It's been a week of unusual activity for the Double D (my name for the flute/guitar duet I am the doubtful half of). No sooner had the Cake (icing) Gig was on the books, a call came in for a wedding the same week.
When someone calls (especially the bride to be) on Monday for a wedding on Saturday, there's only one word to be held up to the light: casual. The other, and most immediate thought, in the minds of all sensible musicians is: you can charge whatever you want. And that's what we did. Anybody who has waited this long will pay almost whatever the musicians ask because time is running out.
After a brief jaunt through somewhat unfamiliar territory in South Hills, we found the house. We arrived as planned, around 6:30, but were told that guests would be arriving at 7:00. Nope. Some guests were already there.
"Should we unload first?" Li-Li asked as we parked right in front of the house.
"No, let's go check it out."
My rule: never unload anything until you know where you are going. A 40 lb amp is no fun to schlep about without direction. Add the 40 lb gig bag and various and sundries...you get the picture.
Going around the stone path to the back, we immediately set out to find out who's in charge. Evidently no one. At one point, my partner turns to me and says,
"No one has a clue what's going on!" We find a man and ask who do we talk to about setting up. He says, "The bride is over there in the white shirt."
The only person in a white shirt is a man.
"We might be at a gay wedding", Li-Li whispers. The look on our faces must have been priceless. A first! One for the books! We finally have truly reached the height of the wedding circuit!
Then it dawns on me: Can't be. No same sex marriage in West Virginia. But still doubt rules.
Li-Li talks to the owner of the house and not only gets the scope, that no, this is not a gay wedding and yes, we can set up by the small fountain. This is one of those faux angelic Greek fountains that looks and sounds like the damn thing is eternally taking a piss.
As I settle down to tune my guitar, I realize that all my toting of equipment has caught up with me and the heat and humidity are taking their toll. I need to cool down. Man, I feel out of focus. Though I brought it, the suit jacket in now not an option. Don't care what it looks like. Even Li doesn't say a word over the decision.
Diversion and Bitching:
This prompts the question: Why do people have outdoor weddings in July? Why? Doesn't make a lick of sense. It's idiotic and cruel at best. One time, the musicians stayed out in the searing sun while the guests very wisely stayed under shelter or in the house.
Even better: why have them outdoors at all? One time, we did a wedding that was in the fall, out in God's country, on a top of a ridge and one that was supposed to happen during a sunset. Too bad the wedding wasn't scheduled late enough in the day because the sun was still nuclear and, of course, all the guests stayed inside while we played outdoors to the empty chairs. Good planning.
When the actual wedding began, after a ridiculously long wait, we watched guests swat at the bees and other insects that kept swarming above their heads. This was while an interminably long Pachebel Canon (dubbed the Taco Bell Canon) kept repeating in what must have been the slowest procession of bridesmaids on record. It was like watching the X Files bees episode. Surreal.
Back to zee story:
The ceremony was as short and sweet as promised by the bride. Another rule: second marriage ceremonies are very short. I like short ceremonies.
The photographer was a slender gal who, despite having long sleeves, quite obviously had a wealth of tattoos. This whole my body as a billboard attitude completely eludes me. Of that school of thought, I am indeed an old fogey. She looked fairly comfortable behind the lens, carefully framing her shots, but certainly didn't have that jaded wedding photog look about her. Her unconventional looks matched her friends: the thin-as-a-rail urban rocker types. One gal casually sipped a beer while watching the nuptials. Methinks I might be more conservative in these matters than I will ever realize. It's just wrong, dudes. Top drawer, honey, top drawer.
We spoke with a man who knew the other half of the DD and I was introduced. He was a fan of our station and of my show. Though it sounds like a cliche, it's always a pleasure to meet listeners. At one point, he exclaimed:
"You sound exactly like you do on the radio!"
Not saying the snarky comment that flashed into my mind, I replied,
"Well, I try to bring a down-to-earth approach to the music."
It's over. We play a few songs, but I made it clear that the reception and the ceremony are separate fees. Time to pack up. And always the hassle of figuring out who is going to pay for services rendered. Since it is gauche to simply walk up to the bride, extend one's palm and say, "Ok, honey cakes, time to pays the piper," one must have some tact. We decide that Li-Li should first approach and introduce herself, then I will shortly follow. Another rule: always first compliment the bride on "how lovely it was"..blah blah blah. Then, if the verboten subject does not arise, then ask, "Did you want to just mail us a check?" Ahh...you see. To the point and yet not brusque.
Played, paid and on our way, it is a hot evening and the air conditioning is blasting as we wind out way back to the Li-Li abode. The monkey suit is half off, the tie is loose, the air co blasts and the Dynamic Duo has done another wedding.
One nearly gay wedding.