Last week I got on an airplane and flew across the country in the middle of the night. When I woke up, I was in the South and a giant picture of Pat Robertson welcomed me to the airport. I convinced the people at Starbucks to give me a short latte with soy milk by agreeing to may them five dollars. My friends came to pick me up and we drove past a lot of funny things like a farmers' market with dozens of signs (first words, then cartoons, then pictures), a chimney in the middle of a field, fireworks stores that sell mexican pottery, and that giant bridge that is really tall in the middle for no known reason.
We stayed at a house near the beach and across the street from the fire station and ate lunch at the place that we always go. Outside, a dog in the back of a pickup truck barked loudly at passersby until a downpour forced it to jump through the tiny back window for shelter. One day, we made it to the beach and swam in the ocean where the big waves knocked us around a bit and claimed a third pair of white sunglasses. At night, we either delivered packages, played Mille Bournes and Settlers of Catan, or hosted a party by the pool.
On Saturday, we were enlisted to help mix buckets of pink sand and arrange flowers in square vases. A red flag meant that the waters were too rough for swimming, but not too windy for a wedding. I put on a suit, took off my shoes, walked onto the beach, let a crazy-looking man put a microphone on my tie, avoided being hit by a wind-whipped sheet, said some magic words, and then my friends were married.
When the crowd had been dismissed for cocktails, the rest of us waited around in the shadow of the big hotel to have photographs taken. Later, we filled out surveys and danced to a bunch of old songs that all sounded alike. At the end of the night, we tried to keep sparklers burning long enough for the bride and groom to make a dramatic exit. On the way out, we took the leftover wedding cake for a midnight snack.
The next morning, we cleaned out the house and made the funny drive back to the airport again. I paid twenty-five dollars and a thorough security for a better flight with better seats. Now I'm home without sunburn, walking around in a bit of a daze to fend off the little cold that I always seem to get from traveling.