Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Night We Met by Ronnie and Mandi

In this first edition of Sound-off Saturday I decided that Mandi and I would recap the story of the night we first met. Here's the deal though: We each wrote separate stories and had no knowledge of each other's story while writing. So here it is, a "he said, she said" about that fateful night in June when Ronnie met Sally...I mean Mandi.


I first want to stress that I had met Mandi about 6 months earlier during the Christmas season while she was home on break from school. It was a very basic meet and greet and I didn't come away with much of an impression. We literally said "nice to meet you" to each other and that was it. The only initial thoughts I had was that she was smart and kind of stiff. Not so much stiff should I say, but she just sounded proper and educated, plus she had these librarian glasses on. Other than that, I knew only that she was the little sister of my good friend's roommate. I wasn't in the market for a girlfriend (my girlfriend at the time actually met her at the same time that I did) and I was enjoying myself listening to some of my friends play in their band, so I wasn't being a social butterfly. The next time I saw Mandi again was June 27th, 2008.

At this time I was again a single man, but not back in the market (or so I thought). I had recently ended a relationship so I had decided to lay low for a while and not even make very many "public appearances". See, I meet people very easily. I'm able to hold a conversation with absolutely anybody at anytime and while I understand that I don't have to date somebody just because I speak to them, I wanted to take that option off of the table. Friday night of that week rolled around and I was planning a nice quite evening at my house to catch up on some movies I had yet to watch. I got a call earlier in the day from friends wondering if I wanted to join them for a movie and I politely declined. The night time had now arrived and just as I was getting comfortable on my couch I got a call from my buddy Bryan, "Dude, why don't you just came hang out with us?" he asked. "Because I don't feel like hanging and I've already sat on my couch to watch a movie" I replied. "If you're going to watch a movie anyway, it should be with us" to which I replied "Dangit Bryan, what theater are you guys at.". Usually I don't succumb to peer pressure, but for whatever reason, that night I decided to appease my friends.


I met Ronnie on June 27, 2008. I was home from school for summer break and since I wasn’t from AZ, I tagged along with my brother, Josh, and his friends to a movie. I had been hanging out with them for quite some time, so I knew all of the people going. We were sitting in our seats waiting for the movie to start (I think it was Wanted that we were seeing) when Bryan, one of Josh’s friends, said, “Ronnie’s coming, so we need to save him a seat.” A few minutes later, here comes a guy with khaki shorts, a t-shirt and “the messy hair look” walking up the stairs, stopping at our row. Everyone said their hellos (all knowing each other) and then Bryan said the words that would change my life forever, “Oh yeah, Ronnie, this is Mandi, Josh’s LITTLE sister.” Boom...fireworks, we fell in love and lived happily ever after. Haha I wish! We sat there waiting for the movie to start, Ronnie was telling riddles and having Josh, who’s a genius, solve them in a matter of seconds. Ronnie made several jokes throughout the first 5 minutes and had me cracking up. Point one for Ronnie: He was a funny man. Because he was so funny, I got super nervous to make jokes because funny people have a higher standard when it comes to funny...and I’m afraid I generally don’t make the mark. Suddenly, hunger struck and I went to get some candy. As I crawled over the other members of our group and passed Ronnie, who was on the isle, I asked if anyone needed anything, to which Ronnie replied, “I kinda need to pee, think you could do that for me?” I playfully rolled my eyes and said I’d see what I could do. When I got back I made sure to get a few sexy, intriguing lines in there like, “Want some m&ms” and (handing him the m&ms again) “Help yourself”. I made occasional eye contact with him as he made little comments during the movie, but there unfortunately, that was it.


I show up for the movie just in time for the previews (which are my favorite part of the experience) and give a quick greet to everyone. I remember re-meeting Mandi and I believe a friend of mine was sitting in between her and I. I should just warn you guys now, if my story sounds completely different than hers, just believe hers is actually the way it happened. I have a TERRIBLE memory. I'll often recap a story to a friend about something awesome he missed to which he will reply, "Yeah, I was there. I was sitting right next to you". Whoops. Or when I asked Mandi about how much fun we used to have playing Boggle together to which she responded, "I've never played that game". Double whoops. Anyways, I'm getting off track. I don't think there was much conversation before the movie started between any of my friends (although now I'm starting to remember playing some kind of game, but that was a different time I think). So the movie Wanted (I think) started and was entertaining as I remember although I can't recommend it to any of you because of the language. After the movie ended we all decided to head to a local (and favorite) Wine Bar called Armitage.

We got there and claimed one of our favorite couches and just started hanging out. I'm pretty sure that Mandi and I started talking almost immediately when we sat down. I'm sure we exchanged some normal stuff but then we got into the heart of what dominated our conversation for the rest of the night- relationships. Since I had recently gotten out of a long-term relationship, the topic quickly started to focus on my ex. As I recall, I did a lot of mental "dumping" on Mandi about what I thought went wrong and what I would do the next time and what I was looking for and yada yada yada. She then analyzed me like an armchair psychologist and soon was telling relatable stories. It was so nice to meet someone who seemed to understand where I was coming from and could sit there and listen as well as dominate a conversation. I've always been used to being dominate in conversations (not that I want to), so this was a welcome relief. I was able to sit back and just listen to her speak (diagnose my situation). Now, she'll tell you the opposite. That I went on and on about my ex and wouldn't shut up. That she never got a word in. What I remember though was me dominating the first 40% of the conversation and then her bringing home the last 60%.

