Friday, December 02, 2005

The Church of The Seagull Room

Last night I went to another wedding. Held in a very posh New England Inn way out in the woods somewhere in an equally poshly white upper class village in Connecticut, there were about 50 emissary's from Mars, and an equal number from Venus. Unlike all of the other weddings I had been to in my life this was one was unique. Sort of new agey. They had the actual wedding service in a banquet room off directly off the hallway where they held the cocktail hour that was to come after the exchange of vows but before dinner. It was a combination wedding and reception. A Wedceptioning? An idea whose time had come. Gone was the long hunt for some obscure church, the endless service and the long impatient drive from there to the bar (hopefully open) and a free meal, buffet or otherwise.

The banquet room turned cathedral was decorated in white roses and white streamers. The bride and groom processed in and took their place at a arbor laced with more white roses and streamers. Standing in the middle of the arbor, to the rear so the about to be marrieds would be directly underneath the symbolic protection of the rosey arch, the female pastor read the fine print to the man and woman before her. A good idea since I had no idea what I was doing when I got married and I suspect that neither did they. This would spell it out in no uncertain terms for the two in front of us and remind the audience, most of whom have already tied the knot, and, for the life of them cannot remember why they tied it in the first place. Behind us, a cello and a violin played Pachebels Canon in somewhere near Dm. This lovely dirge was played at my wedding and no doubt, yours.

After the kisses from the bride and groom sealed the deal, the wedding party marched out as solemnly as they had came in, trying to time their exit to the end of the last song of the musicians, something they had been unable to do with the first. The small congregation of the newly formed Church of The Seagull Room filed out efficiently, if not quickly, heading, en masse, for the open bar. Halleluiah!

A small percentage of the total population present in line at the bar were young and unmarried. They were already smiling broadly and laughing amongst each other, as if the previous service had the effect of reminding them that they had managed to miss the equivalent a fateful airplane crash at the last minute. The rest of us, the married ones, stood milling around the open bar, all of not yet lubricated yet to bother to converse with each other, like prisoners in a chow line.

I asked my wife what she would like to drink. "a Topo Gigio" she answered. Translating this as any white wine I nudged my way to the bar where my fellow Martians waited to complete the same mission. I bellied up. "Penoo Greasio, please". Reaching back, he grabbed a bottle of white wine, not Topo Greasio. "This ok"? Knowing that my wife knew nothing about wine and had probably never had a glass of the type she called for, just overheard the exotic sounding name somewhere, I nodded approval then added a "and a diet coke, please". He poured each into those tiny glasses reserved for open bars and I began to make way towards my wife. She and and ex business acquittance were chatting away, in that same awkward pre cocked too enthusiastic cocktail hour chatter that filled the room at the moment.

Meanwhile the young jovial Vesuvian non-marrieds kept flitting thru the older married crowd like wood nymphs, taunting the obedient husbands attention from their wives strangely polite chatter. The married Martians, their own drink firmly in hand now, contented themselves with the dangerous ancient art of undressing one woman while holding a conversation with another, usually their wives.

The young unmarried Martians were not yet sufficiently lubricated to join in with the nubiles that kept skittering by. After a few more Ansel Lights their inhibitions would give way to joining in the frolic. In the meanwhile they all huddled together tightly clutching their beer bottle cum phallus symbol stiffly upright in their hands, elbows bent at the shoulder, looking gravely around the room, mimicking the boredom of the elder Martians but presenting it as their natural poise. Silent guardians. Soon they would be relieved of duty by the alcohol. These same Guardians will soon become boisterous Warriors, each vying with each other for a chance to get laid with any sufficiently willing, or drunk enough, unattached Vesuvian at their table in the next room we were about to be herded into- the reception room. Where the banquet will be held.

Time to eat and drink and openly celebrate another bit of glue that holds society together, marriage, or, in the manner of an Irish wake, mourn another largely unkeepable covenant made by two innocents.

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