I was managing an after hours nightclub in Philadelphia when I first met Lauren. This nightclub was on the strip with all the other major nightclubs in the city. The club had a huge un-monitored parking lot where many club-goers would park whether they were coming into my club or not. In an effort to reserve parking spaces for VIP’s for my club I had 5 orange construction cones to block some spots. Five was not enough, and the different valet services on the strip would steal my cones.
I, eventually, used bar stools, trashcans or folding chairs in an effort to block more spots for the clubs patrons. I looked into buying more cones but they were expensive and there were also minimum orders of 100 cones or more. I only needed about 25. Whenever Lauren or I would go out and we passed a road construction site I would say in my best Homer Simpson voice, “Mmmmmm. Cones.” I would drool at how many cones were all over the street in different neighborhoods that were not really being used properly. If we drove by a soccer field that had cones marking the sidelines I would slow down and try to count them. Lauren always found it funny that I obsessed over any orange construction cone I would see. I admit I was obsessed.
One night, after a few months of dating Lauren, she called me at work and asked that I stop over her place after work. I found the request a little strange. After work for me was 4:30 in the morning. She would be asleep but I guess she wanted some company. She would leave the front door open for me.
I made my way home, changed out of my smells-like-smoke-fog-beer-sweat-vomit-clothes and walked to her apartment. She shared a house with other roommates and her room was on the third floor. I crept up the two flights of steps as quietly as I could so I would not wake her or her roommates. I knocked quietly on her door and opened it a crack to make sure she was there. The sun was just coming up and was lighting the room just enough for me to see her lying on the bed. I saw the flicker of a few candles casting shadows dancing on the wall. Her smile brightened the room even more. I smiled back and pushed the door further to enter.
The door got caught on something and only opened enough for me to squeeze through. It was at that point that I saw, what to this day is still one of the best things I have ever seen, her floor was covered with 35 orange construction cones. The smell of the polyvinyl rubber was intense. There was barely a spot for me to place my foot to walk across the room. It reminded me of the scene in Aliens when Ripley discovers the “egg-pod” room. I seriously could not believe it. I was shocked and I started laughing. Lauren laughed with me.
It was at that exact moment that I knew I was going to marry Lauren.
Lauren and her friend Jessica spent the previous night driving to many different construction sites and “borrowed” a few cones from each one. They filled their car with them and carried all of cones the two flights of stairs into her room so Lauren could surprise me.