Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hope. Hurt. Hope.

The season is done for our Dodgers. Spuds and I attended a heartbreaking game. There was a particularly obnoxious and astonishingly loud guy two rows ahead of us. He spewed venom during the entire game and whenever we were bested he would violate the personal space of some nearby Phillie fan and stare menacingly with both middle fingers rigidly extended. He never crossed over the line far enough to get kicked out of the game but he hovered at the edge the whole agonizing night. There were two Phillies fans in red jerseys right next to us and beer and peanut shells from the tier above were pelted down on us all through nine humiliating innings. We said goodbye to the stadium. I told Spuds that when our set of three post season tickets arrived in the mail, I filed them away, saying to myself, "We'll never use those". I told Spuds how proud I was that we used two of the three sets of tickets and that our Dodgers are the Western Division Champions to culminate what started off as a pretty pathetic season. I told him this stuff because it's true and because I can't bear to see him cry but I guess it lacked gravitas because I was crying so hard myself.

Casamurphy currently houses two very elderly televisions. One is in the children's dungeon and the other, a 15" model, is mounted on the wall over our bed. Himself is a good sport about getting out of bed and standing right next to the screen and reading production credits to me. Subtitled films are pretty much out of the question though. When there is something of interest to watch with the children we all have to huddle in the bed and squint at the tiny screen. After conferring with my skeptical beloved, I ordered a 37" t.v. to be discreetly wall mounted on a rotating arm and placed so it can be seen either from our living room or kitchen area. Since I pushed the "submit order" button on the Costco site, I have not heard the end of it. My beloved, I think, has visions of me braless, in a housecoat and pink foam curlers, parked with a 40 ouncer, pork rinds, an institutional sized carton of Ho Ho's and a carton of Camel straights in front of the set, watching my stories. I get it. He was raised in a house with the television always on. Now he lives in a house where the television can be turned off. Like with most things at Casamurphy, all you have to do is ask nicely.

There is a quaintness about Himself's thrift and, perhaps not as often as either of us would like, I am inspired by it and although my beloved will roll his eyes here, I have become more conservative and less wasteful under his watchful eye (fascist regime). We buy no books these days as he finesses the waiting lists in three different city library systems. I am more than half way through a new novel "Atmospheric Disturbances" which is getting huge buzz and was a hard score from the library system. I don't love it and it has a lot of stuff about meteorology being a metaphor for life stuff that sort of eludes me. I am curious about how it will end but not in a great rush to finish it and there are a few other things I would have preferred to peruse, plus a new episode of Entourage on-demand. But, I dutifully plodded through it because it is due back at the library on Friday and we could incur fines of 25 cents per day. Even on the weekend. I got through about thirty pages and put it away and removed my glasses. I rolled next to him and let my body sink languidly into his. He raised an eyebrow and said bitterly. "I guess you're not going to finish that novel."

Usually yelling at Casamurphy involves directly or indirectly a person who is going to turn 16 years old in less than a week but over the last few months Himself and I have raised voices and ruffled feathers, just the two of us. I was even referred to as a Bubblehead. Blame it on Obama. I have tried to make myself love Obama more, not to piss off Himself but to sort of more drink in the zeitgeist of the time. I was almost wishing Obama would say "For the sake of political expediency, I joined one of the largest black churches in Chicago. I had no idea what Reverend Wright was saying because I never went there" and that this would be true. I have not read Audacity of Hope or Dreams from My Father, and my beloved has refused to obtain them from for me from the library so if anyone has a spare copy of either, I would be much obliged. I poked around trying to find something to rationalize Obama's continued association with Wright only to have reinforced again and again in The Audacity of Hope, Obama sites him as being an inspirational father figure. I know what Obama said about forgiving our elders because their wounds are deeper than we can ever fathom but it does seem inevitable that Obama was well aware of Wright's crackpot views and remained his adherent even after deciding to run for president. Nevertheless, if he does become president it will be an interesting time. Maybe Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton will disappear, like all embarrassing anachronisms should. Perhaps Spike Lee is too much to hope for. An aside here, but I notice, as I prepare to publish this, that my spellcheck suggests "Osama" as a correction of "Obama."

I am afraid for Obama. Maybe things are so fucked up that four years, or four lifetimes wouldn't be enough to set them us right. But there is the hope thing. Plus, I think it will be refreshing to have a president who is intelligent and an intellectual. Smart. I look forward to having a smart president. Ever since she was elected to the senate, it was pretty much assumed that Hillary would be the Democratic Party’s nominee. Obama's spectacular upset was so not a fluke. His brilliant campaign strategy has been virtually flawless from day one and his creation of a corps of volunteer organizers is unparalleled in an American political campaign. This kind of community organizing has roots in the civil rights and peace movements. Which brings us to Himself and Myself's most incendiary topic of all, William Ayers. How many married couples pout on opposite sides of the bed due to disagreements about the Weather Underground? I said that it seemed reasonable that Obama, having been reared in Indonesia and Hawaii, might well have been introduced to Ayers as a prominent professor of education and neighbor with common interests and let it go at that. Himself says, that there is no way in hell, that Obama, a political being with roots at the former radical hotbed, Columbia University, could not have known Ayers back story.

