Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Gumball wedding

OK, so I went to a wedding last weekend. It was NOT a Diva wedding, to say the least -- not a drop of alcohol, no champagne, not even a keg full of warm beer, which I would gladly have opened with a hammer and chisel after the epic disaster of actually driving there, and when I describe the rest of the afternoon you'll be guzzling down martinis in sympathy (if you have any diva tendencies, and I think you do or you wouldn't be reading this).

For the record: I love weddings. Schmaltzy and trite, to be sure, but I love the whole hopeful atmosphere and shiny best-dressed drama of them. They're supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime event, so when I'm invited to a wedding I am immediately concerned about what to wear to demonstrate the proper amount of respect for the whole shebang. Chances are about even that they won't make it past ten years, but hey! let's give it a go anyway, dress in your finest, show up, wish the happy couple all the best and head for the open bar.

The first hint that the day was going to be less than spectactular was the trip to the ceremony. Mr. Diva was driving. When Mr. Diva drives, he likes to stick his head out the window to blow-dry his hair, sending me into a seething state of anxiety before we ever get on the highway and him into a state of defensiveness about his hairstyling methods. I gritted my teeth and thought about stopping at PETCO on the way so he could get a nice doggy grooming instead of RISKING OUR LIVES DRIVING WITH HIS HEAD OUT THE WINDOW like a fucking German shepherd but I didn't want to be late. I sniffily told him I thought it was rude to be late to weddings (important once-in-a-lifetime event, blah blah blah.) Ha ha! Marital bliss!

We are halfway there when we run into Dead. Stopped. Traffic. We crawl forward. We are five, ten, twenty, forty-five minutes behind schedule. We call someone to tell them we'll be (gulp) late. At least Mr. Diva's hairstyling effort has ceased, since we are moving so slowly we are actually watching our hair grow. We finally arrive at the blessed destination, which is not a church but a squat brick building that turns out to be... an armory.

OK! It's a military wedding. Cool! We park the car and I am having visions of crossed swords, gold braid, yummy men in uniforms escorting me to my seat. But of course we're so late that we'll have to sneak in, so I abandon that daydream and clutch Mr. Diva's arm as we get to the door.

We walk into the building and the first thing I see is row upon row of scarred metal folding chairs lined up behind a plastic garden trellis covered with tiny, plastic flowers and green plastic ivy. There is a white plastic runner (embossed!) scotch-taped to the floor between the chairs. Behind the chairs, there's a banquet table covered with a white plastic tablecloth. Are you getting the vibe here, Benjamin? "Plastics."

We sit down in the last couple of chairs, as the couple are in the middle of taking their vows. They are a lovely, sweet couple -- very young and in love, with their entire lives ahead of them and lots of exciting, hopeful plans for their future together. They exchange their rings, and stare expectantly at the minister when a country song begins playing from a tiny boombox on the plastic-covered table.

Two full minutes and thirty-eight seconds later, the minister announces that the groom may kiss the bride. I couldn't hear the words of the song, and I have no idea who the artist was, but any bride who would wait patiently for some damn song to finish playing before getting her first wedded kiss has certainly got the stamina for marriage.

Speaking of stamina: Did I mention the lack of air-conditioning? In August? Did I mention the huge aluminum fans plugged in, blowing the bride's veil around? Hm. At least it wasn't raining -- the half-open garage door behind the bridal trellis would certainly have leaked. Oops - I didn't mention the garage door?

I'm telling you, nothing says "wedded bliss" like a garage-door backdrop in your wedding pictures. I think the basketball goals were too high up to be seen in any of the pictures, which might have been too bad in case someone was drunk enough to toss the bride's polyester "silk" bouquet up there, but as I said there wasn't a stitch of alcohol anywhere to be found (although they did have a Coke machine against the wall in case you brought your flask but needed a mixer). Note to self: Bring flask to weddings from now on.

So, the couple was officially, legally married. Hup-to! On to the swanky reception on the other side of the room, under the other basketball goal!

The benefits of a concrete floor cannot be overstated. It sure made it easy for the guests who were recruited to dismantle the plastic trellis, while the banquet tables were fitted out with the folding chairs. Of course the tables were all dressed up in their best white plastic tablecloths, with pink and purple polyester flowers in tiny glass bowls, next to tiny plastic condiment cups filled with real mixed nuts, at least 40% peanuts. Thank God for Mr. Peanut!

I was slightly hysterical by then. I kept having to stifle my giggles, even during the prayers. Mr. Diva kept looking at me quizzically, but I just couldn't explain my reaction. How could I? It was a perfect storm of plastic hell, punctuated with the smell of old gym socks and a lovely view of the armed vehicle parking lot.

Eventually we made our way through the "buffet" line for sandwiches on plastic foam plates, chips and olives in plastic "serving dishes," a vat of petroleum-based macaroni salad, day-glo orange cheese dip, and plastic 2-liter bottles of generic soda. The wedding cake was one of those enormous old-fashioned cakes on columns with water trickling down, so it looked like the cake was taking a leak into the plastic greenery surrounding it. I swear, if I had had the tiniest whiff that it was vodka, I would have stuck my head under it and gargled it in. Anything to stop my eyes from bleeding.

We stuck it out as long as we could before heading over to the wedding party's table to congratulate the bride and groom. As we waited our turn, I saw a guest book on a plastic-covered podium and went to sign our names when something colorful caught my eye. It was the 25-cent gumball machines, right behind the guest book -- I suppose in case you had a hankerin' for a jawbreaker or some bubble gum in the middle of the ceremony. Party favors? We don' need no steenkin' party favors! We got 25-cent GUMBALLS, right behind the guest book!

