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Monday, January 25, 2016

How Doctor Oppenheim Met His Wife


In 1975 I and a friend were fresh out of internship. He had a job at a Los Angeles clinic that remained open during the weekend. Few patients came, so I often visited, and we sat talking. The only other employee, a nurse – really a young woman who wore a white coat and acted as receptionist -- joined us. After a few visits I got up the nerve to ask her on a date.

She was committed, she explained. But she worked at the Woman’s Building, a flourishing feminist arts center. She offered to give me some phone numbers.

I declined. I was too shy to call women I didn’t know.

“Then what’s the solution?” she asked.

“Maybe they could call me.” I meant this as a joke and forgot about it until a week later when a woman phoned. I did my duty by asking her to dinner, and it proved an excellent decision.

There is more to it. It turns out that she and the nurse were candidates for a college art teaching position in Oakland. Both flew up for an interview. My future wife later learned that the nurse had already sewn up the job, so there was no point in the interview. During the plane ride, she had given me an enthusiastic recommendation, perhaps as a consolation prize. 

When we discussed how our lives and the nurse’s had progressed over the years, we agreed that my wife had gotten the better deal. 

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