When I launched Lame Adventures in January 2010, I saw my site as an outlet for sharing tales set in New York City from the perspective of a hapless minion of modest means. At first, it was fine with me if only my close circle of friends and my sister, Dovima, read my blog. I am by nature an anti-social networker. Eventually, bloggers began to discover me, and I realized that was okay, too. I now enjoy reading several fellow bloggers and I have gotten to know members of my cyberspace posse quite well. On more than one occasion I have even been fortunate enough to meet fellow bloggers when they’ve visited New York City.
The most rewarding experience I’ve had thus far with meeting a fellow blogger occurred last Thursday when I met one of my earliest followers, Kathy McCullogh over at Reinventing the Event Horizon. Instead of doing the usual, hanging out at a pub, Kathy emailed me and asked if I would serve as witness to the City Hall nuptials between she and Sara Coppler, her partner of seven years. On May 1, they would move to Cuenca, Ecuador. That was an offer I couldn’t refuse. My co-witness, Jackie over at Jackie Cangro, was on board to attend, too. I have since learned that Jackie is both an excellent sherpa and writer.
This year, Kathy and Sara’s lives have been in such a whirlwind I almost need a nap before I explain what’s been happening. They’ve sold their house in Kentucky and have been in the process of completely liquidating their life in the U.S. ever since. They chose to relocate to Ecuador for many reasons. Ecuador is on the East Coast’s time zone (except during daylight savings time), it’s a three and a half hour flight from Florida, the currency is the U.S. dollar, the price of oil is cheap ($1.48 a gallon), health care and housing are affordable, the overall cost of living is low, and the perpetual spring-like climate is a perfect compromise for both of them. Kathy hates heat and Sara hates cold. Gee, maybe Milton and I should stuff ourselves into their carry-on bags.
Before making this move, Kathy and Sara were advised that because marriage equality is on the rise in South America, it would behoove them to travel to a state in the U.S. where same sex marriage is legal. Getting married stateside before moving overseas would give their union more legitimacy in their adopted homeland. Hence, they chose New York to officially tie the knot.
As honored as I was to be included in this historic event in their lives, for a moment, a flash of terror shot through my entire being from the soles of my feet to the roots of my hair. No, this terror had nothing to do with my lifelong fear of commitment, but the thought of having to dress up twice in one week. They were marrying three days after Milton and I attended a black tie gala at Lincoln Center for Barbra Streisand! Kathy reassured me that it was going to be very casual.
For anyone considering getting married in New York’s City Hall, the ceremonies are actually held in the City Clerk’s office at 141 Worth Street in lower Manhattan. There is a 24-hour waiting period after a couple purchases a license, possibly to prevent couples from impulsively entering boneheaded unions, such as when Britney Spears got married in Las Vegas to, if I recall his name correctly, That Schmuck.
First thing first, fees.
Kathy and Sara have been ready to make it legal for years, but like so many committed same sex couples, they were waiting for the laws to change.
Kathy (left) and Sara in their final moments of patiently waiting to wed.
On wedding day proper, April 25, the four of us agreed to meet at 9 a.m., but we all arrived at 8:45. Even though I am not an early riser nor am I a morning person at all, no way was I going to be The Jerk That Arrives Late for this special occasion.
New York City’s Marriage Bureau is a place where the vibe is warm and welcoming. All a couple has to do is show up and wait their turn. The bureau has flowers, a gift shop, even a backdrop with a photograph of the actual City Hall for brides and grooms to pose before. It’s run very efficiently. Check it out.
Cake toppers and ducks.
Reading material neither Kathy nor Sara needed during the 24-hour waiting period.
Camera-ready City Hall mural backdrop.
Kathy and Sara’s ceremony number.
Kathy and Sara filling out forms.
Exchanging vows a.k.a. this is happening for real!
Double ring ceremony.
Missed money shot due to delay in my camera’s shutter speed.
Just married! Finally!
Backdrop looking complete now.
Kathy and Sara entered lawful wedded bliss by 9:59 a.m. When we stepped outside, we encountered a photographer named Braulio Cuenca. Apparently, he’s been a fixture outside the City Clerk’s office since 1994. If you’d like to read his story in the New York Times click this link. Coincidentally, Braulio is Ecuadorian and from — where else? Cuenca! He shot Kathy and Sara’s official wedding photo. We saw that as a good omen.
First step outside as a lawfully wedded couple.
Braulio showing Kathy official wedding photo.
Afterward, Jackie and I accompanied the brides on a few errands before heading over to Chinatown for a celebratory dim sum lunch at Ping’s on Mott Street. Our next stop was Ferrara’s in Little Italy for dessert Italian-style. Then, we parted ways. Jackie returned home to Brooklyn. I headed uptown. Kathy and Sara, caught a cab in the Big Apple detour in their journey.
Jubilant Kathy and Sara in taxi heading toward the next leg in their life together.
Upon reflection, I realized that were it not for the blogosphere, I never would have met this very cool, very loving couple and made a new writer-friend in Brooklyn. This is an adventure that was far more lucky than it was lame. The Lame Adventures will return should this city slicker ever visit them in Ecuador.