I've been thinking about competition, and me and L'Ailee's very different attitudes towards it, since writing about her feelings regarding certain racecar drivers earlier this week. It's yet another way we're radically different. She's Siberian and I'm Floridian, she's skinny and I'm chubby, she's bald and I'm not cutting my hair shorter than mid-back, and she's super-competitive and I'm super *not*. Actually, I've thought about it since watching last week's episode of the Office (Gods, I love that show, can't wait for the finale tonight). Pam goes back to her old high school to help recruit interns. She talks about the memories the gym brings back: "Faking PMS to get out of playing basketball, faking PMS to get out of playing volleyball..."
I laughed in recognition. I faked PMS a lot, and of course, when I was hit by a car at age 16, I played that card for all it was worth. L'Ailee didn't understand: "Why would anyone do that?" PMS made her play harder--she was angrier, and activity helped her with her cramps. Even though she's 4'11", she gave basketball a try and refused to let taller girls brush her off. Meanwhile, I hated team sports of any kind. I hated being evaluated and judged. Competition simply didn't thrill me much. Plus, being pressured to do things I don't want to makes me really muley. I am very comfortable with the word "no," perhaps a bit too much so.
The first time I worried that she might not be the girl for me was when her best friend laughingly told me about the time she got ejected from one of her field hockey games (she loved the combination of wielding a stick and wearing a flippy little skirt) for tripping an opponent. I got over it soon enough--after all, we were no longer in high school, and field hockey wasn't a factor anymore. Then I told her about how I responded to gym coaches' attempts to shame me for not being fast enough. I'd smile, shrug, and say, "Hey, somebody's gotta be last, it may as well be me." She could not have looked any more shocked--disgusted, even--had I told her that I was raised Klingon. *She* never came in last. If she had've, the coach wouldn't be saying anything, 'cause she'd have been too busy restraining L'Ailee from committing hara kiri right there on the track.
It's not only sports. She psyches out her chess partners. I no longer find it peculiar that she'll kick her best friend under the table or trash-talk him just to get an advantage. We won't play games of any kind together because she doesn't get the "it's only a game" concept and I don't understand the importance of giving 110 percent. I believe this rule has helped to keep our marriage a good one.
We understand each other a little better now. I know that competition, both athletic and in chess, was what allowed L'Ailee to feel okay about herself while enduring an adolescence that could easily have ground her down. Literally, she desperately needed to feel like a winner. She has learned that I have passion, it just lies elsewhere. She knows that I come from a large family full of crazy-competitive people, and that being more easygoing allowed my brother and I to differentiate ourselves. We give each other insights into mindsets that are practically alien to us. We broaden each others' perspectives. We balance out. Life tends to do that.
Vote for Patrick Carpentier to get into next week's All-Star Race! Do it now, do it lots! Why? He says he'll run a lap naked! He's done it before! Seriously, this has got to be way more fun than that stupid burnout contest. Not surprisingly, Carpentier is the official choice of my GLBT NASCAR e-mail list.
The British tourists trapped at the Wolong Panda Reserve have been flown out! Taking all the hope we can get...
A closeted teenage Republican needs help on coping with a very vocal Democratic family.
Bedbugs are awful. They are spreading. Here is advice for renters.
Just another reason why man-loving women should be grateful that the institution of marriage has changed!
After a painfully brief window of cultural openness, Russia has once again become an extremely inhospitable place for LGBTs. Saturday, the 17th, is the International Day Against Homophobia, and there will be rallies in solidarity with Russian LGBTs. New York's is tomorrow, 12 noon, in front of the Russian Consulate. We are *so* there...
Finally...oh, a teensy-tinesy insignificant little thing...CALIFORNIA IS NOW THE SECOND STATE IN THE UNION THAT ALLOWS SAME-SEX MARRIAGE!!!!!! I literally had to run laps around my building this afternoon--it was that or SCREAM HELLLLLLLLL YEAAAAHHHHH!!!! If my coaches could have seen me, they wouldn't have felt compelled to say a damn thing. :-)