I had just got home after a 16 hour shift on the ambulance.
Often times during a long shift, you have some downtime that makes the long hours bearable. Time to get a nap in, sit down and enjoy a lunch or dinner, or just mindlessly watch TV and clear your head before the next call comes in.
Not this shift.
No, we ran non-stop, call after call, from the moment I came to work until I returned to base and called it a day.
It was only supposed to be a 12 hour shift, but that is how life in emergency services works. You quickly learn that rarely do you ever get off on time, and that you should never make plans for after your shift. The moment that you do, you are guaranteed to run hours past your scheduled ‘off’ time.
I was physically and mentally exhausted.
All I wanted to do was go to bed and sleep for the next day or two.
As luck would have it, my phone rang and it was an old buddy of mine from college that I had not seen in a while.
“Justin, my man, what are you doing? I’m at Sweeney’s right now. You should come down, have a drink, and meet this new girl I am seeing.”
No, all I really want to do is go to sleep, but I am usually not one to turn down an invitation to hang out, so I got dressed and ventured back out into the cold to go meet up with my friend.
The bar was not that crowded, so they were easy to find. It also helped that they were right by the front door.
I sat down to a table of 4, with me making 5, made introductions, ordered a drink, and caught up with my old friend. Considering how tired I was, I was having a good time.
Unfortunately, the new girl he was seeing could not say the same.
She clearly did not want to be there.
We had a couple pleasant conversations, and bonded over some paranormal experiences we both had, but if she could be anywhere in the world at that moment, it was not at Sweeney’s in Saint Paul.
Ultimately, the night ended, we said our goodbyes, and went our separate ways.
One day while wasting time scrolling through Facebook, a message popped up from that girl I met a Sweeney’s a few months back.
Turns out things had not worked out between her and my old friend, and she was asking if my offer to teach her how to snowboard still stands.
For those that don’t know me, snowboarding is my religion.
I have been involved in the sport since the days when snowboards were only allowed on a handful of hills, and we were treated like outcasts that had no business sharing those gleaming white cathedrals with skiers.
I have been competing in, coaching, and teaching snowboarding for well over a decade at this point, so I thought nothing of sharing my love of the sport with yet another who wanted to learn.
A weekend was picked.
Plans were made.
And for the first time, I actually got a chance to talk to and get to know this girl.
She was as smart, as she was beautiful, and as I would later find out, one of the strongest people I will ever meet.
8 years and a few twists and turns later, we are married and are raising 2 beautiful little boys together.
If you would have asked me after that first night that I met my future wife if we would date and eventually marry, I would have laughed at you.
Honestly, based on how annoyed she was being at the bar that night, I never expected to see her again.
Funny how life has a way of working out.
If I would have stuck to my original plans and declined my friends invite to hang out, I likely would have never met my wife.