Friday, August 31, 2007

We Go to a Wedding

Alan and I worked at a wedding yesterday.

Have you been to one of these things? A couple gets dressed up in crazy outfits and make their dearest friends dress in crazy matching outfits. Then they stand up in front of everybody and make promises that they have no possible way of knowing they'll be able to keep.

And before any of you accuse me of being down on marriage, let me assure you that Alan and I have been dancing this dance for twenty-four years now, with no plans to quit.

I love marriage. It's weddings I have trouble with. In fact, I usually get the giggles partway through the vows and make rude snorty noises as I try to stifle them.

It's not what they're promising that causes the trouble. It's what they emphasise. Most of them, it's: for richer, for POORER, in SICKNESS and health. It's like, bring on the grief, 'cuz we want to prove just how in love we are.

And if I've learned anything in my time on this earth, it's that the Acme Anvil Company has a bunch of them with your name on it. You don't need to remind them.

I mean, seriously, in good times and in BAD? Babies, you have no idea how bad, bad can get. Like:

Lying in the emergency room on Christmas night, having your fourth miscarriage.

Lying in another emergency room on your anniversary (fortunately not in the same year) with the unmanageable migraine.

And no, this is not your worst anniversary ever. Your worst anniversary ever was the year your sister died. And your husband had to stay home and run your brand-new business, so you had to go and be there by yourself. And everyone at the (mercifully small and private) funeral came up to you and said, so sorry about Eileen. Happy Anniversary!

Or the time you come home from your TESL class to find your husband in the bathroom with your elderly mother, who is sitting on her walker with her pants around her ankles. She's fallen and you think she's broken her hip. And you know this is really, really bad. You know that she won't be able to live here any more and the life you were going to have together, the life that you sold your house and most everything in it to move down here and live with her has lasted four months and now it's over.

And you want to cry but after you call the ambulance, you have to get her dressed and mop a quart of pee off the floor and it turns out to be weeks and weeks before you actually have a second to yourself to sit down and cry about it.

And the good times? Well one of them happens at weddings, when you're sitting there making low snorting noises, trying not to laugh out loud at the vows because these people have no idea what they're letting themselves in for. And the man you've shared all the adventures with, the one who's been by your side through it all (or wanted to be, anyway, and that counts) gives your hand a gentle squeeze. Leans in close and says quietly, "Quit making an ass of yourself in public."

All the best to the newlyweds. May your anvils be small and easy to manage!

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