Lovey Loverpants and I took a spring break trip to London and Paris to celebrate the gestation period of our marriage. Nine months after our most happy day, our lives are still full of laughter and mirth and without a honeymoon baby (which afforded us the time and money to take a spring break trip).
As an interracial couple, traveling anywhere foreign usually proves to be an interesting case study. We do not usually receive stares on our subway rides in Boston or questioning glances in the supermarket. Our home of Boston is fairly diverse in terms of race and attitudes toward interracial marriage. London and Paris, however, did not seem to share the same landscape of diversity. We received many looks of interest from subway passengers or from passersby as we ambled along holding hands. In shoppes/boutiques, women looked at John as though he was unattached (probably carefully waiting for his Asian counterpart to latch on to his arm momentarily). Upon presenting our passports to customs agents, the agents typically raised an eyebrow to our striding up to the desk together.
“You are traveling together?”
Surely upon seeing our common last names on our passports, even more curiosity was piqued since we are not only of different race, but both appear to be too young to vote much less marry. I am probably just hyperaware.
We saw 1 or maybe 2 interracial couples during our weeklong trip. They seemed to be happily strollering their beautiful mixed babies around their metropolitan burroughs/arrondissements. I wondered what kinds of discrimination or prejudices they faced in their experiences as interracial couples, and what kinds of experiences their mixed children would encounter in their young lives.
While we are never fully comfortable in our so-called comfort zones – there will always be a disapproving Asian grandma averting her eyes to our reality – I am yet undaunted by the minefield of racial prejudice. My comfort comes from a love that is not colorblind but color aware. My love for my husband is informed by all the colors of his personality, his talents, his cultural keenness which enrich my life and will hopefully enrich the lives of our future children. Those children whom we will hopefully someday bring to London, to Paris, to other cities and countries and continents where attitudes toward race are distinct from our own. It is my hope that our children will have an even more acute perception on where their comfort lies, and that it may not be shaken but rather emboldened by understanding other races, cultures which make our world a rather beautiful place indeed.
It is my last day of unemployment. Tomorrow and henceforth, a person of some supervisory capacity will expect things of me. He/She will expect me to be punctual and efficient, and probably contented by the mediocre compensation which he/she has offered me in order to render services that will make him/her exponentially richer, by virtue of enlisting my womanpower, and my cheery disposition to boot.
I will continue to collect some small fraction of unemployment through the vehicle of the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment. This payment will draw from the wealthy banks of my former employer, in light of my former employer’s decision to send me packing, just minutes after my former employer escorted my former bossman out with his trenchcoat and gym bag and no goodbye.
Fortunately for me, my life is not so terribly existential as I sometimes illustrate it.
Rather, for the last month, I have been slovenly, leisurely, and sometimes totally frivolous with money that I did not have. I posed as a Lady who Lunched. I made good on some care packages to friends and mothers. I spent long leisurely hours at the gym. I flossed, sometimes twice in one day. I kept a checklist and sometimes, kapoot with it all, I was going to watch the Food Network by candlelight for several hours.
A forced sabbatical is much different than one that is chosen, one that is planned. So I have tried to make the most of mine. I was often beleagured by shady job prospectors and the general sense that there was no one on earth whose very life would assuredly be improved by my efforts to get up in the morning.
But that is also the problem of unemployment. One develops a certain ego about her time, her purpose. Which is why I am so glad to be returning to a dayjob once more. I am not sure that I can spend another day with myself.
The fact that my paper on free speech was both 1/8 complete and 7/8 incomplete was giving me heartburn. I wanted to start it so that I could complete it. I hated to start it because it was so galactically far from completion.
I woke up this morning and read every webblog and online profile of everyone with whom I have ever attended school. I made some tea and organized my workspace, and then I sat and read a few Supreme Court cases. Then, I read them again. I put on a CD and feigned the need for inspiration. I read the Supreme Court cases and regretted the fact that the CD was both distracting me, and that the CD player was galactically far from my now immaculate workspace.
I called the Good Counselor. “Pop, I have a homework question.”
The Good Counselor is handy when one has to write a paper on free speech, particularly in light of historic Supreme Court cases.
I explained my thesis and how I had to reword it, but that I didn’t have the words quite for the rewording.
“What is the stare decisis?” he asked.
I looked at my workspace and it seemed a laboratory for a mad professor. I twirled in my swivel chair and sighed.