Emergency Contact

Image: Salvatore Vuono

A million things to blog about lately. But I’m often flat on the blog floor by the sheer weight of all those words.

I’ve been filling out a lot of forms in this new phase of my life. At my job, at the bank, at the community acupuncture clinic.

On many of these forms, there’s often an emergency contact section.  I always falter.

My mom helps us out with a phone line in Mexico. So we have a US line through the Internet. If there ever was an emergency, reaching R becomes a national call, as opposed to an international one.

But here’s what makes me tear up when I’m dutifully putting in the emergency info: What can R really do in an emergency? He can’t enter the US with papers. He’s not familiar with San Francisco. He can’t demand to speak to whoever is in charge and tell them that his lawyer/doctor/etc…will be there immediately to represent him.

And yet, I put him down as the first contact. Under “Relationship,” I write in black or blue pen: Husband.

I won’t stand down. I write his full name.

Relationship? Husband.

On my US W-4 tax form, I’m required by law to check off the “single” box when it comes to my marital status. By being married to a man that is not recognized by the eyes of the law in this country, I’m rendered single. There’s a specific note next to an asterisk for people like me.

And even at these levels of humiliation, there’s an asterisk only for the straight people filling out the W-4. If you’re in a LGBTQ marriage, you don’t even get an asterisk on that federal form.

The exact language on the W-4 calls R and others like him a “nonresident alien.”

When I fill out tax forms for payment of a performance of my show, “The Deportee’s Wife,” I have to check off the box that says “single.”

I don’t call R a nonresident alien. I usually call him amorcito, or mi lindo.

Or I call him by his name, my tongue rolling on that first R sound.

Relationship? Husband

Relationship? Husband

Relationship? My husband.


7 thoughts on “Emergency Contact

  1. It hurts everyday… I hate it when people ask me.. any news… any change? I know they mean the best but I dont even want to talk to them about it! As far as emergency contacts…I have refused to give an emergency contact… but I like the way you do it better. My husband is going back on…. country code and all!


  2. I was having a lot of medical problems when my husband was in custody (and eventually deported). I did change my emergency contact at the ER one night. Then I cried the whole way home. Great post.


  3. It's funny you should bring that point up right now because it's been on my mind as well. If I continue to file taxes in the US while I'm down there, I file as Single? I've always filed as married-jointly and put in Jose's ITIN number. You've got me curious now, I'm off to do more research. And I have 3 ICE numbers and Jose is still my No. 1 :)Krystal who is very sad that we didn't get to meet up but we'll be there next month!!


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