At this point, I barely know my own name, much less where, exactly, I am or what I’m doing here. This past week (WAIT. Seriously, it’s only been a week?) has been all sorts of topsy-turvy, and I don’t think it’s going to change for at least another week, so if I start speaking in tongues or my head comes completely unmoored from my neck, well, it’s been nice knowing you all.
We moved ourselves and the three cats into a hotel in Seattle on Wednesday, packed all our belongings on Thursday, watched guys load a truck on Friday, and flew out to California on Saturday. It doesn’t sound like too much, when I just write it like that, right? It was actually equal parts horrifyingly difficult and bizarrely boring: watching the movers pack with startling efficiency and absolutely no regard for the environment was sort of boring, since J and I had to be there, but were also somewhat in the way; transporting three cats through the airport security check line was horrifying it took three TSA agents to get them through, and I will never, ever complain about parents wrangling small children through those lines, because at least the cats were CONTAINED.
The TSA agents were surprisingly upbeat and helpful, and I was strongly tempted to TIP them, just because I suppose they could have given me a million pounds of attitude, and instead they told me the story about a zookeeper traveling with a baby cougar, and how my wee house cats were NO BIG DEAL.
The plane ride itself was the least stressful part, and the cats finally gave into their unavoidable situations and fell asleep. This blessed state of affairs lasted until we arrived at our hotel here on this end. I must pause here and give a shout out to the Residence Inns of the west coast, as our room in Long Beach is a carbon copy of the room we had in Seattle, down to the drapes and the art work hanging on the wall, and our cats, bless their pea-brains, don’t appear to be able to tell the difference.
On Sunday we picked up the keys to our new house and met the neighbor (a lesbian!! a young, hip, pleasant one!! our social lives, they aren’t dead after all!), and spent time mentally placing our furniture and generally freaking out about what, exactly, we’re going to do with the tool chest. We’re reduced to mentally placing our furniture, since at the time, it was still in a warehouse in Seattle, and as of this writing, it is (DEAR GOD, PLEASE) somewhere between San Francisco and LA, with a tentative arrival date of Friday.
Honestly, by Sunday evening, I’d had quite enough of change, THANK YOU VERY MUCH, and could have happily slept for the next two weeks without a second thought. But Monday morning found me up at 4am and in the car on the way to LAX for a flight to JFK, because what else was there to do, but spend two and half days in New York City?
The back story: I have a younger brother, and given our four year age difference, he will forever be a gangly 14-year-old in my head, no matter how many beers or bottles of champagne we share as adults. But my now VERY MANLY baby brother got married on Tuesday, and well, shit. You gotta be there for that, no?
Actually, it wasn’t that easy, and it made me think deeply about family. In less than two months, J and I will also get married, although our union is not legally binding here in the US, to us it carries the same weight as any other marriage ceremony (legal or otherwise). And in my mind, we’ve already become a family- and so I felt as if leaving her here in California to handle all the nitty-gritty of accepting our goods and getting our car and doing the rental walk-through ON TOP OF starting a new job on Monday would have been disrespectful of the family she and I are building, even if it did mean missing the wedding of my only sibling.
Not until that particular moment did “the personal is political” became well, HA HA, personal to me. What would I be saying about my familial relationship with J if I were so flip about running off to NYC a mere 2 days after we uprooted our whole lives? What would my native family think if I didn’t attend this wedding? If I did? Do I have a greater responsibility to my chosen relationship because there are people (not in my personal family, but in general) who don’t view it as real or legitimate? Why do I spend the mental energy to even contemplate these things, because, HELLO, NYC is my absolute favorite American city, and also there was free booze?
If, perchance, I needed one more bit of evidence that J is the best thing that ever happened to me ever, this would be it- last Tuesday she presented me with a ticket to JFK purchased with frequent flyer miles. J refused to let me miss an important family milestone, and for that she has forever cemented herself as MY family, first and foremost. Bonus for her: I think my mother cried with joy as much as I did upon hearing the news.
GOD THIS BLOG TALKS ABOUT GAYS A LOT.
Anyhoo. I arrived in New York on Monday afternoon, and the entire thing is a sweaty, sticky blur. It seems like the 48 hours I spent there all ran into one, and I swear I slept some, but I’m not sure where, exactly. The wedding itself was, just as I thought it would be, splendid in its simplicity. Twenty-five of us gathered in a tiny park on the Brooklyn shore and listened to an old Navy captain tell us about the importance of holding each other up.
It was moving and touching, and my brother and his bride beamed at each other and glowed in the sunshine and spent the remainder of the afternoon referring to each other as “my wife” and “my husband” and it was sweet and darling and precious all at the same time (SOMEONE PASS ME A FUCKING TISSUE).
The bride and groom left for Morocco later that evening, and I ran off to meet a friend from college, and I continued with the drinking and the celebrating and the New York in the summering, until I fell into a heap onto my hotel bed. I think my shoes came off, but that might have been because they were slip offs, not because I had anything in particular to do with removing them.
HA HA MAKE FUN OF ME: I put my contacts in this morning, and thought things looked a little… off. I took them out and rinsed them and put them back in and took them back out and finally, FINALLY, figured out I’d switched them, such that the right contact was in my left eye, and vice versa. Clearly, it was time for me to leave New York.
The only good thing to come of this craziness is that I was able to sleep on the plane, in both directions, instead of aimlessly staring at a wall of clouds or counting the number of times my neighbor bumps into me. I’m back in Long Beach now (I’m pretty sure that’s right, because there are three cats here too, and they look awfully familiar), and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. With a little luck, our belongings will get here on Friday, and this new adventure will REALLY, FINALLY, start.