Four Days in L.A. (Part 3)

I wake up on Shaun and Adam’s couch at about 7 in the morning. Truth is, I didn’t really sleep well and it was kind of hot all night and I was still wearing the same clothes from the day before when I got off the plane. I try to think about what happened after dinner last night, and then it all kind of comes back to me.

I remember going to Magnolia with Tasha, meeting up with Shaun and Adam, and having some more drinks before we headed over to The Well. Across the street from that bar is the Hollywood Palladium where I worked on and off for 8 years, and as I looked at it now on a dark night it seems so peaceful and quiet, unlike the last two years of my life when I worked there.

That place was always a shit show, which I assume must be a trend in my life because the place in Seattle that I currently work certainly has the same qualities of shit I used to endure on a daily basis, only worse.  The only thing that is missing are the bands and the intermissions where I would be able to get a half hour break from bartending. A break now? What the hell is that? I make drinks for 8 hours straight and probably haven’t taken more than an seven minute break since I’ve been hired.

“Do you live in the city of Seattle?” Adam asks.

“I live like six miles north of the city, but it’s still Seattle proper.” I replied.

“Seattle Proper!!” Tasha mocks

Has no one ever heard of that saying?  But, that’s pretty much the epitome of what my friends and I do. We talk about shit in our lives, bust each other’s balls, then do it all over again. Adam I leave the small group to have a smoke outside and we start talking about the last six months. It’s great to see him again. Adam and I are a lot alike in the sense that we’re both really good guys who never seem to get a break when it comes to relationships. I guess you could say we are handicapped in some way. He tells me about a girl at work he had been into that didn’t work out, and I tell him about the girl at work I had been into that didn’t work out.  There is this humbling connection he and I have when it comes to talking about failing in love, and yes you read that right.  I did not type the word “falling” because the former seems to happen more than the latter.

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We chat for awhile and before I know it it’s close to one in the morning and it’s at this point when the memories start to get a little fuzzy. However, one of the last things I do is spot a sign on the door of the building next to the bar, and I laugh because I can’t believe we were just talking about this. I snap a picture and I show it to Tasha

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The next morning  the sun is shining through Shaun and Adam’s living room window and even the blanket that I draped over the curtains isn’t really doing any good keeping the light out. The fan is on full blast and it’s not long before Tasha comes to pick me up and we head over to our old apartment in Hollywood where I haven’t been for the last six months. It’s already approaching 88 degrees at ten am, and I can feel all the wine, bourbon, and beer seeping out of me as I sit on the porch and wait for Tasha to get there.

“I need a burger and a diet coke” I say to her as I get into the car.

She puts the air conditioning on blast and we drive over to Carlton Way to do the final walk through at the apartment. After we park I run into my old landlord and I wonder if he knows I haven’t lived in the place since January and I’ve been illegally subletting it to my bff. I tell him we’ll be ready in about 20 minutes for the walk though and I head up the stairs and walk into apartment #310 for the last time ever. It’s smaller than I remember, but it’s just as empty as the first day I moved in back in 2011, minus the bed and the two couches Tasha and I have to dispose of in the middle of the hottest part of the day after I’ve barely slept and I am still wearing the same clothes from the night before. This is going to be tough, not mentally, but physically, but maybe a little bit mentally too as I would come to find out.

As Tasha cleans up parts of the bedroom and the kitchen, I get to work moving the box spring and mattress down the flight of stairs and into the trash area. It looks like a furniture store down there as there are tables, chairs, a bed, and other stuff  and I assume someone just moved out until I notice a sign posted on the wall. The sign reads something like:

“Do not take any of the stuff in this area, it is infested with bed bugs.”

Gross. I throw Tasha’s old box spring down against the wall and I make sure not to touch ANY of the other items near the dumpster. I’m not surprised at all by the fact that there is a bed bug infestation going on at that apartment. Tasha and I went through the same thing back in 2012 when we had to get rid of my old bed and cover everything while they bombed the apartment. I remember her and I checked into a hotel room down the street that day and took the cat and the rabbit with us against the rules of the motel. That afternoon we got drunk on chardonnay and ate thai food until some time after the sun went down when we could move back into our apartment.

My sunglasses are slipping off of my face in the stifling California heat, so I head back up into the apartment, dragging my feet and desperately in need of food and water which will eventually come but not before I look around the apartment and reminisce a little bit.

5741 Carlton Way #310 represented a dream that Tasha and I had for years. A dream of being successful creators of our own TV show, and even though we didn’t carry out the couch ourselves, that couch was where it all began. I can’t put into words what we went through over those 3 and a half years, so instead let me post a picture of Tasha’s instagram that she uploaded shortly after we finished the walk through of the apartment that day which pretty much sums it up.

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Trent & Tilly, the web series, and then the TV show was the lifeblood of me and Tasha’s career, even though we didn’t make a dime off of it. We made a bunch of webisodes and a half hour pilot episode, but you’ll probably never see them. We worked really hard, sacrificed a lot, and in fact, I went into debt thousands of dollars just trying to stay in Los Angeles another two years to see if there was a chance the show would actually turn into a reality.  It was such a good idea for a TV show, and it still is so I’m not going to give away any plot elements just in case.  We had celebrities in the pilot, agents to negotiate our deals, managers who wanted to rep us, people who wanted to work with us and people who we fired for being idiots.  But the real magic of it all was that Tasha and I had this obvious chemistry on screen that everyone could see, and sometimes was captured when we weren’t playing our parts, but instead, we were just playing ourselves. Here is an example from 2014 of what I mean:

I finally meet up with Alex, who also was the inspiration for a character in our show, and he walks me through the apartment making notes of what needs a touch up, the couches that need to be removed, and what needs to be fixed like the window in the kitchen that I broke last summer when I was frustrated as fuck.  I remember a wrote a blog about that day….

I Will Never Fail Drama

Alex speaks in a thick Russian accent and as we finish the walk through he has some very nice words to say about me and Tasha.

“You are good tenants.  So EEEF…you ever want to move back in, it will be ok no problem.”

This comes after he tells me that when they renovate the apartment they will probably charge $1600 a month for it.  As much as I appreciate how much he appreciated me as a tenant, there is no way I would ever move back into this apartment building and pay $500 more a month than what I was paying.  Besides, I don’t want to live in L.A. anymore but even if I did, you can’t go back.  You must go on.

I shake hands with Alex, he tells me that my security deposit refund should be in the mail within two weeks and I highly doubt I’m going to get anything back, so you could imagine how surprised I was the other day when I got a check in the mail for $600.  That pretty much paid for my trip and whatever expenses I incurred over the four days.

This was a hard day in L.A. Not only was it hot and I was tired and suffering from Hollywood allergies, but I had to say goodbye to a time and a place in my life…again. Six months ago I blogged about how in the last few minutes before I left for Seattle, I took a last look around the apartment as Tasha asked me if I wanted to take a picture. When I heard her say that, I got a little choked up and I said “No, I just need to go.” This time tough, I indulged in that opportunity.

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Thirty minutes later, Tasha and I find ourselves exhausted, sitting in a Carl’s Jr. on Pico and San Vincente eating cheeseburgers, fries, and drinking diet cokes. I miss Carl’s Jr. a lot.  It was probably one of the most rewarding fast food meals I have had in decades. We sit there chowing down our first bit of food since the day before reflecting on the afternoon, emotionally and physically drained from the last 24 hours. There is really only one thing left to say.

“I need a nap.”  I say to her.

“Me too.” She replies.

 

 

 

Four Days In L.A. (Part 2)

I got off the plane at LAX around 3pm on Saturday July 23rd.

I stop in at the International terminal, and I immediately think how I am going to be surrounded by anyone other than Americans so I should watch out for European families on vacation, dressed in tacky print shirts, khaki shorts, fanny packs, and middle-aged men wearing sandals that have no right to do so. It’s the only terminal that you can just walk into and get a drink at a bar without having a ticket to board a plane, so I sit at some pizza restaurant and order a skinny bitch, otherwise known as a vodka and diet coke.

I know you’re probably laughing at the fact that I sometimes order that drink, but it tastes good to me, and even if I’m hungover the next day  I surprisingly still enjoy drinking diet coke so that says something about the truth of my addiction to diet soft drinks. Probably not the worst thing in the world. I mean, it’s not like I’m a heroin addict.

I text Tasha that I’m on the Departures level of the International terminal because it’s less busy and easier to pick up people than on Arrivals. Thirty minutes later as I’ve been waiting outside on the top level for her to pull up, and after I specifically text her two more times to make sure she chooses the Departues lane when she gets to the airport, she calls me to tell me she’s on the Arrivals level. Of course she is.

I’ve known Tasha for over 9 years now, and the fact that I made a point to make sure she knew where to go, and she ended up not going where I told her to go doesn’t surprise me at all. That’s just Tasha. There are some people who can connect the dots when driving cars and multi task like a pro and who also have a good sense of direction. Sadly, this is not Tasha, but she makes up for it so many other ways that it doesn’t really bother me. I remember when it used to, when we dated almost 7 years ago and we were the pinnacle example of a hot and cold couple, which probably had everything to do with how dramatic we both were. I’m sure it was no accident that Katy Perry had a song out that year by the same name.

Thing is, Tasha is one of my favorite people and the only ex of mine that I became best friends with after we broke up. It was almost like life wouldn’t let us NOT be friends. After the relationship we worked together, we lost a pet together, we went to all my friends weddings together, and then we created a televison show, sold it, and then lost the deal together. She’s my best friend and we’ve been through some good times, some difficult times, and some shit times, and all of that has led up to this momemt, me returning to L.A. after six months and her pulling up outside the terminal in her pearl white Fiat Abarth.

“Welcome back, bitches!” She screams as I open the door.

I’m excited to see her. She looks great, but Tasha always looks great. She’s fabulous and takes good care of herself and has these big features and this natural beauty that doesn’t even wain when she wakes up from a hangover. I start telling her about my drink at the bar with Anna Faris, and she starts telling me about this indie horror movie she’s up for called Clown Motel.

Not Clown “Hotel” which I imagine would come with a continental breakfast and free Wi-Fi, but Clown “Motel” which is most likely located on a creepy, desert road with a gravel parking lot, two vending machines and an ice bucket. We laugh but of course I tell her I’m proud of her because I know that she’s is way more talented than this town has given her credit for.

We make our way back to her new apartment in Beverly Hills, but it’s not as glamourish as the Walsh residence from 90210. Tasha has just moved into this sublet with her rabbit Rocco after 6 months living at my old Hollywood apartment. We have to do the final walk through tomorrow, but now all I can think about is this little bunny in front of me who got me through some hard times the last year or so when he frequently lived with me in L.A.
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I tell him that my cat Dapple who he lived with for three years has passed away, but I’m pretty sure he already knew somehow. It’s great to see him, but it’s also time for Tasha and I to freshen up and go get ourselves some dinner and many many drinks.

We Lyft to Kabuki on Sunset and Vine which was always our go to place for business meetings, happy hour, (aka jappy hour) and gorging on sushi and wine. I walk in and accidentally kick the glass door with my foot. The host makes a funny comment and I realize I’m back in a town where people just speak their minds.

“If you break my door, we’ll just add it to your bill.” he says.

I laugh because it was funny and we get seated at a table and I immediately request a bottle of wine to start. We order three different types of rolls and a garlic steak, Tasha and I start catching up from the last six months.

I left L.A. because I felt like there was nothing left there for me. I was exhausted mentally, physically, emotionally and financially and I was tired of the struggle and the competition and I had been there for thirteen years and even though I aged gracefully, there is this enormous amount of pressure to stay young and defy the laws of physics. As an actor I had a small amount of success in my mid thirties, but by the time I turned forty, I was so over the rat race and the mental traps that I would seldom fall into that it started to take it’s toll on my confidence.

“You’re so much more confident now than when you left. I can see it in you.” Tasha says

She’s right. I used to get panic attacks in L.A. cause I was stressed as fuck, and my dating life was non-existent because seemingly the first and only question that everyone asks you on a first date is “What do you do,” which implies that the answer you give next will decide whether or not this person is interested in you at all. Everyone is a writer/actor/producer in L.A. but somehow if I told the truth that I tended bar at the Palladium and Wiltern it wouldn’t come off as an impressive field of expertise.

We talk about the drama that I had been through up in Seattle and how it started off so fucking great as I landed a lucrative job, was dating a hot girl I work with, was ready to plan out my future, but then I crash landed back to earth when we broke up in June and my cat Dapple died a few days later. That is a lot for someone to go through that quickly and I’m amazed that one of the only casualties of that debacle was the temporary loss of confidence I felt for a couple weeks and the erratic sleep patterns and highs and lows I felt along the way.

I guess a part of me understands myself enough to know all I really want in life on a daily basis is to feel like I do a good job, I’m appreciated, and that people like me. I’ll admit it, part of the reason I moved to L.A. was to follow that dream of having someone somewhere tell me that I’m good at what I do, but trying to live out that dream in L.A. along with the 2 million other hopefuls with stars in their eyes is just like being a small fish in a big pond trying to get a piece of bait.  Somehow though, living in Seattle and working at the bar is like being a big fish in a small pond. There’s less stress, the money is good, I’m doing well, and I work with a great bunch of people that I would like to think appreciate me for who I am. When it comes down to it, I really just want to be happy and stress free although those two ideas are easy to visualize and difficult to manifest.

