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*10 March 2001 - The Wedding Reception*
While I prefer the "Kurt Vonnegut/Empire Strikes Back" method of
storytelling that involves multiple substories going on at once and
occasionally criss-crossing each other, you people don't. In fact,
dozens of you have very emphatically told me via e-mail that you want
to know how the whole wedding thing turned out before I do anything

Never let it be said that I don't listen to all of you. Without
further ado, here is another segment of my matrimonial misadventure.

When last we left things, I was sitting in the front seat of Leslie's
car out in front of the church. I had just done a mad scramble to get
out of the church a few moments before, and then I had promptly found
out that the bridal party was getting their pictures taken immediately
following the wedding. Since Leslie was a bridesmaid in the wedding,
that meant that she was going to be tied up with pictures for a little

That, of course, left me sitting in a car in a parking lot in front of
a church filled with people I'd rather not deal with. Leslie was
rapidly losing points with me over this whole affair. I scrunched
down low in the driver's seat so that no one approaching the car in
the parking lot would spot me. I peeked at my watch, and then
reclined the drivers seat back and closed my eyes. With any luck, I'd
fall asleep or something and jolt awake to find that this whole thing
had been a bad dream about fear of commitment.

I ended up sitting in that car seat for about 45 minutes before Leslie
finally wandered over and tapped on the window of the car. I snapped
the seat up to the upright position and popped the car door open so
that nothing other than air was between Leslie and I.

"So THIS is where you've been. Were you even in the church during the
wedding? I never saw you!" Leslie said while she eyed me. A hint of
irritation was in her face. Apparently, she had never spotted me way
in the back of the church, so she must have thought that I had
ditched the ceremony and camped out in the car. I just glared up at
her for a moment.

"You didn't see me because I was surrounded by religious FRUITCAKES.
They boxed me in and then tried to convert me the whole damn time!"
was my somewhat sour reply. Leslie's face instantly went from
irritated to somewhat bemused.

As I was climbing out of the driver's seat, Leslie's
less-than-concerned response to me was "Were you now? Did you kill
any?" I shot her a cold glare before responding with, "I SERIOUSLY
thought about it." I slid off my suit jacket and slid it around
Leslie's shoulders since it was starting to get a little cold outside
and her bridesmaids dress didn't cover her shoulders.

I expressed that I DID NOT WANT to go to the reception after the
treatment I had received from the 17 apostles prior to the wedding
ceremony. Leslie, however, wasn't about to let me get away with that.
She made it quite clear that I was to go to the reception, sit there,
and play nice... or else she was going to be "very, very, VERY upset"
with me.

Any ladies in the audience will understand exactly what Leslie's
feelings were towards this whole affair and will completely agree that
Leslie's feelings are more important than me feeling at ease for a
few hours. In fact, I should have toughed out this whole thing
without complaining at all, since I was making Leslie happy by being
there. Being there for each other is the important thing, right?

And, all of you would be correct. We'll call this "plan A".

Any gentlemen in the audience will understand exactly what my feelings
were towards this whole affair and will completely agree that running
like hell is a viable gameplan for such an occasion. There doesn't
even have to be any planning involved... you just wait until the girl
has her head turned and you run like hell until you find a McDonalds
that you can sit in for a few hours.

And, all of you would be correct. We'll call this "plan B".

During the fifteen minute drive to the reception hall, I kept
flip-flopping between these two alternatives in my mind. On one
hand, those religious yahoos had only been battering me for about ten
minutes before the wedding had started, and now they were going to
have the opportunity to let me have it for a whopping three hours. On
the other hand, I probably had been sitting next to a batch of real
nutbars at the wedding, and my chances of sitting next to people as
pushy as they had been was going to be somewhat slimmer at the

For the entirety of the drive, Leslie kept assuring me and reassuring
me that the reception wouldn't be that bad. She kept telling me that
I had been sitting next to some real wingnuts that had no business
forcing a guest to a wedding to endure an inquisition. She kept
telling me that I had better suck it up and go into the reception with
her or things were going to get very ugly between us. Quite clearly,
plan A was the only acceptable way to keep the peace once this evening
was over.

