The Sweet Pickle Bus

Two teenage girls, naïve and excited, climbed into the back of an ugly green van (affectionately called “The Sweet Pickle Bus”) with 6 teenage boys, not once considering the potential danger.  This was about love, or their conception of it, which did not include “News at 11” type headlines.  Fortunately, these were nice boys.  Relatively speaking.

One girl was on a “date”, the other one was me.  My not-so-secret crush was in that van and it was my intent to steal him away from his rather pretty girlfriend.  Not schooled in the art of flirting, I had no idea how to do this.  I simply trusted Fate to do its work.  Fate did not disappoint.

Seated in the passenger side of the careening Sweet Pickle Bus (it careened everywhere it went), was the most annoying guy I had ever met.  He insisted on speaking with a fake Scottish accent and playing “Today” by Smashing Pumpkins ad nauseam.  I’d seen him in school–tall, hulking, shaved head, brown corduroy jacket, dark-colored chucks–and thought him the quiet and brooding type.  So much for first impressions.  He was loud and obnoxious.  I turned my attention to my crush, willing him to love me with my penetrating stare.  He didn’t even look at me.

The Sweet Pickle screeched to a halt in the movie theater parking lot and we stepped out of the van, met by a largish group of even more teenage boys and a few girls, including the rather pretty (and unfortunately nice) girlfriend I intended to grind beneath my Pumas.  We filed into the theater and I found myself seated beside, not my crush, but faux-Scottish Billy Corgan.  My crush was on a completely different aisle, cozying up to his girlfriend.  I prepared myself for a long and disappointing night.

We were watching a cheesy horror movie, the name of which escapes me.  I was watching my friend’s date doing the exaggerated yawn-so-you-can-put-your-arm-around-girl move and I heard a snicker.  Mr. Obnoxious had seen it, too.  We made eye contact and laughed.  Then we started cracking on the movie and talking.  Flirting.  Schooled or not, I had mastered the art.  When the movie was finally over, we walked back to the van, together.  Instead of taking his former seat, he climbed in beside me.  Where my crush sat, I have no idea.

On the way home, The Sweet Pickle Bus broke down.  We were freezing while my friend’s date tried to figure out what was wrong.  I shivered.  Suddenly, a toboggan was on my feet and a brown corduroy jacket around my shoulders.  Mr. Obnoxious had become Mr. Chivalrous.  The flirting continued and I didn’t want the night to end.  But soon we were careening on our way again, and my friend and I were dropped off safely at home.

A few days and a few phone calls later,  I had a boyfriend–my first and last.  I married him 4 years later.

A lot has changed since then.  A lot hasn’t.  He’s still hulking and he’s still got a bald head, though not completely by choice anymore.  He’s still, without a doubt, the most annoying guy I’ve ever met, though he hasn’t spoken with a Scottish accent in years.  We still crack on bad movies and on days when we aren’t too tired after work and dealing with five kids, we still flirt.

And when we’re stranded in the freezing cold, I can still depend on him to keep me warm.

I’m linking this post to Yeah Write–a friendly blogging competition for 50 great bloggers (well, 49 great bloggers and me.) Check it out by clicking on the badge below.  You can vote for your 5 favorites on Thursday.  I’m number 31.  Thanks!

read to be read at

This post was written for the RemembeRED writing prompt via Write On Edge.

The prompt went like this:

As a writing teacher, I often have my students write memoir/nonfiction pieces.  In the beginning, most students want to write strictly about themselves.

One of the lessons I teach them is that other people help shape who we are through their words to us, their actions, or their lack of action.

Your assignment for this week is to write about a memory of yourself WITH someone else.


79 thoughts on “The Sweet Pickle Bus

  1. I love your story! So sweet and so well written! I married my own Mr. Obnoxious… but it took me about 5 years to realize that maybe he wasn’t so obnoxious after all.

  2. I really enjoyed your story! Funny how most of us probably have the same kind of high school memory. I know I do…. and I married mine as well…30 years ago! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Are you ready for some wild coincidenses? In a nutshell, I met my hubby at a bible study. I disliked him on first site. He seemed So annoying I didnt even listen to the study because I was bothered by him being there. He too has an obnoxious fake accent. Scottish.
    So does your hubby also like wierd al yankovik? Mine does… its just yet one more of his annoying traits.

    • He introduced my kids to UHF, if that answers your question. On the other hand, when I hear Amish Paradise, it makes my day. Do you think we are related or just a random product of cosmic instability? Creepy. Really.

  4. Awesome story of first and last love. I married my first and last love too! Married 30 years this month and getting better all the time. God has blessed. although he was not obnoxious on our first date we did see a movie and “broke” down temporarily and it was a double date too. I love your memory and humor.


    • Are you telling me you’ve never heard Amish Paradise or seen the video? Run, don’t walk, your little fingers to youtube immediately! Love to hear your opinion. 🙂

  6. Great memory and it reminds me of my parents’ first meeting which I must write about one day… She hated him at first sight but gradually changed her mind (and he was definitely one of the most annoying men ever!)

    I’ve just subscribed, by the way. 🙂

    • I’m sorry to hear that. I’m sure you’ll find someone to keep you warm real soon. In the meantime, try not to inspire any more women to move to another continent.

  7. From beginning to end, I loved this. I loved your line about fate. At first, I was all happy because I thought that meant you got your crush, but then I realized what was going to happen, and I was even happier.

    Thanks for sharing this with The Lightning and the Lightning Bug.

  8. What a sweet story… I love remembering the days when I met and first got to know my hubby. Those thoughts always make me smile, even now (18 years later — 16 of them married).

  9. Ack! You two are just so cute! I LOVE hearing stories of how couples met, and yours is a great one.
    You told it really well too, starting off with the focus on your crush and slowly weeding him out of the tale. Great job!

    • I liked Smashing Pumpkins until this particular night. The husband pretty much ruined them for me. Now that I’m older, I see he did me a big favor. 🙂

  10. The first time I met my wife she had come to see a play that I was in and afterward she stopped me in the lobby to compliment my Irish accent.

    I looked her in the eyes and snarked, “It was Scottish.”

    Naturally she hated me after that. But somehow we managed to work it out and a year later we were married.

    I think that both of our stories illustrate one very important point: fake Scottish accents score super-cool chicks!

    I enjoyed your post very much!

    • Argh. Your comment was in my spam folder and I just found it. Sorry.

      I wouldn’t say I miss it, but it is nice to think about from time to time. It was pretty annoying. 🙂

  11. Agree with Erin – I love a good love story. But the best are those that tug on the heartstrings. Not the gag reflex. Thank you for being the former. 🙂

  12. I teared up a little reading this one! Very sweet. i was there i believe and utterly oblivious to the love in the air haha!

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