“Are you happy up there?” Tasha asks me.

I think about this question a lot. Everybody in life just wants to be happy, I mean I said it myself three sentences ago, but I don’t think that happiness is something you feel constantly day in and day out. It’s a fleeting feeling that comes and goes like the seasons. Sometimes I can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning and start my day, other times I just want to sit on the couch and eat a whole pizza and not leave the house at all. Sometimes I’m depressed or sad, and other times I feel content as if nothing really bothers me. Sometimes I’m up, sometimes I’m down, and yes I realize that what I’ve been writing sounds like the lyrics to a pop song that has been playing over and over again in my life.

“I am right now.” I said.

And I really am. I’m back in the town that I spent most of my adult life in, I’m sitting at the table drinking wine and eating sushi with my best friend who I haven’t seen in six months, and I’m about to close the door on a chapter of my life that will hopefully help to open up another door to the next chapter, whatever that may be.

“Good.” She says. “It sure seems like it.”

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We order another glass of wine each and I text a few of my friends to see where they’re at. Ironically they are just down the street getting out of the movies at Arclight so we all plan to meet up in a little bit.

For the first time in awhile, I don’t feel stuck, I don’t feel stressed, and I don’t feel like I need to be someone I’m not. It just feels good to back in Hollywood.

Making Friends (Or Lack Thereof)

I’ve been in Seattle for about a month now. Each day I seem to fall into a routine of getting up around 7am, making coffee for one, and then feeding my cat who eventually sits in front of the sliding glass door to ask if she could go outside.

Aside from the obvious feline companion I have a few friends up here, but it’s not like I can just call someone at any time of the day or night, and if I needed them, they would be here. Come to think of it, was it ever really like that?

The last year I spent in Los Angeles I had a handful of friends I saw regularly, but I spent the majority amount of my time watching TV, working, eating pizza, and hanging out with a rabbit. I had a purpose. Yes, that’s me and Rocco Valentino “mean muggin” the camera after our routine of morning pets, fresh vegetables, bothering the cat, and a double dose of afternoon carbohydrates when he behaved himself or otherwise looked at me in a certain way. I swear we could communicate with each other. Don’t get me wrong, I love my cat and she truly is my daemon, but even though Rocco was Tasha’s pet, I feel like I miss that bunny more than you could know.

I’ll admit it, I might be a little bit lonely right now. Since I’m a little green up here, I have been spending a lot of my free time alone, with the exception of the gym, the job interviews, and the random things people say to me at the grocery store or the gas station. I’m sure this could be attributed to the fact that I haven’t started work yet, or the fact that this is a new experience for me, and the people that I know who live here are already hung up on their own lives with boyfriends, girlfriends, wives, jobs and kids, five things I do not currently possess in my life. Why can’t life be as simple as it was when I was best friends with a rabbit?

I know I made this decision in my life, and I know I took a leap of faith when I decided that I was going to move out of Southern California, a place that I so desperately wanted to live when I was younger, but I didn’t bomb out, I made a calculated decision based on factors that couldn’t be ignored and the idea that…..wait…. what the purpose of all this again? Oh right….to find a better quality of life for myself.

Have I found it yet? Well, that remains to be seen.

I know how this may come off. I know it seems like I like to reminisce about a time in my life when I had it better than I have it now, but honestly I have it better now than I did a few months ago. I know that sometimes looking back could be the key to moving forward, and maybe for a moment that’s what I’m doing by posting about this. I know living in Hollywood and being best friends with a bunny aren’t really things I should be longing for, but there is a part of me that misses that aspect of my life, even though I truly feel like I made the best decision for my well being.

Sure, my social life hasn’t blossomed quite as instantaneously as I would like, but then again, I haven’t really focused on it. I have been trying to live my life with a sense of urgency and the desire to be unaffected by the thin line I cross when I feel like I’m trying too hard to force something to manifest. Sometimes I think that if I had Rocco next to me, he would totally high-five me after reading that last line cause he gets me. But who “gets me” up here?

I know the girl I used to love may turn out not be who I think she is at all, and I’m ok with that. I know the people I used to know up here may have moved away, or totally forgot about me, and that is no reason to be upset.  But above all, I know the friends I have up here who don’t text me back don’t mean it in a malicious way because I’m sure it has everything to do with the fact that people being busy, is just people being “busy.”

I guess I’m just tired of being a nice person with so much to offer, but with no one to offer it to. I’m sick of having people take advantage of the fact that I’m NOT an asshole, when all I see are assholes reaping the benefits of taking advantage of other people. I guess this is what happens when you become too soft. I guess this is what happens when you hang out more with animals instead of people and can’t seem to cultivate social relationships in a timely manner, but really, I guess this is what happens when you spend the last year or so being best friends with a rabbit.

Guest Writing My Blog (The Hollywood Goodbye)

Written by @missrosanne

First off, I am not a professional writer by any means. Having said that…. why, would you ask am I guest writing a blog? I have been thinking of a proper way to say goodbye to my Hollywood dwelling, beverage slinging, TV show writing` friend Christian. You all know him well as The Complainer of an Art Form, or the guy that is Always a Groomsman but Never the Groom.

We met behind the Elvis bar at the Wiltern Theater.  Our boss thought we would make a perfect couple, but as it turns out, I just ended up cock-blocking you for 2 years at work, & all you got were Simpsons quotes, laughter, some general advice, and a few nights where we drove back from San Bernadino, or burned a bowl of green.  😉

No, but really we are just a couple of Italians who transplanted themselves to Los Angeles where our friendship grew over a mutual love for film, pop culture, and a cynical sarcastic outlook on the desperate, needy entitled Hollywood thought process they call a lifestyle.

L.A. is a great place to meet fair-weather friends and go on dates with people whom you will never see again, but the time has come for you to leave this nepotistic, passive- aggressive over-priced lackluster city of love and move on to greener pastures.

I have no doubt you will succeed greatly once you are the big fish in a smaller pond.  I’m sure our paths will cross again in the future, and this is not goodbye….. forever.

Rather these are my efforts to show you through your medium of expression just how much of an impact you had on my life the last few years. I will miss our endless movie quotes, our uncensored conversations about the opposite sex, eating, smoking, drinking, eating, and yes of course, more eating.

Without you, there is one less laugh in Hollywood tonight, and to that I say…

“You’re part eggplant.”

-Rosanne Sabella Sollecito

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Making Friends (with Lagwagon)

I went and saw a band last night that I have seen about a dozen times since 1995.  However this time, twenty years had gone by since I first heard this song live. They just never play it, until last night.  Of course it resonated with me again and I woke up and played it about ten times already. I could elaborate about what it means to me, but when it comes down to it,  some things just never get old, even though you get older.   These are the lyrics which I can’t take credit for.

Making Friends

As you’re in this, search for something to hate
I can feel you rally around someone with your peers
But can you stand alone?
Can you take the long way home?

‘Cause I stood in the circle a hundred times before
And I feel safer in the eye of the storm
You can throw your stones
I’ll only bleed for you for one day

They all answer to the hearsay
but they will only care for one day
It’s so small, it’s so small
And I would love to show you all

I can see you in the middle of a doubt
You told them we had a falling out
Sick your dogs on me as you take the easy way out
So I will be a freak show when the circus comes to town
And I will rain on your parade without a sound
Then we will draw a crowd that’s only breaking down for one day

I graduate this class with honor
And I will never fail drama

-Lagwagon

Goodbye My Best Friend

My best friend is leaving today. He’s only going back to the Valley where he lives now, but he doesn’t drive a car so it’s hard for him to get around. He also doesn’t speak English, so calling each other is out of the question, and of course we can’t text each other if he doesn’t understand language or how to type, so for the most part all communication with him must be made through an intermediary, his owner.

That’s right, my best friend is a rabbit. This all came about a few years ago when my then roommate got a small bunny as a pet and came to live with me and my cat. At first, we kept the bunny in a cage in the kitchen, with limited time out for good behavior. However, within a week or so, we set up a baby gate along one wall of my living room and made a little playpen for the bunny to eat, work, and play in. He doesn’t really work per se, but the amount of effort he puts into chewing cardboard boxes and baseboards, and re-arranging the stuff in his playpen is a feat in of itself. He would eventually live there, not paying rent for the next two years, until my roommate and her bunny moved out last December.

I went through a classic case of depression last winter when he left, and I don’t know if I’ve ever fully recovered. Don’t get me wrong, I know depression is a serious thing and I’m not trying to mock people who are really suffering in the world, but a part of me was really attached to that bunny. When he and my roommate moved out, not only did I become quite despondent living on my own, but my bills went up, my rent doubled, and it was just like all of a sudden I woke up one day and he was gone.

I looked forward to seeing him when I got lonely and depressed because he gave me the one thing I truly needed when I feel that way, which is unconditional love and understanding. This is why we have pets. They give us both of those things in return for a place to stay and they make it easy to love them back.

Over the past 9 months since my roommate left, I’ve kind of had to learn how to be social again and go out and meet real people, or call the “human” friends of mine I have in my phone. I gotta be honest, it’s not as easy as hanging out with a rabbit in your living room and it’s definitely twice as expensive.

The longer I have stayed in Los Angeles, I’ve seen my friends meet their future spouse, get married, have kids, and eventually move away. When I moved here 12 years ago, I had two of my best friends from high school living less than two blocks away from me. We all hung out and went to the beach during the day, and hit up bars like Star Shoes at night on our endless summer vacation. I was 27, had goals and a twinkle in my eye, and life was just like the proverbial pamphlet in my mind that I imagined they gave me when I moved to Southern California. The sun was always shining, there was always a new cool spot to check out, and I had a great group of really good people living in Hollywood here with me to experience it.

Then one day I wake up, it’s 2009 I’m now 33, my eyes are red and tired, and the only way I can see all of my friends again is to get on a plane back to Jersey and go to one of their weddings. I knew that this was going to happen. Growing into an adult and making adult decisions takes years, but I just figured by THAT time I would have found someone to love and we’d make adult decisions and go to these weddings together and everything will be right in the world.  Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work out?

Truth is, in that time I did find someone to love. We have been to all my friend’s weddings together, and we were a couple for many years, but her and I are NOT together anymore. Sure, we still love each other, but more like friends, and less like lovers. However, when she brought that rabbit to my life in the fall of 2013 and we lived here for two years under the same roof, I have to admit…I fell in love again….with the bunny.

Because it was time, she moved out last winter. I felt the immediate monetary loss, but when she took the rabbit with her,(which I knew was going to happen since it’s her bunny) I felt the emotional loss. I miss that bunny every day he isn’t here. Luckily for me though, she goes out of town and I get to bunny sit for a couple weeks every other month. I look forward to when he comes to visit, and on the mornings when he has to leave, a part of me gets a little depressed.

I know it may be strange to be best friends with a three year old bunny, but Rocco and I have a strong bond. He is a rabbit, and according to the Chinese zodiac, I was born in the year of the rabbit. We both have similar character traits like loving carbohydrates, getting into trouble, having to have things a specific way, and sometimes being a stubborn jerk in the process. I love him and accept him for who he is, and I don’t try to change him. We make for good friends. He’s always happy to see me when I get home, and when my cat goes into his cage to drink out of his water dish, he sometimes bullies her, but trust me, she deserves to get bullied. I love my cat, don’t get me wrong, but she is a girl, and Rocco is a dude.  It’s just different.  We’re like bros. He is a “man’s man”….or in this case, a man’s bunny.

It’s been difficult for me to find good people to call a friend in the past few years, and I’ll be the first one to admit, it’s probably 65% my fault for not trying. I know they’re out there, and I know they are just a call or text away and I’m grateful for that, but when someone is there everyday, and then suddenly they’re not, it just…..sucks.

I guess when Rocco has to go home after his mini vacation at my place, all these old feelings of losing someone start to come up and this time, I find myself writing a blog about the idea of dealing with loss. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.

In France they say “La Vie Change”, just like the song I am listening to. It means Life changes. It means my friend now has two kids and is living in Haddonfield NJ, instead of no kids and living in Hollywood. It means some friends are 3000 miles away and I have to make new ones, even if they can never compare to that rabbit in my living room. It means my ex girlfriend who I lived with for three years after we broke up, now has a new boyfriend and I’m still single and sometimes I feel weird about that.

I know life is constantly in a state of change, but just knowing that doesn’t prepare me for what it’s like to live it once it happens. That part is up to me, and if you couldn’t tell already, I’m managing, but I’ll be honest, I wish some things didn’t change.

I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the feeling of losing something or someone in life. It’s tough having to go on without them.  I lost a pet in 2011 and it devastated me and my roommate, but out of that horrific time came Rocco Valentino.  I really miss those times when I first moved to L.A. and my friends and I explored the city and ate at Swingers and made out with chicks at The Roost, but people grow up and make decisions based on what they want in life.  I’m happy for them, and maybe even a little envious because I’m still making decisions and I don’t always know what I want.

