What stands out most clearly from the one and only wedding I've attended was that the singer was the guy who sang 'The Piña Colada Song.' Or maybe 'Key Largo.' Is that the same guy? A celebrity! I was awfully impressed.
I forget who was getting married. I think it was one of my mother's cousins. Maybe somebody from work... she had this tragic affliction where she became close friends with co-workers, like going to their weddings or visiting them for the holidays. Her passive-aggressive diabetic fireplug friend Betty Cooper comes to mind... she pretended to be sweet, but secretly loathed me for intruding upon her friendship with my mother. At Thanksgiving she would only eat the turkey wings, and she would often forget my name.
Betty lived in Lehigh Acres, Florida. They recently found a German lady, her son and their dog there, all dead and mummified by their climate-controlled home. It was three years before anybody noticed, which gives you an idea of how fast-paced life in Lehigh Acres is.
The second clearest memory was the outfit I wore. It was made up of clothing I already had, coupled with some sort of formal debris my mother made me try on at Sears. The shirt was one of my father's discards... it was hot pink and way big on me, and I wore it to school precisely because it was hideous. I never felt quite the same about it after the wedding. On that, a kind of fine-grain burlap which had been carved into the shape of a vest and adorned with gold metal buttons. Burgundy tie: skinny. Burgundy slacks, some kind of belt, maybe canvas. Beige suede shoes with knobby soles, of a style not meant for anyone over the age of nine. No jacket. Kind of a white trash pimp outfit. Aspiring pimp. With a bowl cut I looked like Mack Daddy Shemp. I was made to wear this to a formal gathering. No one pointed at me or stared, a fact which today would disappoint me.
The ceremony and the party, the entire wedding, are virtually a blank. There were Jordan almonds, and cocktail napkins with the wedding specs embossed in silver. Do not ask me to recall anything else. It was one of those events where you don't know why you're expected to go, and once you've gone, the person who dragged you there doesn't know why, either. We left before food was served.
While in college, I was supposed to attend the wedding of a couple of friends of mine, Tom Warren and Deborah Parry. I say 'supposed to' because I never received an invitation. I was already inclined to be irritated at Tom, because when he'd gotten together with Debbie he pretty much vanished, as friends who are dating are wont to do. Tom and I had been pretty close friends for a while and it was annoying to be forgotten. And now he was getting married, and no invitation had come.
I mentioned it to our mutual friend Tim Rowell, who had received an invitation. Was I supposed to assume I was invited? That was cool for a keg party, but you don't just drop in on weddings. He told me to relax, that Tom had probably just forgotten and that he'd bring it up next time he saw him.
So he did, but there was still no invite, neither of the paper kind nor a verbal invitation. But I heard back from Tim; Tom had said that yeah, it was okay if I came. Oh boy. I've been told secondhand that I can show up. I was quite aware that it was a trivial thing to be upset about, but weddings are nothing but ceremony. Tom and Debbie had been anticipating it for years. I took this as in indication that our friendship had become irrelevant.
Several weeks after the wedding, Tom came to my room and apologized for how things had gone, but if he had any skills of observation he could see I was having none of it. The apology seemed like something he felt was required rather than from the heart.
I want that pink shirt back.