This year, along with my family, what tops my list of Things to Be Thankful For is hitchhikers. Intergalactic hitchhikers, to be specific, as memorialized in Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
As a few people know, about seven months ago I got engaged to, by my estimates, the coolest person in the world. What fewer people know is that Douglas Adams is a large part of the reason why this came to pass.
Back in 2004, I was in a summer theater production of Grease: The Musical Watered Down for High School Productions But Retaining the Message That You Should Change Yourself to Make People Like You. My talented and beautiful sister, Elisabeth, would come home every night complaining about her dance partner, who apparently had two left feet so bad it was a miracle he could walk straight. Fortunately for all players involved, the kid who was playing Eugene flaked, and the director decided that Andrew’s adolescent klutziness and comedic talents might be better suited to play the school nerd than a dancer in the chorus. Lizzie was happy because she got to dance with someone better, and started chatting with Andrew more. The topic of program bios came up, specifically the “crazy” quotes some people include, and the following conversation ensued:
Elisabeth: One year, my sister put “So long and thanks for all the fish” in her bio.
Andrew: Nice. That was actually my least favorite book in the series.
Elisabeth: Wait, you’ve read those books??
Elisabeth: No one reads those books. You need to talk to Jessica. She needs someone she can talk about books with.
The rest, as they say, is history.
So this year, I’m thankful that I’ll have dinner with the most wonderful family I could ever hope for, I’m thankful my pecan pie looks and smells good coming out of the oven, I’m thankful that I’m in a year and a half of adventurous wedding planning before I get to spend my life with the guy I love more than anything, and I am thankful that one night, young Douglas Adams wondered if intergalactic hitchhikers would need a travel guide, and unwittingly set things in motion to make me happier than I knew I could be.