Quite by accident, I realized that "astray" and "ashtray" are nearly the same word. Something to consider, my pretties.
Something I'm considering today: matters of the heart should always involve the head, too. The heart should never, ever work independently because it can do stupid things.
When I was 13, my sister, Maryann, got married for the first time. It was mid-August, the day after her 19th birthday. A nice guy, her husband, but everyone objected because he was a bit older, relatively poor and a die-hard Star Trek
fan. Further, he had taken her from the right path
--she was meant for the stage, not the kitchen. She hadn't even graduated college yet. Maryann was supposed to be consumed with frat parties and exams and cafeteria food, not shopping for China patterns.
All of this made Maryann more intent on having the perfect wedding. They were in love, goddamnit, and she would prove it to the world.
I was in the wedding, of course. The bridesmaids had beautiful black velvet and emerald green taffeta dresses, found on sale--that was a sign, wasn't it, that Maryann was doing the right thing? The dresses were a steal during the Ides of March with the wind and snow whipping about. In the 100+ degrees of a small, fundamentalist Baptist church that did not believe in air conditioning, even in the middle of August, those dresses were ludicrous. And probably a little smelly.
As I stood there watching my sister and her betrothed exchange vows, my head was swimming with the kinds of images a 13-year-old conjures up about love: they would spend their time holding hands watching movies on the couch (with the lights OFF and no parents around), slow dancing in the kitchen and going out to eat at TGI Friday's. That's what love was to me. In many ways, it still is, but TGI Friday's has been upgraded.
Swimming in those beautiful thoughts, my thin frame started to sway. My hands got clammy. Suddenly, my eyelids fluttered and I found myself lying on the church's musty red carpet. Someone was rushing in to pull down my dress and cover up my underpants. I had passed out from the heat. The best man lifted me and carried me out amid the concerned hush of the guests.
Things were a little hazy after that, but I remember that nothing went according to the plan, foiling my sister's hope that everything be perfect
. In fact, I would love to show you a video of the Famous Fainting of 1993, but the cameraman forgot to turn on the camera to record the ceremony. It's alright, though, because it only would have captured the pianist's botched attempt to play The Wedding March
, which ended up sounding more like Brick House.
The milk fountain they had got in lieu of a champagne fountain curdled in the heat, and my Uncle Andrew brought his dog, a yippie Pomeranian who kept biting people. The food was horrible and resulted in several cases of food poisoning. The bathroom toilets overflowed. Oh, yeah, and my sister and her husband got divorced less than a year later.
My sister said she knew all along that they shouldn't get married, but it's just that she wanted to so badly
that none of the logical arguments, anxious pleas or signs would impede her. She basically told her brain to shut up, "The heart's running this show."
Fortunately, I've always been able to learn from my sisters' mistakes. As the youngest of three, I've had the benefit of seeing them make a ton of messes and figure out how to clean them up. Forcing something or charging ahead with a bad idea has never been my scene. I've been called impartial, objective, even cold, because I can seemingly switch off my feelings if evidence presents itself that a change of course is a good idea. I'm not unfeeling, just practical.
Because, seriously, kids--who wants a flipping milk fountain
at their wedding?In the Comments section, tell me a favorite wedding memory of yours.
Labels: Back on track, kid.