Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Anniversary Antics

Sunday night was our wedding anniversary. Twelve years ago, Jay and I walked out of our wedding ceremony about 15 minutes prematurely, leaving our poor violinists looking puzzled and perplexed, and our guests teary-eyed and touched. (It just so happens that the music being played at that point was a poignant wistful tune, and one might have thought we had orchestrated it to be timed with the recessional in order to maximize the emotional potency).

So with no congratulatory announcement and no end of service fanfare, the bride and groom merely strolled solemnly out of the church, leaving two bewildered violinists and one agitated minister staring after them in confusion. Of course the mistake can be traced back to the day before, when during rehearsal, the bride-to-be and the groom-to-be had been cracking jokes and messing around during the part where the minister was issuing the rather staid but nonetheless essential instructions pertaining to order of service.

You would have thought that given that our only requirement was to walk down an aisle, say a couple of heartfelt 'You betcha's' and then walk back out, that it wouldn't have been so difficult to get right...but then we are talking about Jay and I - who despite our best intentions often find ourself messing up the simplest of tasks (like child-rearing, home improvements, etc).

At any rate, looking back, we left at just the right time. Who really enjoys squirming on a wooden pew - wishing the service away - when you know that free booze lurks in the wings, and the spectacle involving the bride getting trashed and lurching around drunkenly issuing heartfelt sentiments to the assembled guests awaits.

At any rate, the other night Jay and I, his parents, his brother and his wife, and his sister and her husband all went out for a fancy dinner downtown in the 'Distillery District'. What made this occasion so momentous was the fact that three out of four couples were celebrating their wedding anniversary.

Purely unintentionally (and more to do with visa restrictions and holiday allotment in his then 'twelve-grand-a-year-McJob' in publishing), Jay and I got married on the same day that his parents got married 40 years ago. Stranger still though is the fact that we discovered that MY parents also got married on the same day on the same year and maybe even at the same time as his parents did those many years ago.

Not so strange is the fact that Jay's brother chose to get married on the 31st of August as well. Summer being a popular time in 'Oh Canada' to get hitched, it wasn't a huge stretch to overlap dates and now makes it easy for everyone to remember to send cards to each other every year. Jay's sister when she got married chose a day in July to exchange nuptials...swerving the trend altogether.

So the eight of us (paired up neatly like trussed-up animals on Noah's ark) found ourselves sliding into a rented limo the other night, and spending the whole half hour drive downtown trying to figure out the sound system (never did) and how to open the sun roof (never did). A bottle of champagne was imbibed en route and a fair bit of jollity ensued. Once arriving at the restaurant, we had a 20 minute wait while our table was moved to a more suitable place, and only once we had been seated did we start to relax and enjoy the night.

That was short-lived however, as suddenly the high-ceiling room began screeching in 7 second intervals as the fire alarm went off. Smiling at each other we waited for it to stop. And waited...and waited...and waited.

It never went off.

For the next TWO HOURS the fire alarm continued to wail...despite grimaces from the diners and the advent and departure of the fire brigade. Turns out it was a security malfunction and only as we were paying the bill at the end of the night did the owner have the good sense to climb up on a ladder and cut the power.

In the meantime we got through another bottle of champagne, a bottle of sparkling white, two bottles of red and some post-dinner cognac and baileys (not together of course - that would be disgusting).

We asked for, and were compensated with a few plates of brushetta, the champagne, the white wine and a trough selection of desserts on the house. Our waiter was tipped over-generously and we left inebriated, bellies protruding over waistbands and ears only gently ringing from the nights assault.

The one thing I learned that evening was that our family does not have exclusive rights on hapless mishaps and random bouts of craziness. To see that the Johnston's were privy to the fire alarm debacle was somehow comforting...as it proved that the A-K's do not have exclusive rights on such mishaps.

In the words of Douglas Coupland (who recently wrote a book of the same name)..."All Families Are Psychotic"...and if you appreciate this fact, even revel in it, you will be able to derive much humor as you journey through life with the loving individuals who make up your 'tribe'.

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