I was on my way to a stand-up comedy gig in some Godforsaken place about three hours out of Los Angeles, and I asked the headliner, who was driving and rolling a joint simultaneously, if he knew anybody who might be able to tolerate me. He'd been married for more than 25 years, had a couple of great kids and his wife hadn't yet come to her senses. What could it hurt?
My fellow comic thought his friend Terry was a good pick but wasn't sure of his romantic status at the moment. Men, I've discovered, are like that. Unless a buddy has a flaming sign begging for questions, guys never ask other guys anything personal. But I implored my fellow comic to hurry up and find out, as my window of cute was closing.
This was shortly after 9/11. I had been fired and escorted out with security from my writing job, and I was losing my dad to vascular dementia and my mother's active neglect. So I wasn't really arranging any garden parties to meet men. And Terry turned out to be too shy to go out on a blind date.
Almost two years later, I attended a seminar at the Writers Guild Foundation called "Touched With Fire: Creativity and Mood Disorders." It was pretty great, and free. I'd only RSVP'd that day, and the lady gave me some attitude until I told her I had written for "Roseanne" but was much better now, thanks, and that I had horrible ADD, and that I was proud of myself for even finding the seminar email to respond. (She gave me a plate of cookies as I left.)
The speaker, psychologist-author Kay Redfield Jamison, talked about reaching that rarefied upper air in any profession and finding it populated with crazies. I'd been a comic for 25 years, so I knew she spoke the truth. But she also said wacky behavior was a natural byproduct of the gifts we were given, and it was still our job to create. The two words I wrote in the fancy notebook we got: "resilient spirit."
As my cookies and I were on our way, I realized that even though I was doomed on many levels (turning 50, being alone, having no job prospects, borrowing my rent), my hair and I looked too cute to go right home.
I parked in a friend's driveway down the street from the Improv on Melrose. It was Thursday, a notorious "hang" night, and I immediately saw lots of familiar faces. As I navigated my way into the dining area through the crush at the bar, I figured I'd poke my head into the showroom and see who was onstage. It was one of the "guys in ties," what women comics call the legions of indistinguishable males that populate the comedy planet.
So I went back to the tables, said hi to a working actor-comic, and then, like out of a movie, Terry appeared. Our mutual friend introduced us.
A chorus of angels didn't start singing, but Terry looked at me like I was backlit by Hurrell. And I like to think that my smile conveyed to him that I was happy to finally lay eyes on him.
Turned out we knew a lot of the same people, and those people were happy that we'd met. Now I tell him on occasion, pseudo-drunkenly, "I didn't need you! I had a plate of peanut butter cookies on the front seat of the car!" But I did. And I do.
We exchanged numbers. Later we made a date by phone for the next Thursday.
He'd been a comic before he became a writer-producer, so there was little dead air. We went back to his cool bungalow, where I debated with the two sides of my brain whether or not we should kiss on our first date. When you reach a certain age, you know how fragile life really is. And, as a comic, Terry knew that when it's time for the next act, you're given an indicator somewhere in the room.
His yard was all tricked out, though he'd had an actor-friend, not a landscaper, do all the lights, so a bunch didn't work. About this same time I realized that a bus could hit me, and we'd better get busy. So we kissed, but then a light next to me suddenly popped on, and I jumped about 10 feet. Terry pulled back from our first kiss and said, "I'm sorry, your time is up."
We've been together ever since.
Carrie Snow is a comic, writer and supermodel whose upcoming book is "My Mom Is Meaner Than Your Mom."
L.A. Affairs chronicles romance and relationships. Past columns and submission guidelines are at latimes.com/laaffairs. If you have comments to share or a story to tell, write us at email@example.com.