Just trying to read the various sizes and fonts of type in crisscrossing directions is enough to make you feel nauseous. I can empathize, because I spent my morning and afternoon fighting nerves at my best friend Boothe's wedding. I was surprised that I felt unsettled, since all that I had to do was:
1. Get Boothe to the wedding.
2. Pull the rings out of my jacket pocket.
3. Give a toast.
But I haven't been in a wedding since I was eight years old, and both the bride and the groom are close friends of mine, so I got really caught up in the special nature of the day. I was also getting a small sense of how exhausting the preparations must have been; I spent all day Saturday cleaning my apartment for that evening's bachelor party. We went out for steak dinner, and came back home for a night reminiscent of our college days (beer, Grand Theft Auto, card games, and Mystery Science Theatre 3000 - not exactly the height of debauchery, but to each his own). We finally wound down around 3 AM.
I had Sunday afternoon to recuperate before I drove to a hotel in Annapolis for the rehearsal dinner. That kicked off twenty-four hours of introductions to a cascade of close relatives, distant relatives, and family friends. We were stuffed silly at dinner, and I was ready to call it a night. (Boothe's parents were kind enough to put he and I up in a room in the hotel.) But as we were getting our bags from the car, the men of his family invited us to have a few drinks. As his father, uncle, and cousins shared their advice on marriage and family anecdotes I nursed a couple of beers. By the time we finally parted ways at 10:30 PM, we'd been socializing (and eating and drinking) for five hours and I was beyond full. Boothe and I watched a wrestling DVD for the next two hours, though he faded in and out of consciousness.
I had a fitful sleep, as I often do in hotels. I'm a creature of habit, and the combination of the layers of stiff sheets, the intermittent whirring of the air conditioner, and Boothe's snoring conspired with my sense of anticipation to keep me awake.
Fortunately, the actual wedding went off without a hiccup. Both groom and best man managed to suit up in our tuxedos without making a mess, and we were at the venue with plenty of time to spare (objective #1 accomplished). I didn't leave the rings at the hotel (objective #2), though I did lose a pair of socks along the way. And finally, with many of our college friends (and even a few professors!) listening on, I gave a brief and light-hearted toast that was received pretty well. So that's a perfect three-for-three on my best man duties, and that's without taking into account the bachelor party.
But most importantly, two of the kindest and most giving people that I know pledged their love and commitment to each other on a beautiful May afternoon, and I'm thrilled that they included me in their plans.