When Cooper Met Ashley
Who likes being set up on dates? Me either. That’s why it’s a Christmas miracle that Patrick and I got together.
In the beginning of Fall 2011, I was sitting at my parents’ kitchen table as I overheard our friend Amy talking about Cooper from work (It took me a solid month to learn his first name). While the staff at our church had grown a great deal, I still knew names pretty well so I was confused.
Amy didn’t skip a beat. “Oh Ashley! You’d love him. He has his CDL.”
One. I didn’t know what a CDL was. Two. Once I found out what a CDL was, it increased my interest exactly 0%.
For the next several months, I would duck in and out of the church office (where my dad worked) very quickly. We often had lunch together, but I deliberately went in the back door to meet him. I was constantly looking over my shoulder for Cooper because I knew that Amy was not only prodding me, but him as well.
After a staff Christmas party and a youth group progressive dinner that we both attended and didn’t so much as look at each other, he finally called me (because Amy made him).
Our first date was a giant disaster. One horrible wreck. I intentionally met him at the church. I knew he was six years older than me. Therefore, I was afraid he was old fashioned and would bring me flowers… to my house… in front of my parents. No thank you. That would have given me hives. Hospital-bound hives. Once we met at the church, he came running out to my Honda Civic, affectionately named Cinco Sass (I bought her on Cinco de Mayo and she’s sassy). I got out of my car to climb into his car. He stopped me.
“Who’s driving?” he asked.
Who is driving? I’m sure as heck not driving. I’m the girl (I only use that excuse when it works to my advantage). It’s snowing. I’m too nervous to focus on the road. And I’m the girl.
After some awkward banter, we decided I would drive. Don’t get me started.
We went to coffee. I refused Starbucks because everybody and their grandma goes to Starbucks. We opted for a quaint custard shop called Paynes… and ran into my dad’s friend. Great. Lovely.
Because I’m a naturally awkward person and the universe has found a way to center me smack dab in the middle of all things uncomfortable, I insisted (for several minutes) to pay for my own three-dollar cup of coffee. And then I had no money. You could have heard crickets chirping in Montana when I came to this realization.
I cried the entire way home. The entire way. And I called every one of my girlfriends and bawled to them too.
And two days later, he called me again… And the rest is history.
Except for these highlights:
> I conned him into going to the heart of Detroit for some Tigers Stadium seats for my dad’s Christmas present. It was a super sketchy day involving a Kmart parking lot, a cliché “Free Candy” van, an old police car, and Eminem (unfortunately not the person).
> When he asked me if I ever thought about getting married, my response was “You mean to you?”
> We once went on a break after a three-hour confusing conversation. He went to leave and realized I drove him. He was carless. On the way back to his apartment, I had a craving for Culver’s so we stopped in for a quick concrete mixer. There was lovely lack of conversation to be had at that booth… I didn’t quite think that pit stop through.
Moral of the story: Whether you’re set up or find your own love life, give it a chance. First impressions are awful. Embrace your awkwardness and assume the same for him… Unless he doesn’t ever offer to buy you chocolate. Dump him. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.
This is practically perfect! (Says Mary Poppins… Apparently.)