Today is Sara’s and my 16th anniversary. Yay…our marriage is old enough to drive. Anyway, I stumbled across this old photo and it brought me back….
It was taken at the company Christmas party, a few years before we were married.
The year was 1992. I was newly and awkwardly single, still slightly traumatized by the whole idea of dating again so stepping out in public took a lot of courage.
But clearly the Christmas party planning committee had pulled out all, if not most of the stops this year. I mean what? The Holiday Inn in Livermore AND free karaoke? (Provided, as it turned out, by a karaoke company that had a towing business on the side. As a graphic designer, I feel sorry for the poor bastard who had to design that logo.)
The up side of attending the Christmas party was that there was a chance this really cute girl in the Art department might be there and as luck would have it, I was right. However, as luck would NOT have it, the cute girl didn’t come alone. But again, luck…having it…her “plus one” was a girl, as in girlfriend. A good thing.
I later learned her male date stood her up which I remember feeling relieved about. I believe his name was George and he played the bagpipes. I felt relieved about that, too.
Back to the photo…at one point the cute girl from the Art department got up on stage along with some other not-as-cute girls from the Art department and did a karaoke version of “Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer with their boss Daniel Brown singing the Robert Palmer part.
At this point (about halfway through the Christmas party) I hadn’t come up with a way to actually speak to the cute girl from the Art department and it started to feel a lot like middle school, where I managed somehow to have close relationships with girls without actually speaking to one. That and the fact that I’d already suffered through enough bad karaoke for three lifetimes, made me consider calling it a night. I remember thinking that as a karaoke company, I hope they were really good at towing.
But at some point during the Robert Palmer song, as I sat alone at one of the round, sparsely decorated, hotel ballroom table, fidgeting in the new pea soup green (and ill-fitting) sport coat I’d bought at Macy’s that afternoon, nursing a diet coke, all ambient noise seem to evaporate. The lights dimmed and in my mind a soft, smoky spotlight illuminated the most beautiful girl in the room in her sexy black dress, rhythmically swaying to that tribal, thumping beat just like in the blatantly sexist music video.
I was transfixed. I stopped thinking about the strange itchy sensation coming from my right armpit and started thinking of more reasons to go downstairs to the art department starting Monday. I knew her name was Sara without the “h”, and she wore hats, and she was cool and tragically cute. We said things like ”tragically” then.
Shortly thereafter, and right there at the Holiday Inn conveniently located off I-580, suffering through bad karaoke renditions of “The Wind Beneath My Wings” and “Mac the Knife” I finally screwed up my 8th grade courage and asked Sara to dance. Or maybe she asked me. I don’t really remember. And the rest is history.
Footnote: I didn’t discover until the Monday lunchroom viewing of the Xmas party video that I’d left the sales tag in the right armpit of my pea soup green sport coat. It became pretty obvious at a certain angle. Sara swears to this day she never noticed.
Happy anniversary, ‘hon.