I met Robin sometime during the summer of 1988. I had just graduated from high school and was working at Pizza Inn in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. She had just finished eleventh grade and was working at the delivery store. I didn’t think much about her until the end of the summer when they closed the delivery store and moved it into the main building. She transitioned to being a waitress and I began working with her nearly every day. By the time September rolled around we had become very good friends and I realized that I was attracted to her…VERY attracted to her. There were a couple of other girls in the picture at the time but there was something about Robin that captivated me. She did show interest in me so I was hopeful that something would develop.
Once she went back to school I saw her less. I was playing in a band and by the time November arrived I has left Pizza Inn and was working third shift at Abbott Labs. I did take some classes at the community college but I wasn’t very serious about it. I continued to call Robin and even wrote her letters. For those of you who don’t know anything about that, perhaps I’ll dedicate a future post to that. I’ll include the art of making mixtapes as well, since most of the letters included one.
I often joke about how Robin and I got together. I like to tell people that we met and it was love at first sight for me. I then like to give her a hard time and say that I chased her around for a year until she got tired and gave in. While certain elements of that are true, it was a little more complicated than that. During the year between September 1988 and September 3, 1989, the day we officially became a couple, I had a girlfriend who I was fairly serious about and I even reconnected with my high school girlfriend briefly. I say all that to show that there was a slight possibility that Robin and I might not have ended up with one another. In fact, the month before we started dating I almost gave up on her completely. That is a story for another post though.
I posted the REO Speedwagon video because that was the song that defined how I felt about Robin during that year. It originally came out when I was in eleventh grade but got a second life in May of 1988 when it was included on a greatest hits album. I honestly don’t know how many nights I sat in my room, slaving over a letter that I would never send, while this song played in the background. This was before Nirvana (and their cohorts) made “teen angst” a catchphrase. I guess that goth kids probably understood that level of melancholy but they were listening to The Cure and The Smiths. I was part of the M-TV crowd and Kevin Cronin perfectly summed up the despair that I felt every night as I lay in bed dreaming about a world where Robin loved me.
Yeah. I know. I probably just lost any cool points that I might have had. I don’t know how many of my friends can imagine me as a lovesick eighteen year old kid. The very thought of me sitting cross legged on the floor, trying to craft the perfect mix to demonstrate my love, may make them laugh. However, those who REALLY know me probably aren’t surprised at all. I am not an overly emotional person and I don’t wear my feelings on my sleeve, but I am a hopeless romantic at heart. Ask Robin and she will confirm it. It is true that my youthful exuberance is long gone, but there is still part of that kid inside. I still sit and try to perfect the perfect mix for birthdays, anniversaries, and Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t take hours these days because I usually put them together in iTunes and burn them to CD. I admit, it’s not as romantic and it doesn’t take anywhere near the amount of time. The thought and the intent is still there though.
I hope you enjoyed this little autobiographical rant. I have a birthday in a week so I’m feeling my mortality. Expect more in the coming days.