Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wedding World

The Troggs--"Love Is All Around" (mp3)

Despite my oft-stated desire to live for a few minutes inside of a television commercial--I don't know, maybe one of those old Lowenbrau ones where the guys are scuba diving until someone lowers a fishhook with a beer at the end of it or one of those social settings where everyone is both beautiful and united in one common cause (like skiing or extending a sporting event indefinitely at Buffalo Wild Wings)--I have finally admitted to myself that isn't ever going to happen.  Not even my involvement in the filming of such.

However, I have found a new fantasy "island" where I enjoyed setting up shop recently--Wedding World.  At Wedding World, a small, selected community forms that is not unlike the many utopian visions of evolved society that we have read about in literature for centuries.  People work toward a common cause in relative harmony.  But they do little work, because their main purpose is to be supportive.  And the harmony part is easy as well. 

In Wedding World, that blissful weekend away from it all, here's what happens:

1. Everything is arranged. When you arrive, someone hands you a goodie bucket. A plastic bucket with a shovel, in this case, filled with candy, crackers, waters, loofas, decals, ideas for local fun, breath mints, and other thoughtful little things to make your time nicer. They've already negotiated a good hotel deal for you and set up your social calendar.

2.  Time loses its credibility.  There's nothing like focusing on someone else and their happiness to take away time's sting and outside worries.  I mean it.  It's good.  Most wedding weekends have between 3 and 5 scheduled events and whatever happens in between doesn't matter.  You're just waiting for the next one.  Same thing with money--it's that same kind of "I'm-on-vacation" feel.  And it's all for a good cause--a camera, a new pair of shoes for the wedding, a little shopping or a nice meal on the side that leaves you feeling good about your day and even better about the nuptials ahead.  The world outside is distant, and its rules don't apply. Forget rain. Put politics aside. Let someone else worry about your elderly parent for a day or two. So what if the credit card debt increases a little?

3.  Love is all around.  You can't help but bask in the glow of it.  To be near two people starting off on that journey has everyone else in attendance a) reaffirming commitments, maybe with the caress of a hand or the squeezing of an arm  b) wondering what went wrong between then and now c) resolving to do some things differently, maybe as the result of the things said during the ceremony, or d) looking at how this couple did it and evaluating everything from bridesdmaids' dresses to reception locations in anticipation of their own future weddings.

4.  All you'd care to eat or drink, and then some.  Are you kidding me?  Walk into a brew pub or a country club with smiling men and women saying, "What can I get you, sir?", while before me sit shelves of liquors and mixers and beers?  Then you're going to offer me, on successive nights things like Caesar salad, Chicken Parmesan, Egglplant Parmesan, Fetuccini Alfredo, breadsticks, crab cakes, shrimp and grits, spring rolls, bbq dumplings, key lime pie?  It's a level of hospitality rarely encountered in daily life.

5. Dance fever. Even if you don't dance, either because you don't know how or you feel self-conscious, there's a pretty good chance you'll dance. Why? Because it ain't high school and no one cares! Everyone wants you to dance. Happiness loves company. Don't know the particular dance? Someone will teach you. Don't know the music? Wait a song or two and it will meet your generation head on.

6. The city or town or inn awaits.  Weddings don't happen in isolation--a city or a town or a place comes along with them, and the chance to explore or to discover is all part of the fun.  Most cities have some combination of buildings and water, but the way those are put together yield all kinds of fresh results and pleasures.  The way the sun hits the water, the way the water seeps up through the wood planks on the riverwalk, the way the river flows into the ocean, the way the highways lead to new destinations--all these things enrich wedding days when it isn't your wedding.

7.  Reconnect, reconnect, reconnect.  And really, despite my light tone, this is the best thing.  Weddings pull long-lost relatives or friends back together and the years fall away or get filled in through conversation.  You discover shared interests you didn't know you had or that people are not who you thought they were.  Sometimes you only get to know relatives at weddings (and funerals) because it takes momentous events to pull people long distances.  Sometimes people who you are not particularly friendly with in your own city take on a different aura in Wedding World. 

8.  Best friends can be made in seconds or minutes, not months or years.  You can meet someone new and share an instant connection forged by that compression of time and society, can have a relationship as intense as one that might take  months or a semester or a decade on Facebook.  It's like, "Woah, I didn't know you, but I really like you and we don't have much time."  What happens after, well, who knows? 

The only problem with Wedding World is how temporary it is.  I know that is what gives it its beauty and its value as well, but its good feelings fade so quickly after a return to the "real" world, that it almost doesn't seem like it was real, and the next time the offer comes around, so many of us see it as an obligation instead of a blessing. 

Not me; not now while I'm still under the spell.  I don't know why people don't have weddings more often.  I'd certainly attend.


Susan said...

Dear god...are you going to become friends with my head of school now?

Bob said...

We did have a great talk!