Tanner Efinger is blogging about his two-month road trip through America before skipping across the pond to England with his partner, Nick. Follow their adventure from Los Angeles to Vancouver to New Orleans and up the Mississippi River as they traverse the purple mountains’ majesty.
After a week in the city that never sleeps, I bid my fiancé adieu as he boarded a plane to our future life in England. “I’ll join him in a month,” I keep telling myself as if it will make a month somehow shorter. Driving down to Richmond, VA, I prepared myself for a two-week stay to fulfill my Man of Honor duties and become a bridal slave for Angela, my absolute best friend ever.
These weeks have been ridiculous: I ran every random errand, provided emotional support, became mandatory exercise partner and personal chef. I found myself the only boy in Jazzercise not once, but five times. I channeled Richard Simmons with the best of them. On the sixth class, I was happy to find another male Jazzerciser. He was 96. Literally (I asked).
But the real comedy of errors was the infamous wedding cake. It all started a week before I arrived when Angela drove past the bakery that was scheduled to make her cake, to realize the bakery had burnt to the ground. Change of plans: now a friend of the groom’s aunt, a high school home-ec teacher, was going to make the cake.
The wedding was Saturday, and I was supposed to pick the cake on Thursday. But that changed to Friday at 1pm, and then to Friday at 3pm. So there I am, driving down to the high school on a Friday at 3pm to pick up a wedding cake from a home-economics class.
I arrived at what Google Maps told me was the high school, but a tap-dancing seventh-grader told me that it had moved to the other side of town. Apparently I was in the middle school.
By the time I arrived at the right school, it was 4pm and the school was empty except for the janitors. I wandered the dark empty hallways to the sound of my echoed footsteps, looking for a wedding cake and feeling like I was in an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark?
After little luck, I befriended a few janitors who had keys and knew where the classroom was. We arrived and found nothing. After a few quick phone calls, I learned that the cake wasn’t in fact ready. I repeated it into the phone. “The cake isn’t ready?”
The janitors gasped in unison.
On the morning of the wedding, I left the bride and the other bridesmaids at the venue to pick up the cake, which would be ready by then. I had specific instructions to drive around the back of the building, go to door number 9 (which would be left unlocked), pick up the cake and leave.
I arrived and the door was locked. I found myself waiting for an hour for a random teacher to come to the school to unlock the door for me.
As I waited, I thought about my own wedding. Nick and I haven’t made specific plans for a ceremony yet. They don’t have same-sex marriage in England, but that doesn’t really matter—it’s about the ceremony and the party, the recognition of our relationship by our families and friends. The government might not call us married, but we sure as hell will.
Finally someone arrived to unlock the door. Then the building’s alarm went off. The cake was there, so I grabbed it and hightailed it back to my car. I turned the key to the chug and churn of a dead battery.
Maybe I shouldn’t have listened to music while I waited.
I waited again, staring at the bastard wedding cake. It’s the cake’s fault—and it’s not even that pretty. One of the bridesmaids rushed down to the high school to jump my car and while I hoped and prayed that the ugly cake wouldn’t melt in the Richmond heat, a dozen fire engines showed up to investigate the school’s alarm. While I dealt with them, trying to explain why I was picking up a wedding cake at a high school, the bridesmaid had showed up at the middle school—not the high school.
Damn you, Google Maps!
In the end, the cake made it to the church on time and the wedding was beautiful. I feel like there should be some sort of lesson in all of this nonsense, but I’ve yet to grasp it.
Angela and her new husband are off in Mexico for their honeymoon and I have another two weeks on the road.
My two-month trek is nearing its end—I realize with a sigh that I’m tired of living out of a suitcase and I miss Nick.