K and I have spent the last ten days in an utter frenzy of wedding jobs. After coming home and seeing me microtasking at the dining room table repeatedly (do we really need cards designating gluten-free and vegan ingredients to have tiny lobster stamps on them? Can’t our vegan guests use their powers of deduction to infer that the lobsters are, uh, lobsters? Perhaps. But why think about the overwhelming day-of schedule when I could stamp tiny red lobsters everywhere?), she suggested that we ramp up on the wedding planning so we could just get the damn thing planned and done. If we could finish almost all the planning, we could reframe our thinking in these last few weeks prior and actually inject some excitement into our conversations, and move out of this hazy, anxious, fatigued limbo.
This close, the wedding is all anyone talks about, and I’m grateful, I am. But truthfully, I am also tired of talking about my wedding. I want to go back to being in love with K, and having fun with K, and living our lives, and not having to put on a pageant to show for it. I know I’m supposed to be thinking about forever and the indescribable feeling of our community showering us with love and support. I know. But I’ve thought so much about it that the profound has started to feel…a little mundane.
Friends: “You have to order the flowers. It’s simple math: how many tables do you have, accounting for the rounds, rectangles and two-tops, divided by the vintage bottles versus mason jars, divided by the skinny and tall blooms, divided by a wrinkle in time.” Me: “Eh.”
Mom: “I decided to get you twenty of those white disposable cardboard cameras and I’ll scatter them throughout and then bring a basket to collect them at the end!” K, baffled: “But it’s 2013. Where’s she going to get those developed? ” Me: “Eh.”
Sample chignon that was so tight that I looked like I was heading out on the ice for a triple salchow jump with a permanently surprised expression: “Okay, then. I guess this is what wedding hair looks like.” K, bless her, who knows nothing about hair care, who uses a shampoo bar when she remembers or when I force it upon her, who spent most of last year with crooked bangs because she refused to go anywhere but the barbers around Grand Central, said gently, “I think you’re going to wish you looked a little more, um, relaxed.”
I think this is called decision fatigue.
Yesterday, we were so close, so close to finishing. We condensed all of the tasks from our master wedding planning project in Basecamp (remind me to remind you to plan your wedding in Basecamp!) onto a scrap of paper and headed into Manhattan to Get Things Done. It was going to be a long day, but then it would be over, and the reframing could start. Our first task, only semi-tangential, was to get me a bike helmet so I could conquer my fears of urban biking. And then we were going to use the city’s new bikeshare program to jet around crossing tasks off our list.
It’s not just that I am scared of biking. It’s that biking has generally been a simple choice for me: I can choose to bike, or I can choose to derive any pleasure from my genitals. Hold off on your suggestions for the reverse saddle and the moon seat and the cut out one and the banana hammock. You and every girlfriend I’ve ever had. I’ve tried them all, and it’s best for all of us if I skip the biking. But this summer on Chincoteague I delicately tested out a beach cruiser and discovered that something has shifted just slightly in my mid-thirties skeleton to make biking not quite as unbearable as it used to be. So! We found a helmet and K, who was probably the second person in all five boroughs to sign up for a yearly bikeshare membership, showed me the ropes, and we were off whizzing up the Bowery.
Even in my terror, I realized that this was awesome. We hit our first stop, the Union Square Sephora in what must have been thirty seconds, and thirty seconds after that I was walking back out to meet K with tinted wedding moisturizer in my hand (check!). I was still wearing my helmet. I looked good. I was ready to be done.
K, meanwhile, was patting her pockets. “Do you have the list?” she asked. My dress had no pockets. Shit. How could we have left the list at home?! We were supposed to finish everything today. We had so many jobs today. We looked at each other. Probably, we agreed, we should head home and battleship with our computers. But then we reasoned since we were both hungry, we might as well keep riding for a little longer. So we zipped over to Chelsea for burgers and salads, and at the end of lunch, we both agreed that since K had never seen the Christopher Street Pier, in the name of queer history she really ought to. And once we both were laughing hysterically as we slowly rattled down a cobblestoned street in the Meatpacking District, we both agreed: screw the jobs. Forget the jobs. Let’s have some fun.
We biked down the West Side Highway. K reported that she does not ever want to go to trapeze school. Duh. Have you ever been to Battery Park City? How have I lived here this long and never seen Battery Park City? In! We stumbled on the tiny Irish Hunger Memorial. We kicked back with iced coffees and watched cruise ships and tugboats circle the Statue of Liberty. A pair of tiny twins practiced walking and falling, walking and falling, beaming at their delighted parents. We agreed that we are scared of having twins.
We counted sailboats and speculated about how long a Sunfish could stay upright in New York Harbor. I reminded K that I plan to have a kayak, canoe, scull, and sailboat wherever we live next, so she should get on that. We made mental plans for trips to Ellis and Governors Islands. I loudly complained about hapless pedestrians outside the Ferry Terminal (with the expertise of exactly one urban bike ride under my belt). We slowed down at the old Fulton Fish Market and then headed up the East Side, meandering at times, racing each other like wholesome Von Trapp children at others. We hit Alphabet City and I showed K where the Life Cafe from RENT used to be, hasn’t everything changed so much, and I tried to remember any buried clues from Ani DiFranco’s lyrics about where she once lived in Alphabet City. When we finally got home that night, I was sore and sweaty and happy. Of course I was happy. I spent the entire day with my favorite person in the world, and we didn’t quiz each other about tasks or jobs or project management once.
We’re not forever New Yorkers. I think our departure date is going to come racing up more quickly than either of us anticipates. Sometime soon, we’re going to be reminiscing about how we got married in New York City, how we took our local subway to get married and walked together to the church and ended the night at our favorite neighborhood bar. How there were all kinds of jobs that we meant to get done, but didn’t get done, which in all likelihood, absolutely no one noticed, and it was all for want of a sunny afternoon and exploring our city in the simple, delicious company of each other. This is the good stuff.
Photo: Corey Torpie