Having the Chelsea Clinton/Marc Mezvinsky wedding in my town of Rhinebeck, New York has demonstrated several fundamental aspects of human nature. We all seem to revert to our own particular set point behavior when our normal routine is interrupted. In Rhinebeck, we go through this kind of disruption every year when the county fair comes to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds for a week and thousands of visitors come daily. The difference here is we get to participate in the fair. There may be a few upper crust locals invited to the wedding, but I haven't heard that. Essentially, no one knows anything, but everyone is speculating.
There seem to be about five basic approaches to the fact that Chelsea's wedding will be here in two days.
- The "How much is this going to inconvenience me?" approach: The biggest complaint is that River Road will be closed down. I heard it will only be for four hours. Many people seem to be disturbed by this, yet River Road is not exactly a main thoroughfare in Rhinebeck. It's the road where the wedding will be and from a planning and security point of view, it makes great sense.
- The "It's good for the local economy" approach: Hopefully some of the guests will visit town and make some purchases. It will, no doubt, be harder than ever to get a parking space in town, but just for a few days.
- The "I hope I see someone famous" approach: If you live in Rhinebeck, you have probably noticed that all the people pictured in the background of media interviews are better dressed than usual. It's fun to watch if they try to avoid the camera or pose casually - seemingly not noticing the camera. I've heard a number of people who are planning to hang out in town hoping to catch a sight of someone famous. The funny thing is that people who are people watching often don't even notice when someone notable walks right by them.
- The "I'm going to hide until it's over" approach: This is my favorite strategy. I shop for provisions for several days and stay at home. I don't want to deal with the traffic and don't care if I see anyone famous. Besides, I'll get a better view of television if I choose to watch.
- The "Did you hear . . ." gossip and speculation approach: I love the gossip because absolutely no one knows anything. Occasionally you hear a tidbit like the fact that Secret Service men and dogs are in the woods behind the nursing home that is near the wedding site. Beyond that, I've heard nothing other than what is on television. They have done a wonderful job of keeping all details secret.
Specifically, what's different. We are on every news channel every night. They call us a sleepy upstate town. The media people are roaming around town looking for angles, gossip and special interest stories. Many more small planes and helicopters are flying overhead. All the stores in town have spruced up their windows and many have banners of congratulations to Chelsea and Marc. Other than that - life goes on as usual in Rhinebeck, New York in the beautiful Hudson River Valley.
Congratulations Chelsea and Marc. May you have a beautiful wedding day and a happy, healthy and loving marriage.