So, before the wedding at Shoreline Village, and after the meeting at Shoreline Village, we had a first date. I have to tell you all that, although I agreed to the date, I wasn’t looking forward to it, and I didn’t trust Paul past my little finger. I dressed very carefully. Trying on a dozen items before settling on what Paul would later refer to as my “Little House on the Prairie” outfit. I wore a long green and white skirt that skimmed my ankles, and an oversized, shapeless, white sweater….to this day I have this outfit packed away as a keepsake!
Paul picked me up, slightly late, in his 1979 Dodge Ram Van. It was a gray utility van. No windows on the sides or back, no carpeting on the floor, in fact inside it was like a tin can. I hoisted myself up into the passenger seat wondering what I was thinking.
We had a nice dinner at a little Mexican restaurant, and I was surprised to see that he was nervous too….which actually put me a little more at ease.
The fun really started after dinner. When we got back to his van. Paul was dressed in a striped polo shirt, and a pair of Kurdish pants his brother had brought back for him from Turkey. Both front pockets had zippers. I tried not to laugh as Paul struggled to open the zipper to retrieve his keys from the right pocket, and managed to contain myself even when he had to break the zipper to access his keys.
He hadn’t had time to stop at the bank to get money, so we had to find an ATM, and in those days banks weren’t linked by computers, so you had to go to your own bank to use your card. He found a Security Pacific, and as he tried to remove his wallet from his left pocket….the zipper stuck and again he had to break it open to get his wallet. I could see he was embarrassed, but not as embarrassed as he appeared seconds later when the machine rejected his card, refusing to give him money. Apparently, he couldn’t use a Security Pacific STATE Bank. At this point I couldn’t contain myself anymore, and burst out laughing. He looked over at me sheepishly, then broke out into laughter as well.
Eventually, he got the money, but instead of heading to the theater, he decided that this was the perfect time to get new gaskets for his van, which seemed to have an engine leak. We went to every Chief Auto Parts store in the area….no guy had taken me on a tour of Auto Parts stores on a date before, and I had to admit at this point, he seemed pretty harmless….even if he was a little scattered. I was having fun.
Finally, we started looking for the movie theater. Now, keep in mind that the only reason we met was because I got lost looking for Ports O’ Call, and this was before GPS and Google Maps. Neither of us had ever been to this theater, and realizing how much time we had spent looking for ATM machines, and touring the local auto parts stores, It didn’t take long for Paul to decide to stop at a gas station for directions. A mix tape was playing in his cassette player, and just as we rolled into the gas station U2’s “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” poured out of the speakers. We both erupted into laughter. The gas station attendant gave us directions, and we were on our way. After driving for another 10 minutes, we realized that we were right back at the same gas station so Paul pulled back in, and wouldn’t you know it, the same song came back on the tape, I was laughing so hard my sides hurt, and I was pretty sure that Paul was feeling the same pain. The attendant patiently gave us directions again. Once again we left on our quest to find the illusive movie theater. Two more times we ended up at the same station getting directions from the same patient attendant, and both times as we pulled into the station U2’s famed song “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” . The fifth time that we realized we were going to pull into the same gas station, he switched from the tape to the radio as we rolled into the station and would you believe they were playing “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”? We were laughing so hard we were crying as the same attendant came to help us.
The attendant took one look at us and asked “Are you two stoned or just stupid?”
We looked at each other then at him and replied in unison “Just stupid!” Then burst back into laughter.
We did eventually find the theater, but of course, missed the movie we had planned on seeing. I don’t even remember what it was. We saw North Shore, a romantic surfer movie. He put his arm around me in the theater, and it felt so natural.
Then when we walked back out to his van he stopped under a street light and kissed me, and I knew it was magic. Somewhere in the background a radio was playing “The Look of Love”.
He didn’t propose, but only two weeks after we met, as he was installing the new gaskets on his van, he looked across the engine at me and said “I’m going to marry you.”…..and one year later, between the picnic tables where we met at Shoreline Village, with Gerrod standing proudly as our ring bearer, he did.
Paul and I still argue over which song is ‘our song’. He says it’s “The Look of Love”, but I say it’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”. I figure as long as we’re lost and looking together…..and still laughing…….