Chimps and Bare-handed Gluttony (or "Best Wedding Ever")

We were late for the Saudi wedding. Reeeeeeeally late. Festivities started at 9:00. I thought we'd be fashionably late, maybe saunter in at 10. I hate being the stupid, prompt American who shows up right on time and sits around for an hour until someone comes to turn the lights on. So instead we were the ultra cool Americans who sauntered in a half hour before everyone went home, about three hours late. What can I say -- this is how we roll at our house. Things don't start hopping for Abu Halen until around midnight. And by "hopping," I mean "entering REM sleep."

We probably would've been on time if my friend -- the host -- had given us decent directions. Or, alternatively, we probably would've been on time if Abu Halen understood Arabic better. It turns out that driving directions are quite challenging to follow in a foreign language, particularly when you don't know the foreign language.

But... ma'alish (rough translation: "nyeh"). We arrived when we arrived. I dropped Shannon off at the ladies entrance. A screen blocked the door, and a guy in a sweaty polo shirt sat on a stool just in front of the screen, ensuring no men entered, or perhaps ensuring no women exited, or perhaps he was just an enterprising passerby dude who had pulled up a chair and just sat there scoping the ladies as they came and went, or, more accurately, scoping lumps of black polyester as they came and went, imagining that somewhere in the folds was a female, maybe. Could be a chimp. Tough to tell for sure.

I entered the men's side at about midnight, right when the meal was starting. In the large dining hall most tables were already filled with chattering men in white thobes. I didn't know anybody, and I realized that this was like 8th grade lunches all over again -- I was going to have to just find a table and sit down and hope that nobody punched me or called me inappropriate names, like "stupid head."

That was when I saw it. A table at the far end of the room with two dudes sitting across from each other, elbows on the table, silently and aggressively digging into the common platter of rice and chicken with their bare hands. I wanted to sit there. No stupid chit chat. No utensils. No nonsense. Just chicken. And rice. So I pulled up a chair and as I rolled up my sleeves one of the dudes grunted at me and nodded toward an unopened can of Pepsi. I nodded back, popped the top, and slammed me some cola to, you know, whet my palette. Then I grabbed a handful of rice and slurped it and sucked it and swallowed it and slopped it all over the table. Then, after twenty minutes of vigorous gluttony, we just kind of got up and quietly went home. Chimps and bare-handed gluttony. Best wedding ever.