When Chris and I were headed out to San Diego last month we were some of the last to board the second flight headed to California. Our connection had come in a little late and the flight out was three terminals away.
We already had our boarding passes with our seats together. We got to nearly the back of the plane and there in the three-seat row were two people. Some guy who was sitting next to the window and some sheepish looking woman.
At first she didn't acknowledge us. He didn't even look our way. As I fumbled with the boarding passes and started to ask out loud in my usual I'm-getting-frustrated way about that there should be two seats she took about a minute and then finally told us, "Oh, I thought it would be alright to sit here, my seat is just up there."
She pointed to the middle seat three aisles ahead with no intention to get up and go to it.
Again after another pause, she finally said, "I just wanted to sit here with my husband, that's OK, right?"
No, it's not OK. He's not even in his correct seat, which is the aisle. Chris can tell I'm getting pissed and I really want to tell her to move.
Heck, what I really want to tell her, was "I want to sit next to my husband, too!"
Chris just gives a look and heads towards the seat a few aisles ahead. I guess it didn't really make sense to go into the whole thing, having to explain that we're a couple, and we are traveling together, and at least we had the boarding passes for where we wanted to be. No, the flight was finishing boarding and we just wanted to get on with our trip, so we let it be.
I never spoke to the woman. I think she tried to say a meager "thanks", but as soon as I could turn on the iPod and leave her behind, the better. She didn't even really talk to her husband from what I can remember.
Still, it's that difficulty with explaining your relationship. If I was married to a woman, people would just suspect the woman with me would be my wife, or at least my girlfriend. It takes more effort to describe my relationship to Chris, and it's one that I don't always want to go into the full story about with just anyone.
I wish it was simpler. Sometimes when someone asks, looking at my ring, if I'm married, I say yes. Then if they start asking more, then it's the though, am I coy? Do I just say it? Do I go into the whole California marriage thing? Why can't this be easier?
I love the whole "I'm married in selected states" thing, but having to explain it gets tiresome. You never feel like yours is a relationship equal to those that straight folks can jump into so easily, so carelessly. And when they come down the aisle in some plane, you think, well, they could be a couple. Us? I don't know what they think.
Sure, violence and more obvious discrimination like firing or in refusal of service is one thing, but just that little thing of being considered unworthy of an institution, well that's a deep discrimination that really gets to feeling a resentment and being labeled less than worthy. Boy did Prop 8 do that in spades.
Given that a similar scenario came up when one of the plaintiff was asked about the equality of their relationship, they way they feel discriminated against, or at least find things more difficult by the simple act of having marriage denied them, well it just makes me that much more interested in how this case is going to go.
And if you see the two of us coming, yes, I do ant to sit next to my husband, and not the back of the bus thank you.