Thursday, February 15, 2007

three years ago we took BART over to SF to get married. there was a long line winding around City Hall. lots of gays ready to make a day of it. they brought folding chairs, sandwiches, their kids. we all just wanted a marriage license and couldn't believe that we were actually going to get one. but first we had to wait. the two women in line ahead of us had a new baby which one of them had strapped to her chest. she wanted us to see the baby and so she pulled back the harness. i think babies are cool but this was an ugly one. looked like a raspberry all folds and redness. "cute," i said. it's name was Aislin or Addison or Aidin, something gender non-specific, like their haircuts. they told us about their old house in the Western Addition, their new house in Cole Valley. they'd just refinanced. they were thinking about adding on. i thought, please lord, silence them. "how about you two?" the one with the baby asked. i told them we rented, had a landlord from Bombay who wanted to take out our kitchen. "oh?" they said. "to remodel?" no, i told them, he just wants to remove it. they couldn't follow the logic; neither could we. that seemed to quiet them.

everyone got tired of waiting. they had to pee. they needed food and water. the couple with the baby asked if we'd hold their spot while they ran up the road for some food. sure, sure, i said, take your time. the two guys behind them were more tolerable and we chit-chatted for a while. but soon city workers came out and tried to tell us to go home; there were too many people to process that day. nobody moved. more couples came. we inched closer to the entrance of the building. we could hear the crowd on the opposite side cheering the married couples as they exited waving their new marriage license. a sheriff walked up and down the line saying, "please, people just go on home." still no body got up and left. the couple came back with slices of pepperoni pizza in triangular cardboard boxes. they sat down in their folding chairs and ate. "Would you mind holding our spot?" I asked. we walked up Van ness and bought two salads. "Any news?" we asked when we got back in line. "they're not issuing any more licenses today," the one with the baby said. "but we're not leaving." she eyed my salad so i offered her some. she took the one slice of tomato, and both olives.

finally after about four hours, a sheriff came out of the building. "Listen up," he said, "Everyone from this point forward will get inside, everyone else will not." he walked down the line and randomly placed his hand into the line of waiting couples, three couples ahead of where we were standing. the couple with the baby said outloud to the sheriff "Come on! We've been waiting for four hours!" instantly, people started trying to edge forward to go around the sheriff "Hey, hey, hey!" he called out and pointed at the cutters and told them to get out of line. But it was just one sheriff against a horde of marriage starved couples. you could tell he was getting anxious like he was thinking this is so not worth the overtime. "You get back," the sheriff shouted to a couple of women trying to sneak into the line behind him. "This is not right," the couple with the baby said. "We've been here since 10am!" a man behind them leaned in and said, "we've been here since eight."

and then i saw an opening. small enough for a small person like me to take advantage of. i walked forward then eased my body in front of a tall bearded man two spots behind the sherrif. the man moved to his right and gave me some room. i got linda's attention and she stealthily followed. we'd done it. we were in. it wasn't fair but i'd do it again. soon we were walking up the stairs getting closer to the entrance. and just as we were about to go inside the door, the lady with the baby strapped to her chest -- the one who i'd shared my salade with -- said, "they cut in line. I saw them. they cut in line!" she pointed her greasy pepperoni finger at me. so much for sisterhood, i thought. and so we got married.

12 comments:

trac said...

Marscat can always find a way to move up in the pack!

Great story! Although I don't know if I could have lasted so long without strangling pepperoni-finger.

Brent Chapman said...

Great story..

oh man ugly babies... Always that awkward moment when they say "she is so beautiful" and your thinking.. my god what happened to that child she looks like a monkey...

If you were Earl you would add them to your Kharma list to find and get them married...

marscat said...

trac: i came close.

brenty: who is Earl?

lauren said...

beautiful story!

i'm not a big baby fan, even though i have kids. thank god my kids were cute though.

but ugly rasberry babies? i don't even pretend. i just kind of ignore that they're there.

bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

Happy Anniversary!

Crowds freak me out because if/when that impulse to create strong but superficial bonds via the common event it's catastrophic, since the bond makes anything slightly unexpected seem like betrayal but there's not enough background to make anyone want to work it out...it's what makes me want to kill slow-moving families with strollers in Ikea.

Chris said...

that's a great story...hilarious, observant and crazy all at the same time

lauren said...

oh shoot! i forgot to say happy anniversery to you both ippoc and marscat!

Olaf Vanderhoot said...

gey

PAB said...

that's a great story!

I'm so glad you stuck it to the salad stealler (yes, i immediately noticed that they didn't offer you any of their pizza...)

happy anniversary!

Wild Dingo said...

Ok, Marscat doesn't know Earl, or Colbert, and probably doesn't know what "frack" means... didn't you guys list a TV on your wedding registry? SOMEONE please buy them a visio. (no not the MS software)...

X Bunny said...

migo says: it pays to be short

and happy anniversary!

Ippoc Amic said...

WD-we put a couch on our registry...