My one and only niece got married yesterday. It’s one of those life events that’s a point of demarcation, a point of reference perhaps, in life. For the past 48 hours, since arriving in L.A., I’ve been seeing snapshots in my head, images of a little girl. A lifetime. The before part. I can’t imagine what the after part will look like, but she’s a pretty smart young lady. I guess she’ll figure it out.

And weddings inevitably bring together family. Not just one family, but two. One from rural Mississippi and one from very non-rural Orange County. It was a fascinating coming together, both at the church in Newport Beach for a few hours (for both wedding and reception), and at the primary non-church gathering spot – a big rental house on Balboa Island.

Being that the bride and groom are both in their mid 20’s, the bridesmaids and groomsmen were as well. Watching young men of the south navigate the young ladies of the north was fascinating. But they had beer in common, and beer pong (hour after hour of it on the patio outside). And boys being boys and girls being girls, they seemed to figure things out.

What I noticed were the contrasts, and not just in the young but in all. I haven’t had a lot of experience with the south, and holy moly, it is southern. Accents, pace, manners. Food.

One of the groomsman kept calling me “sir”. I said, “DON’T CALL ME THAT! I’M JUST A KID TOO!”
I didn’t really. But I wanted to. Charmed (pronounced “Chaaahmd”), I’m sure.

They had the Ol’ Miss football game on at the reception. In Newport Beach. Apparently Ol’ Miss beat Somebody Unbeatable. I wasn’t really paying attention. I was watching the people.

And it was a fast 48 hours. Straight from the airport in L.A. to the rehearsal at the church, then to the Balboa house where we were staying.

My older sis is funny. She loves family and has these great ideas for family togetherness. Like all staying in the same house. That first night it was 6 family. Plus the 3 bridesmaids. Who were up till one – or 2 – a.m. – playing beer pong and doing shots of god only knows what, because the groomsmen were staying at a place just a few blocks away. Theoretically. And then were up at 6 to start the make-up and hair marathon. Needless to say no one got a lot of sleep.

Did I mention that it was 98 degrees?

Anyway the wedding was lovely, and the reception that was outside on the church grounds too. The bride – and probably groom too I think – didn’t want to miss anything, so the wedding party ended up being the last people standing at the reception. Sanders, party of 8? By which time I suggested that we might move things on back to the house, since one of my jobs was to drive the bride and groom. And my feet were killing me. Did I mention that it was 98 degrees?

And the party continued from there. I think the bride and groom finally left Balboa at, mmm, midnight. I knew when she threw a load of laundry in at 10:30 that departure was not imminent. I think I got the bed around 1. The bridal party was still at it on the patio.

And then it was up get packed up and back to the airport, which is where I find myself now, waiting. It’s 98 today too. And very smoggy.

I’m noticing that, for whatever reason or combination of reasons, I’m getting more and more sensitive as time goes by. I’m more aware of pace, and of busyness, of energy in general. I’m more aware of other peoples internal energy and emotion. I’m realizing that this sensitivity is my natural state, my design. Though it can feel kind of weird, and take a little getting used to, I like it. I’ve worked at disassembling the walls and filters and defenses, and love becoming more and more aware of subtle levels of being.

And, it makes navigating the village – in this case a village like L.A. and Orange County, filled with family and friends and literally millions of strangers – more interesting than ever. I feel more, which requires a different navigational skill-set. That I have not yet quite mastered. So as a result, 48 hours in L.A. feels like quite a lot. I’m wiped out.

The good news is, my niece is happy, and my sis is happy, I didn’t wreck the rental car, and showed up for the family. And at some point my over stimulated nervous system will recover.