holly determined the best place for us to get married in connecticut was hartford. i just asked her why and she said she doesn’t really remember, which seems appropriate for a city that’s fairly forgettable in a state that’s not only nearly impossible to spell but can’t decide if it’s part of the tri-state area or new england.
yeah i’m bitter about connecticut. i’ll tell you why in a minute.
since holly’s not interested in giving me input here, i recall she zeroed in on hartford b/c of its central location and the fact that it was on interstate 91, a great but boring road that crossed thru all of our wedding blitz states.
so we get on the road just minutes after our first wedding of the day, our mouths and hands full of sandwiches and chips we bought near the brooklyn municipal building. i had both of our cellphone GPS systems going so two different julies were telling us where to go.
i call any sort of “GPS lady” julie after julie the automated amtrak lady.
(back when i used to call amtrak in the late 90s/early 00s, an automated lady used to come on and say “hi! i’m julie!” it was always kind of fun to scream “AGENT!!! I WANT TO TALK TO AN AGENT!!!!!” right off the bat. unfailingly chipper, she’d say, “i…think i heard you say you’d like to talk to an agent. is that correct?” and then i’d yell back, “YES! AN AGENT! I’D LIKE TO TALK TO AN AGENT, JULIE!”)
(this is what i did for fun before texting & facebook.)
(holy crap now i feel kind of bad bc i just googled “amtrak julie” and found this article. there’s actually a lady named julie that does the amtrak julie voice and she seems really nice! damn. now i kind of feel like a jerk.)
anyway, after about 90 minutes on interstate 91 with our two talking julies, we saw a drab skyline appear.
“babe!” i shouted. “that must be hartford! it looks…it looks…so…boring! i can’t wait to get married there!”
we roll into hartford and quickly find the city’s municipal building. as soon as we park, sketchy panhandlers came up to us asking for money. this confused me.
isn’t everyone in connecticut supposed to be rich? i asked holly, who shrugged, dodged the panhandlers, got a parking ticket thingy to put on our dashboard and told me to hurry up and finish putting on your lipstick already, we still need to get to vermont blah blah blah i blocked the rest out.
so we run past some kind of hartford PR event (oh i am SO glad i don’t do that for a living anymore!) into a room with a bunch of cashiers and tell the lady behind the glass we want to get married. she points at paperwork and we get to it.
we need a justice of the peace, so the lady gives us a few cards for local justices of the peace. yes, justices of the peace have business cards. it felt weird to me, too.
as she starts typing everything up, we start calling the justices of the peace (ok, i’m just gonna stop and clear the air: “justices of the peace” sounds weird. it’s been the elephant in the room since three sentences ago) leaving voicemails like, hi, we’re holly & jessica and we need a justice of the peace in like five minutes. can you make it?
i don’t know where the hell all the justices of the peace were. it’s not like there’s that much going on in hartford.
once again, we start to panic. no actually i start to panic. holly doesn’t panic much, unless, of course, i push her to the brink of panic with my new jersey-induced neuroses, which i’ve never done so shut up. i’m jewish, it’s in my genes, i can’t even help it.
she tells me she’ll be right back and walks out of the room with all the cashier windows (what does one call a room like that? i have no idea). i refresh my facebook newsfeed every two seconds until she comes back five minutes later.
“i found a justice of the peace, babe. she’s meeting us outside in five minutes.”
you see why i keep marrying holly? INGENUITY. turns out there was a justice of the peace somewhere else in the building and she actually found her. leave it to holly to find a justice of the peace when you really need one.
just when everything seemed to be going so smoothly, we hit a snag. (cue the record scratching and the silverware clinking)
the cashier lady looks down at the paper and then back at us.
you’re already married to each other? she asks.
yes, we say. in washington, dc, and we got married again this morning in new york.
not surprisingly, she goes to get her supervisor. who, of course, is unnecessarily grumpy.
grumpy supervisor: so you’re renewing your vows?
us: no, we’re getting married to each other. again.
grumpy supervisor: right, you’re renewing your vows.
us: no. we’re getting married.
grumpy supervisor: but you’re already married to each other.
us: right. but we’re doing it again.
grumpy supervisor: why?
us: because we’re celebrating our anniversary by marrying each other in three states in one day.
grumpy supervisor: (confused look)
us: until same-sex marriage is federally recognized, we’re going to keep marrying each other in every state we possibly can.
grumpy supervisor: (still looking confused) well you can’t do that here. because you’re already married somewhere else.
holly: but someone in this office told me last week we could.
grumpy supervisor: well that person didn’t talk to me.
we went back and forth a little bit more until this we decided this woman wasn’t interested in taking our money and giving us a piece of paper.
that’s when i decided i didn’t like connecticut.
i mean, i never really had feelings about connecticut before, other than it seemed like a boring state that didn’t have much to offer other than…hell i don’t even know. it was kind of like skim milk: never really impressed me, would rather avoid it if i could.
fuming mad, we left the building. it was starting to rain and the justice of the peace was waiting outside for us, smoking a cigarette with an effeminate male colleague. (writing that just made me laugh. i don’t even know why.)
“you gals ready?” she said, raspy-voiced and smiling. she reminded me of ladies in our neighborhood.
we sighed and told her what happened. she furrowed her brow, blew some smoke and said that was ridiculous and that the city ought to just take our money.
she put out her cigarette and told us that by the powers vested in her by the state of connecticut, she pronounced us married.
so we were half-married in connecticut. it was better than nothing.
we said thank you and ran back to the car.
“happy anniversary!” they shouted, blowing smoke out into the rain. “good luck!”
(so many complete strangers wished us well that day. it was really touching.)
i mentally gave the entire state the middle finger as we drove away but then felt bad since connecticut actually passed same-sex marriage, which is more than i can say for our home state of maryland right now. plus i really liked the smoking justice of the peace (and her effeminate male colleague!) and she was in connecticut. so instead i gave it a ross & monica finger, which seemed not as bad, and told holly to step on it. it was already 2pm and we had to get to the brattleboro, vermont courthouse before 5pm.
ok i just lied. i’d never tell holly to “step on it.” (who even says that??) i think i actually told her not to go too fast b/c i didn’t want us to get a speeding ticket. then she pretended not to hear me and went 80mph anyway.
ready to get your maple syrup on and get hitched in vermont? i asked.
hell’s yeah i am, holly said.
come hell or high water, we were going to have at least two weddings in one day. it was on like donkey kong, folks. we were doing this.