I also remember her completely ignoring some friends of hers that showed up to hang out with her. This told me something about her that night- she actually about what I had to say and was enjoying our conversation, not just putting on a show. I remember her making me feel like I was the only other person in the bar that night. I have to say, it felt really good. What other impressions did I form that night? Instead of thinking of her as stiff, I realized that she was incredibly smart, articulate, and well-spoken, but anything but stiff. She was full of laughs, jokes, stories and just down right entertaining. I was very impressed by her. Even on that first night I remember thinking, "Man, she's like the total package". There was a couple big problems though, I wasn't in the market for a relationship and she was the little sister of a guy in our "crew". I couldn't be that guy. Plus, if we're going to be honest (which Mandi has heard this before), I really didn't think she was my type. She was blonde and she had freckles- two looks that I generally didn't go for. Throw in the fact that she was "related" and lived 3000 miles away and still in college, the last thing that crossed my mind was a relationship.


After the movie we all went to one of our favorite spots, Armitage, to listen to live music. I “happened” to sit next to Ronnie (You will begin to realize, I’m a VERY strategic thinker). I began to ask him questions and soon realized he had JUST gotten out of a relationship. Minus one point for Ronnie: Baggage. I began to poke and prod about him and his ex (had to know why they didn’t work so I could know what NOT to do, right?). He had no bad things to say. One point for Ronnie: Nice guy. Minutes turned into an hours of talking about him, his ex, his life, his CF. What’s that? It was all about him? You betcha...I managed to make him think I wasn’t a big talker...SUCKER. No, I actually enjoyed listening to him talk about himself. He had a way of talking that hooked me. His laugh, his mannerisms, the way his eyes would light up when I would say certain things. I loved it. One point for Ronnie: He was interesting. So I just kept digging. I couldn’t tell you how long we sat there talking. Conversation just came easy with him. There was never a lull. I was hanging on his every word. I remember wishing this night wouldn’t end and that I could learn more about this green-eyed, playful friend of my brother’s. To ensure this wouldn’t be the last I saw of him, I began to plot again. At some point, someone was leaving and mentioned future weekend plans. I quickly threw out an offer to make everyone blueberry pancakes the next morning (genius: where there is food, Ronnie will come). Ronnie agreed to show and Bryan offered up his house. Perfect, this would not be the last I saw of him.


We ended up hanging out for a bit after everyone else had left back in my truck listening to music. The conversation turned towards our tastes in music at some point and she had not heard of some of what I thought were "classic" songs I was mentioning. We chatted for a while longer as I played some tasty treats for her ears. I can't recall a single conversation that we had in my truck as we listened to music and I think I was half asleep, but I do know that I loved every minute about it. She was just so easy to hang out with. After an hour or so of music we parted ways and she left me with question (which probably put us on the road to success) "If I make pancakes tomorrow morning for you guys at Bryan's house, will you be there?"

I couldn't wait for the next day.


Ronnie and I continued to talk as people trickled out. We eventually decided to leave since it would be an early morning of blueberry bliss. But as we were wrapping up our conversation, music started to be discussed. One point for Ronnie: He loved music. (If you’re keeping score, he’s up in points big time). Ronnie tricked me into listening to the songs he was talking about that I had never heard. Could it be that he too wasn’t ready for the conversation to end? It gave me a little hope (although he’ll tell you he WASN’T interested at all and really just wanted me to hear the songs). We walked to his car, which, to my surprise, was a Ridgeline truck. Why was that surprising? I have no idea...just surprised me. I didn’t know then, but that was the first of many surprises Ronnie had in store for me. We jumped in the FRONT SEAT (for any of you who were trying to predict the story) of his truck and he began to play song after song on his ipod. Before each song he would swear was better than the last, tell a story to set it up, or act amazed that I had never heard it. We sat singing songs, talking, laughing. A few hours past, and we decided that it was actually time to wrap things up, as we would see each other in just a few hours. I gave him a quick hug, told him how awesome it was to meet him and get to talk (I tried to play it cool while still letting him know that I thought he was the coolest thing since snap bracelets), jumped out of his truck, and walked to my car, on air.

I don’t know if I ever told him this, but I had trouble falling asleep that night. I was like a little kid on Christmas eve, anticipating the morning, when I’d get to see him again. And if I had known what I know now about Ronnie, and if I had knew where we would be today, I would have been even more excited.

This is a bench outside of Armitage. Mandi made breakfast and we ate there for our first anniversary. See the post here.

7 people had something to say...:

lindsay michele said...

That's way cute guys. This was really fun to read.

Denise said...

You two are too's making me sick! ;-)

I do believe in love at first site, happened to me.

Kellee said...

You guys rock!
M got me with the whole "WHAT?! you have never heard this" line and I also did the blueberry muffin thing lol!
The true key to a CFers heart is def. with food!

Erica said...

Best line, "I tried to play it cool while still letting him know that I thought he was the coolest thing since snap bracelets." You guys are both the coolest thing since snap bracelets.

Somer Love said...

YOu guys are SO cute!!

Deb said...

this was a cute idea. you two should do more of the he said/she said. i have to admit that i cheated and scrolled through and read all of yours, ronnie, and then all of mandi's. it's easy to tell that you two were completely smitten when you met that night... and that you still are! very, very sweet. and whenever you get into a tiff, you should come back and read this post.

mandi is definitely a keeper. you really lucked out.

niki36 said...

loved reading this!