for better or for worse

Every so often I find myself as a date at a wedding where I don’t know anyone. It’s sort of entertaining to be a fly on the wall of other people’s lives. Look, there are people you never would’ve met, who have their own friends and spouses and parents and jokes! It’s like a TV show because everyone is a character: Mother of the Bride in the Glittery Pants Suit, Grandfather of the Groom Who Makes a Vaguely Incoherent but Touching Speech About How the Bride and Groom Have Been Given a Garden of Eden.

Mark’s friend, the groom, is a guy who I sorta-kinda knew in college. He used to date a girl who lived on my floor and I’d had a few conversations with him over the years. If I’d ever run into him at a reunion or a bar or something, we would’ve had the “Oh, yeah! How are you?” moment and then after the job-marriage-where-are-you-living-now catch-up game, would’ve promptly forgotten the other one existed. Very nice guy, but you know how it is with Totally Random Acquaintances. I never imagined I’d see this Totally Random Acquaintance almost shaking with emotion as he kissed his new wife during their first dance; I found myself wishing I’d at least had lunch with the guy a few times before I was allowed to witness such an intimate moment.

(And more hazards of attending a life event of a Totally Random Acquaintance: About a week ago, I said to Mark, “So how long have Groom and Liz been dating now, anyway?” He said, “Liz? You mean Sarah?” Oh, God. “Who’s Sarah?” “The BRIDE.” “Oh. He’s not marrying Liz So-and-so?” “Um, NO, they broke up in college.” “Oh.” Silence. “Well, I’m sure he and Sarah will be really happy together.”)

We were seated at one of the college tables. We realized we were old when they took the alumni picture for the quarterly (third time this summer I’ve posed for the quarterly picture) and realized we were the oldest alumni there. Neither of us had had that experience before—there’s always someone there who’s a little older and drunker and bitter about life to make you feel young and vibrant and sober. And we weren’t older by decades or anything, thankfully—Mark is 29 and I’m 27 (fine, I’ll be 28 in less than a month), and these guys were in their early 20s. But it does make a difference.

One girl at the table had just turned 23 and her boyfriend Steve was the best man. (It occurred to me that I was also at a summer wedding when I was 23 and my boyfriend Steve was the best man, but that’s really neither here nor there.) I was telling her that her boyfriend seemed really nice and did a great job with his speech (having been her, I know she’d heard him practice it 1,000 times), and she started telling me about how his ex-girlfriend used to be her friend but now they don’t speak because when she asked her if it was okay if she went out with him, her friend was like OK but then just dropped out of her life and then she put this away message up on IM, right? And then the girl totally IMed her because she thought they had broken up but they hadn’t, but the other girl was only with him for ten months and this one had been with him for over a year so whatever, she already beat her.

“Yeah,” Mark said. “A year is more than ten months. You totally win.” God, does he sometimes just say stuff so that I can blog it later?

“Yeah, I win!” she reiterates triumphantly.

Maybe being the oldest ones at the college table isn’t so bad after all.

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1 Response to “for better or for worse”


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