I was invited to a friend’s event this past weekend. It was a commitment ceremony. They didn’t want to go through the legal process of being hitched again, and they both aren’t religious, but they wanted to celebrate their new start together. I was happy to support them.
For some reason this day had me all in a personal debacle. Call me old-fashioned, but I guess I had a set of expectations and it just didn’t match up with the reality of the day.
To start, the invitation said no gifts. I’m of Italian heritage so, no matter what, you show up with at least a small meatball to offer as a sign of thanks or congratulations for attending. This gave me angst until I gave in and went to a local winery to buy some wine and “his and hers” wine tumblers. I figured I’d call it a house-warming treat if she resisted.
Next, the invitation said “parking can be tricky” and there was a link to click for more information. I suspected a map would open. Nope. It was a video of her fiancé driving the route of the entrance of the neighborhood to their home. It was roughly a minute and a half of him instructing guests not to park on the main road, not to park on their road, and not to park in the driveway. He points out one possible side road along the way where we “could” park.
This gave me instant parking anxiety. I watched the video like five times. My anxiety worsened each time I watched it. I gave myself the ol’ self-talk of “you’ll figure it out when you get there”. Deep down though, somehow I knew it would be a problem.
I left for this event at what I thought was a decent amount of time to arrive on time, or possibly fashionably late. The time on the invitation said 4:00. I pulled into her neighborhood at 4:05 and thought about parking at a nearby park, but the route to her house was uphill and about a quarter of a mile up the street. I decided to forge ahead to find the side street that he pointed out in the video. I turned on that road, and there were no cars parked on the street at all. [insert wide-eyed emoji here]. I was so confused and was now driving around the block trying to find a any spot to park that wouldn’t cause me to be towed.
And my friend starts texting me, asking if I’m still coming…
Oh my gosh. How many people are attending? Is she waiting for me to start? I was mortified.
I finally found a row of cars parked on the street at opposite end of the street (it seemed near her house, but it was just as much of an uphill walk), so I just parked and hopped out, started hiking uphill and forgetting about the gift I brought.
She texts me again! She asks if I need help. I say no and I’m walking up to the house. OMG
Her fiancé’s son greets me at the end of the very long and steep driveway. Meanwhile, I’m doing some serious work hiking up this hill, and starting to lose my breath (and I’m in decent shape). The son, who appears to be in his early 20s, claims that his dad is an idiot and should have planned for better parking. Ya think?
As I reach the top of her very steep driveway, she opens the front door and greets me.
What the hell? Why am I the one holding up their ceremony? I want to die: 1) from hiking up the hill and 2) from embarrassment.
She greets me excitedly with a hug and ushers me through the house to the back deck where there was a canopy and about 40 people seated, waiting for the ceremony to begin. I slid into a back row, greeted one of my old work friends, and proceeded to catch my breath — wishing that I was already sipping chardonnay.
The ceremony was cute, and short, and made me feel a little sad for myself. Weddings do that. I’m glad I haven’t been to any lately. But it also gave me hope, as she was once in my single shoes and found her second chance at love. So I observed with an open heart and happiness for her new start.
Next was social time, drinks, and food. I was happy to catch up with my old work buddy and her husband. We drank and ate together. After a while her husband wanted to go, and I was sad to see them leave. I didn’t feel like making new friends with strangers. Sometimes I can do this with no problem, but the uphill battle to get here (all puns intended) had already gotten the best of me. I was longing for home and comfy couch. I stayed a little while longer, while they cut the cake, and then I bid my farewell. I felt a little guilty for leaving so soon, I thought she may have seemed disappointed when I left. Maybe not, but I just felt the need to go.
As I walked out the front door, I realized I’d have to walk down the steep driveway, and then down the steep road to my car. And I remembered that I never brought the gift. I made the journey downhill to my car. I was then full of every bit of reluctance to retreat back uphill with the gift. Even if I drove up the driveway, the maneuvering I’d have to do to get back out of the driveway would have been a spectacle.
So I did something I’d normally never do, and I gave up. I left. I did not go back with the gift. I gave up early and in complete relief. I reminded myself that the invitation specifically said “No Gifts Please”. My mind started circling on how I could meet up with her later and give her the gift, and then I just stopped. I put the windows down and I turned up my music and cruised home.
There are just some things that aren’t worth it, that includes going uphill twice for no gain of my own.
Stifle Me Not