Time for a catch-up: America.
The temptation to do a bunk and just stay over there was immense. Luckily and coincidentally we received a letter while were over there from the immigration people saying my I-130 had been approved. This is stage one in the kafkaesque process of getting residency in the U.S. How many stages and what they entail is a mystery.
We had such a good time, and staying with the in-laws was great. It was a well needed holiday and, despite getting a serious load of snot and headaches, has chilled me out more than I can say.
As for the wedding – spectacular. OK the full catholic mass was a pain in the arse…literally..and the knees for that matter, but that was no surprise really. Luckily the groomsmen, of which I was one, were composed of either severely lapsed catholics or atheists, or both, so we managed to have a laugh and yet still appreciate how wonderful the bride and groom were together. Michele, me and my mum (watching the webcast live from London) all welled up when they read the vows to each other.
The reception was mindblowing. I can’t begin to describe it. It’s easier to describe the bit that will stick in the minds of everyone there:
The bridal party (ie bridesmaids and groomsmen) were all ponced up in our tuxes. For reasons that would take too long to explain, the brides sister decided we should all be announced into the party bandaged up, on crutches, walkers and zimmer frames. In the mean time, the brides mum (mom) had already decided that we should be wearing these extravagant parrot hats. So we combined the two and attempted to get to the ballroom without being seen.
Now, this event was taking place in one of the poshest hotels in Philly. Brass, marble, obsequious staff, the lot. We hid in the lift, which was a good idea except for one thing: the doors. It was like Trigger Happy TV. The doors would open, revealing a bunch of people in over-formal dress, all bandaged up with plasters, zimmers, crutches and bandages…with parrot hats. The usual reaction was open-mouthed astonishment, just as the doors closed and we all fucked off to another floor. Repeat.
The bride and groom were intending to enter the room under a tunnel of the bridal party holding up recorders (that everyone referred to as “flutes”). However, when they did actually arrive they had to walk under an arch of crutches, zimmers and bandaged arms. Well…we were pissed and it was very funny at the time.
blur blur blur blur blur…
Someone offered me a coconut cigar. Now, I don’t smoke, but at the right time and in the right state of mind I will, very occasionally, smoke a cigar. Had a nice smoke and chat with various people, and then got asked to leave the ballroom by one of the coolies; there was no smoking there…America…they would have had no problem if I was brandishing an AR10…
Anyway, I wandered down to the hotel bar to complete my yummy coconut cigar, forgetting I was in a ludicrously posh tux (with tails), together with a large felt parrot on my head. Instantly I get called over by a table of three middle aged people who were clearly intrigued. To cut a long story short, they were Quakers and we had a really excellent hour-long chat about how much of a twat George Bush is. At the end, one of them told me that, despite me not being religious, they wished God would go with me. This is totally in-line with every other Quaker I have ever met: really, really sound, thoughtful, tolerant, kind, people. If only all religions were the same. If only I believed in a God! I’d be able to go out and either become a Quaker or a Sikh. Both excellent beliefs sets…if only it wasn’t for the whole God thing 🙂