On the night before the wedding, Bill and I visited our family in the throes of insanity. The drive to the apartment was chaotic, but that was nothing compared to what was going on inside when we arrived. I can attempt to describe it to you, but you will only be able to understand glimpses of it. I was there and I still can’t figure it all out.
Last Minute Wedding Arrangements
The most entertaining of the on-going activities, in my opinion, was the ritual of packing scotch into suitcases. I’d been challenged by organizing three bottles into my checked luggage and all I had to worry about was a weight limit. This operation was tied to an intense discussion of the seating arrangements which was going through endless changes, right there at the 11th hour. I know all seating charts tend to be in constant flux, but both the bride and her soon-to-be sister-in-law were now on the verge of tears…or murder…or maybe both.
Rather than three bottles of one kind of scotch, the groom was in charge of countless bottles of scotch in a wide variety of brands, that were somehow being organized into suitcases, based on the seating chart discussion. Egyptian weddings don’t have bars. Bottles of scotch are delivered to the table by the waiters, but you don’t just buy X numbers of bottles of Y brand scotch. Most people have a favorite brand and to honor them you must provide their brand of scotch. On some tables there were people with varying tastes and decisions had to be made as to whether you moved the people or changed the scotch.
Thankfully, I was married in America and served the same champagne to everyone. All this craziness was making me thankful for a lot of American things.
This very important scotch operation was frequently interrupted by calls to the groom from the so-called wedding planner, who was actually only a florist. She was out of town and in spite of the many assurances she had provided that her absence would in no way effect the smooth execution of the wedding, she was now making call after call to inform the groom he was going to have to see to this being delivered or that being picked up. To cope with it all the groom was helping the other family members consume the contents of several bottles of scotch which happened to be open and therefore were not being sorted into the suitcases.
The Ebb and Flow of It All
I heard rumors that the seating chart and scotch operation continued throughout the night, but I wouldn’t know, because, of course, I fell asleep and had to be taken back to the hotel far earlier than the end of the festivities.
From the moment we entered the apartment I was baffled by all the action going on around me. I’d observed the sleeping children, seating arrangement frustrations and scotch packing in the bedrooms of the apartment. Someone was cooking a meal in the kitchen. A group of men were opening a bottle of champagne in the dining room. I made my way to a sofa and acted as an observer.
Like the flora and fauna living in a tide pool, the occupants of the apartment crashed around the rooms in surges of waves and then settled into new pockets as the wave retreated. One moment everyone would be in the dining room and then I’d find myself sitting alone in the living room with not a family member in sight.
One wave crashed the family into the living room with me and I was able to distribute those all-important gifts that had distracted me since we decided to go to Egypt. As far as I know, the gifts were a great success, but even if they were all wrong, the family members pretended they were perfect. See, they do love me, in spite of my otherness.
With the waves of people came waves of invitations to eat and drink. Many of the invitations were verbal and usually included a long list of choices. In spite of my continued protestations that I was fine, the invitations to eat and drink continued. Eventually, the hostess began to ignore what I said and just bring boxes of pastry, bottles of water, a diet soda, sandwiches and a variety of other things to place on the coffee table in front of me. Then I’d be offered another list of possible comestibles.
Once the gifts were open I began to drift into a snooze. It was way past my bedtime. I’m sure the details of getting back to the room were fascinating, but all I know was that I woke up the next day at the Fairmont.