So you have already read Part 1 and the history of the internet, right? That comes in to play in this story in just a second. Many parentheses also ensue here.
You'll remember that it's fall of 1995. Earlier that summer, I had met college friends through my best friend Share (who I met in my first week of middle school, and who would be my lifelong friend *HI SHARE!*). They had helped me move in to my apartment (above one of the two dance clubs in Rexburg - the one that didn't play country music), and then my new friend BLT (whose initials are really that) suggested we go to Craigo's for some pizza.
BLT then suggested that we could stop by his dorm and see if a few of the guys from his floor wanted to come with. I was driving, and parked outside the dorm to wait while he went in.
A few minutes went by.
And out he came with come two other guys. One of them was one in a black hoodie, and I thought, "Ooo that guy is cute!" and after they got in I eyed him discreetly from my rear-view as we drove. I didn't know it at the time of course, but I had just laid eyes on the guy who I'd choose as my forever guy. And I actually don't know if he laid eyes on ME until quite a few minutes later - he tends to be pretty shy, especially then. Actual eye contact will happen in a second here, over pizza. Awwwwww. (Emoticon hearts, I know. So Lady and the Tramp, right? - except pizza and not spaghetti.)
How to Fall fall for geeks
So we arrive at Craigo's and stand in line for pizza. For the life of me I can't remember who else was there. I'm pretty that Share and Christen were there, because we were always together, and would always share a medium pineapple pizza. BLT, obviously. Hoodie guy (le sigh) and his friend Kirk were behind me, and I overhear hoodie as he points a flyer on the community bulletin board and says: "Hey look, I could get internet in my room. I wouldn't have to go to the computer lab to play my MUD."
I'm pretty sure my mouth dropped open, and pretty sure my eyeballing was no longer discreet. After all, this guy was pretty hot AND had just spoken my language! Come on, girl! Grab pizza. Go talk! Mystery hoodie boy must be conversed with!
How to Flirt With Geeks
There were maybe 8 of us at a big long table, so I made a point to sit across the table from him (not sure if we knew each others' names? most of this is kind of foggy, actually). What I do remember is that it was loud, so I leaned forward, I think I asked his name, and then said something super charming like, "Did I overhear that you play a MUD? Like the computer role-playing game?" <bat eyes prettily>
I think THIS is the point at which he finally looked up at me. Probably shocked that someone had spoken? That it was a girl? That I knew what the internet was? That I knew what a MUD was? (probably the last one, actually). And also, I don't know if he even said anything. In my head he has a pizza slice in his hand, paused halfway to his open mouth, nodding silently. So I went on:
"What's the name of your MUD?"
<He says it, but I honestly can't remember what it was. MAN he had gorgeous eyes, though. And I mentioned the black hoodie? YES. Ok. Moving on.>
So, knowing I was about to knock his socks off, I took a calming bite of whatever kind of pizza I had (pineapple, maybe), and prepped to lay down the geeky trump card.
Like the pro wrestler with the folding chair. Like the chef with the sprig of parsley. Like the gymnast hitting the springboard for her vault, I say:
He didn't stand a chance.
I actually have joked since then that I can pinpoint THIS MOMENT as the one where he fell in love with me. Hearing "I play a MUSH" from a pretty girl? (Any girl?) SOLD. And he went from aloof to interested in one blink.
After Craigo's we all (can't remember who else) hung out for the rest of the night at various places (can't remember what we did, because frankly, it was all him, and always would be from then on), and eventually made a trip to Idaho Falls for a middle-of-the-night Perkins run). We talked the entire time. Turns out he loves science fiction and Lord of the Rings and Orson Scott Card, and over the next few weeks I find out he's from Minnesota, that he's majoring in Computer Science (le sigh) and wears the hell out of a pair of jeans and Doc Marten 5-eyes (le double sigh). And yes. Your girl was smitten.
This year is 20 years since this meeting happened (holy crap, that is a long time). He was 18 and I had just turned 20. So I have officially known him for half my life. And what a better, more beautiful life it has been because of it.
Next up: The rest of the fall, the surprise trip to see him, the spring term.