Monday, July 21, 2008
25 Things I Learned From My Friend's Wedding Weekend
The best thing about a late morning flight out of San Diego is the relatively early morning drinking that can be had at the airport bar. It wasn't the 7:00 AM Sam Adams I enjoyed in Hawaii while watching the Patriots vs. Dolphins kick off my Sunday morning on Maui, but a 10:00 AM Fat Tire on a Thursday comes pretty damn close.
Women who get all dolled up for an airplane ride should be spanked. Seriously…this is the transportation equivalent of laundry day, ladies. It's not that I don't enjoy ogling your short shorts, four-inch heels, skin-tight tops and all that pretend texting you're doing, but come on. Unless you're on your way to a work-related meeting (and maybe these hoes actually are) then the dress code at the airport should be "community college".
I do my fair share of flying and the airport in Oakland has long been my least favorite in the land (although Denver's is a strong silver medalist). Well, the ten-year construction plan is almost complete and damned if Oaktown don't clean up good. Terminal 2 is pretty snazzy and includes several nods to the city's rich African-American heritage. My favorite display – and, see it now, cuz a certain demographic will ensure it ain't up for much longer – was a wall of Ebony magazine covers from the 1970s. Diahann Carroll! The Black Panthers! The cast of What's Happening!!! OJ Simpson! Forget it…I'm sure it's already down.
Terminal 1…still a dump.
Like every other American car manufacturer, the good people at Dodge will never get my Black ass behind their steering wheels unless it's a rental. The contents of the Bootleg Family's garage has been completely Japanese since 2005 and it's weekends like these that make me realize why. With barely 10,000 miles, my Dodge Avenger's electronic dashboard display was completely inoperable, the acceleration was glacial and it came with Sirius satellite radio, instead of XM.
The Walnut Creek Marriott has NO free on-site parking. I've seen this at the really high-end hotels, but, really…Marriott?! I was told that I could park for free at a lot about half a mile up the street and under the BART tracks. But, since I knew how Mrs. Bootleg would react (umm, angrily) I paid more for the privilege of already paying the Marriott to stay there.
My given name is now, apparently, "Arann Cammaran". This was what the Marriott had my reservation under. Thankfully, after several minutes of restrained rage at their offer to re-book my three nights stay at the $269/night rate (vs. $109/night), I produced my reservation number. For my "trouble", they gave me a handful of free breakfast cards.
Anyone attending a wedding at the Wildwood Acres Resort should be assigned a Sherpa. For the wedding rehearsal, I was surprised to find myself navigating rural residential streets that inexplicably inclined towards the upper reaches of our atmosphere. Within minutes, I was traversing a one-lane road up the side of a mountain. And, when I say "one lane", I mean ONE lane – as in traffic in both directions using the same road, only yielding when a car is coming up the other way. It was basically an aesthetically pleasing alley.
There really is someone for everyone! No, no…I don't mean the bride and groom. See, I've known the groom (a white guy) since 7th grade and I was assigned to be a groomsman. The bride (also white) had a bridesmaid who just happened to be an African-American that she's known since…7th grade!
And, in a six-person wedding party, guess who I got paired with.
The only thing better than the incredible Italian food at the Postino Restaurant in Lafayette was telling Mrs. Bootleg what she missed out on. I teased her with the salad that featured fresh berries and cubed blue cheese. I set her up with the hot bread and garlic butter, then knocked her down with the sausage n' sun-dried tomato penne. Finally, when she thought I'd left her jealous carcass lying in a heap of her own envy, I went for the kill and called the tiramisu "the best I've ever had". All true. All awesome.
The maple pepper bacon at the Walnut Creek Marriott is the greatest bacon ever cut and cured from a pig. This is what I want blocking my arteries when I die at 45.
My three-passenger arrival time trifecta actually paid off on Friday afternoon as Mrs. Bootleg and my boys, Thai and JP – all traveling into Oakland on different flights – showed up virtually on time between 11:45 AM and 12:45 PM. I fully realize that I'll never be this lucky again.
In the city of Oakland, they actually do freeway construction in the middle of the day and seem surprisingly indifferent to turning a 30-minute drive to Walnut Creek into an hour-long ordeal.
The restrooms in nail salons are really, really cramped. I learned this while dropping Mrs. Bootleg off to get her nails did. My friends and I were going to walk a few blocks to a sports bar, when I suddenly felt the urge to, umm…"bomb the oval office". Thankfully, the little Asian lady working on my wife directed me to a shoebox-sized room that will never be the same again.
Probably should shy away from breakfast buffet biscuits n' gravy for a few years.
If you're ever at a place in Walnut Creek called "Stadium Pub", get the ribs. They're actually a pound of barbecued pork – with a few bones mixed in for effect – served atop a mountain of fries. F-#-c-k-i-n-g g-l-o-r-i-o-u-s.
The Oakland A's 2008 season was given a closed casket funeral in New York.
Mark Twain has long been erroneously associated with the quote, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco". Now sure, the wedding was on the other side of the bay – and, even 20 miles east of Oakland – but, 82 degrees on wedding Saturday was unexpectedly uncomfortable. My tuxedo didn't help, nor did the constant ray of sunshine that poked through the heavily wooded setting and found my enormous forehead during the entire ceremony.
It IS possible to sweat through an undershirt, tuxedo shirt and jacket.
Make sure you get to the appetizer trays before the table(s) where all the old, white people are sitting. The self-described "greatest generation" is worse than all the welfare and freeloaders that their Republican heroes tell them to vote against every election season. I'd never seen bruschetta and fried wontons eaten – together – by the fistful until now.
In an upset that rivaled the aforementioned airplane arrival thing, the DJ (a middle-aged white lady) played Digital Underground's Freaks of the Industry. These things happen in threes. I should've played the lottery.
Mrs. Bootleg is still alive. At the reception she had three glasses of white wine, then later, at the best man's after-party, she downed a glass of insanely boozed-up punch.
The Knob Creek Manhattan, dutifully prepared by the Marriott's bartender-on-duty, is pure gasoline and a must-drink for whiskey lovers like me. Even after a late-night shower, the wife swears she still smelled it on me. An enchanting musk.
Don't leave Walnut Creek at 8:00 AM on a Sunday morning in July while wearing only Jordan shorts and a six-year-old T-shirt. 52 degrees, kids, and I still had to pump gas for the rental car.