In my senior year of college, I took a job as an assistant wedding photographer. The head photographer was training me as we both worked the weddings together. Mr. Dixon, the boss, told me that Fred was quitting soon and I would take over the position of head photographer. I was thrilled and frightened at the same time.
“Are you up to it?” asked Mr. Dixon.
“I sure am!” I lied.
I was looking forward with apprehension to the day I would become the head photographer for the prestigious Dixon studios of Boston. What I didn’t count on was that Mr. Dixon forgot that Fred had been scheduled to shoot a wedding in a couple of days. But he was jarringly reminded of it by a frantic call from the upset mother of the panicking bride on the hectic morning of the wedding.
My roommate woke me up and passed me the phone. “It’s your boss.”
“Hello, Mr. Dixon,” I managed to mumble. I had been awakened from a deep sleep.
“John, we’ve got a problem,” he began. He asked me if I had a clean tuxedo and tie — which was a strange way to inform me of this impending disaster. When he explained what the situation was, I was more concerned about having enough film and a full battery for the flash. And I was concerned that my ‘62 VW Beetle needed a push start and was parked a few miles away stuck in a snowbank. This was the most horrible way to break me into my new position as head photographer.
And it got worse.
“I have everything I need,” I said to Mr. Dixon. He said the wedding party and guests would go to the church and wait for me before starting the ceremony.
“Ok, Mr. Dixon,” I said with a tremble.
My roommate drove me to my car, helped me push start it, and I was on my way. The church was about fifteen miles from where I started, and the blizzard of the previous day made driving a slow progress. But I fought on, arriving at the church wearing my tux, the camera and film in my bag, as well as the battery and flash. “Ok, you can do this,” I said to myself.
Now, I knew that the wedding party and their guests were probably upset that they had to wait over two hours at the church for the ceremony to begin. But I had been moving non stop since the call from Mr. Dixon, and I felt like I was saving the situation. I entered the church eager to work and to see the ceremony commence.
What I did not expect was the onslaught of booing and hissing that came from the guests. BOOING AND HISSING!!! In a CHURCH!
I was deflated. My heart sank. The guests thought I was responsible for the delay. They despised me. I walked quickly up the side aisle towards the altar, just wanting to get this thing over with. Someone in a pew called me an a**hole.
The priest stood up and signaled for everyone to quiet down. All the booing subsided. The wedding ceremony shortly began, and I took all the necessary photographs. In the end, I had done a good job in the church, though I was aware of the wrath directed at me. Next was the reception, which I really feared. Would the booing and hissing get even worse? Would I be confronted directly by an irate guest? I wished I weren’t there.
My VW started up right away, thank goodness. The way the guests were feeling, I don’t think anyone would have given me a push start if I had needed it. I drove to the reception hall and still faced some angry looks from a few of them.
But the bride’s father took the microphone and made an announcement. He said that I was not to blame, and in fact that on a moment’s notice I had rushed to take the place of the missing photographer. He thanked me for saving the day. From then on it was fine, though when it was over my VW didn’t start up.