My companions were not dressed to crash the wedding, so I was on my own.
It was the same night as the release event for my book, Love Poems on Bar Napkins, and I was sitting outside of a burger joint downtown with Matt and the intern, discussing our next move, completely sober. The bride and groom had walked past about 10 minutes before, and a number of other guests were spotted walking from the venue to the hotel.
The options were go to a bar and sit around a table or head back to Matt’s house to sit around a table, and I didn’t like either of them. I was excited from the release, and I wanted to do something. Like crash a wedding. Given our attire, and the fact that it was approaching midnight and the event was obviously clearing out, I formulated a simple plan. I was going to walk in, grab some wedding cake, and then share the spoils with my comrades.
However, the event planner was not smiling upon our endeavor. As we arrived to the venue, a bunch of dudes in tuxes were loading up two vans with the decorations. The reception was over, and the cake was neatly packed inside one of the vehicles. I probably would have chickened out anyway, but I didn’t get the chance.
As we turned to walk back to Matt’s house, I said, “Let’s go on a road trip. I want to watch the sunrise on the beach.” This suggestion was not taken seriously, but I pressed on. By the time our walk ended, I’d convinced Matt and the intern that I had a good idea. I proposed Cocoa Beach, only a few hours away so we’d make it in plenty of time.
“If we’re going on a road trip, we’ve gotta leave the state, right?” Matt said. He was right. We scoured the Google Map of Georgia for the right destination, and started to settle on Savannah, which was supposed to be a neat place to visit.
“If we’re going that far, we might as well go to the motherland,” the intern, a South Carolinian, said. “Hilton Head isn’t that much farther than Savannah.” He was right.
Five hours later, sustained by caffeine, our eclectic (and largely incompatible) tastes in music, and a lot of talking out politics, we climbed out of my Focus just after sunrise and walked onto the beach.
The colors of the sunrise over the Atlantic were enhanced by the hours we spent driving through the pitch-black, overcast night and the fact that I could barely keep my eyes open. We were two states away from where we started the evening and the beach was practically empty. It was liberating. We ran into the ocean. We built a sandcastle. I got stung by a jellyfish, which gave me a pretty sweet rash on my wrist.
A couple hours after we arrived, we climbed back into my car and headed south. We did stop in Savannah, a pretty place that we ran through too quickly. Maybe we ran through the whole night too quickly.
At one point, I think we made a deal to try and crash a wedding this summer, which I’m sure we’ll never do. But on the off chance we try, I’m going to insist we put those miles on somebody else’s car.