Mickey and I had plans to go shopping for the wedding present, so it worked out perfectly that nothing was going on until later. We had intended on getting them something yuppie for the house from Restoration Hardware, but as we passed Hollywood Video on our way into Old Town Alexandria, I remembered that Rocker rents about nine movies a week and would probably get a good amount of use from a video gift certificate. The gift plan now was to get them a gift certificate and tape it to a box of microwave popcorn and put in some note that says to spend a few evenings together as man and wife. Now that a solid gift idea was in the bag, we figured we could do a random drop by at Rob and Andy’s new townhouse for a while. The next few hours were spent shooting the shit with Rob, watching Match Game, and helping him hang up some of his posters. When Andy got back from dinner he and Rob were getting ready to go see Iron Monkey just as the wedding folk were getting out of the reception. Mick and I headed over to my brother’s and played video games and the eBay game (shout out to Ian for the great birthday present) with the Betas.
There wasn’t much to do Saturday and the out-of-town visitors didn’t have anything else planned for the weekend besides the wedding, so we orchestrated a game of Risk. By noon on Saturday, we met up at my brother’s again; Jenn, Keg’s girlfriend and Jenlynn Niner went out for manicures and pedicures, my brother, Niner, Keg, Chris, Mickey and I played Risk. The game was pretty balls to the wall and I was happy just not to be the first one knocked out of the game. Eventually more people showed up and we basically hung out killing time and drinking beer playing Risk and Crazy Taxi all day waiting until it was time to get ready for the wedding.
We left for the 6:30 ceremony at 5:30. We rented a minivan to take the eight people who were riding with us to the hotel out in Chantilly where the wedding and reception were and since Jenlynn is pregnant, she was an easy choice for designated driver. The car rental place was out of minivans, so for the same low low price of $59 (but of course they managed to throw in a $25 insurance fee that wasn’t mentioned before), we were given a Zephyr conversion van complete with captain’s chairs and a TV/VCR. We were one seat short so we put a chair in the back with the rest of the seats. The space was small, so we chose the smallest chair we had, but of course it was the one that has wheels. Niner had to grip on to the front seats for dear life to keep himself from rolling around the floor.
The ceremony started a little over a half-hour late, but it was short and sweet. And yes, I cried like a little girl during the rabbi’s speech about finding soulmates and how they searched the world for each other and so on. After the ceremony finished, we were ushered out into the hallway where the bar had opened and an appetizer buffet was being served: everything from Fresh made pasta dishes and sliced to order roast beef to cheese & crackers and cocktail weenies. A little while later the doors to the main hall opened up, and we took our seats at the tables.
The wedding went on pretty much like weddings do for the next few hours: dances were danced, speeches were made and dinner was served. Knowing that the hora was coming up soon and that Mickey had never been to a Jewish ceremony like this before, we asked one of our Jewish friends at the table what was going to happen with the chair dance. She explained it to us, and almost the exact moment she finished, the music cued up and guests began to circle the dance floor. The bride and groom and their parents danced in a circle and then the groomsmen arrived with the chairs. Mick, my brother and I were on the outside of the circle and suddenly the husband of the girl who explained the dance to us popped out of the crowd, grabbed Mickey by the arm and pulled him in to help lift the chairs (“we needed a few tall, strong gentiles for that job”, she explained later).
By the time the cake was cut, everyone was pretty drunk. The reception went on until one and afterward almost everyone in attendance tried to go to the bar downstairs to drink some more. We missed the close of the bar by an hour, so we piled back into the Zephyr for the ride home.
As anyone who has ever tried to come to my apartment knows, parking in my neighborhood is a bitch. At my brother’s complex across the street, it’s no easier. The visitors’ spots were all full, and rather than look around the neighborhood for a street spot, my brother decided that we would take the van into the garage under the building and hide it in the back and hope it doesn’t get towed. He got out and opened the door from the other side. I was a little confused why we gave up so early, and told Jennifer how I thought this was a bad idea, how we shouldn’t give up on a street spot right away and that “if this thing gets towed out of here, I’m going to say right now that I’m not paying a fucking cent of it.” Mickey chimes in with “I concur!”
The garage door opens and closes right before we have a chance to pull it in. My brother opens the door again and then bends over in front of the van, baring his naked drunken ass for all of us to see. The garage door starts to close again. He opens it. Niner suggests to Jenlynn that she just gun it through the door to get in before it closes. She hits the gas and this horrible grinding noise shakes the van. At first I thought the door closed on the roof, but the hollow thud of the roof popping back up as the van backed out told me that we scraped the roof of the van on the top of the garage and dented the roof in.
We took the car out and most of us went back to the apartment while Jennifer went to park the van on the street (finding a spot shockingly quickly, I might add). Some of us thought the worst, others figured we could just slide the van back to the rental place without their noticing. The mood was shot for the evening, much to the disappointment of me, Mickey, and the out-of-town guests, who from the looks of things really wanted to keep partying. For the rest of the night, all I could think of is how much my brother must be kicking himself (the van was rented in his name) and panicking. Sunday morning I woke up with a start worrying about the status of the van, but was terrified to call and find out what happened, fearing the worst case scenario. A Redskins game later, I worked up the courage to call.
They had returned the van at 10:30. My brother said that he had hoped that in his drunkenness the damage looked worse than it really was, but upon re-inspection in the daylight, it looked worse than it did the night before. He figured he’d just come clean to the rental agency and fess up. He walked into the office and told the guy at the counter, “I can’t hide this from you. There’s damage to the van.” The guy asked if he had insurance, and he said yes, and the guy said, “okay, no problem. As long as you have insurance.” My brother said that he thought that insurance was mandatory, since the employee he rented the van from asked him what kind of insurance he wanted, not if he wanted insurance, and said that had the guy simply asked if he wanted it, he definitely would have said no. The rental guy had him fill out a form and asked for curiosity what happened. “Yeah, you can’t ever get those things in a garage”, he chuckled. So it appears for now that we’re okay. But we’ll see if they manage to pull off something and fuck us somehow.
A few hours of panic aside, it was a fantastic and incredibly fun weekend. I couldn’t have asked for a more fun afternoon Saturday, and the wedding was a blast. I wish there was a way that *I* could have a Jewish wedding...