When we arrived at the reception hall, I noticed that a McDonalds was
right across the street. Plan B just pulled ahead in the ratings.

Against my better judgement, I walked inside with Leslie. Once we
entered the front hall, I noticed that the entire bridal party was
sitting there, waiting for Leslie to show up. Due to Leslie's
personal policy of being about 30 minutes late for everything, the
bride looked very relieved that Leslie had showed up more or less on

Leslie and I peered into the dining hall and looked at the people in
there. She had a pretty firm grip on my hand, which I guess was
pretty good insurance against me bolting for freedom. She told me
that the people in there didn't look that bad to her, and that I
should just go in and find my assigned seat.

"C'mon, Leslie! Hurry up and get paired up! We need to get this
started," the bride directed as she grabbed Leslie's wrist and yanked
her over towards a double file formation of groomsmen and bridesmaids.
I just stood there and pondered the situation. I was going to have to
make my fight or flight decision momentarily.

I peered around the door in the hallway and looked into the dining
hall again. There were people. A lot of people. Weird people.
People that were folding crosses out of the napkins on the tables.
McDonalds was starting to look really damn good right about then.

I peered over at Leslie, and she was standing there in formation and
staring at me. She began snapping her head towards the dining hall
with an expression on her face that meant "get the hell in there,
buster". After she did that a few times, she just looked at me with a
disappointed look on her face. Then, the whole formation began to
move into the dining hall while the MC inside began his introduction
of the bridal party.

And I stood there. For at least a good five minutes.

Actually, I didn't just stand there. I nervously paced back and
forth. In fact, I probably would have paced there another five
minutes and then bolted if there hadn't been some intervention.

"Excuse me... are you Andrew?" a pretty older woman in a very nice
dress asked me as she walked towards me from the dining hall's back
entrance. I was rather suprised by this, and I told her that I was.
She smiled a genuine smile as she walked up to me, took my hand in
hers, and introduced herself as the mother of the bride.

"I just want to thank you so very much for letting Leslie be in the
wedding. It was really a godsend that she was able to fill in on such
short notice!" she said as clasped her other hand around my hand as

I shrugged as I said, "Trust me, ma'am... I couldn't get Leslie NOT
to do anything that she wanted to do if my life depended on it. She
did this because she wanted to... I'm just kinda along for the ride."

She smiled at me for a moment before her hands shifted from a clasping
position to a wrist grab. "Leslie also told me that you hadn't come
in and sat down yet because you didn't know where to sit!" she
cheerfully exclaimed. "Here, let me take you to your seat!" she
chirped as she began tugging on my wrist. I just opened and closed my
mouth a few times before I just gave in and walked behind her in
dejected defeat.

Beyond a doubt, women are sneaky.

The two of us walked from the hallway to the dining hall through the
hall's back entrance. As we weaved in and out between tables and
people on the way to the table, I noted that a lot of people were
watching me with some interest. I imagine that the interest came from
the fact that the mother of the bride was towing some unfamiliar guy
in a suit by his wrist. The mother of the bride pointed to a table
that looked like it would have seated eight people. Curiously, it
only had four positions of the table set with namecards.

I glanced around and saw that every other table was pretty much at
its full capacity of eight people. I appeared to be sitting at the
only half-empty table in the entire place. In fact, at the moment it
was completely empty, since no one was sitting there at all.

The mother of the bride smiled at me and said that she would introduce
me to the other people sitting at the table, but they had "all seemed
to have disappeared to somewhere". She shrugged and said, "Well,
they're all young people like you, so I'm sure you'll be just fine." I
wondered in the back of my mind whether my tablemates had all decided
to make a break for McDonalds.

The mother of the bride smiled at me once more before she headed back
over to her table. I sat down, sighed, and peered over at the head
table where the bridal party was seated. Leslie had been watching me
from the moment I stepped foot into the dining hall. Our eyes met for
a moment, and she gave me a sheepish smile and a small wave with her

Had I known who was going to be sitting at that table with me, I
probably would have used that five minutes of pacing in the hallway to
give myself a good head start out the front door of the reception

But I'm getting ahead of myself again, aren't I?

Next Wedding Update: The table of misfit toys.

When this .plan was written: 2002-03-11 15:04:29
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