Bouquets and bleakness

Webster’s Word of the Day: fulsome

adjective \FULL-sum\

1: aesthetically, morally or generally offensive

I spent my summer in a wormhole. Actually, it was an endless time of serving diners variations of sad looking chicken, watching guests enjoy the “original” yet egregiously cliché event photo booth and looking at tipsy white people dancing to Pitbull. My boss had essentially monopolized the northeastern Ohio entertainment venue scene.

I originally took a job from her as a Little League baseball concessions worker, where my responsibilities consisted of sitting in a lawn chair while watching three-year-olds in the adjacent playground beat each other up. But soon, I went from cooking doubtlessly carcinogenic soft pretzels to passing out hors d’oeuvres at her wedding hall, a.k.a. the wormhole.

And I say “wedding hall” with some hesitation. It was more of a poorly decorated hellscape where the souls of elderly, divorced employees slowly atrophied away in the most depressing manner imaginable. The simple orientation of the place said it all. Two sets of train tracks, a Ford Motors assembly plant and a storage lot of white vans circumscribed the business. The inside décor just exacerbated the gloominess of it all. Gaudy, ’80s plastic chandeliers were scattered throughout each of the rooms, with white faux-leather chairs and brown floral carpet really pulling the space together. I couldn’t tell if the space had been originally designed as a funeral home, but I don’t think anyone would have noticed if one of the older workers just decided to finally drop dead on the ground after serving one too many chicken cutlets.

The clients that came through the place also exacerbated the fulsome aura of the space. To put it kindly, we weren’t the Ritz-Carlton of wedding venues. Not even close, actually. We were the exact antithesis of the Ritz-Carlton. We were the Motel 6 of weddings, and the guests expected nothing more. One time, I had to oversee a couple who, taking advantage of the “garden package,” got married on-site. The wedding was held inside a deteriorating gazebo directly in front of the parking lot. The table used in the ceremony had a glaringly large chunk of wood missing from it, and the grand finale came in the form of the family’s matriarch passing out in a pile of dirt due to heat exhaustion.

It was during this wedding that I think I may have actually temporarily died and moved onto another plane of existence, considering how unreal everything was. The bride was already sloppily drunk before entering the room and actually began dry heaving during the couple’s first dance to a Toby Keith song. Their random ice sculpture of a motorcycle was rapidly melting and becoming more phallic by the second. And best of all, a guest grew tired of waiting for dessert and decided to take a fistful out of the wedding cake before it could even be cut. And as I stood in the corner of the room, wearing my white uniform while a nearby guest donned only a tank top and jorts, a single tear rolled down my face. My end had come while a crowd of middle-aged, obese people danced to the “YMCA” (1978).