At 7:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time, I will have been on my first date with Mr. TBS six years ago, exactly.
We met nine months earlier at the first rehearsal for the Christmas Shamu Show. After a packed day of classes starting at 7:30 AM and choir rehearsal, I took a quick nap in my car before heading to SeaWorld for rehearsal. If I hadn't been working there for the last year and a half, I might have made myself more presentable, but all I cared about that day were the paper and project I had to turn in. I was the only performer in the show, so after meeting the production team, trainers, and crew, I just sat with my script. At the end of the night, I had a question but couldn't find the person to ask. Low and behold, Mister walks in the door and finds me standing in the room by myself.
"Hi, Lindsay! Are you looking for someone?"
"Yeah. I had a question for Vicky about my costume from last year. Do you know where she is?"
While he got on the phone to get the answer I sought, I remember feeling so embarrassed that I was wearing the infamous ill-fitting SeaWorld uniform and glasses to cover my no-make-up face. (Those horrendous khaki pants need to be burned.)
In the months that followed, we ran into each other at work and shared friendly banters here and there. The following summer, I hosted two shows in the park, one of which was at Shamu stadium. I wouldn't say I hoped for him to be managing the show the days I worked, but it didn't hurt either. I had told my mom about this really hot guy at work, but my exact words were: "He is my work crush. But that's the point. He's just a work crush. I can't date him." I never thought he'd be interested anyway.
Since the spring, I had known that I would be moving to NYC at the end of August for an AmeriCorps program, so nothing was on my radar. On my last day of work, we happened to run into each other, and after small talk about my mom's birthday that weekend, when I flew out to NYC, and when I'd be back for my sister's wedding in the fall, he suggested that we grab lunch sometime before I left town.
That lunch never happened. When his plan to "grab lunch" together turned into dinner at Peohe's on Coronado Island, I knew this wasn't going to be the burger-joint farewell I expected. It was an official date! The dating gods smiled upon us and gifted us with the most sincere and patient waiter who should have received rent money for the table we occupied for five and a half hours. It took us two hours to order food, because we had so much fun talking. Around the sixth time he checked in with us, he smiled apologetically because he felt bad to keep interrupting, because we looked like we were having so much fun. How sweet was he? The hours passed, we laughed a lot, we talked about the things we hoped for ourselves, and then Mister realized that no one else was in the restaurant. Tables were vacant, and employees were cleaning. The restaurant closed 30 minutes prior. Oops! After paying and apologizing profusely, we walked to the parking lot, talked some more, and hugged. Mr. TBS likes to point out that I pulled away first... which I did, but I didn't know what to make of it. I was moving to NYC in ten days, after all.
The next ten days were life-changing, and I had complete faith that making a long-distance commitment was worth it. We're still writing our love story, but the very beginning is one of my most favorite parts.