Preposterous Universe

Tuesday, May 18, 2004
Further pleasantness

Maybe I will not stop posting happy things until all the evil people go away. That might work, don't you think? From Circa75 via Atrios, a first-person account of getting a marriage license in my old home town of Cambridge.
A sign poking up from the crowd saying "YAY" caught my eye. Some people had "Toto, we're not in Kansas, Welcome to Equality" signs for the Phelps folks, but the crowd had grown so large you couldn't tell if they were still there.

Aaron and I looked at each other, mouths open. Who are all these people? They're not all here to get married, right? Where do we go? Are these all straight people? This is incredible! We didn't speak, but we were clearly thinking the same thing.

I thought I caught a glimpse of a couple walking up the stairs before one enormous cheer, but I couldn't be sure. We edged closer to the steps, and I could suddenly see a line of cops in riot gear leading up to the main entrance. I turned to one of them and asked him if we were too late to get in for a license.

"I don't know," he said. "We're just keeping this area clear. You can't stand here."


At that point another cop walked up to people standing behind us and told them they had to clear a path. He started towards us, and Aaron grabbed me and pulled me back into the crowd.

"I think we can just walk up here," I told him. "Come on!"

Aaron grabbed my hand and we walked forward up the steps.

Off to my side someone said, "Look, here goes someone else!"

Suddenly a roar erupted all around us. Things began to move more slowly. I grabbed Aaron's hand tighter and started running forward up the steps. Everything was a blur. I lost his grip briefly as he stopped close to the entrance to accept a rose from someone in the crowd. I paused at the top of the steps, and turned to wait for him.

I've been in front of some large, happy, and cheering crowds before, but only on a stage -- never with a throng pressing in from all sides, with clapping hands outstretched, cameras flashing, and a deafening roar.

I stood there facing the crowd as Aaron walked towards me with a sparkle-encrusted yellow rose and a huge grin on his face. As he reached me, I put my hand around his waist and waved to the crowd. I tried to look at all the people, but my eyes couldn't focus.
Try to read the whole thing without getting choked up, I dare you.

Ideas on culture, science, politics.
Sean Carroll

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