During our trip to Bozeman and back for a wedding, we stopped at all the sights of Americana: the Mitchell Corn Palace, Wall Drug, the world’s largest cement prairie dog, Mount Rushmore, Deadwood, the Museum of the Rockies (for the dinosaurs of course) and Yellowstone. Four of us in two cars connected by walkie-talkies, reimagining the 1950s myth of seeing the country by road—one off-ramp gas station at a time.
We were at Wall Drug and had just stepped into the blazing sunlight. We sat down on the dusty sidewalk to chat for a few minutes before getting back into the cars to continue our journey. Now, I could blame the next bit on being distracted by my broken ribs, or the ringing in my ears from driving a Jeep Wrangler thunder-rattling down the highway for a few hundred miles, but I swear I heard the following question:
“So, how long have you known each other?”
Me, always being the smarty pants said, “a really long time.”
It had been nearly a decade since we met in grad school after all.
Fiona scoffed, “a really loooooooong time? We got married last year.”
Apparently, I had misheard the question and dunked myself in some hot water. Not the kind that makes you jerk your hand out of a boiling pot, more like the kind in the shower when you can’t quite get the hot and cold to balance. I was in for the occasional reminder that I said something dumb and it would go on the ledger against me for a while.
A few days later, we were at Yellowstone National Park checking out Old Faithful as tourists have been doing since the time of wearing onions on your belt, and we got a special treat. The Giantess Geyser, perhaps in solidarity with my bride, decided to give us a special eruption a few hundred feet into the air. The geyser typically only erupts a few times a year, and before a release this last January it had gone two-and-a-half years since its previous hot water expulsion.
I haven’t gone 30 months since a reminder that I had said we’d been married “a really long time,” but like the Giantess Geyser, the reminders of my statement seem to be coming less and less frequent.