One week before Emily's brother's wedding; Emily and I in our car. Loosely based on an actual conversation.
“Em, why do people cry at weddings?”
“Imagine if someone like your sister was getting married. You know your relationship with her is going to change forever. You'll still be brother and sister of course, but now it's like 'oh, she's getting married and I won't see her as much.'”
“Kind of a separation thing, then?”
“Yeah, you might say that.”
“Then why don't more people cry at, say, high school and college graduations? After all, that's a big change too, not to mention you may not see these people again for a long time, if ever. Not to mention at weddings themselves, why do the guests in general cry? It's not like most of them are that close to the bride and groom anyway.”
“I really don't know, Jeff. But at the wedding, don't you go asking the other guests why they cry or don't cry!”
“Of course I wouldn't do that Em!” Roll of the eyes and point at Emily. “And by the way, that's going into next week's column!”
Rolls eyes and grins. “OK, Jeff. By the way, is that your Autism After 16 column you're talking about?”
“Yep! Anyway, if I thought doing an impromptu poll at weddings was appropriate I'd ask 'em instead about, say, contraceptives!”
“But seriously, I'm asking you because I've always heard that guests cry at weddings and I've never understood that. I never felt the need to cry at weddings and it makes me feel weird. Do people look down on me for being different that way—you know, not feeling the way they feel?”
“I certainly hope not, Jeff.”
“I hope not, too. Meanwhile, I'm glad to go to the rehearsal Friday. Even though I won't be doing anything during the ceremony itself—except maybe keep a chair from floating off into space in case, you know, gravity suddenly gets canceled—I like to see what's going on in advance so I can better relate to it during the event. Heck, wouldn't it be nice if weddings had scorecards like baseball games do? They certainly have at least as many major players—complete with their own distinct positions. Instead of left field, shortstop, first base, pitcher and catcher there's the bride's father, best man, maid of honor, groom and bride, for example!”
“Yeah, I know what you mean, Jeff.”
“You know, weddings are among the most complicated things anybody can go to. They're sort of spectator and sort of not, because unlike a baseball game people really care how you seem to feel and relate to each person who's on stage. And on the other hand, if you get a whole bunch of pictures of, say, Derek Jeter and put them up on all your walls you're just an avid fan. God help you if you take a dozen pictures of, say, the ring bearer and put them up on your Facebook page—you'll never hear the end of it!”
Laughs and shakes her head.