I know I’m a culmination of every person I have met, and every experience that didn’t kill me in the process.  I’m part married guy, part ex-girlfriend, and part cat-rabbit because my animal instincts say I’ve been here before, and I know I’ll be ok.  I have my moments where it all goes to shit, but there will always be someone for me to talk to, or someone who will listen, or some one who runs into the kitchen when they hear the cupboard close and does a happy dance at my feet to get some form of a cracker or chip out of me.  I know I’ll figure it out because I have best friends, even though one of them peed on the kitchen floor the other day.

Now if I could just figure out that someone to love.

Gary & Desiree (Part 1)

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Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

I’m sitting at Gladstone’s in Terminal 3 at LAX. Tasha and I are having our breakfast before noon which consisted of an extra large beer, a double bloody mary, an order of shrimp cocktail, and an iceberg wedge salad. We’re about to get on a plane to fly to Newark, NJ to rent a car so we can drive to Maple Shade, NJ to attend the wedding of Gary and Desiree, the last of my best friends from high school to get married. I guess technically, I’m the last of my best friends to get married, but I have a long way to go considering I’m still single and I love to attend weddings with my ex-girlfriend.

I spot some big black guy behind us who is wearing sunglasses talking on his cell phone, and looking a lot like Suge Knight, if Suge Knight wasn’t rotting in some jail cell in Los Angeles right now.

“That’s not Suge Knight.” Tasha says.

“I know.” I replied

“Looks like a guy I used to date.”  Tasha states

Hmmm…I didn’t know Tasha banged some famous black music producer before we dated.

“He wasn’t that famous.” She says. “What time does our flight leave?”

We finish up our carbohydrate free breakfast and make our way over to the gate to board the plane. I had been looking forward to Gary’s wedding for a few months now. Things in L.A. had been extremely tense lately, and Tasha and I had been taking meeting after meeting with a manager who may want to sign us as writers and make our TV show. He manages two pretty big name clients. One of them is an Oscar winner, and the other one stars in that FOX show Empire. We had just taken a week to rewrite our script to make it more edgy and controversial, and we e-mailed it to him the day before we left.

Writing and re-writing that script almost kills our friendship every time. I don’t know what’s going to happen with it, but I sure hope we can eventually reap the benefits of two and a half years of hard work and sacrifice at some point in our professional lives. Anyway, back to the story…

I had booked the flight with my Virgin America Visa card, mainly because I get points, the credit card is cool looking, and it came with a free companion ticket (to use at a later time and not THIS particular trip, of course)

Now, I particularly enjoy flying Virgin because they have TVs in the seat backs and you can basically sit there and watch movies, shows, or whatever for the duration of the 5 and half hour flight to the east coast. I’ve never flown into Newark before. Normally I’d fly into Philly since it’s closer, but thanks to some plane issue, Virgin had to take away that city as a hub, so here we are about to get on the plane to fly into North Jersey when an announcement comes over the loudspeaker.

“We would like to invite our passengers who need assistance and those flying with children to board the flight.”

Why do they get to go first? I understand the people in wheel chairs who need help, but kids? They’re smaller than regular people and shouldn’t have any issues getting into a plane. Now if it’s a newborn, I guess that would require extra time and attention. As I see a newborn board the plane, I immediately hope that baby doesn’t sit near me.

“We would now like to invite our first class passengers to board the flight.”

Great, Richie Riches get to board the flight before the rest of us laymen. We’re in row 13, so at this point we probably won’t be able to board for another ten minutes. I hate boarding the plane with a bunch of other people. They’re usually slow and have a lot of carry-on baggage that they can’t seem to make fit into the overhead compartment. At this point I’m cursing the boarding process when I hear another announcement.

“At this point we would like to invite our Virgin America Visa card holders to board the flight.”

Holy shit, this card DOES have perks! I didn’t know we get to board the flight before anybody else. Suddenly I feel special and important like business class or that baby who boarded before us. We get up, I pull the card out of my pocket and with a big smile on my face, I flash it to the ticket taker as the rest of the people in line to board who don’t have Virgin America Visa cards look at us with airline contempt.

We board the plane with ease, and settle into our six hour flight back East, then I hear incessant crying. Of course, the newborn is sitting right behind us. Time to put on the headphones and order a drink.

I got drunk on the plane ride there. We were somewhere over Colorado when I started to feel the effects of a double bloody mary and two double vodka and diet cokes on the flight. It’s a funny feeling to be drunk at 30,000 feet and not realize how drunk you are until you stand up to go to the bathroom over the Rocky Mountains and it’s even funnier when you look over at your friend sitting next to you who just spilled beer on her cleavage.

“Nice one, drunkie.” I say to Tasha.

Remembering that I eventually have to pick up my rental car at the airport and drive one hour to south Jersey, I stop drinking, go back to watching my shows and maybe even fall asleep for a few minutes.

At 8:35pm, we land in Newark Liberty International. At the same time, the landing appears to have been too much for the baby sitting behind us because it started to smell real quickly  like a dirty diaper in the cabin. After the ten minutes it takes for the other 12 rows to get their luggage together, we finally exit the plane and head to the baggage claim.

We grab our luggage, take the tram to the rental car station and I go to claim my car. When I went to make the reservation two months ago, every car I chose was close to $600 for the week, except for one. Seeing that I was taking a trip to New Jersey in July, and that I don’t mind saving some money, I decided to opt for the only car that was simultaneously less expensive, and fit the profile of someone like me driving in New Jersey in mid summer.

“Your car is located in space 42.” says the rental car guy.

And with that, Tasha and I exit the rental car place, and get into our silver 2014 Mustang convertible, and drive the 45 minutes south on the New Jersey Turnpike to exit 4.

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There are still these things called toll roads in New Jersey, so when we exit the turnpike, I have to check the ticket to see how much money this short drive costs me. Only problem is, the only two lanes open are for those who have EZ-Pass which allows you to breeze through the exits and they bill you later. I don’t know which one to go to, so I drive up to the only window that has a human being inside of it. There to meet me is a big black woman named Gertrude who I hope will take my money and then send us on our way.

“Hi, where do I pay this toll?”  I ask Gertrude as I hand her my ticket and a ten dollar bill.

She looks at my car, then she says to me in an East coast tone that totally reminds me that I’m back in Jersey.

“Baby, you got EZ-Pass!”

“I do? Sweet!” I reply.

We drive off into the night towards the Hotel ML which will now be our home for the next four days.

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Tasha and I woke up at like 6am. There is no way to get used to the jet lag that you suffer when flying from the west coast to the east coast, and there is almost no way to combat the constipation that comes with flying on an airplane for six hours either. I was suffering from both, but we somehow made our way to the gym and then headed to Macy’s to pick up a little wedding outfit.

The Moorestown Mall Macy’s sucked. I couldn’t find a shirt I liked, so to kill a little more time before we met Parr for lunch, we headed to the Cherry Hill Macy’s where I found what I was looking for in ten minutes. It took Tasha an extraordinary amount of time to pick out a dress, so we were a little late when we left the second Macy’s and headed to Honeygrow.

Parr meets us at the door and we all go in and order our salads. Honeygrow is like that place Saladworks, but on steroids. You stand in front of computer and pretty much create your own salad with whatever many vegetables, cheeses, or meats you want. I figured we’d start the trip out with healthy options because if I know my friends, the next three days will be good times, shit talking and overindulging in gratuitous amounts of food and alcohol.

We’re eating our lunch and catching up with each other. We talk about Nicola being preggers, P-Nut complaining about Tom Brady and “Deflategate,” and Gary having a son which I didn’t realize he had until just a few months ago. I remember this story that happened in Vegas last year at Parr’s bachelor party, so I begin to tell it to Tasha who was definitely not in Vegas at the time that it happened. I didn’t get more than ten words into it when she gets up from the table and goes to get a drink refill.

“Where is she going?” I asked Parr.

“Hey, I’m in the middle of telling you a story.” I said to Tasha who was five feet away.

“Oh, I thought you were telling Parr.” She replied.

I think the plane ride might have affected Tasha’s brain. Did she not remember a minute ago when I started the story with “So this one time at Parr’s bachelor party weekend in Vegas…

“Why would I need to tell Parr, he was there when it happened!” I say.

We all start cracking up and this lunch is turning out to be a great start to the weekend. Later that night I had a dinner to attend with the boys, and Tasha had a date with Mary and the bride to be, Destiny…I mean Desiree.

Tasha and I head over to my Mom’s place to say hello before “the big rain storm” happens which eventually didn’t happen until much later than expected that night. I pull up in the Mustang and honk my horn and she comes out. She excited to see me, and I’m even more excited to take her for a ride in the convertible.

“I’ve never ridden in a convertible before!” She says.

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My mom is such a cute old lady, and there was something cool about me taking her for her first ride in a rag top. We drive over to Wegman’s in the ‘Stang. My mom is getting a kick out of it and we head into the store so she can get a few things, and I can go over to Dick’s sporting goods and search for Eagles or Flyers gear that I can’t get in Los Angeles. Of course, since neither one of those sports are in season right now, they have nothing except Phillies gear, and they stink so I won’t be purchasing anything at all.

Tasha and I talk with my Mom a bit, and then we head back to the hotel around 3pm to get ready for the night. However, before we go I take Tasha on a driving tour of the places I used to live and work in South Jersey.

First, we stop off at my old apartment near Conestoga road, where I lived when I was 18 and where I got tattooed in my kitchen while my old roommate smoked a lot of pot in the living where he also slept. This was also the site of where I endured my first stalker, a 13 year old Bulgarian girl who lived in the complex and who would randomly knock on my door to hang out. I don’t know how it works in Bulgaria, but an 18 year old hanging out with a 13 year old is kind of weird. I wonder whatever happened to her?

Next, we drive past the T.G.I Friday’s where I used to work until I got fired in 1999, and the AMC theater where I had my first french kiss back in 1991 while I was watching the movie The Naked Gun with Beth Piotrowski. I wonder what ever happened to her.

Finally, we arrive at the featured destination of the afternoon, the Vineyards in Marlton where I lived from 1987 until 1994. I show Tasha the tennis courts where I used to skateboard until I got yelled at by the groundskeeper, and then I show her the window to my old bedroom which was inadvertently broken by a guy named Ian Thompson one morning when he, Parr, Bezanis, and a few other dudes cut school and came over to my place at 9am in the morning. This was back when no one had cell phones so the only way to wake someone up was to throw a rock at their window. In hindsight, I think Ian may have thrown that rock a little too hard. Speaking of Ian, no one knows what ever happened to him.

“And that’s where I lost my virginity.” I say to Tasha as I point to 4 Medoc Court.

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I had some really good times when I lived there. Looking back now, I never really wanted to uproot myself and move to Marlton in the first place, but A. I was only 12 so it wasn’t my decision and B. I’m glad it happened because I met some really great people like Chad and Parr and P-Nut and Gary who I’ve been best friends with for over twenty years. I don’t know if many people can say that about their adolescence, but it’s something I hold in high regard.

Tasha and I then took a walk to the creek behind my old neighborhood and I showed her where me, Chad, Nut, and Ryan Barbarics thought we saw the Jersey Devil in the woods, and where I used to fish for sunnies off the storm drain.

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I love where I grew up.  I wasn’t the smartest kid, the most athletic, or the most successful, but I wouldn’t want to go back and do anything differently. Sure, there were some times when things didn’t really seem to work out, and I wouldn’t want to re-live those experiences, but a part of me knows that I needed to go through them at that time in my life, and I had a great supporting cast to help me through it. Speaking of which, it was now time to head back to the hotel and get ready for the night.

The boys were all meeting at Rodizio grill in Voorhees, and the girls were going out to Distrito in Moorestown, so Tasha and I headed over to Chad and Mary’s so I could drop her off, pick up Chad, and head to dinner.

We pull into Chad and Mary’s driveway with EDM blasting in the background, until I remember we’re in a residential neighborhood and I should probably turn it down. I was back home in March for a court case and I had to spend a weekend here while I got my shit taken care of and I stayed with Chad, Mary, and their two sons Bastian and Asher. Asher is a baby, so he didn’t really remember that I was there before, but Bastian certainly knew I was coming over.

The last time I was here, I got really drunk with Mary one night and kept chasing Bastian around the house trying to pull his pants down. I know it was probably annoying to him, but we used to do the same thing to his Dad back in the day. At one point back in March, Bastian ran up the stairs to avoid my hi-jinks and then shouted down to me.

“Christian, you are so DRUNK!”

This time when I got there, he appeared to have no fear whatsoever as he ran up to me and basically pleaded with me to pants him again. It was then that I realized he was wearing a bunch of pairs of shorts like Martin in that episode of the Simpsons when Bart and Lisa get a pool.

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“Go ahead, do your worst.” He said.

“You’re wearing multiple pairs of pants dude, that’s cheating.” I replied.

Ever try reasoning with a 6 year old? It doesn’t work, however I went to pants him anyway, but he tied those pants really damn tight. There was no way they were coming off. Chad and I said goodbye to Tasha and Mary and we jumped in the ‘Stang and headed out for dinner.

