Monday, October 5, 2009

There is no end.

Me: I don't know what I'll do when you're not here anymore.

Her: Well, first of all, honey, if anything does happen after, I'll be there. I don't know if it does, but if it does, I'll be around. And even if I'm not, you have my DNA. That's a scientific fact. So I'll always be with you. Forever. And you never have to be afraid.

Me: Okay.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I asked for a sign and. . . .

today I learned how to draw a bat. And a popsicle and a Studebaker and a few other things. And one of the biggest frustrations I've had my whole life -- I can't draw -- parted curtains to reveal the prize -- I haven't learned how to draw. And more than that, I never accepted that things are achieved in tiny pieces: an arc, then a ball, some dots and wingtips, and voila, you can fly and shoot sonar from your head and sleep upside down. And even if it's just little line drawings of bunnies and cakes and bats, I am so thankful I can watch my hand move across the page and result in something that doesn't let me descend the ladder into the neverending River Styx of shame and perceived inability where I so like to splash about.

Did I mention I can draw a bunny now too? And when I can draw everything -- and I mean everything -- then I'll put a little something up here for you.

Thanks, Joy.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Love The Idiots, Hate The Idiocy

So there was this. Then there was this (and hundreds more like it, yay, parody!). And that begat this. And that last this (that would be is being read, as of its creation yesterday, by lots of hilarious people with hilarious comments that are beautifully poking fun at the idiocy of the National Organization for Marriage. But of course, there's a screaming troll or two in the bunch, saying lots of unprintable words about gay people while assuming to have a higher moral code.

NOM has shifted the argument against gay marriage away from the concept that gay marriage will somehow annihilate straight marriage in its wake, perhaps because there has yet to be one credible straight divorced couple who will step forward and tell that sorry tale. Now NOM is trying to make the case that gay marriage is impinging on the freedoms of religious folks. Like the freedom to turn away a gay couple seeking IVF even though you're a doctor who took the Hippocratic Oath. Or the freedom to burn a copy of Heather Has Two Mommies on the lawn of your child's public school. Or whatever. So gay marriage isn't impinging on the freedoms of religious folks per se, just non-introspective, non-thinking religious folks who can't engage in any internal rhetoric beyond parroting whatever it is they are told to think, and can't see their own bigotry.

And religious folks who like to say ********er on a website. It is interesting to me that the people who discuss the issue of gay marriage on websites that are pro or neutral on the topic are, by and large, the cursingest, most foul mouthed homphobes out there. I don't see a whole lot of "love the sinner but hate the sin," or "separate but equal" -- both weak arguments but at least earnest in following some kind of internal moral code. Sure, these are the trolls, but there are only trolls.

So, religious folks, I'm not against religion. But the YesOn8s of the world are making you look pretty bad, when they rant about pouring gasoline on gays but affiliate themselves with your family values and such. I'll do my best to love the idiot and hate the idiocy. (And the hypocrisy). Maybe you can educate the idiots, or make sure they know burning people alive, let alone denying them equal rights under the law, is not a family value. I have a family, and that's not my value.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Let the Cranes Fly

In this week's PostSecret the very first postcard asks for a sign. My first impulse was to somehow be the sign for this person. I can only hope the card or something else sets into motion the events that furnish them with their sign. But maybe that won't happen. We don't get the answers on our timetable (unless you are Paul).

When D and I got married we decided to fold 1,000 origami paper cranes and have them included among the reception decorations, a traditional Japanese symbol of patience and trust in a marriage. We were engaged just before 9/11, and we also appreciated the symbolism of peace and renewal. They were in the flower arrangements, hanging from branches, perched atop the cake. Guests took home what they wanted, and we took home the remainder.

A few of them were scattered around our apartment but the rest sat in several shopping bags in a closet. And sat and sat. One bag became our cat's napping spot and were crushed into misshapen, brightly patterned horrors. These became the ass cranes, having suffered such indignities beneath the cat's fat tush.

After including some of them in thank you notes and holding a proper funeral and burial for the ass cranes, we didn't want the rest of the cranes to meet the same ass-tacular fate.

So, in the early evening on 9/11/02, rolling with the peace theme, we decided to let them fly. We got on the subway with our shopping bags, and left the cranes all over New York City for people to find. We left them on subway seats and platforms and newsstands and lampposts, on car hoods and restaurant tables and in parks.

I wonder still what happened to them. I wonder who threw one away, who took one home, who ignored. If somebody found a little gold and pink paper crane with a slightly crushed nose and was amused by it, or helped by it. I wonder who took it as a sign.

