My brain has been like a dryer these past few days--thoughts swirling around and around. On Monday, L'Ailee and I tried not to think of a pink elephant, but the elephant kept coming to us anyway. It had to. It was too big to be ignored. Nobody worked in NYC on September 11th; everybody cried and raged and remembered. I do think memory's important, no doubt about that. People are trying to rewrite history already. But the terrible day when L'Ailee lost a close friend and a job, and I worried that I'd lost her, hasn't left our minds yet.
It was as if we didn't have permission to talk about anything else on Monday. None of us wanted to talk, but we all needed to talk, about *that*. None of us wanted to hear it, but we were all duty-bound to hear about *that*. On Tuesday, we were quiet--me, L'Ailee, and everyone we knew. Just quiet. I answered a few Yahoo! Answers questions, but otherwise kept my head down and worked and played with the cats when I got home. Yesterday, it was as if we were finally allowed to talk about anything else in the world, and the floodgates opened.
I can talk about how Kevin Harvick may become the first driver to win both the Busch and Cup Championships, and how it sucks monkey ass that Tony Stewart isn't in the Chase! I really hate that Mark Martin and Jeff Burton, who have won exactly zero races between them, are in it, and Stewart, who won twice this year, is not. (Nothing against Martin or Burton, but that's wrong to me.) I am neutral about Kasey Kahne, but he won four races--why was he on the bubble until Richmond (the race where the Chase positions are set), and not solidly in the Top 10? L'Ailee is *thrilled* about Harvick; I've decided that I'll cheer for Harvick to win the championship and Stewart to win races.
I can talk about how the 8-year-old I tutor, who is black, asked me why "white ladies" don't like black kids to call each other "n*gg*r." His teacher is a white woman, and told them to stop. I still don't know if I got it right, but his mother seemed to be okay with my explanation. I told him that when I was growing up, I heard many white people use that word, "and it was not a compliment." I told him it was meant to say that black people were less than human, or a different and worse kind of human. "It's like when you were calling yourself stupid, and I told you to stop saying that because I don't want you to think that way about yourself," I said. "White and Asian people who use 'n*gg*r' are calling you stupid and worse than them just because your skin's a little darker than theirs. I don't think that about you. I think you and your friends are worth the same as any other color person, and I really hope you feel that way about yourself, too. Your teacher probably feels the same way I do--we want you to feel all right about yourselves and give yourselves a chance, not set yourselves up for failure and talk each other down." He seemed to get it. I don't think it'll affect how he and his friends greet each other, but maybe I gave him something to think about. I hope.
I can talk about Survivor, and how it makes me twingy, and how I'm not sure I'm going to watch the premiere tonight. Mark Burnett's been justifying everywhere, including Yahoo! Answers. Maybe the racists, of all colors, need to see that all people are as good or bad as anyone else, really graphically. But generations of people worked so hard to overcome segregation. Then there's the fact that racial realities are far more complex than Survivor's four-tribe setup. What about multi-racial people? What about "white" people like L'Ailee, who feels that she has more in common with fellow immigrants (including Asians and Hispanics) than light-skinned Americans who grew up in the country and suburbs like me? What about Native Americans, South Asians, and Middle Easterners? I guess it's no worse, really, than division by age or gender. I still don't like this concept.
I can talk about the passing of two Texan heroes--not just former governor Ann Richards, but Tyrone Garner. Garner was one of the two plaintiffs in the Lawrence v. Texas case, which led to the Supreme Court overturning "sodomy" laws. A moment of silence for them both...
I can talk about the awesome new MiYO (Make it Your Own) tiles, and how bad I want some for my kitchen floor. They come in a bevy (isn't that a good word?) of awesome colors and patterns, and are as cool as FLOR carpet tiles. Every one is 16 inches; every one is 7 dollars. I'll have to decide what I want, then work to persuade L'Ailee, who will probably make me earn the right to use these. I may even have to go to the infamous "Symphony In Heels" promise, as I did to get dress-up flamingoes in our postage stamp of a yard. She loves the symphony and loves how my ass looks in heels; I find the symphony boring and heels agonizing to wear, as I have an extra bone in each foot. I only go to "Symphony In Heels" if I want something *bad*.
And finally, I can talk about why I'll never get to meet Jim Cantore. My mom called me to tell me about something on the Weather Channel this morning. Apparently the waves off the New England coast are getting stirred up by storms. My first thought, of course, was "Road trip this weekend!" Then she shared that the WC anchor called storm-surfers contenders for the Darwin Awards, and told me that if she ever saw me get lured out of the water for the traditional "stupid surfer" interview with Jim Cantore, she'd disown me. So, sorry, Jim. Even though you're easily the sexiest meteorologist ever, you'll have to talk to some other surfer!