See, this is my mother’s doing. One of my little projects has been collecting CD versions of records my parents had because some of those records were really good, and they’ve aged well, musically. Also: there’s no feeling quite like smiling as my co-workers make requests I fully intend to ignore while Harry Nilsson croons, “You’re breaking my heart/you’re tearing it apart/so fuck you.” For my birthday, Mom gave me Elton John’s “Caribou,” which I loved with my whole black heart but hadn’t heard during a Republican administration. It is just fantastic to rediscover a record you loved as a teenager, as I did last Tuesday night.
You’ve heard the expression “seeing the light.” I had no idea it could be taken literally, or that it’s not a metaphor one should consider in a Drug Free School Zone. Song 1 of “Caribou” was playing, and I was mumbling along, thinking about nothing in particular when I heard the words, probably for the first time since it was played to death on the radio in the seventies. I had a sudden, overwhelming revelation: ‘Oh. My. God. I get it! I have been too nice. I bent and broke myself to accommodate other people’s demands. I was pleasant to people who deserved public beatings! There’s no room in my life for jealousy. There’s no separating me from my friends, half of whom are my exes. I amputated the most interesting parts of my Self! No wonder I ended up on the couch watching TV and with no idea of what to do with me. Well, that’s enough, and I’ll never do it again. The bitch IS back.’ I was filled with this blinding, unstoppable joy. Nighttime Hamilton Street went white before my eyes, and I was so happy I almost drove off the road.
A few days later, Mom called. I can’t recount an entire verbatim phone call with my mother because you’d tear your eyeballs out with pliers and knowing that, I could be held liable if you did. She wanted to know what it would take to get me to a baby shower. I hate them, everything about them. Hate the preciousness, hate sandwiches with crusts cut off, hate women in packs – they’re like wolves with crystal punch bowls. Everyone knows I send a present and retreat to a defensible position with a liquor license. This’ll be different, she says near the conversation’s half-hour mark.
Mom: Your sisters are all excited. It’ll be like an afternoon tea…
Tata: It’d take an awful lot of gin for me to sit through this.
Mom: We could get you a flask. It’d fit nicely in those lunchboxes of yours.
Tata: There’d be no room for the elephant gun.
Mom: I think that’d be nice. Don’t tell your sisters. I’ll buy you some really good gin and with your propensity for…uh…
Tata: Drinking straight from the martini shaker in the presence of three or more women? You realize it’s pretty bent trying to lure me to a baby shower with booze, right?
Mom: Yes, of course! It’ll be like any other party you go to, only with gifts. And no strippers.
Tata: I’m not going, Mom.
Mom: Okay, we’ll talk about this later.
Mamie says the proper thing for me to do is to let her drive and fill a TV tray with teacups full of gin and lemon slices. Forensic experts can’t resist a lemon-scented teaspoon stabbing but that’s not really the reason I brought it up. The point is even after I remembered I was the Creamy Nougat Center of the Universe and not everyone was entitled to a nibble I was still reluctant to tell the deserving to friggin’ bite me.
Over at Running Scared this week, Mike tried to persuade us that some anti-abortion advocates had the same goals we on the left have, and we can trust them. For a variety of reasons, I will never fall for that bullshit. Let’s glance at history.
US reproductive rights history timeline.
Timeline for funding cuts based on administrations’ ideology.
The opposition’s timeline sure does feature more events. Let’s call them losses for our side.
Coalitions are based on bargains. No one’s going to join your political team if there’s nothing in it for him. I said on Running Scared there’s no room for compromise with the Antis, and there isn’t. We have bargained for decades with reproductive rights opponents and the right have been chipped away to a bare and embarrassing minimum. In a time when pharmacists don’t have to dispense birth control pills, clinics burn to the ground, doctors are driven out of business or murdered, and Supreme Court is so lopsided we should have taken to the streets years ago, there is no room to ponder what you can trade for some company at the barricades. You can’t trust the Antis to want what you want, no matter whom you talk to or how you package your alliance. I’ve got two words for you: fifth column. Got it? When you consider joining up with anti-abortion activists to preserve abortion and birth control, the same thing should happen in your head as when you string together the words “gay” and “Republican”: HEY! The REPUBLICAN PARTY couldn’t HATE GAYS more without a nasty public breakup. Gay Republicans: the party is actively trying to hurt you. Get some self-respect and get out!
Finally, I think I may be tired of talking to people for whom women’s rights and reproductive rights are merely interesting to think about, especially if it’s big with the chicks. The next time I see a man on a clinic picket line I’m getting out of my car and shouting, “Get lost, you pedophilic chipmunk. The humans are busy.” If your life depends on safe and legal health care, we can talk about this further. If not, bite me.