Thursday, July 29, 2010

July 29, 2000

Ten years ago today, Mike and I got married.

Mike was 27; I had turned 23 one month before. By day, I worked at Swedish Hospital in Human Resources. Mike was mostly unemployed, though he sometimes balanced the accounts at the Century Ballroom. At night we performed and produced our own work. We were in a sketch comedy group together, we both wrote and performed for a local televised comedy show, and we’d worked together to produce Mike’s first two monologues, both of them at little theaters on Capitol Hill.

Money was always tight back then, and we spent the last of our savings on our homemade wedding invitations. Our friend James was the DJ. Rhonda and Carrie made the programs. Sophie and Heidi and Libby and Maureen wrangled our flowers into shape. Many others helped in ways large and small.

We got married at St. Joseph’s on Capitol Hill. Our priest was a bad-ass Jesuit who took it as his mission to be inclusive and welcoming. My bio-dad read from the Old Testament and Mike’s dad from the New. During communion, Mike and I stood on either side of the aisle, administering the wine. My step-father, who raised me, walked me down the aisle and danced the first dance with me.

I’ll never forget the feeling of walking down that aisle and seeing so many people I loved, from so many different aspects of my life, all in one room together. I hadn’t realized how overwhelming that would be, and promptly burst into tears.

My mom and dad footed the bill for our enormous wedding, at which 250 of our closest friends and family members danced and ate and drank liberally. Our careful budget allowed for an enormous white dress and an open bar, but not a photographer. My Aunt Ann took photos, and we stocked the reception hall tables with disposable cameras so we could see what the guests saw.

There were many, many toasts. We had cream puffs from Than Brothers instead of a cake. We rocked the Polish Home until Mike and I were the last two people standing in that big, moonlit room. It was an excellent party.

The cover of our wedding invitation had this quote by Mark Helprin:

“The world is a perfect place, so perfect that even if there is nothing afterward, all of this will have been enough.”

Back then we didn’t have any clue what was to come. If you’d asked me, I would have guessed we’d live in Seattle forever. New York was as foreign as the moon. And if you’d told me we’d eventually be able to make a living from our theater, I would have said you were crazy.

Not too many of those original photos turned out well, so a few months ago, I got back into that dress (still hanging at my parents’ house) and Mike into a tux, and my little sister Ruth—who was still a teenager at our wedding, but who is now an old married woman—took a new batch of wedding photos. Everywhere we went, people honked their horns and wished us well. We were only too happy to take their blessings, and hope we get to use them on the next ten years.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dream Song 14

Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.
After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,
we ourselves flash and yearn,
and moreover my mother told me as a boy
(repeatingly) "Ever to confess you're bored
means you have no

Inner Resources." I conclude now I have no
inner resources, because I am heavy bored.
Peoples bore me,
literature bores me, especially great literature,
Henry bores me, with his plights & gripes
as bad as Achilles,

who loves people and valiant art, which bores me.
And the tranquil hills, & gin, look like a drag
and somehow a dog
has taken itself & its tail considerably away
into the mountains or sea or sky, leaving
behind: me, wag.

~John Berryman