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My psychic said to avoid beans: A love story

October 17, 2011

The story of how I met my husband has been told so many times it’s getting to be dull-dull-and-duller to tell for the hundredth time to everyone who’s already heard it.  But from a writer’s standpoint, it’s pure gold.  You cannot make this stuff up.  I’ll give you the short version: 

1.)  My friend and I ate at a café. 

2.)  My husband was our waiter. 

3.)  My friend didn’t like beans in her chili soup.

4.)  Would he pick some out?

5.)  Yes, he would. 

6.)  Behold, beanless chili.

(For the record, I like vegetarian chili that’s 85% beans.) 

That was it.  That’s how we met.  He was burned in my brain after that, a legend in food industry customer service.  

But this is when the story gets all boring, run-of-the-mill on you.  Because we didn’t spot each other again until a year after the beanless chili incident.  And it was at a bar (ugh).  And after we rehashed the beanless chili incident, I didn’t want to stop talking to him.  And after ten minutes we were practically finishing each other’s sentences.  And I was ready to ask for his phone number before he beat me to it.  And that is so out of character for me, I swear.  The whole harvesting phone numbers thing, I mean.  Ick.  Pathetic.

So wrapping-up quickly, because by now you’re half asleep, we instantly fell madly in love, blah, blah, blah, got married ten months later and lived happily ever after and so on and so forth.

But let’s go back a little before that.  Back about two years.  Somewhere around 1999.  I’ll set the stage.  Ricky Martin was about to take over pop music.  Pokémon was about to take over the world.  Y2K was about to end the world.  And I was just out of college and feeling a bit “What does it all mean?!” 

And by “it” I mean Pokémon.

Wait, I changed my mind.  Let’s go back even further.  About twenty-some years from the beanless chili encounter.  Back when I first noticed boys. 

That was about the time I entered preschool.  I had just turned four.  And I was apparently already “on the make.”  Andy was my age and carpooled with me to school.  And while sitting in a circle for a jolly sing-along, I planted a big kiss on him in front of the class.  On the mouth.  (It might be relevant to remind you my parents let me watch Dallas.) 

The teacher honest-to-goodness physically picked me up and removed me from the circle.  Chair and all.  I’m telling you, public shaming works. 

I never thought there was anything all that pervy about the whole sucking-face-in-preschool bit.  But now that I have a four-year-old kid in preschool, I have perspective.  At her school, I hear of kids pushing raisins up their noses, swallowing coins, hitting each other with shovels.  Daily.  I have yet to hear of any make out sessions.  It would be scandalous. 

I was a despicable four-year-old deviant.

By my formative years, I was a closeted boy-crazy hypocrite.  I hated, hated, hated the boy-crazy ones.  Drove me up the wall with the eyelash fluttering and bubbly, purple-inked I heart that guy scribbled notebooks.  I never wanted to be that girl.  While I spent 1989 secretly lusting over Joe McIntyre (see Kid on far right), around my friends I was leading a vicious smear campaign against New Kids on the Block.  It was an easy case to make (see rest of  Kids at left). 

Still, I always wanted a boyfriend.  It wasn’t about the schmoopy love stuff.  I just liked the idea of exchanging freakishly cuddly stuffed animals on Valentine’s Day.  And then I wanted someone to have loud dramatic fights with next to our lockers before class.  At which point, we could pummel each other with freakishly cuddly stuffed animals.    

But I also bought into the whole “The One” stuff.  Yep, ate it all up like a big ol’ bowl of melty Danielle Steel brand ice cream.  I recall it tasted like sugared lard.  

I think I just threw up a little in my mouth and then swallowed it out of shame.

I was convinced I’d meet The One guy when I went off to college.  That’s the way it’s supposed to work.  He lives three floors up in your residence hall.  He borrows your illegible notes from Biology class.  He barfs up gyros on your foot at a toga party.  These are all the standard textbook things that may lead you to The One.

Out of college, togas no longer acceptable partywear (though barf still was), reality set in that I was on my own against the Universe.

But then Franca stepped in.  Actually, I stepped into her pawn shop.  She was an older woman with a German accent who owned a pawn shop and did psychic readings on the side.  That is the God’s honest truth.  And I know you’re thinking “This set-up sounds way too perfect — she must be making it up.” 

Franca told me you’d think that.   

