view counter

The When’s, Where’s and How’s of Love

When, where or how, love takes stepping outside your comfort zone

       When is the adverb director Rob Reiner and crew settled on for the legendary (and now ancient) rom-com When Harry Met Sally … . Success is its own reward, so we follow that catchy precedent in this year’s Valentine’s story about finding love.
      But when you think about adverbs, and love, is when any more helpful than how? Or where? Taken literally, when refers to a time, momentary or continuing, unique to the people whose names couple around the adverb. However transformative, it’s their past moment and of no use to you.
      How is a bit more transferable, hence more useful. Where, perhaps, is the most useful of all, for it might still be there when you turn up looking for love. 
       If you are looking for love, the where of this story might inspire you. Two dozen couples ranging in age from their 20s through their 80s took our bait, dangled by Facebook and in front of writers and friends. Among all but three, where was out and about. Like the hunter safety class where Amanda Bowen met John Barnett.
       Out often took at least one half of each couple out of his or her comfort zone. 
        Can you imagine the courage it took dashingly dark-skinned Marty Martinez, of Mexican parentage, to approach a table of lily-white New England girls 65 years ago? To ask a second girl, after the first refused, to dance? That’s a big stretch in any comfort zone. Or how much courage it took her to take — and keep — his hand?
      For other couples, the comfort zone was psychological rather than physical. Susan Nolan, who leads off our story, was dead-set against dating anyone from work — until she did. And how about her friend Lisa, daring to find love through Prison Pen Pals?
        Other wheres are on our couples’ everyday circuits, as were three who missed out on the story because they didn’t send photos. 
      Nikki Lee Bremner was paired with her husband Kevin at a family picnic, set up by their fathers.
       Ali professed her love for friend Chris Dohne at Swamp Circle Saloon.
       Margaret Thomas met husband Chris at her jewelry store when he came in to to buy an engagement ring for another girl.
       Kristal and Eddie Jewel of Dunkirk met at Taco Bell in Edgewater.
       Couples met at friends’ houses, parties and weddings, elementary school, college dances, the old neighborhood, coffee shops and bars, shared workplaces. But even in such ordinary wheres, somebody was likely outstepping a comfort zone.
        Or some seldom-encountered force gave them paranormal daring — as when a small woman finds the strength to lift a car off her child. How else could 10-year-old Billy Krug have told his bride-to-be’s father he would surely have her hand? How else could Elisavietta Ritchie, world traveler though she was, have sidled up to New York Times foreign correspondent Clyde Farnsworth? 
       When a match clicks, where, when and how all seem to conspire.
       But it may take where to give when and how a chance.
       Even if you’re not looking for love, can you resist a good story?
      You’ll find 20 or so of those — Where? In Bay Weekly. When? This week. How can you resist?