Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pumps and Pearls

Nic and I legally don't exist. We lost our social security cards and driver's licences. So in order to exist again, I made a trip down to the courthouse to obtain a copy of my marriage licence. While driving down main street I discovered one can buy poker chips with your name on them, wigs, vintage furniture, and other things I won't mention . You can also park your car on the "grass" of a seedy motel if you feel like it. Liberating. It's a different world, down town. The buildings are low and squatty and sprawl. The trees are huge and the windows are small. The cars were heavy and made of only metal and glass. I was wishing I had Nic with me as I checked my door lock for the fifth or sixth time.

After getting lost I finally made it to the Marriage Bureau. Oh the memories hit me like a freight train! I remembered climbing those very steps and waiting in that very line with Nic eight years ago. I wished I could remember what I wore, I remember Nic wearing a button up vacationey shirt with jeans and Vans. I suddenly wished I had on pumps and pearls instead of black sweat shorts and a green v -neck t with a mystery stain and rubber flip flops. People were snuggling, hanging on each other, kissing, staring at one another covered in that thick perfume of infatuation/love.

I made it to the glass window, and made my request to a girl with over plucked eyebrows and several gold chains lying on her busty bust. She sighed at me. " I'm going to have to pull this off of micro fiche." I felt old. She wasn't sure how to resurrect my ancient records from the wormy catacombs of the city, so she recruited help from the most knowledgeable clerk in the room who was intently looking professional while facebooking. I handed skinny eyebrows girl my marriage certificate and she said in an impressed voice, "Wow, those look so plain." She then pulled out a marriage certificate from "this century" and waved it's holographic sticker and cactus watermark next to my simple black and white one. Young newlyweds -to -be thought, "She's old". I know they did.

Meanwhile, while skinny eyebrows girl lit her torch and descended to the catacombs I observed the other couples. A thick Asian girl marrying a beefy black guy with snaky dreads. A very young Asian girl marrying a very old Asian man with a bald head and an island like tuft of bangs. But the most notable was the bride in the orange string bikini poorly covered in a gauzy white lava lava marrying her prince with a 3 day beard with beer breath. They had met about an hour and a half ago and were on an i phone frantically trying to gather guests to attend a wedding at a chapel they couldn't remember the name of..."the pink one". He thrust the phone in my face and asked me to confirm to his friend that he was indeed in the courthouse getting a marriage licence. I did so while bikini girl giggled into his armpit. Sigh.

I wanted to imagine her 60 years from now rocking on some porch with knee highs, a mu- mu, and orthopedic shoes. I wanted to imagine beer breath guy bringing her her pills and a glass of water clouded by metamucil. I wanted to imagine him kissing her forehead and sitting next to her with a gnarled old hand resting on her leg. But instead, I saw only a potato salad melting on a hot summer picnic table, in which said potato salad would have a better shelf life than this impending marriage. I held my mouth shut while I watched them sign on the dotted line. He rested his hand on the counter and I noticed he had a broken pinkie wrapped up in electrical tape. Heaven help them. I hope they are at a party some day and tell the story of how they met and how it was love at first sight and that it really was. I know Nic and I weren't love at first sight, (mostly because for two whole days he thought I was a different girl he had already gone on a date with).

I got in the car and examined our marriage licence. My signature was totally different than I sign it now. It was loopy and embellished and unnecessarily girly. Now when I sign checks for the electric company it's sort of like Ang-squiggly squiggle Lar-wavy line. I wanted to be that girl who had time for a ridiculous signature. I drove home and as I got on the freeway and made it back to the suburbs with big houses, small trees and big windows, I wanted to go to my man. I thought about our family and what we've made and who we are. We are different people. But we mean so much to each other and to our kids. We mean something to so many people because we are a family. We are a family. My marriage licence says so...even if it doesn't have a shiny sticker and cactus water mark!

17 comments:

i said...

dang angie....ever consider becoming a career blogger? what an amazing way you put such a fun simple story. i laughed, felt some of my heart strings pulling and remembered when i was the girl with pumps and pearls...ok, so i didn't have pumps and pearls on. :) well said!

Stacie said...

Wow, the smile hasn't left my face. You gave me warmth in my heart reading that.

Here's to being old, to knowing the meaning of marriage and family, and being much older still. Thank you, Angie.

Craig said...

I love that you can take a frustrating situation like losing those documents and turn it into this cool blog post.

