Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This I Disbelieve: Soul Mates

At my wedding, right after the ceremony but before the Halloween-themed reception, my new wife turned to our friends and told them all that she knew I was "the one" from the first moment we met. I frowned at that, because I don't believe in such things. (I should point out that she had chosen to meet me for the first time in front of a police station, so if she hadn't known I was right for her, things could have gone very badly for me.)

About two out of three Americans believe we have something like a barcode scanner built into our heads. When we see someone, we somehow instantly know if this is the one person in the whole world who is destined to be our one and only. It makes you wonder; on a planet with billions of people spread out over tens of thousands of miles, what do you do if your soul mate doesn't live conveniently within a few miles of your house?

I didn't fall in love with my wife the moment I met her. In addition to being surrounded by police cars, I had gulped down a Burger King chicken sandwich on the way to meet her and was suffering from food poisoning. Perhaps my barcode reader was distracted because it was trying to keep me from fainting in front of her. Whatever the case, I didn't immediately know I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. That took a few years.

We were watching television. She was sitting on the couch and I was lying on the floor in front of her. I turned to say something and the floor squeaked beneath my head. I turned it back, and it happened again. Squeak. Squeak, squeak, squeak.

She looked down at me and said "What are you doing?"

"I just found a place on the floor that squeaks when I move my head. Come and squeak your head on the floor with me!"

Can you guess her reaction? (When I told one person about it, she said "I would have yelled 'FREAK!' and broken up with you.") She jumped off the couch, got down on the floor and squeaked her head on the floor next to me.
That's when I knew everything I needed to know about who she was and wasn't. She was the kind of person who would make up fake secret service code names for our children. She wasn't the kind who would obsess over jewelry or clothes or cars. I knew she'd surprise me with secret vacations and be enthusiastic about having a Halloween wedding with a cake that looked like a haunted house. She wouldn't care what job I had (if any), the kind of music I listened to (if any), or who my friends were (again, if any).
She was silly. She was comfortable with making a fool of herself in front of me. She didn't mind my being silly in front of her. And that was enough.
Happy anniversary, sweetie.

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