7.28.2004

Two Senators, A General, and an Anti-Torture Protest

That sums up my DNC experience so far. Yesterday I saw Senator Byrd speak about his new book, Losing America; he was introduced first by General Wesley Clark and then by Senator Ted Kennedy. I had a good seat in a small venue, and all in all, it was interesting. They didn't have the electric magnetism of Clinton--when I saw him live, he was on fire--but they are superb speakers nonetheless. They have the years, the experience, and the voice modulations to make you a believer. They know when to raise their fist and holler something about taking our country back. And believe them the audience did, what with standing ovations every five minutes and lots of cheering. I cheered too; of course I did. Bush is terrible; it's obvious. But I was a little turned off by the smugness of the audience. Maybe I was just getting grumpy, but people seemed so incredibly self-righteous to me. Everyone was so pleased with themselves. Perhaps the slick, polished, stick figures in town pumped up the egos of the locals.

Today I went downtown to check out "the scene," and I was pretty impressed with Boston. There were lots of police, but they weren't intimidating, like New York police can be. They seemed calm and happy, and kept their scarier weapons undercover. There was great signage, low traffic, and no one got searched on the T. I can't criticize the hype too much because I'm sure the hype had a lot to do with the relaxed, secure atmosphere, but I was glad to see that nothing was anywhere near as bad as it was advertised.

Except one thing. The free speech zone. My god. No one would ever see or hear a word that was said in there. It was a cramped industrial space, with a makeshift lid in the form of an old underpass. Anyone who wants to be heard would go elsewhere, like the anti-torture protesters, who lay on the Boston Common, fake blood clustering around their fake burns, being fake force fed by fake police. Even fake torture is pretty upsetting, though. I only needed to see it once.

 

7.26.2004

Convention Gripes

You know, I WOULD like to see Hillary Clinton, and of course Bill, but I have to go to sleep! Who do they think I am? Superwoman? It's 10:20, and I have to take a 30-mile bikeride tomorrow at 6 am and then work on my article, dang it! Not to mention all the editing for work! I can't believe Larry King is doing a second live show at midnight. Shouldn't they get some sleep? There's a war going on!

I feel like such an old woman, grousing about TV after 10:00.

7.23.2004

Blogpulse

Wow, check it out: Blogpulse tracks trends in blogs. Looks like chatter about margaritas really spiked on May 30. Too bad terrorists don't keep blogs. Astonishingly(?),  people blog about pregnancy so much more than infertility! See more trends, or see where Crawlspace got cited for linking to a story on postponing election day (#46).

 

7.22.2004

Just One Question In All This

Where was the FAA? Seriously, did they just not come into work on Sept. 11? It is absolutely unbelievable. Also, how is it that the White House had no secure phone numbers for the FAA? And that no one at the FAA knew how (literally, in some cases, did not KNOW how) to contact the military? Meanwhile, the military had no idea how to contact the FAA? Could phone books have saved countless lives? I'm starting to think of the FAA as a little old man, in a shack in a field somewhere, smoking cigars and reading pulp fiction. With no telephone.
Tuesday Dawned Temperate and Nearly Cloudless in the Eastern United States.

Probably every blogger in the world is doing this right now, but have you read the just-released 9/11 report? [PDF] I'm still in the first chapter, where the hijackers are boarding their planes. It's completely mesmerizing, if also nauseating. That faint nausea, where something terrible is going to happen to all those people at the gate, just getting on their planes as if it is another normal day in their lives. The thing is, so far, the report is hauntingly, engagingly written, despite the necessary inclusion of detail after detail. I really didn't expect it to be such a lilting, melancholy narrative.
Happy Birthday, Bloggie!

My blog turns two years old today! When I was thinking about a commemorative entry, I considered a treatise on blogging, or an entry honoring good bloggers. Maybe I could've typed up a paragraph on What Blogging Means to Me or honored the first blog I ever read or the person who first urged me to start my own.  But I'm kind of a slacker.

Anyway, Crawlspace, here's your highlight reel. Thanks so much for being there when I got to meet Hillary Clinton, when my grandfather died and the preacher railed against evil fornicators like my boyfriend and I, when I made peach pie, saw the Boss, was a medical specimen (and had to answer questions like "do you feel sad and alone at a party?"). I got lost in the Adirondacks, and engaged, too. And the kitten entry that started it all. Crawlspace, thanks for making me a braver, maybe even better, writer. Here's to decades of birthdays!


7.20.2004

Not Really Against Love At All

I'd like to post more frequently, but I'm caught up in a very interesting writing project that has me reading the books in the menu at left. They are not standard blissful-newlywed fare (especially Against Love--whew!). My writing project is about affairs, actually, especially extramarital affairs at conferences (and if you've ever had one, please, email me!).  By Friday, my bliss was a little depleted, and needed recharging. Fortunately, we walked on the tracks (I love to walk on tracks) and babysat our godson, and it got all better. Now, with each interview, I just feel that I am learning about marriage. It's kind of a gift, getting to talk to so many people about affairs, sexuality, and marriage. It's also either very topical, or like any subject, when I'm interested in it, it seems like everyone is interested in it. Just this last weekend, the topic got airtime (printtime?) in Salon and the Times. The Times reported on vasopressin receptors, which, from their roost in the forebrain, may determine whether or not people (in this case, men) cheat on their partners. Yesterday, sex columnist Dan Savage, in Salon, argued in favor of controlled cheating, pitting nonmonogamous gay marriages against  monogamous straight marriages, like mine. To quote one of my interviewees: "Marriage is changing." That's for sure!

