[Note 1: comment moderation will either not happen, or will happen in my absentia for much of the day Tuesday, since I’ll be Getting Out The Vote. My apologies. Not for the GOTV stuff, you know. But the time-delayed moderation. Â
Note 2: if you’re a Californian and can help today, please contact your local No on 8 field office, or scout for a No on 8 presence at your poll and ask if you can help (folks won’t be working every poll, just the most effective ones to be at). Â Everyone volunteering at a poll has been trained, but go ahead and find the Team Captain on site and see what help you can be.]
Our lil’ monkey blurted out a question on Sunday, from her perch atop the kitchen counter watching me make huckleberry pancakes. Because no matter how hellacious it gets, what with being under siege by the religious right, there’s always time for weekend pancakes.
The beloved and I were both in the room at that moment, but I took the question. Â “It means, you think something is true.”
“I believein one thing,” she declared. Â “I believein the fairies.” Â
We both looked at each other, and her. Â What do you say to that? Â The moment will come when her belief in fairies (and everything they represent) will be shaken. Â All of us old enough to read these words knows it will come. I dread that moment, as if I were in the impotent, slow-motion unreality immediately preceeding an accident. Â
She knew where we were going to go. Â Some vague, mitigated, have-it-both-ways kind of answer. Â As if she could read our minds, the lil’ monkey added, “I mean I believein the bodies of the fairies. Â Not their spirits; the bodies.”
I had to hold my tongue. Â Thank heavens Mama the optimist was present, so Baba the pessimist could lob the ball.
“I believe in them, too, sweetie,” she said. Â “It’s kind of like faith. Â You believe in something without being able to see it or prove it.” Â The beloved looked directly to me, to whom she was largely sermonizing.
I’ve known the breadth and depth of this woman’s faith for a very long time. Â She had faith in our being one anothers’ life partners long before I did, and kept it, when I temporarily misplaced mine. Â My favorite illustration of this quality in her comes from our “sweetiemoon,” the trip we took following our commitment ceremony some eleven years ago (it wasn’t a legal marriage, so we didn’t call the trip a “honeymoon”). Â
We were in the Gulf of Thailand (thanks to her brother’s generosity), on a 30-foot cabin-cruiser type of motorboat which ferried tourists back and forth between the islands. Â We were heading back to Ko Samui from a morning snorkeling at Ko Tao, a wee paradise just waiting to be despoiled by a “Survivor” episode. Â Thrill seekers that we were, we were sitting in the open air at the bow, where we could get the best view. Â We might have taken a clue from the fact that all the other tourists who had crowded out there with us on the way out, were now in the cabin on the way back.
Not too long into the two-and-a-half hour trip, I began to notice a wall of dark grey cloud ominously advancing over my beloved’s shoulder. Â At first it was a strip at the edge of the horizon, but it widened into an ever-thicker band, and was approaching at an alarming rate. Â
“Ooooo, sweetie. Sure doesn’t look good,” I said.
The beloved, facing me and the blue sky behind me, couldn’t be more chipper. Â “Are you kidding? Â It’s gorgeous out! Â I can’t see a cloud in the sky!”
Anyone who knows the regularity of Â the monsoons in that region would know how this turns out. The rains march in on schedule, and won’t take no for an answer. Â Before long, it was coming down in fierce, sometimes nearly horizontal sheets. Â Winds rocked the boat side to side, and waves pitched it up and down. Â Smack! Down it would come in the center of another wave, as they came faster and bigger. Â Terrible sounds issued from the hull. Â It was like a “B” movie, with someone just off camera pitching full buckets of water straight at our faces so hard that the beloved’s sunglasses shot off her head. Â
Several of the Japanese and Australian tourists discreetly upchucked in the cabin.
All the while, the chap piloting this rig (we called him “Skipper”) couldn’t be more blasÃ©. Â Yawn. Â The 12:15 monsoon. Â Wonder what’s for dinner tonight? Â His first mate was a skinny little guy, couldn’t have been more than 15 years old (we called him “Little Buddy”). Â He spent the whole time asleep, standing up, with his head resting (and bobbing, and periodically thumping) the shoulder of the Skipper. Â I don’t know if he was a narcoleptic, but his siesta was my lifeline. Â So long as he kept snoozing, I decided that everything was alright.
Since you are reading these words today, you know how the trip turned out. Â Perhaps not surprisingly, the beloved and I took rather different lessons from our tempest-toss’d ferry ride. Â
I say: See? Â It was a horrendous storm heading our way! Â We thought we were done for, countless times before we caught sight of the dock!
And she says: You’re right. Â And you know what? Â We survived.
[next in this marraige equality series: Election day]