Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dislocation Bonus

It may not be the nature of all vacations, but it has surely been a recurring motif in mine since I started college; I get less sleep and have much more to do during a weekend home than at any other time in my life. I try to fit 20 hours of activity into 18 hour days, ending up quite stretched and useless, and we all know I haven’t been stretched in awhile. In that sense, and in many others, to be sure, I had a great vacation. If I can be granted a grey area – the ability not to put all my eggs into an enthusiasm basket if you will – I posit that travelling surely made me and my swiftly orbiting personal universe a site for sore eyes. With only 24 hours in a given day, sometimes you just have to catch (and release) a few red eyes.

My flight out of Raleigh occurred during a mini-monsoon on a Wednesday afternoon and by the time the plane took the sky, my first book was already half consumed like the first few chapters of an Italian meatball sub. I was held against my will in Cleveland, Ohio for a short layover, but managed to escape with naught but a dry mouth from a stale blueberry muffin. Throughout Wednesday, I spent a lot of time on personal reflection; I glanced intensely at every reflective surface I passed, trying to decide if I liked my new glasses. I knew my obsession had to stop when the stewardess knocked on the bathroom door to make sure I was still alive, with me having been in the bathroom staring into the toilet water for the better part of the flight.

There were many wonderful people traipsing through the Grand Rapids airport late on that Wednesday night, but only two mattered to me. They both happen to share my eye color, last name, and a genetic predisposition to dismiss the unsatisfactory parts of living in favor of idea or phrase that stimulates at least “two separate conceptual subnetworks” of the brain. The ride home was one typical to such topically specific conversations and not unlike thousands that have happened and will happen to those that think they aren’t like their parents but are actually imperfect amalgams of them. You know you are a special visitor when your dad calls shotgun for you, not against you.

The next day saw me trying on my wedding suit and fishing for compliments. When I walked out of the dressing room into the tuxedo store with my legs spread out far enough that I could easily have touched the floor with my knees, the lady asked me what was wrong. “I think the pants are too big.” She rolled her doe eyes like a pre-dawn baker and immediately cinched what needed cinching. I asked if I looked good and she was smart enough to pretend to be too busy to answer. I ate the rest of my questions for lunch, but saved some room for the rehearsal dinner for my cousin Kyle’s wedding. Prior to eating, I was taught how to stand in front of a piece of tape so that during a time of high emotion I would appear to be invisible and any brides in the area would take on an angelic glow. I was told this skill would come into use during the actual wedding.

During dinner I witnessed my cousin Kelly make the perfect face of disgust when the man sharing our table got one entire loaf of pre-salad bread to himself. The dinner was great, the company was entertaining, and the wedding party was just getting started. Jake (not a member of the wedding party, never think it), Kelly, and I caught up later for a late night dune climb. Later, on the beach, we found a barely living ferret buried in the sand. His head was just above high tide, and droplets of water were hanging from his eyelids; the saltless teardrops of the damned. After pulling him out, we found his body shaved from the neck down and covered in paper mache. Makes puppy mills look like prep schools.

Saw Funny People with Jake and Kent on Friday, and then went downtown Grand Haven for the ever glorious “beer tent.” A people populated parking lot handing tickets to people in return for beverage. The crowd consisted of those trying to appear older and those wishing they were are young as those trying to appear to be a bit younger than those wishing. I can’t tell you how many times Tyler Westerberg said “A toast! To the King family!” but it was probably ten. I ran into two ladies I met once at U of M and walked up to them, saying, “My memory tells me that one of you took a lot of Spanish classes and that one of you has a birthday on March 17th.” This extremely creepy statement was taken in all the right ways, and they were quite impressed because I was right on both accounts. Turns out one of them is looking for a job in Raleigh. We live in a small world, and my brain is even smaller than that cliché.

The night was the same as any other, but I happened to stay up longer than usual, so it seemed like a “late” night. To make sure I didn’t miss breakfast in the morning with one of my best friends, I borrowed a phone charger and fell asleep with the phone on my chest so that I would be sure to wake up at the ungodly hour of eight o’clock. I jumped up sleeping in the morning, electrified by cellular vibrations in more ways than one, and didn’t wake up until I showered. It wasn’t until I got back to my room that I noticed that harbinger of bad news… the blinking red “You’ve got a text message!” light on my phone. I wouldn’t be seeing my friend. I lay back in bed and sank figuratively lower than the moisture from my towel. Like I said, red eyes aren’t exclusive to “late” nights or flights and my vacations are never relaxed.

Mark, a new acquaintance and the bride’s little brother, made for an entertaining wedding prep. He didn’t show up for pictures before the wedding because he had gone out surfing. When Someone finally tracked him down at the beach, he couldn’t button his shirt or vest straight. If people were snakes, I’m sure several people would have hissed at him for his indiscretion. In his defense, the waves were reportedly more epic than The Odyssey.

I showed off my tape standing skills during the ceremony, and drew no attention away from the beauty of the church- and state-sanctioned union. The wedding went off without a hitch (HAHA ha). Afterword, when we were supposed to be taking wedding party pictures, Mark was nowhere to be found. The aforementioned Someone found him at home, changed out of his tux. He was dragged back and we commenced to take some beautiful but time-constrained pictures. The reception was situated firmly within the borders of a rare northern hurricane, but the rain did not deter celebration or inebriation. Trevor, the groom’s brother and my closest cousin (in age only), gave a rousting and roasty toast, and then the prancing began. Dancing with so many people of the same last name should never be as fun as it was; but it was, especially considering that there was one person there who had gained the last name only hours earlier, and legally too. I also secured the age-old symbol of eternal bachelorhood, the garter.

My younger friend Ben, whom I had been unable to cross courses with throughout the weekend, asked if I would like to grab an early breakfast with him before I hit the road. He asked this, and I agreed, late on Saturday night while under the influence of drink. Despite my trepidations about another potential early morning equitable in fun to a baby boiling, I agreed. Despite Ben’s last words to me being “Pick me up at 8 AM at slip 9 on Chinook pier,” I agreed. As I pulled up to slip 9 in the morning, I called Ben. A phone call, however, promises little, only that two phones will temporarily acknowledge one another. It does not promise anything about human behavior. Ben didn’t pick up. At 8:20 AM, as I was about to pull away, I tried one last time by texting Ben “My yacht is bigger than yours.” A bleary-eyed and aspiring dentist named Benjamin emerged from an expensive looking yacht. He let me buy him breakfast.
And then, I was on the road again. You will hear about this very soon…

1 comment:

  1. What a whirlwind! I love the picture of you holding the garter! You have such a great family! I hope you are having fun with your guests! I love the "shotgun" part of your blog.