A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Archive for August 2002

Island/Islander Anecdotes

  • My parents paid a visit to a family acquaintance. As they watched, mortified, he drank himself into a stupor as he introduced his dog to them–a black Labrador whom he’d named Oprah, in serious homage to talk show host Oprah Winfrey.
  • There are no Indian restaurants on Prince Edward Island. In fact, there may be no proper Chinese restaurants at all–in Richmond, I was befuddled by a Chinese restaurant menu. So many items I’d never seen before.
  • My parents are reluctant to do family counselling because they’re afraid news of the counselling–and in a worst-case scenario, news of why we’re receiving counselling–will get out into the wider community.

There’s no need to wonder, I fear, what I want to emigrate.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 31, 2002 at 5:47 pm

Posted in Assorted

The Parents

From Saturday evening to this Wednesday evening, I gave my parents the silent treatment. If they asked me to pass the salt, say, or to help them bring in the laundry, I did it. If they asked me about how I was doing, though–if I’d a good day at work, for instance–I simply ignored them. Mom, in particular, got frustrated, but I didn’t care. If I’d suffered through four months of agony, what was four days to them?

I considered in part because of my meeting with Nola Etkin. Ms. Etkin is a chemistry professor at UPEI who also happened to be a lesbian, partnered, and a leading figure in the PEI general and UPEI campus GLBT communities. Over coffee at the Atlantic Veterinary College cafeteria (the only one open at this time of year; all of the exchange students staying in Canada rather than leave), we talked about a few things. Fortunately, the campus is quite tolerant and unproblematic, if ignorant; but then, ignorance is OK since it can be remedied and isn’t immune to the facts, unlike (say) malign hatred. She’d suggested that perhaps I should give my parents a break, since they’re probably taking things hard now.

So, I decided to take pity on them.

I gave them the number for PFLAG, and told them who was at the other end of the number. I left, giving them five minutes to digest that; then I came back and asked if they were interested. Now, unfortunately, Mom had the contact as a Grade 9 English and Latin teacher whom she hated–this is true, I do remember this on second thought–and didn’t want anything to do with them. I then suggested family counselling; Dad then asked why we needed it.

We didn’t have The Talk; I’m not sure if we ever will. If the past half-year has proved anything, it’s that we’re not a very close family and that the stars haven’t exactly aligned themselves in our collective favour. Still, we talked about things. In part, their reaction Saturday night was a product of their having a bad day, between a sick dog (better now, we think) and clogged plumbing (also better). They wanted to know why I wanted to go to the dance since I was bi; I thought about explaining to them that it doesn’t work that way, but I just took an easy way out and said that plenty of girls went there. (And not just straight girls, too!) And then, Dad wondered if me being bi would interfere with school like last time; I felt like jumping down his throat, but simply explained that having a social life was a rather different state of affairs from worrying if I’d have any relationship with my parents once I told them, which I’d had to do.

They’re still considering family counselling. I’m more convinced than ever that we need to do it. Still, we cleared some psychic debris out of the way, at least; there’s some accomplishment done. Now, for the rest.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 30, 2002 at 11:40 am

Posted in Assorted

The War

Last night, I went to see a musical: The Legend of the Dumbells. My sister works for the Confederation Centre and was able to get me a free comp ticket on last night, the last performance of the musical for the season.

The Legend of the Dumbells is a musical–one that had played at the Centre in the late 1970’s–which was based on the misadventures of a troupe of entertainers taken from the ranks of Canadian soldiers fighting in the Western Front in the First World War. These entertainers did quite well, entertaining the men before they went off to die in any one of an near-infinite number of nasty ways, and ended up touring Broadway and Canada in the early 1920’s.

I’m not normally a fan of musicals, perhaps contrary to stereotype. I did enjoy it, though; the jokes and songs were good, the performances were excellent, and it worked. No matter that it didn’t live up to the unity of time; The Legend of the Dumbells served its purpose wonderfully. (Too, there was a cute guy whom I’ve had the fortune to meet in the cast; ’twas nice to watch.)

