My husband and I rarely fight. I mean, sometimes it’s inevitable, like when there’s only one doughnut left, or when I go to Target at the end of the month and fail to heed the warning, “Keep it cheap.” But mostly? Mostly we get along. I like to think that the majority of our fights are because of something he did, but both history and my mouthy spouse remind me that isn’t necessarily the case. I will concede that our very first fight was my fault. All my fault.
It was 1999, and I was in love. The Doctor and I had been dating for three months, we had already professed our love for each other, and I was a mere six weeks away from having too many pale ales at the bar, and telling him I was going to marry him. He got wide-eyed when he heard the “M” word, the same face I imagine he would make if someone put a gun in his face, but he quickly put that look away, and suggested we discuss the topic later. At the time his reaction appeared dismissive, but the next day it seemed very reasonable and sober. I guess he was driving.
On this particular July day of our first Summer o’ Love, we were headed to a Dave Matthews Band concert at the Gorge in George, Washington. Not the former president, but the tiny town on the Columbia River in Washington State. The Gorge Amphitheater has been recognized as the best outdoor concert location in the country, and it is most certainly an amazing sight to behold.
Incredible, no? I have been to a handful of concerts at the Gorge, and in my opinion, no group is better suited for this breathtaking venue than DMB. Just like the Gorge, their music is beautiful and kind of gritty.
Driving through the desert in the passenger seat, with my amazing new boyfriend at the wheel of my Civic, I knew this was going to be the best weekend ever. We were meeting some friends, we were camping in the adjoining campground, and as a recent college graduate, I thought that weekend would be one of my last opportunities to party like a student. (I was delusional. I would act like a college kid for many more years.)
We got to the campsite early enough to meet up with our friends and to hang out in 90 degree weather at a campsite that boasted zero percent shade, and rows of porta potties that could be smelled from space.
When we had pitched our tent and sweated our balls off, it was time to hike over to the concert. My future husband and I began the long, dusty trek to the venue with a friend from college and her boyfriend. We were hot, thirsty, and we all had to pee like Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own by the time we got to the gate.
Security at the Gorge is tight. I don’t know what they check for now, in these post-9/11 days, but back in the 80s and 90s, they were checking for contraband in the form of booze and drugs. Since airport security was still pretty lax back then, the security at the Gorge was the most intense I’d ever experienced. I knew there were ways to sneak booze into a concert, but I also knew we could buy booze once we got inside, and I was over 21 now, suckas!
Get inside we did, and after staking a claim to a patch of grass in the general admission section, it was decided, because we were the whiniest, that my friend’s boyfriend and I would run to the bathroom first while the love of my life and my friend waited for our return.
I had to go so bad I didn’t even panic the way I used to do when it came time to unleash the fury of my bladder in a porta potty. I still hate portable toilets, but I have children, so I know that true disgust needs to be saved for other situations. Like a McDonald’s Playland, or a Walmart shopping cart.
On my way out, feeling about three pounds lighter, and more thirsty than ever, I ran into the friend’s boyfriend. “Should we grab a beer before we head back?” he asked, nodding towards the beer garden. “Oh. Yeah. Good idea,” I agreed, thinking how nice it would be to bring a beer back to my beloved, and also, remember how thirsty I was?
We walked through the opening of the black tarpaulin walls, fought the crowd to the front of the line, and ordered two cold ones. I made for the exit, and was stopped. Of course I was. Any fool knows a beer garden keeps the beer in. No leaving with booze, dummy!
Shit. Okay. Nothing to worry about. If I were still on the blanket, I would be needing some clean undies, but if either of them had to go bad enough, they’d just go, right? It seemed like I’d been gone a really long time, but it was probably only a few minutes. Hopefully.
I’d just drink it real fast and get back to the blanket, so my main sqeeze and my friend could have their bathroom turn, and even get a beer if they wanted. Fair’s fair. I looked over, and see the friend’s boyfriend. Eating a burger. “Dude! What are you doing?!” I shrieked. “Hrmh?” He asked, mouth full of cow. “We need to get back!” I’m was beginning to panic. He swallowed his bite, saying “We planned on eating. We can’t do it all together without losing our spot, and we were already here. I’m just saving time.” I stared. “Want a bite?” he offered. Dammit. “Yeah.” I was hungry. Oh, snap! That burger was wayyy better than the shitty melted granola bar I had three hours ago. “There’s no line,” he said. “Go get one real quick.”
I still, fourteen years later, can’t believe I got in line and got a burger. His burger was good. Mine just tasted like shame. I scarfed that sonofabitch down and rushed back to the blanket, where I was met with the cold stare of my man and a slow head shake from my friend. They had both waited. Bladders screaming. Disgusted, they both got up and fast-walked to the bathroom, while I worked on my story.
The future father of my children forgave the beer. Barely. He knew me well enough to know that I could easily have been confused about the rules of the beer garden. I had only a year of legal boozing under my belt, and I was about as smart as I am now, which is to say I should be prettier than I am to be carrying around this brain. He fully supported my decision to drink the beer and not waste it. We’ve always seen eye-to-eye on the travesty of wasting beer. Based on how long I was gone, and since he didn’t know about the burger inhaling situation, he was sure I could have chugged it faster.
Then, about 30 minutes later, my love asked if I was hungry. I wasn’t, and I foolishly told him that, which is when the fight started. I apologized. He glared. I apologized some more. He didn’t want to hear it. I probably cried, and all of this happened while we were sharing a blanket with another couple who was also fighting. The concert was mostly ruined, as was the campout.
We made up the next day, and I never ate a burger again. Actually, only one of those things is true, and if you follow my Crock Pot Thursday series, you know I couldn’t swear off burgers for life.
But I was never wrong again, and that’s the truth.