Thursday, November 10, 2011

just married

Anna and I got married on Saturday. So that's a thing. We're honeymooning, which means lots of eating and staring off into space and reading novels, and not so much with the brilliant coherent essay-writing.

At some point my friends pointed out that our anniversary is Guy Fawkes Day, that most twisted of British holidays, which we would never have heard of if not for Alan Moore's V For Vendetta (which you must go read right now, if you haven't). So that's entertaining.

The guest book didn't get put out, so we don't have an exact count, but it was about 170 people. It was a Zen Buddhist ceremony, which is funny because there are no Buddhist weddings outside the West: they're typically either civil matters, or handled by a more visceral local religion, like Shinto in Japan. This is part of the transmission of Buddhism to the West, though, so here, we have Zen weddings. Our teacher did the honors, I sang the Magnetic Fields' "Book of Love" as Anna came up the aisle, and we had a first dance (I hate dancing) just so ninjas could interrupt and attack us. Me, Anna, and J successfully fought them off. It was awesome. No video of the ninjas, I don't think, but there are some photos that I'll put up soon.

Our witnesses were both named Ann, so mine was the Best Ann and hers was the Ann of Honor.

Before the vows, Anna and I each had a chance to say something: Anna said many funny things about the unlikelihood of her ever getting married (e.g. during the toasts, the Ann of Honor said, "It's a cold day in hell, and somewhere, pigs are flying"). That warmed up the crowd for mine, where I started by saying that before I met her, my life was a friendless, meaningless void. With, what, 100 of my friends watching? Very silly.

The wedding gave me a lot to think about in how I and others perceive me. For one thing, I'm struck by how surprised people were. I guess I don't pay a whole lot of attention to how much and in what ways I'm a private person, or what I do or don't share with different people. Apparently, when Anna and I started dating, someone advised her to be cautious, because they hadn't seen anything that indicated I was interested in or particularly capable of returning deep emotional connection. That's pretty wacky, given the decades I've spent learning and experiencing those deep emotions. It's not like I'm hiding or anything; I guess I just haven't found a reason or useful way to bring my deep sentimentality into everyday conversation.

Later, a woman from our dojo said, "I didn't know you had it in you", meaning the comic timing of what I said during the ceremony. I responded gracefully, but I was taken aback, because honestly, I'm pretty funny and the timing of my delivery is usually excellent. I thought about my relationship with her over the years, and I realized that when I've made jokes, her response often indicates she doesn't quite know what to make of me, so I've toned everything down around her. Maybe I shouldn't? Hard to say.

I guess that kind of sharing is what I wanted for the wedding: to invite a bunch of people I know in all different kinds of ways, and bring everyone together for this one focal moment of standing up and showing ourselves. The two most common comments were "Amazing ceremony" and "Wow, you have incredible friends." That's pretty much what I wanted to hear.

Steve came all the way from Chile! And brought me a bottle of Mistral Nobel pisco, so I can share the, uh, "joy" of pisco with everyone here. (That's the good stuff, but when I was drinking it straight on ice so I could actually taste it, all the Chileans looked startled and repeatedly asked if I didn't want to mix it with some Coke or something. I like it, mostly, but it can be an acquired taste.)

J was part of the ceremony too, and I think it did something to cement for him the commitment of our little family: he's been looking forward to it for a long time, and I perceived a shift in our relationship afterward, where he seemed a bit more relaxed and I got a long, long hug goodbye when he went to school Monday morning.

The weirdest thing about getting married is that there was this huge crowd of 170 people, and now it's just us. It's so...quiet.

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