d been doing for years. I crossed under the Belt Parkway, and turned on a service road that paralleled it. The service road was empty and, like many service roads, otherwise deserted. There was some honking coming from the direction of the highway and I must have turned my head in its direction when, distracted by the sound of a honking horn, I lost my balance and ended up on the hard-surfaced road, trapped under my bike. Alone, and before the days of cell phones (who would I have called anyway?), I got myself together and continued to the college (stopping by a corner store to try to purchase some band-aids), washed the blood off my face and hands, and cancelled my class. Then I got checked out at the college’s medical clinic, who called the local hospital’s emergency room and arranged for them to receive me. Next, I biked to the emergency room at a local hospital.
“Life is too difficult to live alone. I need somebody,” I thought to myself, along the way. I had many friends, but it was the middle of the day. I had nobody to call to help me, to drive me, to wait with me at the hospital. While in pain and hurrying past Avenue X, past Avenue U, past Avenue T and S, past Avenue O and N to get myself some care and treatment, I thought back on the years before when I had been a crime victim and endured a brutal physical, emotional and legal struggle all by myself. No, “I don’t want to be alone again, like I was then. I need a husband,” I concluded, as I biked up the alphabet. “Life is too difficult to live alone, and it’s not getting any easier.” It was my formal DECLARATION OF NEED.
At the emergency room I noticed an awful pain in my jaw when I tried to close it.
“Doctor, I think I broke a bone in my jaw” I said, after which he examined my jaw and ears and replied:
“No, your jaw is fine. You have an infection in your ears. That’s the source of the pain” and he then wrote me a prescription for some antibiotics.
And life went on.
One Saturday about a month after my DECLARATION, I had been reading a local newspaper and had seen an advertisement of an online dating service based in Canada. I didn’t live in Canada, but this was cyberspace!
That night, I thought to myself, “I’m going online tonight and I’m going to find my husband.” Home computers were fairly new at that time, but I had one!
Powering up my computer, I got into that site. I selected the geographic area where I thought “he” was most likely to be residing in. I studied the eligible bachelors who appeared. There were no photographic images on this website; good. I wasn’t likely to be thrown by how somebody looked (nor was he!). I read carefully what he wrote. Then I chose him.
Emails graduated into more emails. I was advised, “You have to get out of cyberspace.” Telephone calls followed. Then meeting face to face. We were engaged within two months and married within 7 months of my bicycle fall.
Months later, I was still bothered that I had tipped over on my bicycle. I was a cyclist, after all. I had never in my life fallen off my bicycle. although I’ve raced, biked long distances, crossed railroad tracks, and had been a regular bicycle commuter for most of my life. Also, before I fell, I hadn’t felt any pain in my ears or anywhere.
Then it occurred to me. The air conditioner filter that I had cleaned had been totally grimy. For sure that’s when I picked up an ear infection, which festered, UNTIL I fell, at which time the sudden jolt dislodged the infection, which quickly spread all around my jaw and hurt like the dickens.
The knowledge that I had lost my balance due to an ear infection wiped away any embarrassment to have fallen simply for having lost my concentration, and put a halt to my questioning myself as a proven bicyclist, and restored my pride to me.
So what about the very very little things?
The common answer to the question, “How did you two meet?” is “We met in cyberspace.”
But probably it all began the otherwise forgettable night and the otherwise forgettable moment when I cleaned a very dirty air conditioner filter.
It just goes to show the power of those completely – otherwise – forgettable moments and of the very little things and moments in life!