Friday, November 21, 2014

Not Quite the Wedding Blog, Part II: The Shower Essay

Yeah, I know that I promised this on Monday and it's now Friday.  Welcome, dear friends, to Wedding Preparation Time: four days pass like one?  Sounds about right.  Tomorrow, we head on up to our venue to finalize our menu...and then, once we're done there, probably eat at Cracker Barrel, which Alanis Morissette assures me is at least somewhat ironic.  (An aside: the smart, progressive down-stater in me cannot believe that I've now eaten several meals at a fucking Cracker Barrel.  The fat 'Murican in me doesn't care and loves his dumplings.  Ah, duality, how you kill me sometimes.)

Anyway, here's the essay I wrote for Rhea's shower.  Which, naturally, has nothing to do with Cracker Barrel.  #ShittiestIntroEver, as the kids might tag it.

* * * * *

            Signs that a friendship is about to swerve across several lanes and left-exit onto the Something More Expressway come in different shapes and forms for everybody.  For me, ours was delivered inadvertently by a shriveled ex-member of the Rolling Stones.  Let me explain:

            By the time we met Bill Wyman at a book signing at the Borders in White Plains, Rhea and I had known each other for a little while, having worked together and become increasingly closer friends.  For me, the journey started in December of 2001: broken hearted from a relationship that had recently tanked and feeling like I was spinning my wheels, I took a job with Borders for the holiday season.  I never meant it to be anything serious; I just wanted to put a few bucks in my bank account and get off the couch I’d been fermenting on for the past couple of months.  Once there, I met some interesting folks, made friends, and decided to stick around a bit longer and see where it all took me.  Chief among those friends was the girl who, on my second or third night of employment, came in in the vintage Aerosmith t-shirt.  I remember standing behind the cash register, talking to her about the shirt and the album/tour it came from (not one of Aerosmith’s most appreciated periods; the kind of thing only real fans would even know much about), and realizing that I might have just met someone who was the exact same flavor of nerd as me.  That’s always a great moment in life, by the way.

            That conversation led to many more, first at work, then “hey, do you want to come to the bar tonight?”, then “hey, do you want to go to this concert with me?”, and finally, “hey, do you want to cut out of work early to GO AND MEET A ROLLING STONE?”.  Yes, yes, and yes, and so we did.  Did I mention that the man was shriveled?  Remember the California Raisins?  Like that, only not made of clay.  Nice guy, though; we chatted, he signed, we stood at the front of the store and had someone take the first picture of “us” (whether we knew it or not at the time), and then looked at each other.  I don’t remember who said what, but the conversation went like this:
           
             “Are you ready to be done with tonight yet?”
            “No.”
            “Want to go to the Pipers Kilt?”
            “Absolutely.”
           
And off we went to our favorite bar to discuss, dissect, dream and bond even further.  That was the night I was sure I’d know this woman for a long time to come.  I don’t know that I was exactly in love yet (or, perhaps more honestly, that I was admitting it yet), but I did know that Rhea was going to be something much more important to my life that just the cool chick I met while working in the record store.  There was work to be done on both sides between that moment and when we made that swerve-and-exit I mentioned back at the beginning: ghosts to be faced down and dispatched, debris in the general vicinity of the heart that needed housekeeping, that sort of thing.  But looking back on that night all these years later, while writing this for our shower/wedding: God, I was so right that night…and what an amazing journey this has been ever since.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Not Quite the Wedding Blog, Part I: The Intro and the Shower

Rhea and I are getting married six weeks from today.  I've alluded to the wedding before in these virtual pages, but I think this is the first time I've laid it down in concrete.  Six weeks and four hours to be exact, but who's really counting?

So why is this the first you're really hearing of it, dear readers?  A fine question: initially, I had intended to blog my little heart out about all the trials and triumphs of wedding planning in real time, all leading up to the big day itself.  It was a great, if obvious, idea, but logistically it just didn't pan out for two major reasons: (1) wedding planning is kind of all-encompassing and time-devouring, and (2) nothing raises emotions like a wedding.

Let me expand a bit.  Reason 1 is fairly self-explanatory: after a full day of wedding planning, I want nothing more to put on some great album and pass out halfway through.  The drain is no joke: a couple of weeks ago, I passed out mid-way through side one of Iron Maiden's Killers blasting on my headphones, waking up only with the kerchunk of the needle hitting the run-out groove.  Don't try that at home.  Reason 2 is a bit more complicated: in no way do I mean my wedding blog to be a venue for spleen venting or dirt dishing, but when you are dealing with a large group of diverse individuals, it's hard to know exactly who might not get a particular joke.  Inadvertently stepping on someone's toes isn't something I even remotely wish to run the risk of: this is supposed to be about joy at the end of the day, and nothing else.

So here's what we're gonna do about all of that: the Big Wedding Blog has not been cancelled, but merely postponed.  Sometime after the dust has cleared from the big event - think late January or so - I'm going to start the Big Wedding Blog, and do it How I Met Your Mother-style: start from the big day and work my way back to the beginning.  I'm thinking twice-a-week as a schedule for it, and I may spin it off from this blog into its own entity.  Watch this space for details.

In the meantime, I think that some as-it-happens writing is in order as well, so that's what this little series will be about.  Right now, it's about an hour before Rhea's wedding shower begins.  It's going to be one amazing afternoon: Kristina, my sister-in-law-to-be, has done an astounding job putting this together, and I'm beyond psyched to stroll in at the end and see the look on Rhea's face.  Right now, I'm at work (nothing weird there - I generally work on Sundays) for a few hours before it's time for me to pack it up here and make my grand entrance there.  I'm actually grateful to be here - gives me something to do while I'm pacing in my cage waiting for my moment - and also grateful that it's slow enough that I'm able to be writing this at the same time.

Apart from being amazing, it should also be an interesting event: lots of people from different parts of our lives will be there, and it's always neat to see who makes friends with whom once everybody gets thrown into a social blender.  The results of that will probably be fodder for the eventual Big Wedding Blog moreso than this, but if there are any really good stories to share, I promise a preview.

Speaking of exclusive content, I wrote a brief essay for the shower about the moment I knew that Rhea and I would be a big part of each others' lives.  I'll post it here either tonight or tomorrow, once the shower guests have had their moment with it.  'Tis good stuff, I think.

Back to pacing, then...