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"An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."
Sir Winston Churchill


The Honeymoon -- Prologue

We were married. It'd finally happened. Now came the difficult part -- lugging all our gear across three airports and two countries.

But first -- let's recap, shall we?

The only things of note that went awry during The Wedding were that the Minister handed us our communion goblets (already filled with wine) upside down; the mic blew out mid-ceremony so the audience didn't exactly get a great ear on the vows; the wedding coordinator became ill and had to leave (leaving us at the mercy of some lackadaisical staff who had to be coaxed and sometimes yelled at to fill drink orders and smile); we knocked over our bucket of champagne at the head table (it was in a really bad spot, and by the time this happened, everyone had unbuttoned to the point of apathy); one of our guests had raspberry vinaigrette poured down her back by an inattentive server; ANNNND the photographer's car got broken into.

But they all paled in comparison to the rollicking time we had eating, dancing, be waited on hand and foot and basically making giant fools of ourselves with our friends. I got to meet MH's (my husband's) goofy friends. They all had wicked stories to tell regarding the groom, but never failed to regale us all with some of their own humiliations which included *ah, let's seeee...* running across campus naked; being accosted by rich old ladies and big, luscious, black women; and filling in for legendary musicians via sheer circumstance -- you know, trifles.

The best though, was when MH's buddy from The Service decided he was going to show us the infamous "butt dance". Apparently, it involves the buddy mock-spanking MH while he sticks out his posterior (and smiles, cross-eyed) never failing to jump (butt first) with each fake whack. I really hope we got pictures of that.

There was a conga line, slow dances for the sweethearts, major boogie-ing, and almost some breakdancing (mostly on the part of the 3 year-old ringbearer, who also happens to be the Groom's nephew). At one point, my new brother-in-law grabbed my grandmother's wheelchair and conga'ed her across the floor. Hilarious.

The best, Best, BEST was getting to smear our $600.00 cake all over MH's face. Classic. It got in his eyebrows, eyelashes -- everything. Cream cheese poundcake, lemon curd and cream cheese filling, iced with buttercream. Hope it came out good on the proofs. (He shoved it in my face first! I couldn't take that lying down, ladies.) I had TWO pieces... And some the next day.

The next morning, we had a surreal breakfast with my extended family. I had been looking forward to sneaking down unnoticed (as I had the morning of The Wedding) and hitting the breakfast buffet -- this time with MH, chatting and relaxing before we had to tromp off to the airport. But when we arrived downstairs -- there They were. My aunt (in full makeup, jewelry and perfect hair... Wha?), my grandmother (looking dazed and slightly off her medication), my mother (who veritably beamed at the sight of us), my uncle (Tightass), my Dad (who looked every bit the tired martyr), a married couple who-might-as-well-be-my-aunt-and-uncle-we've-known-them-for-so-long-but-they're-no-relation (who-don't-speak-to-each-other-and-who-have-probably-not-spent-this-much-time-together, continuously, since 1985), and the topper of ALL toppers, my mother's first cousin -- let's call her Bobbi June.

They pounced on us as if we were bleeding prey. I don't think I've ever been kissed and hugged that much in my entire life. These are the people who don't show up for holidays, rarely send cards of affection, couldn't tell you when my birthday was or even what year if threatened under pain of death -- but all of a sudden it was like... the friggin' Waltons or something. Ew.

Immediately, cousin Bobbi June launched the offensive.

Now... everyone knows someone like this. (If you don't, count your precious, sane, full-head-of-hair blessings.) But I'm still perplexed by her socialization technique. Perhaps she's not allowed to talk at home. Perhaps she's got some genetic disorder that prevents her from keeping her trap shut long enough to draw breath. Perhaps she's been living with orangutans for the last 6 years in a barbed-wire pen in Uzbekistan.

Whatever the case, she had decided: this was her moment. She was gonna' get every word in! Every single, inane, rambling, incoherent, off-topic, monotonous, word. And before the end of breakfast. No, un-uh. Don't even try it, buster. She'll cut you off like a dead limb mid-sentence and just keep on trucking. Doesn't matter. Nope. The only chance you'd get is if she bothered to take a breath or a bite -- slim at the outside.

I watched her plate as she talked, mentally willing her to eat; asking her if she was hungry; saying things like, "Wow! How are you going to finish all that? We're almost done!"

MH just smiled and remained cool and congenial, bless his longsuffering, patient heart. He's internalized a talent I do not possess. People like him understand that the situation will not spin in infinitude, that we will get out of this. Their mantras seem to be: Tolerate it for the moment. Be accommodating. Feign interest if you must. But never shake the knowing that this too, will pass... Either that or his internal dialogue is running so rampant (imagining them in clown makeup or covered in unhappy substances), he's too amused to be irritated.

I, on the other had, was boiling. Between Bobbi June and Aunt Perfect Hair, (who comes to breakfast at 8 am in full makeup, all their jewelry on and a color coordinated outfit? WHO?!!) I was about to blow. All the fake closeness. All the "darlings" and the "please come for Christmas"-es.

Perfect Hair remarked that she thought her side of the family (first cousins to Bobbi June) had made a "good impression" at the reception, equivocating their whole trip -- to our wedding -- to a big P.R. campaign. GRRRRR... I knew my cover was thin.

The bill came. Perfect Hair asked Tightass (her husband) how to split it up. The implication, of course, being whether they should pay for Bobbi June and the Crazy Blue Hair's breakfasts. (My grandmother... Okay, Perfect Hair's mother... You know... The one gazing in daft wonderment at the pepper shakers at the other end of the table.) Tightass veritably exploded, "Let everyone pay for their OWN! Everyone got the breakfast buffet anyway!" My Mother brought out her credit card and silently paid the bill, most likely without a notice or a thank you from the rest of the crowd.

The female half of might-as-well-be-related looked snobbishly bothered by the conversation at the other end of the table, probably because it didn't revolve around her. Her would-be husband stayed silent, as he'd no doubt learned to do years before. My Father still looked the tired martyr bit. My Mother just beamed.

MH stood up first. Doing my "obey" and dutiful-new-bride bit, I followed -- to no one's chagrin. Aha! That's the genius of the "grin and bear it". No one bats an eye when you run for the elevator... But not without an orange-red-kiss-on-the-cheek-from-an-old-bat-with-no-dentures-and-food-on-the-side-of-her-face-who-wanted-to-kiss-you-on-the-lips-but-missed-and-hugs-you-too-tight-and-too-long first.



Blogger worshipnaked said...

Well, at least they all got you presents -- one hopes!!

5:26 PM  

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