Define "a Life"...

... still searching for a clear definition of that thing people keep telling me I need to get...

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Location: Springfield, PA

Friday, May 06, 2005

Equal, But Separate

Mothra’s going to have to sit on the back burner for a little while. Godzilla vs Mothra is this close to high camp [holding fingers almost touching, maybe touching, it’s hard to tell…] and I want to be a lot funnier when writing about it. (I don’t know why I’m concerned about this either way, since, like, three or four people are reading these G posts anyway. I think the simple act of writing them is a flexing of muscles I’ve not be using in quite a while, though, so taking on GvM right now would be like trying to go for a long run when you’re already limping.) So the big moth is going to wait in its cocoon until I’m in a better mood.

So just why am I not in a good enough mood to write snarky commentary about a giant radioactive lizard fighting an enormous moth? Let me count the ways…

There’s the mom thing, for one. The second hospitalization of 2005 came back in mid-March, a couple of days before opening night for Midsummer Night’s Dream. Again, it was thru the ER, this time at Delaware County Memorial Hospital (the January incident was thru the ER at Springfield Hospital). One of the consequences of her being so sedentary and not eating well has been an assortment of bowel problems, from one extreme to the other. Not that she’s a poster child for poorly managed diabetes, but… well, actually, she is. Mix the bouncing blood sugar and the dehydration with the varying complaints of rheumatoid arthritis and you get a bit of a mess. She was in DCMH for six days, then transferred to Little Flower Manor, a nursing and rehab facility in Aldan, about ten or fifteen minutes from our house. She was there for the next two weeks, through the end of March. During that stay, things seemed to be one of two extremes: evidently needing care or complaining about its inadequacy or redundancy. She was admitted there for short-term care, although discharge did come with some provisions for continued care in home. Some. (Turns out Meals On Wheels doesn’t cover Springfield.) So we’ve had a home health care aide coming three days a week to handle bathing and such, a home care nurse and a physical therapist each visiting once a week; annoyingly, their individual schedules seem to fall such that they keep overlapping on some days, leaving other days when no one visits. As it is, they’re only here for about an hour when they do come. I go to work and there’s most of the day with her sitting or napping and not eating much or well. I’ve come home to find the prepared meal I left in the refrigerator still there untouched so many times I’ve all but given up on leaving them.

This situation has collapsed into such a tangled intractable mess, it’s doing a pretty persuasive job of convincing me that the last dozen years of my life have been a misdirected waste. Of course, it’s easy to be convincing when there’s no voice presenting a counter argument.

The utter lack of evidence in support of any counter argument makes it rather difficult to present a case of any sort, though. I guess that leads into numbers two, three, four and so on.

I didn’t see the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy movie this past weekend when it opened. Haven’t seen it yet, and don’t know when I will. Back weeks and weeks and weeks ago, I was taking seriously an invitation to roadtrip to Boston with my friend Kath and make the HHGG opening an excuse to visit our friends Anita & Phil, who I haven’t seen in, seriously, years. Arranged to have to weekend off from work (which, with two shows running, is something that needs arranging). I was figuring that mom was due for some improvement now that she was back at home. A week or so before the HHGG weekend, it was clear no improvement was coming. Not only was the check not in the mail, the bank was deeply overdrawn and the postal system itself was looking none too reliable. I did a little checking, found out my godparents wouldn’t be in town while I was gone, found out Little Flower Manor’s respite care had no openings, found out I was pretty much stuck. So no roadtrips for me just now.

Well, I could just hang out with Kathryn and Rusty and baby Tommy on Friday night and watch Star Trek: Enterprise further illustrate why it’s not coming back again next season. One of the effects of having an eleven month old is that you spend most nights hanging around the house. Haven’t seen them in a while, and they’d welcome the company. Of course, that would mean heading up to their place directly from work. Might actually be viable, if no one called and asked what I was bringing for dinner because she’d had nothing to eat since I gave her breakfast. Oh well.

