Just in time for Valentine’s Day

“Before the 18th century, lovesickness had for thousands of years been accepted a recognised ailment. But for the past 200 years it has been out of favour with medical practitioners as a proper diagnosis…”

Dark ages are over, apparently for teen hearts of all ages, as lovesickness is making a comeback as a diagnosable, treatable disease. All that suffering over S.? I should have sought medical help. That inability to cope when sitting next to R. in the lunch room? Totally clinical. What a relief to know that when I thought I was just going to DIE if I didn’t get to see J. again, I really could have actually dropped dead!

The last time I fell in love, I mean really plunged over the precipice, the object of my affections and I were married. Good thing, too, because “People can die from a broken heart.”

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Bush League

Last night I dreamt I was one of the Bush girls. Not the blonde one, of course. The brunette, Lauren? No, that’s the cousin. Barbara. That’s her. Anyway, I was the brown haired one. And I was having a little difference of opinion with George over the inauguration. See, my best friend was that terrible entertainment reporter that looks like a frog, what the hell is his name? He’s on Entertainment Tonight, I think, he’s blonde and very skinny and often in leather pants and has scarecrow hair, you know the one. Anyway, he’s as “gay as Christmas” (a turn of phrase I have always enjoyed and hope you are not offended by). See, I was getting in to it with George over gay rights.
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How handy that I come from a culture that has a whole set of rules for mourning. Sitting ‘shiva’ lasts for seven days, though you are supposed suspend that during the Sabbath. Your diet should include eggs and lentils, which, like meatballs, are round and symbolize the cyclical nature of life. During the seven days that you mourn, you should “suspend all worldly activities, and devote full attention to remembering and mourning the deceased.” Even God is supposed to have observed ‘shiva’ following the the great flood – “seven days for the destruction of the world.”

I mention this tradition because there’s a ton of mail and commentary kicking around about how things “aren’t that bad” or how we should “buck up and get back to work.” And to all of you who are already there, I say Hallelujah to your accelerated recovery and thanks for getting right back on that horse. But I’m going to sit out for a few more days and mourn. There’s nothing wrong with me and there’s nothing wrong with the idea that I should contemplate my loss.

Yeah, it might be tainted with bitterness and anger but hopefully reflection will bring me out to the other side. After all, it was optimism that made me put my shoes on and spend all that time on the campaign. I think the joy of involvement was apparent on the faces of everyone there. There was an incredible amount of good there.

But hey, Michael Moore, John Kerry, and especially George W. Bush, don’t talk to me about healing and reconciliation right this minute, okay. I’m in mourning until next Tuesday.

“At the conclusion of the Shiva, it is customary for the mourners to go out of the house and walk around the block. This act signifies, on one hand, the beginning of a return to the world of daily living, and on the other hand, a symbolic escorting of the soul of the departed.” Tuesday, I’ll go take a little walk around the neighborhood.

Read more about sitting shiva here.

In the Ghetto

My friend C. came for dinner last night. C. was born in England and he’s lived here for many years. C. is gay and like all my gay friends, he’s spinning over the 11 states that voted against marriage rights. He’s been joking, in a not very funny way, about starting to wear a pink triangle. He’s also been reading the Nuremburg laws to see if he can pinpoint the place at which things started to change. The whole idea makes my skin crawl, not just because I’m Jewish. We weren’t rushing to conclusions about how we are now just like Nazi Germany, we’re more sensible than that, but we did both ask what, exactly, it was that made people know it was time to start packing. By the time they got to Kristalnacht, it was way too late, but were the marriage laws the turning point?
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Those crazy christians

I am finally going this weekend to get passport photos taken so I can get mine renewed. I know Jay is all happy over Jimmy Breslin’s assertion that cell phone users are the dark matter that will decide the election, but I’m looking at those electoral college numbers and thinking I really do need to pay more heed to plan B.

I was still flabergasted that Bush can still be doing that well, despite everything everything about him lying about his service, WMDs, Iraq, Abu Ghraib, etc. Then I get a reminder buried in an article today on CNN about some stupid anti-gay group boycotting Proctor and Gamble for not supporting Cincinatti’s law discriminating against gay couples’ marriages.

In the 1980’s, a rumor spread through evangelical Protestant churches that the company was connected to Satan. The company eventually filed libel suits against individuals it said were spreading the rumor.

I tend to forget how much of this country is just plain insane. Maybe I should plan to move anyway.

Small joys

If anyone’s wondering why I haven’t posted much in a while, it’s 8:40 pm and I’m still stuck in my office in deepest Bellevue. Crazy, crazy workload right now. In this weakened state, it was a mis-addressed email that almost sent me over the edge. I can’t live without the stupid auto-complete function in Outlook (it would take 3x as long to address my mails) but I can’t live with it pulling up every damn David I’ve ever emailed when I just want to ping Smithlet.

So I Googled for a few minutes and, bless the Lord, finally learned how to edit the Outlook email-address autocomplete list. And it’s so easy I wanted the cry–you just highlight an offending name in the drop down and… press delete. Looking at the comments on the linked page, I’m not the only frustrated by the very un-Microsoft simplicty of this approach.

Still, it made my day. And that, my friends, is a sad comment on my day.

“Why am I the only honest bigot?”

Slate has a thoughtful article on how our disavowal of racism makes it harder to confront our own racist impulses. It’s quite a confessional on the part of the author, who has more credentials than 99% of us if she wanted to simply declaim “I am not a racist.” She also goes in a bit more for class struggle than is fashionable these days–and props for that. It’s a good read, ending with this observation:

“It’s not bigotry per se that hamstrings us in the struggle to achieve a just society. It’s our inability to talk about and think our way through our preconceptions. We have to learn how to forgive each other, and more importantly ourselves, when we’re stupid.”

More on airlines, fear, and racism

This started as a comment but then got too long. I, too, read the Salon article, various blog posts, and the original article… and while I share Paulette’s concern about racial profiling, I just don’t think it’s fair to equate the article–or the concerns it rests on–with xenophobic expressions along a continuum that ends in anti-Arab hate crimes. Just because this is being used by talk radio idiots to fuel hysteria does not make telling the story an ipso facto act of racism. For reasons I’ll get into in a moment, I found it interesting and important. And pace the fact that I almost always share David’s love for Patrick Smith’s prose stylings, I think he takes some cheap shots at Jacobsen.

Though the tone of the article is undeniably hysterical in places, and though I’m sure some details were embellished in their retelling, I’m unwilling to dismiss the issue out of hand. The author has some pretty decent credentials (time spent in the Middle East, initial friendliness with the passengers in question) that keep the story from feeling like a racist screed.

Nobody, I believe, has debunked her assertion that it was this incident that led to the increased onboard security that I found so unsettling last week. I can attest personally to the renewed seriousness with which the airlines are taking the “congregating in the aisles” issue. My Alaska flights to and from Newark last week were logistically quite difficult due to the “no queueing” rules. There were about 8 extra announcements about when the lavatories would be locked, how long until the meal service that would block access to the lavs, and how absolutely no passengers from coach could enter the first-class cabin for any reason. This applied to white little me as well as everyone else.

The attendants were very keyed up about it, and their anxiety made me anxious. I almost posted it about it at the time. I’ve been flying all my life, but it’s to the point where I need to get a prescription for Xanax for when I fly. Between the chaos at the airport and concerns about security (coupled with the physical constraints of not being able to walk around the cabin), I’ve just been a basket case lately on long flights.
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