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DAILY writing challenge?

June 17, 2008

In which I discuss the last week and its challenges, including thesis presentation, getting a Masters’ degree, and parental visits, and complain about the local news.

Well, never mind that.

Over the last week I’ve been terrifically busy, gathering in all the work I did on my thesis, polishing it to acceptability, formatting it, presenting it to an audience of my classmates and my colleagues. And my parents, who have been so good as to come out across the country for the occasion, and my partner, whom they met for the first time.

I’m so proud of my loved ones. I appreciate all they do for me and for each other. In particular, I am grateful for the way they are coming to know the son they spent twenty five years knowing as a daughter. My father and my partner have bonded over years spent as army medics, and my mother has been, as is her usual preference, a quiet witness with a protective armor that hides a quick wit and a loving heart. I’m grateful to them and for them. I’ve learned things about each of them while they were here.

This morning my mother returns home, and my dad stays to get more sightseeing done. My mother is a homebody. I probably will never be able to talk her into coming to visit again, unless they move here. My dad likes to travel, I think likes it partly because it makes him so stressed out, and he’ll try to see as much of the area’s finer points as he can without getting too overtaxed. I think having them stay with me would have been taxing, but I still wish they were staying over here rather than at a 40-minute drive. My world has contracted to the size of the rapid transit line and easy walking distance therefrom, and I like that smallness and intimacy. I like feeling that twelve miles is too far to go, that four miles is a special trip. And here my parents have flown across a thousand miles to see me.

As fuel gets scarcer, we will fly less and less. Eventually my parents and I will probably be trapped on opposite coasts. I might not be able to help them when they need it. Air conditioning is a physical necessity in their home, which is not built to stay cool in summers in the south, and if somehow they are no longer able to afford it, or get gas to drive to get food, the burden of helping them will all fall on my sister. It makes me anxious, and I want to persuade them to move here, where the world is small and food can be just grown, or walked to, and the climate is reasonable. But part of that is that I frame the place I live in as a paradise, when it might not be for my parents.

Last night some of the first same-gender couples got married under the decision of the California State Supreme Court. It is an historic occasion, but also a deeply personal moment of love, celebration, and responsibility for these couples. So I’m repulsed by the insistence of news crews hanging around their ceremonies covering, of all things, how much money it’s making the state wedding industry. For fuck’s sake. I see that you have to make it seem relevant to normal people heterosexuals and all, but how about talking about what it means for their kids? Or driving home the point that, well, actually it’s not relevant to heterosexuals because it won’t have one iota of newsworthy effect on their lives, so those who are afraid that same-gender marriage will Destroy Families can just get hit with a perspective stick, right this fucking minute.

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