So Saturday became shopping, and laundry, and watching Godzilla vs Mothra, and probably some other stuff I don’t remember. I considered going to see HHGG by myself, but my friend Mike had mentioned that he and his girlfriend and a couple of other friends were thinking about seeing it Sunday and he was going to call me if they went, so I decided to wait and see.

So Sunday became a bit of a white lie. I told mom we had matinees at work (which was true) and headed off to cover them (which I didn’t do, ‘cause I’d already arranged to have the weekend off). Instead, toting the cell phone in case Mike called with plans to see HHGG, I headed downtown to catch the last day of Philly’s Equality Forum. (It used to be PrideFest, I think, and I can’t help thinking that “Equality Forum” is a numbingly staid name for any LGBT event.) Something I’d run across online or on the TV earlier in the weekend had reminded me that this thing was going on. Frankly, I’m not sure what I was going for. I’d missed the cool ceremony stuff at Independence Hall. Missed the parade/march. Wasn’t about to pay the bucks for the concert down at Penn’s Landing, even if Cindy Lauper was going to be there. (If it had been the Indigo Girls…) Still, they’d closed off two blocks of Market Street in Independence Mall so there were tables with people holding sign-up for various groups and causes, tables selling caps, t-shirts and almost anything else you can put a rainbow on (including the place selling rainbow collars, leashes and doggy sweaters), and places selling insanely overpriced food and beer. I joined the Human Rights Campaign, a $50 membership fee which bought me a cool HRC baseball cap and a dreadfully brief feeling of empowerment.

I don’t attend church these days. Haven’t for a while. Bunch of reasons. Still, it being Sunday and all, I walked the few blocks over to Historic Christ Church for the interfaith service part of the Forum. At least I could be assured of not encountering some of the things that have been nudging me away from religion. Well, not encountering them at the service, at least – there was the requisite sign-toting group expressing their assurances of my godlessness outside Christ Church. Thing is, those groups actually make me want to be godless. Anyway, the service was nice enough. Kick-ass gospel choir plus gay and lesbian clergy from an assortment of denominations and faiths, all well spoken and cumulatively enthused enough to nudge me into hanging in the city a few more hours so I could actually go to the weekly Mass celebrated by the Philadelphia chapter of Dignity. Dignity is sort of the LGBT underground in the Catholic Church. The Philly chapter meets in the basement of an Episcopal church, since the Diocese doesn’t actually endorse or support the organization. Frankly, as an underground movement, it would feel more satisfyingly subversive if it met in a bombed out farmhouse or something, but I suppose that’s just the romantic in me.

By this point – going on 6:00 and waiting for Mass at 7:00 – I hadn’t heard anything from Mike so I figured the movie wasn’t going to happen. I think, now, that maybe I was wanting some sort of closure for the day, something that might be free of the conflicted feelings that had tangled up the rest of the time I’d spent downtown that afternoon. I have very mixed emotions at things like this. On the one hand, there’s something neat about being in a crowded street and knowing that the odds are most everyone else there is queer. I’m not saying that the only straight people around were the ones toting Fags Burn In Hell signs. Actually, I suspect that some of the ones toting those signs weren’t straight people, just very very mixed up fags who think of themselves as having been “cured” or something, but that’s another matter. My point is, I’m in the middle of a large crowd where I could shout “I’m gay!” and the responses would be “Of course you are, darling” or “So?” or “Me too!” or “Who isn’t?” or “And you’re wearing THAT?” or something clever or supportive or biting or snide that takes the essence of what I just said for granted because it applies to most everyone else there as well.

So how, in the midst of such evidence refuting my solitude, can I feel so isolated? It’s not just that there are lots of evident couples. That would be closer to envy or something. It’s this feeling I get that being out doesn’t help. I’m still alone.

It seems that any time I do something in an attempt to make things better the only result is that it clarifies the picture of just how bad things really are.

