May 24, 2001
Wedding Anxiety Dreams #4-6


We've reached that pivotal moment in the wedding ceremony, where my groom and I will exchange the vows we have crafted especially for this profoundly joyous occasion.

I go first.

"David," I say, with all of the tenderness and love in my heart.  "Iin my darkest hour you took my hand and became a friend to me ... and now, today, in my brightest hour, you take my hand and become a husband to me." I acknowledge the role he played in my recovery, three years ago,
and I thank him for his support and his devotion and his unwavering belief in me,  and I promise to be a true and steadfast life partner to him, all the days of our lives. 

"All of the good things I am today," I say, with a catch in my throat, "I owe to you."

There isn't a dry eye in the house by the time I'm finished.

Now it's David's turn. He fishes around in the pockets of his suit jacket ... looking for his notes, presumably. I smile indulgently as I wait. Finally he produces a crumpled piece of paper, unfolds it, smooths it out, holds it up for everybody to see.

It is a grocery-store coupon for White Fudge Oreos.

"Wait a second," I say, incredulously. "THOSE are your wedding vows?" 

And he nods  --  looking at me with this happy/sappy/dopey/guylike expression that says 'This is OK, right?'  -- and he solemnly begins to read.

"This coupon entitles the bearer to fifty cents off the marked price on any 32 oz. package of ... "

End of dream.

     *     *     *     *     *     *

The *To Do* Lists are in place finally.

I composed them during my lunch hour on Wednesday (that's why no *FootNotes* entry yesterday) ... typed and printed them out as soon as I got home from work ... and immediately affixed them to the kitchen cabinets, exactly at eye-level.

HIS eye-level, that is.

We've already managed to knock a couple of items off the list. I've decided which dress I'm going to wear, for one thing. (No, I'm not going to tell you which one I've picked: I think it should be a surprise for SOMEBODY.) And David has finally chosen his Best Man. (No, I'm not going to tell you that, either ... mainly because he hasn't had a chance to call the guy yet, and I have a sneaking suspicion the Best-Man-to-be occasionally reads *FootNotes.*)  All of the invitations are addressed and ready for stamps. I've found a notary to help us prepare our out-of-state marriage license application. We've got all pertinent dates and deadlines marked on the calendar.

I'm narrowing down the marching-down-the-aisle music choices. (I'm vascillating between Hilary Stagg or Chumbawumba.)

We'll knock some more stuff off the list this weekend, too. Nothing nearly as stressful and time-consuming as dress-shopping was, thank god ... but little odds and ends of preparation that are best tackled on a Saturday or Sunday morning, when our brains are all fresh and shiny and well-rested. I figure that if we aim moderately-low  --  maybe two or three items off the list, every weekend, plus anything we can accomplish during the week  --  we should be in fine shape.

By Halloween.

     *     *     *     *     *     *

My mother has a big surprise for us.

"I know you were planning to get married in TicTac," she says, "but I thought this would be better." And she beams at us, proudly gesturing all around her.

*This* is a vast expanse of ocean beach at twilight. All you can see for miles and miles are sand, surf, sunset, and -- further down the beach -- a makeshift altar and several neat rows of folding chairs. I have to admit that it's really beautiful: a dramatic and memorable place to get married.

There's just one problem. A typhoon is blowing in.

I can see that the sky is swiftly turning an alarming blue-black in color, like a huge celestial contusion, and the wind is whipping the ocean waves into a deadly frenzy. 

"You have a contingency plan, right?" I ask my mother nervously, as we watch the roof of the reception tent collapse.

But she shrugs and says nope, this is it ... we're having the ceremony right here, typhoon or no typhoon.

End of dream.

     *     *     *     *     *     *

Nobody is allowing me to enjoy my bad mood this week.

Every day this week I've woken up feeling cranky and exhausted and loaded for bear, and every day some unthinking chucklehead has done something unexpectedly considerate or generous or supportive ... something that lifts my spirits and puts a smile on my face and makes me feel better about myself, and about the world, and about the human race in general.

I hate when that happens.

Last night it was the counter girl at our favorite cheap Chinese restaurant, over on Park Street. In our pre-diet days we used to eat there three or four times a month. For a couple of bucks you can load up on chow mein, rice, egg rolls, and your choice of any batter-intensive/deep-fried/*longevity is overrated* entree item. But now that we're trying to avoid that sort of stuff  --  or at least significantly cut back on it  --  the cheap Chinese place has become an emergency-only, *We're Tired and Don't Feel Like Cooking* dinner destination. So the counter girl hadn't seen us in a few weeks. As she took our order last night, I felt her scrutinizing me thoughtfully ... as though she was trying to figure out what was different about me. 

