Aside from coughing all over everyone, the most important thing for me was simply not ruining the wedding with anything inappropriate. Any onset of Tourette’s would at best be perceived as a wry-joke, at worst a total clusterfuck. It’s good to start off with lofty goals like that when embarking your first ever, and maybe last ever, Master of Ceremonies gig.
I had been asked by a dear friend months ago if I would MC her wedding, and immediately said yes before the fear could set in. Once you’re committed, the rest will just ease on by . . . right? I spent the next few months jotting down ideas, culminating in a whopping three tiny paragraphs. I had known them ten years and had three paragraphs – pathetic! Since preparation is key for these things, so I imagined, I expected the bride and groom to send through things like run-sheets and speeches in advance. Alternatively, I could receive the finalised schedule the night before and the one speech I was to make on the morning of the wedding. Saaa-weet.
The day continued to be full of surprises: the bride and groom were very, very relaxed and calm, which was odd but welcome; driving the bride to the wedding and learning her family hadn’t arrived, I did laps of the countryside with said a sweary bride; expecting forty guests, there were a team of ninety-strong to usher, corral and harangue; my duties would span almost eight hours instead of a few introductions and sitting-the-f***-down. And boy, did those guests need herding, like children at a party: “Oi, what did I just say? What did I JUST say?! . . . Dinner was supposed to be at 7, where have you been?! . . . You can’t smoke there, go around the side of the building! . . . Put that chainsaw down right now!” Kids, eh?
And you know what? It was great fun. Far from being fearful, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, speaking with as many guests as I could, shaking-hands like a presidential hopeful, and fully acted the confident MC I wanted to be! Pushing myself into uncomfortable once again providing worth the cost, in this case quite literally since I’d had to travel from New York to Melbourne, over twenty-five hours of flights for this event.
It did reignite though the love of writing, of crafting a joke and the need to stand up and speak, basically a want to make others laugh. When crowds aren’t a thing with coronavirus tearing the arse out of the world, laughs and public gatherings are going to be hard to come by. Maybe people can email in their mirth. Or lack of it, a stony silence being as good a measure of enjoyment levels as any. That or a cough.
Am getting back on the wagon after my hiatus: writing my book again; writing anything again; reading Tom Paine’s Age of Reason; curating my hundreds of photos taken in North America (above); gym; tennis; swimming; eating healthy; walking lots; spending time with friends and family; wrestling pasta out of the hands of families in the supermarket. Just because the world is falling over, no reason to stop pursuing your passions (the past one is a new hobby, admittedly). Apropos of nothing, on a serious note, when you do go shopping, just because you’re worried there may be little supplies, try not to be a complete arsehole: treat others kindly; share a 24 pack of toilet roll; encourage the elderly to the front of the queue. Go to it.
Writing and writing...