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The Syndicate

 Nine days (part 1)   
 Author:  matt
 Dated:  Friday, October 08 2004 @ 03:37 AM PDT
 Viewed:  977 times  
LifeDay the first: Jewelry, tattoos, collars and knots

I hit the snooze button on my alarm clock for the umpteenth time and flopped back onto the bed. A few seconds later, the time registered in my brain, and I was out of bed cursing at myself.

My first experiments with my roommates' clothing steamer were, shall we say, less than impressive. The basic idea is that you've got this thing that looks like a part of a vacuum cleaner that shoots steam out, and you can use it to effectively iron clothing without having to worry about creases and seams. It doesn't give clothing the look of having been pressed, but works fine for a shirt that's going to be under a suit anyway.

Over the course of the first five minutes I had managed to burn myself twice, and I still hadn't scored a point against the wrinkles in my dress shirt. In the ensuing battle, I managed to coax the shirt into a mostly flat state and headed for the shower.

Reveling under the flow of warm water, my lethargy set back in and cost me an extra ten minutes. If things kept up at this rate, I might show up in time to buy the groom a drink.

I quickly dried off and threw on my suit. Amazingly, mercifully, I knotted my tie correctly on the first try, and sprinted out the door.

It should come as no surprise to those who know me that as fast as I ran out, I had to run back in because I had forgotten the directions. Now, when I say that I had forgotten the directions I don't mean that I had forgotten to grab them off of my dresser or something equally innocuous, but rather, that I had forgotten to surf them up and write them down.

My world-weary but usually dependable computer took the opportunity to make it known that not only had it been a month since it had been rebooted, but it had also managed to run out of space on the system drive because of anti virus logs and the uninstall scripts from Microsoft updates. I tried consoling it with the notion that I would shut it off mere seconds after it gave me the directions I needed, but it was being obstinate about the whole disk space issue. In my frustration, I did what any rational system administrator would do in that situation and kicked it really hard, at which point it turned its nose up at me in a huff and abruptly shut off.

The machine in the living room didn't behave much better until I described what I had just done to its compatriot, at which point it gave in to my terroristic demands and showed me the web page I needed. I debated unplugging it from the network so it wouldn't call the cops, but decided in the end that explaining that level of anthropomorphism to my roommates would be embarrassing at best, and may have led me to a nice long stay at old Sunnydale or whatever the local psych. ward is called.

There are times, however infrequently, that my Jeep and I don't get along. This, fortunately, was not one of those days. We instead became an integrated entity, and in an apparent affront to physics, the thing handled like a sports car. Forty-eight minutes after starting the motor in Watertown, I was sitting at a red light in Gloucester two blocks away from the ceremony, and one minute early.

It was a clear and beautiful day at Stage Fort Park. The ocean air breathed life into the small throng that sat patiently by the gazebo. The steady breeze kept the gulls aloft, and what clouds were in the sky caused sunlight to fall in visible beams. In about fifteen minutes, the band would play "Into the Mystic", and about ten minutes after that, a woman would change her name with the merging of families, but for a brief moment it was all secondary to a well-dressed group of onlookers who were simply enjoying the day.

After the wedding we went to the reception hall a few blocks away where a bartender handed me a Kamikaze on the rocks, made with sour mix instead of the more traditional Rose's Lime Juice. Beyond that, all I will say is that memories of somebody else's wedding and reception aren't really mine to give. It's a rare writer that can capture even a scent of the depth and breadth of emotion that's present at such an event, and I'm disinclined to try. The party after the reception, however, is a whole different story.

At some point in the relative chaos of making preparations to leave the reception, I was out in front of the hall chatting with some friends whom I've not seen in a while. They introduced me to a tired and somewhat somber young woman who had been working with the catering staff, but, it turns out, wasn't actually on the catering staff. She had originally been a guest of the wedding who stepped up to fill in for a waitress that had called in at the last minute, and while we were all happily ensconced in our cocoon of merriment, she had spent the last few hours scrubbing dishes. Let's call her, "Tara."

It seemed to be my friend's goal to play matchmaker that night, and despite the lingering patina of Palmolive and pork grease, I was inclined to participate, and Tara (I think somewhat grudgingly at the notion of being set up) decided to play along. A bit of tentative flirting and several cigarettes later, and she mentioned that she wouldn't be opposed to sharing the tent she planned on using. Normally, I would have countered with an offer to share my room, but, in what's rapidly becoming a tradition, I had shown up to the wedding with no plans as to where I'd be sleeping. Instead we joked about how the proprietors would react to somebody camping in their parking lot.

The entire groom's family and a large percentage of the other guests had taken over the majority of a lodging establishment that was a uniquely seaside mix of motel and cottages. That, I was told, was where the party would be, and so it was there that I headed, with a promise from Tara that she'd be there as well as soon as she'd showered and changed. After a brief side trip to a convenience store for anti-hangover supplies, I found my way to the continuing festivities.

Shortly after my arrival, the clock said midnight, and we sang "Happy Birthday" to the groom's mother.

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