Revenge of the Nerd Ch. 72byrpsuch©
After graduation my focus changed to my wedding.
I know I had been obsessive about the dress. I was accompanied by my mother, Sunny, Sandy, Jen and Jeff when I originally bought it.
Ha! Even if I had been able to hoodwink Jeff into coming, his most incisive comment would have been, "It's white."
The most fun part of the excursion for the others came when I asked, "Does this look alright on me?"
Jen was the first to break out in laughter, but the others followed immediately.
"The only thing I've ever seen you wear that might not have looked alright on you was that hideous getup you wore to my summer reading class so my students wouldn't be aware of how hot you were. Even then you had to put on makeup to play down your appearance.
"If you're going to ask us for an evaluation, the question ought to be: How wonderful do I look in this on a scale of nine to ten, all lower numbers being impossible to attain."
When I tried on another dress I asked, "Does this make me look like the most beautiful bride in the history of marriage or only the runner up?"
In the end it was unanimous: I did not look like the runner up.
The first week home I went twice for a fitting. Nothing had changed.
My third visit was at the beginning of the second week. I was uneasy about something, but I couldn't figure out what. I prevailed upon Sunny to go with me.
While we waited for the seamstress she said, "You sure are nervous, Ashley. Is something wrong?"
"I don't know. I don't think so, but I just can't relax."
The seamstress appeared.
"Here for your regular checkup, Ashley?"
I held my temper.
I got into my dress. They zipped it up. It seemed to fit alright.
"Does it look okay? Does it look too tight anywhere?"
The seamstress sighed and said, "Ashley, you have done the impossible. This is your fourth time in this dress. You have neither gained nor lost a single gram in all that time. The dress fits as if it were part of your body.
"Come in a few days before if it's really bothering you and you think it will require alterations. Stop making yourself crazy."
Before I met Jeff I would have ripped into her for saying that.
We started the drive back in an uncomfortable silence.
"Ashley, what is this about?"
"I don't know, Sunny. The wedding just has to be perfect and I'm worried it won't be."
"What will happen if it isn't perfect?"
"It would be horrible."
"Why? What would that cause? Would it make you get an incurable disease?"
"No, of course not."
"Would it make you get it annulled?"
"No, that's ridiculous."
"Would it make Jeff get it annulled?"
"Would it cause you guys to get divorced eventually?"
"Don't even say that."
"When I applied for my job, I had to wait to find out if I got it. I didn't get a letter. I didn't get a phone call. It wasn't on the local news or even in the paper. I came home one day and found a message on my answering machine telling me when I started. It wasn't exactly a magical hiring notice.
"What I remember is how much work I had to put in to feel I was doing the job I was hired for. I had to do a lot of reading and review. I had to decide what to put in my courses and what to leave out. I had to develop tests and figure out how I would get them graded. I had to decide how to evaluate the students' understanding of the material. I had to decide whom to hire as my assistants.
"Applying and getting hired was only a nanosecond of my career. The rest was being in the career, figuring how to make it work and how to make it fun.
"You applied for the position as Jeff's wife and you got the job. The official notice will be a celebration that takes less than half a day. That's the first nanosecond of your marriage. You're spending a tremendous amount of time and effort worrying about what's going to happen in the first nanosecond of your marriage.
"How much time have you spent figuring out how you're actually going to do the job of being married? How do you plan to pass the tests? What do you have planned to take care of problems which may arise?
"Are you spending all your time and effort on the celebration of the marriage and none of it on how to make the marriage something worth having?"
The only thing I could come up with is, "Is this a multiple choice question?"
I thought a little more. "You know, when you put it that way, it does seem kind of stupid."
"What way would I have to put it so it doesn't seem kind of stupid?"
"You know, Sunny, you could help me out here if you gave me some answers instead of asking so many questions."
"The marriage is more important than the wedding."
I had to laugh.
"I'll bet if you could do a survey of all the brides in the last fifty years, the number who understood that would be statistically insignificant."