Up north to a wedding this weekend. Always fun to attend weddings. They beat funerals, for one thing. There’s cake. And usually wine, and frequently champagne.
There was certainly no shortage at this wedding, which was held in the northern Michigan woods. Not all the way off the grid, but edging in that direction — catering, but with porta-potties and an explicit warning from the wedding couple not to wear heels, because of the walk in from the road, which was decidedly unfriendly to delicate footwear. But once back there, it was a little oasis of loveliness, with a blue color scheme. The bride wore a $30 gown she got at Goodwill and had altered to her taste; why wear Vera Wang to trail behind you down a dirt path en route to the forest clearing? Any last-minute fit alterations just went with the color scheme:
The couple was said to be going for an effect that was “rustic, not redneck.” I’d say they succeeded. All guests were invited to camp on the surrounding acreage, and many took them up on it. We didn’t, and stayed at another guest’s nearby hunting cabin, which had the benefit of window screens on a night when the mosquitos were feeling particularly bloodthirsty. On the other hand, I bet the afterparty was a blast.
Leaving, it occurred to me the last wedding I went to in northern Michigan was also held right around the summer solstice. The sky after 10 p.m., as we were leaving:
They prize summer in the north. “Three months of bad sledding,” etc.
That was my weekend. How was yours?
On the way we passed the Perma-Log Co., a company about which the name says everything. I regret that the website doesn’t feature the other perma-items from the company’s acreage on M-33, which included perma-Stonehenge and perma-Easter Island heads. Both of which would be perma-cool in our front yard, I think. (CORRECTION, 9/2: Website updated. Check out Easter Island, Michigan.) Northern Michigan kitsch doesn’t have quite the same feel as that of, say, southern Ohio. Not so many fat ladies bending over or plywood silhouettes of a guy leaning against a tree, but there’s nothing like a flying-bird windmill to let you know you’re not in the city anymore.
Actually, there are lots of ways to tell you’re not in the city, once you get out of it, headed north. The entire economy of northern Michigan, never robust in the first place, seems to rest on competition between hospitals to land your next heart attack, at least to judge from the billboards. In between those billboards are other billboards advertising schools that can get you in a scrub top and working in the wide-open world of health care faster than the next one. Nothing really says, “We are a region of the obese and old” more clearly than this. I bet, in places like Portland and California, you might see the occasional ad for sports-medicine and laparoscopic knee surgery.
But we also sat with one of our filmmaking party, who moonlights as a DJ. One of his gigs is the local women’s roller-derby team, and he shared their favorite requests — 2 Live Crew, and assorted other acts whose lyrics feature maximum degradation of women. This tickles me, as it suggests rollergirls know more about what feminism entails than those who have PhDs in gender studies. There’s something about picturing these jammers and blockers, any one of whom could kill you with her bare hands, throwing ’em up to “Me So Horny” that cracks me up.
We’ve had a local story breaking in the past few days, with the Fox affiliate leading the way. The coverage — all bluster, posturing and “as I told you exclusively” — has been excruciating, but not as excruciating as this, which I beg you to watch, because besides being excruciating, it’s also sort of awesome.
The etiquette of the CrackBerry, something I admit I struggle with myself. Nothing like those little interstitial spaces in life for multitasking on your smartphone, I always say. Nothing like a little Wurdle to fill up a two-minute bathroom break in a meeting. When does it cross the line into rudeness? A question for our time.
My question for today is, can I get everything done that I have to get done? Only if I sign off now and go pick the dog up from the vet’s boarding kennel. Latuh.