Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fourteen Years Ago...

On May 20th, 1998, I met a guy. Well, techincally, I met several guys that day --one even asked me out on a date! But I'm thinking about one particular guy (and it wasn't the one who asked me out).

[I should probably wait and write about this on May 20th instead of May 10th, but I'm still in procrastination mode (we're going camping tonight) and it felt right to write about it today.]

As I was saying, I met a guy.

I was sitting next to my new friends and co-workers in the Heritage Halls Central building on BYU campus. It was my first day of work; orientation! All of the Conference Assistants (and others, but I can't remember their titles, although they oversaw us lowly CA's (conference assistants) but were also our peers because they were college students like us) were gathered together. We represented the workers from the three separate on-campus housing units and were sent to bond together and learn about our jobs. I was working in Helaman Halls that summer; orientation combined us, Deseret Towers, and Heritage Halls. My job? Checking in EFY kids, sport's camps, locking the building each night, manning the office, etc. I worked about 30 hours a week, housing and meals included, and I could take a few classes. Bonus! Great on-campus job, and I was thrilled to have it.

So, there we were. Being oriented at orientation. As a way to "get to know each other" quickly, we were all asked to stand up, give an alliteration of our name, and...that's about it. Having just arrived back from Idaho the day before, I was anxious to get to know the other Helaman Halls peeps, so I asked my new co-workers/friends next to me to point some out. They went through them rather quickly (the ones they knew), but they did point out a guy taking notes on a laptop. A laptop? This was 1998. Who owned a laptop? Computer nerd-alert! Turned out, they said, that he was taking notes for the other CA in his building because that other CA had class. Huh. Whatever.

I stood up at my turn and said (not joking): "Hi! I'm Not-Shy Cheryl. Because I'm not... shy... That's about it!" and sat down. I got generous laughter and smiles. It went around the room and when it came to the computer nerd, he stood up and said (again, not joking): "Hey. I'm Bodacious Brandon. I'm from California. 'Nough said."

I must pause here, dear reader, to tell you that I did not have the best opinion of people from "California." My prejudices and assumptions were, of course, unfounded, but try telling a 19 year old that her opinions are unfounded, hmmm? I wasn't actively "against" Californians, per se --just that experience had made me cautious of those heralding from the Golden State. In fact, my first thought while looking at the blond, blue-eyed, bold, cocky, computer-nerd from California was, "Oh, geeze. I don't need that!" I may have inwardly rolled my eyes, too.

And that was the first time I met Brandon.

The next day the Helaman Halls CA's and "upper-people-whose-title-I-can't-remember" met in the Cancer Center. I mean, Cannon Center (sorry. Inside joke!) for a little meeting of our own. I don't remember much about it, just that we had more orientation stuff that was, logically, more geared towards those who would be working IN Helaman Halls. I also remember we had a break. Lunch? Snack? Whatever it was, there was food and we stuck around in the room because we would be resuming orientation stuff soon thereafter. I was talking to someone (who? How in the world would I remember?) and I noticed something interesting develop out of the corner of my eye.

Brandon had convinced his dorm mom's daughter (she was 2 years old at the time. And her name was Kimberly. And she was precocious and darling and we all loved her dearly) to walk with him over to the piano.

And then he sat down at the piano. And he started to play. The piano. PLAY. THE. PIANO!

I probably should pause, dear reader, and let you know, if you do not already, that I am a classically trained pianist. Although majoring in piano pedagogy was not meant to be, I was pretty good, if I do say so myself. Just one year earlier I had won a scholarship based on my performance of a Rondo by Kabalevsky. I could whip out Chopin with the best of them! (Wish I still could, though. Sad.) Anyway, sufficeth to say that I adored the piano. And I knew what I was talking about when it came to the piano. And all those awesome-sauce composers.

So. Brandon was playing the piano and Kimberly began to dance. He began with Beethoven's second movement of his Sonata Pathetique. I moved over to the piano and said, "Hey, isn't that from Beethoven's Sonata Pathetique?"
He looked at me and started to play something else. I didn't miss a beat.
"Isn't that Mozart's Sonata in C? First movement?"
Again he eyed me, this time with amusement in his eyes. He played something else.
"Beethoven again."

It changed my life forever, this encounter (obviously, if you've been paying attention). I realized I may have been a little too quick to judge this California computer-nerd. I mean, he could play Debussy! And he liked kids! Over time I learned that this computer-nerd was a jack-of-all-trades, with a full scholarship at BYU to boot! He was amazingly talented and very smart. His cocky, arrogant attitude from that first day? Simply confidence. Confidence that I had harshly judged way too early.

Eight months --almost to the day-- after that first encounter (May 20th, 1998), I was sealed to this amazing man in the Idaho Falls Temple (January 16th, 1999). I'm still amazed it's been 14 years.

I could just end the story now, but let's talk moral. What's the moral? There are several. Hundreds, probably! But let's focus on two:
1. Don't judge people based on one public meeting. Seriously. Don't judge! You'd think I would have figured that out from Jane Austen, hmmm? I mean, come on! Total Lizzie Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy, here...
2. Practice the piano. It might get you a spouse! Or at least a second chance. :)

P.S. I love you, Brandon!


Cristy said...

I love reading your posts you are a wonderful writter and pianist. lol, cute story!

Misty Lynne said...

Ha ha! My first impressions of Brandon that day of orientation were actually quite positive. I remember thinking that he was the best guy in the room (both in looks and personality-maybe because I'm a Californian too?), but I also remember being a bit bummed that same night because he seemed to be showing interest in a certain dark haired girl with an outgoing personality. Boo for me. But that's OK. You two helped introduce me to my husband a year later at another orientation, to which I am eternally greatfull. :)

Rebecca said...

Great story. The first time I saw my husband I thought he looked like a little boy in his father's suit.

Linda Liebhardt said...

Oh, I love stories like this! Thanks for sharing and happy anniversary almost. Happy camping this weekend, too. I can't believe you camp with a newborn-ish baby. I have a hard enough time with toddlers in the wild. Yeah, I guess I'm not much of a camper any more--if I ever was at all.