Just the other day, I texted my husband a picture of fresh thyme posing on a cutting board, with the caption, “Do you do weird things?”
Now, before your mind plunges into the gutter, you should know that there’s nothing dirty about this text. When my husband and I first met, we were one month shy of a whole slew of pressure-filled holidays: my birthday, his birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s. What do you get a guy who you just met, but you’re pretty sure he’s sticking around? I went with the classic gift of an experience.
I surprised him with a BYOB cooking class in the city. We brought a bottle of sweet red wine and knocked elbows with our fellow classmates in the lobby while we waited to begin. I wish I remembered the menu exactly, but I don’t. Some kind of sausage jambalaya in a cast iron skillet that we got to take home. All I remember is thyme.
We each had to find a station at one of the various countertops to contribute to the meal prep before we all gathered for a family style dinner together at a long table. You were supposed to mosey around to other stations throughout the class to learn different cooking techniques. We sort of assumed it would be like the cooking classes in rom-coms where you all have your own stovetop and cutting board and skillet and aprons and you follow along with the chef at the front of the class. Nope, not the same style here. Honestly, it felt a little chaotic with the instructor popping in and out throughout the room and leaving us responsible for our own moseying.
We started at the fresh thyme station. And then my now-husband and I got swallowed up by a very eccentric extrovert. So we ended at the fresh thyme station.
At the time, I knew nothing about cooking. I chopped the thyme leaves with the stem and all. By the end of the class, the instructor made it over to us and she saw what we had done with the thyme and she said, “Oh… try this,” and she zipped her hand down the stem, leaving a pile of sprinkled leaves. Simple.
Of course, we could blame it on the thyme for why we lingered so long and never made it anywhere else that night. Or we could blame it on the eccentric (read: crazy) woman.
I don’t remember her story. I wish I did. She clung to the two most agreeable, indecisive people who would nod our heads a million times and smile to even the craziest breeds. Something about us intrigued her (we are not that interesting). She couldn’t believe we had just met (a compliment, really). She was a close talker (you know the type).
She pulled us together in a group hug-like situation and asked in almost a whisper for only the two of us to hear, “Do you do weird things?”
There’s so much of this story that my memory has erased. For instance, I have no idea what the context was for this question. What were we talking about before she asked us this question that we’ll never forget? She was single, friends with the chef, and talked to us about our hobbies like writing and model trains. That explains exactly 0% of how she ended up asking us if we were into weird things.
It doesn’t matter really. It’s one of those things that my husband and I, now years later, will randomly say to each other as an inside joke. For me, I travel back in time to another life when we were just meeting and went on dates to cooking classes in the city and met new wacky people who asked us crazy questions. Perhaps that’s the magic of shared experiences (last minute Valentine’s Day gift, anyone?).
I’m sure I blushed. I’m sure we both laughed. I’m sure we had no idea how to answer the question and just focused on our thyme. We’ll never see this woman again, and yet, she’s with us always when we randomly ask each other, “Do you do weird things?”
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