I’m beginning to think that planning a wedding is an extreme form of hazing in preparation for adulthood. Considering my age, you’d think that I would already be an adult. I graduated college almost a decade ago and have been in the workforce ever since. But when I look back to the time before I got engaged, all I can remember is free time and rainbows and puppies. And now, when I’m not at the office on the computer, I’m usually at home on my laptop, trying to finalize some random thing that has come unraveled. And when I think back to my childhood, that’s pretty much what my mother spent her time doing as well.
The problem is, I’m not sure I’m handling it all that well.
From as far back as I can remember, my mother spent almost all of her time awake doing some amount of work. She had a fulltime job and then would come home to make us dinner, catch up on what we were doing, and then go back upstairs to finish whatever work she wasn’t able to finish during the day.
In 2010, my life was the opposite of that. I live in New York City and go out to events, dinner or drinks multiple times a week. Or I did, before I got engaged. Over the past few months, I’ve been planning a wedding in the free time I used to spend socializing and doing relaxing things. Because I’m cheap and OCD, I’ve probably spent way more time researching things and trying not to get screwed over than I should have.
But I’m pretty positive that once you start having kids, the lack of free time becomes far less optional. I’m just hoping that I learn enough lessons during this time to be more useful when that happens.
Because while planning a wedding, I’ve basically taken this stance that I am going to get screwed over as little as possible and fight to get the best deal I can find.
And that opinion almost got me punched in the face on Friday afternoon.
I had taken a half day off of work and was walking to meet my fiancé to relax at a hotel with a rooftop pool for the afternoon. It was the first time off I’ve had off in months and I was more than a little excited about it. I was walking down the street with a small suitcase, my purse and a package in one hand and my iphone in the other. I had my headphones in and was listening to Lucinda Williams. In short, I was the perfect candidate for a mugging.
But it was 1P in the middle of Chelsea and I just didn’t consider that option of a man walking up into my personal space and demanding I hand over my iPhone. So when it happened, I wasn’t scared. I was PISSED.
The last few months of waking up, doing personal work, going to my job, coming home and doing more work, then going to bed to start over again are clearly wearing on me. That in addition to the fact that everything is more expensive and complicated than I expected have left me more than a little disgruntled. Over the last few weeks, I’ve repeatedly had the urge to punch people in the face.
That’s definitely not healthy. And in this case, it could have been severely dangerous. When this guy grabbed my hand and started pulling at my phone while calling me a cunt, I responded with anger. I’ve been mugged before and thought way more rationally when it happened to me then. But this time I was ready to fight him, ignoring the fact that he was bigger than me and I had tons of cumbersome things weighing me down.
He grabbed my arm and started pulling at my shoulder while threatening to punch me in the face. I told him to get the fuck off me and pulled away while screaming some more. Eventually, for whatever reason, he gave up and walked away.
It wasn’t until after he stalked off (with a deliberately slow gate), that I actually realized what could have happened to me. A woman across the street ran over to see if I was ok. But strangely, the normally busy block was nearly empty. If he had punched me in the face, I wouldn’t have been able to do anything about it.
A half hour later, I was with my fiancé at a pool. But it took a full 24 hours for me to calm down about what happened. And then I let myself get into another fight with a stranger almost as quickly as I could. The next day, after getting lunch with my fiancé, I walked over to the subway to go to a bridal shower in Brooklyn.
But the L train wasn’t running at 8th Avenue. So I got out and took the bus a few blocks to Union Square. When I got there, a train didn’t come for 20 minutes. And when it did come, no one was allowed to get on it. The MTA spent another 20 minutes shuffling people on and off of trains that weren’t going anywhere. Eventually I found out I was on the wrong train, and would have had to wedge myself between someone’s thighs to make it onto a car on the right train. While I was contemplating that, the train doors stayed open for another ten minutes.
Frustrated, I decided I would just take a cab to Brooklyn. But when I got outside, it was almost 5P and all the cabs were going off duty. FINALLY, one was available and I got in. But as soon as I mentioned the Williamsburg Bridge, he told me to get out of his cab. Without thinking, I got into another fight with a stranger. We started screaming at each other while I threatened to report him and started dialing 311. After ten minutes of being called a cunt again, he started driving me where I wanted to go.
And again, only then did I realize that something really bad could have happened to me. By the time we got to Brooklyn, the cabbie had recovered and apologized for yelling at me. But if he had decided to, he could just have easily driven me to some random place and left me there.
Never once did I contemplate getting out of the cab and just being late to this event. Which made me remember that sometimes getting what you want is just not worth the effort. I’m glad I have my cellphone. And it will probably be awhile before I walk around the city listening to music and fiddling with my email. But in both those fights, I’m not exactly happy with the way I behaved.
On a smaller scale, I’ve had those fights repeatedly over the last few months. And it’s just not worth the stress and anger to get worked up about it anymore. Life is busy and stressful. And sometimes, instead of complaining you just have to step up and change the way you react to things not going your way.
For now, I’m working on handling negative answers more maturely, and hoping that my desire to punch people who give me the wrong answer starts to dissipate. And in case that doesn’t go so well, I’ll start researching boxing gyms near my office now.
Meghan Keane is getting married in October. This column is helping her cope.