Tag Archives: Friends

End of Season Clearance

This year’s wedding season is over and I’ve walked away with a lot of memories, apricot jam,  Indian cookies and a wooden item that I’m pretty sure is either a letter opener or a shoehorn (I’ve been using it as both).

The weddings we have attended have been near and far and incredibly diverse. There was an Indian wedding complete with a horse on the guest list, a Montreal extravaganza with original songwriting and interpretive dance numbers, a chic black tie affair and an old-fashioned clam bake. And the best part was, we only had to show up. Here are the highlights from each event:

 

Men In Black

One of Sebastien’s work colleagues invited us to a black tie wedding at the New York Palace Hotel. Super chic. I’m pretty sure the dress code for regular hotel guests is black tie, too. Fortunately we followed protocol and had no trouble at the door. Sebastien rented a tux and I just wore my wedding dress again. (Getting a blue wedding dress was the best idea ever.) When we arrived however, it seemed that other guests believed the black tie to be optional. One girl was wearing a plaid dress from H&M and several guys were in the basic suit and tie. I hoped that they would get formally reprimanded by the hosts.

Here we are, appropriately dressed

Here we are, appropriately dressed

The majority of the guests were either Harvard or MIT grads and they were mostly interested in asking me what I did and then looking unimpressed. I was mostly interested in practicing my extremely limited Japanese on the sushi chefs at the cocktail hour, though.

A guy named Pete asked if he could join Sebastien and I at our table. He was another MIT grad, but he was pretty cool. (I don’t think he would even register on the autism spectrum.) Pete lived between Boston and New York and owned his own company. Something financial. I zoned out when he and Sebastien talked shop. Pete lived in Berlin for a while and traveled around a lot, so we all found a common interest. I told him about the time I took my dad to China. “Be prepared when you’re traveling to Asia with a senior citizen,” I said. “Two hours after we landed in the country, my dad managed to lose all of his insulin. And he kept leaving his cane all over the place.”

At dinner, Sebastien was seated beside a woman with incredibly bad breath so we spent as much time as possible on the dance floor. It was at this wedding that I learned I could no longer wear heels.

 

Buddha Belly

As traditional as I’ve heard Indian weddings can be, this one was probably the most relaxed and unstructured wedding that I have ever attended.

It started outside, where we followed the groom who rode in on a horse. Most people danced around. I stood on the sidelines fanning myself because you could do that if you wanted. (If I had known ahead of time, I might have even stayed in the air conditioned lobby with the croissants and coffee because you could do that, too.)

Then we all went to the country club balcony to find our seats for the ceremony. I’m not really sure what went down during the ceremony because there was so much going on. The bride and groom and priest were talking under a canopy-like structure called a mandap while kids played in the garden and guests chatted with one another. A lot of people were on their phones or looking down at newspapers and servers kept stopping by with mango lassis and water I couldn’t keep up with what section of the ceremony we were on, but every now and then we were encouraged to get up and throw rice at the bride and groom.

Then in the middle of the ceremony, a voice came on the loudspeaker and announced that the buffet was open. Right in the middle of the couple dancing around some rice or placing jewels on one another’s forehead or something. Sebastien and I looked around at the other guests to make sure this wasn’t a trick. Sure enough, everyone — family members, friends, acquaintances — shuffled into the reception hall to eat while the bride and groom finished up. It was so refreshing that for once we didn’t have to feign interest in a religious ritual. (I mean it’s cool if that’s your thing, but let’s be honest, that’s the most boring part of a wedding.)

The food was amazing and we hung around and chatted with some friends. After lunch, there was a four hour break until the evening when the wedding picked up again. But we only had a rental car for the day and couldn’t stay. On the way back I got to practice driving a bit, which was awesome. And I parallel parked.

 

Do you take this lobster

The second we entered Cape Cod I harassed Sebastien until he stopped at a roadside diner so I could get a lobster roll. I thought it was going to be my only chance. Boy was I wrong.

I ordered a monster of a sandwich, which, by the way cost $18. Is it just me or does that seem a little ridiculous? I was in Cape Cod so I figured that the lobsters there just walked ashore and accidentally fell into boiling pots of water. Then we got changed at a motel that reminded me of the place John Cusack’s character stayed at in “Identity.” I hoped that our evening would turn out better.

And it did.

Going in I knew this wedding was filled with more Harvard grads so I had already planned on passing myself off as a cat whisperer if anyone asked what I did for a living. (It wasn’t a total lie. We foster kitten and I do have a way with them.) But it never came up. The ceremony was short and I spent most of the cocktail hour talking to a really pregnant woman. She was telling me about ridiculous hospital procedures in NYC. For instance, she was told that she had to show up at the hospital with a car seat to take the newborn home in or they wouldn’t discharge her. “We don’t even have a car because we live in the city, but I need to buy a car seat so I can take my child home.”

