2000 Miles For Dinner - What Was I Thinking?
By Peter Birkenhead
In my 30s, I evolved into a lower primate. And by the time I met Jenny-this woman who made me laugh like an idiot to myself, in public, from 2000 miles away-I'd become enough of a human to actually get close to someone. I called her that day three years ago because I'd asked a female friend what I should do about this new long distance relationship I was in. She'd told me to pick up the phone and propose that I fly from L.A. to DC for a dinner date. So I did. Jenny's response: "Wow, that sounds like a lot of expense and effort for you to go through just for a dinner." The idea fizzled faster than you can say, "The lady will have the filet," so I let it die and cursed the friend who suggested it.
Then, a couple of months later, Jenny came to L.A. to visit a friend of hers. I asked her to dinner at my favorite Chinese restaurant, and she said yes. We ended up closing the place, and before the weekend was out, I knew I was going to become JetBlue's favorite customer. Within a year we were living together, and within two we were married, despite the fact that, as it turns out, Jenny hates Chinese food.
Nothing in my life has been more fun than hearing Jenny talk about hers. We came into the relationship having almost no idea what the other person actually did for a living, or what life was like in the deeply strange galaxy the other came from-mine the world of actors and writers who ate dinner over sinks well into their 30s, and hers of Washington politicos with monogrammed bath towels. But that "distance" has helped make our life together surprising and revealing. And sometimes annoying. But never boring. Such is the nature of a long distance relationship. Jenny and I began a conversation three years ago that we're still having, full of misunderstandings-some of them over the phone, some in the same room, all of them from a distance.