19 June 2004

Tortoise sitting

So for the last couple of weeks, while a Berkeley friend has been out
of town, I’ve been housesitting and taking care of her tortoises. 
I now know all sorts of stuff about feeding and caring for tortoises
that I didn’t a while back.

This is Erasmus.

These are Erasmus and Beatrice, having a drink.

When I tell people that I am pet-sitting a pack of tortoises (because
there are also three babies, Scipio, Phoebe, and Cromwell), they are
infinitely amused.  I’m not sure quite why.  It seems to be
related to the idea of having reptiles as pets, I think.  Maybe
there’s something there with herpetophobia.

Posted in Day2Day on 19 June 2004 at 3:01 pm by Nate



    I know that I’m supposed to be happy for my
friends who are getting married, and on some level, I am.  But I
don’t think the straight people in whose weddings I have been
participating understand how my happiness for them is inextricably tied
up in in anger about the whole process.  I don’t think they
understand how weddings and marriage, until they are fully inclusive of
queer people who want them, discriminate against us and perhaps oppress

    The whole language and set-up of weddings
implies that people must be coupled to be complete, that without
someone else we are all incomplete.  It’s very much like the line
from the movie, “You complete me.”  As much as I love BF, if
either of us “completed each other”, I don’t think that I could
actually be in the relationship.  I was and am a complete person
without him, just as he was and is without me.  If the point of
all this
marriage stuff is to find wholeness in another person (as much of the
ritual and language often implies), then, frankly, it’s
unhealthy.  Some of the weddings I have been at in recent years
seem to be about the wedding; it’s as if people have determined that
this is somehow the endpoint to which they have been working, not
realizing that it’s really just a blip in their lives and happiness,
that it will all continue on pretty much as before even after ALL the
Visa bills have been paid.

    Also, as the only publicly out person at the
wedding, I’m alone in bearing this (which is why I keep ducking out to
call BF and gay friends about every hour and a half).  There is
another gay guy there, a close relative of the couple and good friends
with them, and he’s out in a limited fashion, i.e., he’s told the
couple but not his parents.  He lives in a gay ghetto, but when he
comes to the Bay Area, he’s “not gay”, except in the privacy of the
car, when it’s just the couple, him, and me.  And let’s be honest,
he’s not fooling anyone: I had him pegged as “family” pretty quickly
after seeing him.  But since he’s playing someone he’s not, he
doesn’t have to bear a burden of understanding that as much as he’s a
major player in this whole process, he’s consigned to be “always a
bridesmaid, never a bride.”

    Part of me feels pity for him.  As bad as
things can get once you’re out of the closet, it’s still infinitely
better than the hell of the closet.  I know.  My own
relationship with my parents has some pretty serious issues, as a
result of my coming out.  (I have not seen them in a year and a
half, because they want me sans BF,
and I’m not about to do that.)  But I would still rather have this
state of affairs than to still be hiding from them — and myself.

    Part of me feels annoyance.  He’s getting by,
not having to make constant explanations, not having to be the token
fag in the proceedings.  But I’m trying to temper my anger at his
not standing up and being counted and really understanding what it is
to be gay.  It’s not just about fucking and good decorating and so
forth.  Being gay is about understanding how almost never do you
transcend for others the label of being gay.  It’s about
understanding what it means to be on the outs with the
mainstream.  It’s about better understanding the kingdom of
heaven, where there is no family except the brotherhood and sisterhood
of fellow humanity.

    So to my straight friends who may be reading: 
I may or may not attend your weddings in the future.  (Let’s face
it: paying for getting to weddings also provides some large
obstacles.)  I may or may not be able to be in them if you ask
me.  I just don’t know how much more I can put up with
participating in to that which I am fundamentally uninvited, not by
you, but by the world at large.  I want your happiness and love
and life to be full, but if you’re getting married, that’s already
happened, and I can celebrate that somehow without actually being part
of weddings.  I’m still working out whether I can go to more
weddings, but please understand that your day of happiness makes me
happy, pained, angry, and bitter, all at once.

Posted in RmAuNsDiOnMg on 19 June 2004 at 4:00 am by Nate