"Have you lost weight?" she asked finally.

"Oh my god," I said. "YOU are my new best friend."

And then there was this: when I got into the office this morning, there was a small, beautifully wrapped package sitting on my chair. Inside the box: a single strand of pearls. Congratulations on your upcoming marriage, read the card attached to it. Your friend, Martina.

An unexpected gift from my favorite female Engineer Person at the Totem Pole Company.

There have been other brushes with annoying unsolicited human kindness this week, too. Strangers smiling at me on the sidewalk. E-mail from new readers and old friends, writing just to say "hello." A call from Jaymi. A compliment from my boss. New .jpgs from my mother. A belated 'Happy Mother's Day' package, filled with Mary Kay stuff from my sister. An unexpectedly helpful Customer Service rep on the phone. (Read this: one who didn't put me on hold for 28 minutes, chew gum in my ear and/or call me "Ma'am.")

All of this good cheer has seriously affected my ability to maintain a decent funk this week.

In fact, the only thing that comforts me is knowing that next week, when *I* am the one walking around, feeling all mellow and benevolent and happy ... these people will probably all be at each others' throats. Nobody stays in a bad mood -- OR a good one -- forever.

     *     *     *     *     *     *

"Umm ... shouldn't you be getting ready or something?" asks my former stepfather, Ken.

The two of us are hanging out next to the broken gas pumps, drinking Pepsi out of glass bottles. It's a hot summer afternoon: I'm wearing a blue chenille bathrobe, a straw sun-hat, and not so much as a scrap of Maybelline. Furthermore, I've been digging my bare toes into the dirt beneath my lawnchair for the past few hours, and my feet are nearly black with grime.

I glance at my watch. Holy shidt! It's past four o'clock already ... and the wedding is in half an hour!

"Oh my god," I moan, as I rush to plug in the electric rollers ... rush to find my dress and my shoes ... scramble around looking for my makeup basket. "I have no idea how I'm going to get ready in time!"

"Well," Ken says, "you'd better hurry up. Your guests are already starting to arrive." And he points toward the road in front of the Phillips 66 station. Sure enough, there is my sister's SUV, pulling into the parking lot. She's got a tall wedding cake strapped to the top of her truck: the top two layers are wobbling perilously. Behind her, I see a long row of cars ... all of them pointed in the direction of the gas station, honking their horns in celebratory fashion.

"Stall them!" I bark at Ken. And I run behind the gas station -- the restrooms are out of order, so I'm going to have to get dressed right there in broad daylight, next to the Chevy carcasses and the tumbleweeds -- and I get started trying to make myself look beautiful and bridelike. 

I've got twenty minutes.

End of dream.

     *     *     *     *     *     *

"So?" I ask David. "What do you think?"

It is one of those rare weekday mornings when we're both waking up at the same time ... allowing us a few precious minutes to snuggle and talk, before the daily *rush-brush-and-flush* routine begins. I have just finished relating the details of my three latest Wedding Anxiety Dreams, and now I'm waiting for his analysis.

"Well," he says, "it certainly sounds as though you're working through your anxieties while you sleep."

He's probably right. The funny thing is that this is the first time I've had any wedding dreams in at least a couple of weeks. I can go for days without dreaming about the wedding ... and then, BAM, I have three dreams in one night. Now I feel purged and empty and all cleaned-out inside, like I've had a really thorough psychic enema. (Which, of course, is what good anxiety dreams are supposed to do.) And the other funny thing here? These dreams, so vivid and upsetting as I was dreaming them, now just seem sort of ridiculous and amusing in the retelling. I am actually smiling as I talk about them. 

Plus, for the first time all week I'm not waking up feeling cranky and exhausted and loaded for bear.

"Of course," David adds, "we DO understand what the first dream was all about."

We do?

"Sure," he says. "It means that I love you as much as I love cookies."

Well. That wasn't exactly the sort of thoughtful, in-depth psychological analysis I was looking for, here ... but I guess it'll have to do. Plus it has opened up the whole subject of writing our wedding vows, which  --  in the rush and the crush of the other bazillion and eighty-four things we've had to think about, the past few weeks  --  had sort of inadvertently gotten overlooked.

Remind me to put it on the *To-Do List.*

one year ago: m.i.a.
[hey! i'm talking about MY office!]

throw a rock