lord, lead us not into penn station
and we're back! trip taken, wedding wedded, in-laws out-lawed. it was, as far as these affairs go, a success. there were some bumps, i will admit, but it was a success. here's the story.
on friday, we headed to penn station as soon as our nanny arrived. we hopped onto our exorbitantly-priced monopolicious coach-class amtrak train. the in-laws would take over from frau nanny whenever they got in from vermont. not our problem! we boarded the train and sat down and heard a toddler cry off in the distance. a crying child? our ears perked. but then we thought to ourselves for the second time that morning: not our problem! cry all you want, little shit! we don't care because we don't have to make you stop. and then the train started and then ... and then we slept! for like three hours!
i love trains. the sweet lullaby cadence of the chugga-chug rumble-clack just puts a body to sleep. especially a body newly liberated of its 14-month-old daughter. thank you, in-laws! thank you thank you thank you. and thank you again.
upon arrival, we checked into our hotel and wandered through adams morgan. for those of you who care, mrs nice guy and i met in DC. big-ass irrelevant digression starts here: i like to tell people that we met because i answered an ad. this is technically true: it was an ad for a vacant room. she and i were roommates in an adams morgan brownstone -- i was attending grad school at GW, she was working for the cigarette lobby (hah! kidding! ... mostly!). aside from us, there were four other people in the house. after three months or so, the lease ran out and the landlord sold the house for the then-staggering sum of $500K.
... this, i will have you know, was a PRISTINE four-story brownstone with a massive top-floor loft and roof access and a yard with a POND and a garage and an income-generating basement apartment ... and it all sold for what that basement apartment alone would now command. why, oh why, did i not have $500K as a 22-year-old grad student?
anyway, mrs nice guy and i moved, platonically, into another two-bedroom apartment in the neighborhood and we lived together platonically as roommates for another YEAR before she violently seduced me. the rest is history, but that is neither here nor there. end of big-ass irrelevant digression. so we were back in DC for the weekend and we checked out our old stomping grounds.
man, our old stomping grounds are a WHOLE lot seedier than i remember them being. has that ever happened to you? memory is a hell of a lens for making your past look prettier.
after that disorienting trip down memory lane, we met up with crazy auntie and uncle nice guy and their crazy son and their crazy friend and we had dinner and way too many drinks. then we met up with our old DC friends and had way too many drinks again along with a second dinner. then we went back to the hotel and slept the sleep of the Unburdened.
then the wedding. oh, man. it was held in the oldest catholic church in the capital. JFK used to worship there ... presumably the mornings after shtumping marylin monroe in the west wing men's room. i did what any self-respecting man-about-DC does in the summer and i DONNED THE BADDEST SEERSUCKER SUIT EVER TO GRACE A BODY CAN I GET AN AMEN?
the groom was a friend that we made after leaving DC when mrs nice guy was studying for her master's at an obscure college in cambridge, mass. he is australian and very dashing and much smarter than i am. now, many years later, i was at his wedding and the wedding was very nice. but a bit perplexing: the ceremony was at noon but the reception not until 6 pm. what was a humble pilgrim to do in the interim? lunch? drink? canoodle? shmooze? stroll? gallivant? run amok? and what about the reception? should i wear a second suit for the evening?
the answers: in the interim one is supposed to EAT LOTS OF BARBEQUE at rocklands. ribs. ribs piled high. ribs piled high and slathered with multiple sauces. ribs piled high and slathered with multiple sauces, accompanied with mac'n'cheese and apple sauce. CAN I GET ANOTHER AMEN? (good people of rocklands: please bring a franchise into new york city, which is so painfully devoid of decent barbeque and if anybody ever tried to tell me otherwise i would have to embarrass them publicly in front of their children because it's irrefutably not true. there is no good barbeque in new york. i have looked. WE NEED ROCKLANDS IN NEW YORK.)
i did bring another suit, but because it is black and made of wool and it was 39,657 degrees outside, i opted to wear my seersucka suit again (i have been told that it is not "authentic" seersucker, whatever that means, which is fine by me because now i get to call it nearsucker, sucka!). also, i chose to wear my seersucker suit because after eating at rocklands i found i needed to be as comfortable as possible as i had developed a severely painful and disturbingly resilient case of explosive diarrhea.
sitting in the cab on the way over to the reception was the most tense 10 minutes of my life. was i going to make it? clearly, as any woman surfing the crimson tide knows, you do not wear white pants every 28th day. well, my sphincter was looser than a $2 tijuana whore on cinco de mayo and despite the heat i was seriously wishing i had opted for my black wool trousers. was i going to make it? ah. i was. within .02 seconds of arriving at the venue and tipping the cabbie 400%, i located all bathrooms within the fancy mansion -- including the secret bathrooms, and those of you who have had bathroom emergencies know what i am talking about -- and quickly introduced myself to them all. one of them, mercifully, was stocked with pepto-bismol and i partook liberally (probably the only liberal thing that had ever happened in that house).
and then i bit the bullet, clenched my cheeks and joined the rest of the gang at the very fancy party which was quite elegant and also very fancy. it was held in a large 1801 Federal estate with lots of typical fancy-estate fixin's, like candelabras and chandeliers and portraits. oh, the portraits! portraits of the old and infirm. portraits of long-dead people, draped in jewels and monocles, aspiring to cement some sort of legacy. portraits of then-famous now-unknowns, desperately grasping at some sort of immortality that money had ultimately failed to secure. there were portraits, also, of this guy:
i mean, tell me you don't want to be him. look at him! the confident curl of his lip? you're born with that. money helps. the size of his belt buckle and butterfly collar? timeless. pointing at his crotch with both hands? hawt. the coup de grace? mood ring.
i am getting tired of typing this post, which means you must be bored to tears reading it. sorry. the point here is that aside from a particularly unexpected case of exploding ass syndrome (EAS), i managed to have a pretty damn good time. the live band helped. they were called, i shit you not, Powerhouse. and they were from baltimore and, i shit you not again, they were awesome. when we arrived they were playing a smooth-ass rendition of george benson's Breezin' and their repertoire included the ike 'n' tina version of "Proud Mary" and an incredibly insane michael jackson medley that started with "i want you back" and went through "bad" and included a choreographed thriller-dance and a bizarro monologue about how, granted, "billie jean may not be my lover but that don't mean i touched on no little boys!" okaaay.
so, yeah, good time. sure, due to my assplosions i had to excuse myself from the table with an alarming and embarrassing frequency. but i drank enough champagne to quell the rumblings in my tummy -- or at least to not notice them -- the unintended consequence being that i had a hangover the next morning that absolutely required a spicy bloody mary at the wedding brunch ... which instantly re-waxed my waning EAS. such are the paradoxes of my life.
we made it back into penn station on sunday in enough time to put the girl to bed. mrs nice guy took her parents out to dinner in order to thank them for not letting her die while we were away. i opted to stay home and mind the slumbering child, mostly because i wanted to sit undisturbed on my toilet, shedding silent tears as i felt the last of my life-force leave my body through the back door. and you know what? i still want rocklands to open a branch in new york.