Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Denver and The Twofer

While in Denver, I have had the great pleasure of staying with a couple, Patrice and Ed. Patrice is the mother of a friend of mine from Portland. It was a wonderful thing to discover that while I am living in their home, I am completely comfortable and feel a bit like I have known them both for years. Ed and Patrice work opposite schedules, and every morning, there is a note from Ed to Patrice, and every night, a note from Patrice to Ed. I never read them, but if I did I would tell you they are full of code so I wouldn't have been able to understand them anyway. They have been dating for quite a few years, and have decided to get married on the anniversary of their first date later this year, 11-11-11.

Ed and Patrice were gracious enough to offer to show me their Denver favorite places. Their favorite places are such because of their shared experiences in those places. First, we went to Denver International Airport, (DIA). When Ed first told me that the airport was his favorite place, I was a bit puzzled, mostly because I kinda despise airports. But when he told me why, I understood completely.

Several days ago, about mid-afternoon, the three of us climb into Ed's car and he drives us out to the airport so he can show me the exact spot where he first kissed Patrice.

Ed: We are on the top of Denver International Airport on the west side of the parking structure. I had picked up Patrice, and I guess it was kinda like our second date. Previous to this, we had spent hours and hours and hours on the phone. We really got to know each other. I was actually a little concerned because we're so alike. (Patrice chuckles at this, as she thinks they are nothing alike.)
Patrice: We came out to the car, put my luggage in the car, it was this car as a matter of fact, and we were sitting here, where we are sitting now, and he reached over and kissed me! 
Ed: Now wait a minute, you kissed me. (Ed says this playfully.)
Patrice: No, you kissed me!
Ed: You know what, I just saw the look in her eyes. It was almost like begging. Being the accommodating person that I was, what could I do? 
She asked me out on our first date.
Patrice: We've already been over that, I did not.
Ed: What do you mean you did not?
Patrice: I did not! I put it out to the entire group who wanted to go Sufi dancing and you were the only taker.
Ed: She's looking directly at me, she's talking so low that nobody else could hear...
Patrice: Yes they could, that isn't true! And then Ed's the one who called and said, "since your house is on the way, why don't I pick you up so we go together?" So who turned it into a date? You did. (She says this to Ed, poking him in the nose to emphasize her correctness.)
Ed: Well, that would be true. 
Patrice: And then who was the one who said, "let's stop and get coffee and pie afterwards"? You did.
Ed: So we went walking on the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, looking for a place to have coffee on a Friday night.

The Pearl Street Mall is a quaint little outdoor mall in Boulder with plenty of shops and eateries, evidently none of them serve pie or coffee.

Patrice: No coffee. Plenty of liquor, but no coffee.
Ed: All the places were just loud, and we wanted to be able to talk. So we walked and walked, arm in arm.
Patrice: Then we drove back down to right by my house to have coffee. 
Ed: It was that night that I invited Patrice not to touch her door handle in the car.
Patrice: He always opens the door for me so I can't touch the door handle. He always comes around, lets me in, and comes around and lets me out. He's a gentleman. I think I was actually staring at you like "this". As Patrice says this, she leans her elbow on the median between the front seats in the car, rests her chin on her fist, and looks at Ed.
Ed: Thank you! The truth comes out!
Patrice: This is not begging. This is just staring at you.
Ed: (mimicking Patrice) Pleeeeeeeaaaasssee......kiiiiiiiisss meeeeeee.....
Patrice and Ed both laugh.

Thinking about the spot, I have to admit it is kind of romantic. Not as romantic as the airport used to be, when you could meet and be met at the gates of arriving and departing planes, but romantic nonetheless. The way Ed and Patrice finish each other's sentences, you can just see them in forty years, sitting in their rockers and helping each other remember who kissed who first.

We take off from the parking structure at DIA and head back into town. There is tons of traffic due to a Rockies game, so Ed has to take a circuitous route in order to show me exactly how Patrice first saw her favorite place in Denver many years ago.

Patrice: This is my favorite place. It was Christmas time, I wasn't feeling well, and they light up the civic center down here with all kinds of Christmas lights, so Ed was driving me down to see the Christmas lights and cheer me. We drive around and come through, and as we come through, I see Big Blue. I think they had a Santa Hat on him. So as we come around that corner and I see this great big blue bear with a Santa Hat on, I just started laughing and clapping. I  felt like a little kid. He still does this to me every time and that was almost six years ago. Every time we come down here and see him, he just makes me giggle. I love how his paws are up against the windows and he is peering in the building. I just love Big Blue, he makes me laugh.

Though Patrice calls him "Big Blue", the artwork's actual name is "I See What You Mean", and originally, its color was supposed to be sandstone, according to artist Lawrence Argent, the creator of the piece. But, a print out of the design mistakenly came back blue, and he thought it more interesting, so he stuck with it. Since its installation in 2005, it has become a bit of a cultural icon for the city of Denver.

Due to the slowness of the traffic, we get to linger a bit and talk about how cool a big blue bear in the middle of Denver is, and why as a piece of public art, it really works in that it invites interaction.

After we leave Big Blue, we swing by Little Man Ice Cream and Ed buys us all ice cream. As we are all eating, I ask them if they have ever thought about that their favorite places have to do with their experiences together.

Patrice: Both of our favorite places have to do with the other person. It's because we have so much fun together. Even in San Francisco, when I see things I have seen with him, I might have seen them a thousand other times, but those places remind me of him. 

Ed: We always have just a great time together. Whatever it is we are doing, we are having fun.

They talk a bit about the possibility of moving, as Patrice grew up in Denver and would like a bit of a change before she comes back to Denver to settle down. Wherever they move, there is one thing they agree on.

Ed: We're together for the rest of our lives.

Patrice: We're getting married in Puerto Rico. 11-11-11. That is the anniversary of our first date. We both happen to be people who celebrate places that are special, and so we both celebrate the places that have been special to us as a couple. 

They talk about all the things they like to do together, and why sharing their experiences are so special to them both.

Patrice: One of our favorite things to do is to walk the 16th street mall. Any season. If we go to the movies, we go to the movie by the mall and then walk the mall afterward. Our grocery trips we do together. Because we think that's fun. We can laugh and be silly and I am sure all the rest of the people around think we're nuts, but.....

There are many painted pianos all over
the 16th Street Mall.
Ed: Or they're entertained. 

As someone who has only had one or two successful relationships, it is nice to be around Ed and Patrice. The way they celebrate their relationship and each other on a daily basis is inspiring to be around. From little notes on the table to reliving how they first started dating, they both make efforts to create an environment of magic around their relationship. These two can make even a parking garage romantic.  That in itself is something to aspire to.

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