Danger’s Incessantly Lackadaisical Views on Time and Punctuality Finally Pay Off and Save the Wedding!

So, to finish the story about the tuxes, which I started here and continued here, let me begin by telling you about my friend Danger.  In Danger’s world, time works differently.  For example, let’s say you needed to be somewhere—like at the airport, say, or an appointment or a movie, and the flight or the appointment or the movie starts at 11 AM, and let’s say the airport or wherever the appointment takes place, such as an office or a diner, or the movie theater are twenty minutes away, then according to “Danger Time,” as I’ve come to call it, the proper time to leave—given the need to stop on the way for gas or a sandwich or to visit a relative—is 10:52 AM. 

Perhaps this is a bit of exaggeration, but I have in fact dropped Danger off at an airport mere minutes before his flight boarded and I have numerous times over the years waited for Danger to arrive somewhere or for Danger to ready himself for departure to somewhere, a problem given that for every part that Danger is carefree and laid back, I myself am equal parts riddled with anxiety, leading me often to silently curse that blasted Danger and his dastardly habits, even though despite these habits things for Danger generally tend to “all work out.”  He made that flight, probably stopping for a snack, and despite my anxieties and silent cursing, we always seem to arrive places on time, or at least on time enough.

Let me give you a more recent example of this phenomenon: Danger was the best man in my wedding, which was three weeks ago today.  That Friday, the wedding being on a Saturday, we spent the day setting up the reception hall, with a rehearsal scheduled at 5 PM, dinner to follow.  Danger and his wife, Leah, whose wedding I was in around three months ago, arrived to town around eleven or noon, along with our friend, Pam, and they helped us with the set-up.  We left the reception hall at 2.  The idea of driving to Stockton to pick up Danger’s tux was at that point brought up, but it was decided to first have lunch. 

At 2:30, when lunch was over, I suggested that if Danger was going to be back in time for the rehearsal he should go now to The Men’s Wearhouse, which, again, is in Stockton, specifically at the mall, and which in my estimation was at least twenty-five minutes away, maybe thirty, from where we stood in Lodi.  But Danger, who lives four-and-a-half hours away in San Luis Obispo and had never before been to the mall in Stockton, felt strongly that, No, he had plenty of time and would rather come back to my house and hang out for awhile, leaving for The Men’s Wearhouse instead at 3:30.  So Leah and Pam headed to their hotel and Danger came with me, leaving Leah instructions to pick him up in an hour.  At 3:30, when Leah arrived, I convinced Danger, as I had attempted to do after lunch, that he in fact could not drive to the mall in Stockton and try on and pick up a tux and drive back in time for the 5 o’clock rehearsal, let alone be back in time to set up for the rehearsal at 4, as we were supposed to do.  So it was decided that Danger and Leah would go at 10 the following morning, when The Men’s Wearhouse opened.

That Saturday, we had a 4 PM wedding followed by a dinner reception, with various and continuous maneuvers and preparations throughout the day.  Sometime mid-morning, in the midst of these maneuvers and preparations, I saw Danger who confirmed that the 10 o’clock visit to The Men’s Wearhouse had gone well.  Danger and Leah were extremely helpful throughout the day, and it wasn’t until 2 in the afternoon—the time when we, the groomsmen, having set up the wedding site at Lodi Lake, were scheduled to return to the house and dress and be back to the lake at 3—that I learned that at 10 that morning Danger had not picked up his tux but rather had tried it on and learned that they needed to make some slight alterations and he could pick it up later in the day, which worried me, given the time, but which Danger declared was fine because Leah was leaving right now (2 PM) to go get it and would be back around 2:30 or 2:45, to which I made a probably-passive-aggressive comment that there was no way she’d be back before 3:15.

