Monthly Archives: November 2012

Get me to the church on time!

One of my favorite scenes in the movie Jeffrey is where a priest, played by Nathan Lane, explains to the protagonist that the protagonist’s ideas about god came from the album cover of the original cast recording of My Fair Lady. He further claims it’s where most gay men got their notions about god.

My Fair Lady Original Cast AlbumHis reasoning is: most parents in the 50s and 60s had a copy of the album*, most gay kids went through at least a phase of listening to musical soundtracks (and even if they didn’t, they all at least saw the cover art), most kids didn’t realize that the man in the clouds on the cover art manipulating the stars like puppets on strings was supposed to be George Bernard Shaw (the man who wrote the play upon which the musical was based), they believed it was god. “It was your parents’ album. You were little. You thought it was god!” Then he goes on to explain that god doesn’t run the world like that.

Part of why that scene cracked me up is because I did go through a phase of listening to the soundtracks of musicals—musicals that in many cases I had never seen. I’m not completely sure why my folks owned several sound track albums, but they did. I do know that my mom had a tendency, if she saw a movie adaptation of a musical, to buy the original broadway cast album instead of the movie album. Anyway, My Fair Lady was one of those albums that I listened to a lot as a kid, but I had never seen the show.

I wound up making up my own version of what happened between the songs. I also imagined my own versions of the choreography and costumes, guided by whatever photographs were part of the album cover, or in some cases, versions of the songs I’d seen on TV. There were a lot of musical variety shows on the air when I was a kid, and stars of movies and broadway shows would often be guests on the variety programs, and might perform a version of (or parody of) a scene from the musical, with regulars from the variety show filling in for various characters.

So in my head, the song “Get Me To the Church On Time” was not primarily about the wild last night of partying that Eliza Doolittle’s long-widowed father wanted to have before he married in the morning. I didn’t know enough of the play to know the context, for one. I think the album only identified the character as “Alfie” so I had no way to know he was supposed to by Eliza’s father. The lyrics talk about having a whopper, and kicking up a rumpus, but somehow I thought it was about celebrating the marriage itself—partying because he was overjoyed to be getting married, rather than a last night of debauchery because he would never be having fun again.

It was also about all the people around him, friends and strangers alike, joining in on the joy and exaltation.

It’s that imagined version of the song and dance that kept popping up in my head last Tuesday night as I saw that Marriage Equality was winning at the ballot box. It was that image of friends, family, neighbors, and complete strangers shouting “hurray!” that came to mind as I thought of the hundreds of straight people who manned those phone banks—calling strangers and patiently explaining that the law explicitly exempted churches and religious institutions from performing same sex marriages (not that the law needed it, it’s already established in other laws and court decisions; churches can choose to turn away opposite sex couples for whatever religious reason they want, too). The thousands of straight people who donated to the campaigns. The thousands of straight people who urged neighbors, co-workers, and family members to give equality a chance. The hundreds of thousands of straight people who voted that way.

Depending on which statistics you believe, gays and lesbians make up somewhere between 3 and 10 percent of the population. There’s no way we could have voted this in for ourselves. There’s no way we could have handled all of the ground game: the canvassing, the pamphleting, the phone banking, and so on.

It was my imaginary version of “Get Me to the Church on Time” that was playing in my head when straight friends told me, “I thought of you and Michael while I was filling out my ballot.” It was the soundtrack to the images I saw on TV of the straight couples joining in the party at the campaign headquarters on the news.

It’s what comes to mind when I re-watch the tearful speech of the straight, Republican state senator explaining why she was voting for the law that kicked this off last spring. Or when I read stories of the way, the last few years, many straight couples have taken a moment in their wedding ceremonies to acknowledge that they have friends and loved ones who are denied the right to choose to enter this important institution, and asking their guests to join the fight for equality.

Yes, part of the reason there were tears in my eyes on Tuesday night when I saw the news that marriage equality had won in Maine, and then in Maryland, and that it was leading in my home state of Washington was because I’m looking forward to finally getting to marry (rather than “domestically partner”???) Michael. But that was only part of it.

The rest of those tears of joy was the realization that a majority of my fellow citizens–not just my fellow homos, or my friends, but a bunch of people who don’t know me–has our back.

Thank you.

And I hope you all get invited to a lot of weddings, because you deserve to celebrate with us.

UPDATE: I started this the morning after Election Night. Because of craziness at work, I didn’t finish it until a day later. And I didn’t see this column by Dan Savage on the same topic until Thursday night. His is definitely worth a read.

* Remember, Jeffery is a comedy, it’s not a real statistic.

One size fits none

Sometimes when I’m explaining to someone what I like about my computer, or my phone, or a particular software product, or [fill in the blank], someone feels compelled to explain to me why I’m wrong to like it. And sometimes they get very emphatic.

Of course, sometimes if someone mentions certain software product (such as a much-used word processor that my various jobs have forced me to use {and co-workers have assumed I must be an expert at} for more than twenty years) which I happen to loathe, I often get very emphatic about exactly why I loathe it. Including a long rant about a fundamental feature that has been buggy since at least the version released in 1989 (yes, really) and is still buggy in all the same ways in versions released this year. And, yes, I am a little confused as to why anyone would enjoy using the product. So I probably come across as emphatically trying to explain to them why they’re wrong to like it.

I have to remind myself that one size never fits all. Because something meets my needs doesn’t mean it will meet your needs, and vice versa.

Which means I have to let them choose what they want. And I will.

As long as they always do the same for me.

Why I hate hay fever, reason #5792

While driving home last night, I was just thinking that my allergy prescription dose from the previous night must be wearing off when Michael mentioned that his sinuses had started going whacko. He was attributing it to the change in weather.

Most of last week was very wet, with rain every day. Parts of Friday, all of Saturday, and most of Sunday were quite a bit drier, but only relatively. We had some sun breaks, and what rain there was came in very light, occasional showers. Sunday night we got the deluge.

Radical shifts in air pressure or humidity sometimes cause my sinus passages to either get tender or to close up temporarily, regardless of the pollen, mold, or spore count. And while most people living in the northern hemisphere with ordinary hay fever are free and clear by this time of year, I’m not. Pollen counts are so low as to almost be nonexistent, and fern spores are tapering off. But November is toadstool and mushroom season, which means fungus spores are just ramping up.

In addition to my usual prescription, I took a bit of over-the-counter stuff before going to bed. I awoke in the middle of the night with the sinuses in super-hyper congested mode, along with the itchy eyes. So I took another type of over-the-counter stuff and managed to go back to sleep.

This morning I broke down and raided my pseudo ephedrine supply. Can I say, by the way, I hate that meth heads and meth lab runners have turned thousands of innocent sinus-problem sufferers into suspects, forcing us to show ID, sign extra paper work granting the state, the feds, and the pharmacy companies permission to examine and share information about our purchase history of what used to be a cheap, over-the-counter nasal decongestant? Which is rationed by those same forces, now?

I’m sorry, the usual substitutions don’t work anywhere near as well for me. So at times like this, where everything above my jaw line hurts, aches, and stings, I just don’t understand how restricting law-abiding people from buying a legal medication (a practice which has had zero effect on the illegal trade of the substance that said medication can be used to manufacture) makes any sense.

Now excuse me while I pack some extra tissue into my backpack before I leave for work…