Megann Becker


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“So nice of you to make it”: A Tale of Wedding Crashing

The Bloody Mary I sipped was on point. The combination of good conversation, delicious food and a cold drink—had done it again. My left arm was successfully burned from the Arizona sun, but there was no way in hell I would be moving to the shade. I might switch arms though.

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My best friend and I were soon headed to crash a wedding, but we were in no particular hurry. Who wants to rush away from poolside drinks with a mountain view? Not this chica.

We finally got back to the house to change for the wedding. My friend’s roommate’s dad was getting married and we had been “included” last minute. They said it would be small but we were more than welcome to come. Of course I’m going to go. No brainer.

I’ll admit, our main priority wasn’t to be on time, per say. We figured worst-case scenario we would just slip in the back of the church. Well here’s how it actually played out, folks.

My friend and I, bachata music blaring, sassy, little red Mazda—whip into the parking lot. Now I don’t want to embellish here, but it felt a lot like Tokyo drift as we slid into our parking spot (my brother would be proud).

Quick lipstick application and we hop out of the car. We see the curtains in the back of the building open and close again quick. Uh-oh. Are people actually waiting on us?

Now as I walked up to this building, from the outside, I could see that it was about the size of my tiny Chicago apartment. The overly optimistic side of me thought, “Maybe it’s like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory? And will be bigger on the inside. Thus allowing us to blend in.” Cute Megan, cute.

Door to the chapel opens and less than fifteen friendly faces stare back at us. Ohhhhh, so this wasn’t a small wedding, this was pretty intimate. Got it. The groom in his I’m-about-to-be-married-and-I’m-nervous-as-hell voice says, “So nice of you to make it.” Deer in headlights look. We scoot quickly to our seats.

It turns out the peeking curtain a few minutes earlier…that was the bride. Waiting to walk down the aisle.

After the ceremony, the newlyweds had pictures taken around the grounds. The fifteen of us watched them, shuffled our feet, talked to statues, and attempted awkward conversation. I loved every minute of it—you know me.

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The bride said she wanted a picture with everybody. Okay well I’m so far removed from this couple that I didn’t include myself in this “everybody”. The bride wasn’t having that, so the picture was taken, and I’m in it. I imagine one of two things happened: The photographer either took the picture and then immediately deleted it—it was for show. OR that couple is going to have a hard time remembering who the hell that girl in the black dress was.

The venue was adorable—a balmy night, lights in the trees, beautiful centerpieces, and ummm, free wine.

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Then the toasts happened. Ah ha ha the toasts, always my favorite part of the wedding. It’s important for you to remember, I am seated at the table with the groom’s two children. Their parents were married up until three years ago.

Glasses raised, the bride’s friend from work starts her speech. “I was in the car at the stoplight…waiting, we wait in life….waiting is hard, we wait for so many things… wait wait wait waiting wait.” I look at my friend. What the hell is this waiting theme? I’m nervous. Who waited for what?! Ah. Crickets chirp. No, literally they chirp. We are outside. But it’s ironic and wonderful nonetheless.

The work friend nervously smiles, “I’ll never forget when she first came into my office five years ago. She shut the door and said, ‘So he and I are dating, but you have to keep it on the dowwwwn low.’” She giggles; thinking her use of a pop culture phrase is cute. The rest of us just sit there, with bug eyes. We all forgot to breathe.

Five years? But I thought three years? At that moment I want to turn into a damn cricket myself and hop the eff away… but I brought this on myself and I realize, “Duh, this’ll be a great story later.”

I dare to glance at the groom’s son; he winks at me and raises his glass with a smirk. He knew. He was just there to support his father, knowing we all make mistakes (and will probably keep making them).

As my friend, her roommate and I left the reception, he told me he’s never seen his sister laugh so much as she did when she was at our table. She even hugged me goodbye–a rare occurrence I’m told. At the reception I acted out a ridiculous amount of stories in order to fill the silence gap. I was actually drained by the time we left, from keeping up the conversation—but damnit, the groom’s kids were going to enjoy themselves if it was the last thing I did.

I can only hope that when the groom’s kids look back at that awkward picture of “everybody”, they see the girl in the black dress and remember, “She helped us make the best of an awkward situation.” 

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This one time… at a train station

With my train ticket all set for Milwaukee this weekend—it made me think about my last train ride.

Which was a whopping seven days ago.

Last weekend I hopped a train in pursuit of all things soulful: good wine, authentic conversation, and of course, homemade jambalaya. It was freezing. I actually thought I was hallucinating when I saw the tracks had flames on them. I was not. It was THAT cold, that they needed to keep the tracks warmed up.

I completely missed the train. Off to a good start. So I’m sitting in this tiny train station on the West side. No one, but me and this other girl. Then a rare thing occurred. We talked to one another! I guess we mutually decided we’d reached our Candy Crush quota for the day. In the short time we talked—we laughed, I discovered a new musical artist, she taught me a few Hindi words and the kicker…she offered me a taco. (I politely declined… because, well, remember the jambalaya.) The human connection had me in a good mood, because had I kept my eyes locked on my screen I would have missed all of that.

As we are talking, four cops come into the station. Note: Their forced conversation happened to be about how everyone nowadays has smartphones. The irony here slays me. Wait for it…

Less than 83 seconds later, a man comes into the station—boots, cowboy hat, random food in a bag, and an “I’m freezing my butt off” look on his face. With a trusting face he walks up to a cop and struggles to ask him in English if he can use a phone to call his wife. He’s asking if anyone speaks Spanish. He’s borderline frantic about letting his wife know what time exactly his train will arrive in Elgin.

He even attempts to mime a phone with his hand. That’s a pretty universal thing, right? Remember when you were a toddler and your mom would pretend Grandma was calling you on her hand? Yea don’t tell me you didn’t understand that sir.

The cop—with maybe the most indifferent face I’ve ever seen, says, “Sorry buddy, I don’t have one.”

My brain: Ummm, you don’t have one?! But I just heard you… I… I’m so confused.

My face: those of you who know me are already picturing it.

Part of me gets the worry—there has been a huge epidemic in big cities of people swiping smartphones.

But worst-case scenario, this man runs out of this station with my month old phone and then… we chase him. The four cops, and myself. Imagine for a moment. I mean it WAS freezing cold, and I’ve heard there’s nothing like a brisk jog to help warm you up.

I just couldn’t help myself people. I walk over to the man and the gaggle of cops, taking out my iPhone. I threw what some might classify as a sassy look to the cops, before turning to the man.

I rip off in Spanish. “Por supuesto, puedes utilizar mi móvil para llamar a tu mujer. Pero, escúchame si tu corres… Señor, yo voy a perseguirte. Créeme.”

(Of course you can use my phone, to call your wife. But listen to me; if you run…Sir, I’m going to chase you. Believe me.)

He looked at my wide-eyed, blinked, and said “No hay problema.” (No, no there’s no problem.)

Then you’ll never guess what he did. HE CALLED HIS WIFE. Just like the human being said he would. Astounding.

This entire time, the cops said nothing. Except for one comment volunteered, “Whoa… she speaks Spanish, that is so cool.” Silence.

After he gets off the phone, this man—with his food in a random grocery bag— tries to hand me a $20 bill as thanks for letting him use my phone.

Yeah, couldn’t accept that. Instead I just said a really animated “No pasa nada”. (Don’t even worry about it.) Then the train arrived and I was on my way to that home cooked jambalaya.

I don’t ever want this story to come off as “holier than thou”— instead view it as a call to participate in life happening around you. Whatever that looks like for you.

Not sure if my train experience tonight will top last weekend’s, but you better believe I’ll have my eyes and ears open.