Tuesday, January 31, 2006

On the Front Porch of Democracy

In the past week, new flames rose in the bellies of Americans who felt lost in the eyes of their representatives. The fire turned to action for thousands of the complacent, and refreshed the hearts and souls of the already passionate.

In the past week, I saw people come together to offer kindling for each others’ fires in solidarity, and a new light, for perhaps the first time this century, glowed brightly enough to be seen around the world. We joined efforts. We stood together. Democrats and Republicans. High school students and retirees. Professionals, lay persons, unemployed. The blessed and the broken, alike.

In the past week, I saw people step outside of their comfort zones for the first time ever, picking up the heavy phone and calling for support. And I saw people who have been fighting every moment these last five years, nonstop, and unrewarded. People rallying around strangers and invisible friends in a spectacular and selfless display of patriotism. People with the passion of our founding fathers.

With the magic and power of technology, America has a new Heartland, one that is spread from shore to shore; one that dots this entire continent like flaming meringue peaks on baked Alaska. And with this power comes strength in numbers. For those who, in years gone by, commiserated in the safe company of five or six on a neighbor’s front steps, in the hallways of stone libraries, in cold, grey basements of town halls, in sparse groups on park benches or blankets nestled over long, green grass, there is new hope. For these comrades in arms now come by the thousands to gather on this our invisible, boundless, front porch of freedom.

A bond has been formed among people who would have never met, who would have never socialized in years past. People of all heritages, creeds, colors, orientations and economic statuses now find comfort, support, and momentum in virtual living rooms, where ideas flow freely without constraint of thought or time.

What once was an unfamiliar underground for the elite is now a comfortable playground that knows no fence; that ebbs and flows with the passing of current events, victories, and deepest sorrows. We find comfort in the knowing that this magic will only grow, and that our friends yet unknown will find us, and find a place here on our cherry porch swing, or these strong, and weathered, wooden steps.

It is only with the support of our fellow community of fires that our bellies continue to burn. Though our sorrows overcome us at times, though we choke back the hurt, though the lumps in our throats grow larger instead of subside, from each of these wounds will grow a new and stronger life, like a phoenix, such that we can do nothing but go on to the next battle, resolved. There is nothing that can dissuade our passion for long. So we go on. And with us, we take what small victories and lessons learned, and further build this porch on the strength of them.

Sometimes victories are camouflaged. Our front-yard saplings become mature before our very eyes, but the slow growth goes unnoticed until we sit on our front porch with the photo album and remember the day these trees were planted. The day of remembrance is a day of celebration; it’s a day of hope, and rekindling. For it is when saplings are planted that they are the weakest. They grow stronger within weeks, months; and years later we’ve forgotten the chances we took, or didn’t take, back then.

Take out the photo album with me. Remember a time when we held the majority. Remember a vote, not unlike the one we watched fall flat before our unbelieving eyes yesterday. The result was far more sorrowful that day than this, because our representatives, our majority, would not consider back then the risk some of our minority took this week. We count a net gain of twenty-five voices on our behalf since that day.

Celebrate, just a little, if you can. When you’re ready -- because you know that day will come -- risk it again, knowing well, this time, that bittersweet tastes a little like fear to the tongue. But the spice of our passion quells it.

The road is always long – if it weren’t, would we bother to venture? From the midst of our despair, our anger, our wounds, will come our phoenix, rising up with new life, new determination. Next week, next month, next year, we will open our album and remember there was a day that twenty-five stood strong and courageous for us.
Today we plant a tree to mark the time. A tree that one day will provide shade and comfort over this, our porch of democracy.

Twenty-five stood for us. This is not just the beginning. Indeed, we are half-way there.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I called

my doctor's office yesterday. "Hi, this is Wheezus and I'm a patient of Dr. B--," I said.

Silence.

"I'm going to attempt to quit smoking, and there's a drug I heard about that can help with the cravings," I said.

Silence.

"I think it's called Zyban, or Welbutrin," I went on.

Silence.

"I was wondering if Doctor B-- would give me a prescription for it."

More silence, followed by, "Not without seeing you."

"I just saw her a few weeks ago..."

"That doesn't count. She's booked up a couple weeks right now."

"Well, I have another appointment February 2...but I want to do this sooner."

"What you're going to need to do is call back in the morning to set something up with Dr. B."

"Can I at least leave her a message?"

"No. She's not in today. You need to call back tomorrow."

"But can't I at least leave her a voicemail?"

"No, she doesn't want us to take messages for her when she's out of the office."

"But -- I want to QUIT SMOKING."

Silence.

----------

So I've come to the conclusion that my doctor's office doesn't really want me to quit smoking. WTF? Can we be any less helpful? Sheesh. Not to mention that whenever one calls, it takes 20 minutes just to get through the automated phone option maze -- and no one there can set up an appointment for me because Dr. B took a day off??? I think I need a new doctor. I hate this -- finding new doctors, dentists, hair stylists, mechanics, etc. when you move is really, really annoying.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Eggs

I don't eat breakfast. No, no I don't.
Except when Ilse the southern cook and The Landru cook me some eggs over easy, with bacon.
And today, they are not here to cook for me.

I have some eggs in the fridge. The date on the egg carton says Dec. 16, 2005.

Do you think they are still good? Because I may have to make me some eggs.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Maryland

All right, you demanding bunch of people. :)

Some of you know that I am in Maryland for a wedding. 'Tis the wedding of the Landru and the Ilse (aka Isle, or Sami). It has been my pleasure and honor to stay at the very home of the devil himself, and partake of the large, treeful surroundings (leafless though they be, and no, none of that is code) which I do dearly miss in my homestate of Arizona.

For my warm weather friends -- the weather has been quite decent and not too cold, though I have been wearing what they call a coat, which is a useful thing because of it's warmth and multi-pocketude. There is also this thing called humidity, which leads to "Rain", which has been both generous and frustrating for me in the hair department. And as an aside, since I am a Kimmahwannabe, my hair has recently taken on a reddish tint.

Oh, oh, oh, but enough about me.

The Wedding

The plan was simple: Courthouse at 9:30, Pancake House at 10:15.

I accompanied the bride and groom to the courthouse Friday morning, where I was stripsearched because I had a dangerous insurgent chapstick in my pocket. I asked if they could wait with the cavity search until after the ceremony so I could remain virginous until after Landru and Ilse were married, but they refused my plea. Fortunately, that didn't cast a shadow on the upcoming event. A second witness, friend to the lovely couple and Internet acquaintance to me, was also present, and eventually we were ushered into a quaint little chapel-like Wedding Room. We all dressed in jeans for the occasion.

It was decided that I would be Best Man, and PurpleState would be Matron of Honor. A woman, who showed no credentials whatsoever, entered the room and performed a short but lovely ceremony. No rings were lost or victims of tiresome sitcom wedding gaggery. Purplestate held Ilse's flowers while the bride and groom kissed, and he almost certainly shed a tear, though it was hurriedly whisked away when it was time for the pronouncement of husband and wife.

From that point we proceeded to the Pancake House reception, which was, frankly, a taste explosion.

And that's about it. Well, except for the orgasmic dinner that evening at Morton's, which was the best meal I have ever eaten in my entire life, and for which we dressed up quite handily, with the gorgeous Ilse in a smashing red dress and Landru in handsome suit and tie. The giddy couple then headed out to their honeymoon suite after dropping me off at the Landru's place so I could watch seventeen hours straight of South Park on DVD.

Whee! Having a wonderful, fantastic time here on the east coast. And today, I get to have lunch with my dear friend Technoir. *wave*