Monthly Archives: July 2010

summertime

you’ll all be glad to know i am feeling much better.  mono laid me low but i’m on the up and up now…

and summer is rocketing by me!  i am happy to report that this summer, although plagued with almost everything except locusts, has also contained many summery moments, such as swimming in the ocean, eating amazing heirloom tomatoes from the farmers’ market, growing my own tomatoes…and just yesterday, M. rowed me around jamaica pond in a row boat.  i wrote this haiku in honor of the occasion:

‘rowing in a boat

on a pond called jamaica

i love you a lot’

isn’t that lovely?  and i didn’t even get very sunburned.  (that would have more to do with the thick gooey layer of sunblock i applied than any sort of luck, forethought, or proper attire, i would like to point out.)

it’s amazing how many fun things there are to do out in the world if you just get up off your ass and do them.  the pond incident occurred because M. and i were sitting by the pond eating lunch and she had a thought process that went something like this:

‘rowing on the pond looks like so much fun, and i would so like to do it right now, but it’s probably complicated and a hassle and i’ve never done it before from this boathouse so i don’t know what to expect and i don’t know how much it costs and probably FG wouldn’t want to anyway.’

in spite of these barriers she did bring it up and i had no objections, so we went and did it.  right then.  in the past, we would have been stymied by thought processes like that, and as a consequence we have only rowed around in a rented rowboat once before, in central park when we lived in new york in 2003.

so i encourage you, if there’s something fun you want to do, but you feel like the barriers are insurmountable, just do it anyway.  take the first step and i bet it will be a lot easier than you think.

i’ve also been seeing my friends a lot and hanging out at the ice cream parlor (mono makes you hungry — i sucked down an extra-thick chocolate malted frappe in 10 minutes the other day, which is an obscene amount of ice cream) and having lots of femme time.  i’m in the midst of looking for a job, and when i see postings for things in other cities i move right past them.  i’m really happy here in boston and have no need to leave.

i know greg is on a cruise right now, but what about the rest of you?  what summer things are you doing, or want to do but haven’t gotten it together to actually do yet?

it’s all right because i like the way it hurts

do you all know this song?

video here.  lyrics here.

ok.

this song had me in tears both times i heard it on the radio.

it’s about an abusive relationship, where both partners are guilty of losing control and hitting the other, though there is an implication that the male partner has a harder time being responsible.  the twist at the end is pure horror — he admits that he’s trying to get her back but he’s not going to change, not going to treat her well, he knows this about himself.  and she admits that she knows he’s not going to change, she predicts the final outcome, where he burns her alive in their ruined relationship.  and she says it’s all right, she likes the way it hurts, she loves the way he lies.

my reaction to this song is really complex.  he says, “your temper’s just as bad as mine is, you’re the same as me…maybe that’s what happens when a tornado meets a volcano” i know what that means.  i’ve been locked in a struggle with someone like that, where things spiral out of control and it’s a never ending puzzle to figure out who started it or who’s at fault.  people get violent with each other, relationships can be mutually abusive.

but then, the resolution of the song seems to fall back into the awful trope of passive, forgiving, accommodating woman meets headstrong, understandably out of control man.  he burns her alive, and she accepts it because she loves him.

what the fuck?  and why does that feel even for a moment like i can identify with it?

why is it supposed to be fulfilling to a woman to suffer the temper and violence of a male partner willingly, even lovingly?

i can identify with both characters in this song, and maybe that’s the root of the complexity for me.  i’ve been the out of control person who lashed out physically.  i’ve also been the person who was the target of out of control behavior.  i’ve been on both sides of the equation, and that’s what draws me into this song in the first place — an acknowledgment that both parties go at it sometimes and lose control.  but the ending sucks.  i would find the song that much more compelling if they both ended in the flames, if it were a mutual destruction, rather than the male partner mastering the female partner and walking away free.

so now i feel conflicted.  should i oppose this song on ethical grounds?  why does it have such an effect on me?  am i overanalysing a stupid pop song?  feel free to discuss, or add your own strong reactions to cultural bits that don’t always have redeeming social value…

dread disease

i have been stricken down in my prime by a case of mono, which i caught from my esteemed spouse when she had it over our respective graduations.  i am suffering with a sore throat, incredibly swollen glands, bouts of intense nausea, lack of appetite, fever, and general aches and pains.

the one bright spot in all of this is that said spouse feels guilty and has spirited me away to her house where she can look after me.  she is right now out getting boca burgers & all the fixins because i said i wanted cheeseburgers for dinner.  really, if i had to be sick this is the best possible outcome.

i’ve been ill for five days, with no turning point as yet…so wish me luck.  after having the chicken pox a few years ago, i had really thought my encounters with illnesses too young for me were over, but that was not meant to be.

so if you were wondering where i was, fear not.  i’ll be back in force in a few more days i hope.  in the meantime, hi everyone!

xo FG

glad that’s over…

i think i could have guessed, deep in my unconscious, that two days in the car with my older sister might prove to be a less-than-optimal combination…..

my visit to DC was what i would call ‘trying’.

