Sunday, May 02, 2010

The Porcelain Year

While chatting it up with a couple of people at work the other day, I announced that my wife and I were about to celebrate 18 years of marriage – with each other. The discussion turned to what each anniversary represented. The easy answers, of course, were 25 years is the Silver anniversary; 50 is Gold; and 75 is Diamond. What was 18? The first thing that leapt to mind was “origami” (most likely something in the shape of either a gnu or a 1964 Chevy Impala), but one of the members of this discussion quickly reminded me that paper – origami’s material of choice – was the first anniversary. Paper? Clearly that doesn’t mean “get her a card and call it good” because then there would be no second anniversary. I honestly don’t remember what I gave my wife for our first anniversary – all I know is that I’ve been lucky enough to have 17 more.

At any rate, Paper Person proceeded to Google the question on her BlackBerry (I believe this very moment was the single reason God invented both Google and the BlackBerry – everything else we do with those two pieces of technology are just gravy) and found that “porcelain” is the traditional gift for an 18th wedding anniversary. I mulled this over quite extensively: do I buy my wife a toilet or a sink? Which one says “I love you” and “Happy 18th, Foxy Mama” more than the other? Given the fact I had already established the Divine origin for Google and BlackBerry, I decided not to chance it by seeking help in answering these questions using those avenues. So, I decided on my own: I booked a room at a local hotel for an evening.

The gentleman at the hotel seemed a little bewildered when I asked if our room would have both a porcelain sink and toilet, but before I let him get too worked up over it, I reminded him this was for our 18th anniversary. Silence on the other end of the phone – obviously the import of my question was suddenly crystal clear.

Fast forward to yesterday: After checking into our room (and confirming that both the toilet and sink were porcelain – I played it smart and didn’t make a big deal of it as I was sure my wife would make the connection and see me for the die-hard romantic that I am), we made our way to dinner. Here’s the problem with going to a fancy restaurant when you don’t drink alcohol: When the server asks you which wine you would like to begin your meal, you say, “May I have a Coke, please?” At that point, I would imagine, most servers are tempted to card you to see if you’re really a 13-year-old kid with premature gray hair and the unfortunate beginnings of a double chin. Although the server knows that since you’re not ordering alcohol and her tip will be relatively lower due to the smaller tab for the meal, she takes solace in hoping that you truly are 13 years old because your bedtime is 9:00 p.m. so you won’t be sticking around too long – more time to bring in a patron who will order enough booze to float a small navy.

As we took a short walk on the hotel grounds after dinner, we passed a wedding party. These kids were JUST staring their lives together – the seven years they lived together before “getting serious” don’t count – and here we were celebrating 18 wonderful years. These kids have the paper anniversary next year, along with cotton and leather after that, respectively. Who in their right mind came up with these gift ideas, Eli Whitney and the Marquis de Sade? All I know is that I truly look forward to our 19th and 20th anniversaries. I believe they are, respectively, “world domination” and “kittens” – and I wouldn’t want to do it with anybody else. I love you, Erin!