Late to the party

If you saw the middle-aged, frizzy-haired, holiday-plump woman wandering around downtown Fort Lauderdale with flowers this afternoon, don't worry. I wasn't stood up for a blind date at the Riverwalk.

I was just too late for the party.

Marriage equality became reality in Florida today, and I wanted to join in the fun. I bought some mums - $3 for 12 - at Publix on my way to work this morning, then headed to the county courthouse, not far from my office, on my lunch break.

I guess I was expecting scenes like I've seen on Facebook and such from other states: lines of joyful, crying couples, flanked by cheering crowds, children handing out flowers. 

It may surprise you to learn that, in fact, courthouses in the middle of the day feature confusing parking, lawyers in a hurry, and sidewalk cheesesteak vendors. Not so much with the joyful, crying couples.

There was apparently a party at midnight or sometime soon after, when a mass wedding took place and "Don't Stop Believing" played. Missed that.

It takes a uniquely self-centered narcissist to feel self-pity on a day when so many people realized life-long dreams, but I've always been up for a challenge. 

What I did see were plenty of reporters, set up for their noon live shots, balancing on wedge heels in the 80-degree heat.

I was reminded, once again, that I am not part of the news anymore.

Not that a sports writer would have necessarily been front and center on a day like today, but sometimes we were called upon to help with big stories, such as hurricanes. At the least, I could have been in the newsroom, simmering in the excitement, listening to tales from the field and peering over shoulders as video was edited.

Instead, unable to find any flower recipients and unwilling to pass through a metal detector to enter the courthouse itself, I went back to work. (At a job, for the record, that I like, that I am grateful to have, that in many ways is superior to the journo grind).

I am beyond thrilled that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of my fellow Floridians can now experience the human right of publicly declaring their love and fidelity to the person they've chosen. I'm over the moon about it. In two weeks, I'll celebrate as two of my dearest friends do the same, and I can't wait.

I'll also maintain a social media presence about this close-to-my-heart issue. I'll continue voicing my opinions (not that THAT was ever in doubt). I'll pay attention to what states and what representatives take what stands, and I'll keep voting.

And tonight, my family will have some lovely yellow mums on the dinner table.