Tuesday, July 17, 2012

'Til the photographer does us part

While I have not become completely addicted to Pinterest, it does give me a certain amount of joy looking at unique cactii, delicious meals and other strange, one-of-a-kind delights. I am not the crafty sort, so seeing what other people do with, say, painted pebbles and wine corks is pretty inspiring. Basically, it's girl porn. It also saves me a lot of money because I can get my fix just looking at the pictures of food and beautiful dresses and torquoise platform heels and call it a day.

I still want a huge cactus garden on my porch, but that's gonna be awhile. Maybe when I finally make the move to Taos, and my house is surrounded by a sea of sand and scrub brush. For me, paradise. My mother doesn't understand the whole dry, hot, landlocked thing.

"I would move to the ocean," she said. "Right on the beach."

"I like the ocean, too," I said. "But it's not scrappy enough. Nobody builds an adobe on the ocean. And what sense would a cow skull make hanging above the door on a seaside cottage, or on a skiff?"

More quizzical looks.

While I am waiting to find my desert house and live my independent Georgia O'Keefian life, complete with leathered skin, motorcycles and white, button up shirts, I will continue to drool over Pinterest images.

Yesterday, I ventured outside of my usual categories of Travel, Gardening, and Food and peeked at the "Wedding and Events" category. I can't say that it was a big mistake, but it 'got me to thinking.' The pictures were gorgeous, everything from elaborate, drapey cakes to soft light boudoir shots of the bride under her veil. Herringbone braids and big tropical flowers in the bride's hair. Slate gray bridesmaid's dresses, over the top cream-colored, gilded shoes for the bride, beach weddings, snazzy adorable invitations...you get my drift. It all looked so fun and pretty and happy. But what struck me the most, were the pictures of the actual "proposal." That seems to be a trend right now. The groom-to-be hires a professional photographer to be there when he proposes to the unsuspecting bride (maybe). Wanting to capture the moment, I guess?

It's all so staged, even from the first humble moments of the proposal, it seems to me that the current trend in marriage is not focused on the marriage itself, but on the "big day." And, of course, the amazing photography. Let's capture this moment together while we picnic in Central Park (smooch, smooch). Look how happy we are on this rooftop when he proposes. Look at my ring, look how much he loves me. Look, look, look...

The camera eventually gets put away, the pictures are stuffed into albums and posted on Facebook by the hundreds. And then what? It's over? Not quite. Then you actually have a marriage on your hands that is as real as the sun rising and setting. Is that one photo albumn of contrived memories gonna carry you through the sleepless nights of parenthood? Is that image of you two on the picnic blanket gonna keep you from leaving in a fury of broken dishes when you have your 1000th knock down, drag out in the kitchen at 2 a.m.? How about the ring? How much ground do you think that will cover when you find a pair of margarita glasses in the sink and you've been away for two weeks...

Where is the photographer then? Oh, right, you don't want to capture those moments.

Shouldn't the focus be more on the marriage itself. Not planning, necessarily for the day, but for the rest of your lives? Perhaps the camera should start flashing when the crappy car dies on the highway and you discover that your "man" doesn't know how to change a tire, or when you both wake up with a stomach flu and still have to make breakfast for the kids.

I have a lot of memories of being married. Many of them good, many of them bad. I choose not to sort through all the mental photographs and frame the ones that are pretty and burn the others. That's not how marriage works. A picture is worth a thousand words, only if you get the shot.

Sifting through the years, I don't need a photo to remind me of how he proposed. It was before 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning in August. I was hovering by the coffee maker and he said, out of the blue, "I think we should get married." I nodded my head and pulled the cream out of the fridge. "Sure," I said. "Sounds like a plan. Let me tell my mother."

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