Rodizio Grill is one of those places where you sit down and they come by with all sorts of meats and they give you a red and green button to either say more meat, or please stop feeding us, there is no way I can fit another piece of steak, chicken, or turkey in my belly. I park the car, and then we head inside to the bar to grab a drink.

Dave and Parr meet us there in a few minutes, followed by Steve and then finally, Gary. I immediately notice we are all wearing some version of a button down shirt and jeans, such is life in your late thirtes. Some of us went plaid, some of us went solid. Regardless, I say hello to everyone and after a another drink at the bar which Chad does not partake in being that he is currently on the wagon, we head over to our table for dinner.

Our waitress comes up to us and explains the deal of how it works at Rodizio. She’s pretty cute, but I’m here for the meat. We all order another round of drinks, head to the salad bar for an appetizer, and then the meat carvers start coming out. There’s short rib, filet mignon, turkey wrapped in bacon, pork chop, flat iron steak, chicken breast. The list goes on.

So many meats have come our way in the last thirty minutes that I don’t want it to stop, except when they brought out the chicken hearts. I’m all for trying new things, but I got to be honest, the chicken heart was pretty gross.

“Is the chicken heart going in the blog?” Parr asked me.

“Yeah, the chicken heart is going in the blog.” I reply.

It’s kind of funny when everyone knows I’m going to write a blog about what’s happening in the moment. The prior eight weddings I went to were before I posted the never a groom blog, so no one knew it was going to happen. This time though I was prepared as I took a little book with me to write down some moments that I did not want to forget happened, and one of them was about to happen.

I lost count of how many wines I had that night, but it was like close to four glasses. I guess when you get a little drunk, you start to listen to your friends and you take their silly suggestions seriously.

We turned the wooden button over to the red side so the meat would stop coming out. We were stuffed. The waitress came back over to the table, and it had been suggested I should ask her out. Maybe not even suggested, I think it’s just kind of a running joke thing that guys say to each other. She WAS really cute though but she’s a server at Rodizio grill in Voorhees, New Jersey, and I live in in L.A. This probably isn’t going to get very far.

“Do you guys want some dessert?” The waitress asks us.

“We’ll take a look at the menu.” Chad says.

“Great. I’ll be right back.” She says and then leaves the table.

“Dude, get her number.” Parr says to me.

Now, I know it’s all in good fun, and I know that I’ll probably never see her again, but there is a part of me that didn’t care and maybe just wanted the ego boost for one night. Plus, I do things when I’m inebriated that I wouldn’t do when I’m sober. I find out her name was Natasha, and I mention that my we have a friend who’s name is just Tasha, without the “Na.” She seems friendly enough and I thought to myself, maybe I’ll just invite her out to the bar next door that we’re probably going to go to and she’ll have a drink or two with us and it’ll be entertaining. But, maybe she has a boyfriend, or maybe she has a girlfriend? Maybe I’ll make out with her and I won’t ever see her again after tonight. Either way, I man up and I say to Natasha…

“So my friend Gary is getting married in two days and we were going to head over to Iron Hill next door for a drink. You want to meet us after your shift?”

“I love Iron Hill!”  She exclaims. “I know some people who work there. Here take my number.” She says.

I put Natasha’s number into my phone. Then something dawns on me. I wonder how old she is. I mean, she looks young, but people nowadays do look really young and then turn out to be in their mid to late twenties. After all, I certainly don’t look like I’m about to turn forty and I still sometimes get carded for alcohol when I’m clean shaven, but I have to ask just to make sure she’s at least 21 years old because otherwise, I’m going to feel a little weird about the whole situation, like me and the Bulgarian chick from back in the day.

“How old are you?” I ask with the slightest bit of concern.

Wait for it….

“I’m eighteen.” She says while clearing a plate. “I’ll be right back with your check.”

I think there was a few moments of silence at the table after she said that. On one hand, I don’t think she’s going to be able to drink with us. On the other hand, I kind of feel like a stud because I’m 39 and just got a phone number from a bird who wasn’t even alive the year I graduated high school. I guess it’s bitter sweet.  Finally, Steve breaks the silence at the table.

“That’s DEFINITELY going in the blog.”

We head next door to Iron Hill and order a few drinks. P-Nut meets us there, and there’s  this talk between everyone about going to a strip club that night, but Gary really isn’t the strip club type, however after a half hour of drinking whiskey and pontificating about life with the boys, my phone rings.

“Hey, what’s going on?” I ask Tasha.

She goes on to tell me that she just got a call from the manager we had been meeting with the last month and he loved our script and wants to meet with us when we get back to L.A. She also tells me that she didn’t know who it was at first so she hung up on him, then called him back. Then she adds this gem of a statement at the end of the conversation.

“Are you going to meet us at the strip club?”

I guess when your Bride to be gets influenced by drunk Tasha and drunk Mary who have been sucking down many margaritas, you sometimes end up going to a strip club in Philly at 11pm through no fault or plan of your own.

Dave was leaving town, even though we pleaded with him to stay for the wedding. Parr and Steve didn’t go go cause they had work the next day, but you bet me, Chad, Gary and P-Nut were going. After all, the girls were on their way there in an Uber by themselves. We can’t just leave them there at the strip joint in the dim lighting and lack of clothing. I was pretty drunk, but luckily, Chad and P-Nut were both on the wagon so we had two designated drivers. It had rained in the three hours since we went to dinner, but it was clear now, and the top was down on the Mustang as we piled in the car and headed over the bridge to the Penthouse Club.

There’s not much I can say about the strip club, other than it was a pretty basic strip club experience aside from the motorcycle on stage, my jack and diets costing me eight dollars, and I was going to buy Gary a dance, but there is something weird about buying your friend a lap dance when his fiancée is sitting right next to you. Not to mention the ATM fee is twenty freakin’ dollars. I love Gary, but I figure I should put that money into something he and Desiree could both use, like a gift card.

We had a lot of fun that night. Chad and Mary left first, and P-Nut would have to drive me and Tasha back to Jersey shortly thereafter, but not before I illegally snapped a photo of Tasha “paying off” the dancer on stage.

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After the obligatory stop at a Wawa, and dropping off P-Nut, we got back to the hotel sometime after 1am, and fell right asleep.  Tomorrow was the “not rehearsal dinner” and Saturday was the wedding. We needed our rest if we were going to make it through the next few days.

Part 2: Wednesday, September 30th

Joe & Nicola (Part 2)

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I woke up at 4am on the pull out couch in the motel, freezing and feeling like I slept with a rod up my back the whole night. It was still dark, and I was very uncomfortable, so I jumped in the bed which was slightly more comfortable, but filled with Tasha.

“Get out.” She said.

“I can’t sleep on that stupid couch. Move over.” I said.

Eventually, I dozed off and next thing I knew I woke up and it was 7am, I felt a little more rested, so I got dressed and headed to the Wawa for some coffee. The weather outside was ominous. It was overcast, wet, and I knew that Nicola’s biggest fear was going to come to true. She was going to have to have an indoor wedding. On the positive side, people say it’s lucky for it to rain on your wedding day. I mean, even Alanis Morrisette wrote a song called “Ironic” which states this idea, but there is a part of me that feels like even though it might be “good luck” for it to rain the day you get married, it’s certainly not what anybody hopes for. Regardless, I feel like at this point no amount of rain is going to stop this wedding from being the best day for Parr and Nicola.

To say Tasha and I were hungover would be an understatement. My body had somehow recovered from the pain I was in at the beginning of the trip, but now I was dealing with a whole new demon. I felt sick. Not like a fever, cold, or sneezing sick, like I was just faded and not feeling like I wanted to drink any amount of alcohol at all. It was then that Parr texted me and asked if we wanted to come over the house for breakfast and bloody marys.

“I can’t drink any alcohol now.” Tasha said to me.

“Me neither.” I replied.

Then about 8 seconds went by where we both looked at each other with the notion that we kind of needed to support our friend on the morning of his wedding.

“Let’s just go and have one drink.” I said.

“Ok, I’ll get dressed.” Tasha replied.

We came by Parr’s parents house and met up with him, Shaun, and Ron who were staying there, and Steve who showed up a few minutes after us for breakfast. Mr. & Mrs. Parr have been like parents to me. I’ve stayed at that house many times over the past few years, and I’ve drank with his family even more so. I love them. They are great people and sometimes I wish I was still living in NJ for that reason among others. It just feels like home. We all ate a little bit, thanked Mrs. Parr for making us food and then with the slightest amount of coaxing, we decided the next thing we should do is definitely to go across the street to the now defunct Woody’s Bar and have a few drinks with the Groom.

Here’s the funny thing about alcohol. You may feel like crap for a little bit the morning when you’re hung over, and you may think you want to take it easy and just drink some water and eat some food, but what your body really needs to recover…. is more alcohol. I am so glad I took a zantac to protect my stomach against the wrath of a tomato juice and vodka breakfast because by the time I ordered my third bloody mary, I felt great. We were laughing and having a good time and somehow we started talking about Parr’s groomsmen, the location of all of us at the alter, and the TV show Gilligan’s Island. This is where it just got silly.

At the end of the theme song, to Gilligan’s Island they introduce all the characters in the show. I’m sure you remember the tune…

”With Gilligan…..The Skipper too……The Millionaire, and his wife. The moooovie star….the Professor and Mary Anne! Here on Gilligan’s Isle!”

However, the FIRST season of Gilligan’s Island didn’t mention the Professor OR Mary Anne.  After “The movie star” it just goes “…and the rest!” It’s as if the Professor and Mary Anne are just so insignificant to the show that no one needs to know their names in the opening titles. We tried so hard to fit all of Parr’s groomsmen into the Gilligan’s Island theme song that morning, but it never worked out. We could only say three or four names before adding ”…and the rest” at the end. I know it’s stupid and silly and you probably aren’t laughing if you don’t get the joke…. but I guess you just had to be there and  had three or four bloody marys to appreciate the last paragraph that I wrote.

When we stepped outside of the bar that morning, it was pouring rain. Like a torrential downpour. There was no way to avoid an indoor wedding at this point. Mr. Parr gave me and Tasha some tips on how to get to Cape May using back roads and shortcuts so we thanked him, said goodbye to the boys for now, and went back to the Lollipop to pack up our shit and head to Congress Hall. We left the motel around 1:30pm so we could arrive in Cape May at the Hotel before 3pm to check in and get ready. I had our bags and my tux all packed up in the car, and I followed Mr. Parr’s directions all the way to Cape May. There was just one slight problem.

The backroads of North Wildwood were easy to maneuver through, however once we got into  Wildwood Crest, the roads were suddenly blockaded by a large amount of rainwater that had pooled up in the intersection like a small pond. There was nowhere to go other than right through it, but the issue I was having was being able to drive though it in my medium sized rental car without stalling out, and without another car driving though in the opposite direction and splashing water up on the hood of the car at the same time. We had made it though a few small sized puddles, but there was this big one coming up ahead, and sure enough in the other lane was an SUV who was going 30 mph and didn’t give a shit.

I did the only thing I could do in this situation that I hoped would work….I gunned it straight into the water hazard and kept my foot on the gas the whole time. The car started to sputter, the SUV splashed all over us just like I thought it would, and my fear of us being stranded in the middle of the road in a three foot deep hole of water was almost realized, but luckily it never quite manifested. Somehow, and by some miracle, we made it to the other side of the intersection with nothing but dry asphalt ahead.

A little further down the road we had to cross this rickety old toll bridge and give the guy 35 cents to get to the other side. It wasn’t raining anymore, but the clouds in the sky definitely weren’t looking like they were going to break free and let the sun in anytime soon, and when we arrived at Congress Hall ten minutes later, it was official….the wedding was taking place indoors. I could tell by the look on Nicola’s face that she was disappointed, but at the same time, years from now when we’re all grown up, no one is going to remember that it should have taken place outside. Instead they’ll remember how gorgeous she looked in her gown walking down the aisle, how much fun we all had at the reception, and how her and Parr and her son Giann became a family.

Oh wait, did I not mention that Nicola has a son from a previous relationship yet? Well, she does, and he’s a pretty awesome dude. That day Parr was not only becoming a husband for the first time, he was becoming a step-father too. I’ve known this kid, meaning Parr since he was a teenager, and a part of me never thought he would get married, let alone get married to a woman who had a son. I know all too well that level of responsibility and what it takes from someone to commit themselves to a family situation and I know first hand from my own childhood that sometimes it isn’t easy and unfortunately I also know what it’s like when a father figure comes into your life, and doesn’t want to stick around for the long haul. Yet, as we get older and mature, our wants and our needs change and sometimes we grow up to be better people and better parents than the ones that came before us because we learn what we want, from finding out what we don’t want.

Unlike my step father, Parr wants that level of responsibility and I know he can handle it because he’s one of my best friends and I know he’ll be good at it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like dudes sit around drinking beers telling each other how much they love their girlfriends and how they can’t wait to marry them. That just doesn’t happen in my world. But I could see first hand that day how much he loved Nicola and Giann just from the smile on his face when he saw them walking down the aisle. Sometimes, that’s all you need.