I was lost at that time and thought I needed a psychic friend.  It had worked out so well for Dionne Warwick.  So I made an appointment and went in with a desperate an open mind. 

One of the first things she asked me was, “Who is Mark?”  She said she “saw” a dark-haired man named “Mark.”  No clue.  Hmmmm.  I racked my brain and only came up with my roommate’s sleazy manager at a steakhouse.  Franca finished, saying “Mark” would someday be very special to me. 

What I didn’t see was, at the precise moment she said that, a dark-haired “Mark” was waving at her from the back of a truck, on his rounds to pick up her trash.  But that doesn’t affect this story.

Franca also threw out some completely vague things like – “diabetes might affect your family,” “you will feel let down yet relieved after the holidays,” do not attend timeshare presentations” and “beware of Ryan Seacrest and his rise to power.”  You know, stuff that could really apply to anyone.

So there I am, two years post-Franca, her psychic reading long since out of my immediate memory, no more freakishly cuddly stuffed animals, no more New Kids on the Block (not even NKOTB), no more preschool make out sessions . . er . . sing-alongs, and standing in a bar next to a dark-haired waiter named “Mark.”  Who was funny.  And kind.  And oh so smart in an I-won’t-be-a-waiter-forever sort of way.  And not at all hitting-on-me-ish.  And not the type to buy me freakishly cuddly stuffed animals (because they’re all just “freakish” when purchased for adults).  But definitely the type to pick things out of my food in order to make me happy. 

And that was exactly 10 years ago today.

Franca always warned, “Avoid beans.”   

No, really.  They give you gas.

33 Comments leave one →
  1. October 17, 2011 6:26 am

    This was brilliant. I absolutely love your writing. Congrats to you and your bean-less existence with the man of your dreams! (I’m still left with so many questions about Pokemon..mostly about NKOTB. The universe waits to answer them.)

    • October 17, 2011 12:13 pm

      Thank you – so nice of you to comment. I have to admit that I’ve been writing this story in my head for about ten years. So I got a little jump-start on this post.

      NKOTB = WTH

  2. Mr. Musical Fruit permalink
    October 17, 2011 10:46 am

    Wonderful blog. I only wish you would have put the lyrics for the musical fruit song in your blog. But just in case:

    Beans, beans the musical (some say magical) fruit
    The more you eat the more you toot
    The more you toot the better you feel
    So, let’s eat beans for every meal!

    Oh, by the way. Happy Anniversary!

    Love your writing!

    • October 17, 2011 12:12 pm

      I so forgot that song! It truly is the musical/magical fruit. I love it! Thanks for reading!

  3. mark permalink
    October 17, 2011 11:10 am

    It’s very important to note that the waiter disliked beans in his chili so this request, while odd, was totally understood by said waiter. :) Cosmic forces installed that dislike of beans in waiter when he was just 3. He is also very afraid of hairless cats, though that tidbit has yet to play out in said relationship. – mark

    • October 17, 2011 12:11 pm

      Also didn’t note that the waiter still remembers standing in the back kitchen siphoning out beans for a particularly particular customer. Tell me how random that is. He must’ve known a monumental moment was before him.

  4. October 17, 2011 11:52 am

    So what do you have against the musical fruit?

    Seacrest may indeed be the Antichrist.

    Did that psychic reading part really happen? Maybe Erik Estrada really does know what he’s talking about.

    • October 17, 2011 12:10 pm

      Psychic reading: it most certainly did! I even have it written down (I took notes after I met with her…lame). Although, I might’ve read into it too much when she told me to avoid gassy foods. I never did stop eating beans.

  5. October 17, 2011 3:47 pm

    Sugared lard! Love it.

    • October 17, 2011 7:27 pm

      I have plans to submit Sugared Lard in the “name the new Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor” contest. Wish me luck!

  6. October 17, 2011 4:43 pm

    Love this post!!

    You need to look up the word “boring” in the dictionary because this story is far from it. I use the dictionary a lot when I watch reality tv and someone says something is “the most dramatic” “most amazing” “most exciting” to make sure the words mean the same things I think they do and haven’t changed from overuse, say, for example in reality television.

    Just so you don’t feel too bad, I was also a socially deviant preschooler. I used to follow this older boy around and tell him “I love you and want to marry with you.” It would be great if he turned out to be my husband, but alas no.

