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Monday, 28 April
A Spiritual Bond And Its Appropriate Government Form

I left work a little early today, so the fiancee and I could zip down to one of the county administrative offices and procure our marriage license. There's nothing like the clumsy oafishness of bureaucracy to kind of kill the whole mood, you know? It's like watching a romantic movie with your loved one, the lights low and the wine half-gone, and all of a sudden your flatulent brother-in-law wanders in and asks for ten bucks.

But what are you gonna do? We fought the awful downtown traffic and made our way to a Eastern Bloc-looking building looming unattractively over 4th Avenue; it was the kind of building that Tom Wolfe would go out of his way in order to primly vomit on it. At the last moment, we also realized that Our Modern Government required that we pay in cash and CASH ONLY--$54--because apparently, credit cards are a little too racy for Uncle Sam to deal with, and as for a personal check, screw you buddy, we're not those pussies at the IRS. We don't trust you. So we did a quick cash-check.

We had about thirty bucks between us. Of course. I noticed a lonely-looking ATM sitting in the cheerless vestibule, and was immediately plunged into clammy sense of gloom, because it couldn't be a normal ATM, one that actual people would ever be moved to use, no, it was from The Bank of Great Neck or something like that, where nobody banks, least of all in Seattle, and of course it was going to gouge me stupid, being a non-Great-Neckian banker, and on top of that, my bank was also going to gouge me later for being the kind of hopeless schmoe who has been reduced to begging some hick machine from the fiscal sticks for a couple of tattered twenties. But I had no choice.

Then we went into the licensing office, which I noted was also where you got your pet licenses. Handy! And kind of sinister and subtle; the implied question seemed to be: "You guys look kind of stupid. Are you sure you wouldn't rather get a dog?" But on the other hand, the public employee there was genuinely helpful, even when we immediately displayed our vast incompetence by filling in the bride's info in the groom's fields and vice versa. Feeling purest form of dumb that can only come by failing to correctly fill out a government form, we asked for another; she looked at it and said, "No problem, people do that all the time." She scrawled in the margins the correct genders, and I thought that they were uncharacteristically malleable about the whole thing. I wondered if for kicks, they sometimes made other marginalia: "Groom is a silverback ape." "This couple was resoundingly ugly." And then it goes into the permanent file. What's anyone going to do about it?

But of course we got it, after a silly affirmation--complete with raised right hand--that we had not lied on our forms. This struck me as less than rigorous: we couldn't even fill them out correctly. Did she even check the form? No. I could have wrote that I came from Barsoom, Mars. In fact, next time, I will. You know, when we go back for the dog license. I imagine they will greet us like old friends: "Look, it's the resoundingly ugly couple!"

That's not true, of course. The fiancee is quite stunning. And me, I'm pretty good-looking for a Silverback ape.

XOXOX | Skot | 28 Apr, 2003 |

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Comments

How comforting that the raising-of-the-right-hand part is universal. At least as far as I can tell, having had to go through the same thing in Maryland. Except I think they let us pay with a cheque, AND they gave us a congratulatory gift-pack. Excuse me, gift paque. There was a little pouch of laundry detergent, a little single-serving packet of coffee, and I think a napkin.

Oh, and a single cyanide tablet. Just letting us know that if things don't go well, there's an ACCEPTABLE way to get out of it. For one of us. The other has to live with the scorn.

Comment number: 000761   Posted by: i on April 29, 2003 04:40 AM from IP: 141.156.32.32

A single serving of coffee for getting a marriage license? Ouch. That should have been in the special 'divorce paque.'

Comment number: 000762   Posted by: Bet on April 29, 2003 06:51 AM from IP: 12.34.246.35

Well you know, with budget cuts and all, I think they've just combined the "marriage paque" with the "divorce paque."

Comment number: 000763   Posted by: i on April 29, 2003 09:03 AM from IP: 141.156.32.32

I also found the staff at the marriage liscense bureau to be quite pleasant, although I noticed that they gave a harder time to the guy behind us, who was applying for a liscense to marry his dog.

Comment number: 000766   Posted by: Joe on April 29, 2003 01:35 PM from IP: 165.247.29.161

I need to know. I'm not from your nice country, although I was briefly taught by Virginian Nuns in the 70's. I pledged the Oath every morning and got down to some serious Electric Light Company.

What is it with the right hand? Tell me. Do you mean it? Me? I just know that The Queen is God, and curtsey.

Comment number: 000767   Posted by: Sarah Byrne on April 29, 2003 01:36 PM from IP: 81.131.219.203

Marriage Paque? Divorce Paque? That's what they gave me last time I spent the night in the drunk tank.

Comment number: 000768   Posted by: KOTWF on April 29, 2003 01:54 PM from IP: 65.194.128.61

They didn't make us do any hand raising or oath swearing in Las Vegas, and they didn't care that I'm a dog.

Comment number: 000773   Posted by: senn on April 29, 2003 06:22 PM from IP: 12.224.111.37

I'm glad to see that someone else noticed the anomolous pet/marriage licensing situation at the ugly assed KC building. My wife & I also did the exact same thing transposing the bride and groom info. Small world.

Comment number: 000789   Posted by: Scott on May 1, 2003 07:33 PM from IP: 192.150.22.150

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