Much “I Do” About Nothing

It was when my wife and her friends started decorating hats at midnight that I finally gave up trying to understand it and just went with it.

I’d known about this royal wedding soiree for some time.  Hell, I was even party to the preparations for it, making a grocery trip for the necessary food stuffs while Hannah was stuck at work.  Half the stuff I’d never even heard of, or at least had never heard of it being used in the combinations she had planned.  I can talk Monty Python and Doctor Who all day long; proper British wedding cuisine, not so much.

So there was a big fattening British-style dinner with a slow-cooked roast and potatoes and Yorkshire pudding; a midnight tea with Earl Gray (the tea, not the individual), biscuits (what we call cookies, you wacky Brits) and tiny sandwiches with some sort of walnut spread; and a breakfast with sausage and bacon and scones and fruit (and which was supposed to have bakes beans, but appetites were waning by this point).  I have to admit, everything was delicious (although I did skip the midnight meal because, hey, mogwai), but it didn’t especially put me in a mood to watch two people get married.

Not that I’m down on those who were.  It’s kind of funny, the amount of effort being spent on Facebook and Twitter by those turned off by the whole affair seemed far greater than that of those who were looking forward to it.  It wasn’t enough that they weren’t watching, all the world must be made to know they weren’t watching.  It’s not indignation if no one’s paying attention, I guess.  Besides, I get it.  I’m the guy who hung around Downtown Disney for six hours in order to get into the midnight showing of Revenge of the Sith, and who saw Fellowship of the Ring seven times in six days the week it came out.  For half of last night I was in the bedroom watching the NFL draft while checking my Twitter feed for reactions from various talking heads.  And I’m sure some of the people rolling their eyes at the wedding have their own objects of obsession they treat with just as much fervor.  Who are we to look down on some people getting up early to watch a fairy tale?

Because that’s what it was.  Say what you want about the royal family being propped up by taxes and being an antiquated institution, what happened this morning was that an ordinary girl married her prince and became a princess.  And that idea still has a powerful pull on a lot of people.  Even those fully aware that it’s not going to happen to them and that life doesn’t always work out so perfectly.  It was a few hours of pageantry and romance and nice dresses and cultured accents.  It was the Oscars and the Super Bowl and New Year’s Eve rolled into one and shared with about a billion people the world over.  And later today the sleepy spectators will go about their lives, no worse for wear save for some droopy eyelids.  I’m sorry, but I just can’t work up any vitriol over that.

I remember getting up early thirty years ago to watch Charles and Diana do their thing.  Back then the only empire I cared about was the one striking back, not the British one, but I got caught up in the enthusiasm of my mother and sister and so there I was early on a Wednesday morning during my summer vacation.  And I have to admit, I got caught up in the enthusiasm of Hannah and her friend Alex.  Even if the goings-on weren’t hitting me, I got a kick out of watching it hit them.  It’s nice to know my wife is capable of geeking out over something just as much as I am.

Even if my stuff is much, much cooler.  And geekier, for that matter.

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