Friday, September 25, 2009

A farce of a farce

But I almost forgot to tell you about my wedding. We both wore black, of course, a very sophisticated black. I was featuring a jacket I got at Le Chateau the first time I went to Montréal, it must’ve been junior year of high school when I was visiting colleges and I went up with my father, was it just my father? The thing I remember the most is going out to a bar called Les Foufounes Electriques, I’m not sure how I ended up going out to a bar by myself if I went up with my father, maybe he went to bed and I went out? Anyway, just down the street was this bar that turned out to the legendary, a legendary punk bar although I didn’t know that yet but I did go there two nights in a row and I was trying only to speak French, I wanted to become fluent -- vodka orange, s’il vous plait? A few people came up to me and asked, avez-vous du mesc, or at least that’s what I thought they said, and I’d just read Burroughs, so I figured they thought I was the mescaline dealer, how sophisticated!

Pas maintenant, I said -- not now. I’m still not sure exactly what they were asking for -- maybe meth? Or a match? But anyway, at some point my father and I walked by Le Chateau, a whole display window filled with nothing but Eurotrash black dresses and sleek black modified military punk-industrial type jackets, I couldn’t believe they were so cheap. Either this was before Le Chateau was a trashy store at the mall where you bought tacky clubwear, or I didn’t notice I was buying tacky clubwear, or both, but anyway I was definitely excited about that jacket but then there was never anywhere to wear it, I mean I must’ve worn it somewhere but then I didn’t wear it until my wedding, it was perfect for a wedding. Looking at a snapshot, I see that Laurie and I look positively resplendent in the office of the justice of the peace in Providence, Rhode Island, ‘70s wood paneling to our right, a bouquet of fake flowers behind us, an overstuffed file cabinet to our left. Laurie holds a bouquet of real flowers -- carnations, even -- and I wear a boutonniere just below my shoulder, emphasizing the metal buttons up the right side of the jacket, and yes yes of course we stare into each other’s eyes.

Here we hug in a photo with the other guests, and I’m relieved to see that it’s a mishmash of all different types, not the edge-trendy Modern Culture Media majors for the most part, or at least not yet. And yes, the rice they threw in our direction was bulk organic whole grain brown rice, we certainly wouldn’t have allowed anything else. Oh -- but why were we getting married, you ask? Simple! Our lovely university required all students to live on campus for three years, to make sure they could collect as much money as possible on their overpriced dorm rooms. You could rent a whole huge house with a bunch of people off-campus, and pay about half as much as the university charged to share a dorm room. Not that we wanted to live in a dorm room anyway -- I mean, my dorm wasn’t so bad, but Laurie’s was right on frat row!

And so, as with all marriages, Laurie and I were planning for the future, although we had to borrow a ring from a friend, a big plastic silver flower. We called the whole thing a farce of a farce, planned on getting big chunky silver rings for that special finger with that slogan wrapping around. Oh, right -- you’re still wondering. Here’s the thing: there was a loophole in the university housing policy. If you were married, with the requisite documentation from a justice of the peace, then of course you could move off campus and into conjugal bliss. We’d gotten the idea from a senior who had done the same thing a few years earlier, a senior who strangely lived on campus, maybe it was something about what his financial aid would pay for? Maybe there was one other couple who had done it before, but mostly it was the kind of thing people talk about but didn’t dare.

Later that same senior sold us fake cocaine as we headed away, but anyway we got married and then received off-campus housing permission. We even rented an enormous oldhouse nearby, the same house where earlier in the year one of those Modern Culture Media students told me flat out: last year, I was the coolest first year, but this year that’s you. The Minutemen were playing -- the band, I hadn’t heard of them before: one of their songs said: “I think I’m gonna get married, buy a ring, for the second toe.” The strangest part is that here I’m looking at a sheet of notes I took from a meeting to organize a SAMA protest where we were planning to encircle University Hall, and maybe even symbolically burn EQUAL ACCESS in the front, and here is the name of that exact same student, one who in my mind I was so certain would be too jaded to move in any direction towards protest, and here she is, at least in my notes, committing to coordinating video documentation. Do you see how everything wraps together?

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