Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Meet Cute

There’s a moment in a movie (especially romantic comedies) where the main love interests first encounter one another that screenwriters like to call the “meet cute.” Now, it would be like my cynical self to scoff at these (and most of the time I do), but being of the female variety, even while scoffing “Oh yeah right, and now POOF, they’re just IN LOVE,” a little part of my grinchy heart melts.

I've been watching lots of reruns of How I Met your Mother, mostly because my friends from college recommended it (I mean, Marshall is the TV incarnation of my friend Greg), and because it's in syndication (7&7:30 every night on mytv). It's a silly show, but there’s a terribly romantic overarching theme: everything in Ted’s life had to be just so in order for him to meet the woman that would become his wife; the whole show is based on a meet cute the audience simply hasn’t seen yet.

In a strange way, this concept gives me a lot of (wait for it…) hope, and trust in whatever larger powers there are that everything (in terms of jobs, relationships, etc) will work out how it’s supposed to, and that perhaps I’ll look back in fifteen or twenty years and be able to pinpoint the exact moment where my fate aligned.

This all sounds awfully metaphysical, doesn’t it? Let me put it in some plain, real terms for everyone. My parents met on the street in Boston in 1983. What you say? ON THE STREET? Yes sir, and I mean it. That was the exact moment in which the rest of their lives, the houses they’ve owned, the children they’ve raised, the happiness they’ve had, was all poised to happen. What things had to go right for that encounter to happen? A million. Like, so many.
            Dad graduated from college in 1977. That fall he went on to grad school in Washington D.C., which he hated. He stayed for a year and a half working at a rent-a-car agency. His apartment had cockroaches. He wanted to tell his landlord that if the apartment didn’t get fumigated, he wasn’t going to pay rent, but had no idea whether or not that was his legal right as a tenant. Having had enough, and never wanting to feel ignorant in the ways of the law again, Dad enrolled in law school, and moved back to Massachusetts to live with his (wait for it…) parents.
            Mom, meanwhile was an RA at her college in New Hampshire, going to Dartmouth on weekends and tanning outside her dorm on spring afternoons. She graduated in the spring of 83 and took the first job she was offered: an office assistant at a company that ran the Bar Exam in Boston, the very same place where my dad was studying for his Bar Exam.
            Now you say, “STEPH YOU LIED! You said they met on the street!” But I’ll quote Ted Mosby: Story’s not over. They only ever exchanged niceties.
            Dad passed the bar exam and moved on, beginning his law career. Mom changed jobs. Six months passed.
            Then one day, Dad was on his way to court. He saw a blonde girl walking along the opposite sidewalk, thought she looked familiar. Pretty. Beautiful. He crossed the street. He said hello. She looked so great, he asked her out for lunch.
            She said no. BAM! Her boss wouldn’t let her off for lunch. He took her phone number, said maybe he’d call in a few months, things were crazy at work.
            Yeah, sure, she thought.
            But he called.
            And she said yes.
            And then they got married and had four kids.
            But think about it. What if my dad had stuck it out in Washington? Or if he’d decided to go to law school a year earlier, or right after college? What if my mom had gone home to Syracuse instead of taking a crappy job just so she could live in Boston? What if she’d called in sick to work? What if he’d been running late, or taken a different route to the courthouse? Think about it guys. You never know what dead-end job or crappy apartment or miserable class will lead you to the rest of your life.


  1. I always think about things like this. It's crazy how everything you do happens for a reason.

  2. Very very true. Everything works out the way it should.

  3. this is so cute! although one time I met a kid on the street and he asked me out to dinner. We never went to dinner tho, because he went to jail instead. oh well.

  4. Oh my gosh! I recently got hooked on HIMYM because of my roommates too! It's great and you nailed the whole meet cute idea about real life. Cute story. :)

  5. Love it! Isn't it strange how things happen and how people come in and out of your life? But I always wonder, was I meant to meet someone on the street in Boston, but I chose to move to Wyoming instead? So did I miss out, or do I just let all the pieces fall into place? Who knows, but I love love reading your blog!!
    xoxo F

  6. It's crazy to think about. My boyfriend and I had so many chances to not meet, but running into him at the gym did realign my life.

  7. Love your parents story!
    My boyfriend and I have worked in the same store... Not in the same time! He started his job in 2000 and quit at the beginning of June 2001... I was hired to work in this store at the end of June 2001... We had a friend in commun, but we didn't met each other until August 2002...

    What if we didn't have a friend in common? What if I had been hired a month earlier? What If my boyfriend had not quit his job ? Maybe things would have turn a different way, maybe things would have not click by meeting each other at work... What if I didn't get that job? (there was a lot of people trying to get that job!)

    Who knows!?!

  8. I got inspired by your parents story and I just wrote a post about that!