In the end, going to the Dignity Mass probably wasn’t a good idea. The basement was kind of disheartening to begin with: florescent lights ought not be used in anything involving God. The attendance was smaller than I had expected, a fact that didn’t benefit from its contrast with the full Christ Church a few hours earlier. And of thirty or so people there, I was one of the youngest, a fact of which I did not need to be reminded after having spent the afternoon in a street full of happy queer twenty-somethings. I don’t know how much of it was the basement atmosphere, how much the company, how much the unfamiliar and off-putting tweeks and changes to the language of the Mass, and how much my general disconnection from things spiritual, but there was little for me to support the idea that we were celebrating anything. We’re hiding in a basement declaring our right to equal inclusion in a Church that won’t even host our meeting under its own roof. Yes, I know I’m coming into this seriously pissed off at organized religion and none too happy with God these days, so I’m probably asking more of the Church than it’s capable of giving. I also know that my spiritual/religious life has always been a very solitary one, very internal, and I have no reasonable basis of expectation for what a faith community should be giving me. I confess that I was harboring some hope it would give me some dating prospects. Okay, that’s probably not realistic. Maybe my discomfort and dissatisfaction here have less to do with issues of sexuality than with matters of religion and God in specific and general. Anyway, it wasn’t an inspiring way to end a day that left me feeling much more apart than a part.

And, yeah, I know this was much more a whiney Live Journal sort of thing than a proper blog post. Or at least what I had considered a proper post for this blog. But I don’t have a Live Journal, nor do I really want to start one, so I’m posting this here. Sorry. But I promise Mothra will show up eventually (probably before that post about Bubba Ho-Tep and Shaun of the Dead)…

8 Comments:

Blogger Sharon GR said...

Wow.

Don't say "Sorry"- it's your blog and you should say whatever you want to say. And it sure sounds like you needed to say this all to someone, all of us someones.

Part of me wants to suggest ways to help (find a support group for caretakers, try the Episcopal or Unitarian church, tell you your life is certainly NOT a "misdirected waste," things like that) because I'm a mom and we do that sort of thing. But I'm sure you've heard it all before.

But we'll listen (or read as the case may be.) That's what friends do. So don't apologize for getting this off you chest. I hope you feel a little better just unloading it all.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Greg! said...

Sharon,

Thanks.

This is turning out to be a pretty dark ride.

12:33 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

having visited with your mom on many occasions (albeit decades ago), this is a sad tale. my best wishes to you and her.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Definitely sorry to hear about your mother, Greg. Even sadder to hear about how lonely you feel. As has been said, though we're no real substitue for a person to share your life with, we are your friends.

I can understand a little what you must feel regarding the church and all of its crap. For what it's worth to you, you are in Christine and my prayers. Don't worry, they don't get funneled through the Church.

5:04 AM  
Blogger Greg! said...

Dave --

"decades ago"...? Jeez, Dave, don't make me feel any older than necessary. I mean, it's only been like twenty-two years or something since we graduated high school. It's not like that was DECADES ago... well, actually... uh, I guess it was. Oh.

Shit. We're old.


Mark --

Thanks for the prayers and the long-distance support.
I think on some level that I'm not conscious of twenty-four hours and fifty-three minutes of the day this emphatic reminder of my mom's mortality is poking me with a sharp awareness of how alone I will be when she's gone. So many of the choices I've made over the years have been to accomodate her, to prevent her from being too alone. Lately I can't help feeling a sort of "no good deed goes unpunished" irony to the whole thing.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Indianrunner12 said...

How many WPM can you type? Jeeze i hope its like 200 or otherwise you have way to much time on your hands. And you deffinitly do need to get a life.

I found a bootleg revenge of the sith on Kaza.I'm gonna go to the midnight showing and talk really loud about the best parts, before they happen.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

oh man, indianrunner... you are EEEEVIL!

and yes, greg, we're 'old' - if there's one thing you can say, you're younger than me. i turn 40 first!

perhaps i should not have used the word 'decades,' but there it is.

12:01 PM  
Blogger Christian said...

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3:51 PM  

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