Tuesday, October 18, 2011
The Wedding Crasher Ramble
I do my best writing when I'm not writing at all. You should see the stuff I've never written, driving home from work. My mind ticks through the deepest, funniest truths as the wheels turn. The minute I get out of the vehicle? It stops. It's like the alarm goes off and I've woke up from whatever I was dreaming.
That picture? That's me on board the Wenonah II last Friday night. Dave and I scored some free tickets for the sunset dinner cruise from my lovely boss. Everyone else got to go for a lunch cruise a couple weeks back but I couldn't go because I was already booked off for the North Words writers' workshop. My boss, being the nice guy that he is, got tickets for me and Dave to go on our own time. Funny how time goes – I kept thinking I had weeks to use the tickets. Then suddenly time ran out and it was do or die as the cruising season drew to a close on the weekend. So, even though I haven't been feeling well lately (stupid Crohn's is flaring up), I bunged myself up with a heavy dose of Imodium and we set sail.
When we arrived at the wharf in Port Carling all we saw was a sea of really well dressed passengers. Like, suits and fancy dresses and high heels well dressed. Like, suddenly Dave and I, both wearing jeans, felt like total slobs ... me in my periwinkle Gore-Tex Pro Bass Shop fishing jacket, a bobber, lip balm, emergency lighter and half a box of Kleenex in my pockets (I really do have to clean out those pockets after our fishing trips). We had no idea there was a dress code! Turns out, there isn't, but almost the entire boat had been booked for a wedding reception. A private room on the top level of the boat had been booked by a small but rowdy group of seniors who kept ordering rounds of drinks from the harried waitress. Other than them, there were only four people on the boat who weren't wedding guests: me, Dave, and Obnoxious Legal Student and his Pretty Girlfriend. This guy, wow... where do I begin. This guy thought he was all that and a giant economy sized bag of chips. All he talked about was himself – yeah, I KNOW, that's all I do on my blog... and in real life... but I'm discussing his failure as a human being right now, not mine ... anyway, he never shut up about himself for the three and a half hours we were on that boat. It was all "law course this" and "what inspires me that" and "would you like me to buy you a cottage in Muskoka braggin" and, I dunno, he was just obnoxious. Everyone makes jokes about lawyers but, after listening to this lawyer-in-training, I could understand why. That poor woman he was with was like a deer in the headlights. I'm sure she thought she had found herself a "catch," a guy who would buy her all the fancy things in life, but at what cost? I swear her eyes were glazed over for the whole trip. She had that Stepford Wives smile pasted on her pretty face. He never asked her one question about herself. Is that what it's like, to marry for money? You give up your soul? I was tempted to push him off the boat when no one was looking, save her from a lifetime of servitude. But she'd probably just find another one. You can't help people who won't help themselves.
It took us no time at all to figure out we were in the midst of a wedding but it was a few minutes longer when two brides walked by, hand in hand, and I realized this wasn't any ordinary wedding. I heard the lawyer-dude whisper to his girlfriend that there was not one, but two wedding receptions on board. I leaned over and whispered, "I think there's only one wedding." He looked at me like I was a bug. So I raised my eyebrows and waggled them a bit in the brides' direction. "Do you see any grooms?" I asked. Lawyer-dude still didn't get it but his girlfriend grinned ear to ear and she pressed her hand to her mouth to suppress a giggle. "Oh, I see," she said, eyes dancing. Her boyfriend still looked stunned. I thought, he'll make someone a real smart lawyer some day. A real student of human nature.
So not only had we crashed a wedding, we had crashed a lesbian wedding. What an absolute trip we had! Surreal, hilarious and perfect in every way – the brides came over and introduced themselves and invited us to join in their festivities. I thought, I gotta get a picture of me with them for my blog but time flew and before I knew it we were docking again, the brides were surrounded by well-wishers and I missed my opportunity. I hate it when that happens. Life is so short. I like grabbing it by the balls and savouring every single moment.
There wasn't much to see, scenery wise, when it was dark by seven o'clock and it was raining cats and dogs outside. So we cozied up in the bar and got talking to the friendly bartender, a ginger-haired lass named Kate who wanted to know where we were from. "Bracebridge," we said. And, oh yes, she was from Bracebridge, too, whereabouts, she wanted to know. I said she probably wouldn't know it, just a little known road off into the woods along the Muskoka River and I said the name and her eyes lit up and she started laughing. "Oh, I know that road!" she said, and then told us she was our neighbour, living just down the road from us. Well then we had a merry old conversation about what a small world it is and promised to get together some time and have coffee and chat more. It was a lovely trip, and I had a couple of drinks (something I rarely do) and a slice of chocolate mousse cake (also something I rarely do) and life was very, very good.
I did well at Weight Watchers last night – down eight pounds in two weeks for a total of 39 pounds so far. I can't believe I've lost that much already (since the last week of July). I'm starting to see and feel the difference. Not too long ago I hated photos of myself. Now I look at them in no small amount of amazement. I post them without worrying about it. To someone who doesn't know me, you may look at that photo and think, "there's a chunky girl." But to me, I see smaller legs and cheekbones starting to appear in a round face. I see I have far to go but I appreciate how far I've come. I can't believe how well I'm doing – losing weight is the hardest thing for me, harder than quitting smoking, harder than anything. It takes constant attention, constant will. But the WW program is sensible and easy to follow and I know, as long as I keep my eyes on the prize, that I can be as slender as I want. One day at a time. I got an email yesterday from a relative who is struggling with addiction to alcohol and drugs. He wants a place to live, far away from his temptations, where he can clean up. After some thought I sent him the contact information for a nearby treatment centre. He wrote back that he just needed a place to stay, he could do it on his own. No, I hasten to disagree. He can't do it on his own, like I can't lose weight on my own. I need the accountability that Weight Watchers gives me. That scale, once a week, that judgement. Plus, I get support from the women at my meetings, from the leader, from the WW plan. I've tried to lose weight on my own, but I am not strong enough. Few people are. When I quit smoking, I asked for help from my doctor. I know plenty about addiction. Many people in my family have struggled with it. My own father went to a treatment centre for his alcohol addiction and you know what? It helped him. He never drank again (with one exception, just before he died, he went to the corner store and bought a bottle and had one shot, just to see how he felt about it. Obviously he didn't think much, because the rest of the bottle was untouched). If everyone could do it on their own, there would be no need for WW or AA or residential treatment centres. We need help and there's no shame in asking. I think this relative is still in denial – until he stops blaming his surroundings and shoulders the blame for the demons in his own head; until he decides to accept help, he's not ready to be clean. I think what he wants is to live with us, but I can't share my life with an addict. Can't. Won't. Been there and got the t-shirt. I don't plan on enabling anybody.
In closing this ramble, I want to express my sincere condolences to my cousins who recently lost a close friend (almost family member) to cancer. Jane was lovely and wonderful and appreciated everything life had to offer. What an incredible shame to lose her. I am so sorry. I also want to send hope to my cousin and my friend Kelly, who is fighting an equally horrific battle with post traumatic stress disorder. Kel, I worry about you every day. I think about you all the time. I want to do something to help you – I just don't know what to do other than to say you are loved, you are special, we need your spirit, your talent, your sunny laugh. Keep fighting, Kel. I'm being selfish, now, I know. But it's my strongest wish. Hugs to you and everyone in your family.