It was around this time that I and my two other groomsmen—Matt and CR—began to get dressed and, as described in the post “Let Me Tell You About The Men’s Wearhouse,” we learned that instead of Matt’s tux, The Men’s Wearhouse had given us the tux of someone named Scott whose wedding was a day earlier and who was getting married (or had planned to anyway) in a white tux with tails.  Our tuxes were black with no tails.  I immediately called The Men’s Wearhouse, where the first response was Hey, you know, someone called yesterday looking for that tux, and Danger immediately called Leah, who had just left The Men’s Wearhouse and was turning around to go back.  At this point, it was between 2:30 and 2:40, and I was a bit panicked.  By 2:50, Leah had the correct tux in hand and was headed our way, but I was sure that it would take her thirty or forty minutes, meaning that by the time Danger and Matt dressed we would have barely enough time to make it out to the lake for the 4 o’clock ceremony.  Danger countered that Leah would be there in fifteen minutes and it would take he and Matt like five minutes to dress.

As it was, Leah broke a land speed record, arriving at the front door in twelve minutes, reporting that cars had parted like The Red Sea as she roared up Highway 99 at ninety-plus miles per hour. 

By 3:30, we were at the wedding site, greeting guests.  If not for Danger’s footloose and fancy-free ways, Leah would have been nowhere near The Men’s Wearhouse at 2:30 that afternoon, and—being that as we waited for Leah we decided that this was the option that would look the least weird—Matt would’ve had to wear my black tux and I would’ve gotten married in someone named Scott’s white tux with tails.

Response to Police Beatings of UC Students

My undergraduate senior project at Cal Poly was a paper on police brutality.  I was a Social Science major with a concentration in Criminal Justice.  The paper was originally going to focus on police shootings of dogs, but later expanded into wrongful shootings in general.  I chose my topic after seeing video footage on CNN of an incident that took place in Tennessee in which police pulled over a man and his family.  The car they were driving matched the description of a car used in a crime—a bank robbery or something.  The man, his wife, and their teenage son were one by one ordered out of the car and on to their knees with hands behind their backs.  On the scene were two or three state troopers and at least two other officers wearing protective equipment and armed with shotguns.  The family began to plead to the officers to shut the doors of the car so that their dog would not run out onto the highway and be hit.  The officers ignored this, and when the dog did in fact jump out of the car, the family’s pleas became desperate.  The dog, however, did not run into traffic; it instead ran onto the rather wide and grassy shoulder.  Seeing one of the officers, specifically one of the ones in swat gear holding a shotgun, the dog ran toward the officer.  The officer shot the dog twice as it approached.  The family—who committed no crime, it was the wrong car—wail in misery for several minutes before the video ends.

When I saw that video, I was shaking.  With anger.  I wanted to do something.  I wanted to find that asshole.  I felt the same thing yesterday when I watched footage of a UC Davis police lieutenant fire pepper spray point black into the faces of students who were sitting—arms linked—on the ground.

The dog video pissed me off because it was a dog.  It may have been my imagination, but it seemed like the dog was confused and happy to get out of the car and when it ran toward the officer it seemed—again, possibly in my imagination—to be running at him in that Oh, here’s a new person to love kind of way, not the I’m vicious and will tear your flesh from its bones kind of way.  But I’ll give that guy the dog.  I can’t imagine how stressful and how scary a traffic stop like that would be.  Anything could be in that car.

But this other asshole, Lt. Pike of the UC Davis Police Department.  I don’t get that.

So help me out, because I’m pretty ignorant about this situation.  Explain to me the events, as there most certainly are—the horrific actions of these crazed students—that led up to an officer outfitted in riot gear holding a canister of pepper spray in the face of a seated and silent university student—oh, wait, wait, first he held the canister up in the air and looked at the crowd, like Braveheart or something—and then dousing the student—several students actually, the whole single student thing earlier in this sentence was for rhetorical effect—like he was repainting his patio furniture.  Surely the pre-video events explain those actions; please let me know what they include.

Again, I don’t know much about it, but the one response I’ve heard from the UCD Police is that the students were repeatedly warned.  Oh.  Okay.  So we can partake in criminal violence against one another as long as we warn each other first.  Oh.  No.  I got that wrong.  We can’t.

