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Stepping Stones

I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston. Solid wedding + life anthem

I feel like my last post was a bit of a cop-out. I spent the whole time talking about what growing up was like, but I did it with a [almost] entirely technical standpoint. There were a couple curveballs in there, but nothing really that surprising. After looking over the last week, I wanted to add a couple more view points. Of course, can’t get away with any posts without talking about work now1, so I’ll sneak another story like that in at the end.

One of my best friends, K, got engaged last year and asked me to be a groomsman. Oh boy, never had to deal with that before. What’s that even mean??? In case you are a humble life-go-er like myself, it involves

  • Suits!
  • Bachelor parties!
  • New friends!
  • Seeing old friends!
  • Booze and dancing and long nights

I’m going to skip over the bachelor party here, sorry if you want those details! Those are almost the opposite of this post though. They’re all about not growing up and pretending we are young2 again. Honestly, it worked though, so what can I complain about!

If I’m beting totally honest right now, I’m having a really hard time writing this post. It’s not emotionally challenging or anything, it’s just that the best memory I had of the last week was dancing along with all of my best friends to the track listed above. I had forgotten, I think, just for a little bit, how much I really loved those people. I had also forgotten how much I loved doing the things I loved to do with. Getting a little drunk (but lying about just how drunk) and going to these most ridiculous bars on campus. They would just play the same stuff over and over - pop and hip-hop, occasionally with some really bad pop punk attempting to mix in.

But here’s the thing, it didn’t matter at all. I loved every second of it. All I had to do was get over my inhibitions and just let go and fly away. Whitney, you’re so right. Yes I wanna dance, I’ll say I wanna dance. It’s one of the most things in the world. Being in drum corps taught me how much it was to perform. To just really get out there and flaunt my emotional self. To let everyone know how much energy I can pour into my body and my reactions and of course, all of that in time!

I must’ve danced for three or four hours, I honestly couldn’t keep track. Sure, I started off a little buzzed just to get the icebreakers done with, but I knew I’d be driving home, so I stopped drinking pretty early on3. Inertia had already taken control at that point though! There was no stopping the level of musical momentum coursing through my veins at that point. Was it the fancy shoes? Was it the fancy alcohol? Was it the (honestly fantastic) DJ? We may never know. All I know is that I couldn’t stop - track after track after track. Each one was like a personal obstacle course, but one of those hilarious Ninja Warrior ones. I wasn’t proving anything, and I probably wasn’t going to get through it, and I certainly was going to look like a fool - but I made it! Just in time for the next track to start.

Once it was all over, I had a few too many people comment on my dancing. They were nice, and JK, record scratch, freeze frame, the whole deal. In real life, I would play this off and say they were just being nice. I was about to do it here - I didn’t quite type it out and backspace it but it was definitely in my headspace. Not today, conquering that thought for now. People were kind and said nice things about what I did and I deserved them because I was actually pretty slick at dancing.

Heh, sorry for that aside. Writing in that stream of cosciousness was really fun. It was interleaved with a solid 10-15 minutes of dancing around my room. Not just little shuffles, we’re talking full on 80s teenage girl with the hairbrush microphone. Anyways, back on topic. The wedding, the wedding, the wedding. I just want to take a few seconds and talk about how insane my schedule was building up to this by the way:

  • Thursday night, work until 3AM finishing up a project because it needs to ship for work
  • Sleep at the office [barely] for a few hours, wake up around 7AM
  • Friday day, kill it, work all day pushing stuff out
  • Friday night, finish grabbing the last pieces of my suit and eat dinner
  • Run to the airport and take a red-eye to Chicago
  • Saturday morning, Land around 6AM in Chicago, take a rental car
  • Drive the 30min to the hotel
  • Roommate is a jerk and had his phone on silent and didn’t put my name on the room so WTF
  • One friend was up and gives me the room number 4
  • Sleep for 2-3 hours
  • Get to scene early and prep for wedding with photos, setting up, etc5

Now we’re at wedding time! The big moment we’re all waiting for. I’ll be honest, I’m nearly a ghost at this time - closer to a plastic bag blowing in the wind than a real person. Still, rally rally rally. Ceremony time! It’s the real thing!

Look, this was the first wedding where I realized

  • I knew both people as great friends
  • I sincerely believed they could pull this off

and I don’t know I put two and two together until that exact moment. I was really standing there, bawling my eyes out, watching those people talk about love in a way that I think I’ve only dreamed of. They exchanged vows which mentioned text messages from over seven years ago! What! That’s not adorable, that’s not cute, that’s not any of those dumb words you’ll surfacing on social media every few months or every Valentine’s Day. That was real magic I saw there. There was something in the air, that I saw with my own two eyes, that stitched those people together forever. Taking them apart now was like trying to toast back into bread. Removing the color from dyed water. Stuffing the magic smoke back into the world. Simply impossible, dear reader.

I never knew people could live and love and be like that and do that. Congrats K and A. I don’t need to wish you any luck. But thanks for showing me what’s possible. My worldview opened just a few degrees wider that day.

  1. A work life balance post is well deserved at this point ↩︎

  2. Wild and free? ↩︎

  3. Except for that one last tequila shot. Goddamn Greg, I missed ya ↩︎

  4. EXCEPT, TIME OUT, MAGIC STORY. That room number was his room number, not the one where I was expecting to stay. Except I misread it in my blurry sleepiness, and went to the wrong door. That door…. was actually the room where I was supposed to be!! Holy shit there is something supernatural about all of that. ↩︎

  5. Just to notate the insane ending schedule too, we partied all day until like 2AM. Slept for 3-4 hours, then up at 530AM to drop off the rental and get on a plane. Hit SFO around 10AM and just crash. Crash so hard. ↩︎