I got a call about crashing a wedding in Spring Valley a few weeks ago. I had a lot going on that day, but when I found out it was for a guy named Sam, whose party I had crashed years ago, I made sure I made it to the reception.
I was thinking how convenient it was that I wouldn’t have to go to the ceremony in La Jolla or find a wedding gift. But on my drive there, I remembered that Sam had insisted on me taking a watermelon as I left his party. And a few times after that, if he called me, he’d say, “It’s the guy that gave you the watermelon.”
So, I got a gift bag and filled it with a bottle of watermelon-flavored vodka, a few ceramic watermelons, and lots of watermelon candies.
The reception was at Sam’s house, and the living room was packed with family and friends. Sam’s brother was talking in front of a video camera about how happy he was for Sam. I started heckling him. I remembered that he sings opera professionally and is trying to make it in stand-up comedy. I didn’t think heckling him in the wedding video would be inappropriate. He laughed, pointed the camera at me, and made me say something. I told a few wedding-related jokes that probably worked.
I asked about his comedy, and he told me about a few of the routines he was working on. One was funny. The other I didn’t get but thought it would be rude to say so. He told me he was giving up on his opera career. For some reason, the name of an opera singer popped into my mind. She had done an album with Freddie Mercury of Queen. I asked, “What do you think of Montserrat Caballé?” He laughed and said, “We all call her ‘Monster Fat.’” I replied, “Uh, aren’t most opera singers fat?” He said, “I think so. I think when you’re heavier, it closes the throat and gives you more pressure and sometimes sounds better.”
As Sam and I were talking in the backyard, I noticed some Latinos having problems by the sliding glass door. I asked what was going on and Sam laughed. He said, “Oh, those are the caterers. They’re going to make street tacos, but they can’t fit that thing through those doors. They might have to set up and cook them in the front yard.”
After about 15 minutes, they got all their equipment into the backyard, and there was a long line for tacos. I ate a couple, talked with a few other guests, and then split. Just outside the front door, I heard Sam saying to a couple, “Oh, man, you’re going to leave now? You’re going to eat and run?” I was glad he didn’t see me sneak away.
I went to an event in La Mesa. I was there an hour, and after a few glasses of wine, I was craving some sweets.
I saw a party going on at the nearby VFW hall, and I told myself if it was still going on when I left, I’d crash it.
I heard a band playing and saw people in the parking lot, so I headed in.
There was lasagna and other food on one counter, but I was in search of desserts. I saw a table with two huge cakes — one was a wedding cake. I asked the woman cutting the cake who the party was for. She said, “My sister Jennifer. It’s her 25th wedding anniversary.”
She handed me a piece of cake, and as I started devouring it, she asked who I was. I told her and asked if she could point out her sister.
With cake in hand, I approached Jennifer and told her I write about parties. She screamed, “You’re the Crasher! No way! Really? You’re the Crasher from the Reader?” I told her I was, and she quickly started showing me around. I felt guilty that she was talking to me as many of the guests were leaving.
The band went into the Beatles’ “Something,” and I noticed the name on the bass drum read “Alice and the Coopers.” I was told this was the same band that had played at their wedding.
I asked some people how the couple met, and people were giving me all kinds of crazy stories. One guy said that Lloyd (the husband) lived with them, and they were just praying to get him out of their house.
Another person told me they used to hang out at a liquor store after work.
I looked at a bunch of wedding photos that had been set out. One couple looked miserable. I asked Jennifer who they were, and she introduced me to them.
The guy was now bald. I said, “You and that woman don’t look very happy in that photo.” He smiled and said, “Yeah, we were probably fighting about something. Who knows?” I asked how long their relationship lasted, and he said, “We’re still together. We’ve been married 34 years now.”
One of Jennifer’s sisters told me she was a bridesmaid at the wedding. She said, “I told my sister that she should take me and my other sister, and with her wedding photo, put our current husbands’ faces over our first husbands’ that are in the shot.”
I noticed a number of people smoking in the photos, something you wouldn’t see at a wedding today.
When the band went into a Stevie Ray Vaughan song, it became difficult to hear conversations. One woman was telling me that a bunch of the guests had grown up together and gone to Santana High. I mentioned the kid that shot up the school a few years back, and one of the women knew many of the people involved. She talked about how the lockdown happened when the gunfire started.
She told me an interesting story about the incident, but by then the band was playing “You Really Got Me” (the Van Halen version) and it had become even harder to hear. The few babies I saw didn’t seem to mind the loud music.