Friday's skip day evolved into a day to make your heart skip a beat.
After our cruise along the industrialized banks of the Cuyahoga River on the Goodtime III, the Enthusiast and I took a short walk on a short pier.
Cleveland was abuzz with foot traffic, annoyingly following us wherever we went. Finally, we stopped between the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the William G. Mather. I talked of inane things as I waited for all my followers to get the fuck away. When they finally did, I dropped to one knee and asked the question you can surmise from the title of this post. The homeless man at the end of the pier was our witness.
So, yes, the cranky Viper and the lovely Enthusiast are getting hitched. I can't imagine a better fate. Afterward, we had some drinks at Prosperity Social Club in Tremont, where I spied this awesome figurine:
Blatz and banjo and a woman who loves me--tell me what's better.
Then we had a delicious dinner at Michael Symon's Lolita. I had the pork chop; she had the duck prosciutto pizza. We shared dessert and a cognac.
We've been together now for a year and 11 months. She made her first appearance on this blog as my "biker companion" when she started joining me for my long training runs for the 2009 Akron Marathon. With the exception of the 2008 Akron Marathon, she has watched every race I've run since we started dating, and I've PR'd all but one--and that was a purposeful non-best.
My good friend Gin introduced the Enthusiast and I, but we had a long courtship, with many a missed opportunity before it finally worked out. I wouldn't change a thing.
The first time I saw my new fiancee was (I think) February 2008, when she and Gin had gone out to dinner at a restaurant just down the road from where we now live. Gin was driving a piece of shit Honda, and her battery died.
I was hanging out with the erratic epicurean, and we both received a distress message to come help. We drove to the restaurant and I jumped Gin's car. I caught only a glimpse of the Enthusiast in her big, turtleneck sweater. Afterward, I asked the erratic epicurean, "Who was that?" She didn't know.
Gin started her arduous attempt at playing matchmaker when she invited me to go to an art gallery opening at Kent State University, where Gin and the Enthusiast both worked at the time. The Enthusiast nearly spit on me when a piece of grape skin flew out of her mouth when she said, "Hello." Gin and everyone else around was trying to force us together at the bar afterward, which made for an awkward evening.
In April, the Enthusiast and I again were thrust together, sitting across the table from each other during Gin's birthday dinner. The restaurant, specifically our table, was incredibly loud and I had a hard time making conversation with the Enthusiast, even though she gave me a piece of sushi. I invited her out to a bar to hang out with a few of us, but she had driven the one guy who was under age.
After that, Gin tried again by inviting me out to "Music in the Meadow," a free concert series at Howe Meadow in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Gin wouldn't say who all was going, and I nearly bailed. I decided at the last minute to go. The Enthusiast, of course, was one of the unnamed.
After the concert, I again invited her to join the rest of us for a beverage. Although the same underage friend was there, we chose a venue where he was allowed. I sat next to her and tried to impress her with all the things I remembered about her from our previous meetings, but I misread her response as being disinterested. I didn't ask for her number, which I regretted. At the time, I thought that was strike three.
I was wrong.
At the restaurant after that concert, I told the Enthusiast about a 10-K I was running soon. The 10-K was part of a Fourth of July "Heritage Festival." After the race, my dad, Martini and I walked down to the festival to see some vintage cars.
As we walked back to my car, we literally almost ran into the Enthusiast and her friend who were walking out of a restaurant. It turns out, they were planning on walking around the festival in an attempt to run into me. I had to do a doubletake before I realized it was her. Then, I told her I puked at the race. Charming, aren't I?
As the erratic epicurean recently reminded me, "If you blow chunks and she comes back, she's yours. But if you spew and she bolts, then it was never meant to be." (Source, as if you didn't already know.)
Shortly after our chance meeting, Gin invited me out to Happy Hour and again wouldn't tell me who all was coming. I was trying to see if the Enthusiast would be there. When I wouldn't relent, Gin told me another friend of hers was joining her.
I was wearing this obnoxiously bright cabana shirt, which the Enthusiast later told me was terrible, but that didn't dissuade her. We had some beers, then a large group of us went to the Lockview for some dinner. Across the street, a Journey cover band was playing. We went to another bar, and she learned that I knew the bar owner well enough for him to give me a hat. I drove her home, and before I could ask her out, she asked me. A week later, we went on our first date. I gambled and took her to a sushi restaurant that I'd never been to. We're now regulars there. We moved in together in July last year. I finally told you, dear readers, in December. I haven't worn that shirt since.
When it's right, you know, the Enthusiast likes to say. She's right and I know. I love you, dear.
[Drunkard's note: Amusingly, I bought the ring two days before I learned about the erratic epicurean's engagement. Is this the summer of betrothal? Is that even a word?]