I have a shocking confession to make. I’m a nerd. A colossal, boring, asocial nerd, and a homely one at that, and I always have been. You might also be surprised to learn that I totally lack all confidence in myself and my appearance, and it only takes a little bit to impress me.
So I was dating this girl once upon a time…a girl who totally outclassed me in all regards. This was the standard scenario: I was the typical dirt-poor nebbish with the glasses and the weird focus on science, and I had acquired this fascination with this one very attractive, smart, well-dressed, significantly-more-popular-than-me girl, and I had one day decided that I would be bold and ask her out on a date. I’d do it that night.
I didn’t. I’d looked up her phone number, though, and had it written down, and that had been nerve-wracking enough for one day’s labor. I’d do it the next night.
The next day I memorized her number. I still remember it: 852-1177 (don’t worry, the area code has since changed, and she has moved away anyway). I was ready. But then I realized that I didn’t know what to say. How do you do that ask-her-out-on-a-date thing? Was I supposed to be cute or clever? Was small talk expected? I better wait and plan this out.
It took me a few weeks to gather my courage, and there were a few false starts where I started to dial, and then chickened out. I eventually managed to stammer my way through a conversation, and we actually went out on a date! I know, you can hardly believe it. I couldn’t either.
Better still, the second time was easier, and we went out regularly for that entire summer. We went out for three months, and then I got really adventurous, and one night, as I dropped her off on the doorstep and was about to go back to my parents’ station wagon and drive home, I was so bold as to ask her for a good night kiss (don’t be horrified; this was long ago, when lifespans were short and you never knew when a sabre-toothed tiger might leap out at you and end all your aspirations, so we had to work fast when romancing the ladies). I was prepared that she might laugh, or be offended, and send me packing, and then I’d be shattered. Would probably have gone looking for a hungry sabre-tooth afterwards.
But she actually kissed me! She couldn’t have had more of an effect if she’d triggered the spring-loaded trap door in the floor and launched me to Puyallup. For the very first time ever, I felt like maybe somebody liked me and there was a bit of hope in my future. I remember every millisecond of that kiss even now. Apologies to the Princess Bride, but this is wrong:
Since the invention of the kiss, there have only been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind.
There was a sixth and superior one, it just didn’t get mentioned in the book. Probably because Goldman wouldn’t want his central characters upstaged.
And I swore that I’d always remember it, and that every year I’d do something for that girl to remind myself of that moment, for at least as long as she’d have anything to do with me. So I got her a flower a year later. And another, or a bouquet the year after, and the year after that, and the year after that.
That kiss was in the late evening hours of 18 August 1976, which means that I’ve given almost 40 sets of flowers so far. Almost. It didn’t happen this year. I was going to this student retreat this weekend, so I figured I’d just have them delivered this time, and I placed my order with that 1-800-FLOWERS place, and go off to my inescapable obligation.
They failed to deliver. I thought it would just be late, which is OK. I found myself checking the tracking info a dozen times while I was away, and it was always this cryptic “Status: Pending Delivery Confirmation” which wasn’t very helpful, but I figured it would get there eventually, while I was away.
It didn’t. Still hasn’t, and I’m home now.
It’s not a huge deal — we don’t make a big celebration of this event, and usually I just quietly put some flowers in a vase, and don’t even mention it. But I find it just kind of rankles, you know. I tried tracking down what happened, but when I go to their page, and I see the founder smiling there, with this quote, I just give up.
Nope. Abso-freaking-not. Here’s a tiny little thing that means a lot to me, and I paid them to do the most basic, simplest, no-frills thing their service offers, and it was not a terrific experience, and there’s nothing they can do to fix it.
Especially not when, after they eventually acknowledged their failure, they emailed me a coupon for less than a third of the price of the flowers I’d ordered and suggested I try them again.
I think not. I’ll never trust them with my business again.
I’ll stick with my girl, though.