Friday, February 27, 2004

going through emotions

We went. On Presidents’ Day Monday. Didn’t rush over there. Ate lunch, then strolled over to Long’s and loaded up on valentines chocolates. At 50% off it was easy to fill a shopping bag. Remember, buy the holiday chocolate, even the day after the holiday it’s fresh. Fresher than the regular stuff that can be sold any old time. Nice that it had hearts on it, too.

Then we took BART to San Francisco. Rain was coming in mists and sprinkles. As we crossed Civic Center Plaza Kent and I could see umbrellas gathered around the City Hall steps. Kent had thought to bring a red gift bag so we filled it with chocolates from the shopping bag and I went to what looked like a short line of people waiting to marry (dressed nice, occasional bouquet) and walked along offering up chocolates. Two takers out of 20. Disappointed at the indifference to my generosity I joined Kent at the foot of the hall steps. There I found a more satisfying role: cheerer.

Those of us gathered outside the hall applauded and screamed whenever a newly wed couple emerged from the double doors. Usually they’d hold up their fresh marriage license, grin broad. Most of them came down the steps and passed me on the way to the curb. So I offered up chocolates. Probably half of them didn’t hear or see me or smiled and declined. But there were many who lit up. And when there were kids it was easy.

Kent was amused when the one nearest me would respond but in the noise and activity the other spouse didn’t catch on until he or she was tugged back. Just a Hershey’s kiss or two … “Made me feel bad we were breaking up the happy couple,” Kent said.

There were photographers snapping the historic newlyweds. One was taking photos right beside us so we ended up in the background in a couple photos, particularly this one (see the upper left, I’m the one in profile).

We stood there 2 1/2 hours. Until the last wedded couple was introduced by Mabel Teng, the city assessor.

That night Kent’s friend, Dave, called. “I just saw you on the news,” he said to me. “There you were and there was Kent behind you. Did you get married?” It was channel 2, ten o’clock news. A day or two later an acquaintance stopped me on the street to tell me he also had seen me on the news. Seems the news folks panned the crowd as the last newlyweds were announced. No, we haven’t seen ourselves in the reality of television.

Glad we went. It really felt good to see such happiness. And that’s what’s been buoying me, even when I get down about Bush’s backing the anti-marriage constitutional amendment and John Kerry doing the same (sort of) for the Massachusetts constitution. The happiness. I keep looking at the picture gallery at sfgate. Kisses. Babies. Joy. Can’t see the bad when there’s so much beauty.

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