I just returned from Iowa after visiting family and friends.
We flew into Cedar Rapids, Iowa a small river town I called home for 17 years of my childhood. My parents greeted my partner and I as we left the tiny propeller plane that flies in and out of Cedar Rapids. We were all smiles since we had not seen each other for over a year.
The Iowa summer heat smacked me in my chest once outside. It was sultry, and pesticide stung my nose as we neared the corn and soy fields edging the Eastern Iowa Airport parking lot.
"The car rental is just a few miles from here," my mom said as she gave us detailed instructions about how to get everywhere in town. She is a human map and prides herself on her ability to navigate through any situation.
A single young man, probably in his early 20s, was juggling phones and paperwork when we arrived at the Hertz satellite. "I'll be right with you both," he said smiling. He was giving instructions to a couple in Marion. It sounded like their insurance was going to pay for a car.
An elderly man popped his head in the door, "Can you help me with these mirrors. I don't know how they work."
"Just a second," the young man said kindly.
The young man hung up the phone. "It sounds like some people don't have the internet," I joked.
"It is a little too expensive for the old people," he said.
The young man processed my credit card and driver's license and said, "There is going to be an extra charge to have an additional driver even though you both live in the same apartment."
I always read the fine print before entering into any contracts with companies. I knew that Hertz recognized domestic partnerships and did not charge partners or married couples for additional drivers. I pulled out my Washington State issued Domestic Partnership card and showed it to the young man, "I don't think you will be charging me extra for my partner."
"I am so sorry," he said with a genuine Iowa smile, "I was looking for your rings and didn't see any. We give you rings in Iowa. I won't charge you."
"They don't give us rings in Washington State yet," I explained. "They give us these cards so we can explain Domestic Partnerships to people when they don't understand. I use mine a lot."
"Well, they should just give you rings. Marriage is easy to understand. Welcome home."