Saturday, November 06, 2004
Sort of knew this wasn't going to go well
Maureen's parents are in town for the weekend, since they wanted to meet their daughter's roommates, see where she works, maybe meet this "Sam" she's been talking about. Of course, when they actually met Carter last night...
It's been sort of strange watching Mo build up to it this week, determined that it would not be a big deal. Sure, she hasn't actually told her parents she's dating a girl and has been hiding behind "Samantha"'s androgynous nickname, while from what she'd told us her parents aren't fundamentalists or anything, but they're kind of conservative. But, then, what can she do - expecting disapproval and disdain from your family is no way to live your life, so she just merrily went along, assuming that even if her parents were shocked or surprised, well, they're her parents, so they'd have to accept and keep loving her, right?
We certainly tried to put our best foot forward - Thursday after work was spent shopping for a nice dress for Carter, something which made her look a little older. Bad enough Mo was having sex out of wedlock, and with another woman, but there's no need for her to appear to be robbing the creadle, too. Carter was, as one might imagine, kind of mortified at all the time spent trying them on and getting a matching purse and footwear, but, give her credit, she saw how important this was to Maureen, and didn't complain too much.
Of course, I wasn't the one who had to drag her kicking and screaming to the beauty salon inside the hotel where Mo works. At least, I assume she was kicking and screaming - I can't imagine her going willingly. I did get to see the end result, though, when Doug and I met Maureen and her parents for dinner.
Carter was remarkably pretty. I mean, I knew she had good features and, especially after all her working out, was a nice, healthy-looking girl, but even when it was the original Samantha in that body, she wasn't exactly one to put on make-up or make herself look pretty. Well, okay, she did put on makeup, but it was the "let's look like a corpse" goth thing. Now, Carter'd had her nails and hair done, someone else had done her makeup, and in her floor-length dress she actually looked elegant. She was kind of moving carefully in her heels, but she'd been praciticing a little during the week and had the knack. She looked about as far away from the tall, dark and handsome Carter Drummond I met a year ago. Which bugged her, but I think she's finally accepting that the old Carter is dead and buried.
Maureen's folks had made reservations at a nice place, we ordered some wine, and got started. They actually seemed like pretty nice people. I know, I shouldn't have to keep writing that, but one gets this image of Christians being mean or intolerant in the head and it takes some effort to dislodge it, even when it's not the case. And it was going well, until Doug asked Carter to pass the breat, at which point Mrs. O'Herlihy made a comment that calling her "Sam" must get a little confusing, what with Maureen's boyfriend having the same name.
Maureen was great, despite being terrified. She just told her parents that she and "Sam" were together, that she was sorry for misleading them, but coming out wasn't exactly the sort of thing you did over the phone. She said that this was the real reason Mary had moved out in June.
As you imagine, that sort of struck her folks dumb. Mrs. O'Herlihy started to give Carter a nasty look, but Maureen saw that and said not to be mad at "Sam", because Maureen had been the one who initiated the relationship.
Mr. O'Herlihy wanted to know "how this was possible". Maureen tried to say it just happens, that she'd just been going through her life not realizing how little she was getting from her relationships, then after a couple drinks at one office party she'd started to really notice one of the other girls in the bathroom (even though I can't remember the incident, I'm glad she didn't name names) and wondered if, maybe, God had decided to make her different.
Mrs. O'Herlihy was aghast that Maureen would try to blame God for this, but I decided to step in and take a little heat off Mo, saying it's not a matter of "blame", but if you believe God has a plan, then you have to believe that who you're attracted to is part of it, whether it be men or women. This got me a "Listen, young lady, it says in the Bible..." from the father, with Doug jumping in to say that the part where it says that also says keeping slaves is okay so long as they're not from your village, and also says something about the sweet-and-sour pork he was eating.
But what about getting married, and children? Maureen pointed out that she had three siblings, so you'll have your fill of weddings and grandchildren, and besides, gay people could get married here, and there was adoption and sperm donors...
I think Maureen's father was about to raise his voice to respond to that, but Mrs. O'Herlihy put her hand on top of his and said that they were just surprised, was all. It was so unexpected and not something they were used to, and they'd need a little time to think about it.
I hope the thinking went well. Maureen was crying all night, while Carter was just... quiet. After Maureen finally went to sleep, I found Carter in the bathroom, looking at herself in the mirror, saying how she'd dolled herself up and now, ironically, Maureen's parents were upset because she wasn't a man. I said she should be used to irony by now, but she wasn't in the mood.
Still, it doesn't seem to have been a compelte failure. Maureen and Carter are going to some sort of show with Mo's parents tonight, so I guess she hasn't been disowned. I just hope that when Doug and I get back from the midnight movie, things aren't worse.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
No good comes of talking politics
I haven't talked much about the election in this blog. It's not that I'm interested - I haven't been as involved as Kate, but I have been paying fairly close attention. I just feel relatively ill-equipped to comment meaningfully. It's not a subject I've historically had much interest in - I did one of those "four quadrants" things in a former life, discovered I was a libertarian, and sort of liked that. I could vote for a third-party candidate nobody else had heard of and stay above the fray, or choose whichever guy most suited my beliefs at the time.
