Of Brides and RSVPs
No. Not premature at all. And I didn’t come to this decision lightly. A great many number of days spent with two fingers alternatively tapping the forehead outlined the kind of thinking I put in before I came to the conclusion. It was quite clear in my own mind. It certainly doesn’t require a month to acknowledge a wedding gift. Granted, there is a certain leeway you can allow for an excited bride, but one month should be adequate for a response.
I know it isn’t dignified to feel this way. When you gift something, you don’t go around in the expectation that the giftee would naturally break into a ‘Thank You‘ song and do a dance number to celebrate the occasion. Self-respecting, dignified guests would give the gift, part with a smile, and let the matter out of his mind, drifting off to do whatever it is that self-respecting, dignified guests do. What they do not do is tap their fingers on their foreheads waiting for some kind of reply. But let us divert attention from the s. r. dignified guest and focus on moi.
I had particular reasons for the forehead tap this time around… First of all, I think I should outline the scenario with a bit of history. A ‘for those who came in late’ account. The bride in question is a close friend I call Queenie, as close a friend as ever ‘LOL’ed on chat. Things changed after she got engaged, as can be expected. An engaged girl, I have often seen, tends to have her days crammed with activities alien to the bachelor of the specie. It is during this time that most girls start shopping around as if all the shopping they’ve done till then were merely practice runs for this event. Within my immediate peers, Queenie has set the record by extending her wedding shopping over the duration of one whole year. Women will be women, I guess. Compare that with my cousin, who bought his wedding suit on the day of the wedding, on his way to church. Efficient, you should agree. But the average woman seems to scorn at efficiency over an admitted lack of romance.
But I digress. The point I was trying to make was that Queenie had been busy for quite a length of time. And around the time for the wedding, I was kicking an assortment of furniture to try and think of a novel gift item. It so happened that around that time, I was beginning to rekindle one of my hobbies, digital art. And it suddenly struck me. A gift idea. Why not try painting her a portrait? That would certainly be novel. I mean, come on, there can’t be an army of painters doodling her likeness in time for her wedding. It stood to reason.
So I did it. It was considerably harder than I had initially thought, though. I spent well over 30 complete hours trying the odd jab of paint, the careful swoosh of brush, and blessing the soul who invented the ‘undo button’, which, I have often said, is the saving grace of digital art. But in the end, I did come out with a masterpiece of sorts. You can check it out here. I then took three days leave of absence, got my painting transferred on canvas, and then got it framed. It took some effort, but I was proud of it. It stands to reason, I hope, that I wanted to know what she thought of it.
But of course, you don’t expect the bride to do anything other than generally coo, smile, an gleefully drift off into lalaland. The New Bride Syndrome, it is common knowledge, doesn’t wear off for a week. Ok, so it doesn’t wear off for months, but within a week, they are usually capable of other activities side by side. Add to this the complication that Queenie was scheduled to ship off to Dubai with her hubby, it’s prudent to extend the week a bit further, what with all the packing, unpacking and everything.
Ever the generous chap, I can even put on the patient face for another week. Far be it from me to crib over three weeks’ delay. But after that term, I admit the brow started furrowing. A month after the jolly festivities, I was convinced the time has come for action, but was left wondering over what I could do. I couldn’t call her, because her number had been discontinued after she migrated to Dubai, husband in tow. I couldn’t write to her, cos I didn’t know where in Dubai she was living, and writing a letter addressed simply to “Queenie, Dubai” seemed to be unrealistically optimistic. And she hadn’t showed up on chat since she upgraded from a Miss to a Mrs.
I was wondering what I’d usually do to a close friend when he/she would keep me waiting thus. The answer was plain. A swift kick to the pants. Timed for delivery at a time when the pair is worn by the friend in question. Not a strategy you can follow with all friends, of course. Try to pursue it with a random acquaintance and you’d just be inviting more trouble than it’s worth. The first question, therefore, is whether you are close enough with the party concerned. Queenie qualifies. The second question is whether the kick is premature at this stage. It was this question that I was pondering over at the beginning of this article, and I’m inclined to say no.
But then again, there were more logistical hassles around the plan. She was not in kickable distance anymore. She’s all the way up in Dubai, and travel might prove difficult. Most airport frown when you fill up the column “Reason for visit” with the words “To kick a bride”. They’re pretty strict about such things.
Even otherwise, a journey to Dubai soil doesn’t come cheap. And at this stage in my career, I do not earn enough for the luxury of flying abroad to kick brides. Of course, this could have created a whole new meaning for ‘a flying kick’. But maybe… just maybe, there’s a cheaper alternative. What if… I realize this is a heavy compromise, but what if… I simply mail her one shoe, with a set of detailed instructions on how to kick herself?
If I send her only ONE shoe, I can further economize on a subsequent second kick, should the need arise. But then again, can I really trust her to follow those instructions properly?
I was pondering over this question, unable to come to a definite answer, when, suddenly, Queenie appeared on chat. We had an extremely brief chat, but she managed to tell me she liked the painting before, once again, she disappeared. Keyzer Söze would have been impressed. Now that kinda turns off the whole of this article, doesn’t it? I mean… imagine that you’re writing a griping article about how party A hasn’t responded to item B, and suddenly party A shows up and comments on item B, that’s enough to outdate your entire article, isn’t it? No self-respecting, dignified author would publish the stuff he’s written, given the circumstance. No siree, a self-respecting, dignified author would take the high road, delete the article, and forget the whole thing. Those s. r. dignified authors are like that.