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From the vault: The hitchin’ post

As seen in a San Francisco restaurant window, February, 2017.

[First published June 19, 2008. A little something about love.]

Fourteen years ago in July, I was on my first date with the woman who would eventually become my life partner and the mother of my children. How we first met is a lesbian cliché par excellence. No, it wasn’t on the softball field. Remember, the beloved is a femmy theater type. The other lesbian cliché. Right! A Women’s Studies class! (The colorful details surrounding that auspicious meeting are best saved for another time, or perhaps The Book, which, if I don’t just start referring to it somewhere it may never exist.) Now back to the business at hand, which is peeking in on our first date.

She was nervous; I was notorious. Oops! I can’t exaggerate. Some old chums who were witness to our initial courtship actually read this blog, and they’d set things right soon enough. Okay, it was true that she was nervous. It was her first foray back onto the gal side of the river, so to speak, after a lengthy sojourn at the guy shore, and she was a tad concerned I would question her sincerity. (Me? Lesbian Missionary Extraordinaire? Daunted by a conversion challenge? Baaaaaah.)

We had tried and failed to meet up after Minneapolis’ Pride celebration, and had agreed on the soonest possible alternative date, an outdoor screening of Tommy at a lakeside park downtown. I’m sure it was steamy-muggy outside. Not oppressively so, mind you, but insistent, in a nice Midwestern summer kind of way. Enough to put a sheen on the skin. That evening, as I recall, most of the steam came from a combination of our chemistry and the movie screen, on which Ann Margaret was having her way with a throw pillow and a truckload of baked beans (note to self — Tommy: NOT first date material).

While my thoughts were drifting to nothing more profound than whither and how to bust my first move, the beloved was thinking, “By god, I think I just found the father of my children! And he’s a she!”

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What do do? Part 1: Macro

dawn over cityscape

Dawn over Oakland, CA, January 2017.

It’s a new day, and way too many of us still feel super disoriented.  After “What the heck?!” or other synonyms for “heck,” we many of us are turning to “What to do?” Or just plain doing, in multiple directions, every day, with a nagging sense of disorientation. Herewith I offer the best answer I can muster under the circumstances, in two parts: What to do? Part 1: Macro, today; and What to do? Part 2: Micro, tomorrow.

[Spoiler alert: 1. Digest the fact, and then find a way to cultivate protracted intolerance that we are indeed in circumstances which are not normal, and which require  of us the exceptional. 2. Act, as close to daily as you can, in ways you know you act best, and trust that we are many, and that self-care must always come before burn out, because we need all of us to stay in this for the long haul.]

Now to the macro: it feels nearly impossible to digest this wombat (picture it whole, in our bellies, and we’re shocked snakes with a big lump in our middles, “Don’t tread on me” tattooed somewheres on our skins). I, like so many of you, initially wondered, after the Trump/Pence installation: “It couldn’t be as bad as our worst nightmares, could it?”

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25 Things I Learned at Creating Change in Philly

With thanks to comrade West Philly Mama.

2,316 words | 10 min. read

Thanks the combo of parent + full-time employed person + I’m no longer crazy enough to go without sleep, my processing speed is like that of one of those old putty-colored, 128k Macintoshes, circa the mid-1980s. So! The notes below are what I finally compiled from last weekend, i.e. the post-inaugural one, as opposed from this past weekend, i.e. the most recent one following our first week of the bull-in-the-china-shop  attempted coup d’état (and if you need any convincing on that score, read Yonatan Zunger in Medium, thank you Kelly Wickham Hurst).

Last weekend I attended the National Lesbian and Gay Task Force Creating Change Conference, for work. The conference location is determined over a year in advance, and always falls on this weekend, the one following the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. They knew it would be Inaugural weekend, they knew it would be some kind of historic inauguration. Just not what kind. So it came to be that some 4,000+ LGBTQ activists and I found ourselves in Philadelphia, the birthplace of our nation, caucusing and workshopping and strategizing and networking about justice and a more perfect union, just blocks from the building in which, around 260 years earlier, dozens of other folks with much worse teeth were caucusing and debating and strategizing and networking over pretty much the same things. All this on the top-of-the-rollercoaster weekend, when our democracy began its plunge into years and years of what will surely be one of its greatest tests, if not its greatest.

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Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a grumpy night

Thanks to the fortuitous location of the annual National LGBTQ Task Force Creating Change conference, I find myself in Philadelphia, birthplace of American democracy, on the day this struggling, noble experiment will take arguably its greatest body blow.

(Last night in a call to my kids I said that today democracy would be developing the biggest zit in its 240-year US history*, and my Know It All Brother-In-Law later quipped that such a statement was an insult to zits world-wide.)

I could go on about how appalling it is that we’ll be inaugurating someone so flagrantly derisive or ignorant of so many fundamental elements of our system of government. But by now that would be akin to my pointing out how wet it is in the midst of a monsoon.  That’s established; we need no more new evidence; there’s nothing further much to add by enumerating Trump’s appallingness, again.

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Children will listen

I “collect” specialized CA licence plates, and this one remains my favorite.

 

My sister-in-law, with whom I co-house, is a fundraiser for Democratic, pro-choice, women candidates. So naturally, elections in general are big deals in her house. And an election featuring the first-ever Democratic, pro-choice, woman presidential candidate? Well. She plastered an “I’m ready for Hillary!” sticker on the bumper of her electric vehicle days after Barak Obama was elected to a second term. If there were an “I was frickin’ born ready for Hillary!” sticker, that would have been on the bumper instead.

Out of love for her, the Bernie Sanders advocates in her house did not cover over it with a “Feel the Bern” sticker. And though dinner table conversation was lively during the run-up to the primaries, once Hillary was the party nominee, the whole family was all-in. My brother-in-law made it a point to connect with local campaign offices whenever his work took him out of state. And when he and their son went on a Northeastern college tour, they spent nearly as much time walking precincts as they did touring campuses.

For each of the presidential elections that have taken place during the near-dozen years we’ve co-housed together, her household has hosted a huge election-night watch party. In addition to tasty food and drink, the parties feature multiple screens in multiple rooms, each carrying a different news organizations’ live coverage. My brother-in-law (whom I have lovingly dubbed in these pages my Know-It-All-Brother-In-Law, and yes, the shoe fits) rigs up a custom spreadsheet á la David Wasserman’s epic 2016 National Popular Vote Tracker.  This past November’s spreadsheet included results for the 2008 and 2012 elections, against which he plotted each state’s results as they came in.

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Begin again

I find multitasking and code-switching a tad challenging. For this reason, three years ago, when I launched into a non-communications/ non-social media-ish job, I found myself essentially hanging up my bloggy spurs.

I did not, however, melt them down and make lawn art out of them. Fortunately for my neighbors.

Fig. A.

And  yet! I now find myself, much to my delight, in the position of directing communications at this selfsame organization. This job is not only in the right ballpark (I was there already) but at the right position therein.

Hosana and not a moment too soon!  Because in a scant few weeks we’re due for quite a political sea-change, something that – for me, and 65,844,953 others like me – looks to be more challenging than rivers being turned into blood, the dust of the land becoming lice, being strafed by swarms of flies, watching helplessly as livestock fall grievously ill, gaping in horror as festering boils break out on all of us everywhere, fruitlessly seeking shelter from thunderstorms of hail and fire, swatting back boatloads of locusts, enduring three days of darkness, or the tenth – which I can’t even speak of.

Yep, I’m talking the Eleventh plague, totally overlooked by biblical historians and prognosticators, whom I don’t blame for not calling this Trump thing because it took a lot of other people by surprise too.

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