October 18, 2006

A Tale of Five Kidnappings

This past weekend, I kidnapped my husband, Sam.

Kidnapping is one of my favorite traditions.

I'm proud to say that I came up with the idea, and I initiated the first kidnapping just over 5 years ago.

Sam and I were young, poor, and living in an apartment that had all the worst aspects of dorm life (loud neighbors, faraway laundry rooms) minus the meal plan.

Student loan payments had a way of sneaking up on us. One night we had to gather up all of our pocket change and rush to the casino, desperate to cash it in for some real money to cover our bills.

Needless to say, we didn't travel much.

We had lived in Nevada for almost two years, and we had never made the short trip across the border to California.

Then I found myself in possession of a bonus check from my employer.

And a day off from work.

And a mischievous streak.

I made our reservations, packed a suitcase for Sam (complete with brand-new toothbrush and toiletries), secured a half-day's vacation with his supervisor, and told everyone but him.

It was very hard for me to keep the secret.

I'm a terrible liar.

I'm completely transparent.

But I pulled it off.

That Friday, as we left the office, Sam thought we were going to have lunch at Super Burrito.

Instead, I drove us to Napa.

We stayed at a romantic bed and breakfast. We toured wineries. We savored life.

I missed a few details when packing, and we ended up buying him some new clothes at an outlet mall, but on the whole it was a success.

A tradition was born.

Almost two years later, we were married, owned a house, and were a bit more secure in the world.

I drove home from work one Thursday evening, only to find a taxi at the end of my driveway.

Without a moment's hesitation or explanation, Sam whisked me into the back seat of the cab.

"Airport, please. International departures."

My heart skipped a beat.

I learned how it felt to be kidnapped.

It was exhilirating.

Sam had packed everything, from my contact solution to my favorite shoes.

He had booked a 5-star hotel in Vancouver.

He had even scrounged up my birth certificate, knowing that I didn't have a passport in my married name.

What a guy.

Kidnapping #3 echoed the themes of Kidnapping #1.

It started with a regular day at the office.

Sam thought we were going out for sushi.

Instead, we ended up in Vegas.

When I caught Sam snagging my toiletries out of the bathroom for Kidnapping #4, I actually didn't want to go.

It was Thanksgiving Day.

I didn't want to spend the holiday in a hotel in a faraway city where I didn't know anyone.

But I didn't want to suck the joy out of Sam's kidnapping attempt either.

Sam pretended he was taking me out to breakfast, and I played along.

Once in the car, he asked me to check the driving directions he had printed out.

The directions were to a house in Oregon.

My friend Angela had moved away a few months earlier, and I missed her severely. That evening, we gathered together for a home cooked Thanksgiving dinner, followed by a weekend of kicking back with our friends.

It was my favorite kidnapping so far.

This year, I put together some of the most successful elements of kidnappings and vacations past.

Wine tasting.

Outlet mall shopping. (OK, so I'm not as good at packing as Sam is)

Monterey, California, in October. (It's where we spent our first two anniversaries).


This was our last kidnapping before parenthood.

Kidnapping will probably become trickier once there is an actual kid involved.

We might need to change our terminology, lest our child be drawn in by a friendly stranger trying to kidnap her.

We might need to visit fewer bars and wineries, and more amusement parks.

We might need to be careful about teaching our child how to skillfully deceive Mom or Dad.

I might need to finally learn how to pack a proper suitcase for my husband.

But I've got two years to figure that one out.

Next year, it's his turn.

No comments: