How We Met…
I was running late. Really late. There was a lecture for the AIA Convention at the school where I was getting my Master’s in Architecture. I was rushing over to the lecture hall from work totally flustered and worried there wouldn’t be any seats left. When I finally got to the school, I navigated between saying hello to friends and trying to get through the massive crowd. When I stepped foot into the auditorium, I realized it was way too late to hope for a seat. I walked down the long aisle scanning the rows and rows of filled seats and I realized I’d be lucky to find a spot to STAND in there, let alone sit. I finally found a spot to stand at the back… right behind a really tall guy. Great. I’m 5’4, and I couldn’t see a darn thing. All I wanted was to go and listen to one of the greatest architects of our time, and this jerk in front of me won’t move. What a giant jerk. My eyes started darting around to find a better place to stand. But I can’t help but think that if this guy in front of me would just be a gentleman and offer to stand behind me, we could both see. I’m 5’4! He could see right over my head if he would just move… What a jerk! OK, I decided I was going to say something. I tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, but if I stand in front of you, we’ll both be able to see. Wha’da say?” He got flustered, and he said, “Oh, uh sure, uh, so do you go to school here?” I though that was odd, especially because he didn’t move.
I was there for the AIA convention, not the lecture. I noticed Megan the second she rushed into the building and watched her through the floor-to-ceiling glass than hung off the facade of the freight-yard-turned-architecture school. She had her back to me, and when she turned around and I first saw her face and I was stunned. She’s so beautiful. But she was talking to a guy so I just figured she was taken and I left for the lecture. A few minutes later, I was standing at the back of the aisle in the lecture hall, and my heart started to race. There she was again, this blonde girl with broad shoulders and freckles walking straight towards me down the aisle. Then she stopped. Right behind me. My heart was racing. I desperately tried to find something to say to her, but I couldn’t think of anything. Should I ask her if she goes to school here? Should I ask her if she came for the convention? I couldn’t think of ANYTHING to say. Until I felt a tiny tap on my shoulder. “Excuse me, but if I stand right in front of you, we’ll both be able to see. Wha’da say?”
After several minutes of small talk, Conrad’s friend waved to him from the seated crowd, “Conrad! We found a seat for you! Come sit with us!” He looked at his friend, he looked back at me, he looked at his friend, and back at me. He seemed so confused. He clearly needed help with this decision. I said, “Um, go! You just got a seat at a Wolf Prix lecture! I’m jealous! Go for it!” And he reluctantly left me standing there. I was relieved. Now I finally could see.
Unnoticed to me, Conrad kept glancing back at me during the lecture. I was let down by one architect hijacking the lecture and not letting the others speak. I left after about 40 minutes to walk around the school and look at the work being displayed for the convention.
Still, to this day, I have no idea what that lecture was about. I kept glancing back at that blonde girl the entire time. Until I looked back and suddenly she was gone. I left my seat immediately to try to find her. I searched up and down the (quarter mile long) hallway until I finally spotted her. I tried to casually pass her and catch her eye. Nothing. This happened a couple times. I would walk down the hall, turn around, and walk back and try catch her eye again. Nothing. I don’t know how, I don’t know why, but on my third attempt as I was passing the blonde girl, this guy came up to me at just the right moment and asked me where the bathroom was. This…was my opportunity. I said, “No, I don’t go to school here, but she does.” And FINALLY I got the blonde girl’s attention. FINALLY. After she pointed the lost stranger to the bathroom, I asked her for a tour of the school. She agreed.
At this point, seriously, I had no idea he was interested in me. Boys just don’t get interested in me. At the time I was so focused on getting my Master’s that I thought this guy was genuinely interested in the school.
I realized during the tour that she wasn’t really that into me. She kept walking ahead of me and talking to her friends, so I felt defeated and was ready to call it a night. My friend who was there with me told me I had to at least get her number. I don’t know how to get a girl’s number, but my friend was there and I was feeling the peer pressure. So mustered up all my strength and came up with this, “So, I have to run to dinner with some friends, but maybe could I get your number so when I come to the SCI_arc Art Supply Store, we could meet up?” (I didn’t really have to go to dinner. I actually didn’t have anywhere to be…)
That second that Conrad asked for my number is when I FINALLY realized he was interested in me. Then I started to panic. I thought, Wait a second, this guy is SO CUTE! How did I not notice how cute he is?! Hello Megan, WAKE UP! That’s why he “randomly” ran into you again in the hallway during the lecture! That’s why he was leaning against the doorway of the laser cutter room looking like he thought he was in a GQ shoot. OH NO! He probably thinks you don’t like him because you just gave him a really boring tour of the school!! THIS GUY IS INTERESTING, ENGAGING AND SO, SO, SO CUTE. YOU LIKE THIS GUY! DO SOMETHING!
So, despite my panicking mind, I casually said, “Oh. It’s too bad you’re going to dinner with your friends because otherwise you and I could go to dinner.” Umm, I can’t believe that actually came out of my mouth. I don’t know where it came from.
Ummmm, Great. Now this girl just called me out. I’m gonna have to fess up to my lie, “Uhhh, I just made that story up about needing to be somewhere so I could get your number. I don’t really have to go to dinner with my friends. So… dinner?”
We went to dinner with a couple friends at a Thai place in Silverlake by my house. We’ve actually spent almost every day together since that night 5 years ago. Since then, we found out we’ve had “near misses” all our lives where we almost met (sat next to each other in line for a Rem Koolhaas lecture at UCLA for HOURS and never said a word to one another, we went to a lot of the same events, but we never met until that night.)
Conrad proposed a few months after that (in London!), and we were married in 2008. I’ve never had the feeling before or since then, but when I came back down to earth that night and went to dinner with him there was a peculiar familiarity with him that I had never felt with anyone else before in my life. I just felt like I already knew him. I remember celebrating one month after we met and feeling like, ‘how could it only have been a month?’ Being with him feels like being with a friend I had known for all my life.