The summer of 2003
I remember clearly the summer of 2003. It was the summer I said to one of my New York roommates, Joleen, "If I ever act like I'm gonna get married, please remind me of the summer of 2003." She laughed and promised to do so.
She didn't come through, however, mainly because she fled to New Zealand on a ship, leaving $11,000 in debt, no forwarding address, and a roomful of crap for me, Roopa, and Lee to get rid of. Not that we weren't thrilled to sift through her old sweaters, dildos, and handcuffs, DON'T GET ME WRONG.
It was in the summer of 2003 that everyone in my life got married. And by everyone I mean five friends, which was a lot in three months. It was a lot of travel - to Alaska, Washington State, Michigan, Cincinnati, and England - but that was no problem, I like travel. It was some responsibility - as the minister in two of the weddings - and while that was slightly nervewracking, I pulled it off and was happy to give that gift to Sara and Gail.
No, it wasn't really the logistics, it was the emotions that got to me.
I was in a "relationship" at the time - a sort of maybe kind of relationship with someone who would never be into me enough to lose the quotes around our so-called relationship and who wasn't supportive of me the way I was supportive of him. I imagine that some part of me knew this and was envious of my friends. Not for their marriages so much as the love and trust that their marriages represented and that they'd found, that which eluded me.
Okay, the details of weddings bugged me too. I could not relate - painfully so, at times - to the things that crop up around weddings. Buying houses, remodeling houses, wanting stuff for houses you are buying and remodeling. Starting a wedding registry to tell people what stuff you want to put in your houses. I rented a teeny tiny room that I filled with my teeny tiny possessions. I shopped at thrift stores and sales and sometimes put things on credit. I didn't get it and I didn't think I wanted to.
I remember when Sara was in town before her wedding. We walked around the city, drank mimosas at a bar in Grand Central Station, and then she dragged me into Williams-Sonoma. She ogled kitchen goods while apologizing for it, brushing it off as just a weird wedding phenomenon as inescapable as gravity. I was a good sport, mainly because she was cracking me up by being such a little bitch to the store worker who asked us like three times if we needed help. Each time she'd answer, "I'm sorry, whaaat?" until he shrugged and left.
In the end I enjoyed each wedding even if I didn't get it and seriously doubted that I would go through such a thing myself.
My very own wedding registry
I was resistant. The stark consumption made me uncomfortable. Apparently it's rude to announce your wedding registry on your wedding invitation but it's equally rude NOT to have a registry. I'm okay with being rude unless there's a good, practical reason not to be.
Conflicted, I called Sara.
"Look," she said, "It's a guide for people. People who know you well may give you something more personal but you're having a lot of people come to your party and many of them will want some direction. You help them out and you get some things you need. If you don't do a registry you'll end up with fifteen salad spinners and no easy way to return them." (Note: I may have paraphrased some of that.)
Something about that sunk in. I am morally opposed to salad spinners and don't want one, much less fifteen. And now that I like cooking, I've learned a lot of new words, like dutch oven, and it would be awesome to have one. And I've been tenderizing meat with a Patron tequila lime squeezer that I thought was an ice cream scoop for the longest time. This damn registry might actually come in handy.
That doesn't mean I didn't get in a really bad mood while walking through Crate & Barrel zapping things with my registry zapper. Quite a few people told me how much fun they'd had zapping things they wanted. I want that. Zap! That's shiny. Zap! How many do you want? Four? Zap Zap Zap Zap! It made me sullen and short-tempered. The zapper started to feel like a neon arrow pointed right at me, the materialistic one. It was far easier for me to handle on the internet so we finished the registry online where, I have to say, I ended up picking out some stuff that would be rad to own. I am not gonna lie.
Things have started to show up at our house, gifts that are sent to us, waiting on the porch outside our door. It is bizarre and, because I am so unfamiliar with the process, practically magical. I didn't know people sent gifts ahead of time, months before you are married or in my case, in between your Vegas wedding and your Kentucky wedding. I thought you carted your gift to the wedding and made someone cart it back home. This whole SENDING concept really streamlines the process.
So where am I now? Somewhere in between where I was and, most likely, where I'm going to be. How is that for obvious yet vague? I'm looking forward to using my new crock pot.