Marriage: Year One, or, The Swift Death of Romance in the City of Angels

If you’ve been keeping up with this blog for any amount of time at all, you probably know that odd things often happen to me, or at least around me, usually in a bizarre crescendo of Awful that elevates what might otherwise simply have been a bad day into the realm of impossible hilarity.

In short, if the Luck of the Irish is real, it either skipped me over or has a fucking twisted sense of irony.

Bearing this in mind, let me describe to you the wonderful and lovely evening of our one-year wedding anniversary.

I’d surprised John with a room at the Standard on Hollywood, and made dinner reservations at a sumptuous Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills. We were both pretty tired, having spent the past 6 days hooked up to central lines of vodka and beer, so I wasn’t anticipating a wild evening. I also wasn’t anticipating my husband’s turning green during the entree course (and only halfway through our bottle of champagne), a result of what seemed to be a pretty high fever. We stopped at Rite Aid on the way back to the hotel for antacid and Tylenol. So much for romance.

While Katsu was drug shopping, I got a tearful call from my friend Christina, who passed along the news that her guinea pig, Holly, had died. For those of you who would scoff at the loss of such an animal, I’d like to say that Holly was a supremely cute and sweet little ball of fur, and also that Christina reads this site. So keep your comments to yourselves.

Back at the Standard, I tucked John into bed, changed out of my new dress, and hopped in a Santa Monica bound cab. Twenty minutes and sixty dollars later, I walked into Christina’s apartment to find Corey, her boyfriend, cradling the dead pet in one arm and a bottle of tequila in the other. It would seem that I’d walked into a houseful of mourners, and the festivities mirrored a particularly somber Irish wake. I made myself a cocktail, had a seat, and found myself squarely (and uncomfortably) in the middle of their debate about proper burial rites for a guinea pig.

Christina wanted Holly in the backyard, so they could stay close in proximity, if not in livelihood. Corey, for reasons that remain unclear, preferred that she be laid to rest at the beach. Treading carefully, I suggested that it might be not-quite-legal to bury your pet on public land, especially when that land was prone to erosion and high wind. After some back and forth about the relative merits and indignities of being buried next to a broken washer/dryer set, we came to a consensus that the backyard was a better choice. Corey took another shot of tequila and headed out to dig, armed with a garden trowel.

Then there was the matter of packaging. After she passed away, the vet had swathed Holly in a blue towel and sealed her up in a Ziploc, leaving Christina at a loss as to how to entomb her pet.

“Maybe a Tupperware?” She asked, with eyes so mournful I couldn’t bring myself to explain how a plastic coffin would…. maybe…. just be gross. “God, I just don’t want to take her out of that bag. It’s so sad.”

“Do you have a shoebox?”

In the end, we removed Holly from the Ziploc and wrapped her up in a Christmas blanket, laying her gently in a large Kiehl’s gift box. When Christina misted up again about how she wished she had a better vessel for the final remains, I countered that if I could be buried in a Kiehl’s box instead of traditional wood or metal, I’d totally go for the Kiehl’s. She seemed comforted by this and went out to the gravesite, where Corey offered us each a pull from the bottle.

We planted a (wilting) flower to mark the spot, and, after toasting the life of Holly, poured out a shot for the dearly departed. “Christ,” I thought to myself, “this is getting pretty fucking surreal.”

Suddenly, in an effort to further beautify the fledgling pet cemetery, Christina and Corey decided to re-seed the backyard.

So OK, it’s like, 1am, Corey and I are both absolutely hammered, we just buried Christina’s pet, and all of a sudden someone pulls out a bag of grass seed and we’re watering the postage-stamp lawn with a sawed-off garden hose while finishing the last of the Jose Cuervo. Cool. Right. Obviously. This is my one-year wedding anniversary. My neglecting to pack the expensive lingerie suddenly seemed less of an affront.

Some time later, Christina, the only sober one in our trio, offered to drive me back to Hollywood and, while in reverse drove right into a car parked across the street. Corey and I were united in the decision to pull a hit and run, and, once clear of the scene, I came out with this gem: “Hey, at least it wasn’t your neighbor’s car. One time? I totally backed into my neighbor’s car? and, like, drove away? FUCKING TURNED OUT THAT HE WAS WATCHING THE WHOLE TIME! HAHAHAHA.”

Um, it was totally her neighbor’s car she backed into. Oops.

By the time I was reunited with my husband, it was nearly 3AM, and the evening had been so bizarre that there was really nothing I could do but fix myself a vodka and grapefruit (courtesy of our minibar) and smoke cigarettes on the patio, sending inappropriate E-cards to my old coworkers.

The next morning, I woke up covered in hives. Which, really, pretty much brings everything full circle.

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