Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Day in the Life...

I used to be a little boy So old in my shoes And what I choose is my choice What's a boy supposed to do The killer in me is the killer in you, my love I send this smile over to you --Smashing Pumpkins, "Disarm" Friday, 8 AM meeting. "I want lively discusson," comes the message from Bill. "You do know it's an 8 AM meeting, right?" I reply. Friday. Begin the day with red name, end with black words. Legitimacy. It's official. Red means temp. Black means permanent. It's nice. So long in flux, so long without security. Fell ass-backwards in to right place at right time. Still, dreading end of day. Rehearsal. Why am I here? The church I once called home. I left, it moved. First wedding on new campus. I call the place "The Monstrosity on North Under the Shadow of the Majestic Prayer Penis." Wordy, yes. 144-foot backlit prayer tower seems a little extreme. It's there over the trees more than two miles away. A light to the world I'm sure. Wedding's in the chapel. Everyone agrees it's almost as big as the sanctuary of the old building. Main auditorium is smaller than I'd thought. Still, 2000 seats. Stadium, almost. Jesus Christ, Superstar, I guess. It's a place for concerts, not congregations. Plays, not prayers. Pastor is a blow hard. Going to present the gospel as part of the wedding ceremony. Didn't like it in the past when done by pastors I liked and respected. Pull the groom aside, "Are you really going to let him do that?" "Yeah," is the confused reply. Apparently I'm the crazy one for asking. Why am I here? Why am I best man? Why did I say yes? Wedding traditions. Kind of insane. Mother and father give the bride away. What the fuck is that? If I ever get married that won't be in the ceremony if I have a say. Give the bride away. No one gives the groom away. Does anyone listen to the words, or are they just there? Is it just tradition? Give the bride away. I don't care here. No dog in the fight. If I get married, though, it's not to property. She won't belong to me. Rehearsal breaks down. Everybody's goofing off. Only ran through once. Where am I supposed to be? Everyone wants dinner. Time to leave. Groom stands alone, surrounded by mother, father, bride to be, me. "What's wrong?" "No one was paying attention." "We'll talk about it in the car." Walk back up the aisle. Grab my old friend. "It's almost over. Twenty-four hours and you'll be married." Deep breath. "Less than that." Starting to remember why I'm here. Restaurant. Bride's father prays. Madonna's "Material Girl" playing softly above. Strangely apropos. Bridal party gifts. Best Man gets two. Sweet. Engraved pen. It's nice. I like pens. I'm a writer, after all. Even if my preferred tool is a nine-year-old Toshiba laptop. Always a place for a pen. Other gift. Hefty. Metal. Cylinder. "Friends Through Time" written on top. It probably opens. something must be inside. "Twist it." "Oh." It's a clock. Somehow I already knew. "Do you remember?" "Of course." How could I forget? Friends through time. Seventh grade. School principle who couldn't set his own clock. Fourteen years later I'm best man. This is why I'm here. How could I forget? Get some beers. Groom, best man, two groomsmen, a wife, a fiancee. White Sox on TV. Winning when we arrive, but playing in Oakland. Automatic loss. Drop game 6-4. Swear at TV. Two couples, a groom-to-be, and me. Hacker-Pschorr, Newcastle, Fat Tire. I like to keep my beer varied. They drink mixes, Killian's, whatever. Talk turns to impending marriage. Realize I don't really care. Marriage. Couples. Not my world. I'm that guy. Closer to thirty than twenty and single. No prospects, either. Not really looking. New job. Storytelling. Writing. No time. Besides, it all seems like a pain in the ass. What the hell is the point? I don't get it. Bar is filled with women. Drunk girl nearby is falling out of her top, dancing awkwardly with Abercrombie & Fitch fratboy. Other girl looked on the verge of tears twenty minutes ago, now having lots of fun. Jukebox has all kinds of stuff, nothing I really like. Settle on Candlebox's "Far Behind," Nirvana's "Lithium." Candlebox released a new CD this year. Ten years off. Where the hell have they been? Where have I been? 1998. High school. Oh, right. Couples and groom to be discuss marriage. Olympics on TV. Diving. Random circles and arrows highlight aspects of a competition I don't understand. I fill in the muted words. "See, she's got feet." "She's standing straight up." "Look, an ear." Girls in tank tops and shorts walk back and forth. I really don't care. There's nothing there, no point. Where's the waitress? Maybe she'll come back. I like the waitress. She's not falling out of her shirt. She's got a little too much eyeliner. Other girls in the bar are probably hotter. But the waitress just has...something. It's the eyes. They're bright, wide, accented by a nice smile, pleasant features in a round face. I like round faces. Weddings. Marriages. Couples. Too much talk from my table mates. What's the point? I don't want to get married. Who would? Where's the waitress? Why does it matter? Night air. Walk back to the car. Plenty of others out. I wonder if they think there's a plan, a grand design to the world. There isn't one. I miss "Rita." We all remember her, right? Wait. No I don't. I couldn't stand her by the end. My family, all my friends, at least the one's who's opinion I trusted, say I'm better off. Not in that fake, "There's plenty of fish in the sea," sort of way, but in the, "She was a bitch. We kept trying to tell you. You didn't listen," sort of way. Harsh. But true. I don't miss her. I miss the idea of her. What happened? Where have I been between Candlebox CDs? Where am I going? What's the plan? Weddings are stupid. Maybe. I don't know. Johnnie Walker Black. Ice. Words on a screen, a laptop I call Dinosaur, Jr., after the band. I knew a girl once. I think she was everything I wanted, maybe everything I needed. Check that. I thought she was everything. If I saw her now I think I'd just pass by. I thought Rita was the only answer. Now she's just another word. I suspect that I am to her, too. Funny how that happens. One day they're your world, the next they might as well be on another planet. I couldn't call her if I wanted to. Took her number off my phone, deleted all her emails. I know a girl now. She might be everything I want, everything I need. But there's one little detail that's actually a big problem. I'm a child, anyway. A little boy. I can barely take care of myself. Why would I think I'm capable of taking care of anyone else? Another life time, maybe. When I'm not such a fool. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage. That's how it goes, right? What if I can't love? What if I don't marry? What if the entire female gender is smart enough to realize that there's no way I should be given responsibility for a tiny little life? Where's that waitress? Clocks. Time. 1998. 1994. Soundgarden released Superunknown that year. I made a friend through time. I listened to Superunknown on my way to the rehearsal. Coincidence, not design. Just in the mood. I'm starting to remember. I'm starting to forget. Do my questions have answers? Or are there just more questions? Ah, well. Sleep. Time enough for that in the morning.

