Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The other wedding at the end of the world



So in the end, she yelled, I yelled back not out of any great engagement in the conversation but just so I contributed and wouldn't be earmarked as a doormat, when really I was just trying to remember how the 2nd verse of "The Show" by Lenka went and looking at a dog with a puffy tail, and we fizzled out into the wider world with pride intact, and even though notionally she's the boss, her continuing crumble into madness makes me wonder. If life is a maze and love is a riddle, she's definitely the rat stuck in the corner who's found the cheese but now can't get out, and I'm the big dopey rat still at the start happily knawing away at the door. Blue eye shadow girl looked a bit sad today, which made me sad, but then an old man in a wheelchair got his wheel stuck in the top of the escalator and mowed down about ten of us behind him, but I just found that hilarious. I've developed quite a jaunty strut today, as if people behind me were about to start spinning umbrellas and walk in a chorus line. It didn't take much to cheer me up today though, as my positive life philosophy just continues to be forced on everyone as a defiant statement that I wouldn't be broken down by piles of paperwork or to do lists of giant length. It's a time of positive optimism round our way, I put my lucky Britney Spears picture on my computer screen and then I laugh at my friend for trying to get me to move house with her - hilarious, if you've ever seen me try to lift a piano. I'm not cut out for that kind of malarkey. It's one of the reasons that this house I have now, even if it's infested by rats or Barry Tosser next door finally gets to come round for a glass of wine and a swingers party, I'm so not moving. Even the night the teenage party next door jumped the fence and nicked some of my chairs did nothing to deter my love of the place...I mean, they left a smiley note and everything when they brought them back the next day. You don't get that kind of quality service where I come from in Scotland, if you get the chairs out, they fly through the window...and that's just the way we like it ye crazy bastards...

It was about this time last year we all got on a plane to South Australia to go to my cousins (the one I don't like) weddding - as a foretaste of our future dramas, our first ever fight was during a game of make believe when I said I was watching an imaginary TV and he turned it off and we had a punch about it. I wouldn't say if I'm honest we dislike each other now, we aren't close though, there's definitely a distance between us. There's fault on both sides, but it's not a concern of mine anymore, it is what it is. If we saw each other, we'd get on OK now until it was time to leave. All of which meant that while my attendance was clocked and noted, it was one of those occasions were attendance was mandatory but scarcely necessary. I sweltered through a fair share of domestically safe barbeques, chats bout life at three in the morning with whoever was up, and that strange lost feeling you get in the middle of crowds sometimes. It wasn't my day though, so I got on with things, settling into the pre determined role of cynically detached one liner guy who everyone threw the ball to in times of crisis. This was a particularly valuable skill when Port Adelaide man came into view. There was a fat bloke in a sweaty shirt (I wonder if you can that with the shirt, like dirty denim) assuring us all through the power of his booming vocal chords and assuring used car salesman manner that he knew every single Port Adelaide footballer personally, and that he had been to Warren Tredreas wedding and...to be honest, his words were boring him, but having established his presence, he began taking his stories to ludicrous extremes, and soon he was off on all sorts of tangents, like the time he caddied on a golf day or the time he drove the team bus or the time he kicked 10 goals in the 2004 Grand Final...we were all actors by this stage, in pre determined roles, so while my Dad fulfilled his role as guy who drifted off into another world and had dopey dreams and slept all the time, everyone looked at me to give some sort of witty summation of Port Adelaide guy...at first, I didn't realise it, I was comparing the relative quality of potato salad vs coleslaw, but when I realised I was required to come up with some pithy condemnation in my pre-approved role as "the funny one", I shrugged, called him a twat, and went back to my salad. Well, I was hardly going to give the A material to this particular wedding...did I mention that he turned off my imaginary TV?

Eventually, we all packed into a limited air supply (not the band) mini bus and headed to the wedding. I struck up a valuable friendship with the guy in the black T-shirt who seemed to have complete control over the beer supply. He told me he didn't want to sell beer, he wanted to write a screenplay, and I said, erm, that's nice, can you get me a beer? OK, it was a limited friendship, I wasn't a very good listener, but it was necessary to keep his face straight so I could get a drink. The bride, to me, has always been very nice to me when I've seen her, but I had heard she has diva tendencies, although we all do from time to time, I can hardly talk, remind me to talk to you about the netball hissy fit one night. As it happened, the bride threw a massive morning hissy fit over a solitary sequin, and alienated everyone in her own bridal party. Her Mum then made a massive point of fussing over how wonderful her brother looked, even mouthing in the middle of the vows "you look great" to the son, in his to the naked eye clad in an ordinary Just Jeans purchased yesterday suit, and absolutely crushed the bride simply by ignoring all her efforts to look beautiful. I remember the brides face rapidly descending through three stages into crimson rage, and then being overwhelmed with this strange bitter sadness. Somewhat inevitably, it took the edge off the whole day, as it was even more than theatrics, they had had a very bitter and awkward falling out that would take a while to settle, and while my cousin, as is his way, simply didn't notice, everyone else did, and sort of did that awkward shuffling from side to side dance. Eventually, they (they being a cabal of people from Penguin who I see at these functions that I can't place) decided to break the tension in the air by rounding on me, and saying things like "Oh, you'll be next!" - yeah, next on the bus home I muttered, trying to hide round the side of a pillar to avoid being assigned a bridesmaid (you wouldn't have either) to be pared with for a quickstep or foxtrot. Just as I got round the corner, I heard a familiar voice say "Yeah mate, I'll get you into the Port Adelaide rooms!"...let's just say at that point I was very keen to hear about that screenplay...

