My beloved and I took a trip to my hometown of Nashville this week, and while here she asked for a little roadtrip. A few years back, we went to Chattanooga, a small city with a surprising amount of charm. We went back on Tuesday, the 16th, and while there did an exciting thing. I've told most of my friends about it, either by phone or Facebook, but had to email one very close pal who's currently enjoying life in the mountains of Costa Rica, in service to the Peace Corps. The letter turned out nicely, so I'll post it here as record of our Big News:
Hello Mr. Mountain Man,
So Yvonne and I are (as I think I mentioned) in Nashville this week. Besides bumping into your parents, we made an overnight trip to Chattanooga. Why, you ask? What is there to do in Chattanooga, you ask? Let's think:
—Watch otters in the aquarium
—Make train noises at the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo
—Get married at the courthouse
—See Rock City
We skipped three of those four classic attractions, but decided it wouldn't be a trip to Chattanooga without a wedding. So we eloped!
We'd been planning it for six weeks or so, in utmost secrecy. I told my barber and a guy I sat next to on the plane. Yvonne told one coworker, so she'd have someone to dress-shop with. (Funny that women need a pal to go shopping. When I'm buying clothes I prefer to have no one there to witness my humiliation.) We bought rings, booked a minister, and hired a photographer. (Pictures to come soon.) We didn't tell anyone until we got home.
My parents flipped out, but in a good way. Dad was literally speechless. He just kept saying "Wow!" and "Zowie!" and "I'm just...I'm tickled pink!" Caldwell's very proper, very English girlfriend—who heard me tell him over Skype—burst out, "Holy fuck!" Yvonne's little cousin asked, "So you eloped? Does that mean you're engaged?"
Nope, we're married. Two days now. So far, it's been great!
Although I was nervous driving back from Chattanooga—worrying that my parents and others might be upset that I'd gone off and got married without inviting them to watch—everyone has responded really well. Turns out that if you tell someone something incredibly surprising, you get to see what their most basic reaction is. It's usually pretty amusing. After all, how often do you get to flabberghast someone?
The elopement cost, all told, about $2,400. We could have done it for well less—as little as $300 or so, I think—but we decided to splurge on rings, the photographer and a hotel room, since we weren't racking up any other expenses. I can't imagine a better place to elope than Chattanooga, except perhaps the moon. I'm thinking about writing a pamphlet, and perhaps starting a trend. (New York TImes style section—are you listening?!) If you'd like advice on how to elope, don't hesitate to email me.
Unrelated, but last week I finally got around to adding a bunch of information about my plays to this site. If you want to learn more about my non-journalism work, take a look. I've got excerpts, summaries, all sorts of stuff. If you want to read the whole play, just drop me a line.