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Pawnee/Kana wedding story

(6)
vdrake Apr 08, 2003 14:48 Read 177 times, Dig?

The wedding story *still in progress... probably never finished*



When I was invited to the wedding, I was told the reception would be held at the Ritz Carlton. Rebecca had put emphasis on words 'Ritz Carlton' trying to convey some special meaning or significance that was completely lost on me. The only Ritz I'd ever heard of was in one of those catchy show-tunes that would loop around in your head until you either fell asleep or pounded your thumb with a hammer. Anyway, that Ritz seemed to be a thing or state of being, not a place, and as far as I knew, it didn't have a last name. Sensing my lack of familiarity with Ritz Carlton and his distant cousin Puttin Ontha Ritz, Becca resorted to cheap infomercial marketing catch-phrases. She held nothing back, whipping out "once in a lifetime opportunity", "time of your life", and "if you respond within the next 20 minutes, we'll throw in gallons of alcohol and sexy bridesmaids, absolutely FREE!"

Needless to say, I was a slave to her marketing kung-fu. I found myself, forty minutes later, in the passenger side seat of her FourRunner, showered, shaved, and styled, wearing black tuxedo pants and a black vest over a tuxedo shirt, while she expertly navigated mid-Sunday afternoon freeway traffic at an average of 95 mph. My shoes needed shining, I'd left my bowtie hanging from my car's rearview mirror, and the socks I was wearing were stolen from Anne's front porch, but given the time restraints, I was pretty proud of myself.

In case you didn't believe Miss Manners when she said it, we proved beyond a doubt: there is no such thing as "fasionably late" to a wedding. I gave the topic of wedding punctuality some thought during the drive up, partly because I was concerned about being late, but mostly to keep my mind off how fast Becca was driving and how prone vehicles with a high center of gravity are to rolling when turned sharply at high speeds. I considered the possiblity that weddings were like stage productions at the a community theater. It made sense to me. A wedding, being a public ceremony, bears quite a reseblence to a teatrical performance. I imagined guests milling about outside the church, hob nobbing, much like an audience might before the curtain rises. Some catch up on old times, others bear introduction and politely get to know one another.

"Hi, are you with the bride or groom?" might be equivalent to "Do you know someone in the cast or crew?". Perhaps an alter boy would ring a bell signaling everyone to take their seats. Once inside, the church would still hum of conversation and banter, until the lights dimmed and the priest took his/her place. The stir of the audience would then slowly die down as the performance began... "Dearly beloved. We are gathered here today..."

Given all the milling and humming, you wouldn't expect the audience to immediately take their seats like obedient soldiers. Reaching the seats would naturally take time. People would settle themselves at their own pace. The house manager would keep a finger on the pulse of the audience, letting the rest of the cast and crew when the show should begin. So the way I figured it, if a wedding run like a show for the audience started at 3:00 would lazily get going somewhere between 3:15 and 3:20.

I know better, though. I've been to one or two of these things and I've read books. I imagine a kick-back, everybody's happy, no-big-deal get together, and "oh yeah, these two are hitched now" kinda wedding that is nowhere near reality. Performances are done for the enjoyment of the audience, while weddings are done for some other reason. You can be sure that everyone in a theater wants to be there, while many wedding guest don't want to be there, but are more required to be there (this might even include the bride or groom).

Weddings represent the beginning of something very important. Two people are planning to spend the rest of their lives together. If they've come this far, then chances are they're pretty eager to begin the rest of their lives without any further delay. How well the wedding goes might, in some people's minds, be indicative of how well the rest of their lives go. If they want their lives to be happy, this wedding must go flawlessly. This involves planning, logistics, timing, and circumstance.

Perhaps weddings are more akin to military operations than theatrical performances. The priest would be the commanding officer. The bride and groom, seargants in command of their platoons (bridesmaids, best men, flower girls, ring bearers, etc.). The small army is surrounded by enemies: in-laws, ex-lovers, senile grand parents, ill-tempered older brothers. Finally, God, being the Commander-In- Chief, watches over the operation from above, His finger resting noncholantly on The Button, ready to nuke the entire country if anyone fucks up.

Priest: "Alright, Sgt. Bride, Sgt. Groom, I'm dispensing with the pleasantries and getting straight to the point. I want you to deploy your troops to tactical support positions to flank the left and right sides of the alter, here and here (points to the miniature model of the chappel)"

Bride and Groom (in unison) : "Sir, Yes Sir!"

