Obligatory Ring Entry

The day after my birthday, four days before I got engaged, I got an email:

Hi Pamie,

Last night I had a dream that you were engaged to Stee. It was a dream about a dream, so in the dream I told you that I had just had this dream and you held out your hand and showed me the engagement ring. (It was really cool and modern-looking, by the way).

So, I’m doing my karmic duty by passing this vibe along to you. Do you have any news?

Elayne

She had this dream on my birthday. I was not engaged at all. In fact, I read this letter out to stee after I got it.

“Isn’t that funny?” I asked him.

Cool as a cucumber, he responded, “Strangers dream about you.”

See how he turned it around like that? He’s good.

But also: dude. Strangers dream about me.

So a few days ago I came across this email again and I figured Elayne had earned the early scoop, what with her already dreaming it and all. I wrote back:

Elayne.

So you have to keep this quiet, but dude. Four days after you sent me this letter… I got engaged. Seriously. What did the ring look like in the dream? Because, uh, that’s kind of freaky, isn’t it?

Anyway, I’m working on the entry to tell all of this craziness, but I just saw your letter again and noticed when you wrote. See, you must have had the dream ON my birthday, and the engagement present was for my birthday, just a few days later because on my birthday we were driving from SF to LA and had to wait for the weekend to celebrate. So uh, did you also dream I was a millionaire?

Your dreams within dreams are totally psychic. Quit your job. Go be Miss Cleo.

-p

Dear Pam,

Wow! And congratulations to Stee for choosing such a fine partner. (Did you know that it is in poor form to congratulate the woman?)

I am very good at keeping confidences, so have no fear that I will leak this. Trustworthiness has it’s benefits – people tell you stuff!

I’m so excited for myself as well, since my dreams used to be much more on target for predicting future events than they have been lately. Years ago, I used to freak my roommates out regularly with my dream predictions.

Anyway, I usually don’t tell people if I dreamt something bad about them. I almost didn’t write to you either, since you don’t know me from Adam, but I thought ‘what the heck, it’s a good thing’! I don’t remember much about the ring other than it was set in platinum or white gold and the diamond stone was kind of suspended by a curved extension from the base. Very modern and unusual. Was I close?

The funny thing about all of this is that I have never been to a psychic. I think it’s a combination of not personally wanting to know and thinking it’s all a lot of hooey. But, when I was very young my father and I had a kind of mental telepathy going that he used to practice with me. He would take three half walnut shells, hide something underneath one of the, mix them up and sit projecting to me which one had the item beneath it. We would sit there for long periods of time until I chose the one, and I was consistently right. We just thought it was fun (and a bit weird.)

Anyway, thanks for writing me with this great news. Now you’ll remember me as the person out there who predicted your engagement!

Elayne

She described my ring exactly. Exactly. The diamond is suspended over the platinum band by four sets of double prongs that curve up from the base. It’s a brand new design that the jeweler had never used before that stee picked out.

Are the little hairs standing up on the back of your neck? Because mine were like, “It’s coming from inside the house! She’s standing right behind you watching you type, describing your left hand! Get out of the house!”

Elayne,

You described my ring perfectly.

Seriously. That’s awesome. This is like the beginning of a book.

-p

Holy shit.

Now I’m freaking myself out! I didn’t think I would be anywhere in the ballpark with how the ring really looked.

I’d like to share this e-mail with a friend who has known me for over half my life (she doesn’t read on-line journals, so your news won’t be spilled). I want her to know I got my game back!

The craziest thing is she dreamed that she told me about a dream she had where I got engaged and then I showed her that I had. Well, she emailed me to say she had a dream I got engaged and then I told her that I had, so what she dreamed is what happened which just blows my mind.

The night of The Keifer, I had to tell stee that I was going insane.

“I’m officially a crazy person. I need you to let me know that there isn’t going to be any kind of surprise at a dinner anytime soon because I can’t even go out and have fun with you these days. Every time I put on a pair of high heels I’m sure I’m fixing to get engaged.”

Another story: we were on our way to a wedding in Berkeley last year. We stopped to buy a card to attach to the present because we’re lame like that, and while we were in the check-out aisle stee was looking around like he’d forgotten something. He patted his pockets. I smiled.

“What’s wrong with you?” I was all side-glancing at him, with a cocky grin.

“Nothing,” he said.

“Really?” I asked.

“Yeah. I thought I forgot something, but I just remembered I don’t need it. Yet.”

“Oh, really.”

“Yeah. What’s wrong with you?”

“Are we really about to go to a wedding?”

“Uh… what kind of question is that?”

“I just mean, we’re going to Shana’s wedding, right?”

“Yeah.”

“At Shana’s house.”

“Yeah.”

“Even though I’ve never met her before.”

“She’s one of my best friends.”

“Uh-huh.”

“Are you okay?”

“Todd and Hil just happened to drive up with us to visit their friend, whom we’ve also never met.”

“You’re holding up the express lane.”

“Exactly.”

“Are you drunk?”

“We’ll see.”

So the night of The Keifer, it had reached an all-time level of crazy. I needed stee to let me know that I could stop freaking myself out, stop anticipating something that wasn’t coming anytime soon.

A while ago stee and I had a very brief conversation where we told each other that we’d very much like to get married, but we wanted the engagement to be a surprise and romantic and not something where we knew what was coming. So we never really talked about the whole “ring thing.”

I stared at him, still kind of trembling, hoping I wasn’t about to ruin Keifer’s proposal. Stee looked uncomfortable. “Look. Imagine I wanted to join the NRA,” he said. “And you didn’t even know that I liked guns, and now you’ve got to buy me a gun in order for me to join the NRA. I mean, I don’t have to have one, but I’d like one, and suddenly you’re having to buy me a gun that all my gun friends are going to judge me on. That’s a lot of pressure, isn’t it?”

“Have you been asking my gun friends?”

I should note that all through this, we aren’t looking at each other. That helps with the element of “surprise,” if we’ve never actually looked at each other while we discussed it.

“I’ve sort of asked maybe some of your gun friends.”

“Did their names begin with the letter ‘A’?”

“Well…”

“Because those people will tell you what kind of gun they think I should have. What they want me to have. What gun they want in my holster. They don’t know what’s inside my head. I’ve never talked about guns with them.”

“Okay. Who knows what gun you want, then?”

“I’ve never really talked about guns with anybody.”

“I don’t know what size gun you need, the size of your holster. Do you want a yellow gun, a silver gun? Do you want your gun to have lots of… bullets in it, or just one bullet? Does the gun need to be big, and if so, how big?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, figure it out. That’s your assignment. I need a picture of a gun, under my computer. Go do some homework, but no more talking about it.”

Dan came to visit a week later. I told him about my gun dilemma. He looked me in the eye and said those words many women dream men will say to them in their lives: “Let’s go to Tiffany’s.”

Dan’s theory was that if I tried on some incredibly expensive rings at a store we couldn’t possibly afford I wouldn’t have ruined my own surprise because there was no way I was getting any of those rings. Hey, here’s something you should know: all the rings at Tiffany’s are pretty when you put them on. Round, square, oval, even that weird heart-shape, you put them on and go, “Pretty.” I put on a $50,000 ring. It was pretty. Shiny. Sparkly. I found out that you’re not supposed to touch the stone when you put on the ring. Only touch the band and wiggle it on your finger.

I’m thinking of starting a series of entries called “It’s Not That Scary” from finding an engagement ring to looking for a house to moving to LA to writing a book. The “Don’t Wipe Back to Front” and “How To Put in a Tampon” worked awesome years ago, but you guys are growing up so fast! (sob!)

Since I can’t just do a simple assignment, I started… a ring journal. Yeah. And I wrote about what the ring meant to me and what I liked and didn’t like and for the first time in my life thought about what it’d be like to be married and what a ring would mean on my finger and all of these things that I never really dwelled on when I was younger, and everything that I was looking forward to in my life with stee. There were pages ripped out of magazines, Internet print-outs, charts, graphs, books on finding a quality diamond. Since I couldn’t be there when stee was looking, I wanted him to know that I sympathized with what he was about to go through, how overwhelming the whole thing could be. Dan’s friend Miranda sent me more magazine pictures, and one of the pages in there inspired stee, and the ring is designed slightly around something in there that I had circled and written “Pretty. Very Frank Lloyd Wright. Very Fountainhead.”

But I started feeling like it was all so silly, picking out a ring, playing princess with my left hand. Here I was working at The Bachelor, struggling to pay my bills, reading Debt Free By 30 while debating carat size. Stupid.

A few weeks later stee asked while staring at his napkin: “Did you decide not to do your assignment?”

“I don’t feel like you should buy me a gun right now.”

“But I want us to join the NRA.”

“Me too.”

“I want to buy you a gun. I arranged my finances to buy you a gun.”

“But…”

“Please just… please.”

So I put the enormous ring packet, complete with ring journal, under his tiny iBook one afternoon. He walked into the office, stared at his tiny computer teetering over this manilla envelope of work and said, “Oh. Wow. That’s… not what I–”

I quickly stared out the window. “Shh!”

And then there were days when stee had to suddenly leave to “Go play videogames.” And I’d be all giddy, skipping around the house like a moron. “Stee’s out playing videogames!” I’d say to Dan. “I hope it’s a shiny videogame.”

But then he’d come home with fifteen tokens and I’d be like, “Oh. Videogames.”

Apparently stee would reward himself with an hour of videogames after every fruitless search for a diamond. Come to think of it, we should totally be doing that now after every frustrating open house.

We don’t have a good picture of the ring because I don’t have a digital camera and stee’s camera phone isn’t the best for close-up shots, so no picture of the ring here. Besides, all of those photos make fingers look huge and wrinkly.

You already know the rest of the story. The ring that Kiefer built is perfect and I love it and I find it to be the most calming thing in the world to look at. When I get stressed, when I’m about to fly, when I feel frustrated, I don’t even know that I’m going to do it, but I lift my hand and stare at the ring and think about stee and imagine what’s in store for us and I’m instantly calm. It’s truly amazing. Zen in my hand. I love it.

Currently Reading: Middlesex.

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