Being â€œBack Homeâ€ (as opposed to At Homeâ€”the Germans are so much better at grammar) is seriously fucking with my Timesense. It’s not a bad thing, just as every â€œbeing fuckedâ€ isn’t a bad thing. It’s just taking me out for a serious spin, is all.
I was driving my nephew Nick back to his father’s house, which is in what we all thought of as the â€œrich sectionâ€ of town back in the day, which is also the house that my great Aunt Ann and Uncle George lived in until a year ago. It’s a small town: it doesn’t need San Francisco’s magical air to syncretize the world.
Anyway, I took a right hand turn at where the Hoagie Bar used to be (I would suck at giving directions around here) and headed up through New Goss Manor, what used to pass for an upscaled housing development and, I suppose, still is (when you’ve lived with San Francisco housing prices, the price of any house in this area seems expressed in MonopolyÂ® money). I was relaying to Nick that coincidentally, a bunch of girls that I went to High School with lived in this part of â€œthe manorâ€. As I said this, I noticed an 18 yr old girl (or thereabouts…what do I know about girls, much less teen girls?) with her hair in a ponytail and she was sitting on the front lawn of one of the houses.
And for a moment, I looked more closely to see if she was someone I was in school with.
I didn’t tell Nick that, for fear of scaring him that someone so enfeebled was driving a car with him in it, but I did start to laugh. I suppose that was worse, for the look he gave me.
I find it rather effortless to slip into forgetting When I am. I’ve noted this before on these pages. This was more…immersive. I zipped past Laura Shelby’s house…then Laura Wright’s and Helene Harris’ houses and still thought they might be home. To the right was where Lisa Mikulis lives (not lived, lives). Lisa was my Junior Prom date (it was a pleasant and platonic evening, in case you were wondering andIknowyouweren’t).
The Alarm once sang: â€œMemories come flooding back, the bitter pain and disappointment…â€, but that was never me. I suppose with considerable effort I could muster bitterness for not having had any way in which to come out of the closet. Hell, it was so Normal here that I didn’t even know I was in a closet. The whole fucking place was a cultural closet. Homosexuals lived elsewhere and weren’t Good Catholic Boys. Lest you think this is written in anger, I’m merely trying to impress upon y’all that there weren’t heterosexuals, either. There just were People Who Grew Up And Got Married And Had Children. â€œGot Marriedâ€. That’s why so many people don’t want same-sex couples included in â€œmarriageâ€, methinks. The taking-for-grantedness of Life’s Rich And Fully Anticipated Pageantry is at stake, you flaunting-it poncyboys and prisondykes.
Ahhh, I kid the stereotypes.
This is the way it goes today, at least in my family: as I was pulling away from my brother’s house in my Mom & Dad’s (Jack & Marie’s) Chevy Malibu Maxxâ€”nice car, by the wayâ€”I asked Nick if he wanted to go see X3 with me. He asked his dad and his dad said, â€œas long as you’re home by 7â€. Nick responded, â€œThat’s gay.â€
My response? â€œThat’s ok, so am I!â€ Nick turns bright red. My brother is laughing so hard he almost falls over. Jessica laughs and shakes her head. â€œBut I’m the good kind of gay,â€ I added, and drove off.
From the responses I’ve gotten to the recent post about my family, I know how lucky I am to have such an amazing familyâ€”not just for their healthy (read: low) prioritization of sexual orientation as a conscious element in our lives, but for everything. My family is a communal being sometimes, and certain currents of thought and emotion form its bloodstream. It’s a creature you’d want to know. It’s kind and it’s generous and it loves without limit. It’s the Cleavers in color but without the hubris and the lies.
It’s that part of here and now that was there and then and will be alive forever.
There’s god-enough for me. And immortality is just the always-now.