I tend to get my news from the web. Why? Even though there are significant downsides (perhaps more down- than upsides)—most especially the self-selecting behavior that locks you into self-serving ignorance—it’s much easier to avoid the fluff-pieces. It’s much easier to avoid the media’s idea of “balanced” news stories (e.g., Creationism does not deserve equal time with evolution). It’s much easier to ingest the information at your own leisure.
Tonight I was maneuvering TiVo (top of the hour is a tricky time), so that I could get back to watching the Tonys (yes, I’m at least that gay).
I landed on the local news, which had a story about same-sex marriage. More to the point, it was about the much-anticipated legal recognition of (not “legality of” as the reporter called it) same-sex marriages. It’s a supreme, potentially embittering irony that same-sex marriage shows up at a time in my life where not only do I no longer have someone in my life with whom to contemplate marriage, but that I have been knocked down enough that I am not even ready consider being with anyone with whom I might contemplate marriage.
Naturally, my thoughts fly backwards: I visit each relationship as an exercise in
futility what could have been (I’m too fragile to consider what really was). Movement backwards is never easy. It’s never healthy. I’m not talking about remembering: Memory is a gift, a blessing. Like any powerful influence, the chance for abuse is great. Like any narcotic (chemical or spiritual) addiction is a danger. The danger of addiction to the Past (or to anything) brings the exact same cost: you lose the Present. You forget to live.
Don’t forget to live.
In all candor, the news was difficult to watch. I didn’t stop watching, though. So much excitement: a wedding chapel in the Castro. Same-sex wedding bands. The Mayor performing the very first marriage at 5pm tomorrow. So exciting!
So far away.
But only the weak-minded and small-hearted can look at the personal successes and happinesses of others and keep to their selfish negativities. In the abstract, availability of civil marriage is a beautiful thing. In a free society, there are no concrete obligations within the context of the civil marriage, but in the context of good will the spiritual and emotional obligations are obvious.
Good will is a thing in short supply. No one knows how good will comes into existence, but we all know how it leaves. It does not follow the laws of conservation of the rest of the world which, I suppose, gives it the freedom to blossom without limit. It may not follow that marriage will change the people who enter it, but the availability of something so long wanted may prove fertile soil.
Hope won’t die.
By the time the story ended—after “balancing” the story with Fundie idiots saying they don’t hate homos but they think homos are going to ruin all of society by tying the knot (sigh)—my balance was restored and I’m back in the mindset that the increase in happiness after 5pm tomorrow will be palpable: a rising tide raises all boats!
All the while I’ve been writing this, the Tonys have been going on. There’s a revival of Sunday in the Park with George this year, and it’s up for at least one award. The selection from it—shown right after the presentation of an honorary award to Stephen Sondheim (nice touch)—was ‘Move On’.
Serendipity and simultaneity never fail to astound me, even for how frequently such stuff happens in San Francisco.
The words of that song have inspired me in so many ways, so many times. Its literal meaning is to do with creativity, but Broadway music is never ever solely literal. So this song is also about fear and about the future, about love and vulnerability and opportunity, and intimacy. All those things that are so difficult to be or do, but provide so much upside. And so much downside, perhaps.
Moving On past any lingering or niggling bitterness or sadness about my distance from a true marriage—including the insidiousness of my doubts that most of the couples I’ve known won’t likely appear to live up to any of the ideals of marriage whether or not they get married—had its effect once again. How a single song can deliver so many different and varied epiphanies, I don’t think I’ll ever understand. Truth suffers from too much analysis.
Later, there was a tribute to “Rent”, including the appearances of the original cast members of the play, including a reprise of the main song. In the chorus?
“Measure your life in Love.”