Bloggers’ Exchange: We Knew Them Way Back in the Day (By us)

We proposed a bloggers’ exchange with our friend in Brooklyn.  His quirky takes on the world are revealed regularly at What You Do Not Know Because You Are Not Me.

Here is our post about them.  I have also posted Mike’s post about us.  Mike promises to put both of these posts up on his blog (but you never know with that guy).

I have known Stephanie & Mike for 28 years.  Actually, I’ve known Steph for that long.  Mike came later.

In 1983, I met this cute girl with long, curly hair while visiting a friend’s hall at O’Neil College (Dorm) at SUNY Stony Brook during my freshman year there.  I later learned she had a serious boyfriend back home.

You know how those things go during the freshman year — those homey boyfriends are usually history before the midterm exams are passed out.  Apparently, not in Steph’s case.

Steph and I kind of lost track of each other during those middle years of college.  I think we would see each other on campus and say hello.  She was ultra-friendly.  And ultra-smart.  And ultra-cool.

Senior year.  After coming back from a semester abroad, I was placed in a suite with guys I fucking hated with whom I did not have much in common.  Like many males of that age, I suffered dorm-envy.  I longed to live with the cool people in Toscanini College.  My freshman friends and their fun-loving hall-mates were there.

Steph (right) and Mike (left) in our roachy, Astoria apartment, 1992.

During the Fall 1986 semester, I spent little time with my weird, Addams Family-like iconoclastic suite-mates, and a whole lotta’ time at Tosc.  There, I reconnected with Stephanie.  She lived in a suite with nice girls on the fun hall.  At night, I would leave and wistfully slink back to my suite of horrors.

Spring brings renewal.  Spring ’86 brought me new suite-mates and a place on the cool hall.  Unfortunately, Miss Smartie-Pants Stephanie graduated early and left the school.  Fortunately, she came back often to visit.  More better, she would bring around her boyfriend, Mike.

He had this thick facial-hair thing going on.  Not a beard.  But, not clean shaven (at least, I think not clean shaven).

Dude had FACE-ial hair.  I’m talking Shiite-thick facial hair.

And Brooklyn oozed from his pores.  Not Hey, Dominic.  You wanna’ go get some gabagol? Brooklyn.  But, Brooklyn-proud stuff.  Truth: Mike was the first guy from that borough who, when he talked about how great the place was, I really believed him.

He was offbeat.  He wore hip glasses.  He knew how to work the system (particularly the campus government system, called Polity).

He was smart too.  Not Stephanie-smart.  No one’s Stephanie-smart — except Stephanie.  But, Mike was still righteous smart.

Most importantly, he was piss-your-pants funny at the right moments.

Together, he and Steph formed a great combo.  You could see why they made it past Freshman year.

When I picture Mike back in the day, I see Adam Duritz of Counting Crows.  In my middle age-addled brain, I watch the video for Mr. Jones and then I meet Mike and say, “Hey, that guy looks like Adam from ‘Counting Crows.'”  Actually, after fact-checking Wikipedia, I learned that the Crows weren’t formed until 1991, and Mr. Jones didn’t hit MTV until 1994.  Weird how I knew Mike looked like Adam well before I knew what Adam looked like, isn’t it?

Anyway, after graduation, I became even better friends with S & M.  Our group of college friends stayed tightly knit for many years.

We skied together in winter; beached together in summer.  We went to shows; we went to restaurants; we went to movies.

We sang around campfires.  How nerdy is that?

We all made frequent trips down to Philly to see two members of the tribe who had fled NY for podiatry school.

We loved each other.

Can you say "CHEESE?" Apparently, Mike can.

When I got a place in Astoria, I saw more of Mike & Steph.  They were only one borough away.

One day, I met this girl and wanted to date her.  I got tickets to a concert at Lincoln Center and asked her out.  She said yes, and I was overjoyed.

Then, she stiffed me.

Left me standing by the fountain holding two ducats.

I thought to myself, “Do I know any girls who are flexible enough to drop everything and come to a show with an hour’s notice?”

When I called Stephanie, she replied, “Well, I’m in the tub.”

“Oh, well,” I thought.  “She’s in the tub in Brooklyn.  That’s that.”

“Give me 45 minutes,” she added.

45 later, there she was.  I told you this girl is cool.

Mike was equally cool.  He didn’t mind.  He knew we were all friends, and trusty.  He also knew how solid things were with Stephanie.

“I want that,” I said to myself, referring to their relationship.

Turns out that the girl who stood me up said yes next time around.

We kept on dating.  She liked my friends.  She particularly liked Steph and Mike.

They were married in 1991.  We were at their wedding.

We were married in 1992.  They were at ours.

We all had years of NYC fun, including the greatest concert experience of all time — Paul Simon’s 1991, Rhythm of the Saints Tour (coming soon to blog near you — or at least the story of it is).

Then, we ruined it all.  Running Girl and I moved away.

Nice, huh?  We had a great thing going and we fucked it up.

Mike & Steph in between two hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains that look suspiciously like boobs.

Oh, well.  That’s life sometimes.

Over the years, we saw S & M only periodically.  We had to plan visits when we were in town.

They came to see us in Virginia.

They came to see us in Maryland.

They came to see us in Buffalo.

As you can see, they’re quite game for adventure.

Somewhere along the way, they became S & M Plus Two.

I’m not quite sure how this happened.  They didn’t seek our approval beforehand.

‘Bygones be bygones’ is what I say.  But, that’s me — maybe I’m too forgiving.

Now, we see them more often.

Our visits to NYC are Brooklyn-centric.  Mike has always insisted that Brooklyn is the center of the world.  I guess we’re coming around to his way of thinking.  Call us slow.

We always knew that Mike was crazy with this running thing.  I remember him proudly telling us how he hurled on the 59th Street Bridge during the New York Marathon of 1894. “What a nut,” we told ourselves.

Mike on a Virginia roadway, proving for all that he can indeed run.

Six years ago, my spouse Running Girl caught the bug.  Hence, the nom de screen.

Now, she and Mike do this mindless ritual over five boroughs each November.

It’s crazy-making for the spouses.

Stephanie and I have come up with a way to deal — While they’re off needlessly killing themselves, we eat Chino-Latino.  It’s win-win.

Running Girl and I love S & M.

Wait! I mean we love Steph & Mike.  We love Plus Two as well.  We just haven’t known them as long.

In closing, I swear to God, when I am 90 frickin’ years old and in diapers and a wheelchair,  I will read something goofy that Mike wrote in his insane Chicken Underwear blog and I will literally die laughing.

What a great way to go!

— The Major

The author prepares to snap a shot of the two newlyweds. Charlottesville, Va, 1993. Sneaky photo by Running Girl.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Doug on March 8, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Another blog well done!! I just read the other Mike’s blog about you guys and had some good laughs. I must say I LOL when I read your editing of:
    “I was placed in a suite with guys with whom I did not have much in common.”
    Be well,
    Doug (from the cool suite)

    Reply

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