Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bi The Way - Assume Nothing

The other night at the Bi Women's Group we all told our coming out stories to each other. Everyone's story is different and yet components are the same. The resonance each of us feels when we hear someone else say, "I just thought she was so cool! I didn't know that I liked girls 'that way,' but I knew... It was in the back of my head, but I ignored it..."

My coming out as bi was initially because of politics. At the time I said to not claim being bi would be the same as denying that the love I'd felt for either Denver D or for Shobi-wan wasn't real, and that wasn't right. But because I'd gotten involved with Odyssey's diversity training and questioned that we presented homosexuality but not bisexuality, I was selected to present that view [this was part of the name it, claim it volunteerism at Odyssey]. So the first time I really came out as bi, I came out to thirty or forty staff members, and the second time to another 75 teenagers.

After all these years, I'm still primarily politically bi. I identify as bisexual because it is who I am. I know that I appear to be straight, living the life I do married to a man, so I'm always on guard that people are going to question my marriage because of the stereotypes they hold about bisexual people. That makes me afraid to come out sometimes. Say what you like about me, but don't lecture me on my marriage and don't say word ONE about my husband. I should add though that in all the years I've been coming out as bi, I've never had to say that to anyone.

That makes me glad. And it's always nice to hear parts of my story in other people's lives, and parts of theirs in mine.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Vision

For the last week, the sun has been the color of sunset most of the day, the light has been orange, and the air has smelled like smoke. We don't live that close to one of the many fires in northern California, but there are so many of them that the smoke is everywhere. For the firefighters' sakes I'm happy there's no wind, but a wind would blow the smoke away.

Yesterday morning a big rig crashed through the median on 880 and hit a delivery truck and a flatbed truck and burst into flames. The truck had been going south on 880 but the wreck closed the highway northbound for hours - and when it reopened, it was only one lane. It took me almost three times as long to get home yesterday afternoon, though all but one of the southbound lanes were open. There's a CHP officer relating the story and video here (search for "I-880 fatal crash" in the video section on the left hand side).

When I went to the BART station to pick up Zirpu, I saw that Mission was really backed up. Mission is a state highway with three lanes in both directions and runs parallel to 880, but it's a local road with stoplights every mile or less. It took almost no time to get to the station, but the station itself was all backed up, since cars couldn't get out. To make a long story short, we were forced to turn the wrong way and took "the scenic route" through town - places we haven't even thought about since we were house-hunting. A round trip that usually takes 15 minutes took 45 minutes last night. Zirpu said, "You don't know how much traffic 880 takes until something like this happens."

I found the whole thing really depressing. I try not to think apocalyptically, but this was in life my vision of the beginning of the end: smoky, orange skies, and thousands upon thousands of cars idling in traffic.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Situation Comedies

In the last couple of days, links in various places have led me to Menudo appearing on Silver Spoons and the (original) Brady Bunch kids singing "Sunshine Day." I watched The Brady Bunch reruns every afternoon in middle school, but totally missed Silver Spoons. That got me thinking about the TV shows I watch regularly, and none of them are sitcoms. Battlestar Galactica is not even accidentally funny. Dr. Who has funny moments, but it's not a sitcom either.

I was going to write that the last time I watched a sitcom regularly was the summer of 2003, when I was laid up on the couch for six weeks. I managed to watch about four years' worth of Roseanne, which I liked the first time around when I would occasionally catch it at Harry's Mother. I remember now however that I saw about three seasons of As Time Goes By last year, another show I'd first watched years ago on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

When I was a kid MASH, WKRP in Cincinnati, and Taxi were my favorites (they weren't reruns in those days either). Now for a walk down memory lane as you read these titles over:

Mork and Mindy
The Facts Of Life
The Cosby Show
Family Ties
Diff'rent Strokes

Mom told me and No that we weren't allowed to watch Diff'rent Strokes because the situation in one episode was that an obstetrician's office called to say that the girl had left a textbook there during her visit that day. I specifically remember that the boys took it upon themselves to tell the dad that his daughter was pregnant and did so by the younger boy (Gary Coleman's character) saying, "Let me put it to you this way: 'Hello, Grandpa.'" The situation was funny because the girl wasn't pregnant after all - it was her friend. Ha ha ha! Mom saw enough of it to declare that a show that made fun about teen pregnancy was a bad show with bad values. Of course, that's the only episode I remember.