This year, though, it's been an ugly campaign and one of my best friends was on the Kerry staff, and she's taking it hard. Doug and I were having dinner with Kate and Dennis tonight, and she was, well, being Kate. She doesn't exactly hold back, and spent much of dinner listing the ways another four years of this administration would be a Bad Thing. And I'm thinking, you don't know the half of it. I think I finally said it out loud after she made some "tax cuts for the rich" complaint because her family is sort of among the rich.
I pointed out that she didn't really have much to fear from the Bushies. But the Fundamentalist types, they scare me. They're not going to decide that Kate's some sort of soulless abomination, and who knows how some of the more extreme types will react when word of my existence gets out. I mean, sure, the process that made me who and what I am is something to be legitimately afraid of, and should be outlawed or at the very least strictly controlled, but what about those of us left behind? Maureen, after all, struggles to comprehend how a person whose mind and body were sort of thrown together fits into her view of the world. And though I believe that her open-mindedness is more typical of how religious people think than the stereotype, I can't deny that there are believers out there who are not inclined to struggle, and may feel the need to eliminate this troublesome thing from the earth.
My saying this made Kate uncomfortable. It's one thing to say that a certain group of people are pure evil, it's quite another to say that group might contain loonies who might want to kill your friend. Sure, it's a paranoid and self-centered thing for me to say, but it only takes one outlier nut. That's why I don't like having pictures taken of me, just in case they wind up somewhere where some nut can have an image put into his head.
And, I said, that's just talking about the really radical nutjobs. The folks pulling Bush's strings probably won't have the FBI round me and Carter and anyone else in our position up, but they're not exactly the most open-minded when it comes to sexuality that may be considered unusual. As Dennis pointed out, he was stopped outside his polling place both by folks looking to protect and fight gay marriage, which arguably could apply to me.
That's when Doug snorted, saying it wouldn't be a problem, and it got a little personal from there on out. I said I wasn't ready, he said I could have taken the ring anyway, and, well, no-one convinced anyone of anything else. Kate jumped in, as is her wont, mostly taking my side, while Dennis just looked like he wanted to be elsewhere. Finally, it broke up, but it left dinner with a lousy aftertaste.
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
I've got to say, it gets dark out pretty quickly now that Daylight Savings Time is over, especially if you have to take the train home. I don't like it; there's streetlights out between me and the train station, and it's going to be like this every night. I'm not really afraid of anything specific, it's just, well, if anything did happen, I'm out in the suburbs and not particularly close to home or anything, really.
It's funny how I sort of got used to thinking of Daylight Savings Time as "normal", though. I grumbled all evening about what a huge inconvenience this is before remembering that, hey, I set the clock back to normal time on Sunday.
Also strange - voting a straight Democratic ticket. Of course, this being Cambridge, the Presidential campaign was the only one where I was really offered a choice - there were lots of folks running unopposed and one whose opponent was in the "Green-Rainbow" party. That's right, just when the Green party couldn't sound any dorkier...
Man, the evenings seem ridiculously long without baseball. I'm just staring at this screen trying to think of what to fill it with. I know Carter's excited about basketball starting up, but it's just not the same.
Monday, November 01, 2004
Parties of the non-political variety
Fun, fun weekend. Sure, it started out kind of rainy and drizzly, but in case you hadn't heard - the Red Sox won the world series, and there was a parade - an amphibious parade at that. I don't know if they've got Duck Boats in other cities, but having the parade not only drive through town, but actually out onto the Charles, was pretty spiffy. What you could do, in theory, is see the parade at one spot and then run or take the T to another, so you could see the folks on the other side of the amphibious vehicle, but in practice, when you get to the second site, it's three people deep and you can't see a thing, especially if the guy in front of you has a gigantic Guinness fuzzy top hat on. Or if you're Carter and barely break five feet anyway.
But, honestly, the rain seemed to clear up just when the first parade boat - "Red Sox Nathan" - arrived, and it was nice enough to walk home afterward. Streets being closed off is fun, although it's kind of freaky when you're walking down the middle of a bridge, hear this big rumble, and then look behind you to see that it's just the Red Line on its tracks up the middle of the bridge.
My roommates and I then spent the rest of the day looking for costumes for Jen's Halloween party. As you might expect, there wasn't much to be had by that point. Mo wound up going to Dollar-a-Pound to get stuff for a hippie costume, Carter found a boy's tuxedo in a consignment shop, and I... well, I wound up with Maureen's old cheerleader outfit. I'd feel silly wearing it, but, hey, I'm not the one who still had it in my closet.
The party itself was smaller than last year - just friends, really, as it wasn't an office party - evidently someone at Jen's new job took care of that Saturday night. I didn't drink nearly as much, just enough to be sociable. Doug had made himself a samauri costume and it so didn't work. There were the inevitable comments about how he never got to make it with a cheerleader in high school and how well I filled out Maureen's uniform. Of course, I wasn't exactly complaining about them.