Friday, August 01, 2008

Here comes the ?

As I mentioned in a previous post I'm shooting another wedding tomorrow. I seriously don't know why I said yes to this. In fact, I'm pretty sure I said maybe but my co-worker clearly decided to ignore my wishy-washiness and inked me in. For the tune of less than a 1/3 of what I charged for the other wedding I shot. I nearly choked when she told me that's what she quoted to the bride and groom. The fuck, lady? It takes me at least 40 hours of work to prepare, shoot, edit and present the final results to the couple if not more. I'd better get a good tip or at least some rubber chicken for my troubles. Grumble grumble.

I expect it to be about 129 degrees in lovely Chulajuana tomorrow and will try not to faint onto the cake but at least I'm not as freaked out gut punching nervous like I was last time. Gawd, I hope this is not some type of false confidence and my ego will burst causing the universe to flip-flop on me and things will be a crapfest extraordinaire. Keep your fingers crossed for me, people! KEEP EVERYTHING CROSSED!

Speaking of weddings... I haven't been a guest at a ceremony in a very long time. Besides the one I photographed last February, which doesn't count, I think it's been at least 5 or 6 years since I witnessed loving nuptials exchanged while being strangled by twisty pantyhose and consuming way too much cheap champagne eventually making a fool of myself and perhaps playing swap the ice cube with a cute waiter type fella or sort of elbowing the ring girl in the face to keep her from catching my, ahem, the bouquet. (Kids should stay the feck out of that ritual anyhoo, grumble grumble.)

Question. Is it wrong to grind the groom's father on the dance floor?

But I digress...

I've attended all manners of ceremonies. From four star affairs with crab legs and live bands at the snooty country club to a magnificently white trash wedding complete with sloppy joe's and a self-serve keg, no, I am not kidding, and everything in between. My own wedding was fucking classy as all get out, if I do say so myself, and people still compliment me on it even thought the marriage lasted less than a blink. And I fully realize people have different budgets but sweet fancy Moses on the moon, do tastes differ.

Many years ago when I was a manager in charge of live people (the horror) one of my staff , we'll call her C., had found twoo wuv and was engaged to be married. She was an odd girl who was raised by odd parents in an odd way. For example, I remember her claiming she was never taken or went to an actual movie theater until she was in her 20's. I just could not comprehend that. What parent doesn't shlep their brood to the latest Disney dreck? It's in the parent handbook for chrissakes.

It sounded like C's folks maybe hadn't planned on a baby entering their lives judging by her increasingly bizarre stories. It was like she was deposited onto the coffee table by aliens in the middle of the night and her parents were too scared to do anything but take care of the foreign object screaming in their living room. Although they provided food and shelter they didn't teach the basics like personal grooming and social interaction so this poor girl was a lump of coal in K-mart pants trying to turn into a diamond painfully slow.

She was already going out with her guy when I hired her and became engaged about a year into her employment. And OK, I'm going to be a little judgy here because I was stunned in the first place that she had a main squeeze because lets just say she wasn't a looker and her personality was um...hard to take and ah...sta-range. But she did have a sweet side and when I found out her and the beau had met on some Klingon dating forum or something I got it. Then when I met the dude I really got it. They were meant for each other, and how.

Although I will say it was disturbing to see them together since they looked like they could be brother and sister, twins in fact. Burst forth from the same pod. OK, they looked exactly alike in all the wrong ways but it was love. Big ol' ugly love.

As I'm sure most of us have experienced, when a co-worker is planning a wedding they are obsessed. It's WEDDING WEDDING WEDDING, ALL ABOUT MY WEDDING, HERE'S WHAT I'M GOING TO HAVE AT MY WEDDING all the time. Makes you want to stuff a ring bearer in their gaping maw and shut 'em up for a gawd damn second. OMG! the wedding talk never ends and my employee was no exception.

The biggest problem was, she a crazy lady. Her ideas were nuts! I tried to help her out because, if I may brag for a moment, my wedding was kick ass 5 star class act all the way. I had a better budget than most but it was no platinum affair. I just have good taste. My little C. did not.

She was a big girl, which I can appreciate. I have extra curves myself, but she bought a dress that needed considerable alterations and she didn't want to shell out the extra 75 bucks to lop off 8 necessary inches of fabric at the bottom. Her solution? She bought herself a pair of honest-to-goodness stripper-whore platform shoes with 5 inch heels so her dress wouldn't drag during the ceremony. This idea coming from a person who wore nothing but plastic purple moccasins from JC Penny. She actually had "practice walking in big shoes" in her frilly wedding daily planner.

Thankfully she had the foresight to know she couldn't sustain herself in an upright position the entire night in her working girl footwear so she purchased a second pair of demure white pumps from Payless (also plastic). Her dress would pool a bit at her feet but at least we'd all be spared the potential trauma of watching the bride trip and topple onto the buffet table. At least in theory.

Another bright idea C. had was to have a dry wedding. Now, mind you, I know I should respect someones personal wishes especially when they have family members with past problems but in my opinion the reception is a thank you for the people putting forth the effort, time and money to be witnesses to your promise and the party is mostly for them. It's not like I expect a magnum of champagne with my name engraved on it but I'm gonna drink a damn cocktail with my cake.

