It’s rare that I give a speech, I prefer to communicate much of my thoughts in written form as it’s just so much easier that way. Don’t get me wrong, I do countless meeting agendas and presentations for work, but that’s not quite the same thing. Meetings are seated behind the safety of the laptop with a predefined agenda of what you’re going to solve. Sharing ideas and feelings is infinitely harder to communicate in person en mass and by far easier to share from the safety of bits communicated over the interwebs in between us.
But on the rare occasion that I’m asked to translate thoughts into words, that are spoken in front of roughly 250 strangers, for one of my very best friend’s weddings, as her maid of honor… well… that can’t be avoided.
Giving speeches for me is weird because, I don’t get nervous until the moment of. I think I compartmentalize the moment to that time over there and am able to deflect the feelings. Then during the moment I get a bit of a tunnel vision that could be best described as heavy vignetting on a photograph, I can only see what’s in my hands and my immediate periphery and hear my voice in my head and through the microphone.
Lined up for our grand entrance to dinner, I’m paired up with the best man, Derek. We’re trying to decide if we are going to do a little dance as we enter the Julia Morgan Ballroom. He’s not sure what to do but tests a small dance, and I mimic it. He’s still not sure he wants to do it and then I just decide that I’m going to do a princess wave with my bouquet. After that’s sorted I ask him about his speech.
Me: Did you finish your speech?
D: Oh yeah I finished it last week. It’s hilarious. You better hope I’m not going first.
Me: Pfffft. If I go first imma crush your speech. You should hope you’re going first.
As soon as we were seated and dinner started being served I ate bits of my dinner, listening to Alex’s Dad talk, Patricia’s Dad, then Derek, trying to glean what would work with this crowd and what wouldn’t. Then when it became my turn, I deviated from my pre-written speech a bit and while my whole world purview faded to a pinhole and my arms quaked with uncertainty, that my voice matched with an expediency of a speed reader I began…
Earlier tonight as the best man and I were quickly writing our speeches backstage, we played rock paper scissors. He got funny for his speech and I got sentimental. So here goes:
I wanted to share with you tonight a couple stories about how love is in the details. Like Patricia’s Dad mentioned earlier tonight, I feel like it’s fitting for all those who know Patricia and Alex. We know how much they both love and appreciate the details.
I’m not sure if this happens for everyone, but I’ve come to realize that when I first meet someone who becomes an important part of my life, I remember all the details. This is the feeling I got when I first met Patricia, and it made much more sense when we later became good friends.
One morning a coworker told me that they were interviewing a cute girl for their engineering team. Later that day I remember walking past the interview room and seeing the same coworker interviewing Patricia with his feet propped up on the table and I thought to myself, wow what a douchebag, this girl seems to be handling his lack of professionalism really well.*
Then the first time we actually hung out was at a whiskey tasting event. Patricia tried to light her drink on fire and I thought to myself “Mmmm, I don’t think we’re going to be friends.”
Eventually we ended up on the same team, sitting next to each other. I’d look over at her screen during the ritualistic morning routine of either shopping on Gilt or reading fashion blogs and despite sitting back to back we’d chat online about our interests and hobbies. Through these conversations I learned about typography and the importance of kerning and Alexander McQueen, and how when you become truly close to someone you can communicate through incoherent noises (exasperated sighs, chirps, and meows) and still completely understand what they are saying.**
Getting to know Patricia past her tough exterior, I discovered that she is a sweet old soul, easy going and a huge nerd. Knowing her has ensured that my wallet has never been emptier, but I have gained an appreciation for the finer things in life. We spend countless hours talking and laughing about the details of random things and for this I’ve never been happier to be wrong about a first impression.
Being the overprotective friend that I can be, I was dubious when Alex came into the picture. Who was this guy? Could he take care of her the way she needed him to? He was funny, smart, kind to her and all her friends. And whenever they were together they’d always laugh endlessly. But was that enough?
I spent a lot of time worrying about this until Patricia and I went on a trip together, and while riffling through her bag she pouted “Alex didn’t have time to pack my bag for this trip, so I forgot some stuff.” That’s when I knew that Alex and Patricia were going to work out. He understood the details, he understood what she needed. From that day on I knew I didn’t need to worry about them anymore.
For NorthYeezus, love is in the details. Whether it be a ghetto hashtag, all the beautiful touches that were prepared for tonight or just knowing what to pack for one another.
I’m so happy to be here with them tonight to celebrate the details and their love.
Let’s raise a toast. To Patricia and Alex, congratulations!
Love is in the details.
* Nick texted me in the middle of the speech to “slow down, and enjoy it” I completely blacked out that someone even texted until he reminded me later.
** Pete touched my leg to give me encouragement as I spoke and for that I am grateful.