Saturday, August 05, 2006

Speedy Delivery

The mail was a pisser this week.

In one fell swoop, I received an invitation to my high school Crush's wedding and a thank-you note from my Aunt Shirley that expressed her gratitude to me for flying down to be with her in Oklahoma for Uncle Loren's funeral.

Also, my friend K is getting married, and she's actually past the pick-out-the-cake,-photographer,-and-bridesmaid-dresses stage. I'm not in the wedding, which is another source of my irrational ire, but I won't go into that.

I feel like I'm the female lead in one of those really crappy unnecessarily dramatic movies, like A River Runs Through It, where the viewer follows the characters throughout their lives, and then they reconvene 10 years later, and everyone is different or married or happy or unhappy or missing something in their lives or pining away for someone else or something. This is the moment when the camera zooms in on the wedding invitation or the thank-you note about the funeral. Or on me shoving my way to work on the city streets of Manhattan, drinking Bud Light drafts in a Lower East Side bar, fighting with the Boyf, sweating on the elliptical at the gym. The vignettes would contrast with pictures of K's wedding dress, her moving into her new apartment with her fiance, some foreshadowing of wedded bliss.

It's not that I'm upset that my Crush is getting married. I'm actually quite happy he found someone to latch onto. I have even scoured their Club Wedd registry, but I just couldn't deal with buying them something ridiculous, like a 9x13 Calphalon baking pan, because, honestly, what would that symbolize? Anything? Nothing? And does a gift have to say something? Or is it more like, "Oh, great! The cream-colored hand towel that will complete the set! Thanks!"

No, it's not the marriage thing that I'm upset about. I'm not jealous of K. I'm happy for her and her future security (God-willing).

It's just that I'm suddenly seeing everyone growing up around me.

They've finally picked something.

They took a deep breath, closed their eyes, and said, "Okay. I'm not going to be an out-of-control child anymore. I'm going to choose this and promise to stick with it come hell or high water." And for me? I'm not ready to do that yet. I'm not even dead-set on the CAREER I've chosen, let alone who I'm going to spend the end of my days with. THE END OF MY DAYS. God, that sounds final. Like an ending. A paved-with-real-blacktop road, not this trodden, dirt-packed, snaking trail that I've been machete-swinging my way through for the past twentysomething years. I like the swinging. I like being able to change my mind and switch jobs and move and go INSANE if I want. I like the independence and my own room.

And there's the time thing, too. I can't even find the time to pick up my dry-cleaning, let alone pick out a reception hall, wedding rings, a flower girl, dresses, cakes, food, music, dates. Exhausting.

I'm not trying to mock. It's just that all of this change from my friends with whom I used to openly wonder about the future have now nailed theirs down. And with the passing of Uncle Loren, well, that just serves as a reminder that, despite what I'd like to believe, we do NOT have all the time in the world.

I'm not running out to get hitched. But I am sad to wave goodbye to the times when my friends and I weren't all boring and serious. When we had fun for ourselves and kissed strangers in bars. When we thought about the future as the big, wide-open masterpiece we couldn't wait to fingerpaint right over, not as a nicely priced three-bedroom somewhere in the suburbs.


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