7.14.2004

The Lame Name Game

At Cambridge City Hall, we stood tentatively touching the counter, filling out the Very Important Forms that would legally bind us to one another. We were going to be a new family. "Do you want to get married here?" the clerk asked, making us both start with the possibility that we could return in three days and have it all happen, without the crowd, the music, the food, the clothing. But we were only a few weeks away from our wedding, so we waited for the hordes to arrive. We would declare our vows loudly and in public, for all to hear, not just the clerk behind the desk at City Hall. On the place where Party A (me) writes his/her name after marriage, I proudly wrote my whole name. The clerk took it from me, scanned it, and in the heart of this liberal bastion turned to me and said, "I just want you to know that this is your single free chance to change your name, forever." I shrugged. Why would I change my name now? "Nine years down the road, you may have reasons to change your name," she intoned. "I've seen women at this counter crying their eyes out because they have kids and they want to share the name of their family and it's going to cost them hundreds of dollars and they have to go before a judge." I sighed. "A JUDGE," she said, as if it were Satan's own seat in hell that I'd have to cower before.

A couple weeks later, I was sifting through the mail. We were getting many packages from my then-future mother-in-law, boxes full of things we didn't need at a time that was hectic beyond precedent. So I wasn't in the best mood when I picked up two notecards informing me that she'd bought us two full-year subscriptions to Chicago Wilderness, a magazine about a place where we don't plan on living. Then I saw who the subscription was made out to. "Dr. and Mrs." was followed by my husband's full first and last name. We've gotten mail to both of our first names and his last name, but at least it's an accident, and at least my first name made it in there. This time, there was not even room for my first name, as if my identity had been subsumed altogether. I had, of course, mentioned before that I wasn't changing my name, and this gave us cause to do it again, but it was a startling moment, to consider that someone in the world saw me that way, tacked on to my husband, his accomplishment of a doctoral degree as prominent as his acquistion of a wife. I have an Ed.M.; it doesn't need to share the stage with his Ph.D. But I may get a Ph.D. someday, and even if he gets a piece of mail reading "Dr. and Mr." followed by my full name (which I highly doubt would ever happen), I somehow sense that the full impact would be lost on him. He's sensitive and aware, but it would just be a novelty. When you've been fighting this for a while, like I have, it starts to be a little scary. Like someone jabbing me repeatedly with an eraser---ineffective, but still unpleasant. It didn't stop there; nearly everyone in my life asked me what I was doing about my name, and as far as I know not a single person asked him. We were married in Massachusetts at an Audubon site, and we had a highly liberal ceremony. I'm named after a tree, for god's sake. I don't think it gets much more liberal without going beyond the fringe. But still, I faced a single issue, repeatedly, including from my own family members, that he never faced.

The main lesson in all this is that feminism has a long, long, long, long, long, long, long way to go. We're not equal yet. Sometimes I feel like we're not even close.

7.12.2004

Interesting

Hm. I see there are plans underway to reschedule the election should there be any "terrorist activity." Gosh. Well. Good idea. If we were under attack, the last thing we'd want is an effective president.

(Note, also, the link to the story on the same page headlined "Some of the main points in ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ really aren’t very fair at all.")
Just Married

What I am left with, after my beautiful, joyous, sun-dappled wedding, is the satisfaction of a job well done. There are lots of other feelings too, mainly the pleasure of being married to someone so wonderful, gratitude for so much love and sunshine that day, and a lilting happiness at having seen so many dear friends and relatives. But as the days pass, I am increasingly aware of what a DIY wedding we had. We were our own DJ, we were our own florist, and we took a friend and made her our own Justice of the Peace. We assembled and wrote our own ceremony, the groom made the bridal bouquet from scratch, my friend and former roommate was our photographer, and we set the tone for our own wedding with surprisingly little influence from others. As a result, our wedding expressed us perfectly, from the goldfish centerpieces (thank you, Somebonnie!) to the handmade invitations.

And we worked through the whole thing. 30 minutes after my first dance with my new husband, I was on my knees in my wedding dress on that same floor, pulling up tape and extension cord; he was carrying empty beer bottles out to the car. But it was amazing, and working for it made it more real, in some ways. I was happy to do it. In my dress and veil, I felt really beautiful and honored; Blue looked so handsome and humble that day in his white jacket and moss boutonniere. It really was a great, great wedding.

Honeymooners

Oh, Vermont. Land of cantering on horseback through open fields, seeing Spiderman 2 on my baby's 27th birthday, taking a 43-mile bike ride through hills and sun, staying in a cabin and a lean-to, roasting marshmallows over a blazing inferno, touring the Ben and Jerry's factory, and enjoying the splendid natural environment. Taking the long way back, we drove through the gaps and passes he has biked in the past; they were amazing. We saw beaver dams and baby moose tracks (alongside mama moose tracks!); we climbed a mountain, we canoed and kayaked. And we slept, too, for 10 hours a night at first, with naps in the afternoon. The last two months were just sucked away into a whirlwind of commencement and wedding preparations, and this last weekend at home felt like a luxurious dream, reading when I felt like it, potting plants, hanging out with our godson and his mom, and going to another wedding, where we had a lot of fun. It was so fun to go somewhere and introduce people to my husband.

Being Back

It's a little tough to be at a new job, because no one on my floor even seems to be aware that I got married, let alone that I have been gone for the last week and a half. My two co-workers aren't in today, so I think it will be up to me to tell people. Of course, it's true that this kind of space usually has its perks, but coming down off of such a powerful high into so much quiet has a certain kind of challenge.