Brangien and I have been married about 4 weeks. So far, so great! Yesterday we went to get gym passes together at Seattle U where I get a discounted alumni rate which extends to a spouse. It was exciting to realize our first marital financial gain having just lived through the expense of a wedding and honeymoon. I pulled the paperwork together and filled it out the night before, arranged to pick up Brangien from her busy work week (it’s ship week) and headed to Connolly Center to have our pictures taken and write the check … which is where things got interesting. The girl helping us register asked if we had any proof that we live together. We were a bit stunned. I mean she was polite about it, but being 41 and recent singles we thought it was so obvious. Just look at us. We’re here together at the same time! So, I said something like “we’ve got wedding bands (we quickly flashed the bling) and we’re recently married”. Then we nervously hugged and kissed to prove the point. Crickets.
The girl asked if we had a bill or piece of mail that proved we lived at the same address. Some people, she explained, will bring in a love interest or friend and pose as live-ins or married people just to get the alumni membership (it’s a good deal). Suddenly, at a gym, we were on the defensive and feeling pretty much how you’d imagine two long-time singles, married at 41 might feel. Like imposters! Afterall, we still have separate houses, separate mail addresses, separate bank accounts and separate last names. This must be how terrorists feel when they make it through customs and airport security only to get turned in by the U-Haul clerk who, while renting the truck, catches a suspicious vibe. Ever vigilant.
We left the gym without passes, but did convince the much younger girl that we were indeed married, although in debriefing on our way out we both wondered about her intuition. Did she sense the separate houses, accounts, addresses, last names? I hurriedly dropped Brangien back at work, drove home and back to the gym with our marriage license to prove our point. The girl was very accommodating, had even preemptively made our membership cards, but still asked to make a photocopy of the marriage license (just in case). I suppose we’ll increasingly feel more “married” and I’ll develop some tone of voice that communicates to gym and U-Haul staff that we’re husband and wife, not imposters (or worse).
It would be misleading to leave the story there. We really are living together and married. Today I’m opening a joint account and we’re doing a lot of accommodating which I’m finding to be one of the joys of this first part of marriage. I’m now the proud part-owner of a cat. Brangien’s artwork is slowly filling our walls. We’re remodeling our North house a bit and thinking about changes to our Central house and where we’ll end up. For now (maybe forever?) the last names will remain separate, but that’s about it.
A picture from my walk two days ago: Mushroommates.