I was out there today in DC, along with the other 500,000 people walking around the streets wearing pink pussy hats (of all different shades, and I saw a blue one too, actually) and carrying signs. The rally started at 10am but I'd decided, along with a small group of friends who we informally named Battle Buddies (because within the group we each had a Battle Buddy who we were supposed to stick with), that we didn't need to stand around and listen to famous people talk. So we aimed to get there at noon, instead, to be ready for the march to start at 1:15.
We couldn't make it to the start site, there were too many people (and, granted, some blocked off areas that made navigating the crowded areas more difficult). So we started off by walking down a parallel street to the march route (which google had helpfully drawn on their gps map). At some point we saw an opening to make it towards the actual march route so we cut over and...didn't make it. Instead we marched on one of the paths on the mall, in the same direction.
Note that half of this happened before the march had "officially" started. My guess is that people didn't know where to go, they couldn't make it into the rally, the route was helpfully posted online, so they just started walking it. We were borne along in the flow.
Every time we paused I yelled out to "check your battles buddies" to make sure we had everyone. Eventually that turned into a rallying cry for the group to stop and start together. It was great fun, even though Pixie had a tendency to wander ahead and we kept having to pull her back so as not to lose her from the group.
Finally we made it to the convergence points of all the "unofficial" matches with the "official" march. It was a standstill. We inched along for half an hour or so and then made our escape through a break in the fence into the Washington Monument lawn area.
At this point we lost half of the Battle Buddies, who I'd considered peripheral anyway because they were friends of friends and actually a solid group of four people on their own. They wandered off to find dinner.
We hung out there for a while, took some pictures of ourselves and the march, and then picked another point to dive back into the fray. This area was moving faster, more like a march should/does. We continued with the flow until it reached the back of the White House lawn/park area. That was the unofficial/official ending point for the march.
We then hiked off to the second closest metro stop, figuring the closest would be packed full of people, actually did make it onto the next train out of the city, and went to find dinner. Dinner was fun (yay food and hydration!) and consisted of dissecting what we thought of today and laying out hopes and fears for the future, as well as random conversation. The restaurant was full of people who had come from the march.
The energy was good today. It was hopeful, even if the underlying cause was despair and fear. It was angry and full of fight, but also friendly and community oriented.
One of the interesting things that my friend noted was that 75% of the people marching today were women. So at one point we were offering oreos to strangers and they were offering us hand sanitizer in return. Have a headache? Three people offer you granola bars, water, and Advil. The people out there marching today were the ones who have been conditioned by society to plan for normal and emergencies, to pack the food and the bandaids, to be friendly and polite, to help each other -- and that doesn't go away even when we're upset and afraid and angry. We can remind each other how to keep community even during the trials and tribulations of the future.
Another comment that someone else made was: how many people out there today hadn't voted? Were they now scared enough to vote next time? My response was actually that if you don't think voting matters you're unlikely to think marching matters either. But even so, maybe the day and the energy will make then vote next time and stand up more often.
I hope that no one gets complacent. Just listening to the Press Secretary talk today was scary -- it's some propoganda bullshit. I hope we can take the energy from the march and use it to do good and halt the very real darkness that is eating away at our edges. I hope people realize that the march is a start and not an end in and of itself.
And I hope Congress sits up and takes notice that we're out there and we're visible and we're not going to go away. So they better reign in their bullshit because they're up for reelection in two years.
Here are some pictures from today:( Read more...Collapse )
She came out of the trees at sunset, and I never did figure if her golden gown was made of shimmering silk or the light of the setting sun itself. Her hair and skin, some might say, was nothing worth mentioning, just brown. But such a brown as I only ever saw in the bark of the apple trees. It was the brown of cool shade and sweet pollen, the color of hiding with a book in the branches while the bark pressed shapes into your cheek as you fell asleep instead of reading, the sound of bumblebees in your ear.
But it was the green of her eyes that I remember the most. If I looked too deep, I was afraid I would see the leaves unfurling in their depths.
I had to stop myself from looking too deep.
She handed me an apple, the skin the color of her lips, and I had to push down thoughts of those lips on my cheek, neck, down my arm, pressing in the soft skin under my wrist. Me, in my drab sundress the color of a winter sky. How could I compare to her?
I bit into the apple anyway. I was surprised at its sweetness, the juice just that right amount of tart to balance the crisp sensation of my teeth parting the flesh of the sweet fruit.
