Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I Was Told There'd be Cake and Eiger Dreams

My trip to the shore was going to involve several firsts:  my first time flying into Newark, my first time swimming in the Atlantic Ocean that I can remember, my first time to New Jersey-- home of my live-in-bf, first time meeting two of Dave's three brothers, his grandma, his two nieces and his nephew, his sister-in-law, and his brothers' girlfriends.  I wouldn't say I was nervous, but I also didn't really know what to expect spending 10 days with them in a house that didn't have enough beds or rooms for any sort of privacy. 

Before I left I had a catch-up lunch with a few of my girlfriends where Melissa, being the thoughtful person that she is and knowing that I needed something fun to read on my trip after sensing my nervousness, brought me two books of hers to read on the beach.  One of the books, Eiger Dreams, is by one of my favorite authors, Jon Krakauer, author of Into the Wild, now a major motion picture, and Into Thin Air, the story of the Mt. Everest tragedy of 1996 that he was a part of (one of my all time favorite books).  Eiger Dreams is a collection of essays about his various mountaineering expeditions.  I had a hard time concentrating on the technical stories in this book while on the beach, but when in a quiet room by myself, I really enjoyed reading it. 

The other book was, I Was Told There'd be Cake, essays by Sloane Crosely.  This book is hilarious and great for beach reading when there are occasional interruptions from 2- to 5-year-olds needing someone to hold their hand while jumping over waves.  The essays are a collection of random stories from her life told in comedic fashion.  I particularly loved the essay called "You on a Stick," which documents the story of Sloane being asked to be the maid of honor in one of her high school friend's weddings, a friend she hadn't spoken to since high school.
"Weddings are like the triathlon of female friendship:  the Shower, the Bachlorette Party, and the Main Event.  It's the Iron Woman and most people never make it through.  They fall off their bikes or choke on ocean water.  I figured if I valued my life, I'd stay away from weddings and they'd stay away from me."
"In the movies, brides cry of joy on their wedding day, sashaying down petal-covered aisles in six-thousand-dollar dresses.  In real life the crying comes way earler, usually in the confines of a bridal suite bathroom, and results from the stress of a bouffant gone awry or a missing mother-in-law."

"The bride on her wedding day is like a giant eggshell of emotional turmoil ready to crack and turn this whole feast of love into a trauma scramble.  ... The five-alarm freak-out comes not from cold feet or anything having to do with something silly like the actual prospect of sleeping with the same person for the rest of your life.  It comes from not wanting to look puffy in posterity." 

I highly recommend bringing this book on your next vacation to the beach!

As it turns out, my fear of the unknown quickly dissipated when I realized that Dave's family was just like Dave:  fun and easy to get along with.  What better way to get to know someone's family than spending an entire week sharing close quarters with them?  Still, I'm glad I had some great books to read on the beach!

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