22 August 2004
All sorts of good categories of people can pop up at a wedding. You can meet your friends' family and longer-term friends, which tells you where they've come from. I've felt that about families before, but some of Michelle's friends from before my time made me feel the same way: "Ohhhhh, that's why she does that!" (Scott's father is Scott plus somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 to 30 years. It was disconcerting, but fun. He pointed out the Heinlein window to me at the church, but I forgot to take a picture.) And you can meet your friends' new friends and see where they're going, put stories together with faces.
You can see old, good friends who don't live in town, or old, good friends who live in town and somehow don't quite manage to see each other quite as often as either of you would like. You can see the adorable spawn of people you like, dressed up and navigating reception crowds with toddler aplomb. You can see acquaintances you wished well but never had enough common ground to keep contact with. You can see people you had positive feelings about and never got to know enough to keep in touch with.
I had all of those at Michelle and Scott's wedding this weekend. It was good.
These days I go around giving people my website/e-mail. It's easier than trying to juggle pieces of paper, and if they already know my name, it's easier. It does mean that I'm not in charge of who makes contact, though, and I haven't heard from a stupid old friend I saw in the airport last fall as a result of it. Stupid Legs. He has my phone number and my e-mail and should call me, and that's what I have to say about that. But mostly this system works all right so far.
I even had a little time with Michelle and Scott, amazingly enough, though most of it was with Michelle and much of it yesterday was spent trying to make sure her dress would not kill her and she would not fall over in starvation before the reception. That's fine: that's what bridesmaids do. I don't expect to see much of the bride and groom at any wedding, because everybody wants to see them and have them do something. But I got a little time with Scott and some time with Michelle, and it was enough.
Michelle's mom got us all spangled flip-flops to wear at the reception. The bridesmaids and personal attendants and the mothers of the bride and groom got black ones, and Michelle got white ones. I was a little skeptical at first, but it was such a good idea. Compared to my heels, the flip-flops were heaven. I highly recommend this course of action to anyone involved with the female side of a wedding party. I'm tired and slightly sunburned, but my feet feel so much better than they would have if I'd tried to spend the reception standing, walking, and dancing in heels or navigating the country club floors barefoot.
Ever since Mark and I got married, I have been telling people that Michelle cried through our ceremony. Which is entirely true. But in the interests of full disclosure, I feel I now have to add that I made it through their entire ceremony only to break down and sob at the reception. Twice. Once was my own fault because I went to talk to Michelle and ended up being more heartfelt than I had anticipated being. She bounced with glee. In anyone else, this behavior would have made me stop crying and mock-scowl fiercely, but it was so very Michelle that I just kept going. I love that little imp. All of my friends are personally special -- Scott is special -- but Michelle is also categorically special. Then later in the evening, Scott deliberately set out to make me cry, which I don't think was very nice, and I love his not very nice self, too.
We have some pictures, but as usual not as many as I'd like. I'm sure we'll get more as people pool their digital picture resources. I'll get them up around here somewhere. Sometime. When I can.
I just quit reading Lee Hogan's Belarus, which I had picked up because it was easier to haul around in my purse for when I arrived early than the doorstop that is Quicksilver. I may be in a particularly cranky mood, but when a book is set over 10,000 years in the future, I expect some distance from it. I expect that cultures will have shifted quite, quite substantially, that while there may still be something called Russia, they will not have some ineffable, eternal, encompassing Russianness that has anything to do with the history of the 17th through 20th centuries, or that if it does, there will be some reason for it. I finally put the book down when the term "Caucasian" had retained meaningful status over ten kiloyears and Caucasian males were still the main suspect group for serial killers. Um...why? No reason. Because that's how things are, apparently: white guys apparently just never learn.
When we were talking about this, Timprov mentioned the existence of ethnic (for example) Greeks on Barrayar in Bujold's novels. That doesn't bother me for two reasons: because Barrayar has been isolated and has reasons to have maintained groups like that, and because they aren't all running around mumbling about Zeus, or making fun of Armenians/Turks/any other Earthly neighbors, or behaving like the cast of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" plunked down on a different planet. They're Barrayarans, not Neo-Hellenes. They have a reason to know where they're coming from, but they've gone somewhere else now.
Ten thousand years is enough time that if an author wants to pull rabbits out of hats, I will gladly let it ride. Oh, now we have a culture that insists on wearing live ducks as hats? If you've got a way to deal with their kicking and pecking and have time that they can take care of their bodily needs, all righty then. I don't have to see how we got there from here. It's ten thousand years. Ten thousand years ago, Greece was in the Neolithic. The classical period was not even 3000 years ago. Most of the human history people actually know about with specific people's names can be contained in half the period Lee Hogan set him or herself up to work with. This was just a failure of the imagination, I think. It's like agreeing to do a mural on the side of a four-story building and not bringing so much as a stepstool to paint higher than your arm can reach.
So it's back to the massive Quicksilver for me. I'm in the middle of it now, right smack in the middle, and enjoying it but still feeling like it's a bit wandery and a bit leisurely. I'll be watching Olympics and reading a story of Yoon's and generally trying to feel a little less tightly strung for awhile. I've got a flask of bubble solution from the wedding, and I'm blowing bubbles when I feel stressy. It seems like a good thing. Also, Michelle and Scott gave us all rocks to wind a string around! Everybody wants a rock to wind a piece of string around. And now I have one. They did not provide the string, but I figure it was implied.
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