Lo, the long-dormant series revives – and for one of the best.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Carl Hartung.
I met Carl at a wedding in Seattle in August of 2007. I had sung during the ceremony, and found myself sitting alone at a table during the reception. The man must have felt bad for me, because he introduced himself and we talked for almost an hour. It turned out we had a plethora of mutual friends and a lot in common – that is, aside from the fact that he is a bona fide genius and I just like to talk about my feelings.
Great guy, great conversation – but I moved across the country 2 weeks later, and never saw Carl again.
That is, UNTIL. (Can you handle the suspense?)
Actually, there wasn’t much to it. I moved to Nashville, got a temp job, started calling myself “the Temptress,” and spent my long days of no professional responsibility emailing anyone and everyone I could find on Facebook. Eventually, this led to a message to Carl – and wonder of wonders, he wrote back. I responded, and he wrote back again.
Folks, I’d found myself an email buddy.
In the years since our correspondence started, I’ve spent plenty of time with Carl in real life – but I feel like we really got to know each other through those emails. He would tell me about his scholastic endeavors, how he was traveling to Kenya and Cambodia and India for research, how his thesis was coming along (into something that wound up absolutely brilliant, I might add). I would tell him about… gosh, I don’t even know. Probably how much I hated my haircut and what I was feeeeeling in my hearrrrrrt.
Carl is remarkable in a lot of ways. Like I mentioned, he is wicked smart. The guy just finished his doctorate in computer science, capping off… 27?… years in school? Carl, that is ridiculous. If I’m ever on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” you will be my lifeline.
But no matter how smart he is, he is grounded in reality, and can easily talk about Lady Gaga or dating or how beer is brewed. He knows pop songs on the piano. Whenever I’m in Seattle, he willingly meets me early in the morning to walk around Green Lake and catch up. He was actually in Colorado this past week, and joined a group of some of my friends to climb a 14er (his first), putting up with my inane questions along the way (“Is ‘a zillion’ a real thing?” “Do you believe in life on other planets?” “Have you ever choked somebody out?”). I bet he could solve a Rubik’s Cube.
I’m going to be really honest here. I’ll be 30-years old this summer, and 23-year old me would have been horrified to know that I would be single at 30. Sweet little 23-year old Annie…
But here’s the thing. I have incredible guy friends – no, not a ton, I’m not THAT girl – but I have a handful. They teach me and challenge me and, in a way, really take care of me. I am so grateful for the freedom to engage in these guy/girl friendships – because I know that this can change when someone enters a relationship. I have an opportunity that my espoused girlfriends may not have in the same capacity, and that is to learn from and engage with single men on a very real and honest level.
Carl is one of those friends to me. And I am better for it.