Sparking My Own Evolution

One word at a time...


October 31
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The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars... *************************************** -Jack Kerouac ***************************************


JUNE 17, 2010 12:09PM

My Gay Playdate

Rate: 40 Flag

"Come on in," she motioned opening up her home to my daughter Sunshine and I. 

We tromped into the sparsely decorated living room, took off our shoes, and I was immediately swept over to the bookcase where a picture of her giggly son Justin stood.

"Ahhhhh...this is so cute!"  Was my predictable exclamation.

Truth is, he is very adorable.  What kid isn't at 8?  But, Justin is adopted from Guatemala and has a very statuesque, Mayan face for a little man.  He is a real cute guy.

The kids ran off to play some video game and I settled in at the kitchen table with a cup of tea, ready to chat casually with this new mom as our kids played together for the first time.

YES, I am one of those mothers; the overprotective type which needs to meet every parent her child plays with.  Karen apparently comes from the same tightly-wound mother camp, as she invited me to come along before I had to ask.

"You know, I just had one of the neighbors from the ONE church (we live in a small community and there is one predominately popular conservative church here) over on my doorstep asking me about immigration policies.  She stood here for an hour grilling me about how could I support Obama when Glenn Beck says..." her voice trailed off.  

I began to cross my fingers and toes under the table that she was a liberal as soon as I heard the grand ol' boys name hit the air.  Simultaneously, I prepared to be diplomatic, just in case.

"Can I presume you're not conservative then?"  I asked cautiously.

"I am a gay atheist, I am about as bleeding heart as they come!"

Did I just hear her correctly?

Here's the thing, people are just not that up front around here.  While Washington as a whole is very liberal leaning, I am out in the country of the ONE church and you learn to mind your Ps and Qs (and other non-essential letters), especially around the moms of my daughter's classmates.  In the past, most of my parent meetings have been pretty superficial, just enough touching base to ensure the person isn't an axe murderer and the subsequent finger printing I make them take (okay, the last part was a lie, but I would if I could).  I had lost any expectation beyond idle chit chat.

I found myself wondering,  how do I reply appropriately without showing any signs of shell shock?   

"Well Holy Hell, it's about time I met someone of my political acuity around here.  We can both chant kumbaya together at the next 'Day of Silence' while all the other moms gawk."  This is what flew out of my mouth, with all caution being thrown to the wind.  

Phew, I hope I didn't sound like a total asshat.

Karen bent over at her middle and produced the most charming howl.  The 'Day of Silence' is a controversial day where our only high school's students stand together in solidarity to honor the gay students amongst their ranks - it is organized by the students.  What makes it controversial is how the ONE church reacts to this day, asking parents to keep their kids home in protest.  Those who do go to school that day, whether gay or in support of other gay friends, are sometimes harassed by those who disagree with "that lifestyle," is how I've heard it phrased.

We spent the next several hours talking obout our kids, Spanish, adoption, playdates, marriage, dating, human rights, current liberal policies and much, much more.  Her father is a retired psychiatrist so she was very understanding about my needs to help my daughter manager her PTSD.  We groused about the ONE church, the weird effect the influx of people settling here in the last several years has had on morphing our town into a commuter haven, and how we were thankful to have found each other as allies in this pocket of conservatism. 

Gay or straight - we were just human beings with much more in common than not.

She spoke about how being gay around here was frowned upon at times.  Although I could not relate to that personally, I empathized with her.   There were children who were not allowed to come play at her house, with parents giving one excuse or another.  It just never occurred to me to even consider someone's sexuality when I meet them, it isn't anything I find relevant in how I perceive people.  

Yet, there is still a percentage of the population who still finds it extremely relevant, to both our dismays.  

At the end, I found myself doing a skippy clap (imagine a golf clap really fast) about my fortune of finding a kindred friend at my daughter's playdate.  Since then, I have had the pleasure of getting to know one of the brightest and most imaginative people to come into my life in a very long time.  We both figure that is how ignorance is overcome, one friendship at a time.

It was my daughter's playdate, right?

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This is wonderful. Well written and true. I would have headed for the door when I heard Glenn Beck's name. Good on you. Well done! R
Gosh, you have so many excellent quotes here, if I started quoting you I'd be here all day and then the yard wouldn't get mowed and the laundry wouldn't get folded, and the diningroom would still be a wreck this evening and....