PS "Sunshine Day" is an earworm. And I'm only a little sorry about no links; I'm feeling lazy. It's been a tough week.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mawwage, that bwessed awwangement*

* The Princess Bride. The book is even funnier than the movie.

I was not one of those girls who planned her wedding. I never could envision myself in the white dress and the church, and in fact I remember telling Shmeen when I was in eighth grade that I would just live with a man forever rather than get married. When I came out as a lesbian, I thought maybe my lack of desire for a wedding and marriage was because of the fact that a man had to be involved.

Of course, I wound up not being a lesbian, and now a man doesn't have to be involved in a marriage, if a woman prefers a woman as her spouse.

Ten years ago I didn't understand what the big whoop was about gay marriage. Until May or June of 2002, I didn't care about marriage, and then I knew if it was to Zirpu, it was something I wanted. A lot. Davetoe told me one time that he wouldn't want to get married until everyone had the legal right to get married, but I know now (and probably knew then) that his statement was really about his not wanting to get married ever, but rather than saying so he attached it to something impossible, the way one says "when pigs fly."

Hey, what was that? Was that a bird? Did you hear an "oink"?

Now that I am married, though, I get it. I understand why marriage is important, why it's different from not being married, even if you are shacked up for 27 years. The car wreck a few months after we got married has something to do with that. It felt different to me to say to someone I needed to call my husband, as opposed to my boyfriend, my partner, my significant other. There was the feeling that my husband would always have my back, would drop everything to get out to Fresno as quickly as possible and take me home. In our wedding we said we were ready to take on the responsibility of our love, and this definitely fell under that purview.

We have been extraordinarily lucky. I shouldn't speak for Zirpu but when I hear people say "Marriage is work," I think to myself that we haven't had to work that hard. I think this is because we have mostly the same values and don't have kids upon whose raising we might disagree. We know how to allow for each other's idiosyncrasies. Also, I'm married to the best man in the world. [big grin]

There should always be room for love in the world. No one is made better by making someone else worse. There should more and more of these wedding photos and more and more of these weddings.

Do you believe in love? I do!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wedding Crashers

Yesterday morning I was listening to The California Report story on the first legal same-sex marriages in the state. It started with people's words; the one I liked the best was the Clerk Officer who said that she was so excited to be able to perform marriages for everyone that she had been in tears on her way to work Tuesday morning. I'm a wedding softie and I cry at every wedding, regardless of how well I know the couple. I was all choked up, listening to love on the radio.

So I decided that today I would go to the Alameda County Recorder's Office to give flowers to newlyweds (mixed-sex ones too). I just want to be a part of it! I'm in favor of love and hope and community and if a wedding isn't about those things I don't know what is. Plus, while it is civil obedience, it has the tinge of civil disobedience, especially as we are facing a November "marriage = man + woman" ballot measure. However, people are really starting to feel like we might win this time; the number 51% has been bandied about in terms of how many people are in favor of any adult being able to marry any other adult. I keep hearing, "We have more important things to worry about than who's marrying whom." Even if it passes, I heard on Forum that it doesn't mean that all these people's marriages will be annulled, since they were legal when they happened.

On my way from BART, I passed a woman about my age and four children walking in the other direction. The little boy was in black shorts and a tailcoat, the little girl in a flowergirl's dress, and the two older girls, who may have been junior high schoolers, were wearing formals. They girls and the woman were carrying flowers, and in response to something someone asked I heard the woman say, "We're helping to celebrate love!" When I came upon them, I said, "I am too!"

Knitty and I met near the County Recorder's Building and took the elevator up to the "wedding room," which has several quilts designed on the theme of marriage and three pews. We sat in the anteroom with glitter-spinkled purple daisies and waited for something to happen. We absolutely didn't know what to expect, though neither of us were expecting just the two of us chatting quietly for about half an hour. Finally, a Clerk came in followed by a man and two women who appeared to be in their early 50's. Knitty figured out the man and which woman were the marrying couple; when they came out I offered the bride a daisy. She declined, saying the flower would die by the time they got back to Concord, but I think she may have just been terribly shy.

The second couple were a pair of young African Americans, along with about half a dozen parental types. The bride was wearing a short white dress perfect for today's heat and the groom was in a gold and black silk shirt that made him look like a million bucks. I offered the bride a daisy and she smiled and thanked me. The third couple, handsome South Asians or Middle Easterners in their mid-20s, were joined by three friends, one of whom was wearing a hijab. When they came out and I offered my congratulations, the groom took the flower and enthusiastically shook my hand.