And come to think of it, I helped organize her official bridal shower and a threw her a bachelorette party at my house that left my living room with a purple booze stain and riddled with every manner of penis shaped or related items and 10 condom balloons bouncing around. And I have some cringingly awful photographic evidence of a well-endowed stuff panda bear and the bride-to-be. So punch just isn't going to cut it with this bitch.

Oh, and did I mention the wedding was at a local CASINO? Why in the hell would you try and have a no booze affair in the middle of an establishment that gives it away for free? Why don't you just throw a pile of sex addicts into a naked pornstar store and tell them not to touch the merchandise. Sheesh.

So, because I'm a bad person as are my friends the girlfriend I was carpooling with and I devised a rotten little plan to get around the sober statute and brought a cooler of Cosmo's with us to consume in the hot parking lot like the fancy fucking ladies we were. After discovering that swigging down lukewarm Vodka in the sun is less than appealing we headed inside where we found a group of our co-workers with like minds heading to the bar. This would become a theme with us ne'er-do-wells. We all had enough time before the ceremony to kick back a couple of drinks a piece and were properly lubed to witness the, um, spectacle to come.

As we attempted to navigate the casino we were directed to a set of double doors only reached by walking a slalom course through a large contingent of slot machines. All, it seemed, to have a geriatric creature perched precariously in front of on a red vinyl stool, oxygen tanks attached and cigarettes sizzling. We opened the door and stepped in to a large theater-type room that was completely black from floor to ceiling. Black walls, black floor, black curtains. It was like a giant armpit.

The only bit of color was from the white cross-hatched wooden arch placed in front of the stage adorned with dusty silk flowers and 2 funereal standing wicker urns with again, dusty silk flowers stuffed into the tops. The lighting was a spectacular display of naked bulbs pointed towards the congregation and the faint "cha-ching, blingalingaling" of the slot machines could be heard through the walls.

Those of us from work were horrible people and as supportive as we were trying to be the site of this nightmare scene started us with a bad case of the giggles. I prayed for the thing to start and be over with so we could get the heck outta there before we really lost our shit. Finally the music started and the groom took his place at the alter. We were motioned to stand and here came the bride, in all her hooker shoed glory, slowly, slowly, sloooooowwwwwlllyyy, galumping down the isle on her huge shoes trying not to fall.






She finally made it the 20 required feet and stood with her beloved, both wearing their matching glasses and hair, and said their "I do's." We all breathed a sigh of relief and got up to make our way in the adjoining room for the reception. Until a polyester vest wearing casino employee stopped us in our tracks to announce the room wasn't ready. Ok, then. Back to the bar!

We were all finally seated for an early dinner and much to my surprise I had not 1, not 2 but 3 little chotchkie's of crap sitting before me. So this is where her budget went! A porcelain swan filled with Michael's mints, mini Hershey bars with the bride and grooms name on the label and a tiny, useless basket with Easter m-n-m's in it. In June. Thanks for saving those! I just rolled my eyes and waited for the dinner line to start.

As you can imagine things get a little sketchy from here. I know we made at least 2 more trips to the bar and got properly shitty. I do remember walking up to the buffet, if you could call it that, and witnessed the staff lift a gigundous punch bowl off a rolling cart only to discover at the worst possible moment that another bowl was underneath and it fell with a deafening crash as if a jetliner had just come barreling through the building as it shattered into a zillion pieces all over the place. I thought we were going to have a group heart attack on our hands.

The glass was cleaned up and we went about inspecting the food we hoped to eat soon since I had nothing in my system but booze and stale candy. And that's when we saw it. The tray of "sushi". For my fellow sushi eaters the mere mention of the stuff makes you closes your eyes while a nearly orgasmic smile slides across your face as you daydream about your personal favorites. What I saw before me was NOT sushi.

Someone had taken the creative license and dyed all of the rice 4 horrifically nauseating day-glo shades of green, yellow, blue, and neon pink. And I don't know what was stuffed between the offending layers of rice and seaweed but it wasn't anything resembling fish or the normal ingredients found in my favorite food.

To be nice, and frankly out of my own morbid curiosity, I grabbed one and put it on my plate. When I gingerly took a test-bite nibble I can only describe the taste/consistency/texture as something like eating a vinegar-soaked leaf wrapped around sawdust and dogshit. Yum.

No amount of wasabi could hide the flavor of pure evil, and they had a ton of it. While I was back at the food line trying to figure out what I could consume that wasn't dusted with lead paint I saw an obvious family member of the couple trying to figure out what the big bowl of green was next to the odd looking pinwheels. In a thick southern-ish accent I heard the woman say to her male companion, "Way-ell, I 'spect that'n a musta be sum uv dat fi-yancy gwake-a-mole-a" as she slopped a spoonful onto her plate big enough to take the breath out of jabba the hut.

Of course I didn't say anything! Did you even have to ask!

The rest of the afternoon was fine. I gave a lovely little toast to the happy couple without slurring or swearing, although I do remember threatening the groom with bodily injury if he hurt our girl C. in any way, but I'm told my speech was moving and touching and made some people cry. Half of the room was a little disappointed I didn't drop an f-bomb but my friends at the time were deliciously horrible assholes who couldn't have everything so fuck them and the other half of the room was relieved I didn't.

We left after the fake cake was fake cut and I realized there would be no real cake to eat so off to McDonalds we went with about 5 swans worth of mints I'd swiped on my way out. I left the company about a year after that and have never seen C. again. I'm sure she's just fine and when the mood strikes straps those big stripper shoes on now-and-then for old times sake.