Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
My wife and I held three wedding ceremonies: a civil ceremony, a ceremony in the Desi traditions, and a ceremony in the western style. Part of the reason we chose to do a civil ceremony at all was because it immediately removed the “weight” from the other two complicated cultural events to follow. In theory, neither family would later be able to say that their traditions were attached to the “real” wedding, because theirs was the one recognized by the state of Illinois. Another reason was that Dana and I were finally moving in together in May, and by being legally hitched, we could argue that we were not “living in sin.” (How it is that the laws of Cook County can hold power over such divine edicts as what is and is not “sin” is a socio-theological debate I don’t intend to get into here.)
The fact that City Hall was open for business on Saturday mornings, and that April Fools’ Day just so happened to be on a Saturday this year…well, that was just happy coincidence.
I bought a new shirt and tie; Dana wore a white pantsuit. Both sets of our parents came along with us, as did the Best Man and Maid of Honor. We arrived downtown at as close to 9 AM as possible, Dana quietly freaking out on the drive down. We stood in a very long line of people who had also come downtown to have a judge pronounce them as man and wife. It was a fascinating cross-section of Chicago; I’ve often heard it said that our fair city is one of the most segregated cities in America, but you couldn’t level that charge if all you saw of Chicago was the flock of families and potential newlyweds in the basement of City Hall. And of course, I’m not even counting the two of us…me and my Pakistani mother and Indian father; Dana with her German-Lithuanian mother and Polish father.
Our judge was a very pleasant individual who, to our surprise and delight, actually had a spiel that wasn’t the dry, formal declaration of government in action that we were expecting.
For the record, I don’t remember what he said. I was too busy holding my bride’s hands and looking into her eyes and going through a thousand facial expressions. I remember only that it was much better than we anticipated; it was poetic and warmly delivered, and at the end of it he signed a piece of paper and wished us well.
On the way out, a clean-cut, shellacked-hair cop wished us a friendly congratulations. I give him credit for appearing to enjoy the task.
Marriage, Chicago Style. We took some photos holding the certificate and then everybody went their separate ways. Dana and I had dinner later at Shaw’s Crab House (where we traditionally go every January 15th to celebrate our dating anniversary–which, it has only recently dawned on us, no longer has as much meaning), had a great meal, and ended up ruining the new shirt with an unfortunate melted butter/crab fluid accident. C’est la vie.