Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Friend

My apologies to my hordes of dedicated readers; we've been quite busy the last few weeks. In this post I'll try to catch you up on the recent goings-on in the Moderate household.

In early October C and I flew to San Francisco for the wedding of my childhood best friend, B. While we were there, we got to spend a day visiting with three of our good friends--one lives in Oakland and the other two live in Sacramento. It was a fun reunion made even cooler by the fact that the two in Sacramento recently got engaged. Looks like we'll be buying another set of plane tickets to California next summer! :-)

It was great to hang out with the three of them and get a personal tour of San Francisco from some locals (neither C nor I had ever been there before). We got to visit the Presidio and the Golden Gate Bridge, listen to a band perform "the Stars and Stripes Forever" in Golden Gate Park, visit Harvey Milk's camera shop in the Castro District, and have dinner at Fisherman's Wharf. We had a fantastic time, but it was far too brief a visit. We're looking forward to spending more time with those guys next summer.

The following weekend we took bereavement leave from our respective jobs and flew to Texas for my grandfather's funeral. Opa had been in declining health for a few years and had a stroke and a seizure right before our trip to California. After a week of unconsciousness being unable to eat or drink, he passed away on the Wednesday following our return from California. We immediately hopped on a plane to Austin to join my family for the funeral that Friday.

It was a confusing funeral. We are loved and welcome by my extended family (my grandmother, for instance, is a huge fan of C, and my aunts are just delighted to have a gay couple in the family) but most interactions with my nuclear family are a complicated mix of good intentions, heavy religious overtones, and confusing and often offensive comments. This trip was unfortunately not an exception.

On Friday, my mother introduced C to a person at the funeral as "Joe's friend"; we both noticed it but didn't think much of it at the time. But Saturday she repeated it, this time to the whole extended family, while she was serving us food. She said she had learned about one of C's food preferences through "his friend Joe". There was a moment of confusion as people around the table grappled with what just happened. Hmm :-/

I've wondered what Mom means when she refers to C and I as "friends." It sounds like she has returned to the denial stage of grieving my orientation, which is a huge regression. I had thought/hoped she was further along, but it looks like we have a ways to go yet with Mom.

In the meantime, we've finally finished moving in to our apartment in Lowell! Last weekend we finally moved the remaining boxes (grad school books, hiking gear, and the Christmas tree) into a storage closet, and finished arranging the study. This place really feels like home now. It's such a warm, comfortable place to come home to at the end of a long day at work. We're enjoying sipping coffee together here in the morning and sipping red wine together here at the end of the day. :-)

This weekend we traveled to Salem to explore the town with some new friends we recently met. As this was Halloween weekend, the town was literally overrun with tourists in costumes. There were so many people in witch costumes that I was finally able to use a pun I've been storing up for years: "which witch is which?" ;-) The best costumes, however, were the three guys tricked out in full Ghostbusters gear walking around with their lady friend in a Slimer costume. We visited the Salem witch hunt history museum and also the National Maritime History Park there. Then we high-tailed it out of town in an attempt to get home before the first storm of Snowmaggedon 2011 rolled in.

We didn't quite make it; the heavy rain turned to heavy snow before we got off the interstate, and we had a few interesting slipping and sliding moments. But we got home safe and sound. This morning we peeked out the window blinds at the NINE INCHES OF SNOW that fell overnight! Fortunately most of it has melted away today.

C is in the study working hard at preparing the lecture for his class tomorrow. I'm periodically tending to the laundry and I'm about to start preparing dinner. It's a wonderful, homey afternoon in our home :-)


Pomoprophet said...

What you should have said is "Yeah, C is my friend that I have hot gay sex with!" That would have stopped her in her tracks!

Seriously though I am sorry this happened. That is so lame. And kinda an assholey thing for her to do. Can I ask why you or C didn't correct her?

I'm sorry too about the loss of Opa. I know when I saw you in SF you said it was coming but still sad.

I am happy though that you've moved in and are settled. What a wonderful scene of you two huddled inside your nice cozy apartment while its snowing outside. We have our windows and doors open and its 77 outside right now.

We visited Salem last summer and also checked out the witch hunt museum. I can't imagine Salem for Halloween. Its like their Mardi Gras!

Joe Moderate said...

LOL Pomo :-) And we're totally jealous of your weather right now. I love the snow around Christmastime, but this is too frickin early!

C and I didn't correct Mom at the time because it was a group setting and it seemed weird to do "public discipline" (awkward kinda like watching parents yell at their kids in the supermarket, you know?) But we have talked about discussing it with her. I think I know she's gonna say that she can't say "husband" because it's against her faith, so I'm thinking about asking her if she'd be willing to say "partner". Just something, anything that acknowledges we're more than friends, you know?

D.J. Free! said...

Ugh. So sorry to hear about your grandfather (I had no idea) and the continued drama with your nuclear family :(

For me, I'd simply prefer she call my husband by name (without specifying our relationship) rather than saying "friend" - especially in an environment, where everyone was already aware of the nature of the relationship. The specifier seems superfluous anyway - unless of course your mom was trying to make a point of not allowing people to think of C as your husband. But that takes too much work and energy, and somehow I doubt she was trying to do that.

But it's so frustrating for me to watch this. Every time a hear another tale about your nuclear family, I keep wondering to myself "WTF? Why is this still an issue?? Get over it already!"

D.J. Free! said...

Also, I hope C has a great lecture!! How's he liking his job thus far??

Amanda said...

I'm sorry to hear about Opa, and the loss you and your family surely feel and will continue to deal with for some time.

I get why you didn't feel comfortable correcting your mama in mixed company, but I agree that you and C should find a time to discuss it with her and come up with a suitable alternative if she can't bring herself to say "husband".

This makes me sad. And it makes me wonder about my own family and how things will come to be if I should ever pair-bond. I will continue to hope that your fam comes around... even T. You and C deserve to be able to be who you are without others trying to shame you or lessen what you are to one another. ...we all deserve that much.

Would love to talk soon if you have the time... take care!