Consider the Lobster

In retrospect, it was probably a good thing that our mechanic decided to get a jump on his work and call us at 6am this morning to clarify some paperwork. I needed a place to direct my rage at my home state, and he fit the bill nicely.

I had several friends who were out in high school. It just…wasn’t a big deal. I had some friends in the closet, too, and their concern was mainly how their parents would perceive them–not their peers or our town.

It’s quite a visceral gut-punch to see how Maine, which I genuinely believed until about 7pm HST yesterday would be different, in the end was just like the rest. Several people I know voted No, and were deeply ashamed and depressed today. I know the feeling. My sister spoke to a close friend from Biddeford who, as he cried, told her he had never in his life felt uncomfortable about who he was or where he lived until today. Of course, she was unable to offer comfort aside from a hollow “Next time.”

Next time. Why not this time? Why? What did you gain, Yes voters? You have the unique knowledge that you made several lives worse yesterday, and for whom and for what? My god, these are parents, children, families that you’ve hurt, to protect what? Is your marriage so insecure, your idea of right and wrong so skewed, that allowing gay and lesbian couples to have full marriage would destroy your own? Your lives would not have changed with a No vote.

Do you delight in the idea that a gay or lesbian couple is more vulnerable financially because it is harder to protect their assets? Do you think it fitting and right that non-biological partners have to go through humiliating second-parent adoptions to legally connect with their own children? Does it please you to know that a doctor may keep loving partners away from each other in the hospital as one dies, alone, without the comfort of the one they love most, because they are not married in the eyes of the state? These things happen all the time, and given the opportunity to make things right you decided to squash the civil rights of your fellow man.

Worst of all, watching the Yes coverage on the news, and the pictures and video, you did it with glee. You looked upon your neighbors and classmates and colleagues, your aunts and uncles and cousins and your own children and said from the anonymity of the voting booth, “Your rights are worth less than mine. You are worth less than me.” And then, you celebrated. How could you? How dare you?

I try, I try so hard not to be angry, to accept the differences of my countrymen and women, and sometimes I fail. I have failed at understanding that viewpoint. I have hatred in my heart tonight.

Mainers are a wacky bunch, distinct from the rest of New England, and until today I thought them–us–to be lovably so. I always saw a “mind your business and we’ll mind ours” philosophy from so many Yankee men and women who were fiercely independent. It’s hard knowing that the image you grew up with was a lie. My home county (York) carried a No majority, so I suppose my home is still what I remember it to be, but my faith in the state as a whole is shattered. I saw the opportunity there to make history and I believed with my whole heart that it could be done, that it would be done; instead the place that I love more than anywhere else in the world is just another footnote in the history of bigotry.

I don’t want civil unions or domestic partnerships. Nothing less than full equality for all of America’s citizens will do, as our founding fathers intended. Separate but equal is not okay, has never been okay.

Question 1 was called just after I went to bed last night. Reading the news this morning, I held my daughter and nursed her and cried and cried into her curls, hoping that someday she will inhabit a fairer world.

Maine, you broke my heart.


The House Rules

I’ve been in Maine for a total of ten days and shoveled twice.  My back feels stronger already.

After the holidays and sending my husband back to DC, I drove up to my new home base in Portland.  Tom will be in the DC/central VA area for a few days before moving on to set up house in Honolulu, while I deal with the winter wonderland you see above.  For the moment, we are effectively homeless.  It’s kind of fun, living out of some duffel bags and a hiking backpack, but it would be more fun if he were here.  
That said, living with my cousin Mark is a hoot.  He’s a man of routine and structure, and while he has been incredibly generous about offering his space and a gracious host, he does have certain rules to follow.  Thus follows “The House Rules” according to Mark:
The House Rules
Subcategory 1: Preservation of Mark’s Morning Routine
Abstract: Mark wakes at 4am and works 12+ hour days.  Thus, his morning routine is sacred as it allows the rest of his day to flow smoothly.
Rule 1: The coffee maker is preprogrammed to his specifications.  I am not to touch it.  If I want coffee, he has an extra coffee maker in the basement.
Rule 2A: He eats 3 pieces of toast in the morning.  The type of bread he likes works out perfectly to three slices a day for a workweek.  Thus, I am to get my own bread if I want toast.  This brings us to… 
Rule 2B: The orange juice is also reserved for his breakfast, and if I want OJ I can buy my own.
Rule 3: Do not be in the shower between 4am and 5am, as that is when he wakes to get ready for the day.
Subcategory 2: Preservation of Energy
Abstract: Energy bills in Maine are HIGH, particularly because it is so f***ing cold.  Thus, keep bills down by conserving energy.  All of these are things I would have done anyway, but they were included in the breakdown.
Rule 1: Cold water is free; ergo, wash all laundry in cold water.
Rule 2: The thermostat is set at 65 degrees.  No higher.  No lower.  Cold?  Layer.  That’s why we have extra blankets.  (I’m glad I invested in extra long undies and thick socks.)
Rule 3: Lights are to be turned off immediately upon exiting a room.
Subcategory 3: Housekeeping
Abstract: He’s a VERY tidy dude.  I am really, really not.
Rule 1: Dishes go straight into the dishwasher.
Rule 2: The towel on the rod that is closest to the door is mine.  Towels that are put back on the rod are to be folded in thirds, or else face being accused of having been raised in a barn.
Rule 3: My closet is the coat closet next to the recliner; all things that need to be hung up are to be hung in there.
Rule 4: Get a suction-cup storage unit for the shower as to avoid having “loose bottles” in the tub area.
Rule 5: Shoes off at the door.  (See Rule 2, Barn Penalty for explanation.)
Rule 6: Do NOT block his truck in, and do not leave the front entryway into the duplex unlocked.
All of these are quite reasonable when you think about it; he’s allowed me into his home for a VERY long period of time, and he is a guy who needs alone time more than anyone I’ve ever met.  His world is orderly and structured to best fit his needs and as his house guest, it is on me to disrupt that routine as little as possible.
That said, I was kind of surprised that I would need my own coffee maker.