Michael Wolraich's picture

    Before Politics...

    Before politics, there was love.

    Even the priggish old Bible that hurried God's busy hands into the dawn of time honored the proper order of the world. Before God admonished the first people to shun evil, he begged them to multiply. The old world's profession was the dating consultant.

    I'm getting married on Saturday.

    We met three-and-one-half years ago, too long for God's tastes, too long my mother's, but long enough. Before the third date, I showed her my blog.

    "Now I do not know if I want to even see you on Tuesday!!!" she wrote, "Instead of packing and working I am reading your blog!!!!!!! aaaaa! Shame on you!!"

    "Pshaw," I replied, "I've wasted 33.3333% of my waking hours over the past four months on this damn blog. Your brief procrastination is but sand in the desert."

    "I do love the blogging though," I added.

    She has always loved my writing. I'm glad for that. I need that.

    The blogging is a different story. We've squabbled sometimes, when I've stayed late in the living room to draft the perfect reply to one last comment while she waited for me to come to bed.

    It is tempting to romanticize the writing, to imagine that I'm making a difference in some infinitesimal way, changing the world one pithy word at a time. But the truth is that the word comes before the world. I write for me, whether I have one reader or one million. I need that right word, that last jab, like a drug.

    The wedding comes fast on the heels of engagement. Last month, we bobbed innocently in a blue canoe on a green river in a red desert. Just the two of us and the cold water and the hot rocks and the scrabbly little trees hugging the wet sand. The white gold ring hid in a black wooden box, which hid in a gray cotton sock, which hid in a purple canvas bag. Safe.

    I tried twice to bring it forth and failed twice. It's wasn't nerves; it was the need for perfection, the right moment, the right line. She talks a lot. I like that, I love that, but it's hard to squeeze the words in.

    We left the river and the desert behind us and climbed a mountain, all green and gray. There was to be a lake at the top, perhaps a meadow, I imagined. But we were dizzy, and our toes tingled. Too high, not enough air. We sat on a rock. She kept talking, but I pressed on until the words came out and the ring came out and the tears came out (mine) and she kissed me.

    I came home to too much work. There was no time to write, barely enough time to call the people who needed to know.

    Now I try to read the blog. I try to read the newspaper. I try to write. It's hard to care in the way that I am used to caring. It will return but not just yet I suspect.

    Before politics, there was love, but love never lived in a vacuum. We weren't supposed to be married just yet. There was still time to plan. (It's not what you think.)

    The subject line read [Fwd: Proof of dependent]. I was on her health insurance plan for a year already, but the insurer changed. Domestic partners are still covered--same sex couples only. We are not. A marriage certificate is wanted. Politics intrudes.

    It will be a lovely little wedding. Our families will witness. There will be beauty and love, which is all you really need, I think.

    And now I have some writing to do, a wedding vow. Before politics...



    Aw, Genghis...you make me cry too!  Best wishes, and lots of affection and good karma!!!!


    i love a good love story.  I'll share mine someday -- it was just rekindled after 45 years (I was told he was killed in Vietnam, and my mother told him not to call when he came back -- I found him on Facebook a year ago)

    Mazel tov, G.

    FWIW, God has been really excited about this. He's over the moon! I mean, figuratively.

    Seriously, congratulations.

    Well done, Genghis-Mike. 

    You got the priorities right. 

    I hope it's wonderful. 

    And hilarious. 



    Congratulations again, Michael. (Doesn't seem right, calling the groom "Genghis".)  I love that she always loved your writing, and I love that you wanted everything to be so perfect when you asked her.

    This could work.

    "Ding dong the bells are gonna chime!" Congratulations to both of you ... and your mother.

    Wonderful news Genghis.  Health, happiness, and all that stuff!

    Congratulations, Mike!

    Congratulations & Best Wishes.  

    You sound very, very happy.  

    Lady Destor, lil Destor (he was at your book signing!) and I are fortunate to know you in person, and we mention that often.  Well, the adults do, Lil Destor thinks that you're Thomas the Tank Engine.  But... I digress.

    Congratulations and many years of happiness and much love to you both.

    And thank you for building this online collaboration.  To me, it's like Plato's dialogues, plus Iron Bolt Bruce.

    Did I just say something petty? 

    I did. 

    But the love and appreciation are real.

    Congratulations, Genghis. And a wonderful, memorable, story of the ring. Great images, and as usual, your writing---what a gift.

    All the best to you, my virtual friend, and to your real-life bride-to-be. Someone who still loves your writing, after more than three years of first, second and third drafts? She's a keeper. Bit of advice, though, from someone much older and a fair bit wiser: when your woman summons you to a bed she's already in, your search for the "mot juste" must cease. The mot juste at that point is "Coming!!!" With the three exclamation points. You're welcome.


    Love triumphant!  Always a winning plot.   Mazeltov!


    Oh, the lengths we'll go to for health insurance! devil Congratulations, Genghis, to the both of you, actually. I wish you even more happiness as the years go by.

    Yay! I am very, very, VERY happy for you.



    Thank you so much for the warm wishes. I'm sorry that I haven't been around much lately and will try to return soon.


    Congratulations and all the best.


    Thanks for sharing this.

    My tag line is "I take action knowing Love will win'. 

    Many blessings:)

    In some ways small and unplanned is better ... you don't have time to get worked up about the little details, so you can actually sit back and let the day surprise you!  We got married in Denmark over a holiday weekend -- they had holidays on Thu, Fri, Sun, and Mon, and our wedding was on Sat. We had to arrive on Wednesday to get our paperwork fully approved. I remember Wed morning walking into a flower shop and arranging for my bouquet, finding the local bakery and ordering a cake.  In both cases, the conversation went roughly as follows -- them: "what would you like?" me: "um, what do you have?"  I did make sure to arrange a couple of things in advance though: photographer and a visit to a the local brewery. 


    Didn't really mean to go off on my own story there, but I did want to say: congrats!  And it'll be awesome.... Because you're right; it's not the time to plan or even the wedding itself that matters, it's the love.

    Hey Paige! Long time! Yeah, a shotgun does make some things easier, or at least faster. Are you still in Europe?

    Hey Mike!  Yep, I'm still in Germany!  At least now I can (mostly) speak the language, so getting around is much easier. 

    Say something in German, California GermanPaige!

    He said "mostly". Say something in Dutch!!!

    Ich bin eigentlich eine Frau, aber die Deutschen wissen das auch nicht, wenn sie nur meinen Name sehen.  Und Niederlandisch kann ich gar nicht....

    "Um, G. I notice your sister doesn't have a ring on her left hand...Since I find myself within the five boros... by jollyroger " Happy to have lit a fire under your Mongol ass been of assistance. Mozel Tov as we Visigoths would say.

    My sister lives in Oklahoma and just had a second kid. Have you considered match.com?

    Nah those internet dates are too much like a job interview, but thank you for your support...


    Are you guys sticking with the yurt?

    Don't worry about the timing part. In ten years, it won't matter.

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