Sunday, June 14, 2009

Strangers in a Strange Land

Sweet Enemy and I went to a friend's wedding on Long Island this weekend. JT is an good friend we don't see as often as we'd like to, so when we got the invite, we had to drive down and attend. The drive was about six and a half hours long and wasn't too bad until we hit the junction of I91 ad I95 in NY. Then it was alternating between "NASCAR" and "Crawl". Very strange.

JT mentioned on Facebook that Long Island was surreal, and he was right. Here we were, in sight of NYC and the place looks like Ann Arbor, MI; trees and small houses. Trees. Weird. The most surreal thing to me was the little things that reminded us that we weren't in Ann Arbor. The Aston Martin dealer was one and the fact that there didn't seem to be any stores that weren't high-end retail, even in strip malls was another. The one that cracked us up was that the smallest amount of money you could withdraw from an ATM was $40. Up here in VT, it's $20.

We stayed at a small motel that was lower end, but very clean with a remarkably comfortable bed. We couldn't afford the $185 'discount' rate at the upper end hotel where the wedding was held. We arrived about three hours before zero hour and lay on the bed, chilling and watching NCIS (our tv won't get CBS since the digital switch, so for me it was a treat).

The wedding was interesting. We arrived at what we thought was the dinner. We assumed this because of the rather vast amount of food present. It was all hors d'oeuvre -y food, but the amount was truly vast. The only thing that weirded us out was the fact that we were supposed to be at table seven but none of the tables had numbers. JT arrived later and explained that this was 'cocktails' and then came 'dinner', then the ceremony, then the partying. He also forced us (well, me) to mingle by introducing us around to his and his fiance's (now wife) friends.

They were, of course, cool and interesting as was JT's dad. He was the second funnies dancer on the floor.

<>The coolness of the people led to a revelation of sorts. I don't like meeting strangers much anymore and I wondered why. I believe now it is because they might turn out to be cool and I'll never see them again. Lately, I've been feeling that stuff is too fleeting and I want to hold onto it. Whether it's cool people at a wedding, or the nice folks at that small library book sale I randomly stopped at on a road trip last weekend, or that really nice diner SE and I ate at today, I want to have my cake and eat it too and to have things and people I enjoy sort of be available for enjoyment forever.. Feeling mortal much, Arkonbey?<>

The ceremony was sweet. The betrothed were already legally married, but they stood and the bride's best friend gave a heartfelt speech about how well JT and wife got along. Then a rabbi did a blessing and cutting of a loaf of bread. It was rather funny. He gave the blessing in Hebrew, cut the bread, put down the knife, paused and said "well, that's it for that". Then the bride's dad gave what was the funniest father-of-the-bride speech I'd ever heard. Then the eating (good food! much food!) and a jazz band (good music. LOUD music) and yelling at each other across the table. Then the couples with kids with sitters began to filter out and things died down. I brought out my Yashica TLR (much to the joy and distraction of the photo-nerd pro photographer; he gave me some great advice) to try to get one or two shots of the happy couple; we'll see how that works out. Then the band closed down and after lots of hugging and the realization that, now teaching at Emery, I won't see JT for a very long time we left.

We got back to the motel at 1233 am and watched ST:TOS until 1:30 (have I mentioned how lucky I am to have a nerdy, but cute wife?). The bed, as mentioned, was remarkably comfortable and we slept pretty well. Up at 7:30 and leaving at 8:30 to beat the traffic, we took some wrong turns and ended up near this interesting-looking museum that unfortunately didn't open until 11 (dammit!).

Eventually, we found our way out of LI and on the road. Stopped at the diner in MA for some tasty, hearty, not expensive food served by harried, but very friendly people. SE took a short nap while I read Heinlein; she wanted to be rested for her turn at driving. I took the opportunity to sleep for an entire hour on the way up. My USCG experience gave me the ability to sleep anywhere at any time.

So, back home. Made a cherry soda/vanilla ice cream float, mowed the lawn, then we sat around the living room with all the doors and windows open reading and listening to the birds yelling at each other around the forest.

So. That was our weekend, how was yours?