Last week I was invited to dinner with my dad, his girlfriend and two family friends, Alex and Mona. They met my parents in the 1970s, when the four of them were enjoying their 20s in San Francisco. One of the greatest parts of their visit was watching the interaction with my dad. After 30 years of friendship, the interaction is more like family members who haven’t seen you in a long time, but they know all the indiscretions of your youth.
Alex and Mona are jewelers; they were in the Seattle area for a local art fair, but still lived in the small town in California that I remembered from my childhood. I can still picture the lemon tree in their front yard, the jasmine climbing the railing on the front porch, and the arbor of old grape vines in the backyard. They lived and traveled through numerous European countries and Mona still has Norwegian citizenship.
While we enjoyed our steak, green salad, potato salad and various drinks, I was content to observe most of the conversation. The food was good; the conversation and the feeling I left with was better than the actual meal. Hearing Mona tell the story of how they got married in Denmark, when they went to inquire about a work visa. The official, who looked like an owl, peered down at them from his spot on the top of a ladder at a very tall bookshelf. “Well, do you love each other?” He asked. They said yes. “The wedding in English is on Monday.” And so, they got married. And 35 years later, if my math is correct, they are still happily living and working together.
Hearing of their adventures in France, collecting eggs and building windows in exchange for rent, made me think a lot about my life. Granted, I don’t want to be penniless in France, but I would like some adventure in my life.
The conversation eventually turned to my work, friends and love life. It was then that I mentioned I was considering moving in with my significant other in about 6 months.
My dad’s girlfriend voiced the opinion that I’ve had, but have been reconsidering lately. She said “I still think it would be nice to live alone first.”
Alex replied, “That’s an American travesty! You love someone, you jump in.”
I smiled, expecting a reply like that from Alex. After all, it worked out well for them.