It's funny, I really relate to the signature thing, although mine never had nice loops or embellishments. I'm consistent in my sloppy handwriting if nothing else. And now when I sign my name I feel bad to think we gave Christian an even longer name.

Christene said...

Here here! Marriage is different now than it was only a few years ago...or maybe we are just different, even if our marriage certificates aren't so fancy. I thank my lucky stars that I got a husband who loves me and will help me with my metamucil and blood pressure pills when we are old and gray and can't remember anyone's name. You're in the right place, honey! We're so blessed!

Sam said...

I love your descriptions of everything you experienced and all the people you saw. I agree with Julie - Great writing! I don't think it's so much that you're old(because if you're old that means I'm old), but that you've been married for more than five years, which is quite something now-a-days. Being in love and all mushy is great, but having someone there to hold your head up over the toilet while you're barfing your brains out means a lot more.

Ryan, Melissa and Addy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan, Melissa and Addy said...

Wow, what an amazing post! The writing was just lovely. I especially liked the last few sentences about your husband and kids. We all have our own happy, little worlds in our homes! I remember feeling the exact same way about the people I saw at the Las Vegas courthouse, quite the interesting folk there! My favorite part is how there are all the people outside trying to get you to come and get married at their drive-thru wedding chapel! So, so bizarre and it would only happen in Las Vegas!

Ryan, Melissa and Addy said...

The deleted comment was me, for some reason blogger wanted to post my comment twice!

Mary said...

Thanks for drudging up the memories from the catacombs of my dusty brain. Funny that everyone I know who commented went to the same court house, walked up the same steps and had similar experiances.

I did blog my birthstory back in January. It's recomended reading.

Michelle said...

Oh Angie, how I enjoy your ramblings! You need a column in a paper, or like reader's digest or something. People would read your entertaining blurbs while in the bathroom and end up with a sore bum because they got so wrapped up in your stories.
I particularly enjoyed the description of all the couples... especially bikini girl nuzzling up to drunk guy's pit. Truly compelling.
Being a family does change everything. I feel like I just took a trip back to that silly court-house where we too, saw a bunch of weirdos. I wonder what it would be like to watch a video of ourselves? So much has changed, thankfully in very good ways. :)

Michelle B. said...

Great blog entry! I enjoy reading about your adventures and observations.

Kacey Nielsen said...

I don't know, I think beer breath and bikini just might make it!

I always thought it might just be the best people watching experience ever to watch the line for a marriage license in Las Vegas. I wonder how a person can sit behind that counter all day and not just want to laugh or cry over all of the insanity.

thebealsfamily said...

love this post. here here!

Murray Clan said...

Oh Angie... I love you! I sat here laughing so hard for about 10 minuted picturing orange bikini girl, Adam finally stopped me and said "you're reading Angie's, start again and read aloud." You are such a great writer, I feel like I am seeing all you do, and feeling what must be going on. In the end, you made me cry with what you value the most. Thank you. xo

Hi I'm Apryl said...

You're just so awesome! I envy your storytelling ability. I love it!

Catina said...

It was love at first sight for Scott and I (and mom and dad too - well at least for dad). Maybe bikini girl and armpit guy will make it after all. Great story. Excellent details.

handymom said...

I know I'm kind of behind on this earlier blog, but I just found you through a comment you made on Louise Plummer's blog (isn't she AMAZING - "A Dance for Three" changed my life - made me think I might want to be a writer). Anyway, I've read several of your posts, all good, but the writing on this entry especially captivated me. Nice work. Very moving.

I just starting blogging less than a year ago, and it has been a great writing outlet for me. I'm starting to think that there is no life-changing novel in me, but I do enjoy blogging. Reading this entry caused me to wonder if I should start thinking more about quality rather than quantity. It is just so good. I'm more of a rapid-fire ADD explosion on my blog. I go for humor more than style. I dunno. Anyway...

Great post. I'd love to have you stop by my blog and take a gander. I'll send you a post link that may or may not be your thing, but it's probably one of my funnier posts.

http://dunnthat.wordpress.com/2009/10/09/its-raining-men/

If you like that one, you might like this one:

http://dunnthat.wordpress.com/2009/05/29/toilet-paper-trails/

I'm not always gross, but I'm the mother of five boys and it just kind of comes with the territory sometimes.

I love your style and would be honored to have you as a reader of my blog. Let me know if you come by.

(I have to sign in with my blogspot account here - but I'm wordpress: dunnthat)