So hey Universe, let the PostSecret person get their sign. And since I can't give it to them, howzabout letting me provide somebody's sign. I definitely owe. I'll mull over another random act of signs and this time see how to track them as they fly.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Is The Ether Made Better For Our Asking?

After a morning of mistakes I'm wondering if all this yawping into outer space is anything like talking to your plants. Is the ether made better for our asking? Prayer, desperation, favors -- it feels like a river of pleading. Yet the synchronicities, the strange coincidences and the out and out results must say more than "We're listening, yo." What could the symbiosis be? How is the ether made better for our asking?

I'm self-medicating with Cat Power and thinking about a musician we met a few months ago. His story will come along eventually when it's done with dinner, when it's done brewing. He told us the only thing he could do was play music, that he didn't know how to do anything else. He seemed to feel a certain failing in this, like who would want to listen? I said, you know, you're a minister and we're the congregation. So play and know we're all better for it. We need you.

He thanked me. Hell if I know where that came from.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Brokeness of Us

We were at Newark Airport. It will never be Liberty International Airport to me. While I like that it is smaller and more navigable than other New York area airports, it has not been liberated from anything, any more than fries became free.

Everything that could have gone wrong did and it was entirely on me. Our dream vacation in Mexico, in January, had itself fallen out of the sky and out of the hearts of generous friends who invited us to join then. In the mushy cold and brokeness of us just-after Christmas, it was like winning the lottery.

Now we were on line for our airport security check, two days later than we were supposed to be. My passport had been mangled in one corner and we were refused entry on our original flight. We then spent two days living at the Newark Marriot and hunting for silver linings for our son (indoor swimming pool! dinner in bed!) while my husband and I procured a new passport for me by smiling our way through tens of tenuous bureaucratic conversations. We got a new flight. We were finally going.

And then we were directed to a different line on the security check. And it was the same line as the airport workers. So after about 30 airport workers were directed to cut us in line, missing our flight was becoming a real possibility. We could not get into the other line, where now every other passenger was being directed. So I cut the line, and got through security, to the consternation of the airport workers I cut. I was pissed, and I was a jerk.

When I got through security, my boarding pass was gone. I don't know if I misplaced it, or what, but it was gone. I sat down on a bench and began a howling, keening, unstoppable cry. 7 TSA workers standing nearby turned in unison to get a look at the crazy crying woman, determined I wasn't a threat, and turned back away to continue their conversation.

I sat there, having destroyed our vacation again, I thought, and was dimly aware that my husband and son were now standing next to me. My son asked my husband why I was crying. My husband tried to explain, and after deciphering my snuffling explanation about the boarding pass, left us together on the bench to go see what he could do.

I kept crying. Because I can never do anything right. Because nobody will help me. Because the world is a stupid place with never-ending lines that never get you to the beach.

"Mommy, you're crying. Mommy, don't do that."

A pause. My hair was stuck to my face with tears.

"It's ok, Mommy, I will help you, I will help you."

The Buddha climbed on the bench and took my hand in his. I looked over at him mostly because of the shock of his touch.

"I'll help you, Mommy."

He wiped my tears off my face with his other hand. I stopped crying and put my hand on his cheek. I looked to my left and saw a TSA worker, a woman of about 60, had stopped what she was doing and was leaning up against an X-ray machine, watching us and smiling, and crying. The Buddha didn't say anything else, just pet my hair and wiped off my tears.

I sat there with my son, who has all the good stuff within him, and calmed myself down. My husband got me a new boarding pass. Eventually we got to Mexico, and that was really nice, too.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

About the Noise

Hey Universe,

I keep asking you for silence. I understand there would have to be some kind of foxy force majeure at work to actually make that happen here where I live, 15 feet from a major highway and bordered on one side by a New York City local truck route. That the trucks are local does not make them somehow more charming or organic, it merely means they originate or terminate here in Brooklyn.

It seems to more I ask for silence the more noise I get. Today the street outside my front window is being repaved and there is a generator running that has emitted a constant tone that has not stopped once for a breath once since about nine p.m. last night. It sounds very similar to the shabbas airhorn that sounds every Friday evening at the shul two blocks from here, the call to prayer. But a never ending call to prayer, without vibrato, like an earnest folk singer's end note, held too long, trying to keep the crowd there long past when interest has faded.

So there's a never ending call to prayer going on outside my window and I keep asking for the noise to stop. And according to the neglected piano here to my left, it's a high C.

I'm going to go answer the call to prayer now, even though it won't make the call stop. The call will keep on calling, endlessly, asking us to step in and take part, and I'll find something new to ask for, since the answer for now is clear.