    • October 17, 2011 7:35 pm

      Thanks, speaker7! Such a compliment coming from you, considering all the most dramatic rose ceremonies and such that you bear witness to every day.

      I call this story “boring” in comparison to the time I knowingly sold forged “handmade” totem poles in Alaska. I suppose I’ll have to come out with that one at some point.

      P.S. That pains me to learn you didn’t marry the preschool elder. I wonder what became of that lad.

  7. October 17, 2011 6:12 pm

    What kills me is that I should have been with you at our session with Franca but I had to work that Saturday. I’m still bummed about missing it. :(

    • October 17, 2011 7:40 pm

      You snooze, you lose. :) I think Franca might’ve said something about my friend Lori needing to move to Omaha and work at Old Chicago restaurant.

  8. Punky Brewster~ aka Jaclyn permalink
    October 17, 2011 7:23 pm

    Love this!

    • October 17, 2011 7:38 pm

      Thanks, Punky! I still want to hear how you met Anze . . . er, I mean Henry Warnimont.

  9. janel permalink
    October 18, 2011 8:31 am

    I am so glad you found the man of your psychic encounter. Congrats,10 years, you are beating the odds already!!!

    • October 18, 2011 9:27 am

      Thanks, Janel! Yes, Franca would be very pleased if she knew how this all turned out for me. Oh, wait, she probably does.

  10. October 18, 2011 11:17 am

    Haha! Your line: “Yep, ate it all up like a big ol’ bowl of melty Danielle Steel brand ice cream. I recall it tasted like sugared lard” made me lol.

    Love the adorable pic of your hubby in the flannel. Great post!

    • October 18, 2011 3:08 pm

      Thanks! Yes, flannel is a man’s best friend. Today my husband is wearing gingham, which is not a man’s best friend. (Not to mention, it shouldn’t be worn past August.) Bring on the flannel!

  11. October 22, 2011 2:17 pm

    love this. your writing reminds me of me. Keep writing cause you are talented. :)

    • October 22, 2011 5:51 pm

      Thank you for reading and very nice to hear. I look forward to checking out your blog.

  12. November 16, 2011 7:44 am

    You’re a gifted writer. I love this blog!

    • November 16, 2011 9:17 pm

      Thanks! If I had one-tenth the writing talent that you have in creativity, I would be doing something much bigger than writing about Steve Urkel. Okay, so I’d still be writing about Steve Urkel but on a much larger scale.

  13. Marleen Bruwer permalink
    January 20, 2012 5:57 pm

    I Absolutely adore this post, Angie! I always enjoy a ‘How I met My (Wife/Husband/Lover/Partner) story, and this is one with such lovely flare. Love it!

    • January 20, 2012 8:31 pm

      Thank you, Marleen! I like to ask people where they met their significant other and I have yet to find another person answer “he picked the beans out of some chili at a restaurant”. So I guess that’s our shtick.

  14. January 22, 2012 7:14 am

    I like the humor in your love story… =) Mine is overly sentimental it could probably pass for a cheesy soap opera: =)

  15. parwatisingari permalink
    January 23, 2012 7:23 am

    i met husband in probably the most unexpected fashion at the dental chair he was my patient.

  16. March 18, 2012 1:11 pm

    *chuckling* outstanding story! i met my first husband simply because my best friend and i were driving down the road and happened to be checking out some utterly fantastic eye candy walking down the side of the road. we turned around just in time to see us hit the car in front of us. my ex’s brother was driving the tow truck and i hadn’t seen him in years. epic fail lol.

    second (current) husband was a blind date. he was told i was single (just left ex a few months prior) had no kids (had 2, daughter 5, son 2 lol) and was his height (im 6 foot, he’s bout 5’7ish). i met him outside to give him the opportunity to gracefully back out considering it was obvious that i was not his height… by the end of the night i knew i had to have this guy in my life as a friend and we’ve been together ever since (15 years later and he’s 18 years older than i am). epic win!

    • March 19, 2012 8:01 pm

      Awww, nice stories. The second one, I mean. :) That right there is definitely what you call a blind date. Very sweet.

  17. August 23, 2012 4:55 pm

    This is nothing short of hilarious!!

    • August 24, 2012 3:14 pm

      Thanks! Our ten-year wedding anniversary was yesterday so I think I need to revisit this post myself.

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