Here’s the other thing about that dog video.  After they blew his dog away, the teenage son stood up.  The officers then turned their shotguns on him.  The son got back on his knees.  Here’s what I imagine went through that kid’s head between the moment the shotguns turned on him and the moment he went back to his knees—all at once in a subconscious sort of way:  this guy just shot and killed my dog, my best friend, I have to do something, I have to go to my dog, or I have to avenge his death, but at that moment (I’m switching back to third person, here), with those shotguns trained on him, that kid saw the writing on the wall, that if he took another step, if he rushed at these officers, or rushed toward the corpse of his dog, even though he is unarmed and his hands are bound behind him, these guys just might shoot him.

I grew up in the country, and I’ve been rushed at by many dogs.  I’ve been bitten by dogs.  Most of those times, I’ve been under the age of fourteen and clad in a t-shirt and shorts.  Yet here I am.

So, I get it that police provide a valuable service.  They face unbelievably dangerous situations.  But can’t that be true and can’t we also be reasonable?  The students aren’t allowed to pitch tents in the quad.  So they have to take them down.  They don’t want to take them down, nor do they want someone else to take them down, so they link arms and try to keep the police from getting to their tents.  Is the only reasonable response to beat them with batons, pull their hair, put them in headlocks, and spray chemicals into their face?  That is fucking ridiculous.  That is Third World. 

The only thing more frustrating is the media’s coverage of it.  After spending nearly an hour watching You Tube videos of Davis and Berkeley students and faculty (a female English professor at Berkeley was pulled by police from the crowd by her hair and thrown on the ground before her arrest—it’s on video, look it up) being beaten, I turned on the TV and tried to find something about it on one of the 24 hour news networks, who seem perpetually desperate for enough news to fill 24 hours.  What I found was lots of discussion of New Gingrich’s prospects and an interview with Isaiah Washington, who insists his inability to find work is due to the recession, not to calling another cast member a faggot.

If anyone can help me understand these police actions, or the media’s coverage of it, please comment.

Let Me Tell You About The Men’s Wearhouse

So, about The Men’s Wearhouse.  The Men’s Wearhouse reminds me of Western Dental.  But with clothes.  Not that they don’t wear clothes at Western Dental.  You know what I mean.  Now let me tell you about Western Dental.  I visited Western Dental for the first time last Monday.  I woke up that Sunday morning (the day after the wedding) with sore teeth.  So on Monday afternoon the nice man at Western Dental said that the cure for my sore teeth would be the removal of my wisdom teeth.  Now, on Sunday morning, when my teeth were all sore, my friend, whose name is Danger and who was my best man, asked me if I had ever had my wisdom teeth pulled, to which I responded that I didn’t know.  Which I didn’t.  And to which Danger responded that if I had ever had my wisdom teeth pulled, I would know it cause it’s like a big deal where they put you under and stuff.  The next day I learned that I in fact had not ever had my wisdom teeth pulled and that the nice man at Western Dental was going to pull them out for me and I also learned that when you’re a grown up and you get your wisdom teeth pulled, they don’t put you under; they just numb you up a bunch.

Now the reason I was at Western Dental as opposed to any other dental office was that Liz and I had decided that since my health insurance at my new job wouldn’t kick in until October 1 and we were getting married November 5 and the health coverage at Liz’s school is way cheaper (for the employee) than at my school, I would just go an additional month without coverage and just be sure to look both ways and lift with the legs and all that.  And, according to the research I had done that day at lunch, Western Dental is the place you go for cheap dental care when you have no insurance (besides those places—which may or may not exist—that you picture consisting of one old guy in a yellowing lab coat with rusty tools operating out of a downtown hotel that rents by the week over a closed antique shop, the room empty but for a cracked mirror, one wooden chair, and a single un-fixtured light bulb hanging from the ceiling and somehow always slightly swaying).

Growing up, my dentist was Dr. Kanegawa.  He had a small practice in Lodi, with a waiting room, an exam room, and his wife at the reception desk.  He had the best magazines.

