Forward my mail care of Ms. Mimi Glossop

I couldn’t really accurately be described as a “private person.” Most only children aren’t– we never had siblings with whom to share our secrets or from whom to competitively guard them, and without the benefit of learning from that vetting process, we tend to spill willy-nilly. Even so, I don’t usually get super personal on this site, unless I can come up with enough embellishment to make it worth your while. I say that of course from my Norma Desmond fantasy land where a whole bunch of “you” are admiring strangers who haven’t heard every friggin detail of my life nine times over.

Anyway, if you happen to be one of those hypothetical kind strangers who have read this site and its predecessor for more than a year and a half, you might recall that at one point I occasionally referred to “my husband,” and you might also notice that in the past 18 months this has been surpassed in frequency by references to “my allergies” or “my mom’s awesome carrot cake.” The upshot is that as of this past Monday, I can effectively refer to “my ex-husband” by order of the Probate Court of Suffolk County, Massachusetts (although I probably won’t very often).

Actually, there are still 116 days before that title will be entered in all finality into the annals of legal history, but a nice judge with two long strands of pearls over her black robe has tapped her gavel at us with a smile and best wishes. After an hour of waiting, the whole thing took about 90 seconds, during which we each stood behind a large mahogany desk with a microphone, at an unnecessarily large distance from each other and the judge, to answer half a dozen yes/no questions. Considering everything that divorce entails over the life of the ordeal, it was almost humorously perfunctory. I felt like it would have been more appropriate if they’d asked us to come prepared with a vaudeville act of 15 minutes or more, which at least would be more reflective of the process as a whole, including rehearsals.

The court did provide its own dose of surrealist humor, however. About 10 different couples were assigned to our court time, and everyone is in the same room as each couple checks in with the clerk and takes its turn with the judge. The clerk, Maria, went through everyone’s files as they arrived, going over the paperwork to make sure it was in order before the hearing. Whenever there was a problem, she had no qualms about confronting it with the loudest of volumes, for example, to a young man about my age whose wife had been waived from appearing, “Is she kidding? She wants you to pay for her health insurance for life? Did you even read this? She can’t do that!” And to another couple with an administrative complication, “Man, getting married is so much easier, isn’t it? You just show up and you’re madly in love, and bam! But divorce is a pain, it’s a legal contract with all this bureaucracy.” During all of this, she was eating a peanut butter sandwich, for which she did say to everyone in the room “sorry guys, don’t tell on me.”

Another bit of comedy was courtesy of the bailiff, who spent an amazing amount of time deciding which swivel chair to sit in for the day. He had two to choose from, and went back and forth between them, bouncing a little to assess comfort, and raising and lowering the seat of each repeatedly. Luckily, he was able to make his choice before the judge arrived, so no further Night Court-esque hilarity ensued during the actual hearings. Being a year and a half after the beginning of the end, my ex(ish)-husband and I aren’t in much contact but essentially get along, so we were able to sit and snicker and suspend disbelief about why we were actually sitting there.

Anyway, I’m not going to go into any lessons I learned from four years of marriage and a year and a half of separation and divorce before 30, though there certainly are many. I’m not bitter or cynical and I still believe in true love, so none of that is taboo, and I only request that if you’re 22 and considering engagement that you let me know before you shell out too much money.

Previous Post
Leave a comment


  1. I don’t remember you being married (!) but congratulations!?

  2. it’s nice to tidy up all those loose strings isn’t it? i would offer my congratulations, but that seems sort of odd considering the circumstance. so here’s to new beginnings. cheers!

  3. amy

     /  October 20, 2005

    Being 22 and engaged – what advice would you give?

  4. Amy– I actually was presumptive enough to write an email addressing your question– but realize you didn’t put your address. So send me an email if you get a chance (

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>