A tale of carwashes, waiters, tips, and wedding rings

A few weeks ago my wife and i drove past an old carwash near BYU where we both went to college.  We shared a look and a smile.  We both remembered the story of the wedding ring.

Flash back to early 1994.  Poor starving college student Scott has just recently purchased a wedding ring and is getting ready to officially propose (the unofficial proposal during a cold winter evening in SLC at temple square, and the subsequent laser light show at the planetarium, and then the broken down car and freezing cold wait for my grandpa’s tow truck is another story entirely).

I’d purchased the wedding ring.  It took all the money i had.  There were two parts to the ring – the wedding ring itself, and a wedding band.  Why there are two pieces is a mystery to me, but hey whatever.  In order to keep the wedding band safe, i “put it in a safe place”.  More on this later.  That night, i took Luann out to the Olive Garden on University Avenue.  Big spender i know!  But hey – it was expensive at the time.  When we got there, i feigned a bathroom break and tracked down our waiter.  I slipped him the wedding ring and asked him to bring it out a few minutes after our dinner arrived.  He was pretty excited.  I’m just glad he didn’t take the ring and run off with it!

Unbeknownst to Luann (or to me at the time [i guess is shouldn’t have told them where i was going]), her roommates had followed us and were lurking about the restaurant, waiting for the big moment.  Our food arrived and we began to eat.  A few minutes later, 3 or 4 waiters/waitresses came out with this big silver platter.  There was a beautifully arranged veggie tray and in the center was a little grey box.

As you can imagine, she was quite surprised.  Thank god she said yes!  Her roommates came over and congratulated us.  Luann completely lost her appetite (unrelated to the roommates).  Which was too bad, because it was a really good meal.

But here’s the part that nobody knows.  (Even Luann only found out about this a week or two ago).  I’ve felt really bad about it ever since then.  But after the meal, i left this poor waiter a five dollar tip.  Serious.  It was all i could afford at the time.  I wish i could go back and give they guy $50 or something.  He really went all out in the veggie tray presentation.  So wonderful waiter – if you ever read this, contact me! :)

Our story doesn’t end here.  Remember the poor wedding band?  Well, i had to put it somewhere.  What better place for it than wrapped in a piece of tissue and placed in my car’s ash tray, next to the spare change?  What could possibly go wrong?  Well, i’ll tell you what went wrong.  Early one morning I took my roommate and good friend Kevin to the carwash (yes, the one mentioned above) and he proceeded to help me clean out my car.  Good friend that he is, he even cleaned out the tissue wadded up in my ash tray.  Later that evening (probably around 10pm or so), i broke into a cold sweat and ran out to my car, a sinking feeling washing over me.  Sure enough – no wedding band.  Begin heart attack.

I run back in, grab Kevin and tell him to come with me.  We fly over to the car wash in record time (yay for no cops on the road right then) and i make Kevin start digging through the trash can we had used earlier that day.  I guess the hasty prayers muttered on the way over worked, because we found the tissue and the wedding band safe and sound in the trash can (buried under a bunch of other icky gunk).  Disaster averted, heart attack over.  What a day.

Life is an adventure – Just say YES

I was just reading an interview with Richard Garriott (the first 2nd generation astronaut) in which he was talking about his trip into space. But he also spent some time discussing how he got to be in the position he’s in. As a young boy his dad was an astronaut with NASA and flew aboard Skylab! (He also did a shuttle mission later on). His mom was an artist. He was an impressionable teenager when Dungeons and Dragons came on the scene and the first personal computers made an appearance. He was perfectly positioned to become what he’s become – the premier fantasy game designer of the 80’s and 90’s.

He’s gone on African safaris, jungle adventures canoing down the Amazon, hunting for meteorites in Antarctica, visited the Titanic at the bottom of the ocean — just to name a few. Add now he’s been to space. But it’s not just his opportunities that have given him this chance. Sure – he had the silver spoon, so to speak, but he didn’t just sit around and go to Harvard. He decided to say “yes i want to do all this crazy stuff.”

It reminds me of the movie that came out last year (2008) with Jim Carrey – “Yes man“, in which Jim’s character goes to a seminar and afterwards says yes to every opportunity that comes his way – no matter what it is. It changes his life.

In my own life, i’ve had some opportunities. Nothing as spectacular as “hey, do you want to go into space” maybe, but still – chances to do things. It’s sometimes hard for me to say yes. I like the status-quo. I’m not super adventurous. But i want to be. Maybe not to the extend Jim Carrey was (i mean, the old lady next door? *shudder*), but more so than i am. I think i’ll work on saying yes a little more often and see what kind of adventure life takes me on.