However, even in the midst of a middling social affair that I really had no input into, there was a life lesson to be learned. By about, oh, 10 at night, just as the strains of popular pop hits were starting and after the best man had wrapped up his hilarious take on the amount of liquor they drank at college (his missus was plump and pink, so I was desperate for ten minutes of "how fat is my fat wife!" material), I realised that pretty much every single plus 50 married man was, without fail, and including my own father, in a huff. They may have been at individual tables, but they all had uniform frowns, all were hugging their pints, and were all seemingly desperately lonely and didn't want to be there. One of them, a grey haired old bloke who once told us that the problems with kids today was they didn't want to go ferreting, he was staring fixatedly and angrily at his prawn, as if he could turn it to ash just with the power of his glare and his strong manly eyebrows. It sort of shook me, because I've had that face on before, in similar situations. In fact, a few years earlier, I was that person, middle aged before my time, grumpy at being forced anywhere I didn't want to go, determined to ruin it for everyone who didn't notice me. As my Mum threw visual daggers at my Dad, it was a pretty glimpse into a bitter middle age. Out of sheer damned mindedness, I decided that this was going to be a great night, damn it to hell, I went outside, I smoked a tiny amount of dope, I found some kids drinking beer and talked to them about popular youth pursuits, I found the tobacco corner (the life and soul of the wedding) and smoked my lungs up, I found the kids drinking tequila and tried to convince them Britney isn't a skank, I found my cousin, offered to shake his hand wish him well on his wedding and...he kind of brushed me off really casually...

No matter, I'll continue to try not to be the guy sitting staring at his prawn...I'm not perfect at it, but I'll try...no paperwork, no prawns...I'm getting a list up...

10 comments:

Jack Dorf said...

Love Lenka - But I found that trumpet player had a puffy tailed dog effect on me.

Miles McClagan said...

It annoys me these bloody artists who don't let you embed their videos...it meant I couldn't put the film clip up with the jaunty tomatoes...you end up with strange live versions with puffy tailed trumpeters! Oh well, it's still fab...

Mrs Slocombe said...

I happened to look at at your profile and saw the word 'Banking': counter-intuitive to say the least.....

squib said...

re: miserable old gits

This really gets on my goat. Men! Jesus, no one really wants to go to a wedding or to watch their child be a tree in a school play but men seem to think it's about their needs and wants. And so they do this whole 'the wife has dragged me here' in that whole petulant and self-absorbed manner. In this respect I don't think they ever really grow up.

*gets off soapbox*

Miles McClagan said...

I hate my profile, it's not nearly enigmatic enough - but it's got a big picture of Foxy Lolo pouting, so that makes me happy...

I must admit, I'm much better at the go along with the event you don't want to go to flow, although I do ark up at having to go, but that's before I leave the house! I've certainly never taken it out on a prawn...

Mrs Slocombe said...

squib : you are so right, and I have sinned often. But then it's so easy not to do that......

Baino said...

photo, I hope it's not the one where she forgot her knickers! I'm a bit with Squib here. I can't stand the 'she made me do it' brigade. If you've bothered to turn up, make the most of it. Frankly I love a good wedding, free food, free beer you can flirt with people you'll never see again and walk away with a nice little floral table setting . . .

Miles McClagan said...

It probably says a lot about that wedding that I had the best time out of anyone, and ended up with quite a wonderful selection of free chocs. I'm still not perfect on obligation dates, but I'm not as bad as some...wait til I'm older though, then it's on for young and old...

Jannie said...

I always clock the bastards who turn off my invisible t.v. too. But so far haven't fretted over the loss of a solitary sequin, altho 3 or 4 missing might send me into a tailspin.

Miles McClagan said...

It was literally 1 sequin - and there was a whole thing about the table decorations, P Diddy style, but the sequin just pushed things over the top...it's lucky it was 1982, if he'd turned off the imaginary DVD player, well...