Before the ceremony, all the groomsman got dressed and gathered in Parr’s room to have a few drinks together and put the finishing touches on our tuxedos. I guess there is something that runs in Parr’s family that prohibits him and his brother Shaun from understanding how to put cuff links and tie tacks on, because at every wedding I’ve been to with either of them, someone else has to help them dress. So, Adam took care of the Groom, and I took care of the Best Man, and I gotta say I think we did a damn good job in the process.

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After we were all dressed and looking spiffy, the groomsman and bridesmaids filtered into the hallway one by one to make our procession into room filled with guests where we would proceed to take six steps, turn right, take six or seven more steps and then part ways at the alter in the correct order we were supposed to be in. Parr and Nicola followed, and then Giann, the ring bearer strutted his way down the aisle in his pint sized tuxedo and sneakers. It says I’m taking this seriously, but I’m a kid and I wear sneakers so I’m not taking it THAT seriously.

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The ceremony was from 4:30-5pm, but I think we got through it in about 22 minutes thanks to Nicola wanting to have a brief wedding, and Chad being able to speak quickly and efficiently, and everyone being aware of where they were supposed to be, and who they were supposed to be with. He said “I do,” she said “I do,” and everyone applauded and snapped photos as Parr, Nicola and Giann were officially a family. I mean, just look how jazzed Parr is in this picture. He’s even giving a fist pump.

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The guests made their way into the Boiler Room for cocktail hour which was technically a bar downstairs and not a real boiler room like you would automatically think. The wedding party stayed upstairs to take pictures and get drinks from the bar because now that the wedding was over, the REAL party was about to begin. Before all the food and the dancing and the selfie taking was to happen, we needed to snap a few real photos for posterity and I think we nailed it.

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We mingled downstairs for awhile with all of the guests and gorged ourselves on a plethora of appetizers which included all the classic Italian specialties like garlic bread, a pasta bar, and deli meats and cheeses. It was obvious from the lack of potatoes and cabbage that no Irish person had any say in the spread of food that afternoon. I stayed close to the “Marlton” corner of the room where everyone who I’ve ever known from high school who came to the wedding was hanging out together and catching up with each other until it was time for the guests to take their seats upstairs and for the wedding party to be announced leading all the way up to the Bride and Groom. One by one each groomsman made our way into the dining hall onto the dance floor with a bridesmaid in one arm, and a cocktail in the other. I don’t think Parr would have wanted it any other way. At this point in the night, I had the bridesmaid on my arm, I didn’t feel sick, I had no qualms about drinking more alcohol, and just like those stupid Bud Light commercials, I was up for whatever happens next, or so I thought.

We all found our tables which were aptly named for different cities along the Jersey shore. There was L.B.I., Ocean City, Wildwood….and the rest. Then there was the Seaside Heights table where I sat with Tasha, Chad & Mary, Gary & Desiree, P-Nut & Efia, Jenna & Tim, and Woofy. Now, I hadn’t seen Woofy for like 15 years. In fact, no one had seen him in that amount of time. Pretty much after he graduated college in Rhode Island he got a job and met a woman in Massachusetts and married her and spent the last two decades or so in obscurity. He also dated Jenna at one time who was sitting right next to him at the table who he hadn’t spoken to in forever, and Jenna had also dated Chad for many years going back to the mid 1990s. I guess it was not a coincidence that they all ended up at the Seaside Heights table which ironically was the exact name of the beach city where 5 seasons of the reality show “Jersey Shore” took place. I still don’t know if it was a joke by the Bride and Groom or if that’s just the table where Woofy ended up but either way, I found it very amusing.

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The dinner service was underway and Shaun was on the mic saying some kind words to his brother and his new sister-in-law. I had a few things I wanted to say too, and I even wrote them down on a piece of paper and brought it with me that night, but I never got a chance to go up there. I figure whatever I wanted to say then that I didn’t get a chance to say, I have said so far in this blog, but I had a another moment planned that I got a chance to execute and Jenna caught on video.

Goodfellas is our favorite movie. Hands down it is the one film Parr, Shaun, and Gary and I have probably watched 1000 times and have quoted it over and over again to each other. There’s a scene in the movie where Henry and Karen get married and all their friends and family walk up to them, and hand them a wedding gift which in this scene turns out to be multiple envelopes filled with cash. During the film there is a jump cut of all these envelopes filled with Benjamins being handed over to them, and there is one huge, fat, thick envelope the size of a brick that one of the guests places in Henry’s hand. I wanted to re-create that scene for Parr at his wedding, but Tasha and I are hardly rich enough to put THAT many hundred dollar bills in an envelope. However, we COULD afford to take a hundred ONE dollar bills, stuff them into an envelope and walk up to Parr and Nicola and tell them “Here’s a little something to help you get started,” Just like Pauly does in the movie. You can watch that video here.

After most of the eating was done, the deejay started up the night of music and rug cutting with the first dance starring the new couple Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Carr, and son. I snapped this pic with my shitty camera phone, and even though it’s not very crisp or clear I think it says all there needs to say about these three.

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The next two hours were pretty epic. Parr and Nicola had the most amount of guests dancing together at one time at any wedding I had been to. I mean it was like god damn American Bandstand that night. Old people dancing, young people dancing, people who didn’t even know how to dance were dancing. At one point I even slid across the floor on my knees during a Michael Jackson song and looking back now I could have seriously injured myself, but I didn’t care. I danced with Maggie, I danced with Tasha, I danced with Mary, Parr, Shaun and Gary. People were raising the roof, picking up change, and I think at one point Chad started to do the running man. I was having such a good time, when I turned around and there was the bridesmaid I had been paired up with looking at me like she had an agenda.

Wanna get a drink?” She asked.

Now, when you’re a little bit drunk and a pretty blonde girl at a wedding who you just happened to be paired up asks you to get a drink, there is only one response that you should ever give, and this is what I said to her…

“Absolutely I do.”

“Let’s do a shot” She said.

“Ok. Can we get two kamikazes?” I asked the bartender.

Now I know what you’re thinking…. Who the hell orders kamakazes anymore right? Well, I’m not a big shot guy unless of course it’s tequila or sometimes whiskey, and I had been drinking vodka all night so I thought I should stay on the same train.

“Can’t give out shots tonight.” He replied.

What the fuck was that about? No shots? I thought this was a Irish-Italian wedding?

“Let’s go to the other bar,” She said.

So we made our way to the other bar across the dance floor, took two shots and I threw the bartender a few dollars for hooking us up. Next thing I know I’m outside with the bridesmaid having a cigarette and talking. I told her I was from California, and she started telling me about how she’s been dating this guy who she met at work and how he wants to marry her and she thinks it’s a good idea because she has a son at home, but she also doesn’t even like the guy who she is currently dating. She also mentions that she just had surgery and is currently on some sort of medication. Now, I’m no doctor, but I’m pretty sure drinking alcohol and taking pain meds is NOT a good combination. Don’t they have warning labels for stuff like that?

She went on to say her boyfriend is a pit boss at a casino in Atlantic City, where she deals blackjack and that he offered her a new job at a casino in Delaware and he wants her to move down there with him and get married. So, me being an idiot and painfully honest like I am, told her that if she really isn’t into him, then she probably shouldn’t accept the job, and furthermore she probably shouldn’t be dating him if she doesn’t even like him. Look, I’m always going to tell people the truth of what I think, even if it’s not what they want to hear. Otherwise what kind of a person would I be?

“He didn’t come with you to the wedding?” I asked

“No, he’s here.” She replied.

Wait, at THIS wedding?” I asked.

“Yeah.” She said.

Great. All I need now is some big fat six foot nine pissed off burly pit boss from the Taj Mahal beating the shit out of me at my best friend’s wedding for talking to his girlfriend who doesn’t really like him, and probably sees me as the catalyst to the eventual fight they will get into later on that evening.

“Let’s go back inside.” I say.

“I’m not finished my cigarette.” She says.

“Well I am, so I’ll see you later.”

I was right to get out of there. This girl may have been cute and sweet, but she was bad news. There is NOTHING about what she just told me that appealed to me in any way shape or form. I made my way back into the dance hall and spent the rest of the time dancing around with Parr and Mary and Tasha and Maggie and Chad and everybody else who didn’t come to the wedding with pit boss boyfriends that they don’t like.

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Everyone was having a really good time but before we knew it, it was late, the deejay was spinning his last song, and the wedding of Joe and Nicola was coming to an end. We all stood around after the music had stopped, I grabbed my coat and stole the picture frame from our table that said Seaside Heights on it and was almost ready to call it a night when I see Chad who runs into the wedding hall and tells us how he had been downstairs the last half hour in the Boiler Room which was now rocking and rolling with a live band and room full of people.

Here comes the afterparty…..

First thing I did was grab the key to the room from Tasha and I went upstairs to change, wash my face, spray myself with more cologne, and then I headed back downstairs to the Boiler Room. I could hear the music from the stairwell, and right around the time that I walked into the bar, I see Nicola with a concerned look on her face. I grabbed Parr and asked him what was going on, but I think I already knew.

“The bridesmaid’s boyfriend is here. He got into it with her and I guess he’s pissed.” Parr said.

“At me?” I asked.

I didn’t even need to hear the answer to that question. This is so not what I wanted to have happen at their wedding, but what was I going to do? Hide in my hotel room the rest of the night?

“Fuck that, he’s an idiot and he’s not going to do anything with all of us here. Don’t even worry about it.” Parr said.

And I didn’t worry about it one bit. I just got myself a beer, and went out to the dance floor and we all kept the party going to the cool sounds of 70s and 80s music from a live band who were really good and really tight. A few songs later I saw the bridesmaid enter the bar. She looked a little sad and I kind of felt bad for her. No one wants to be depressed  at a wedding so I bought her a drink and brought her onto the dance floor into the crowd of my friends.

“I broke up with him.” She said.

“For real?” I asked.

“Yep.” She said with a smile.

What did that mean? Did she really break up with him? Did I cause this to happen? Was it something I said outside? Was this some sort of play to make him jealous and more pissed off? I mean, I would have said the same thing to anyone who told me they were in a relationship with someone they didn’t like. I don’t even know this guy but now, I kind of felt bad for HIM, wherever he was.

“He’s right there.” She said.

Then I look up, and there he is leaning on the stairwell watching this all happen, but specifically shooting hate rays with his eyes directly at me and the bridesmaid. He was barely 5 foot 5, slightly overweight, and he had this really gross stringy black hair and the creepiest look on his face. If there was anyone at that wedding that fit the profile of someone who would have stayed at the Lollipop motel that night, it would have been him. Instantaneously, I stopped feeling bad for him. This chick was WAAAY out of his league, and to be honest this whole scenario was way out of my comfort zone.

I’ll be right back.” I said.

And with statement, that I made my way to the far back end of the bar where Steve, Adam and Maggie were hanging out, under the air conditioner and far away from the drama on the dance floor. I took a seat next to Maggie at the bar and started talking to them about what just happened. The last hour was just an absolutely insane experience. I mean, who breaks up with their boyfriend at a wedding in Jersey because some groomsman you were paired up with who’s name you probably don’t even remember said that you shouldn’t be in relationship if you didn’t really like the guy? Has NO ONE else ever said that to her? Can I get her to do anything else tonight by just telling her what I think? Like maybe she should quit her job and move to California to be with me, but before she does, I want her to rob a bank and murder all my enemies along the way, and just so you know, that’s a few more people now than it was last year. I know she didn’t do it for me, but man…. it’s just so fucking crazy.

I went on for a little bit joking around and recapping the highlights of the night with the boys, and then Adam decided it would be a good idea to leave me and Maggie alone and head to another part of the bar. Damn, we were getting match-maked on both ends. I talked with her for awhile and we had couple drinks and we took a handful of selfies, a few of which Chad photobombed and yeah, we made out a little bit. I mean come on, it was bound to happen. She was wearing this cute little superman tank top that night and my ex girlfriend and her best guy friend were pushing us together through no fault of our own since the night before.

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She looked good that night and I told her that. I think we had always liked each other but the timing was never right, and to be honest this was the only opportunity we would have. It was almost 2am, and the bartender did last call, so we ordered two more beers, paid the tab, and then Maggie and I started to walk back to her room upstairs, when out of nowhere, the bridesmaid and her friend cuts us off.

“Ready to go upstairs?” The bridesmaid asked.

I couldn’t believe what was happening. I mean first of all, this girl had some balls inviting me to go upstairs to her room with her and her friend after what had happened that night, and especially right in front of Maggie. This kind of stuff never happens to me. I looked at the bridesmaid, then looked at Maggie, then turned back to the bridesmaid, and I said with a smile.

“I don’t think so.”

Maggie and I walked past the girls, went up the stairs and into the hotel lobby and up a few more stairs until we found a place to sit down and finish the last beer of the night.  The truth is, we couldn’t go anywhere because I was staying in a room with Tasha, and she was staying in a room with Adam. What were we going to do? Knock on the door of one of the rooms and ask our friends to hang out in the hall for twenty minutes so we could bang each other? That just wouldn’t be right, so we did the only thing we could do for the next forty-five minutes we made out on a white couch on the third floor of the hotel in front of the elevator while we took little breaks to talk and drink our beers.