Here’s what did not happen at Dr. Kanegawa’s office:

  1. Dr. Kanegawa, while working on your teeth, was not constantly giving instructions to half-a-dozen assistants as to what to do with the other seven patients who were waiting supine with their mouths agape and a sunlamp glaring into their eyes.
  1. Dr. Kanegawa’s receptionist did not stand behind Dr. Kanegawa with a posse of other receptionists, waiting for Dr. Kanegawa to finish explaining his diagnosis so they could tell you how much it was going to cost and ask you how you would be paying for it and specifically how much you would be paying today.
  1. Dr. Kanegawa’s receptionist (again, his wife) waited for you at the reception desk to finish receiving your dental work.  Did not come to you in your supine position with mouth agape and ask you for your debit card.
  1. Dr. Kanegawa had an actual exam room.  He did not place you in a small enclave where you awkwardly faced the wall and nervously wondered what the hell all those people were doing behind you.
  1. Dr. Kanegawa did not get tired of waiting for his assistant—who was held up dealing with one of the other seven patients—to come back and help him, look both ways to see if anyone was watching, then sort of just prop the little water thing into your mouth and turn it on and go back to work until you started choking and coughing.

Western Dental has the same problem The Men’s Wearhouse has: they’re a chop shop.  They employ nice people who know stuff, but they deal in bulk.  If Dr. Kanegawa had a tuxedo shop, it’d be he and his wife sitting at matching sewing machines, tape measures hung around their necks, doing two weddings and a quince every month.  When you went to pick up your tux, there wouldn’t be sixty other tuxes on the same racks for ten other weddings the same weekend.  They wouldn’t hand you the wrong tux on your way out the door.

At 2:20, when we started to get dressed for the 4:00 wedding, we had my black tux, CR’s black tux, Danger’s black tux, and in Matt’s bag: someone named Scott’s tux.  Scott’s tux was white.  With tails. And looking at his tux, he appeared to about a Matt-and-a-half in size.

Next post:  Remember how in that movie Signs Joaquin Phoenix’s character always swings (in baseball) as hard as he can at every pitch and it turns out that that was God’s plan all along and it finally pays off when he saves his family (consisting of Mel Gibson, Little Miss Sunshine, and one of those Culkins) by batting glasses of water at a vicious alien?  In similar fashion, Danger’s incessantly lackadaisical views on time and punctuality finally pay off and save the wedding!

How I Nearly Ended Up Getting Married in a White Tux With Tails (that I never ordered).

I don’t like lettuce.  I’ll eat lettuce, like in a salad, but it’s not my favorite.  What I won’t do is eat lettuce outside of a salad, where lettuce belongs.  I won’t eat salad on a sandwich, or a burger.  Or Good God, on a taco.  Never on a taco.  Never.  Lettuce on regular food doesn’t make sense in my mind or my mouth. 

Unfortunately, many of my favorite foods—such as burgers or tacos—come with lettuce.  So when I eat out, pretty much anything I ever order ever I have to order without something.  Hold the something.  Usually lettuce.  I also hold, in general, tomatoes and onions.  And mushrooms.  This has been an ever-present aspect of my life.  It’s the way it is.

So something that bothers me—more specifically—something that makes me very anxious—is those waiters or waitresses who refuse to write anything down.  Oh, it’s fine.  I’ve got it.  Right, no red onions.  No spinach.  Got it.  Do you? 

I don’t mind a cavalier attitude, most of the time.  But I mind a cavalier attitude when it’s something super important.  Like not having mushrooms on my patty melt.  Or my wedding.  Say, like, the music at the wedding.  Or the tuxedos.  Or the cake.  But that’s all we got (referring to when dealing with the people in charge of providing things like wedding music or wedding tuxedos or wedding cake): cavalier attitudes.  Oh yeah, got it.  We got it.  No problem.  Do this all the time.  Write it down?  Ho-hum.  And what did we get?  Patty melt, covered in mushrooms.

