How We Met
August 19, 2014
It was 2012 and I had grown tired of New York City. Like Eddie Murphy in Coming to America, I greeted my new home with exuberance in 2009, joyfully demanding that cabbies usher me to Queens and all of the borough’s “common parts.” But, like Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop, I had become fixated on relocating to sunny Southern California to score some German bearer bonds with Judge Reinhold.
Then I met Jennifer Michelle Fox.
We were on a soccer field in Sara D. Roosevelt Park, on the corner of Houston and Chrystie and at the entrance to Manhattan’s Lower East Side. My co-ed team, a motley assortment of acquaintances I collected from past squads, faced Jen’s crew, which was comprised of several–and I say this now, publicly, with the benefit of hindsight, maturity, and perspective–jerks.
After the game (I won, because of course I did), Jen and I shook hands and had the following, brief conversation:
“You need new dudes on your team,” I remarked, along with a string of statements that are not fit for print.
“We need new girls on our team,” Jen replied, as she batted her doe eyes and twirled her hair. [Edit: Jen claims this didn’t happen, to which I say: history is written by the victors.] Jen said this because she was a novice and was taking “soccer lessons,” which I found very endearing.
We left without exchanging names or phone numbers and I later learned that the gentlemen on Jen’s soccer team insisted that she never speak with me again. I walked toward the subway, thinking about the cute brunette I had just spoken with, but also focusing on my potential job in Los Angeles.
Nine days later, I was posting a video on my Mom’s Facebook wall when I noticed I had an ‘other‘ folder in my messages inbox. It never occurred to me to click on that icon before, and little did I know that doing so would change the course of my life.
* * * * *
In this forgotten corner of the Internet, I found invitations for reunions for schools I never attended (“ARE YOU THE DAN TIERNEY WHO GRADUATED FROM LONG BEACH HIGH SCHOOL IN 1975?”) and a petite missive that I shall reprint here, without permission:
maybe this is a bit forward, but it is entirely too easy to find people on the internet these days. i play soccer for fun, but holding down last place definitely gnaws away at my ego, haha. see you on the field.
To which I immediately responded (note the timestamp):
so it’s 2:00am (as you can see), and i’m just about to post something on my mom’s facebook page (awesome) when i notice the ‘other’ tab in my messages; you can imagine my surprise to hear from you, the cute girl who i talked to after my last (possibly final?) game. apologies for the late response – want to grab coffee?
It turns out that our soccer league had, fastidiously, recorded the names of its goal-scorers. Because I had scored a single goal in this league (to the great shock of those who have ever shared a pitch with me), my name was listed. The intrepid Jennifer Fox, Google
stalker sleuth that she is, cross-referenced the league web site with my Facebook page and brazenly took the bull by the horns.
* * * * *
If you’ve made it this far, dear reader, you’re probably wondering why I was so eager to meet up with Jenny. The reason: I had a flight to LAX that next Monday, and since it was already early Tuesday morning, time was of the essence.
To her everlasting credit, Jen accepted my explanation for “ignoring” her initial message and agreed to meet for “coffee” at BarBossa, coincidentally near her apartment.
[Inter alia: my mom and I had lunch at BarBossa in the fall of 2011, and I remarked how neat it would be to live in NoLita. And nine months later I would, about a stone’s throw from the café. Life is beautiful.]
I must confess that I do not remember much from that first date (thank you, malbec!), except that (a) I was late, (b) I had never connected so seamlessly, immediately, or deeply with anyone in my entire, stupid life, and (c) Jen was the most gorgeous woman I had ever chanced upon.
Later that night, at a bar called Botanica (which I now pass each day on my walk to and from the B train), Jen made an impassioned, articulate, and only-slightly-wine-assisted argument against my taking a job across the country. That is to say, a woman who knew me for roughly three hours was offering me a (relatively blunt) critique of my impending career transition. And she was absolutely correct. Let us all be thankful that my Jenny did not go to law school.
That Friday, while having a group dinner at a Mexican restaurant near the East River, I leaned over and whispered to Jen that I was cancelling my flight.
I repeat: life is beautiful.