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That’s where it all went down. Compared to the last wedding I went to where both Tasha and I hooked up with someone else, this seemed to happen a little more naturally, with a little more help from everyone, and of course without me vomiting in my suit.  Eventually, I said goodnight to Maggie and we both went our separate ways into our separate hotel rooms and eventually, fell asleep.

I really had a blast at Parr and Nicola’s wedding, and I got to be honest, it was hard to fit all of what happened into a two part story. I wish there was more to tell, but these are the highlights as I remembered them.  I’ve never been more happy for Parr then on this day.  I was proud of him.  He now has a beautiful Italian wife, and an incredible son to call his own, and I know he’ll be the best husband and Dad he could ever be.  I guess Parr’s all growns up now.

The next morning, it was bright and sunny, which meant of course the ONLY day it rained that weekend was the day Parr and Nicola got married, but maybe that’s good luck. Tasha and I had a plane to catch back to L.A., so we packed up our bags, said our goodbyes and headed back to Philly to drop off the rental car and catch our flight by 4pm.

“That was a great time.”  Tasha said.

“It was.”  I replied.  “Hey, thanks for being a good friend.”

“And not a blocker of cock?”  She asked.

“Yeah, that too.” I said.

As the airplane started to taxi down the runway, I put on a movie and my headphones and thought about the last few days.  I wish we could have stayed longer, and I wish that every wedding had an afterparty, but most importantly, I wish that everyone had a such good friends like the ones I have.  They look out for me like family.

Epilogue:

I guess this is the part of the story where I think back to how it all happened 8 years ago when I met this girl at a wedding and her and I would go on to date for two years, love each other, break up with each other multiple times, share two cats, a rabbit, and three apartments together all while somehow becoming best friends and business partners who created a TV show pilot and attended 7 weddings together over the past 8 years. It may sometimes have been stressful, but I don’t regret anything that has happened since I met her. I might have done things a little differently early on in our relationship, but ultimately we weren’t meant to be together in that way. We both know that now.

Something happened to me while I writing this blog. Over the past twelve weeks I have spent at least three or four days working on every entry, reminiscing about the good times I’ve had at my friends weddings and what it was like to see them all grow up and witness their love first hand and literally be a part of it for one day. It’s been a great feeling because every wedding I’ve attended and have written about has brought me closer to the realization that I never thought I would say in writing let alone out loud, but here it goes.

I’m going to get married someday. I’m going to meet someone that I can love and share my life with, regardless of how much work it might be, regardless of what I thought in the past. Love has always eluded me, or love has disappeared or it doesn’t reciprocate, or it changes form, or sometimes, I just fuck it up because I’m scared. But I’m not scared anymore. I know that there’s someone out there who is the perfect match for me, and I’ll meet her one day, but to be honest, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if I’ve already met her.

In the year since the last wedding we attended, Tasha and I have remained good friends, but we don’t live together anymore. We’re still working on selling the show and we have a pretty big meeting coming up next week with a pretty big manager who has the power to take our show to the next level. I mean like network next level, not some crappy start up cable bullshit like before. It’s our third meeting with him since October of last year, so maybe this is it.

In the meantime, I wanted to thank everyone who has taken the time over the last few weeks to read this blog. With the exception of the proverbial lawsuit that never happened, people have told me they really enjoyed it, and I wanted to extend my regards to everyone who has commented, texted, shared, or retweeted it. I truly appreciate it, and a special thanks to all my friends who let me use their first and sometimes last names in the process.

In the very first entry of this blog, I wrote:

“as I’ve gotten older I keep getting these save the date cards in the mail and I keep watching my best friends get married and I keep attending these weddings with the same woman that I haven’t dated since 2009.”

So, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that there is one more save the date, one more best friend, and one more wedding we have left to attend……

Gary Des

(to be continued…)

See you in a month.

Next Wedding:  Late July 2015

Follow on Twitter @CMarc333

Joe & Nicola (Part 1)

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It was the weekend of May 16th, 2014 and Tasha and I were in New Jersey to attend the rehearsal and wedding of one of my best friends from high school, Joseph T. Carr, aka Parr, aka “Mouse” which no one ever referred to him by, except for some girl from elementary school who called him that all the way up to his graduation day. First of all, I sincerely hope that the use of Parr’s full name and moniker just now doesn’t constitute a lawsuit from him, because if you’ve been keeping tabs on some of the ridiculous events that transpired since the start of this blog, writing that you don’t like someone and mentioning a silly nickname you had for them in high school is apparently cyber-bullying and grounds for defamation of character. But, since I like Parr and we’re friends, I’m not expecting to be served with papers anytime soon.

Parr had found someone really special a few years back when he met in my opinion the sweetest, coolest, greatest girl he’d ever dated… the one, the only, & most importantly Italian, (and therefore BEST) counterpart to his flagrant Irish personality, Nicola. I kind of knew from the first time I met her that she was going to be the one for him. She’s cool, laid back, beautiful, and she’s not crazy. Truth is, every Italian from Jersey has the capability to be crazy, myself included, but instead of crazy I like to use the word “passionate.” Nicola was passionately in love with Parr, and I was more than passionately happy to be a groomsman at their wedding. As it turns out, it would end up being one of the most memorable and slightly dramatic nights of my life, but we’ll get to that soon enough.

I met Parr way back in the early 1990s. I probably hung out with him the most back in the day and it wasn’t only because he is so god damn good looking, we had a lot in common. Look, I’m not gay, but I got to be honest, if I WERE to cross over to the “pride side,” I’d definitely get it on with Parr. I think most guys would have. He’s fun, charismatic, and for a short amount of time he closely resembled Bille Joe Armstrong from Green Day. I think we started hanging out sometime when my friendships with Chad, Gary, Boner and P-Nut were kind of on the rocks, because I did something really stupid and immature to one of them.

I wasn’t a fuck up per se, I just didn’t understand common courtesy. Moreover, I knew nothing of how to cultivate good lasting male friendships, (thank you very much step father who left me and my mom at my 8th grade graduation) So I started over with a new group of guy friends including Parr, Bezanis, Woofy, and Ian who no one has heard from since the late 1990s. Eventually, I was able to mend my friendships with Chad and P-Nut, but Boner and I never really saw eye to eye after that time. It’s probably for the best anyway. I never could tell what that guy was talking about. He used to tell this story about how the FBI confiscated his computer in the 1980s because he apparently hacked into some government mainframe. I believed him at first, but then I realized how similar Boner’s FBI story was to the premise for the movie War Games. He probably made all that shit up, especially the story he told everyone about how he had dated my sister, that is of course until my sister denied it to Chad and Boner was called out.

Anyway, Chad, P-Nut, and Gary had gotten over it, which led to the melding of two groups of my guy friends that I have known since sophomore year. Like I said in previous blogs, I love these guys, and it was an honor to be part of their wedding(s) Joe (who?) and Nicola were getting married in Cape May NJ that weekend, so Tasha and I boarded a Virgin America flight in L.A. a few days before and flew all the way to Philadelphia International. I was actually a little sick on the flight out there. Sometimes when I go home, I get nervous and anxious and I had recently pulled a muscle in my shoulder which was really hurting me at the time. I couldn’t even hold a coffee cup in my left hand without feeling some level of discomfort. I’ll tell you man, getting old sucks.

Before we drove into Jersey, Tasha and I had spent the last six months shooting, and editing sizzle reels, teasers and the pilot episode of our project that used to be a web series, but had now been developed in to a 22 minute TV sitcom, Trent & Tilly. We had been meeting with a start-up cable network over the last six months who loved our idea, and who signed us to a contract to produce and air it on their channel. We did a table read, a photo shoot, attended some events and gave some interviews and we even brought in a few C-list celebs to be cast in the two supporting roles opposite us. Things appeared to be going good, except here’s the thing about Hollywood. It’s nothing until it’s something, which basically means, that contract we signed doesn’t mean anything until we have that check in our hand. And even though this network was supportive and really believed in us and our idea, because they couldn’t come up with the purchase price of the show within 45 days of signing the contract, the agreement was null and void and the ownership of the show reverted back to us. So being the innovative creators we are, we shot the pilot ourselves using our own money and slapped together a sizzle reel, a one sheet, and our agents were sending it out to networks and it was just a matter of time before it was sold and me and Tasha were millionaires and subsequently considered an “overnight success.” We knew it was going to happen, it was just a matter of when and how. I mean, why else had we put ourselves through hell, and why else were we exes still living together in a one bedroom apartment in Hollywood, and why else were we able to find a way to use that uncomfortably awkward situation and write it into one of the premises for the show? It can’t all be for nothing.

We landed in Philly, drove over to Jersey, got a hotel room in Mt. Laurel and spent the first couple days hanging with my mom and my sister, finishing off two bottles of wine at the Carrabba’s on route 73 in Marlton while catching up. The wedding was taking place at Congress Hall in Cape May so after a few days on the main land we headed down the shore to meet up with the wedding party at the hotel for the rehearsal on Thursday afternoon. Congress Hall was epic. It’s this huge old historic boarding house from the 1800’s that is located directly on the beach in Cape May. It had a bunch of rooms, a bar, a view of the ocean, and an underground speakeasy where we would eventually congregate after the wedding where some, if not all of the shit would go down. I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but bear with me. This is my last blog, and I gotta build the suspense.

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Un like that picture, the forecast was for rain on Friday, which by the look on Nicola’s face, clearly sucked. She wanted an outdoor wedding, and who doesn’t? Currently, it was sunny and bright that afternoon on Thursday in May and the wedding party practiced our procession indoors, just in case the wedding got rained out. Parr and I and the rest of groomsmen had gotten our tuxes from Men’s Warehouse which did NOT fuck up the order unlike Jos. A Bank from such previous events as P-Nut and Efia’s wedding. This time around, Chad was again the aficionado of ceremonies, and me, Gary, Steve, Ron, Adam and P-Nut were the groomsmen. His brother Shaun was the best man, and of course we were all paired with bridesmaids to walk down the aisle with. My bridesmaid was pretty, and some might say that our pairing was the catalyst that lead to the unearthing of some chaotic events the next night, but for now, let’s just imagine us all rehearsing in jeans and tee shirts and everybody getting along and no drama to be experienced, yet.

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Everyone in the wedding party on the Groom’s side had one thing in common. We all worked at the TGI Fridays in Marlton on route 73 at some point in our lives. With the exception of Shaun, everyone was at one time either a busser, a waiter, or a bartender. Gary got me the job in ’96, when Steve was already working there, P-Nut followed suit and was hired a few months after me, then after I got fired in ’98 for reasons that shall not be discussed, Parr got hired as a waiter, Chad worked there for a minute as a bus boy and hated it because if you know Chad then you know that he is NOT the poster boy for manual labor. In the years after I moved to Seattle, Parr continued to work there when Adam and Ron were hired so it was not ironic at all that a lot of the guests at the wedding were at one time part of the Friday’s crew.

Back to the rehearsal, we were all gathered in this small stuffy hallway with the drinks we got from the bar before we started proceeding down the aisle in a very odd format. Steve and Ron went first, building from the outside in, followed by me, then P-Nut, then Adam, then Gary which put Gary closest to the Groom, and by that rationale made Steve furthest from the groom.

Wait a minute, I look like Parr’s worst friend! Steve said.

This is where the groomsman location theory came about. Out of all of us, Steve and Ron should have been closer to the groom being that Parr lived with Ron for years, and hangs out with Steve on a regular basis. Shaun is Parr’s brother and isn’t going anywhere, I was smack dab in the middle, so any adjustments to the first two, or the last two wouldn’t affect me at all, so after Parr mentioned this to the wedding planner we all had to start over.  So, while the other guests were in the bar having many drinks, the groomsmen and the bridesmaids went back to the hallway outside the room, grabbed the cocktails and beers we had set down on the stairs before the FIRST rehearsal, finished them, and then proceeded into the room for the second rehearsal, this time in correct order. After we rehearsed the walking to the alter, which didn’t really exist, and the reciting of the vows which were sweet and to the point, but didn’t really mean anything yet, we were released from the muggy convention room and we all headed to the bar for more drinks.

Tasha was sitting at the bar taking selfies with all the girls who weren’t bridesmaids at the wedding which included Efia, Desiree/Destiny and Maggie. I found Tasha’s old sim card in the drawer today and came up with these gems.  She sure loves her selfies….

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I had met Maggie a few years back in 2011 when I came home for the Eagles game/Irish weekend in Wildwood. I had a little crush on her, but it never really amounted to anything because A, she had a boyfriend at the time and B, she lived 3000 miles away in Jersey.  Of course and not ironically, Maggie also worked at the TGI Friday’s in Marlton for awhile and became really good friends with Parr, Adam and Ron. Maggie had sent me a Facebook message a week before the wedding asking me to save her a dance, but when I saw her commiserating with Tasha at the bar I started to wonder A. What were they talking about and B. is this is going to turn into a classic “cock block” situation.

