The first time we associated outside of work (besides the dinner), I was as nervous as school girl on a first date. The butterflies were doing back flips in my stomach. It had been four years since I had a one-on-one relationship outside of my husband, Alex. It was a Saturday and Greta had invited me over to her house that evening to watch the Penn State Nittany Lions football game. Alex and I were fanatic about the team and went to almost every home game. Alex had two tickets for this game, but he was taking his friend Scott, which meant I was stuck at home. For the most part, I was okay with it as it was exhausting traveling three hours one way for a football game (no matter how much I loved the team). If kickoff was at noon, we left home between 7 and 8am. Most times we didn’t get home until late evening. And if it was an afternoon or night game? You’re talking one, two, or sometimes three in the morning. As I said, exhausting.
But for this game, I was going to Greta’s house instead. At the time, Alex and I were house sitting for friends of his from work. We were also baby sitting, but as they were teenagers, we didn’t dare call it that. So it was house sitting with two teenagers. I borrowed their truck for the week so that Alex and I would have two cars for a change. As I drove to Greta’s, I was on edge, wondering how to make small talk, what would it be like, hoping it would go okay, worried she wouldn’t like me or like spending time with me. Can you tell I was a bit insecure?
I finally made it and the night was a blur. Greta had munchies laid out on the coffee table to enjoy while watching the game. I found out she was a Pitt fan and I teased her about how horrible they were (definitely not in the same league as PSU). We watched the game, and I tried to point where Alex was sitting in the stadium. It was hard to see because there were so many people and the camera never focused very long. And that’s it. That’s all I remember. Greta told me later that I was incredibly shy and quiet the entire time. I was so nervous and so focused on being “proper” that I never was fully present. I also knew I had to be home at a certain time to take care of the kids and wait for Alex to get home. He wouldn’t want me out too late without him.
On the way home, it poured, flooding the streets. I hit a huge pothole that I couldn’t see under a vast puddle. It sounded like a cannon boomed. I inched along a bit and heard a thwunk-thwunk-thwunk. That wasn’t good. I pulled over to the side of the road. Damn it! I blew a tire. Thank God for cell phones. I called AAA who said they would be there in approximately 45 minutes, which typically translates to an hour and a half. I sat and waited, drumming my thumbs on the steering wheel. There’s not much you can do when you’re on the side of the road and it’s pouring rain. I called Greta to tell her what happened, and grinned the entire time. I actually had a friend to call.