I did not expect the glance from her leaf-green eyes, or the hand that took mine, tugging me past the boundary of trees into the apple grove. I did not expect the juice, still sticky on my lips, to remind me of other sticky-sweet things. I did not expect her to help me remember.
Some say an apple was the fall of Eve. I say it was the redemption.
I don't remember the rest of the story and it's bothering me and I can't find it! Augh!
I don't know this person very well, we're more of acquaintances, and I'm not likely to go commenting in her space about her personal beliefs (despite any arguments about an open Facebook post not quite being personal space) but her comment about Hashem and Yeshua weirded me out. And in trying to figure out why, I went and checked her info page and, as I expected from what I know about her, her religion is listed at Christian. Then I realized why it weirded me out.
Hashem is a Hebrew name for God. The reason we call God Hashem is because God's real name is too holy to be said out loud so we came up with a title, essentially, to use instead. (I'm skipping past the fact that there are multiple names for God in Judaism, as that's not really my point here.) My point is that Hashem means The Name, literally, and it's Hebrew, and it never appears in the Pentateuch, so how can she lay claim to it at all? Does she know the meaning, the origin of that name for God? And even if she does, does she know the cultural assumptions surrounding that name? Probably not.
According to Facebook, she grew up in Arkansas and Texas, not locations known for huge Jewish communities. And even so, she's not part of the Jewish community. Her taking the name Hashem and using it to refer to God in the same context as Jesus (whom she also calls by his Hebrew name) feels to me like cultural appropriation, or something very similar. She's taking a word that has a lot of significance and importance and using it out of context and it's my word and my significance and how dare she.
I think it would weird me out much less if a Messianic Jew used Hashem and Yeshua as names for God and Jesus. (Actually, I care much much much less about using Yeshua than I do Hashem because I lay no claim to Jesus/Yeshua as a religious figure so call him what you will.) Because if you're a Messianic Jew -- a Jew, culturally and religiously, who also believes that Jesus was the messiah, then at least you know the appropriate context and history and assumptions for using Hashem as a name for God. And if you follow Jewish practices (at least in your own way) and try to be part of the Jewish community (as much as you are comfortable with) and understand Judaism and consider yourself Jewish (yes, I know people who fall under that definition of a Messianic Jew -- this does not include what I know of Jews for Jesus) then I have no problem with you using Jewish names for God. You understand them. They're part of your culture as well. You have a right to them, too.
But someone who has no significant understanding of Judaism? Call God what you will, but use your name, not mine.
I then complained to my boyfriend about people who want to have conversations when all I wanted was a yes or no. And he said that sometimes he thought I did that to people -- gave them a long, conversational answer in response, instead of the yes or no they were looking for. And when I asked, well, why don't you stop me then? I don't want to annoy people. He said, maybe they actually did like getting a conversation in response and he was the one who was misinterpreting things. He didn't want to be rude and interrupt me or prod the conversation to the side when everyone involved was enjoying it. His answer, essentially, was just because I talk more than he does in a lot of situations doesn't mean that I'm wrong and he's right about it.
Ok, fine. Due to a lot of complicated history, talking "too much" is one of my societal fears. That I'll talk too much and annoy or bore people. Considering that I have friends, I'm not too worried about it, since I assume they wouldn't be friends with me if I annoyed them all the time. Also, I'm finding that I can recognize instances when I feel like I'm talking too much, and those instances are less than half of my social time. (They tend to be when I'm lonely, have been spending a lot of time in my head, and feel like the other person is sympathetic. Sometimes it happens when I'm nervous.)
This is different from simply talking a lot. I talk a lot amongst my friends. But they talk a lot back to me, so it doesn't feel like "too much."
Back to the story.
I just realized why that shopkeeper annoyed me but a different shopkeeper who also gave me a longer answer than usual, didn't. (Or rather, he annoyed me a lot less.) In the instance above, I was obviously looking at objects in the shop, slowly backing away, and trying to leave the physical proximity. I wasn't super obvious about backing up, but I was super obvious about looking at other things. And it still took a while for there to be a pause in the conversation where I could gracefully exit.
A different shopkeeper, about a month ago, also decided to have a conversation with me. I was more interested in his information, and I preceded to face him fully, rarely look at the things in his shop, and say more in the conversation than "mhmm." I did eventually get bored with the conversation and it took a while for me to find a graceful way to exit. However, at that point, I started looking away and around more often. He did eventually pause/get the message, and I was able to walk away without really feeling annoyed.