The upside to having a best friend/business partner who is both smart and hot is that it works wonders when dealing with business stuff in a male dominated environment such as Hollywood. She does all the talking sometimes because she is charming and men like a woman who knows her shit. The downside to having a best friend/business partner who is both smart and hot is that every where I go with her, people assume we are boyfriend/girlfriend, so I never get hit on by any other woman. Tasha is sometimes what I like to consider a cock blocker through no fault of her own. It’s not her fault that chicks don’t talk to me when I’m with her, but it’s also her being “with me” that is the fault of why chicks don’t talk to me when I am. Regardless, I said hello to Maggie and a bunch of other guests that had arrived at the bar, and then I pulled Tasha aside.

“Talking to Maggie huh? How’s that going?” I asked.

She’s sweet.” She replied. “I told her we’re not together.

Really?” I said. “I just thought it would be a classic cock block situation.”

On the contrary I let her know it’s cool, so in a sense I’m cock allowing.” she stated

I don’t think that’s the way you say that.” I replied.

I’m allowing cock into your life.” She said.

That’s worse than the first thing you said!” I stated.

I knew what she was trying to say, I just don’t think there is a definitive term that means “not” cock blocking someone, but I thought it was nice that at least she was putting in some good words. I got to be honest, it’s kind of weird when your ex-girlfriend is trying to play matchmaker at your best friend’s wedding, especially since we had been sharing a hotel room for the past three days and that trend will continue tonight and tomorrow.

The last wedding we went to left me with a strange taste in my mouth, and I mean that both literally because I rolfed that night, but also figuratively because I wasn’t sure what to make of all this. We were in some kind of unchartered territory, but I would like to think our friendship has evolved past the point of jealousy, meaning that I’m cool if she hooks up, and she’s cool if I hook up, but I get the feeling that even though both of us are cool like that, neither one of us would actually want to witness the hook up first hand.

After about an hour of drinking and snacking from the bowl of pretzels and spicy crackers at the bar, the guests were getting ready to head to the Bayview in Wildwood for the rehearsal dinner, even though it wasn’t really going to be a traditional dinner. It was more like a bunch of Parr and Nicola’s friends getting drunk and eating bar food together the night before the wedding. Tasha and I headed back to the car which I had illegally parked somewhere on the backlot of the hotel, but before we made our way to the bar, we had to drive back to North Wildwood, otherwise known as “NoWo” to check into our room for the night at the Lollipop, otherwise known as that outrageous looking rainbow colored motel on the corner of 23rd and Atlantic whose main sign shows two close-up drawings of these random blonde haired creepy little kid faces. You see what I mean?

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I had booked the motel last minute because we needed a place to stay that was close to Cape May, but not actually in Cape May because of the location of the Bayview. The motel was close to Parr’s parents house, and even though it got a bad reputation because it looks likes it’s the perfect place for a pedophile to hang out, I went ahead and took a chance. Steve booked a room there too, but he went straight to the bar first. We got to the motel office and opened the door and went in. In the office were some pamphlets, a few pictures of local sights like the boardwalk and the pier, and a couple house plants. I heard the sound of the TV from this back room connected to the office covered by a curtain, which I would assume is where the hotel manager and their kids slept. On the desk in front of me where the pamphlets and parking passes were laid out was this black and white cat who was staring at me and Tasha.

We’d like to check in please.” I said to the cat.

Naturally, it didn’t answer but a few seconds later a man in his mid thirties appeared from behind the curtain like the great and powerful Oz, and we started the check in process. He told tell us stories of how all these crazy “Jersey Shore” types started coming down in the past few summers.

In fact,” he said “one of them crazy I-talians threw a TV in the pool last year.

“Well I’m Italian, but definitely not crazy, just passionate…. and maybe a little crazy.” I replied.

I think his name was John and he seemed really nice to us and gave us our key which was an actual key, not like one of those cards with the magnetic strip on it that they give you in modern hotels. It’s been awhile since I stayed in a hotel room where you physically get a key to the place. It felt so antiquated. We went up one flight and entered room 202 which was directly above the office. The room was….how can I put this….very quaint and “oceanic.” There was single bed, a couch, a tube television from the late 1990s, some really tacky wallpaper, a microwave, a tiny little bathroom and a bunch of nautical instruments on the wall.

“I call the bed!” Tasha exclaimed.

Fine, I call the pull-out couch.” I said.

I had done a little research on some of the hotels in Wildwood before I left. What I found by reading some of the Yelp reviews of other places was quite concerning. The Lollipop however, had gotten some relatively good reviews, it just looked like a shit hole place that would have gotten terrible reviews. Still, I did the first thing I do when I check into a shady motel, I got my flashlight, and checked for bed bugs.

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I actually had an issue with bed bugs a year before. My bed was slightly infested with them, and it sucked. For two months, I couldn’t sleep at all and it freaked me out right up until the whole apartment had to be exterminated. I won’t go into the details of how Tasha brought home a painting from her ex-boyfriend’s house and how that painting ended up against the wall next to my bed and how after I found out I had bed bugs I looked inside the frame of said painting and sure enough that’s where all the bugs had come from, or maybe I just did go into detail about that.  Regardless, I had to throw my old bed away so Tasha bought me a new one because even though I’m not pointing the finger directly at her, maybe she felt kind of gulity and maybe the whole the thing had “something” to do with that painting she brought home. Just a theory of mine.

After I found the sleeping quarters to be safe, we changed clothes, hopped in the car and headed over to the Bayview in Wildwood Crest. It was almost dark by he time we got there but when we walked in, everyone was gathered around the bar drinking and having some food. Most of Nicola’s friends and family were there, and of course ALL of Parr’s family and friends were there too, mainly because they are Irish and alcoholics, respectively. I went over to and said hi to my friends Halin, Rotzko, and Reynolds, who I refer to by their last names, and then we said hello to my friends Dave, Jenna and Tim who I refer to by their first names. There’s this weird thing about calling someone by their last names that I think only applies to guys. I’ve never heard Tasha refer to Mary and say “I’m getting a drink with Quinlan,” and I’ve never heard Mary refer to Tasha by saying “Do you know where Tacosa is?” I just think it’s a guy related sports thing, because that one time in 2007 when I did refer to Tasha as “Tacosa,” she stated “Hey, I’m not on your baseball team.” Point taken.

The next couple of hours reminded me of being at a mini-high school reunion. I caught up with people I hadn’t seen in awhile, put some music on the jukebox and ate some bar food that I think I remember was pretty good but to be honest, it was the company we kept that made it so much fun. It was nice to see all of these people in one place again, and it only made me look forward to the wedding tomorrow that much more. I ordered another drink and spotted Maggie at the bar. She came up to me and said hi, and then she told me she had talked to Tasha.

“Tasha’s really cool.” She said.

Yeah, she’s great.” I replied. “What did you guys talk about?

“Nothing.” She said.

“Did you talk about me?” I asked.

No.” She said with a smirk. “Just remember to save me that dance tomorrow.”

I didn’t know what kind of reverse bro-mance was going on with them. For all I knew this could be a set up, but in reality I don’t think that was the case. Did Maggie and Tasha have a little girl crush thing going on? Possibly, but at this point it didn’t really matter. I know Tasha has my back, especially in situations like this that we’ve NEVER been in before. It’s just the kind of relationship we have. We want each other to be happy, and we want each other to have fun and I’m sure that if there was some guy there that wanted me to try and sweet talk Tasha into “dancing” with him I would have done the same thing. That’s just what friends do, especially friends who I used to date 7 years ago, but who I don’t anymore, even though at this point we still shared a bedroom and shared many arguments about which one of us keeps leaving dirty dishes piling up in the kitchen sink.

Everyone in that room was a good friend of mine. I shared some great memories with each and every person going all the way back to 1992 when I first met Chad, Gary and P-Nut and we snuck out to the fields behind my house in the Vineyards in the middle of the night and saw what we thought to be the Jersey Devil. Then a few years later when I met Parr, Dave, Rotzko, Reynolds, and Woofy I threw a NYE party in a hotel room somewhere in Vorhees where I got violently sick and ended up puking and clogging the sink, and my boy Gary took care of me.

The friends I’ve known for years have each other’s backs, and they stick up for each other, and yes, it’s required in that same vein of existence they may also get into fights and bust each other’s balls in the process, but that’s just how it goes. We did almost everything together growing up, and I don’t have any regrets about the way things turned out, and I would hope the same goes for them.  As I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve been finding out who my real friends are, and that night on the eve of Parr and Nicola’s wedding I was happy to know I was in a room full of them.

Way back in the day we used to listen to this song by the hard core band “H2o” called “5 Year Plan” It wasn’t the greatest song in the world, but the first 8 words of the tune really emphasizes my point.

My friends look out for me like family”

That’s the way it should always be. For me, I didn’t grow up with a father or a brother, or any real extended family so naturally, my best friends became my family. I won’t ever know what it’s like to grow up as a kid in the world today, but I bet it’s not half as entertaining as it was for us back then.

Back at the bar, there was still drinking and chatting going on, but Tasha and I left a little earlier than everyone else that night because we were tired and tipsy and we headed back to the motel to get some sleep before the wedding tomorrow.

So….what did you say to Maggie?” I asked her

“I gave her my blessing” Tasha said with a smile.

It was a sweet and selfless thing to do.  I didn’t know what was going to happen the next night, but I do know that two amazing people were going to get married, and I was going to be able to be a part of it, and all of it’s legendary glory.

“Thanks Tacosa.” I replied.

You’re welcome, but I’m not on your baseball team.”

Part 2: June 24th, 2015

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Aaron & Marlowe

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It was April 13th 2013, but you could hardly tell it was Spring by the weather that afternoon. The day Aaron and Marlowe got married in Malibu, California it was overcast and chilly, and in addition to their beautiful ceremony, and amazing buffet spread, an extra redeeming quality for me was being able to gather with my west coast Philly sports family for a celebration that would include so much food, so much drink, and so much debauchery.

Tasha and I had been living together as roommates for the past 8 months. Within the four walls of my apartment all the time were me, Tasha, all of our stuff, my pet cat, and her pet rabbit.

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#bffs

We were kind of like one small dysfunctional family the last few months however during that time, Tasha and I had somehow worked together to write and produce 8 episodes of our award winning web series, Trent & Tilly. It was a small accomplishment in the grand scheme of things, but it was enough for us to gain some confidence moving forward as we tried to figure out how to make this little show into a much bigger show. The wedding couldn’t have come at a better time, as we both needed a little break to relax, unwind, and hang out with our big dysfunctional family, “The Nest of the West.”

I met Aaron at the bar one Sunday afternoon while we all were watching the Eagles game. Aaron loves his football, his wife, and yelling at Cowboys fans who try to taunt us.  Every Sunday it was usually me, Tasha, Shaun, John, Tim, Adam, Dave, Leland, Kerry, the Sinkler twins, our server Kym…. and the rest. We even harbored our friend Drew who is ironically a Redskins fan. Normally, I wouldn’t associate with the enemy on game day, but Drew gets a pass because I’ve known him since the 90s, he’s a good guy, and he takes the most amount of shit talk by sitting with us during the games. It’s great when we’re winning, but it sucks when we’re losing.  How would you like it if there is one guy sitting amongst you cheering loudly when your team fumbles the ball into the hands of the defense.  Sucks.  I always thought inviting us all to a wedding would be very similar to us all being at the bar, except we would all look a lot nicer, the food would be way better, and since Aaron and Marlowe provided transportation to and from the event, we would all be able to get a lot drunker, if that was even possible, but as I would find out later that, it certainly WAS possible.

Tasha and I parked our car at one of the valet pickup spots on Sunset Blvd. A few of us gathered into a pass van and made our way to the top of a mountain in Malibu wearing spring dresses and Calvin Klein suits. As the van climbed through the overcast skies into the upper stratosphere of this well known beach city, I stopped being able to see anything out the window than the road and the clouds. To be honest, it was pretty scary. The lanes going up the mountain were extremely narrow, and we had to pull over to let other cars pass us on the vertical trek to the house. Once we got there, it was pretty clear that we couldn’t see anything past the cliffs at the edge of the property. I had a few thoughts running through my head, one of them, was where the hell were we in relation to L.A., because none of us got any cell phone service up there. The other one was, just how much money did it cost to rent out a three million dollar mansion for the weekend, and how did Aaron get to know these people whose house he rented?

Aaron is a line producer and has worked on some big budget projects, and Marlowe is an exotic animal trainer, (hope I got that right) and she works at the L.A. Zoo, so I’m sure they have their connections. Still, I had been to Malibu before, but when we took a right turn off the Pacific Coast Highway and then headed up a steep road where I thought I was going to die a few times on the ride, I completely lost any sense of time and direction. Things would pretty much exist inside that bubble for the next 6 hours.

The location was decorated with black tablecloths, red roses, a stone patio, and a small set of chairs for the parents and the wedding party. We all gathered in the backyard of the mansion, and the ceremony took place just a few feet away from where we were standing. Most of us didn’t sit down for the ceremony, mainly because there weren’t any chairs for us to sit down in. I kind of liked the idea of Aaron and Marlowe having a wedding so quick and to the point, that within two minutes of them saying I do, and us all clapping and celebrating their union together, we were all at the bar, three feet away getting our drink on. It was just that kind of day. I knew from the start that this wouldn’t necessarily bring about any emotional revelations for me, nor would it bring me back to a time where I would reminisce about growing up with all these guys because for the most part, I had only known them for the last few years, but the people at this wedding are my west coast family, and I love them all, even if I don’t see them that much in between football seasons.

