A few years ago, my family and my sister’s family went to one of our favorite places to eat: Blue Coast Burrito. All eleven of us stood in line, waiting to tell the people on the other side of the glass sneeze guard what we wanted on our burritos so they could pile them unimaginably high with meat, cheese, and veggies but still be able to wrap them up into a snug little bundle. (Those wizards!)
In front of us in line was a couple we didn’t recognize. They appeared to have just attended Woodstock, or more logically Bonnaroo, both with long unkempt hair, bare feet, and a certain degree of intentional grubbiness. She was wearing a broomstick skirt and he was wearing a long suede vest. Using my non-verbal, mom glares/facial expressions, I instructed my children not to point or stare.
After the couple ordered their food, they set their trays on a table and the man stood on the bench of the nearby kid-sized picnic table, clearing his throat to make an announcement. My brother-in-law, an elementary school teacher who excels at quieting down groups of chatty people, shouted for everybody to listen. The man said something to the effect of, “__________ (insert the girl’s name), will you marry me?” The girl said yes and the couple went to their table to eat their supper. No big deal.
I went to congratulate the happy-ish couple. “Congratulations!” I said, “So does this restaurant have a special significance for you? Like maybe it’s where you met or where you had your first date?”
The girl looked at me matter-of-factly and said, “It’s just good, wholesome food,” and she resumed eating without even looking at her beloved betrothed. If the ten other people from my family hadn’t witnessed that proposal with me, I would’ve sworn I imagined it. Where was the fanfare? The pomp and circumstance? The fireworks? The bevy of doves released in the sky to symbolize their undying love?
If you search “marriage proposal” on YouTube you will get 1.5 million videos. I didn’t check all of them, but I’m pretty sure this particular proposal isn’t amongst them. I guess it just wasn’t exciting enough, and they forgot to get someone to film it.
Life, like marriage proposals and television series finales and new recipes, can often be disappointing. It’s easy to build up expectations beyond anything even remotely possible. The key to avoiding the nose-dive into disappointment seems to be three-pronged: Be active in ensuring happiness for yourself and others, be hopeful but flexible, and live a life of gratitude.
As I think back on the Blue Coast Burrito Couple I have to wonder how everything turned out. Although the proposal was a bit anti-climactic, maybe they’re on to something. Perhaps a low key marriage proposal and “good, wholesome food” is just the right formula for decades of wedded bliss. And I bet those burrito-wrapping wizards already knew that!