I was in the men's bathroom swabbing out a toilet when he came in. This is my worst nightmare. I was alone in the building, or so I thought, with all the outside doors locked. It was about 7:45 am. I had 15 minutes to finish cleaning the restrooms before I had to open the terminal. I startled at the sound of his footsteps, and straightened up, the toilet brush poised in the air.
"I saw you in the newspaper," he said, with a big smile. It was Drew, the owner of San Juan Cruises, whose office is right next to the Alaska Ferry office in the building. He had not expected me to be there, as I was filling in for Jim, my co-worker that day.
"Oh," I said, filled with relief. At the friendly face. That this was not going to be the morning of my worst nightmare. That he had seen our article on the front page of the Sunday paper. That I was standing in the men's restroom in my blue gloves and he was headed for the urinals that I had just cleaned.
"That was neat," he said.
"Yeah," I said articulately. "Thanks." Then, "Oh, I'll step out for a minute."
"Well, thanks, it was a long drive," he said, as I detoured around him and left.
Lynne and I have definitely gotten more attention than we ever have before from the newspaper article in the Bellingham Herald. It came out last Sunday. We read it and then left to pick up my mother for church. When we arrived at my mother's assisted living residence, Betty and Doris (two other residents) were gathered in the hallway with my mother holding the newspaper high and reading the article out loud. When they saw us, they said, "Here come the autograph kids!" Everyone in the facility has congratulated us, from the nurses aids to the director. When we walked into church, several women came up to us and gave us warm hugs, and during communion, an elderly woman who was helping her husband down the aisle veered over to us and gave us a thumbs up.
Lynne was leaving our local favorite hardware mecca, Hardware Sales, and the wife of the man who constructed our deck a year and a half ago came up to Lynne to remark on the article and congratulate her. I was slurping clam chowder at the cafe at the ferry terminal yesterday and a woman whom I took Tai Chi with came up to compliment me on the article, and introduced me to her husband. They took the empty seats at my table and I regaled them with the update about getting the marriage license and finding enough folding chairs for the wedding and they both were supportive and warm. I am just not used to this.
Joe, my co-worker, had already mentioned the article that morning, and I had already talked about the wedding with my other co-workers while we were putting together artificial Christmas trees to decorate the terminal. As in, "Fluff those branches up some more. Where are you going to have the wedding?" Maybe you don't understand. For all my life, I have operated under the radar. The neighbor up the street leaned out of his car when I was walking Winnie the other day and shouted, "Saw you in the newspaper!" Elizabeth, the PA who did my annual physical the other day chatted with me about the wedding throughout the appointment, including during the hard part. The assistant who checked me in had already asked me about it, as had the waitress at the cafe where we went after getting our marriage licenses.
So, wow, marriage is different than "domestic partnership." We are finding out how different.
More tomorrow: What about a wedding cake?
Here's a link to the newspaper article: