When I was a tween I remember being
forced to work for free invited to a wedding in Maine. To make it worth my while my mother drove me up there with my bestie at the time. We spent two or three days preparing for the wedding by helping prep food, blowing up one balloon less than it takes to pass out on the floor, and taking rides with perfect strangers. We were frenzied and exhausted but still having fun until my mother pitched a plate of pigs in a blanket on the floor. They quickly got covered in cat hair and that whole blanket terminology became all too real.
Finally the day of the wedding came and we were handed cameras. Mine was fancy – and manufactured in the 1970’s so it weighed about thirty pounds. Thank God it had a strap. I hoisted it over my neck and started to wander around like the paparazzi. I wasn’t the only one with a camera. They had “hired” a friend of the bride to be the official photographer. I will never forget his arrival…
Sometimes people show up one day and although that’s the only day of your life you’ll ever see them they just leave that big of an impression that you never forget them. That would be this guy. I had heard the mother of the bride talk about him in fleeting moments and I didn’t garner much about him other than he was “a little weird” and British – and not just a little. I mean holy fuck was this guy was British. He was immediately recognizable due to the fact he was running around with the most outrageous mop-top haircut I had seen since 1964. Whhhhhhy?? Of all things! Was that some sort of joke? Like yup, I’m British, let’s dress up as a Beatle. Irony? An ice breaker? Maine’s first hipster? And why was he working at Wal-Mart and living in the shittiest corners of Maine? Punishment for something? I had to know.
Most people use their mouths to ask questions using a serious of noises they call speech but that’s too easy and besides it was much more fun just stalking the guy. He was really socially awkward almost as if he was avoiding people because we were all carrying plague. He seemed utterly lost besides. This was great. I got to watch my own British comedy in all it’s delightful awkwardness unfold before me. My friend was less amused with this than I was.
“Why are we following this guy?!”
“We’re just watching.”
I thought I was remarkably well behaved even if I was stalking him. I hadn’t burst out into any random Beatles songs and that was hard not to do. I mean upon driving in my mind was blaring, “Beep beep’m beep beep yeah!” The rest of the day was no better… at every corner so many opportunity for puns…
The wedding party was getting dressed and I was loitering around the living room with my bestie when the photographer made another appearance. I thought to myself, “Oh shit, he doesn’t have the balls to waltz into the back of the house with all that estrogen flying through the air to take any shots of this moment!” I was right. He sat idly in the kitchen watching small children screech by and wondering if he should pursue this further. I watched with intense anticipation. Another child flew by knocking something over with a giant thud which seemed to really disturb the poor guy.
My friend looked at me. I looked at her. Not ten minutes had passed before he yelled, “TIMBER!” I started to giggle. My bestie elbowed me in the side. She did that a lot. “Impeccable timing.” I whispered. I got elbowed again.
A whoosh of commotion. Suddenly everyone was on the move. The photographer made it outside with them. Yeah, whatever, it’s go time!
The ceremony was beautiful and simple. The bride walked down her own porch barefooted but dressed to the hilt otherwise, beaming. A nervous groom. Ten groomsmen and bridesmaids lined up leaving half the audience empty…. and where was the photographer? Shit, I lost him. Where’d he go?! He didn’t Doctor Who it out of here did he?? Oh there he is… five hundred feet away as if he were trying to photograph some sort of shy migratory bird. The audience was about three hundred feet closer. Why is he in the back forty?? With the same lens a sniper might use…. Huh. This guy was getting more interesting by the minute and it was driving me crazy. What was up with him?!
After the wedding I was whisked away to prepare the reception hall and never saw the photographer again. But I did see his photos! The bride’s mother lamented, “The photos you guys took were so much better! Close up! All his shots everyone is TINY. Like ants!” Perhaps he was avoiding people cooties…