No, not another talk about the mathematical theory of knots. Here I’m talking about the other knot – you know the one I appear to be allergic to – marriage.
A fair number of people get married right out of high school. More get married just after college. Then some more a few years after college. In my late 20’s and early 30’s, I must have gone to half a dozen weddings per year. My one nice suit got a lot of action. But by my late 30’s pretty much all my friends were either already married or, like me, didn’t appear to be the marrying type. Between 2005 and 2009, I’m not sure if I went to even a single wedding (er.. ok I think one in 2006, Ren?). Most days I can’t even remember what color my nice suit is, or where I put it for that matter.
Then in the year 2010, long after the wedding rush appeared to be completely over, all of a sudden 4 wedding invitations appears on my desk simultaneously! Here’s the list of the people to whom congratulations are due:
Carobe Hart and Nick Read:
Nick is a friend and colleague (a professor at Yale) who I have known for many years (He is also one of the few people around who I consider to be much much smarter than me – most people are only much smarter, but not much much smarter). Unfortunately, their wedding was scheduled right in the middle of the teaching term this last spring and it was humanly impossible to make it to the wedding and still fulfill my teaching responsibilities. I’ll make it up to them somehow.
Terrie Cooney and Rob Grainger:
Terrie is a good friend from back in New York, but as luck would have it, we both ended up in the UK (she’s in London). I met Terrie playing Frisbee very shortly after I moved down to New York in 1997 or so. We had a terrific little group of people who would get together every Sunday to play. Over the years we complained to each other an awful lot about being single. I really would have loved to have been at her wedding this summer. I’ll have to make it up to them as well! But unfortunately their wedding was scheduled at essentially the exact same time as …
Sarah Israelit and Nathan Roe:
Sarah is a friend of mine, originally from college, but we only became close many years later. I felt deeply invested in this wedding because a few years earlier when she had just started dating Nathan, I got almost daily panicked emails about “He doesn’t like me enough! I need to have a talk with him! I’m not sure this is working out” … and I sent many many an email back saying “Chill out. This is going great. He’s totally into you. Just relax.” (As if I really had a clue.) It was a great vicarious victory that it all worked out. I attended the beautiful wedding this July in Portland Oregon.
Christiane Riedinger and Luke Kontogiannis:
Christiane is the first new friend I made after moving to the UK. (“friend” is defined as a person who you can call and say “lets go get ice cream” at any random time). Through Christiane I met Luke, and a bunch of other nice folks too. (Pictures of them and their posse are here). This was another wedding that I felt very very invested in. Since I hang out with them very frequently, I heard an awful lot about the trials and tribulations of planning a wedding this year (actually they planned three weddings: one in Germany, one in Greece, and the big one in Oxford). The logistics of all this sounded to me to be more complicated than planning the invasion of Normandy. Last weekend they finally had the last of the three weddings in Oxford, and amazingly, everything (even the weather) was beautiful and it all went with not a single glitch. Another great victory! The bad news is that the two of them are moving to Cambridge in only a few weeks. Maybe they won’t like it and they will decide to move back. We do have better ice cream I’m sure.