There’s only one problem with The Legend of the Dumbells, I think, and it’s far more of a moral than an artistic one. The First World War–irregardless of who you believe, even if you believe silly Niall Ferguson–was an immense human catastrophe. There’s something, I think, about the ethics of finding such a war-related comedy funny without any immediate sense of connection to the War, to the suffering or its immorality or anything, that disturbs me.

(Which also raises the question: What if the First World War or its equivalent was inflicted on we modern satiated Canadians of the early 21st century? One thing about the progress of gay rights is that I won’t have the fortune to claim my bisexuality as a way to avoid getting drafted.)

Written by Randy McDonald

August 30, 2002 at 11:29 am

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An Astute Discovery

Written by Randy McDonald

August 30, 2002 at 9:44 am

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Written by Randy McDonald

August 28, 2002 at 8:03 pm

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Another Lyric

(Garbage; Beautiful Garbage, 2001)

When everything is going wrong
And you can’t see the point of going on
Nothing in life is set in stone
There’s nothing that can’t be turned around

Nobody wants to be alone
Everybody wants to love someone
Out of the tree go pick a plum
Why can’t we all just get along

* Boys, boys in the girl’s room
Girls, girls in the men’s room
You free your mind in your androgyny

Boys, boys in the parlor
Girls, they’re getting harder
I’ll free your mind in your androgyny

No sweeter a taste that you could find
Than fruit hanging ripe upon the vine
There’s never been an oyster so divine
A river deep that never runs dry

The birds and the bees they hum along
Like treasure they twinkle in the sun
Get on board and have some fun
Take what you need to turn you on

[Repeat *]

** (Boys), boys in the parlor
(Girls), they’re getting harder
I’ll free your mind, I’ll free your mind
(I’ll free your mind, I’ll free your)

Boys, behind closed doors and under stars
Girls, it doesn’t matter where you are
Boys, collecting jewels that catch your eyes
Girls, don’t let a soulmate pass you by

[Repeat * , ** , * , **]

Boys, girls
Boys, girls

Written by Randy McDonald

August 28, 2002 at 12:19 pm

Posted in Assorted

A Relevant Lyric

(Annie Lennox; Diva, 1992)

“Little Bird”
I look up to the little bird
That glides across the sky
He sings the clearest melody
It makes me want to cry
It makes me want to sit right down
and cry cry cry
I walk along the city streets
So dark with rage and fear
And I…
I wish that I could be that bird
And fly away from here
I wish I had the wings to fly away from here

But my my I feel so low
My my where do I go ?
My my what do I know ?
My my we reap what we sow
They always said that you knew best
But this little bird’s fallen out of that nest now
I’ve got a feeling that it might have been blessed
So I’ve just got to put these wings to test

For I am just a troubled soul
Who’s weighted…
Weighted to the ground
Give me the strength to carry on
Till I can lay this burden down
Give me the strength to lay this burden down down down yeah
Give me the strength to lay it down

But my my I feel so low
My my where do I go ?
My my what do I know ?
My my we reap what we sow
They always said that you knew best
But this little bird’s fallen out of that nest now
I’ve got a feeling that it might have been blessed
So I’ve just got to put these wings to test

Written by Randy McDonald

August 28, 2002 at 1:18 am

Posted in Assorted

Good advice

I got this from a good friend of mine (thanks Naomi!)

“Sorry things are so tense between you and your parents. Know what, though? There just comes a time when you have to say “fuck you,” and do what you want.”

Words to live by, in my humble opinion.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 25, 2002 at 3:35 pm

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Ah, fallout

Written by Randy McDonald

August 25, 2002 at 3:02 pm

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This sucks

I hate myself for being so fucking weak.

I’m not going.

Mom’s talking about how she’s devastated in between tears, Dad thinks I shouldn’t have a personal life displayed for everyone to see. I can’t take my parents’ poisonous concern.

I should have gone, but I was in no mood, anyway. Still am not, in fact. I’m so angry.

I told them they that if they don’t want to talk about me being bi, they can forget about having any legitimate right to ask how my day went. (Oh, and I apologized for the fact that they’ve got a faggot son.)

If they don’t think that’s important or something they want to talk about, or if they want to hide it, well, to hell with them if they want to know anything less important.

If they don’t want me to have a life, fine. Then they’ve got no right to expect to share a life with me.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 24, 2002 at 9:18 pm

Posted in Assorted