Every time I simper over failing to have found a long-term, committed relationship, something invades my space to keep my idealistic daydreaming in check — this time, quite literally.
Having just begun cramming homemade fajitas into my face with an entirely platonic girlfriend in my second-story corner apartment, while sending obscene Snapchat messages and discussing our recent sexual failures, I notice a bedraggled child’s jumprope swinging ominously outside the window. Feeling a touch ornery, on one particularly-perilous swing (accompanied by the exclamation from the below sidewalk “Be careful, you’re going to break that window!”) I darted my hand out the window and snatched the end, evoking a plea of “Um…nice lady? Could you let go of the jumprope? Pleeeeeease?” Leaning Juliet-style out the window, I find a charmingly un-Romeo-like woman staring irritatedly up at the tangled tree outside my glass and the rope-on-a-stick that is impotently flailing around in its branches. She explains that her Wife, who is in the flat two floors up from me, is attempting to retrieve Romeo’s pants, which Wife pitched into the tree. Since, surprisingly, neither of these women strike me as unbalanced (although in Portland, home of the Darth-Vader-costumed-fiery-bagpiping-unicyclist this is a higher bar than elsewhere), we invite Wife to come on down with her pokin’ stick and retrieve them easily from my window (which is about a four-foot straight shot from the coveted legwear).
Wife and her escort arrive moments later (disappointingly, everyone seems to have put on pants), and after knocking over an already-doomed plant (I don’t have even a green-tinged thumb, and my roommate’s plants are merely hanging on for dear life as it is, so no big deal), Wife wheedles the tangled jeggings free and drops them into Romeo’s waiting arms, thanking me profusely. All I want is an explanation of why the sam hell there are pants in our plants, despite the fact that these two women look like entirely sane humans.
What were you fighting about, Romeo? … “You know, I can’t even remember!” Huh. I bet that pants-thrower has a much more crisp recollection of the details…
Ah, there it comes: because as Romeo pointed out about 16 minutes ago, the big-family-celebration-wedding is in six weeks and there are invitations and table assignments and uncle Jeb can’t sit next to aunt Selma she is Jewish and he was in the Hitler Youth and ohmygodwhatarewegoingtodo there are more people on your side of the hall and ARE YOU WEARING MY PANTS!??!?!?!? TAKE OFF MY PANTS!!! … and glory be, there we are: Wife yanks off the offending pants and chucks them directly into the tree.
I’m not quite sure what it is about planning weddings that make everyone lose their mental faculties, their self-control and their dignity — maybe it’s spread Joker-scheme-style through a combination of bridal magazine perfume samples + frosting smears + flower petals. Perhaps it’s just because I plan events for a living that I can’t understand how planning one short, fairly low-key party can evoke this kind of extrasensory emotions… it’s not like you’ve arranged for the-artist-formerly-known-as-Prince to play the recessional music (complete with 20-page rider and obligatory dove release) or are having Gordon Ramsey prepare the hors d’oeuvres (if you have, best to make sure he keeps distance from your mother-in-law lest he find out the real-life location of Hell’s Kitchen). So your Absolut-ly smashed brother’s wife smears cupcake on the bridesmaid’s breasts and licks it off lasciviously in the center of the dance floor, interrupting your Republican grandfather’s best rendition of the Lindy hop? Your nephew tries to drown the swans in the decorative glen? Your sister didn’t realize that the Étouffée contained shellfish and had to be speared with an Epi-pen between the appetizers and the entree? That kind of entertainment can’t be purchased for any money and hopefully, in the days and months following the wedding, will help you resist the urge to run screaming from the individual to whom you are now legally bound but suddenly terrified of being stuck with in the zombie apocalypse.
Despite the fact that I do completely subscribe to planning an entire event around a worship-worthy cake, in the same way that every time I spend a transcontinental flight with a screeching infant I childlessly feel both pity and a sense of sanctimonious superiority, when we latched the bolt behind the departing Wife I smugly tucked back in to my cold tortillas with a warm sense of satisfaction for my single status, hoping never to find a fiance/e hellbent on engraved invitations.