P.: "Be aware of your supporters in the pews. These are the people that will save your asses if anything serious goes wrong. If thing get ugly on the front line, don't hesitate to call them in as back up. Make sure you have hardened, experienced personnel out there. If they can't salvage a worst case scenario, you might as well kiss eachothers asses goodbye right now, break eachother's legs, and get back home on medical leave."

B. G.: Sir, yes Sir!"

God (over sattalite uplink): "I apologize for the interruption. I want to say that I've looked over the plans at length and they look good. I'm optimistic about the outcome of this mission. You have my blessing. Now go forth and multiply... just don't forget that every one of you is expendable."

P.: "Understood, sir."

B.G.: "Sir, Yes sir"

P.: "Now, you will be staring deeply into one another's eyes and consequently will have a limited view of the battle field. That's what your Best Man and Made of Honor are for. They will see the first sign trouble before you do. Trust their judgment. Watch eachother's backs, utilize your troops well, and you might just make it outa this one alive. Dismissed."

B.: "Groom, I have some concerns about the upcoming mission. Cousin Beth has been eyeing your brother Jim. I'm afraid we need to address the possibility of friendly fire."

G.: "Yes, I've done a background check, Beth is an acomplished sniper and adept at infiltration behind enemy lines."

B.: "Background check... you didn't tell me about a background check. When did you check her back?? And just how far back did you go??"

G.: " It's standard procedure. Do not let this jeopardize the mission."

Without a doubt, a marine arriving late to the operation would be dishonorably discharged and disowned from the family.

Luckily, Becca and I were not marines, the wedding was not a military operation, and we were not one of the family. So being 40 minutes late and walking into the church in the middle of the ceremony, as uncomfortable as it might have been for us, went largely unnoticed by the rest of the group. This was partly due, I'm sure, to having walked shoeless across the hardwood floor to get to our seats. The sound of two dozen or so sniffling  women and a loud, fumbling photographer and her equipment further concealed our arrival.

While it might be faux pas to be the late arrival, if you can stand the embarrasment, it's well worth the trouble. We arrived just in time for the vows, "I do's", "man and wife", and candle lighting excitement, while avoiding the "fear god", "santamonious engagement", and other preachings that happen earlier. It's a bit like the last quarter of a basketball or hockey game always being the most exciting while the first three quarters are just there because the rules say so. We got there just in time to watch the couple flash each other nervous smiles, fumble through their vows, and try to get a pair of rings on hands that shook uncontrolably. It was a strange beauty they shared, being at once comfortable together, nervous together, happy together, and sad together, with no apologies to anyone else in the room. I almost didn't feel right witnessing the sacred beauty that shone through them during their private moments standing at the altar.

Once the emotion died down, hands stopped shaking, and the organ started piping, the topic of commotion became pictures. The bride and groom had had their moment alone, now was the time for families wanting pictures in front of the altar, the photographer complaining that these candles, or these chairs, or those other items were going to be in her picture and that someone should move them immediately, and finnally, there was the priest, who just wanted all these people out of her church so she could go home, taking every possible opportunity to urge the group out the door.

Now I can understand the desire to have photographs with which to remember a moment by, but if the taking of photographs destroys the moment, then what's the point? The Photographer was a very professional lady. She was also a very demanding lady. Madam Photo (as she'll henceforth be known) knew exactly how she wanted a picture to turn out and made whatever demands necessary to acheive that end. "Ok, now bride and groom, pretend you are about to kiss" "Ok, now really kiss..." "now look at me... big smiles" "Now, the whole wedding party... re arrange the men so they are tallest to shortest... big smiles" "now everybody look at the bride and groom, bride and groom pretend you are about to kiss..." "Ok, we're going to have to do that one again... the young lady with the long curly hair was looking directly at the camera... one more time!"

Now, the bridesmaid who ruined one of the pictures has a name, but more important is her personality. My hasty first impression was that she was self-centered, rude, uncompromising, and loud. Giving her the benefit of the doubt, I solicited others' opinions. After all, weddings are notorious for evoking extreme behavior from otherwise level headed people. Hell, getting married in itself is pretty extreme behavior. Anyway, after consulting with people who had known her for years, I found out this was actually one of her better days. She swore in the church, bucked like a hyperactive bull from one room to another, and outright whined that no one was paying her any attention. Most of the people there simply sighed, rolled their eyes, or hid a quiet giggle behind a hymnal, while the more daring whispered and shook their heads at one another.

