Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

Connecting in Memphis

Text message to my cousin while Jon and I are at the airport in Memphis on a layover: “I JUST RAN INTO MY BOYFRIEND FROM HIGH SCHOOL.”

Her response: “Of course you would!”

Yes, I even text in all caps, but come on. That one called for it. In fact, I can see a few instances in which an all caps text would be appropriate:

“THE BABY’S HEAD IS CROWNING, COULD YOU PLEASE PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE AND COME OUT OF THE BATHROOM.”

“FRAMPTON.”

“TELL ME YOU DID NOT JUST REFER TO SAN FRANCISO AS FRISCO.”

“DOES YOUR MOTHER HAVE A PLUNGER BECAUSE I’M GOING TO NEED ONE IN HERE.”

And my cousin was right, I would totally run into my boyfriend from high school while on an hour layover in an airport. That is the crazy energy I attract, which I guess means that this is the exact kind of energy I’m putting out. This explains the mythical bobcat, the towel the plumber found in our sewer line, that case of SHINGLES! I had when I was breastfeeding Marlo, the fact that when choosing which miniature Australian Shepherd we wanted from the litter we ended up with the one who barks at walls.

So yeah, I was standing in line to buy some lunch, eying the menu from several feet back when out of the corner of my eye I saw someone approaching me and at the same time he was madly pointing at my head. My first thought was, oh right. It’s the South. These people are insane.

Then he called out my name, and when I focused on his face I did not recognize him. So I thought, hmm, maybe he knows me from my website? Maybe he follows me on Twitter? Maybe I slept with him and don’t remember?

And then time did that weird, dizzying thing that causes all the noise in the room to sound like a giant fart underwater. Because then it came to me: OH MY GOD YOU BROKE MY HEART EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO YOU BASTARD.

He did. He broke it right in half, and I did not get over it for a long time. But that was when I was unmedicated, so I did not get over a lot of things including the rapid decline of New Kids on the Block.

I did eventually get over it, but I had convinced myself that I was not going to see this person ever again in my life. It just wasn’t going to happen, the possibilities were too slim. I mean, I haven’t been back to my hometown in almost eight years, and the only reason I was there right then was because of a layover. What are the chances of running into the first person who ever broke your heart on a layover? I mean, disregarding the plot of a hundred romantic comedies.

We hugged and caught up, all while I tried to find my footing because SERIOUSLY? What are the chances? He’s married, has a kid and two dogs. Works for himself. Was perfectly lovely. Except, wow. I did not remember his accent being so thick. Which is not a bad thing, but when you’ve been married to someone for over eight years who has no accent at all, it’s very weird to be reminded that you used to date someone who sounds just as hillbilly as you do.

Since he had the time I walked him over to our gate and introduced him to Jon, who you will note was not one bit surprised that I had returned with my first true love and not that plate of pulled pork he was waiting for. This shit just happens to us. You mean you didn’t run into Jesus and reminisce about all those prayers you used to send up asking for bigger boobs? All you’ve got is your first boyfriend? YOU DO DISAPPOINT.

  • gretchie

    FIRST!!!

    Sounds nightmarish.

  • zchamu

    Bet you walked away afterwards going, whew. Did I ever dodge THAT bullet! Because, seriously, that’s all I can think whenever I run in to someone I used to date when I liked big hair and pickup trucks, and so did they, and aren’t I surprised to bump in to them and learn that apparently they still do.

  • Fifi Coon

    Thank you so much for making me laugh – every single day!!

  • kristanhoffman

    “What are the chances of running into the first person who ever broke your heart on a layover? I mean, disregarding the plot of a hundred romantic comedies.”

    LOL. Oh man, I wouldn’t be surprised if CONNECTING IN MEMPHIS was the name of the next big chick lit novel.

    (Btw, I love chick lit. Not knocking it. Just… poking fun. I do that with things that I love. Don’t we all?)

  • kristanhoffman

    “What are the chances of running into the first person who ever broke your heart on a layover? I mean, disregarding the plot of a hundred romantic comedies.”

    LOL. Oh man, I wouldn’t be surprised if CONNECTING IN MEMPHIS was the name of the next big chick lit novel.

    (Btw, I love chick lit. Not knocking it. Just… poking fun. I do that with things that I love. Don’t we all?)

  • ryanrageous

    I LOVE your blog and read it daily. I don’t even have kids but I try to recruit all my friends to read you because you are FUNNY!
    Also, check out Feist’s version of Limit to Your Love. It’s awesome, I love her voice. I’m Sorry is another great tune by her too.

  • debbie millman

    Genius in every way.

  • abi

    What! I cannot believe you haven’t already friended all your exes on facebook. That’s pretty much the first thing I did when I signed up, because I am a horrible masochist. My therapist was not overwhelmingly impressed with me.

    Fun fact: My heartbreakingest high-school ex went to Bob Jones University and is now a pastor in Florida, where he has a wife and five sons whose names all start with the letter B.

  • Laura Mauk

    hilarious. as usual. i can only aspire to be half as funny and honest: lauramauk.blogspot.com

  • mslynar

    Hello Frisco!

  • jon

    You forgot the part where I was in full bluetooth douchebag mode when you walked up, nerdery strewn about as I was brokering deals and getting shit done.

    It was lovely to meet him.

  • dooce

    I also forgot the part where HOLY HELL, I MARRIED THE RIGHT ONE.

  • specialkrispy

    I went through awesome heartbreak with a first love, only later in life. Unmedicated. It was hell. Like you, I figure I’ll never see him again. But sometimes I pray I run into him when I’m with my wonderful, gorgeous husband and beautiful daughter. If only just so he can see the happiness on my face and read the “SUCK IT!” in my eyes.

  • slappyintheface

    Right after I got married, my husband and I ran into my ex from high school (the one who was the epitome of loser) at some home improvement store where he worked. I was too shocked that he actually had a job to say anything to him at all.

  • fictionfiend

    Dood, are we related somehow? ‘Cause crazy shit like this happens to me all the time, too.
    (My mom was born in Tennessee and I do still have relatives there. Hmmm…)

  • Sarasnee

    Knowing that there is Corky’s in that airport I am highly disappointed too.

    You should know better. BBQ FIRST!

  • sarahdoow

    I love the way the world works and/or screws with us.

  • FeelinFroggy79

    Dont worry it took a lot of us awhile to get over the rapid decline of the New Kids.

  • Round Rock Gal

    My biggest fear about running into an ex is looking like shit. If the Universe is kind, I will look FABULOUS and he will look like something the mythical bobcat dragged in – and so will his much younger wife.

  • tallnoe

    Same-Same, but Different…:
    I ran into my hair dresser at the Original Farmer’s Market in LA. After I hadn’t seen her in 4 years. When she was supposed to be living in Spain.

    Those chances are also insane.

    And I love it. Glad you were relatively functional. 😀

  • JasmineStar

    Am I the ONLY one who loves Jon’s addendum to this post?!

  • DeirdreNM

    Your strange energy must be why I dreamed about you, sunsets over mountains, and bathrooms two nights ago.

  • Beans

    I love that Jon chimed in on this! Heather; you also have the energy to attract “the right one”. 🙂

    Glad you were able to get through that.

  • serene275

    I simply could not imagine my life without you!

  • krislee98

    I love your comment in the comments (office of redundancy office).

    The “I picked the right one moments” are the diaper rash for the awfulness of icky break-ups. Make things calm and smooth and much easier to manage.

  • Another Heather

    Ummmm, Pictures?

    Otherwise I’m calling him the Mythical Memphis Boyfriend.

  • Anu

    Hehe 🙂 of course you would get to meet your first love/heartbreak in a layover! That’s why you are the queen of bloggers. Imagine what MY life would be like without your crazy encounters. Who would I wake up to read every day 😀

  • Brett79

    My wife has prescribed a daily “blog diet” for me and you were on the list. As she put it “Heather Armstrong is an O.G. in the blogging community.”

    Glad this was my first post reading. It reminds me of introducing my, at the time, fiance to the girl I pined over for four years. That felt great.

    I’m hooked and will name my next band “Mythical Bobcat.”

    Thanks!

  • JourneyBeyondSurvival

    I wish you’d slapped him and then been nice. That would also be a nice nod to the romantic comedy genre.

    “Oh. Sorry about that. You okay? That was just a reflex I picked up somewhere about the time…”

    Hehehehe

  • Balkan Girl Down Under

    Tee hee, awesomeness!

    So, you were totally polite to the ex and didn’t allude to how he broke your heart and what an assholish move that was? You’re too nice, dude! Although, truth be told, I’d probably chicken out and just make nice as well, all the time wishing I had the balls to say, “Maaaan you really sucked donkey’s balls by doing that, I mean, what the hell?”

    But since that would then inadvertently make me seem like a bitter, grudge-bearing harpy, it’s probably best to always make nice.

    Ooh, does he know about your blog and how huge it is?!

  • smacks

    I love you. Every day could be shitball day of the universe and all I have to do is come here for a guaranteed laugh. Everything one could ever want is here….farts, shit, nasty smells, vomit, non-perfect children, Chuck photos, Tyrant, Jon’s crazy hair, Coco the turd eater and you, My Lovely. Been a follower for many years. Go, Go, Gadget!

