Today i made an appointment to see a doctor who specializes in adult ADD. i’ve been meaning to for a long time, but I keep getting distracted. you know how it is. Now, you know what, i don’t think that Attention Deficit Disorder is either a Deficit or a Disorder. it’s torture, i’ll tell you what, but it’s a surfeit, rather than a deficit. And it’s a set of coping mechanisms, it IS. Also, it’s imposed as a pathology by the Medical Industrial Complex, eh–if we each think that it’s something wrong with us, we don’t get together to make the necessary social/political changes–we make appointments with ADD doctors, and modify our behaviours and take the pills according to his instructions and assimilate. “Resistance is futile”.
But it’s not something in me. Look around! well, okay, don’t. All that information (not knowledge, mind you, nope); all that music and colour and big noise and shiny stuff and all those caffeinated beverages and all those pills and powders and supplements and books and videos and articles and microfibre and training tips and look at that cute puppy! and why don’t you have any children and will you sign our petition for equal marriage?
It’s endless, I tell you. And there are so many causes and injustices and inequities and battles to fight and there’s a war on women–how do I pick?
The other day, I went into this store near where i’m staying. It’s a fancy soap store, with all kindsa smelly exfoliant and moisturizing crap everywhere. I love that stuff, eh. Did you know that about me? Big ol’ dyke, with a thing for soap. well. I’ve had ‘a thing’ for way more destructive stuff, lemme tell ya.
Anyhow, so there i was and i got sweet-talked into a couple of these bodybutter bars. One with black current and another with almonds in it. yummy. And cocoa butter and shea butter and stuff. I made a joke to the young woman selling ’em to me, I said, “jeez, i might want to shave these into a salad or spread it on toast, too”. She looked at me blankly. “Why would you want to do that? Oh, no, you don’t want to eat it”.
Anyhow, I’m staying in a neighbourhood where everyone spends money they ain’t got on shit they don’t need. And I’m totally like that, myself. It’s been worse since I stopped drinking, I think. But it’s the same compulsion, ya? I have a need, something inside that’s not there, some kind of yearning for…i don’t know what. And I also have credit cards. And there are those beautiful things on display and maybe if i just exfoliate and moisturize, i’ll feel complete. or, um, ‘complete-er’. Or something.
But it beats drinkin’. and i have some insight, anyhow.
Anyhow, so as i was paying for my new soul mortar (i’ll call it that for now–I’m saving it, maybe i’ll give it away as a gift to someone I love, then i won’t feel so self-indulgent), the young woman at the till asked if I wanted to sign their petition for ‘equal marriage’ rights in the U.S.
Why do I do this?
I said, “Well, you know what, i’m not really down with marriage at all”. and both these women looked at me with the same kind of uncomprehending, yet disapproving stare. Same look that younger sister gave me when i made that joke about shaving the body bar into my salad.
But I carried on, especially as one of ’em said, “oh? why not?”
“Well, you know, it’s a heterosexist patriarchal institution that isn’t founded on mutual respect and equality–”
and she said “but people can’t get benefits or their partner’s pension plans, or…”
“I know, but economic reasons are the only reasons to get married, really, why can’t everyone get taken care of like that, rather than sign ownership papers for each other–we’re fighting for the wrong thing”
She kind of muttered, “okay, suit yourself” and busied herself with some kind of smelly soapy thing under the counter.
the other one, the one who didn’t get my joke about eating the bodybutterbar, she said, in that kind of polite way you talk to the earnest young people with Greenpeace folders, or the religious who come to your door sometimes, or slightly daft conspiracy theorists who button-hole you at parties–she said, “i never thought of it like that”
“it’s good for men.” I said, “not so good for women”. I tried to…I don’t know, look like a nice person, though, and said, “I don’t think anyone should be, um, punished for getting married, i just think it’s not a solution to…” oh, Erin. just stop, already. solution to WHAT? yea. that’s a bad path you’re heading up on, no one has this kinda time…
She nodded, her smile fixed on her face–I could practically hear her sigh with relief when I said, “well, uh, good luck with that” and headed for the door.
my belly churned all the way to D and A’s place. That was a good hour bike ride away. I was invited to a little celebration for their youngest daughter who had just turned 10. her older sister had just turned 12. their mothers are not married. they have been together for 19 years, and I have known them for longer than that, especially D. We have been organizers and front-line workers and activists and actors together. We have fought and fallen out with each other and stumbled and told each other our deepest secrets and sorrows. We are family, and we never signed any papers that gave us state approval for our love for each other. We’re not in each others wills, we don’t share a pension plan, we don’t even see each other much-but those little girls, they have known me since they were embryos, since they were unknowable. And those grown women, they have known me in my very worst moments, and some of my best as well–as I have known them–and somehow we recognize, and will always recognize, that the kind of friendship we have forged here is the kind that we all deserve.
I talked to D a week or so ago, and we had an intimate moment together, and offered appreciations to each other for the times when we stepped up for each other. Like when i first sobered up in 2001, and D called me EVERY DAY for three weeks to say congratulations, and keep it up. And she doesn’t much like telephones. things like that. And when we were going through a rough patch, and D wasn’t up to calling or getting out much, and I called every so often, and said, “I love you” in one way or another into the answering machine. And Christmases together and bringing my mom over to meet the girls, and trying to be a good bad influence (“you’re a GREAT bad influence!” the younger one said to me last time we had an evening together). small things. small things. twenty years of small things one by one build into the other night, when we were having sushi and celebrating the births of two little girls growing big and smart and happy–protected and cherished–and we made plans to picnic at the beach, and we talked about the organizing meeting i was going to, and what we had done twenty years ago that could inform the actions we are taking now. Personal and political.
See what happened there? i started off talking about going to some ADD doctor and got all side-tracked. But not, kind of…