So it wasn't exactly what we thought it would be. Knitty pointed out that maybe all the hoopla had happened here on Tuesday, or if it was still happening was happening in San Francisco. No and KT got married at SF's City Hall and it is a much jazzier place to tie the knot, it must be said. Still, I was happy with and for the people we saw in the 90 minutes we were there, even if they were all female/male couples. Because of Odyssey, and after returning from the Pacific Northwest, I am very appreciative of the diversity of cultures and races here.

Knitty told me that I was really brave for giving flowers and congratulations to strangers. I told her that I'm a dork. I'm just more willing than some to be a dork to strangers. Especially in the cause of love, hope, and community.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

My Friend's Rock'n'Roll Lifestyle Rubs Off

I wrote most of this Sunday and planned to clean it up and post it yesterday, but circumstances prevented me from doing so. Sorry!

I worked Crisis Intervention with Mr. Jonez, whose 24-hour shift followed mine. Sometimes we would get together for a beer after his 24-hour shift, which we renamed "a fabulous adult beverage," and talk. He was a music reviewer for the weeklies, and worked in a record store which kept most of his wages in exchange for all the records he took home. In fact, when I saw High Fidelity (a movie I didn't like much), Barry's commitment to and definition of good music reminded me a lot of Mr. Jonez.

I went over to his place one afternoon to take him to a motorcycle shop and he showed me a wall of CDs on plank-and-cinderblock shelves. Because he was a music reviewer, he had hundreds of CDs he'd been given as review or promo copies, on top of the many CDs and records he'd actually purchased. Meanwhile, I had hardly any music of my own, and like him, I had so many jobs I had little time to do anything but buy a CD or two each week. He loaned me some CDs from time to time, music I wouldn't have otherwise known; he introduced me to the Squirrel Nut Zippers and to Madelyn Peyroux.

In fact, I went with him to a Peyroux show that he was reviewing, and he quoted me in the article. Peyroux was accompanied by a trumpet and a guitar, a combination that sounded odd to my ears, and after the show I said that the show had been like eating poppyseed cake: Her voice was the frosting, and the instruments were the cake you had to get through to eat the frosting (I liked the CD, "Dreamland," much better than the accompaniment in the concert).

One afternoon Mr. Jonez called and asked me if I would go to a show for him. Nancy Griffith would be playing with the Crickets, Buddy Holly's old band, and Mr. Jonez wasn't feeling particularly well or particularly interested in these performers, but he knew I liked Nancy Griffith. I didn't want to go alone, so I pressured Jujubi into coming. We had a great time and enjoyed the concert, and it was much easier than the last time we'd worked at a concert. Also, we liked the music more. The next day I read the few lines I'd scribbled to Mr. Jonez over the phone and he put it in his music roundup that week.

It's Bad Luck To Be Superstitious

My horoscope today said, "If you rethink a project that fell by the wayside, you'll find that the Goddess Fortuna has a sweet smile on her face."

The truth is, by waiting it out, I've come up with the feeling that I want to continue blogging. I still think this is a pretty self-indulgent habit, and maybe by now no one is checking the blog for posts or everyone's knocked this off their RSS feeds. But I started this project a year and a half ago without assuming I had readers; it was "my" project, a project that was really about me and my writing exercises.

So, I'm back.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Not A Pity Party

I've been away from the blog for a week now. I've been thinking, What's the point of this blog? Last year it was to write every day, and I did that. This year, the whole "writer three times a week" thing seems to have made the blog, rather than the writing, the center of this project. I'm not all that interested in that. I feel myself moving away from blogging altogether.

I am thinking about whether I'm going to continue or just "shut down," whatever that means. You'll know what I decide I will write that I'm shutting down or I will just start writing again.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


While on vacation, I was totally unplugged. We threw our cell phones in a suitcase and obviously never signed up for (or paid for) internet access while on the ship. The only exception was when I wore Zirpu's iPod for the flight from Anchorage to Fairbanks, with the Beatles cranked up in my ears.

Now that I'm back, I haven't wanted to spend a lot of time online. I read today's newspaper while sitting in bed and in the sun, but haven't even really checked into the usual sites I was looking at daily before we left. I felt like I spent a lot of time dealing with getting the photos posted and responding to emails on Friday and I'm still feeling pretty much "done" with all that. I read a book yesterday, and today watched Juno on DVD.

So, I'm done with this post too. I don't know when I will come back - maybe when regular life becomes regular again.