HOWTO: Proposing to your girlfriend
This document intends to provide the reader with a short selection of bullet-points underscoring the importance of good planning and the incorporation of several alternative scenarios and contingencies when proposing to a partner.
© 2004- Dan Hon
- Your flight will not arrive on time, for a various number of reasons. None of these reasons may bear any resemblance to the actual reason as to why the flight is late.
- Immigration controls to the US are now much stricter, and while you yourself may not be subject to posing for your photograph to be taken (and as we know, passport photos are bad enough without having them taken at the tail end of a long haul fight) and being fingerprinted, everyone else in your line is. All of those people will without a doubt have filled in their visa forms incorrectly.
- Don't arrive at Dulles International Airport anytime between 2pm and 3pm on a weekday. Everyone else seems to think this is a tremendous time to arrive and immigration will look as if there's a party happening there. A very bad party, with everyone standing in a snaking line, no drink, no music and only the members of a Village People tribute band wearing the police costume.
- Don't lose your cellphone.
- Don't assume that clause 6.14 of the Orange Care Terms and Conditions relating to the reporting of the loss or stealing of a mobile phone mean you should report the loss "as soon as reasonably practicable", as I have been reliably informed that it actually means "within 24 hours", regardless of the fact that when Orange do mean "within 24 hours", they feel perfectly happy saying so in their terms and conditions.
- Don't try to argue the above point when you're jetlagged.
- Don't assume that any payphones at an international airport will be of the kind that allow you to swipe a debit or credit card to make payment. They will not be.
- Don't assume either that any number of stall owners or staff manning stalls will be able to provide you with change to operate a payphone with; it will not matter that you offer to purchase goods in exchange for being provided with change.
- Read the instructions on payphones. They tell you how to make reverse calls. When you make a reverse call, it may feel as if you are holding up a suction cup to a handset and making hissing noises down it.
- The staff who man ground transportation at Dulles are very cheery and take their job incredibly seriously; they are also very busy people. They will approach each task they undertake with an enthusiasm approaching the bloody-minded and no amount of handwaving and urgent requests for a ticket for the next bus will deter them from completing their job. Once they are satisfied their job has been completed, they will attend to you. This will most likely be five seconds after the bus has just left.
- I mentioned that the ground transportation staff are cheery: their sense of humour is second to none and they will take great delight in telling you that the bus takes "twenty hours" to get from the airport to its destination.
- A much-loved Republican President will invariably die a couple days before you plan to propose. His coffin will be flown to the capital of the United States and proceed, at a respectable pace, to the Capitol. While it is proceeding at its respectable pace, a surprising number of roads shall be closed to the general public, including ones no one had ever assumed would be closed.
- Just because a store carries copies of the Economist doesn't mean that it will do in the future. Evidently past trends are of no use in predicting the probability of a future event in this case. If you are intending on setting a puzzle that involves the retrieval of a copy of the Economist from said store, the simple solution would be to not do so.
However, given all of the above:
- Proposing on bended knee to your girlfriend, who is happily sat on a bench in her apartment complex's courtyard garden will do just as well as any other plan you could have come up with.
- It's great to see your friends rally around and come up with a backup plan when they have absolutely no idea what's going on and why you haven't called them yet. Thank you!
To everyone who has commented on the previous entry (apart from you spamming bastards) - thank you!
55 comments and trackbacks
I got bitten by exactly the same Orange problem when I lost my phone in Reno two years ago and didn't report it until my return home. Bastards.
Posted by: Yoz on June 16, 2004 03:30 AM
I'd extend any advice re Dulles airport to simply say "don't go there if at all possible". I got marooned there for a few hours last year, and for a major airport, there's bugger all to do. "dull-as shit" I nicknamed it, in a blaze of punning glory.
Oh, and congratulations mate ;-)
Posted by: Rik on June 16, 2004 12:04 PM
Yoz: I tried arguing the point with the woman I spoke to, even reading the clause back out to her. Her only response was "Yes, but we expect you to report it within 24 hours otherwise it's not covered by the policy." Gits. They can expect to ignore a strongly worded letter in the very near future.
Rik: There was one time I was at Dulles and had just gotten off the plane - about ten people were in the immigration queue ahead of me and some of them had decided to skip under the rope barriers instead of snaking all the way around. This worked fine until some scary-ass police dude started shouting at us as if we'd just threatened to detonate a nuclear weapon: "THOSE ROPES ARE THERE FOR A REASON! GET BACK THERE *NOW*!"
I didn't like him.
Posted by: Dan Hon on June 16, 2004 06:14 PM
As the proposee, I would like to state that while the intended plan was clever and would have been quite fun (and was, as far as it went), it was also nice just having a more regular moment with you, since our life together will be made up mostly of regular moments and how we react in those will shape our days.
Having said that, I apologize again for the "I suppose" remark. Maybe a little *too* regular. ;)
Posted by: robin on June 16, 2004 06:28 PM
Why can things never be easy? I was laughing by the end of it; good to see you can still see the humour in this, although you must have been at breakdown point and beyond!
Here's hoping your flight back goes smoothly.
("I suppose"... are you sure you two aren't in a Richard Curtis film? ;) )
Posted by: Rowan on June 17, 2004 07:25 PM
Rowan: Ha - my flight back - arrived 90 minutes late thanks to a TSA cockup at Dulles and hitting rush hour at Heathrow ;)
Posted by: Dan Hon on June 19, 2004 08:23 AM
Somewhat belated congratulations from me. So, when's the big day, or is that a crisis for another day? :)
Posted by: Lal on June 22, 2004 10:50 AM
A very belated congratulations from me as well, Dan. Keep in mind that for an event to be memorable, it just has to be interesting - not always in a good way.
Also, consider the following:
No hurricanes at the time, which would have resulted in the airport being flooded and a likely detour to JFK or Dallas/Fort Worth, whichever is most likely to also be closed.
The majority of your luggage remained intact, and shipped on the plane it was intended to be.
She said yes.
Best of luck to you both.
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