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Kleppner: 2014 Commentator Brunch Sampler 'In Plain Sight'

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My divorce was painful. A year later I tried to date, and I was still a mess.

Another year passed, and one afternoon, I was driving home to Burlington after a weekend in Boston. My six-year-old daughter was asleep in the back. We had just crossed into Vermont on I-89 when I glanced over at a car that was slowly passing, and saw a beautiful woman. She looked over and smiled. We passed each other again and she waved. Then she held up a handwritten sign that said “hi!”

This happens to me all the time when I’m driving.

She indicated that she didn’t have a cell phone, so I rooted around in my glove compartment and found a piece of paper and a pen and, having astutely noticed that her car had Quebec plates, wrote “Montreal?” on my own sign, which I held up to the glass with one hand as I drove with the other.

She nodded, and with her hands asked where I was going. Having anticipated the question, I'd written “Burlington” on the other side.

We conversed like this, writing and holding up signs, for an hour and a half as we headed up I-89 at 70 miles an hour.

We call this speed dating.

By the time I got off the interstate at Exit 14, I knew that her name was Genevieve Henry; I knew that she had a five-year-old daughter and a three-year-old son; I knew that she taught English and Spanish as second languages in Quebec. And I knew her email address.

When I got home, I sent her an email thanking her for an entertaining trip. And that evening, she replied. We started trading emails continuously and then compulsively. Early on in our correspondence we agreed that we’d meet for lunch in Montreal in a few weeks. And as our exchange continued, our plans evolved from lunch to dinner to going out on the town. At some point we stopped pretending and agreed that we’d get a room.

Which we did. We dated long-distance for two years, then she and her children moved to Burlington. Then we got married. Then we had a daughter of our own.

Sometimes love is elusive. And sometimes, on a sunny Spring afternoon, love is right there, rolling down I-89 in plain sight.