After congratulating the bride and groom and giving them best wishes for a happy life, it was time to escape. Since we had been stuck in traffic so long I desperately needed to hit the ladies' room, and after asking the nearest sergeant where it was I hastily headed down the hall only to find it had the door propped open in full view of the guests.

I couldn't help it. I had to pee. There I was -- in polyester Wal-Mart hell, sweating and dizzy from pent-up laughter, nostrils scorched with the smell of industrial concrete floor cleaner, surrounded by petroleum-based imitations of flowers that would probably outlast a cockroach after a nuclear winter -- struggling in my heels to wrestle the fucking ladies' room door shut. I gave up. I marched into the stall, shut it, did my thing, and as I turned around I was tempted to leave it unflushed since I didn't want to punctuate the reception with ugly plumbing noises, but I thought what the hell. I took a deep breath and flushed the toilet just as the best man was starting his toast.

I made Mr. Diva stop at a liquor store on the way home, and we cracked open our ice-cold bottles of beer long before we hit the highway.

What an adventure. Klassy with a capital K! I can't wait to see the wedding album.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I got them Wednesday mornin', first-world blues

I listened to my own complaining the other day and I swear, I sounded like a first-class bitch. Where are the blues songs for all us first-world whiners? Where is the sympathy, the fundraisers, the donations from strangers who are moved to tears by our travails with broken nails, snagged hems, bad sushi, working indoors in air conditioning, incorrect drink garnishes, and humidity's effects on our hair? Huh? This song is for all of us first-world suffering divas out there. You know the format. Sing with me...

(Da-DAH da da DUM)
My sushi's too big
(Da-DAH da da DUM)
My cube is too small
(Da-DAH da da DUM)
Can't find no parkin' place
(Da-Dah da da DUM)
Close enough to the MALLLLLL....!!!!

Whoaaaa, I got them deep-down, first-world diva BLUESSS!!!! Yeah, lawd, I got them DEEP-down, first-world blues.....

(Da-DAH da da DUM)
Broke two nails today
(Da-DAH da da DUM)
Drinkin' nonfat latte
(Da-DAH da da DUM)
What's a girl gotta do
(Da-DAH da da DUM)
Get some champagne from YOUUUUU....?!!!

Girl, I got them deep-down, air-conditioned BLUESSSS!!! Yes, I got them deep-down, hair-frizzin' blues.....YESSSSS, I got them deep-down, first-world........

diva-squallin', out-of-hand-lotion-bitchin', too-much-ice-in-my-coke-meltin', chipped-nail-polish-wearin', traffic-fightin', office-workin', not-enough-pesto-on-my-pasta-eatin', you-left-an-olive-out-of-my-Belvedere-martini-drinkin', maid-cleanin', motherfuckin' parallel-parkin' downtown BA-luuuuuuUUUUUUeSSSSSS!!!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Martini with three pencils, please

I just got out of a three-pencil meeting. For the uninitiated, a three-pencil meeting is a meeting so full of bureaucracy, so laden with buzzwords, so offensively boring that one is tempted to stick a pencil through one's neck. It is a crazy-making meeting with 15 people stuck in frozen places in their ill-fitting chairs that sound like they're farting whenever you cross your legs, where three managers (oops, "team leaders") drone on and on about granularity, and widget counts, and metrics, and Gaaahdd-awful phrases like "closing the loop" and "quantitative process improvement" until I had to physically restrain myself -- I felt an insane urge come over me to suddenly yank up my leg and start chewing off my toenails. I wondered if this would stop the meeting, or if anybody would notice.

Between bouts of insanity I was falling asleep. I thought I might have to start barking to wake myself up, but then I kept hearing the perky blonde talking about productivity improvements and my eyes immediately crossed into glazed, stupefying catatonia. They make drugs for what I was feeling, in fact they make them at this very place I work, but dear Jesus they need to make some sort of time-released drug for people who have to attend meetings. There is a reason people go postal, and it's called PERKINESS!!

What kind of a person likes meetings? What awful genetic code makes people drool with anticipation of being stuffed into a cold room with a huge plastic table where they cheerily fire up their 347-slide Powerpoint presentation and proceed to read every fucking word to you as if you are too stupid to put together the alphabet into recognizable words without their benevolent guidance? Huh?

Let me tell you. They are former cheerleaders! That's gotta be the secret. Take away the pompoms and the Friday night football games and these people droop like old bologna. I once attended a women's executive club meeting where our speaker was a ridiculously perky, thin, blonde woman (a former cheerleader!) in a very nicely tailored navy suit who proceeded to talk about her love of public speaking. She actually stood up at the podium and said in her perky cheerleader voice, "Whenever I'm really bummed, I know that I have to get up in front of a big group of people and talk? And eat lots and lots of M&M's? Because that's the only thing that really gets my energies going?" It occurred to me that she was trying to give the group actual advice on how to get out of the doldrums by speaking in public, but I was too busy thinking about how much better it would be if someone flayed the skin on my upper arms and ground red pepper in it while playing Lawrence Welk's polka version of "Onward Christian Soldiers." They didn't serve alcohol at those club meetings, so I quit going.

Martini, please. I'm going to work on my productivity improvement matrix at the bar.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Stacey Leigh's Birthday!!!

Yesterday was my dear sister's birthday! She's not actually my sister, but we decided we needed to be sisters because we are scarily alike in so many ways. Plus, she is lovely and talented, and massively inspiring, and horrendously intelligent, frighteningly hip -- she outshines me so greatly that it's really all I can do not to rip her hair out, and I would if I didn't just adore her.

Happy Birthday, darling girl.