My Very Long Day and Night in San Diego

I am starting to dislike weddings.

No, this is not about mine.

Rather, I want to talk about the work that goes into someone else’s wedding especially from the perspective of those who prepare a wedding. Let’s start with the DJ. Some DJs are in the DJ business with the operative word being “business.” Next, the caterers: whether it’s a formal banquet for a major corporation, catering for Thanksgiving or Christmas lunch, the food is more or the less same. Oh sure, the bride and groom might have their say, but at the end of the day, they are choosing from the same menu: chicken, beef pot roast, or fish or all of the above in a buffet. You might not realize it, and many may deny it because all brides want their “special” day, but many American weddings use the same play book.

Where do I come in? I was the floral designer’s helper. My parents are friends with the parents of the groom. The bride and groom asked my mom to make the floral arrangements for them. However, the wedding was in north San Diego (City of Vista) which was about 80 miles south of Los Angeles. My dad and brother did not want to go and were unavailable, even though my brother was the youth counselor of the groom for many years. That left me and I did have a SUV with lots of room for all the flowers.

Thus, my mom and I drove down to Vista on the I-5S with major traffic. It took 2 hours with normal San Diego-bound traffic.

I unloaded all the flowers and my mom did all the work. Since I helped, I was invited to the wedding plus the banquet. Again, the format was the same: ceremony, reception, banquet. All the hours of prep by the caterers, florist, facility staff, and events coordinator – 30 minute ceremony and no one pays attention to anything that goes well. It’s always the bad stuff that people remember more.

Case in point: my mom ran out of potted floral arrangements like the ones above – there were more rows than expected. The mother of the bride said: “No one notices and no one will notice.”

The ceremony was good except the officiant the couple wanted – their favorite pastor – got COVID. That’s a 2020s wedding. They asked another pastor to do the ceremony instead. He did not have say anything about being a replacement, except he did. Remember, I’m just the floral designer’s helper. I barely knew anyone there. It’s one of those things that make no difference. Perhaps the only people who did care are the friends of the happy couple.

My mom and I left a little earlier before the official end of the wedding for the 60+ miles back to Huntington Beach. It should have been a 70 minute car ride back. In fact, it turned into a 3 hour long ordeal.

Somewhere south of San Clemente, my car overheated and since I was in the fast lane, I pulled over to the left shoulder. I immediately put on the hazard lights. I called AAA and they scheduled a tow, except they couldn’t find me! The irony as I discovered while waiting in the car – we were next to an AAA Auto Club office. Twenty, thirty, forty minutes pass, and still no tow!

I called back to AAA only to be put on hold over 30 minutes.

Eventually, I called 911 to expedite. Soon a CHP officer arrived and we talked. He said he would turn around and turn close off traffic so that I could head to the nearest freeway exit which was fortunately close enough. I made it to the nearest gas station which was 1) safer and 2) easier for the tow truck to find us.

We also learned the real reason for the delay: apparently my location was near the conjunction of two different AAA licensed towing companies. Neither company thought I was in their territory. By relocating to the gas station, we were then inside one company’s territory. The CHP officer found us at the gas station and asked if he needed to stay with us. That area was well lit and safe so we felt safe enough for him to leave. About 10 minutes later, the tow truck arrived.

From there, it was “easier”. The truck driver pulled my car into the flatbed and we drove the remaining 30 miles back to Huntington Beach. By then, it was 11:30PM – a full hour and half later from when were scheduled to return home.

During that time, my mom and I were praying – praying for physical safety. That portion of the I-5 was dangerous because traffic was often 70 or even 80 mph. Making to the gas station with the help of the CHP officer was another small miracle. My car could have refused to start again but it did. The final stage, from San Clemente to HB, was also a small miracle.

Because of the stress and adrenaline, I could not sleep for another hour or so. I did doze off around 00:20 AM. By then, my last thought was: I hope I never have another breakdown like that. I mean, I take very good car of my cars, but sometimes bad things just happen.

I do thank God for getting us home safe and unharmed.

The other downside: we still had some flowers soaking in water. When the tow truck pulled my car up, the buckets still with water inside tipped. Thus my car’s truck was waterlogged. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Morale of the story:

  1. Take good care of your vehicles.
  2. Bad things can still happen even after you take good care of your vehicles
  3. CHP officers work hard and know public safety and stop giving them a hard time.
  4. Weddings are hard work and stop giving wedding support staff a hard time.

Perhaps because of this experience, I am starting to dislike weddings. People expend so much time, money, and energy for one special day that they forget that marriage is for life. Why are we not spending that much time, money, and energy on marriage?

One thought on “My Very Long Day and Night in San Diego

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s