There was ahi tuna, steak, chicken, sushi, and other delicious food being passed around on server trays. Strong cocktails were being consumed all over the grounds, and a buffet was set up in the living room of the mansion where we could all gorge ourselves on many different types of meats, cheeses, salads and more apps. Aaron and Marlowe had what I called an “East Coast” California wedding. It wasn’t your traditional California wedding because there was so much bread and booze and food that you knew the Bride and Groom weren’t from California.  Aaron said that he wanted to keep the decorations and ceremony to a minimum, but he added one element we could all partake in that set this wedding apart from any other wedding I’ve been to. Gambling.

Not like real gambling where you lose your own money, however if we did run out of the fake cash in the perk pack we received at the start of the reception, we could pay for some more. I don’t remember if there were prizes or what not for the person with the most amount of chips, and I don’t recall any dancing or any other type of traditional wedding activities, although looking at this picture of Aaron and Marlowe below being held up on two wooden chairs, I could easily assume there was some traditional jewish element to it.

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Before I made my way up stairs where the blackjack, roulette, and poker tables were,  I had a few drinks, took some pictures with my boys, and ate a good amount of food, or so I thought. I got to be honest, that’s where the pictures stopped for me. It was as if as soon as I got a little bit more drunk than normal, I stopped taking pictures, the sun set, or at least the hazy ominous light from the where the sun would be if I could tell what direction I was facing had set, and I went up stairs with my bag of chips and sat at a table with Kym, John, and John’s “not” date to the wedding, Zenobia.

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John is like my brother from another mother. I mean, people literally think we are related. He’s a good guy with an creative sense of pride and he’s very opinionated, so we get along fine.  Kym was our server at the bar on Sundays for the past 6 years, and it may be true that Kym and I had a love/hate relationship sometimes, but that could possibly be attributed to the fact that we may or may not have gone out on a date or two that didn’t quite pan out, or ended with us getting totally drunk and screaming at each other in a public or private setting. Hey, sometimes those things happen and when they do happen, that’s when you know that some things just aren’t meant to be. She’s a comedienne, and a good person at heart, and maybe she’ll write me into her stand up routine one day if she hasn’t already. Finally, there was John’s “not date” to the wedding, Zenobia.

I didn’t really know Zenobia, but she kind of came off a little snobby to me, however I’m sure that had everything to do with the first question I asked her that night which was….. “What the hell kind of name is Zenobia?”

I never really got an answer. She seemed kind of…privileged. I don’t know where she is from, but I assume she probably moved here to be an actress from some place in the mid-west, possibly. She was younger than us, and acted very “west coast”  meaning she was not that friendly, kind of stand-offish, a little vapid, and trying so hard to be cool. It’s not all her fault, because if you put her in a room with a bunch of guys and girls who’ve all known each other for years and who have no filter on their mouths who also like to get drunk at weddings and on Sundays and don’t really care about the consequences, you might pick up on some or all of those traits I mentioned earlier. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism, maybe it’s just someone being a bitch. I don’t really know.  I kind of wanted to say…

We’re at a wedding, lighten up. Life isn’t that serious right now. Maybe have another glass of pink champagne and stop trying to be the coolest person in the room”

But look, I get that my group of Eagles boys and gals are an intimidating bunch, especially since we bust on each other a lot, and we all have big personalities. Regardless, I don’t really know or wanted to know what her deal was at this point, so after I blew all my money on roulette, blackjack and two hands of Pai Gow or whatever game we were playing, I made my way back downstairs to get myself another drink.

I traded in my empty glass for a full one. I was on my fourth, or maybe fifth vodka because at this point in the night, they just go down so easily. I turned around and started heading back into the house when I ran into Kristin. Kristin and I had hung out a couple times over the last few months, but we kept it really quiet because we both didn’t like people in our personal business. Of course, all of that is negated now that I am writing about her in a public blog.

I liked Kristin. She was a pretty, down to earth, and not like most of the girls in L.A. who think their shit doesn’t stink. She’s a tom boy, from the east coast, wasn’t an actress, nor confrontational, and she had a high level of self esteem. The downside was that she lived all the way in Venice, and I lived all the way in Hollywood, and shared a bedroom with Tasha which definitely complicated any and all dating scenarios that may have arose during that time. Kristen knew about my living situation and I guess she didn’t really care, at least not at this point in the night. So, without really saying much we started a self guided tour of the mansion and eventually disappeared somewhere inside that house.

“What about here?” I asked.

“The bathroom?” She stated. “Not going to work.”

We tried to make the bathroom work for a minute, but as it turns out, Kristin was right… that bathroom was quite cramped and way too bright, so on to plan B. Next, we did what anyone who was drunk at a wedding and looking to hook up would do, we found a bedroom in the back of the house that no one was currently using, we went in, and locked the door behind us.

I don’t know if anyone saw us but to be honest, the idea that somebody might have was kind of exciting. I mean, it felt like we were doing something wrong, even though technically we weren’t but morally we might have been, and in a certain sense I think that added a level of intrigue to the events that took place that night. It felt like we were getting away with something….for now anyway.

I did know that some people were staying over at the house that night as I could tell someone had claimed this room due to the fact that there was a bag of clothes and other personal belongings on the bed, like a hair curler and blow dryer. Oh shit…was this Aaron and Marlowe’s room? I kind of felt bad, but then I thought about the relationship Aaron and Marlowe have and how they probably would have encouraged two guests to hook up at their wedding, and since this bedroom was kind of small and located on the ground floor, the chances of this being the Bride and Groom’s suite for the night were pretty slim, so we continued with our carnal encounter.

Then, five minutes later, and before anything erotic or carnal could actually transpire, we heard a knocking on the door and a very agitated high pitched female voice asking who was in “their” room.

“Oh shit, who is that?” I whispered.

“I don’t know.” Kristin said. “But we better open the door.”

I so did NOT want to open that door. I kept wondering is there a window we could crawl out of? Is there a secret pathway back to the living room that we could escape into like the underground railroad? Let’s face it, we were trapped together and we were going to be found out. I just really hope it wasn’t Marlowe. To have the Bride find you getting it on in their bedroom not only would be embarrassing, it would be very disrespectful, and that’s the last thing I wanted to have happen.

“Get your shit together, I’m opening the door.” Kristin said.

I grabbed my shirt, my tie, and my suit jacket and then the door to the bedroom opened, and in marched the one person who I didn’t really want to talk to before, and who I definitely didn’t want to talk to or see at THIS point in the night. The one, the only, the unequivocally pissed off cockblocker of the night, Zenobia.

“What were you guys doing in here?” She stammered.

Just checking out the rest of the house.” I said with a shit eating grin on my face.

Yep, she hates me.  If she hadn’t before, she definitely did now and with that, we left Zenobia to wonder what had or had not just transpired in her room, and we made our way down the hall and back outside to the party, slightly embarrassed but also incredibly relieved. Once we were back in civilization, one of our friends was smoking a joint,  and we both decided to join in for a few puffs. If I hadn’t learned my lesson from getting stoned at weddings in the past, here’s where I had a crash course in reality, as everything finally became unravelled.

At first, I was overcome with a sense of giddy pride and accomplishment for almost being found out and the feeling that at some point in my life, I would be able to tell the story of what just happened and laugh about it, maybe years later. Then I thought about how good the food was at this wedding, but how I don’t really remember eating a lot of carbs or bread, even though there were plenty to go around. Then I started thinking about how many drinks I had drank that night which led to me getting the spins, and the uneasy feeling in my stomach that this was not going to have a happy ending like I wished it would have. Was there a double meaning in that statement? Probably, but all that was in the past right now and I was living in the present, the present where I could feel myself stumbling around in the darkness, trying to find a secluded place out of sight from the rest of the guests where I could do my dirtiest work of the night.

I’ve never gotten so drunk that I puked at a wedding before, let alone puked while wearing a suit and tie, but there’s always a first time for everything, right? Inevitably it happened, right there in front of what I think was the garage of this three million dollar house in Malibu. I ended up vomiting out the five or so drinks, and whatever ahi tuna, chicken or steak appetizers I had consumed in the hours before. For a minute, I couldn’t really tell where I was, or what was happening, but I knew I wouldn’t be feeling very good for awhile. And even though I’m sure she didn’t want to witness it, Kristin, like the sweetheart she is was there to help me up from the ground after my exasperating bout of regurgitating everything I had enjoyed eating at Aaron and Marlowe’s wedding.

We sat on the stones near the edge of the property and looked out into the dimly lit sky. I apologized again for having to put her through such a disgusting experience, and when she asked me if I was going to stay over, all I could think of was how badly I wanted to leave, brush my teeth, take off my puke suit, and go to bed. My head was pounding, my stomach was rumbling, and I just needed to find Tasha so we could catch the last ride back to civilization and go home.

Speaking of Tasha, where was she? I hadn’t seen her in what felt like all night. I went back into the house and walked around trying to find her, but to no avail. I asked a few people where she was, and they had said they had seen her in the back about an hour ago, but I still couldn’t find her. Then, all of a sudden I ran into John outside. He took one look at me and said…

“Dude, are you ok? You look like you’re about to puke.”

“Thanks John, but I already did that.” I replied.

Then I turned around and saw Tasha and Adam approaching us. There was something weird about them. I asked Tasha if she was ready to go and she said yes, but with a strange look on her face. Then I looked at Adam, and he had the exact strange look on his face too, as if they knew something I didn’t.

Did they hear about me and Kristin in the back room, or worse,.. did they disappear into a back room of their own?  Nah, I couldn’t see that happening. Don’t get me wrong, Adam is a good looking guy, and I always knew he and Tasha kind of liked each other, but I don’t think one of my friends would bang my ex-girlfriend at a wedding that I was also a guest at. This is my life, not Californication.

“Alright, well I just vomited all over what I think was the garage, so I’m ready to go.”  I said

“Great.” She said. “Let’s go.”

We said goodbye to whomever was within ear shot, and we grabbed our stuff and made our way down the dark and dimly lit driveway to the street where the last passenger van of the night was to pick us up. I wasn’t drunk anymore, and I was actually pretty happy we had a half hour ride back to the car from Malibu so I could rest my eyes for minute. We headed down the mountain via that creepy winding one lane road, and instead of looking out the window and fearing that we would tumble off the edge of the cliffs again, I just closed my eyes, and fell asleep. When I woke up thirty minutes later, I was cold, I was hungry, but it was time to get into the car and go home.

This was a strange wedding. I was happy for Aaron and Marlowe, the venue was apocalyptically beautiful, I got violently sick, and I feared for my life on the ride up to the house. I hooked up with another girl that wasn’t my date, and even though I thought I had a good time, if I had it to do over again, I think I might have done things differently. Mainly, I wouldn’t have gotten sick, I might have bet a little more with my head, instead of over it, and I would have tried to have a more traditional experience, but I live my life with no regrets, and I guess in some way it was part of the process.

I know Tasha and I weren’t together, but there was a part of me that still felt guilty about the events that transpired. I mean, just six months ago I was in Florida at P-Nut and Efia’s wedding and I was coming to so many emotional and grown-up realizations about life and love, that compared to this wedding I felt like I took a step back tonight. Maybe I was being too hard on myself, or maybe I just didn’t feel good and I was taking things too seriously. I’m allowed to have fun, and not every wedding needs to be a positive learning lesson, right? I guess when it comes down to it, I just feel like in my life I want to evolve, not digress.

I started my car and let it warm up a bit and I turned on some music and put on my glasses I need to see the road with, but still something was on my mind and I had to get it out in the most honest and blunt way I know.

Did you bang Adam?” I casually asked Tasha.

“What? No I did NOT bang Adam. How can you ask me that?” She replied.

“You made out with him though, right?” I said in a matter of fact tone.

“Adam is cute, so yeah maybe we made out.” She said.

“Ok that’s fine.” I replied.

Honestly, I was fine with it. I know Tasha is a pretty girl and Adam is a good looking guy and at wedding two attractive people will flirt and sometimes get drunk and maybe they will end up making out with each other. I mean, I certainly had no room to talk.

You sure you didn’t bang him?” I asked half jokingly.

“Shut up Christian, let’s just go home.” She replied.

And with that, I put the car in drive, released the E-brake and I drove me and my ex-girlfriend/roommate/business partner back to the one bedroom apartment in Hollywood we shared with my pet cat, and her pet rabbit. Just one “sometimes happy yet always slightly dysfunctional” family.

It would be a little over a year before Tasha and I went to another wedding together, but before I made my final appearance as a groomsman in a wedding on the east coast with all of my best friends from high school in attendance, something really big was about to happen in me and Tasha’s professional life. However as we would soon come to learn, in Hollywood, something is still really nothing, until it’s really something.

Last wedding: June 16th, 2015

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All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.