Eons of Reagan and Bushes have rendered the American peace movement of the 1960s completely discredited. I remember when I was in my late teens and early twenties and I heard that the Weather People had bombed some sort of government facility, thinking, after a steady diet of Vietnam atrocities on the nightly news, that it was cool. I haven't done a complete investigation of the Weather Underground but I read what was available about Bill Ayers on the web and watched again the documentary "The Weather Underground." Interviews with Ayers indicate that he has no regrets about opposing the war in Vietnam and wishes he could have done more. It also seems, not only from Ayers but from other former members too, that the group intended to gum up the works by bombing buildings pertinent to "the machine" but never aimed to take human life. Three members of the Underground were killed in a New York townhouse in a bomb making accident but there were no other deaths that I know of that could be attributed to the Weather Underground. The bomb being made at the time of the accident is reported to have been targeted for an officer's tea dance at Annapolis which contradicts Ayers and others when they claim that all missions were planned to avoid loss of life. Perhaps the New York group were renegades. Perhaps military officers were considered less than a life form. Other bombs were planted throughout the country and the group was scrupulous about contacting the media to insure that all targeted areas be cleared of people. After 9/11 it is easy to look back at the Weather People and their ilk as evil madmen. But what a different time it was. The civil rights movement caught the hearts of educated white kids and made their complacent lives of privilege feel repugnant. They responded to the carnage we saw in color on t.v. during the dinner hour with a horror that at the time was entirely appropriate. Outrage and disgust can lead us to do some pretty stupid things but some of these stupid things attracted attention and helped end the war. I note too that almost all of the former Weather People are presently engaged in work that pursues social justice. I forgive them their acts of passionate youth. I think they are probably good people.

On our bedroom wall opposite the t.v. hangs our Ketubah, a Jewish marriage contract. The glass was cracked ages ago by some errant child flung object and we haven't gotten around to replacing it. As goes with the territory of all intense relationships, sometimes we wound each other. I don't know if keeping the promises we made seventeen years ago posted over the bed inclines us more to fall back together, heal, and grow closer, as we do again and again. I do know that if we lived in a society with no concept or institution of marriage, the way Himself and I live together and the way we love each other would be a definition. A definition with a nice big television on the living room wall that never bothers a soul. I've been honored and asked to witness the marriage of Chris and Bob. Bob stood beside me under the chuppah seventeen years ago and for over twenty-five years has inspired me to live with faith and hope, often while either one or both of us was going through fucking hell. We have both been so sweetly rewarded and the ceremony I can't wait to witness (if I knew what to wear) will legally sanction another beautiful definition of the notion of marriage.

As additional punishment for those of you who have slogged all the way through this entry, not that I would presume to tell you how to spend your money, BUT, I think it is safe to say now that even if Obama isn't a shoe-in, he has lots and lots and oodles of money. Even money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which you'll be reimbursing for the rest of your life. Please do though consider making a donation pronto to help defeat Proposition 8. The thought of my children learning of its passage sickens me.


FionnchĂș said...

1) You were fast asleep turned the other way when I noticed your meteorological novel askew, pages unread. But, it's sweet to note how you reimagined the scenario. And worked it to rhetorical advantage. 2) Yes, the TV was always on in my house growing up. One good thing about my dad's loss of hearing is that he can watch it without it blaring at the #57 level of volume now, although the captions for Dodgers games get all garbled like the proverbial monkeys typing away. Monkeys with ESL. 3) Speaking of which, I wish I could go with you to see Mr. Chris & Dr. Bob under the redwood chuppah. Or burl chipper. 4) Why doesn't anyone refer to Obama as the first "half-white" president? I decided in the car as I passed the Altadena campaign h.q. and yard signs all about today that I will begin doing so. 5) I agree with you for once on the ballot. Vote no on Prop. 8. The bishop of Fresno is about to defrock a priest (a guy my age-- not too common these days) who came out of the closet against the proposition during his sermon last week. As if a gay man of the cloth's a surprise. Many in the congregation walked out in shock. I pity my baptismal kindred.

harry said...

Ancien RĂ©gime fer days. Yer turning into Mr. and Mrs. Charles Krauthammer.

Layne said...

If I had been asleep I wouldn't have heard you bitching about the unfinished novel.

See how he fucks with me Harry? Swear he's gonna have me watching Fox News on the new ginormous t.v.

We must migrate north. STAT.

Cari said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cari said...

It's not all unicorns and Obamas up here in redneck land...most folk are writing letters to the local paper against anything liberal, and really are going after the Yes on 8 thing, making it a children's issue, as if every school is going on gay wedding field trips. I feel in the minority, won't put an Obama sticker on my car for fear of vandalism (but do have one in our upper window at home)and write voraciously on the online posts of the newspaper. What I've come to realise, (and it's a damn shame) is that there is a significant number of people who are just plain "stuck in stupid." Nothing I nor any other well spoken liberal will change their crusty minds. I think our only hope is through the youth vote which is rarely counted in media polls, and largely underestimated in size and passion. We may be pleasantly surprised.
Oh yeah, the TV thing? We finally got a big screen and it's very refreshing to not need glasses to read subtitles or appreciate wide screen films. Enjoy!