We had a party last night, at chez delagar, for the new art instructor at the kid's Montessori school, and for all our old friends, including The Other Liberal Professor and Mr. OLP, and their kids, includingMiles, the kid's intended, and Mick, his little brother, who can't get any cuter, and Mouse came, and Zelda and a Fine Time was had by all.
But toward the end of the party, when perhaps your host had had a few too many Snakebites, as she does tend to, and the question had turned to birth control, issues of, I'm afraid I became one of them, ah, strident feminists you hear so much about.
See, I love my kid. I wanted my kid. A lot. Worked hard to get her.
I also did about fifteen years of birth control before I decided to have my kid.
My folks had four kids entirely by accident -- every one of us was a failure of birth control. My mother had three kids in five years before she was 24 years old, when she and my father were living in a three room trailer. I read these Right-To-Life blogs that shriek, "Are you glad your mama didn't abort YOU?" "Aren't you glad your mama didn't have the pill available when YOU were conceived?"
Shit. As soon as the pill WAS available, my mother was on it, or I wouldn't have three siblings, I'd have about twelve, and I wouldn't need two or three Xanax a week, I'd need a few dozen.
And if my mama had had the pill available when I was conceived? I wouldn't need any Xanax, would I? So STFU.
So to get back to Billy Bragg, as I always do, the kid and I were listening to Billy again, and we get to this verse, in Billy's song "Everywhere," which is one of my current favorites, about the Japanese Internment camps which our Winger buds are gettng so nostaglic over. It's about two friends, one of whom is of Anglo-Saxon descent and dies in the Philipines, and the other of whom, of Japanese descent, is interned during the war:
"...I never got home, my platoon was never saved
That little fox
hole became my island grave.
Lee got out of jail but a
prisoner he remained
Till he ended his own life to lose
that ball and chain
And they said Oh Little Slanted
Eyes can't you forgive and forget
And he said, Oh Mr
Can you catch water in a net?"
So we're listening to this song, for about the 700th time, driving around Pork Smith, because yes, I am obsessed with Billy Bragg, and mr. delagar *has* rebelled and will not let me play any more Billy in the house (I'm waiting for the kid to rebel but so far she is being very kind and indulges me as we drive about) and the kid asks, "What's that mean, you can't catch water in a net, what's that about?"
"Well, right," I agree. "It's metephor, in't it?"
She considers it. "Because he can't forgive and forget? Forgive and forget what?"
Eh, fuck, I think. So I shut off the CD and go into lecture about Japanese internment camps in WWII, with a brief foray into how some folk in our charming nation want to intern Muslim citizens in similar camps now, and explain how forgiveness is a good thing to be able to do, but how it's very, very rough.
She is thinking it over. "Catching water in net," she muses.
"No one has ever done anything really bad to you," I tell her. "No one ever will if I have anything to do with it. But when someone does something really bad to you...you can forgive it. Sometimes. Forgetting, that's a lot harder."
"Like catching water in a net."
"Right," I agree. Thinking how much I would love to just get over some of this shit. How much I would.