Monday, December 20, 2010

Worth 1,000 Words?

A picture does not always seem to be worth a thousand words.  So far, this picture has proven to be worth approximately three words..."Who is that?"...has been the most popular response to my showing it around for the last few days, but it says so much more than it seems to say. 

The story leading up to the taking of this terrible, cell phone picture began in early October when one morning, my favorite local radio station announced that they would be giving away tickets to a concert featuring Train, only my favorite band in the entire universe, and that the tickets would not be for sale.  To anyone.  The only way to get them was to be the 9th caller when they played the cue to call.  Several times a day they would give pairs away.  For weeks and weeks until all the tickets were gone.  All the way up until the day before the concert.  In December.

I listened.  I called.  I listened some more.  All day, every day.  Waiting for the cue.  I had every commercial memorized, every word to every song in the top 40 list.  My children learned the cue to call.  My little girls will even sing three different versions of the radio station's jingle if you ask them to.  I was held hostage by the radio station.  The dogs waited to be let back into the house when I had to dial.  The 3 year old sat patiently on the toilet and waited until after I made my calls so I could wipe her butt for her.  The 6 year old ate a piece of toast that I burned while waiting for the cue and the 4 year old got her own socks from the dryer because I couldn't hear the radio in the laundry room.  My husband took over scrambling the eggs, buttering the bread, rinsing the conditioner out of wet heads and countless other half started tasks when I had to speed dial.  And he never complained, rolled his eyes, or questioned my commitment to this seemingly impossible contest.  I wanted those tickets so badly.

Want.  That's a funny thing.  Want.  It kind of takes over, if you let it.  I let it.  I made it clear to anyone that asked that these tickets were a want and certainly not a need, but that had very little effect on my behavior.  I listened.  I called.  Again and again.  For weeks.  I was caller #1...several times...but being #1 was not what I wanted to be.  I was every single caller number there was to be.  The most painfully unsuccessful calls were the ones where I was caller #8.  I actually felt pain.  Don't judge me.

One particularly unsuccessful Friday afternoon my husband came in the door from work and noticed that the radio was not on.  I love him for his next frantic question which was, "Why is the radio turned off?  They're about to play the cue to call!  I was listening in the car on my way home!"  Next to tears, ridiculous I know, I told him I had had enough that day.  I turned the radio off because I was tired of my failed attempts and I needed a break.  I explained that I would start again on Monday.  "Oh.  Ok." was all he said.

He tried with me all that next week.  We made calls in the kitchen.  He learned to time his calls so he could get through.  He programmed the number into his phone.  We stood by the radio together and dialed as fast as we could.  He rigged up a radio for me in the garage so we could be ready outside while the kids rode bikes in the driveway.  He hooted and hollered with me when we got through and stamped his feet in frustration with me when we were caller #4 or #5 or #7.  We dialed in the car together on our way to a dinner date.  He waited in the car with me, with the engine running, until the song playing on the radio was over just in case they played the cue to call.  And then dialed again with me in the car on the way home.

If you've looked carefully at that picture I started with, you might guess that this story does have a happy ending, but not for the reason you think.  Not because I got what I wanted one Saturday morning as we stood there dialing over pancakes in the kitchen.  Together.  As he stood there with me when he was #1 and then I was #3 and then he dialed again and it rang and rang and rang and rang and then a voice said, "Who's this?  Because you're caller #9!"  And he screamed.  And I I fell over.  And the girls went crazy.  And we ran around the house yelling so loud that when they played the call back over the radio you can hear us all in the background acting like idiots.

It has a happy ending because in the process of seeking what I wanted, I got exactly what I needed.  This man who loves me, saw how much I wanted this silly thing and jumped right in with both feet to try and help me get it.  This man never once rolled his eyes, told me I was neglecting my life, sighed as I leaped away from a task when it was time to dial, or ever gave me one tiny impression that he thought the whole thing was a waste of time.  This man was with me.  With ME.  He declared to the world, "I love this woman.  She is crazy.  But I am with her.  She loves Train and I love her so we're going to get us some tickets even if I have to dial the phone 100 times!"  He took a hold of something that was important to me the same way he embraces things that are important to him.  That's what I need.  That's what anybody needs.   

It was an amazing concert.  It exceeded my expectations.  I absolutely loved every minute of it.  And I couldn't believe I was lucky enough to be there.  With them.

He is an amazing partner.  He regularly exceeds my expectations.  I absolutely love every minute of him.  I cannot believe I am lucky enough to be here.  With him.

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