Why was she able to get away with such childish behavior? I set off to find out. First off, she's the brides friend. Friends of the person in charge can get away with a lot. Second, she's very attractive. Young (probably 25) slender body, of Indian heritage, and long, dark brown coils of hair. We tend to endure more from beautiful people than from ugly people. Finally, I'm told her familiy and she, by association, are very, very rich. Pardon the generalization, but the extremely rich have a nasty habit of expecting to recieve whatever they want with a minimum of effort. A thirty second conversation (if she would sit still that long) easily reveals that this is a person who has never wanted for anything she did not get. She was a spoiled brat as a girl and age, which some wear like a fine red wine, she wore like a half-empty bottle of cheap whisky. It was a shame to hear what might have been a spotless, proper English accent, no doubt taught by private tutor, wasted on the childish rantings that came out of her mouth. Standing alongside her sisters, sharing the title of Worst Abuse of a Perfect English Accent, she triumphantly earns the nickname of Spoiled Spice. She will make at least one more appearance in this story, so you had to be officially introduced.

Meanwhile, back with the story, our wedding party is about to discover the most popular SF location for wedding pictures that is not a church: The Exploratorium Park. When we do finally finish with the church pictures, two white Lincoln strech limos, two SUV's and one mid-size familiy sedan create a wedding procession that carries the entire party to the aforementioned park. Madam Photo was close behind. There were no fewer than 6 other wedding parties within view our entire time in the park. We were, again, arranged and instructed by Madam Photo, except this time we were outdoors and the weather was frigid. Being instructed to arrange in a straight line, we instinctively huddled together for shared body warmth. Madam Photo grudgingly compromised with a sort of arc arrangement we managed to form.

Patience was thin as the bridemaids' dresses and Madam Photo got some great shots of their nipples. I took the opportunity to flex my chivalry, loaning my jacket out to a number of freezing women. Even Spoiled Spice was found a task that suited her abilities, as Photo requested that stray pedestrians be shooed away and kept from making cameo appearances in her perfect photos. Spice staggard and yelled, weilding her bouquet like a mighty halberd. Park-goers of all kinds, children, women, opposing wedding parties, all without prejudice were driven expediently from the background of Photo's near perfect scene. Madam Photo took her perfect picture, and I took my own: the vision of a two dozen near freezing strangers, many not even sharing the same language, yet sharing a moment of relief, solace, perhaps even warmth, knowing that Spoiled Spice was happily occupied for the next 3 minutes. There would be  peace...

...three minutes later, Spice scampered back to the party, cowering behind one of the men. Moments later, a large tuxedoed man, carrying himself like a stern ambasador, approached our party. There was a civil exchange of words between he and one our men and the ambasador left, ignoring the taunts and colorful language Spice flung over the shoulder of her human shield. The details are sketchy, but the story clear: Spice had been rude to a wedding party that had unknowingly wandered into Photo's perfection. The other party did not stand for her behavior and she had been chased away. Ahh... sweet justice.

Our party eventually retreated from the cold to our cars and continued the procession to the famed Ritz Carlton. I rode with Rebecca. The ride was almost uneventful. Reb drove with the hazzard lights on and blared the horn happily, straight through downtown SF. We waved, hooted, and hollared at onlookers and passers-by. Passing by a local tavern, I announced through the window, "We are all going to get completely drunk!!". My announcement was met with entusiastic applause from the tavern clientell.

Three blocks later, someone from a window cries, "What's the point?". Rebecca answers for the horn, "ta git people outa the way", and I surprisingly find myself answering for the wedding, "even half a chance at happiness is worth a shot". I had no idea I was capable of such mushy stuff.

Scenes soon to be incorporated into the thickening plot:



I set my empty gin and tonic down on a table where an attractive young woman sat.

She was one of the bridesmaids and was drunk by now and probably waiting for a recently ingested muscle relaxant to kick in. Having already decided that an attempt at conversation was impossible, I turned on my heel toward the bar and set out to seek the solace of another drink.

Before I could make a step, the lady spoke up from behind me, "Excuse me."

I turned again to face her and for a split-second, my mind reeled. "She's gonna break the ice? Awesome! What's she gonna ask? Is it true what I hear about the bridesmaids at weddings? There's no way I'm gonna get lucky with her... is there?"

Her half-closed eyes fell upon me and through twisted, drunken lips she hollared, "could I get some hors'deurves over here". She had mistaken me for the 'help'.

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This story was written by vdrake and has been brought you you by the letters J and U.
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