austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Meant for someone else

spaceroo married today.

The day started early. I'm not positive, but I think he knocked my door about 6 am and shouted, ``Roust! Roust!'' in the attempt to get me up. I'm not easy to get up. But I did, at some point, wake, shower, dress, and even get the little bow tie on. We had to resort to pre-tied ties. They're not so classy as tying them ourselves, but they're successfully tied. Also our plan to eat leftover pizza for breakfast went awry when we realized we'd put on sparkling white shirts, so we had bread and hard-boiled eggs instead, which leave nice crumbly bits instead of stains. We also thought we lost the ribbon tied around his ponytail, but it turned out to have just slipped down into his vest, because it turns out I can't tie a shoelace-type knot on anything but a shoelace. We happily set out and made it nearly five minutes before we had to call oliver_otter because we had forgotten things we needed (a wedding gift for the Bride of spaceroo, a bag of toys for the ring-bearer, and a bottle opener). Skyler and Findra also forgot a suitcase that I'd forgotten to ask about last night, and again, oliver_otter rescued us there.

The wedding was at a sort of western theme camp, designed to mimic a town of circa 1880, and we had some fun looking around the signs (``Goid Panning?'') (the sign did read ``Gold Panning'', but the contours of the wood and the direction of the sunlight made it easy to trick the eye into seeing an `i' where none as meant), and doing a lot of asking everyone we saw if they knew where we were supposed to go. The plan to have the groomsmen dress in vaguely Old West style formal outfits was successful; Skyler reported being asked for help by one of the non-wedding-related attendees. We then entered the zone where, as far as we could determine, we were behind schedule, but somehow we couldn't do anything to get on schedule, and it was all right because we were in the right spots at the right time anyway. Spaceroo stayed generally solid and showed no signs of collapsing in the pressure.

As Best Man I was advised to bring tissues and that I'd be responsible for the pillow to which the rings were tied, the rings, and the checks for the people to be paid. Skyler and Findra brought the tissues, Spaceroo's Mom ironed handkerchiefs for use, and other people handled the pillow and rings, and the only check I saw was handed to me in the presence of the guitarist, who took it. Somehow it all turned out all right anyway. When it came time to actually wipe something, namely, our dress shoes after walking through some dew-covered grass to deliver picnic supplies, we used Findra's windshield-wiping sock.

In setting up the ceremony we had only a few minor glitches, such as that we needed to set up a small table on a precarious slope. This we got to work by Findra finding a suitable log. Then there was the roller ... or something, anyway, basically, a long white sheet of plastic used to serve as an aisle, which worked really very well as long as no wind kicked it up, so it worked fine until the steam locomotive bringing the bridal party and all the guests to the spot arrived. It turns out people will naturally and without any training or direction avoid walking on the roller, which is fine, since a long vinyl sheet on top of steeply inclined dirt is a great way to encourage loved ones to precariously tumble.

Another little complication was the Unity Ceremony, in which bride and groom participated in a symbolic joining by putting together chocolate and peanut butter. The peanut butter was in a small glass jar; the chocolate was a long, segmented bar. The bar was too wide to let them put bars in the jar simultaneously, so Skyler tried splitting it along the narrow dimension and, well, Spaceroo and Findra were still teasing him about the results hours later. Spaceroo split the other bar -- that one had nuts -- successfully, and the remaining challenge was covering the table with a cloth and having me rehearse pulling it away in a satisfying flourish. I got pretty good at that, but the practice caused loose pine needles to be pulled by the cloth up and into the peanut butter, giving it a fresh wintergreen taste. The attendees clearly loved the ceremony, however.

The ceremony overall was pleasant, rather quick, and nicely spruced up by the personal touches in the various things bride and groom said to one another, as well as the ringbearer's waving and complaining that they were the only ones who got to eat the chocolate-with-peanut-butter, and they didn't even finish the bar. While I managed taking the cloth off with just enough flourish to not be too distracting, I did fumble untying the rings from the pillow. Should've rehearsed more.

After that we all got to ride the train back down, through winding hills, as soap bubbles were blown into roughly our vicinity by the people on the cars ahead of us, and their selected music came on, and spaceroo sang ``I'm A Believer'' and ``And I Love Her'' to his wife.

