Saturday, February 20, 2010

Oil and Water

It can be downright bizarre where life will take you if you let it. Of all the relationships I’ve been in, the only person I had absolutely nothing in common with is the person I married and had kids with. We were both miserable in our marriage.

Kim is from a suburban, church going family with a lot of structure. I must have known there would eventually be issues because I warned her I would never have money, I would always be obsessed with music, and I would never stop sky diving. A year into our marriage we had an argument and she complained about all three of these character flaws. “I told you that would be the case before we got married!” I said. She said, “I thought you would outgrow them!”

It reminds me of the old saw about women wanting to change their man and men wanting the same girl they married.

I should have seen it all coming right off the bat. We had to have two separate weddings. I believe this compromise might have been her idea so I have to admit she gave it the old college try. It really underscored how different our worlds were.

As all my friends know, mine was a sky diving wedding. Our preacher was a Viet Nam vet friend of mine named Dennis Jett. He was a classic old hippie and I suspect the church he was ordained through was some kind of California mail order deal.

The ceremony itself was probably an omen of things to come. Our 14 person party jumped right into an ice cloud. Ice pellets sand blasted our faces and even drew a little blood. My buddy Rob Walsh said it was the worst sky dive he had ever experienced. To make matters worse, Kim’s parents came to watch. Kim had the most spectacular tumble when she landed. She was four or five months pregnant and I think her dad wanted to kill me! The party that night was great. I bought a half barrel of beer and that was it. Kim thought she should bring a cake but no one touched it.

By contrast Kim’s wedding was a big church deal. Her folks were big members of St. Norbert, a church at the end of the world in Florissant, almost at the Missouri river. Her dad helped build the place. Our individual groups seemed to divide into camps. My friends and family were on one side and hers on the other. My friends were a little too loud. Her friends struck me as uptight. Although we shared the sky diving buddies who seemed to be in a camp of their own.

The alter was a very solemn affair except my buddy Stephen Martin (my best man) was totally disheveled in an old green suit and tennis shoes. I think I saw Kim wince.

My friends Margaret Bianchetta, Mary Dee, and Monica Casey performed as a wedding gift. As well dressed and pretty as they were, even they seemed out of place in this environment.

Another omen of things to come was the reception. We had friends who live at the river. We were supposed to party around a huge bonfire at the river’s edge but we got hit with another ice storm. Kim’s folks got us the church gym. I took a great photo of the girls performing under a basketball hoop. I thought it was so funny I framed copies and gave them to the girls for Christmas presents. Monica says she’ll lend me hers so I can post it here later.

It seemed like any time my world was introduced into hers, they collided. I don’t know, I honestly don’t think I judged her world but I probably did. She made it clear my world was strange to her. Nothing my friends did for us turned out well.

I remember running into my friend Tory Starbuck at the supermarket. I was showing off my newborn baby to him. It didn’t occur to me that his totally painted body, wild hair, and eye makeup wearing man might strike Kim as strange but you should have heard the way she described him to her friends. Tory had been in nothing but “The Cure” drag for years and I if you knew him you just took it for granted.

Our kids were both baptized, in spite of my atheism. My buddy Tracy is Dylan’s godfather but Chloe has two godfathers.

I asked my friend Fojammi to be Chloe’s godfather. She would be baptized at St. Norbert. I gave Danny directions but I totally forgot he didn’t drive. He made it all the way out there on a bus! He didn’t make it on time either. Our party was gathered around a little swimming pool the church has for these ceremonies. Everyone was ready but there was no sign of Danny. My friend Jim Havey stepped in to take his place. That’s Jim behind me in the pic of the ceremony. I glanced out the window of the church and saw Danny out there smoking a cigarette. I interrupted the ritual and ran outside to get him. He said it looked like something important was going on and he didn’t want to interrupt. Anyway Jim stepped aside and Danny took his place in the ceremony. These kind of things always happened with my friends and tolerance is not one of Kim’s greater strengths. I don’t know if you can make it out but I’m wearing a Three Stooges tie in the picture as I’m holding Chloe.

I’d also like to add that I’m Danny’s daughter, Chauntasia’s, godfather.

I would have braved absolute Hell to make sure my kids had a stable family life, but mercifully Kim got fed up after eleven years of marriage and threw me out. The kids were the only real thing in all that time. I have my life back and I fell really lucky.

I was tending bar at the Venice Café when I got married. Before I did the bar’s owner, my friend Jeff Lockheed told me, “You’re going to absolutely love those kids, but you’ll come to hate that woman.” I asked him about that a couple of months ago. “Did you foresee that in our relationship?” I asked. He said, “No, it just happens that way to everyone I know!” Talk about a confirmed bachelor!


Anonymous said...

I don't remember which of your birthdays for which Kim threw a party at Joanie's pizza place, but Kim's sister Tammy forever endeared herself to me by commenting, "David has some really interesting friends."

I've always thought so, and it seems once David makes a friend, he or she is a friend for life.

Anyway, Tammy was a product of that restrictive upbringing but was able to see more than she had (theoretically) been raised to see.

David's Mom

Anonymous said...

My eyes begin to tear when ever I hear anything about pets passing. Ive had my dog now for 11 years and starting to worry. John Gorski