I should explain.
To be fair, we weren't even dating at this point. But I had a huge crush on her and was nervous to meet her parents all the same. I wanted to make a good first impression--which is something I've never actually done-- so there was a little pressure. Her mother had prepared a fabulous meal at their beach house and right before sitting down to enjoy, I asked to make a toast. Raising my glass, I cleared my throat and said, "I'd like to toast to Canada. To the land... north of us. It's where I grew up. Anyway, they're very happy right now. Cheers!"
It was basically a word-for-word version of a toast Mer's father gave after Canada won the gold medal for hockey. I thought it might elicit a chuckle.
Surprise surprise, I was wrong.
Giving Meredith a little smile, I stood as her father considered me for a moment and then asked with genuine curiosity, "Where in Canada are you from?"
We had literally talked moments earlier about my family's farm in upstate New York, where I had mentioned I was raised. This hit him and he said, "Wait, you're not from Canada!"
Meredith's mother quickly stepped in and tried to explain my reference. "No, Bob. She was talking about..."
"You're from Rochester! Or that port!"
"Right, I know, I was just..."
"So you lied."
With this, I burst out laughing. "Yes, I suppose I did."
I spent the entire dinner that night making sure all of my attempts at jokes were based on 100% truths.
Anyway, Meredith's old high school recently organized a production to honor their fantastic theatre program before the school is torn down and replaced by a new one. Alumni were asked to come back and perform, and obviously, Mer was on that list. My girl can siiiing, y'all.
When I met her parents outside the auditorium, I was already sweating. It was easily 115 degrees in the school, and news flash, I've been known to get nervous. They both greeted me warmly and her father immediately commented on the fact that I had flowers.
"Flowers? That's nice."
Looking around and noticing that almost no one else had flowers, I immediately started to sweat more. Were flowers a stupid idea? Shit.
We made our way into the auditorium and the temperature rose to about 135 degrees. It was uncomfortable. Tropical, really. Think of sitting in a cramped row of seats in a jungle theatre while trying to force yourself to stop sweating. It was like that.
The flowers started to wilt. Neat. Fucking flowers.
The event began, but because theatre people have been known to have a way with words (bug out eyes) the speeches lasted far longer than all of the performances combined. At one point, a man walked us through half of the school with his tour of words. "You start in the lot," he said, dramatically, of course. "And you come in through the lobby, and walk through the theatre, and onto the stage, and through the wings, and leave a door, and walk down a hall, and pass a room, and come to another room. Room 127."
This is where I started to smile to myself. My little sister and I used to press on each other's legs at Sabrina's performances when we wanted to laugh at something. I had to actually fight doing this to Meredith's father as the man's speech continued. "And in that room... a piano..."
I should mention that I've been having a huge problem trying to sleep over the past few months that has completely altered what I find funny. Listening to this man wax poetic about a hallway or the contents of a room now qualified as something that I wanted to cry laughing about. I was worried that I would bust with out a roaring HAAAAAAAAAAA at any moment. I was also worried that I had sweat through all of my clothing. I was also fidgeting uncontrollably knowing that the 2+ hours worth of performances that had already passed were about to be followed by a "Musical Medley" including selections from no less than 17 musicals. What the what?!
The flowers were now dead.
The absolute, hands down, "I know I'm biased, but this is legit" highlight of the night was Meredith's performance. Driving around with her as she sings along to her playlist is easily one of my favorite things about life. I LOVE HER VOICE. But I've never seen her on stage before. She was incredible. She was just unbelievably good. Ok, you're going to vomit, I'll stop. But I'm serious. Worth every second of sweating it out in an auditorium. When she left the stage to thunderous applause, the MC's for the night came back out. With a shaking head and widened eyes, one of them responded to her performance by saying only, "I mean, seriously?!"
When the night fiiiiiinally ended (I'm not saying it was bad. It was truly wonderful. Truly. It just also happened to be longer than the Director's cut of Titanic), I leaned over to her parents and said, "The after-show dessert reception has been changed to brunch."
Looking to his program, and then to me, Mer's dad asked, "Really?"
Coming to my rescue with a soft smile and a gentle hand on his arm, Meredith's mother flatly said, "No, Bob."