In the spring of 2009, gay marriage was legalized in Iowa (Iowa!!). My friends and long-time couple, Rusty and Chris, who live in Missouri had been considering a wedding in Massachusetts or another state that would acknowledge their union. They had considered California for a time, but it seemed as if the legality of gay marriage there was changing on a weekly basis. When the Iowa news came, they decided the timing and proximity were perfect and quickly began planning their nuptials.
My friends, Michelle and Kate, and I got gussied up and I piled into my car and headed for Iowa on the day of the wedding. We had left on the early side, just to be safe, and were making pretty good time until about the half-way point when a car pulled up alongside of mine, and the driver pointed to one of my tires. So, over to the side of the road we went to have a look. The three of us got out of the car and examined the tires. The rear driver’s side tire looked slightly low, but not flat per se. Maybe we’d be OK if we just added some air to the tire and kept going. Then it occurred to us that the tire might look a lot more flat with the weight of three people in the car. “I’ll get in. See if things change,” Kate announced and got in the back seat, where she proceeded to bounce up and down, sort of throwing herself toward the driver’s side of the car.
It became clear that the tire was flat.
No problem. We were all strong, confident, modern women. Surely, with the combined efforts of the tree of us, we could change a simple tire. Before long, the car was jacked up, and all but one of the lugnuts were off. The last one was a stubborn little bastard, though. We took turns trying but could barely get it to budge. All the while, traffic whizzed past us. Really, people. I understand if you don’t want to stop to help three dressed-up women struggling to change a tire, as it could be a ruse to steal your money and your car or lure you into sexual slavery. Fine. But the least you could do is change lanes so as not to make the women fear for their lives! Thanks.
As we continued to struggle with the obstinate lugnut, a car pulled up behind us, and out came two strong-looking fellows who asked if we needed help. “Yes!” we said in unison. They took over the tire changing operation, and we chatted. They were firemen on the way to a fireperson conference of some sort. They had been going the other direction when they spotted us, exited the interstate, and turned back to help us! A small part of me felt ashamed, belittled, a stereotypical helpless woman on the side of the road waiting for men to rescue her. Mostly, though, I was incredibly thankful. Perhaps with more work, we could have gotten that last lugnut off, but we still would have had to change a tire in wedding attire with cars passing at high speeds at an uncomfortable proximity.
When the tire was changed, we thanked the men profusely, offered them money (they declined), and thanked them again before they went on their way. Now, we had another dilemma. We still had a good hour and a half to drive (plus returning in the evening). That was more than the donut spare could handle, but it didn’t look like we’d make the wedding on time if we stopped to get the tire fixed. We realized we had little choice. We had to get the tire fixed and hope that it could be done quickly and still make the wedding.
We headed into the nearest town to search for a place that could service our tire. Meanwhile, Kate made attempts to contact Rusty and Chris without success. Voicemails were left. We were on our way, but we might be late. Stupid tire.
At the first place we stopped, we were told it would be a couple hours before they could get to our tire. That wouldn’t do. After a bit more searching, we found a place that said they could have us on our way in 45 minutes or less. Hooray! They were true to their word, and we were on our way again soon, but we’d lost a lot of time. Between the time spent changing the tire, searching for a place to get it repaired, and having it fixed, it looked like we were going to be at least 45 minutes late to the wedding, even if we sailed for the rest of the trip.
Kate finally succeeded in contacting Rusty. The half of the conversation I heard sounded something like this.
“We’re coming, but we’re late. We had a flat tire.”
“An hour and a half maybe.”
“Okay, we’ll be there as soon as we can!”
“They’re going to delay the wedding for us!”
I never would have expected to have a wedding delayed for me unless it was my own, but they waited for us. Shortly after we finally arrived, we were greeted by the minister, who was by far the most delightful gun-packing lesbian minister with neck tattoos I’ve ever encountered (okay, she is still the only one, but she was very nice). As we apologized again and again for being late, she said, “Do you know a lot of gay men?”
“Well, I guess.”
“Then you should have known this wouldn’t start on time anyway!”
It was a lovely wedding. And now, it makes for a pretty good story!