  • Dani

    I ran in to my ex while waiting to pay for parking after seing Les Miserables. Turned out he and his date had been at the same show, which supports my theory that he is gay (also he’s in love with Tom Cruse and dumped me so it’s obvious). It was akward but my boyfriend (now husband) was with me and was all, “That guy dumped you? Pfft you are waaaaay out of his league.” So I felt pretty good about it.

  • katieredd

    Ahhhhh!!!! That is close to my worst nightmare!

  • kelcut

    Is it sad that my first reaction to this was “Holy shit – Dooce was sooo close to me!” (I’m in Arkansas) I may have a slight crush, but in a totally non-creepy, non-sexual way.

  • lizthedrummer

    I really hope you told him “I’M A BIG DEAL ON MY BLOG”

  • TerraSavvy

    HOLY SHIT I AM LAUGHING SO HARD IT HURTS!!!

    Thank YOU!!

    Jill V.

  • jessiCat

    That’s awesome. I am so glad you and Jon made it! Otherwise, I’d never have found my online family. Thank you for the laughs and daily smiles. Also, NKOTB? Yeah, I mourned them too. 🙂

  • NoLongerEvil

    Pictures!

  • shockinglythesame

    I’ve gotta say, as a “recovering Mormon” myself, I seriously get sort obsessed relating with EVERYTHING you say. Example: OMG I TOTALLY FELT THAT WAY ABOUT BYU. It DEFINITELY melted my brain and everyone there was soul sucking zombies but I still go back annually because ALL MY FAMILY IS THERE. Because that part is actually true. It starts getting ridiculous when I’m nodding about something you say about your kids like I totally get it and then I have to catch myself and say “ummmm, self, you don’t have kids….no life has inhabited your uterus. You are out of control.”

  • The Woman Formerly Known as Beautiful

    I dated my last asshole during the my-ovaries-are-shriveling while his semen–ages-like-an-Opus-One era of my 30s. The motherf@cker. Only he wasn’t f@cking a mother as he would never marry me! He was too busy cheating with stewardesses and nail salon girls. Years later, cue the strings, my moment of divine retribution. I’m standing in Barnes and Noble with my baby, Willa, her cheeks so chubby, her eyes a particularly cerulean blue as we await the elevator. I notice a tall handsome, albeit ammoral man gazing down at my baby in admiration. Aww, he loves the baby how swee…wait, it’s the bastard who stole my friggin’ youth and belief in humanity. Before I spew my molten lava cock clipping venom upon him and the B&N cashier as possible collateral damage – I recalibrate to deliver the ultimate ego-smashing blow. I show him I’m happy. With my baby, my hubby, my life. It was magnificent. Stealth emotional kung fu. When the elevator left I felt a little guilty he had to compare his grueling, lonely life of maintaining his six-pack for fly by night firefighter groupies. Where’s the joy in that! Now I’m off to shot-gun some Ambien.

  • danioz

    I recently reconnected via email with my first love and I was secretly betting that he had spent the last 20 years in prison or something. Nope nice and normal although he just broke up with the rebound girl he dumped me for 24 years ago (because I wouldn’t sleep with him) so that was wierd to hear.

  • jnframpton

    Yay! FRAMPTON gets all caps!
    Rock on.

    Jordan Frampton

  • mybottlesup

    i hope you were wearing a fantastic outfit and looking absolutely stunning… cuz that’s what i would want.

  • LillyO

    Man. Kinda like coming into work with a delicious latte and the FIRST EMAIL YOU READ is how your “first” would like to be “friends” on FB. 25 years later, it STILL ruined that damned cuppa-coffee. But like many have said…glad I dodged “that” bullet! ;o)

  • MamaChockley

    Absolutely none of your Memphis readers find this surprising. That’s how things work here.

  • jon

    @mybottlesup, Heather always looks fantastic.

    Yes, I’m trying to get laid.

  • nina-dsd

    All I can say is: Congrats on remembering who he was. I ran into my 2nd real boyfriend from high-school at a truck stop while travelling down to my in-laws house almost 20 years after dating him. Called him the wrong name…. oops! This, the guy, who took me to junior prom, who saw me in a semi-nude state…. AWKWARD!

  • lilbrice

    funny. that last paragraph was hilarious.

  • mommica

    My first love has a missing front tooth now. Or, if I consider that boyfriend from when I was 12 my first love: Fat and bald. EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON.

  • TropicalPopsicle

    I know that exact sound you’re talking about when all the noise in the room sounds like a giant fart underwater. That made me laugh out loud by myself in my car. (Not driving – I was parked in a lot waiting for a class to start.) I’m going to have to remember that description!

    My strangest ex experience was seeing a framed picture of one at a thrift shop a few years ago. I didn’t put it there, but SOMEONE was cleaning house.