The conversation of the first shopkeeper to me was intrusive, and thus annoying. Even as I was giving accepted social cues for wanting to leave, he wasn't noticing them (or was ignoring them, though my bet is it's the former). The conversation of the second shopkeeper was a bit longer than I would have liked, but didn't feel intrusive, as my original cues welcomed the conversation.
Talking too much is talking when the other person is trying to get away. I don't think I do that very often (I wouldn't say ever because it's not like I'm the Queen of Social Cues or anything). But if I do end up talking too much, I want someone to stop me. In as polite a way as possible, of course.
I finally decided that I have the time to respond to these...so I hope you guys give me something to play with!
I flew home Saturday, leaving the boat a month early due to some family stuff going on. I was afraid the storm was going to come in over the weekend and ground me somewhere in the middle of the country. But no, I made it home. We still have power (so far), and no flooding (we're on the top of a small hill so flooding is generally unlikely and hasn't happened in this house that I know of). I'm hoping we keep power the whole way through. *crossing fingers*
But since I've been living on a boat for the past seven months, I wanted to pass along this boat story. The Bounty, an educational tall ship, was heading down the coast from CT to FL and got caught in the storm Sunday night, 90 miles off the coast. I'm not sure if they were trying to head to land or run past the storm or what. But the ship lost power and the pumps couldn't keep the water out of the boat. The 16 member crew abandoned ship and most were picked up by the Coast Guard. 14 have made it safe, 1 crew member is still missing, and 1 crew member didn't make it. I'm praying they pick up that last crew member alive.
We used to play foursquare outside her house, a cul-de-saq where no cars came. Her mom loved to buy huge boxes of Fruit Leather and the only time I got to eat them was when I had a playdate with this girl. I learned about natural mosquito repellant for the first time when I camped in her backyard.
We have a picture of the two of us, both skinny little sticks, wearing shorts and t-shirts with sweatshirts tied around our waists, sitting against the brick wall of the elementary school building. When I met her again I didn’t recognize her at first.
“Who is this person giving me a hug?” I thought. Then I realized who it must be. Did I mention that the last time I saw her was before puberty? She wasn’t a skinny stick anymore. Then again, neither am I.
But with very little friction we were able to slip back into our relationship as friends. I could be silly around her, something I reserve for good friends only, because we were good friends. We knew each other. We had skipped some years, but gossip would cover that.
And this leads me to wondering what makes relationships stick.
This girl, I hadn’t stayed in touch with at all. With no Facebook yet, and neither of us big phone callers or letter writers, we hadn’t spoken to each other for years. Another girl, the one I made the connection through, I stayed in touch with mostly because our parents were friends and they stayed in touch. But at the same time, we talked on the phone occasionally, and made sure to visit if we were in the area. A third girl, one I emailed recently and haven’t heard back from, became a pen pal after the move down the coast. We talked on the phone occasionally, but I haven’t seen her since before college, or even heard from her for a few years now.
So what made the difference? The first girl I’m back in touch with, the second I’ve always been in touch with, and the third I’ve lost touch with.
It can’t only be time. The third girl is (was?) my oldest friend – from Mommy&Me classes. The first I met in kindergarten, and the second in first or second grade. So the difference is not in how long we were friends.
Part of it is a willingness to stay in touch or get back in touch. And I suppose that goes along with personality.
I would be tempted to say it’s whether I need these girls as friends, or they need me, but I don’t think it’s a need at all. I have friends, and having a friend who lives five hours away can be more of a hassle than a boon. But perhaps it is a need. Perhaps it’s a need to not lose touch. Maybe there are people who want webs of friends and people who like to live apart.
For me, I think, it’s an unwillingness to let go of what was a good friendship. We had fun together. Why should that be over just because we don’t live down the block from one another? Why should remembering those fun times turn into nostalgia? Why can’t we still be friends, albeit slightly farther away, and have those girls’ nights out once a year rather than once a week? Why not?
She said, "It's like if I say, 'You know, the other day when I was playing squanderball,' and they just nod and say 'uh-huh,' and I'm thinking, 'They know what squanderball is? I really don't think they know what squanderball is.' And so then you give them conversational amnesty; you say, 'You know squanderball?' and then they don't even take the amnesty! They just say, 'Yeah, sure; squanderball: go on.'"
So. . . do you know squanderball? If you were going to invent such a thing, what would it be?"
My answer was,
When I was little, squanderball was played with squash. Lots of them, big and yellow. They had to be ripe enough to splatter when they hit the ground so that we could drag out the hose afterwards and have a water fight while pretending to clean up.
What's your answer?