Sunday, July 21, 2013

Love Story: It Begins with a Bike

A few days after I met Frank
It’s hard to decide where our story starts. I met Frank for the first time on July 21, 2011—exactly two years ago today. But the extraordinary-to-us constellation of ways the universe lined up for us starts many years earlier.

Should I start with the glorious two weeks I spent at Princeton four years ago? I went to the local Starbucks while I was there—the same Starbucks where Frank was working full-time for the summer. We have no way of knowing if we ever met; we don’t remember. I like to tell my girl friends that you really never know; your Starbucks barista could be your future husband—mine was!

Should I start with the conference in Annapolis the following summer, when I first decided to pursue a journalism job in DC? I met Bart at that conference—Frank’s good friend, who introduced us that fateful July 21st.

Should I start with the Immaculate Conception novena I prayed my senior year of college, in December 2010? I wanted to meet my future husband before I graduated (feel free to judge, I don’t know what I was thinking). But a whole year passed, and the following December I was still single.

There’s an argument to be made for each of those beginnings. But the truth is, our story begins on July 21. And it begins with a bike.

I had moved to Washington, DC, a month after graduating from college, for a one-year journalism fellowship. I arrived with two suitcases and exactly one friend in the city. That first summer was exhilarating—and terrifying. I was lonely and mostly friendless, trying to build an entire social network from scratch.

Because I am possibly the world’s biggest extrovert, I began emailing and Facebook messaging every random acquaintance I could think of to see if they wanted to hang out. I went to a pool party with a high school friend’s cousin; I watched the midnight premiere of the last Harry Potter movie with a group of Presbyterian friends-of-friends I’ve never seen since; I watched the Fourth of July fireworks on the National Mall with my roommate-of-two-weeks and her grad school friends. And when Bart from that one summer conference invited me on Facebook to a lecture/happy hour called “Conservatism on Tap,” I said “Yes” right away.

Conservatism on Tap started at 7, and I would be leaving work at 5. What to do with the two hours in between? I did need to return some dresser knobs I'd bought from Anthropologie. And really, I just wanted an excuse to visit Anthro. That store has always been my favorite.

The nearest Anthropologie was two miles away, in Georgetown. But no matter. I had recently heard of Capital Bikeshare, a program that let anyone in DC rent a bike for $5. A brilliant plan formed in my head. I would bike to Anthropologie, return my dresser knobs, and bike back just in time for the lecture.

“Do you even know how to ride a bike?” was my dad’s response when I told him this story recently. Truth be told, I hadn’t ridden a bike in years. I was also brand-new to the city with no clue where I was going. On the scale of one to brilliant plans, that bike ride was a negative ten.

Oh, I made it to Anthropologie alright, and I made it back. But I also fell off the bike three times, accidentally ran into two people, and had to ask for directions over and over. Worst of all, I got embarrassingly hot and sweaty; DC is a humid swamp in the summer, and I got so lost that I was peddling my guts out to make it back on time.

I strolled into the happy hour that night looking about as awful as I could look. My hair was plastered to my forehead, my blouse was streaming with sweat and my face was tomato-red. I ran to the bathroom and frantically splashed cold water in an effort to improve the situation. But there was no help for it. I was going to have to walk into that swanky DC happy hour looking like I’d just left a hot yoga class.

If you had told me at that moment that I was seconds away from meeting my future husband, I would have laughed in your face.


  1. Your story is already sounding like the line, "it happens when you least expect." But you couldn't be more right -- DC in July is beastly. Yippee for me... ;) Can't wait to read more!

    God bless you!

  2. ♥ Yay for love stories!!! I'm so excited to read yours.

  3. You're such a talented writer! I'm looking forward to reading more of your love story. :)

  4. Yay, I can't wait to read the rest!!

  5. I am so glad you are an extrovert! ;) I think writing this story is the perfect thing to do for the next ten days....

  6. You have me hooked. Can't wait to see how your love story continued!

  7. So much fun! :) Can't wait to read the rest!

  8. Ahhh, this is the best!! Can't wait to read more!

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