Oh. But we were talking about YOU, weren't we? Truly, this is such a marvelous piece at so many angles. I love it! kp
Many of my daughter's playdates are more mine than hers. Congrats on finding a friend!
How fortunate you are to have found a friend who thinks like you. I am surrounded by mean conservatives. By mean, they send text to each other with racial jokes about Obama. They think Fox News is the bible. I'm glad you have someone to talk and laugh with.
Nice to be able to laugh and play especially when we first meet someone. Really nice!
The very best play dates are for the parents and the kids! There are treasures, even in the most rural, "red," areas . . . so glad you found one!
My best freinds are from 20 years ago when we formed a "playground" for the kids! Glad you had fun Sparking - you certainly deserve it.
Wonderful piece and do not get me started on Glen Beck.
Rated with hugs
Yes, yes, yes! I'm am happy you have found a kindred spirit!
wow, aren't you the lucky duck?! finding a kindred soul -- on your kid's playdate or wherever -- doesn't happen very often and surely not often enough. and it's such a pleasure to read it written about as well as this is (even if i have no idea wtf a golf clap is), so thanks for that!
My kids are now 19 and 22 but we still refer to a certain set of friends as playgroup. After 20 years we have been together through all the highs and lows of life- weddings, graduations, aging parents, divorces, deaths, and long ago moved from juice and graham crackers to dinners and wine. It is a special bond we form when our kids are young.
When I was young, one of my best friends mother was gay. She actually was famous, Audrey Lorde. I just knew that she lived with her friend. My mother knew, The family had had a documentary about them on PBS, but we never discussed it until much was never important to my mother....I think we finally discussed last year. R
You owe me half a roll of Bounty paper towels, Lady!

As soon as I read, "I am a gay atheist, I am about as bleeding heart as they come!" I spewed coffee all over my desk!

Stellar post. Thank you so much!

(and I'll send you the bill!)
a great story. even in "liberal" california, we often find ourselves surrounded by right-wing, bigoted asses. i wish the parents of our kids friends were more like you...
As you know by this and I'm sure many other occurances, one finds friends without looking ~ they appear when they are ready and you are ready.
Sounds new-agey, I know, but its just my experience! So glad you 2 found each other.
No, it was YOUR playdate and I'm so happy you found someone that has common interests and views and you can just be you. It's hard to find and I imagine she feels just as happy. Your playdate made me feel gay. :)
Thank you all for coming by today! I'm on the road using my iPhone to touch base and say thank you for coming by! I am honored to support the safe bet project - much love to Suzy and Amy fir organizing this. I truly believe we evolve one conversation at a time!
Sounds like great companionship!
Great to see this.
Fantacular find Sparking! Not sure where this is from but apropos, “The open-minded see the truth in different things: the narrow-minded see only the differences.”... RRR
I really like your view of overcoming ignorance, one friendship at a time. In contrast to overcoming hate, one battle at a time. I don't get why anyone's sexual inclinations are anyone else's business, or what it has to do with a person's value either. HolyHell indeed. Kumbaya!
Our children often lead us to lasting friendships. Great story, Sparking.
Perfect piece.
And a lucky day indeed!
Love this story. Lucky you. Lucky Karen. Oh, lucky kids too.
I live in a conservative county in a conservative state, so I can totally relate to this. An excellent story, and I loved your quick reaction.
GREAT great post, Sparking. =o)

May you both be a small thorn in the side of the ONE church for a long time.

Well it WAS her playdate. Luckily, you made it your own. Congratulations on finding a kindred spirit. They are special.
Wow! How cool for you to have a new friend who's sensibilities are similar to your own, not to mention political leanings.
Oh, this was perfect. And hilarious. So aptly titled. I loved it. So nice to meet a real kindred spirit, and a mouthy one at that!

*Giggles with glee and does her own happy dance*

P.S. Favourite quote: "the ONE church." Oh boy, does that ever sum up all religious institutions of that nature...although strictly speaking, some of them are not churches.
Don't you love it when you meet someone and you know almost immediately that you've found a friend? It's so exciting--like being on a first date. I hope you have many, many more happy playdates with your new pal.
And I understand about Washington. It's amazing to me how Seattle and some of the working class towns around it keep the whole state from being red. And, I'm ashamed to say, Glenn Beck is from Washington--Mt. Vernon.
As it should be! I really enjoyed your telling of the story. I love the way you have included your self-talk in evaluating your responses and examining, or rather reinforcing, your values.
congrats on finding new friends for your daughter and yourself, if you look around you might find you have the ONE church outnumbered after all
Hurrah! I'm sure she was as relieved as you were. It is so refreshing and relaxing to meet a kindred spirit. You can feel your soul expand and grow mellow. It is jarring so run up against an unexpected bigot lying in the weeds. The piercing shriek of mental brakes applied with panic is deafening.
An excellent story with a positive message. Thank you for sharing.
so very lovely. rated!
My cough medicine was working reasonably well, but then I read, "Well Holy Hell, it's about time I met someone of my political acuity around here. We can both chant kumbaya together at the next 'Day of Silence' while all the other moms gawk."

Now I'm coughing and can't breathe that well. THANKS!

Loved this. Loved the part about learning one friendship at a time. R
Nice! A true friendship worth nurturing. You're both very lucky. I'm doing a skippy-clap for you. Great story.