When we all sat down for dinner, servers handed out bibs, wet wipes, crackers and tiny forks. A pot bigger than me was wheeled into the dining hall and we all got our very own lobster. I took a romantic photo with my lobster, which I named Manfred, before devouring him.

The lobster and I

The lobster and I

I also used the opportunity to tell everyone at our table about the history of lobsters and how they used to be a poor man’s food. “Lobsters are the cockroaches of the ocean,” I said, sucking flesh out of the claw.

 

It’s a Small World

The last wedding of the season was Sebastien’s cousin’s in Montreal. Berenice is Polish and Haitian and her husband to be is German and Indian. So there were guests from all of those countries. Then there were a number of Brazilians in attendance because Sanjay, the husband, spent some time living in Brazil. My brain was pretty fried by the end of the night bouncing from language to language. And so many of the bride and groom’s friends were artists who all put on great shows. We had a belly dancer, a Brazilian band, a few singer-songwriters and a poet who read to us in multiple languages.

Since it was assumed that we were all  artists, someone announced that we should draw pictures in the guestbook. I drew a picture of a bunny rabbit with arms that looked like boobs. I didn’t know how to fix it so I just signed Sebastien’s name underneath. (At least it was better than how Sebastien and I defiled another friend’s wedding guestbook with random, bizarre phrases and sentences. I filled a page writing Redrum. On another page I wrote, help I’m trapped in this book and I cant get out.)

I didn’t see a cameraman once during the reception and was worried that there wouldn’t be any documentation of Sebastien and I enjoying ourselves, so we asked Sebastien’s sister to capture us having a good time.

 

Showing our table mates that we're ready for candid photos of people having fun.

Showing our table mates that we’re ready for candid photos of people having fun.

 

All and all it was an awesome summer of weddings. Please invite us to more.

 

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I’ll be there for you

I was never much of a Friends fan. It was on one of the only TV stations we had access to when I was in rehab back in 2000, so I had seen a number of the episodes then. Other than that though, the show wasn’t for me. It was too cheerful and optimistic. Much like other cynics of my day, I preferred watching Seinfeld and South Park and mocking late-night infomercials.

But I found myself watching Friends last Saturday night in a hotel room in Philadelphia. I was there for the night to support a friend who was auditioning for The Voice. We had to be up by 6am Sunday to get in line at the convention center so we were in bed by 10. I took an Advil PM to help me get to sleep. As I lay there waiting for it to kick in, I became acutely aware of the pain in my lower back that had been bothering me for the past week and I started to worry that my kidney was failing. (There’s an even longer story there that started with webmd.) Perhaps I had taken too much Advil PM over the past few weeks to deal with said back pain, I wondered. Google confirmed my fears that the overuse of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs could lead to kidney problems. So it was off to the races.

Once the anxiety kicked in I started urinating like crazy. I went to the bathroom every 5 minutes. (Another symptom of kidney problems.) Then the fear started and I had images of an ambulance carrying me to the hospital and me imploring my friend to go on with her audition. “You can visit me in ICU after the surgery,” I imagined saying.

Before I dialed 9-1-1, I thought I’d check in with Sebastien, because I didn’t want him to be alarmed when he received the phone call from the hospital at 3am. I told him my symptoms and that I had acute kidney failure and was probably going to die that evening.

He’s taken calls like this from me before, usually when I’m afraid someone is going to try and kill me. Sometimes I’ll even ask him to call me when I’m out reporting a story just make sure that I’m alive if I am going to an unfamiliar place or interviewing a suspicious person. He has never once said no to making or taking these phone calls. And just like the other times, when I phoned Sebastien Saturday night, he very calmly and lovingly talked me through the anxiety. He suggested that since I wasn’t in any acute pain, I wait until morning to schedule a doctor’s appointment. “But I might be dead by then,” I said. He reminded me that my symptoms were mild. We talked for a few more minutes until what he was saying started to make sense. He suggested that I enjoy watching some TV since we don’t have that luxury at home. Whenever I’m on vacation I love nothing more than parking myself in front of the TV and watching re-runs of Full House or Saved By The Bell for hours and hours. So that’s what I did.

I hung up the phone, meditated for a few minutes, then turned on the TV. I clicked through a few channels before settling on an episode of Friends. The blonde girl was pregnant and always hungry and the other girl with the haircut that everyone liked in the 90s was desperate to get some guy to pay attention to her. It was so cheesy and predictable. And I laughed and laughed. It was exactly what I needed to calm down before bed. I guess sometimes cheesy things are good. [Cue sappy music like when Danny Tanner is moralizing to DJ] And it’s nice to know that I married a man who is there for me through my paranoia and anxiety. I bet if there were good words that rhymed with paranoia and anxiety, The Rembrandts would have sang that song instead.


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