5 comments:

Tayi said...

Congratulations on the job position.

I know this is kind of a personal post, and I'm just some random stranger on the internet, but I want to say that I do think that happiness is possible. It may not be permanent, and our traditions may work against it, but it is possible to be not alone, and to be happy. Weddings aren't the easiest time to remember this- weddings are horrible and I hate them- but its true.

Geds said...

Hey, if I didn't want random people on the internet to read and possibly comment on things, I wouldn't have put it on the internet...

But, really, thank you for your encouragement. I'm not so bad off as it might seem. I was just having what I kind of hoped was an interesting day's worth of thoughts and experiences and seeing if I could put them in to words in a way I usually don't combine thoughts.

Either way, the wedding itself was actually quite lovely for the most part. I think weddings should go in to that category with sausages and laws. Knowing how they're made only hinders the experience. But, then again, knowing all the things that could have gone wrong and being there when it all works -- or mostly works and no one really notices the mistakes -- is pretty good, too.

And I've never been in the best man slot before, but, and I know this is going to sound really, really sappy but I just don't care, it's got to be one of the best spots in the house. Standing behind a valued friend (even if I forgot why a few times) and watching his bride look and no one, and I mean no one, but him throughout the ceremony is really special.

And, yeah, the pastor might have given a twenty-minute sermon to start the whole thing off, but that's just who he is. Besides, if even for one second he thought he was giving this amazing message that would have everyone thinking how great he was, the joke was on him. Everyone knows that you go to a wedding for the bride, the groom, the free dinner, and the open bar.

No one's going to remember my toast but maybe me, my friend, and a few others, but it doesn't matter. What matters is that I remembered just in time that I was there for him and didn't let my own stupidity get in the way.

Suzy-q said...

See, told you to hang in there and keep your trap shut for a reason - weddings bring out the worst in people (I know you were at mine). But sometimes you go jump through hoops and get mad and annoyed and then you get a clock that says, "Frieds Through Time." And that's why you deal with the good, the bad and the ugly. If you're only there for the good, then what's the point of being friends?

As for the rest (and Rita is a bitch, by the way), you need to be happy with yourself first. The watched pot never boils. Stop watching for it and just chill out. Go apartment hunting instead.

Geds said...

As for the rest (and Rita is a bitch, by the way), you need to be happy with yourself first.

I know. You worry about me too much, but I'm not the way I used to be.

I was doing a thing there. It was an experiment in style and not a cry for help. Really, everything's hunky-dory.

And, yeah, Rita's totally a bitch. Got that one covered. When everyone who's opinion matters (including my own) is of one accord, it's hard to dispute. It just takes longer to admit it when you're the one who's closest and who has invested the most...

big a said...

"It just takes longer to admit it when you're the one who's closest and who has invested the most..."

I TOTALLY have no idea what you're talking about... *shifty eyes*