The lunch afterwards included a similar procession of me not quite knowing where I was supposed to be or what I was supposed to be doing, but that was all right as there were photographers directing people into new groups and at new places, and we didn't need to have all that much of it right. Mostly I just got introduced as ``the one who came from Singapore,'' and I explained that I hadn't become bilingual because they peak English quite well there, and I think I gave one of the bride's brothers the impression that my research has something to do with computer games. It hasn't got anything to do with games, but they're easier to talk about, so I'll let the confusion stand.

Skyler, Findra, and I broke the psychological barrier against eating at the same table as the newlyweds, and as I sat down I triumphantly put my elbow into the spot on my plate where a little bit of pork-and-beans juice spilled over. It was only a tiny bit. Despite having roast chicken and ribs meals, including salad with dressing, we all managed to keep our very white shirts clean otherwise, at least until Skyler got a beer and spilled a blob on front of him. Happily, I'd thought getting some moist towelettes might help, and had arbitrarily taken some specifically designed to handle stained clothes, and that finished off Skyler's stain.

As Best Man I was also expected to toast the couple, which I'd been getting increasingly if quietly frantic about the past week. But I had double-checked on some advice web sites and had a rough outline figured out, and opened to a nice beginning about wanting to tell how I met spaceroo in the first place. I don't remember just how we met. That gave me a nice start, and I worked in a nice quip about his ``exquisite railroad timing'' when one engine whistle blew mid-toast, and then I got perfectly lost somewhere around the middle, and pulled things together into a vaguely coherent finale. Everyone seemed happy, at least.

And they got a First Dance, in an open spot near the folk singer hired to entertain the ordinary non-wedding guests. After the claimed that she didn't realize the two were dancing to her performance, but Skyler reported she'd switched from a peppy song to something slower and more romantic. There wasn't a planned dance event, but a couple of the kids jumped in to dance around with them for a moment so adorable it's hard not to want to pick up and hug everybody involved.

My other actual responsibility was signing the license to declare them officially married. This rather neatly printed form asks for my address. Naturally I wondered if a Singapore address was valid, since the preprinted blank asks for street address/city/state/zip code. The officiant wasn't sure, but thought perhaps it might be. In the end I gave my United States mailing address, since that seemed less likely to induce problems. As I finished signing the license and making it official, and signing a memorial certificate which isn't necessary but makes for a more attractive keepsake, someone popped open a champagne bottle.

About my only real disappointment is that I didn't have my camera most of the day. With the adaptor and lenses on it mine's a pretty oversized camera, and I didn't think I could get away with wielding it particularly through the ceremony. But everybody else was taking about 400 pictures a minute, and I was able to get some of the last minutes, including of the decorated car. We didn't go all-out and make the car impossibly distracting, I think partly because we were afraid of a car only a couple of months old and partly because we grew up thinking about automotive safety enough that deliberately obscuring the windows even with white soap-like liquid feels too risky for the whimsy involved. But the handkerchiefs were useful in cleaning dust off the windows, and we were able to put rough but recognizable-to-us outlines of several kangaroos, a dolphin, a coati, a squirrel, and a rabbit around there, which should baffle anyone they drove past.

Minutes after they set out, we called the hotel where they're spending the night (they leave on the honeymoon proper Monday afternoon), to verify their reservation. The clerk asked us to wait while something was checked, and we waited a distressingly long time. It turns out they may have to spend the night in a room with a jacuzzi. And the rest of us, eventually, drove home, showered, changed, and collapsed from the heat and long hours while watching an episode of The Prisoner. I did finally get everyone to see His Majesty, The Scarecrow of Oz, a 1914 L Frank Baum-written-and-produced movie with a parade of odd or curious images as well as some animal costumes that seem impossibly well-articulated for 1914 (how they got the donkey and kangaroo eyes and ears, the donkey mouth, and the kangaroo tail to work we'll be considering for a long while), except for Skyler, who nodded off, and Findra, who went to bed proper. They had the right idea. Goodnight.

Trivia: Theodore Roosevelt gave away Elanor when she married Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Source: Anxious Decades: America in Prosperity and Depression, 1920-1941, Michael E Parrish.

Currently Reading: The Beginning and the End, Isaac Asimov.

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