Getting There Is Half The Battle
I’ve traveled alone many times. I have no problem navigating around airports, and I can even manage to explore a new city alone as long as I have a map and a subway. However, I have never rented a car.
If you rode in a car with me from, oh, 1997 – 2002, then you know I can drive like a little old lady, ‘specially if it’s a new car and I have no idea where I am. The drive from Tampa to Sarasota is about an hour, and every website gave me different directions. So, I was really scared that I would crash or get lost or something…
…and then I got on the bridge at I-275. The ocean spread out as far as I could see. The sun was setting, creating pink and purple reflections on the water and shadows of the seagulls flying in the sky. I reached over and turned on the radio, and I heard the opening chords of “Let It Be”. And then everything felt perfect.
Tony found a great hotel for us to stay at. It was at a marina, so I got to dig my toes in the sand a little bit. Then I met up with Liz and Andy and his family. They are from Jersey, which means I automatically love them. I know people from their hometown, which means they automatically loved me. They were rooting for the Cards even though we were playing the Mets. Love all around. Liz and I shared strawberry daiquiris because we are BFFs and have the same brain. Love.
When I got back to the hotel, Kevin Federline was on Jay Leno. This could be a good sign or bad, depending on if you have my sense of humor. Either way, the Cards won and made it to the World Series. Holla!
I Feel Pretty, Oh So Pretty
The next morning we met up to get our dresses altered. Surprisingly, my dress was too big in the boobs. All the bridesmaids giggled as we ran around in super-long skirts and weird halter-thingies. I told everyone to not laugh at my strapless bra. Then I held it over my eyes like I was from “The Fly” and everyone laughed. The lady pinned us up and we were on our way.
This is how well-adjusted I was to my rental car by then: I gave myself a FRENCH MANICURE. WHILE DRIVING.
We went to the nail salon to get pedicures, which I’ve never done before. We turned on the massage chairs and shrieked because they were so strong. The lady used that scrubber thing on my feet and it tickled like hell.
I told Liz beforehand that when my feet get tickled, my first instinct is to kick for dear life. So she spent her whole pedicure watching me as I struggled and giggled and strained to not kick the nice lady holding my foot. “You’re face is turning red,” Liz said, “You look so funny! You’re making me laugh! Stop making me laugh.” Then she laughed and laughed, to the point where the ladies holding our feet laughed, too.
After the pedicures, I had to go pick up Tony. This is how well-adjusted I was to my rental car by then: I found a SHORTCUT TO THE HOTEL. BY MYSELF.
Girl Scouts Are Always Prepared
So then… wedding rehearsal. I see Taj for the first time in 5½ years and we hug. We get warned about fire ants in the sand, and the boys tease us for wearing open-toe shoes. Everybody sweats, as it is 90 degrees. We don’t really rehearse; the lady just points and talks. The girls get nervous. Luckily, I have been taking notes during my last SEVEN WEDDINGS, so I feel prepared. I whisper to one girl that everybody always fucks up and nobody ever notices. She looks relieved. The DJ whisperingly asks me if I have any requests. I tell him Beasties. Lots of Beasties.
As we walked back to the car, Tony asks Taj if his first dance will be to a Beastie Boys song. His fiancé Randi shakes her head, meaning this has actually been discussed on numerous occasions. Taj explains that he’ll start out with a slow song, but he wants the DJ to mix it just right, so that it kicks into the Beasties. Then he demonstrates: “La lalala. La lalala. (scratch) WICKYWICKYWICKY.” Then he hops around and beatboxes. Randi winces.*
Liz talks to the dress lady on the phone. The dresses are not ready. Liz places her hand on her hip, stamps her foot, purses her lips and furrows her brows. Everyone screams “Bridezilla!!!!” we run away, laughing. Liz will laugh about it too, about 24 hours later.
Betty Crocker in the Hizzaaaaaay
The rehersal dinner was a great time. There’s nothing too out of the ordinary to mention, except for the part when we started telling our favorite Liz stories. We mentioned the best one of all, which is the brownie story.
Liz had just finished explaining that she admitted this story to her mom about five years later. Then her mom appeared out of nowhere all, “Did I hear my name?” We talked to her for a minute, then this happened:
Taj: Hey mom, Liz made brownies.
Mrs. J: Oooh, really?
Mrs. J: Where are they?
Taj: No, I mean… she made brownies. Heh. YOU know.
Liz: THOMAS ARTHUR JUNIOR!
Mrs. J: Oooh, BROWNIES. I get it. Haha.
(Mrs. J walks away)
Liz: I am going to kill you.
Taj: What? C’mon.
Liz: Dead. You are so dead.
We fed her champagnee for a couple of hours, until she finally admitted that, for real, that was hysterical.
Tony and I Glimpse the Future
After the dinner we walked back to Liz and Andy’s place. Liz ordered Tony to propose to me. Then she mentioned our wedding about twenty times, told us that we are in L-U-V, and made everyone else agree with her.
Laura forced her husband to refill her wine glass about once every half hour. Then she ordered him to refill Kelly’s glass as well. Laura is hilarious, so every time she snapped her fingers, we would laugh as Joe headed to the bar.
By the end of the night, she was lecturing him on how to use a ballpoint pen. “No no, honey. CLICK the top. This button, right here. THEN you write.”
Tony leaned over and whispered with mock hope, “We could be just like them.” I laughed so hard that I choked on my champagne.
We went back to the hotel and fell asleep watching Ghostbusters II in Spanish. ¿Quién llamará usted?
*Taj has been a Beastie Boys fanatic since the beginning, which means that Liz, Kelly, and I have been Beastie Boys fanatics since the beginning. In high school, Taj’s license plate on his car said “SABOTAJ”, which is still the coolest personalized plate I’ve ever seen.