Tuesday afternoon I had a passenger in my taxi — a young, very beautiful Indian woman — for a longish ride from Schaumburg to Rosemont, and we engaged in easy conversation most of the way.
As anyone who knows me is already aware, I often make lame jokes in just about any situation. It’s not that I aim to make lame jokes, but rather that I aim to make people laugh. I like to make people laugh. I always have.
Tuesday’s opportunity was no exception. Fear not, for I didn’t harangue her with incessant jokes or absurdities; I don’t work that way. We talked mostly about her time living in the United States: she first moved to California where she lived for two years, and then she moved to Chicago about a year ago. She’s a consultant at a Chicago firm with a client in Schaumburg. She’s from a city the name of which I don’t remember about two hours from Mumbai.
As we neared the Rosemont Blue Line CTA train station, I asked, “Do you have a husband? Children?”
“No...to both,” she replied.
I paused for a few extra seconds, and then I said, “Neither do I.”
She laughed tentatively, catching the incongruity of my equal but opposite comment. It was intentional on my part, but her hesitant laugh seemed to say to me that she wasn’t sure if I had made a joke or if I had really overlooked my wording.
I gave her permission to laugh. “I don’t have a husband and children, either.”
But then it occurred to me: my made-up scenario isn’t a joke any more. As things progress, as things have progressed in several states of our union, the scenario of a man stating that he has or doesn’t have a husband — or a woman a wife — is no longer absurd. It is becoming a statement of plain fact.
The landscape is forever changing, forever evolving. We’re moving toward acceptance and away from resistance.
But damn if marriage equality isn’t taking away some good lame joke fodder!