An Immodest Proposal
I sure am glad that I’m not single and planning on getting married in the near future, and it’s not because of any of the myriad reasons that just passed through your brain. No, it’s because from what I’ve seen in recent weeks the proposal bar has been set outrageously high, and frankly, I no longer think I could compete.
Spike and I both enjoy oysters. One of our favorite spots to get them is on the wharf in Monterey. So just about sixteen years ago I took Spike down there for some oysters, and when I handed one to her it held, of course, a massive five-carat (It’s called poetic license, Chum, so back off.) diamond ring. I watched carefully to make sure she didn’t swallow the damn thing, and just like that we were engaged.
Pretty creative, huh? Well, I thought so at the time, but with what I’ve observed lately, if I tried a mundane stunt like that today I’d be afraid of being greeted with a smirk and sarcastic, “Are you kidding me with this?” Allow me to present two examples.
I just saw that the daughter of an old (as most of them now are) friend of mine recently got engaged, and the happy couple has the most delightfully unique photographic evidence to prove it. It seems the first time this couple ever kissed, nearly two years ago, it was in one of those photo booths. You know, where you close that little curtain and take four pictures in quick succession. (I was going to say “for a quarter,” but really, do you need any more evidence of my decrepitude?)
So the guy gets his girl into one of these booths and, as the lights flash for each photo, he presents her with a ring and pops the question. What’s amazing is that the four photos that result clearly tell the story. First the couple is looking at the camera, then he presents the ring, then she expresses joyful surprise and finally the newly-engaged pair seal it with a kiss. How he timed it so perfectly, whether by luck or careful planning, I can’t say. The result, however is a simple yet remarkable record that they’ll cherish forever.
I recently traveled to Peru, and while there I met a nice couple. They were somewhat younger than me, and by “somewhat” I mean a tremendous amount. And so, while our five-mile hike on a muddy trail through the Amazon had put me in the mood for a week-long nap, apparently it was just a warm-up for these hearty kids. When we parted company they headed out for a four-day trek over the rugged Inca Trail.
I wasn’t there to witness the proposal, of course. I can’t be sure, but I think I was in my hotel restaurant at about that time, scrarfing down breakfast at the complimentary buffet. I was fortunate enough to see the video on Facebook, however, and a sweeter scene I can’t imagine.
It was at the end of their hike, and obviously the guy had asked a friend to video tape the event. It was morning, and the sun was just breaking over the top of the jagged Peruvian peaks. As the girl gazed over the magnificent view of Machu Picchu and the surrounding mountains, the guy chose that exact moment to drop to his knee and ask his question. This was followed by exclamations of surprise, a few tears and copious amounts of hugging.
I can’t say that everything was perfect, although I’d be at a loss to imagine how he could have done it any better. Perhaps if a choir of angels had descended from on high singing Hallelujah. Short of that, though, it was quite a proposal. He had carried the ring on a four-day hike. They were gazing down on Machu Picchu, one of the most impressive sights in the world. The sun was just coming up over the mountains. And then he asked her to be his wife. Whew.
And so I imagine some guy standing there watching all of this, or perhaps seeing the video on Facebook. Maybe he, too, was planning on proposing to his girlfriend, but how could he ever top this performance? The pressure would be enormous. What was he supposed to do now, go to some wharf and hide a ring in her oyster? I don’t think so.