Let me just warn you - this is gonna be kinda weird . . .
In early December I met someone online. We hit it off and emailed, text messaged and talked for hours on the phone every day. I went to visit them in California the week after Christmas. We had a great time together and now we're talking about crazy stuff like love and (holy crap!) marriage.
His name is Carlos and . . .
Okay, maybe not.
Her name is Kyra. She's originally from Russia and just moved to the United States as part of a mail-order bride service.
Okay, maybe not.
Her name is Carla. She and I worked together at U.S. Bank in Salem 30 years ago. We were friends and spent time outside of work together with our spouses (Nancy and David).
Even though this will make me look like some kind of creepy stalker, I found her on Facebook. Actually I found someone who had the same name and who looked like her on Facebook, but I wasn't sure if it was her or not. I worked up my courage and sent her a message on Thursday, December 4th. It said, "Did you ever live in Salem, OR? I worked at U.S. Bank with a Carla Parker and she looked quite a bit like you." (Pretty smooth, huh? Kinda like asking someone in a bar if they come there very often.)
The next morning, December 5th, just as I was heading into work (around Noon or so, as usual) I got an email from her that said, "PETER!!!!!!! Oh my gosh! I can't believe you found me! Where are you? How the heck are you? Tell me about what is going on in your life. Last time I heard about you, you were a branch manager! I never would have seen that coming . . ." (Although Carla says she always thought I would become a teacher, my real guess is that even people who knew me early in my career could see my lack of potential!)
Over the next couple of days we emailed back and forth. Then on Sunday, December 7th, we talked on the phone for the first time. The next day I lost my mind and asked her to marry me. Okay, it wasn't like that but it was weird how quickly we had a connection with each other. We talked for hours every day. And emailed and text messaged as well. It was nuts!
Within the first week we had a DTR. If you've never heard of a DTR before, my kids say it stands for "Determine the Relationship." Things had progressed fast enough that we needed to sort things out to get our bearings. By the end of the second week Carla and I had made plans for me to visit her in Fremont, California, after Christmas.
As Christmas drew closer I knew I needed to tell my kids about Carla. On Christmas Eve, Elizabeth, Jake and Jeremy, plus Elizabeth's husband, Jeremiah, and Jeremy's girlfriend, Cassie, were all together at my place. As I started in on the story, I also hit "Call" on my cell phone so Carla could listen in on the conversation. (Because I am mildly retarded, this seemed like a good idea. I might have been wrong.) They were surprised but, for the most part, supportive.
On December 30th I headed south to visit Carla. We had a great week together. Lot's of time to get to know her daughter, her parents and other family and friends. Lots of time to do some fun things in Santa Cruz and San Francisco. And lots of time to hang out and talk and stuff. (And by "stuff" I mean, "None of your beeswax.")
By the time I came home (this past Monday) I knew I was in big trouble. After a few years of being a hermit whose only contact with anyone outside of work was with my kids or Rudy, all of a sudden there is someone whom I think I could not just live with, but may not be able to live without.
Or maybe my medication is off . . .