Thursday, May 28, 2009

How I met my DH

I heard my coworkers talk about him before I met him, this computer whiz kid with a 4.0 grade-point average from MIT. Word was he was going to save us from our dismal destiny, daily predicted by the Wall Street Journal. I had already noticed his car in the Apple Computer parking lot. It was a long, white Plymouth, a defiant display of American pride, so unlike the Toyotas and Hondas driven by everyone else in California during the 1980s. A blue and white sticker pasted to the back bumper said, “Honk, if you hate the IBM PC.”

I heard his voice before I met him. Most of the other software engineers talked softly, if at all, murmuring to each other about the latest affront on our entitlement. “Did you hear? We’re not going to get free Friday morning bagels anymore!” But his voice, with its East-coast volume, traveled over cubicle walls. 

The first day I met him, I was sitting in my 8 by 10-foot cubicle, furious at my Lisa computer that would not do what it was told. I sat tensed in my not-so-ergonomic chair, surrounded by line analyzers and other test equipment, ready to pound my fist into the cute, greyscale icons on the Lisa's screen. 

“Hey, Priscilla,” I heard from outside my cubicle. It was Ralph, a happy-go-lucky coworker who spent more time wandering the cubicle maze than actually working. “Our project has been canceled and we’re out cruising for chicks!” he announced in a jolly tone. “Have you met my teammate, Alan?”

Visible behind Ralph were a pair of huge, dilapidated sneakers, and a set of long, skinny legs in tight, Levis jeans. Above a lean torso and thin shoulders, a pair of wire-rimmed glasses peered out from wild, frowning eyebrows. The comment about chicks was not sitting well with this young gentleman.

Being in no mood for interruptions, I quickly shook the slender hand, and glared at the intruders. Then it occurred to me that I might be able to benefit from this unexpected visit from the local genius. I put on a smile, and said sweetly, “How would you ignore the high-order bit from a byte? I'm trying to read a character from the keyboard and the high-order bit is useless and I hate Pascal.” Without a millisecond of hesitation, Alan leaned forward and said kindly, “It’s not too hard once you get used to it. You just have to do a modulo 128.” With a quick grin, he and Ralph disappeared from my doorway, and moved on to the next cubicle in their search for chicks. I knew at that moment that I didn't want this Alan character to meet any other chicks besides me!


  1. Happy Anniversary from a couple of sweet nerds who could only have met in this way...

  2. That is such a good story, Priscilla! How nice a way to meet some one! I seemed to remember a car of his that had an ice cream sticker on it too, Steve's Ice Cream maybe? Alan is a wonderful BIL as well as a good DH. Congratulations on your many happy years together; may as many more pass for you as the years unfold. Love, Sally

  3. I can't remember when I first met Alan, but probably it was when you were living in Cupertino (before you were married, of course, I certainly knew him at the wedding!) and I had been at the Balkan Music Camp in Mendocino. Someone from camp I knew only slightly drove me to your place and he (the guy I knew only slightly) seemed quite astonished at my cute fashionable sister who came running out of the house (remember we'd both just spent a week in the woods with folk dance nerds!) It was probably on that visit that you, Priscilla, were trying to show me how Alan, the genius, had set up a sound system that worked off the computer, and then suddenly the room was full of Beach Boys music. Probably all the same trip, maybe a year or two before you got married?

    I definitely remember Alan coming to my apartment in Somerville, though. Joy was there, Priscilla, I think you were wearing my black espadrilles (I still long for those shoes!), and Alan came in with a friend, maybe Cedric? Anyway, it was so cute to watch as Alan was so visibly proud of his fiancee, yes, you were fiancee at that point, and Cedric was impressed!

    Then there was your wonderful wedding (what an attractive bridal pair you made!) and then he was part of our family!

  4. Wasn't in your cubicle when you met him, but of course I remember when you started seeing 'that one from the Dark Side' (across the street, in B3, the Pirate's lair...)!

    He seemed a bit nervous when he picked you up from our spartment in Cupertino, this tall gangly guy with beautiful eyes, for your first few dates. And you were over the moon about him - THAT was sure new for you.

    Will never forget the wedding (still have the shot of 'us girls' from that day framed on my bookcase); you were both radiant!

    Happy Anniversary... Love, Dawn

  5. Are any 4 words in the English language more irresistible than "Do a modulo 128?" Perhaps not. But I must offer an alternative version of history: our Mom says that it was Priscilla who was out cruising for guys at Apple's annual holiday party (rather than Alan out cruising for chicks!) that led to the fateful encounter. But either way: here's to a couple who genuinely appreciate each other's company, whether hiking together in Glacier National Park, entertaining our grandmother at her 100th birthday party a few years ago (she's now 103!), or relaxing in their wonderful home in Ashland. May many more contented, nerdful years lie ahead of you! Best wishes, William

  6. I definitely agree with Daniel's comment (at Lynn's party) about your story. "Do a modulo 128" is the most romantic statement that has ever been uttered. Your DH is definitely a wonderful complement to you.

  7. nd he just ain't changed, hardly a bit, over all the years he has been yours and, for better or for worse, "ours." Still skinny, still nerdy, always full of graciousness, and smart as a peacock.

    At first I thought he might do something sudden and awful to prove his rights to be human; instead, he is the model of what a 21st century gentleman should be. And you certainly deserve him! Love Robert

  8. Quarter centuries, sure go fast, don't they. Happy Anniversary. Love, Alan

  9. Great story, I can imagine it clearly! I'm certainly happy to know both of you now and look forward to more happy meetings in the future. Congrats on your landmark anniversary, here's to you both!

  10. That is a great story. I hadn't heard it before. I guess guys don't talk a lot about all the mooshy details. It is hard to believe it has been a quarter century. I still remember driving the happy couple from the reception in the K-Car with sparks flying from the steering wheel (MIT pranksters).
    Happy Anniversary Alan and Priscilla!!!

  11. Thanks for all the comments! We read them at dinner while waiting for our food at a terrific Japanese restaurant (Kobe in Ashland). Alan loved all the comments. By the way, when he said a quarter century, he was referring to how long we've known each other, not how long we've been married. We've been married 23 years. Hmm, I made such a big deal out of 23 years, just wait to see what I'll do for 25!! Argh! :-)

  12. Yikes - had me going there for a minute with the 'quarter-century' reference. Immediately checked my calendar to make sure I hadn't missed the 'big event!'

    Alan, it's NOT NICE to mess with menopausal minds; they already bear more than a passing resemblance to whiffle balls... :-D

    CONGRATS on your anniversary!!


  13. Hey there, Priscilla

    I really thought I had responded to your email or had put a comment on your blog. But I don't see either, and I'm sorry I missed the chance to add to your remembrances in preparation for your anniversary.

    I suppose I'm still in denial about having had bad travel karma the night before your wedding and missing the rehearsal dinner, etc...

    That aside, it's never too late to say I'm glad we're family!

    Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up