my older sister was in a funk, which manifested itself in an absolute absorption in the book she was reading.  as in, when it got to be the time the three of us had agreed on for leaving, she was still lying on the couch, unshowered, reading her book.  when reminded that it was time to go, she would sigh heavily and say ‘i know, i know, i’m getting there’.  then continue reading.

it honestly went beyond frustrating and into funny.

then the fourth of july pool party happened, at my little sister’s straight ex-mormon friends’ house.  latent homophobia lurked just underneath the surface of the conversation, in ways that it would be impossible to explain to my sister without enrolling her in a six-week consciousness-raising endeavor.  she is very close to this couple, and with good reason.  they have been steadfast, loyal friends to her.

and homophobia, especially when people know to hide it, doesn’t really come up when you’re straight people hanging out in straight contexts.  it lurks subtly in conversations, when a former roommate is pronounced ‘…creepy…and probably gay.’  right?  that’s an ‘and’ there, not a ‘because’.  and yet, do you think that word would have been so frequently used if the former roommate hadn’t been presumed gay?  if the roommate had been a straight woman, and had had an unfortunate crush on the husband of this couple, would that have been creepy?  or would the wife of this couple have been jealous, or angry, or pitying, or any number of other reactions that wouldn’t have involved disgust and revulsion?

and it didn’t help me feel more comfortable when my sister chimed in with, ‘and [husband] is the straightest man alive!’

well, probably not, all things considered.  most men aren’t 100% straight, as anyone who knows anything about men who have sex with men knows.  vastly high percentages of straight men are perfectly willing to be sucked off by another man.  and why the protestations and affirmations?  my entire family uses this kind of language; one friend is ‘so straight’, another is ‘straight as an arrow’, another is ‘the straightest person alive’.  even my sisters are ‘really, really straight’.

that’s fine, i refer to myself as ‘really gay’, or ‘super queer’.  but i think when this kind of affirmation is used over and over, it reveals a certain panic that is underlying.  my family didn’t use that language before i came out.  why?  because they weren’t worried about it.  they didn’t think about gay people.  the more it comes up, the more they have to assert how straight they are, and their friends.  it’s not about gay-bashing; i don’t think my little sister would tolerate outright hate speech.  although, i don’t know.  i don’t think she would bring me into contact with friends of hers that participated in it, but she might continue hanging out with them.

another priceless moment was when my older sister said that she is annoyed by people using foreign languages to communicate with each other here in the US.  she thinks if you are here to live you are obliged to learn english with no delay.  you ‘can’t be part of society’ if you don’t speak english, also it inconveniences her if she’s trying to communicate with someone and they don’t speak good english.

at this point the top of my head almost blew off, and i had trouble remaining in my seat and not throttling her.  i wonder how long it would take her to learn a new language if she endured massive privation and danger to cross a border, landed in an extremely marginalized community that spoke her language when she got there, and had absolutely zero resources to ‘learn the language’ once there.  also once there facing massive discrimination and economic hardship, and [since this is the norm] managing to put some of her meagre earnings aside for her family back home.

gee, i wonder why so many immigrants don’t speak english so well?

and, obviously, if you really feel that strongly about it, the ONLY WAY to respond and save your self-respect is to 1. volunteer as an esl teacher and 2. donate money to organizations who teach esl.

but, instead, she’s enjoying her $8000 tax credit for buying a yuppie condo and is happily planning a two-week, several thousand dollar trip to hawaii.

ok, i will stop ranting now.

so glad you stopped by for your weekly dose of invective…sunnier FG times coming soon, in which i will introduce you to my amazing porch garden.

xo

a weekend away

i’m in DC right now, visiting sisters and friends over the holiday weekend.  yesterday a friend and i were walking around in georgetown and passed a cemetery, which was closed by that point, and looked in and saw a deer snacking by the gravestones.  she paid us very little attention, stopping every minute or two to look up at us, and after wandering ever closer to the fence where we were watching, she settled down into the grass and chewed her cud.

really unbelievable.

then we went to the DC dyke bar, phase 1, which has been in operation since 1970.  i was quite impressed with it — cheap drinks, very diverse crowd in terms of both race/ethnicity and age, pool table, dancefloor, and people were friendly when i talked with them.  the experience left me really wishing that boston had one too.  for a city with such a long history of active gay community, it is striking that there is no dyke bar and no lgbt community center.  perhaps i should get on that…

today is the fourth, and i always have complex feelings about it.  in NY, where M and i celebrated the fourth in 2002 and 2003, for the first time the similarity between fireworks and bombs struck me and i haven’t been able to enjoy them much since then.  the proximity to the attacks of sept. 11, both temporal and geographical, really drove that point home.  today i’m going to a pool party with my sisters, where there will be barbeque and swimming and fireworks.  i haven’t told them this, but honestly these are very low on my list of enjoyable summer activities.  i will bring my book and my sunscreen and hope that i don’t get stuck talking with anyone’s aunt matilda.

DC is beastly hot.  always.  maybe i need to start visiting here in the winter!

anyway, happy fourth.  independence day.  though i think we would have been better off staying with cool britannia, it is too late to mourn that much.  instead i invite you to celebrate independence of all sorts today — financial independence, emotional independence, moments when you struck out on your own into the unknown and learned something important.  and eat watermelon!