Let’s start with Frank.  Frank is a DJ.  Turns out, Frank is also a jackass.

Let’s write a play starring Frank:

FRANK:  Hello, nice to meet you.  I’m Frank. 

LIZ (my wife): Nice to meet you, Frank.  I’m Liz.  This is my fiancé, Bill.  He doesn’t speak.

FRANK:  Thanks for meeting me outside of this Starbucks, where I won’t be ordering anything and where I hold my business meetings because I don’t have an office even though I receive nine hundred dollars every time I spend six hours playing mp3s on my computer hooked up to these two speakers I keep in my trunk. 

LIZ:  Our pleasure.  Did you receive the seven-page document wherein I listed all songs to be played before the wedding, during the wedding, after the wedding, on the way to the reception, at the reception, along with a detailed script of precisely at what moment each song should be played?

FRANK:  I printed it out!

LIZ:  Great.  So you were able to find all of the songs?

FRANK:  Oh, yeah.  No problem.  I’ll be able to find them.  Do this all the time.

LIZ:  So you saw that I’ll be walking the aisle to the Scala and Kolacny Brothers version of “Use Somebody”?

FRANK:  Oh, yeah.  Do this all the time.

LIZ:  Now we don’t want to use the Kings of Leon version, which is a fine song that Bill and I enjoy but which unless you’re seventeen and pregnant or white trash or a little of both is a bit inappropriate for a wedding—tonally.

FRANK:  La, la, la.

LIZ:  We were so happy to find this slower, more muted version of the song.  It’s really perfect.  It means a lot to us.

FRANK:  Hey, have I told you about the wedding I did where the bride walked down the aisle to The Fishing Song by Brad Paisley?

Here’s what went through my head, at my wedding, as Frank began playing “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon:  Oh, shit.  Frank is playing the wrong song.  He’s playing the Kings of Leon version, which would be appropriate for Liz to walk down the aisle to if she were seventeen and pregnant or white trash or a bit of both.  This is neither slow not muted.  What are you doing, Frank?  Wait a minute.  Of course Frank is playing the wrong song.  Frank is a jackass.  We know that.  Just look at him.  He didn’t write anything down.  We wrote stuff down, but he didn’t read it.  He didn’t need to.  He does this all the time.  He’s got it.

Next post:  I’ll actually get to the part about the tux.

Last Weekend I Got Married; This Weekend I’m Starting My Blog

Four years ago, I met the girl of my dreams.  Two-and-a-half years ago, we started dating.  Her name is Liz.  She is beautiful, smart, funny, talented, caring.  I love her dearly.  We love one another dearly.  We are perfect together.

            Last Saturday, we got married.  It was pretty awesome.  Let me tell you about it.  Our wedding took place in Lodi, CA, where we also live.  Specifically, our ceremony was held at Lodi Lake, in a little Greek-style outdoor amphitheater (though smaller and not entirely circular) that backs up to the water.  At the time we chose this location, I had been reading a lot of Greek tragedy, and I liked the idea of the sparse, suggesting-antiquity setting juxtaposed against tuxes and dresses and sound equipment.  The only issue—as we chose this site in the summer for a November wedding—would be the question of weather.  More on this later.

            The reception was held in Downtown Lodi—which, if you haven’t seen it, is quite quaint and pleasant—at The Merlot Room, a banquet hall across the street from the movie theater and across (the other street) from Angelo’s, the restaurant that catered our event.  The Merlot is a lovely hall—with hardwood floors and soft lighting and striking plastic chandeliers—that we very nearly missed, having decided upon a spacious room at the local festival grounds which, in hind sight, would have been more suitable for a crab feed, before stopping by The Merlot just for the heck of it—sure that it would probably be too expensive—to find that its rental price was comparable to the spacious room at the festival grounds.

            The wedding—ceremony and reception both—went swimmingly well.  It constitutes a series of moments that I will never forget, but not without its bumps in the road.

            Next post:  How I Nearly Ended Up Getting Married in a White Tux with Tails (that I never ordered).

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