Sunday, July 25, 2010

An eyeful from Lady Chatterley

Hello, friends - near and far, known and unknown.

Today is yet another sunshiny and gorgeous day. After sleeping in 'til noon, I'd thought it a good idea to go outside and soak up some of that lovely, fresh air. And, you know, the free Vitamin D that the sun gives away....just another penny-pinching tip from Little Miss Sunshine. Always looking out for you - and your wallet!

Packing up my wallet and my newest library find, "Lady Chatterley's Lover" by D.H. Lawrence, we headed off to the mall for some portable insecticide (read: bug spray). While there, we ran into a neighbor of ours, from Tipperary, Ireland. He's a squat old fella, with sharp wit and a keen nose for the ladies - though I imagine there's more to it than his nose.

We talked to him for quite some time. He regaled us with tales of home, the women he's loved and the innumerable children said women have borne to him. No stranger to the dirty joke, I learned quite a few new euphamisms for everyone's favorite bedtime activity.

I'm saving them all for the next big family dinner.

Then, he told us about his wife. Disabled and diabetic, she died recently. He shared with us how they'd met, fell in love and married. He said something that struck me; stayed with me all day. He said, "all women are beautiful. I always thought my wife was gorgeous, even when everyone else thought I was crazy."

I said nothing (I know; I was shocked, too!). We chatted some more, and parted ways.

On the way to the park, I ruminated on his thoughts; talking to no-one in particular, really. It appears to me that the only chance for life-long acceptance, love and happiness for a disabled (heterosexual) woman is to marry an Irishman. Sainted Husband laughed aloud at this (as well he should have, it's funny to me now, just writing it here).

I asked him: "what is it about you Irish men? You  really couldn't give a ----. It's never been about my wheelchair, neither was it for our Tipperarian and his lady love." I further listed several men I'd met on my travels in the Emerald Isle, all who loved and accepted me in quite the same manner. We talked (really, I talked, he agreed - beautiful conversation that!), and I asked yet again. Was it a fluke, or was there something in the Guinness?

His answer: "I think I smell a blog coming on, my love".

If current statistics are true; 96% of women with disabilities remain single and unmarried their whole lives. 50% of those that do marry subsequently divorce, which leaves 3% of the entire female disabled population who get married and stay married.

I bet every single one of them went to Ireland.

I wasn't originally going to blog. I was going to count myself lucky, roast Dear Sainted Husband a chicken and shut up about it.

Enter, 'Lady Chatterley's Lover'. Well, really just Lord Chatterley. I got as far as page two (not counting Foreword, Preface and Introduction), and stopped dead in my tracks. According to D.H. Lawrence, literary officionado of his time, 'crippled people' have a 'slight vacancy in their eyes'. And I quote.

Say whaaaaaaat?

Excuse me, Mr. Lawrence, but the vacancy of which you speak is most certainly not in my eyes. It is in my mouth. Where those words used to be. You stole them, and now I'm speechless.

Apparently the whole point of this story is that poor, sad Lady Chatterley has married a man who is 'sterile' as a result of war injury and can no longer satisfy her in chambers. So, Lady Chatterley takes up with the handsome and robust groundskeeper to quench her corporeal thirst.

He is of course, the subject of many 'ilicit' bedroom scenes of 'pornographic nature' (oooh, did you do it with the lights on? Go on with your BAD self!). So says Lawrence Durrel, author of the Preface. If 'caressing the secret wonderland of her waist' is porn, then I am Pamela freaking-Anderson, okay?

For real? This is the 'literary pornography' that is banned from libraries and public reading for hundreds of years, on account of its 'moral questionability'?

Rich lady taking up with the gardner. How unoriginal. How very "Desperate Housewives". I am appalled. Actually...I'm laughing.

But still appalled.

But I must admit for one guilty, self-indulgent moment, That it made me think. I'm the poor, sad, 'sterile' Lord. Do people look at my Dear Sainted Husband and wonder? They must.

But I think, for now I need to put the book down, step away and remember that 'all women are beautiful'. Even the ones who take up with the gardener.

It's just a book, and my eyes are quite full, thank you very much.

Later, I will read...and see if I can work some of Lady Chatterley's 'moral questionability' into our friend's zingy one-liners.

So much for low-brow comedy.

All my love, friends.......xo

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cows udders and Child-beasts

Hi-dee ho, good Bloglanders!

Today, for a change, the sun is not beating down upon us in all it's lovely, sunshiny glory. It is overcast and grey. The clouds are heavy - they remind me of the udders of a milking cow - heavy, sagging and waiting to be relieved of the burdensome weight held within. So much for the picnic lunch and plans for reading in the park...

I guess there's a silver lining - even in clouds that remind me of a cow's udder. We made our daily stop at our local library branch to return the pile of DVD's we'd borrowed the previous day to get us through the cloudy - yet somehow sweltering - day, and found some gorgeous, buttery leather chairs to sit in and read the latest literary jewel.

Quite the idyllic picture, isn't it? Even those of you who aren't voracious readers want to curl up in this picture with...well, anything. Just so long as there are words. Perhaps some pictures. If you're into that. Don't you? You do. I know you do. It's okay. You don't have to tell me that your inner nerd is whooping for joy.

Well, let me ruin that for you. Imagine this gorgeous picture....close your eyes and see it, in beautiful detail. See yourself sitting there, reading - or not reading - enjoying. Now, insert about 60 of the loudest, most obnoxious, nerve-gratingly disturbing child-beasts you have ever come across with foul mouths (that would clearly put me to shame, which is quite the feat!) and the poorest (read: non-existent) manners or sense of general courtesy for the people around them that you have ever encountered in your entire life.

I am not a stereotypical singleton/child hater. I neither love them in that I-want-to-run-my-own-daycare way, nor do I belong to the children-should-be-seen-and-not-heard camp. I do expect 'please' and 'thank you' and perhaps that someone should tell you that you are in a library, so please keep your obnoxious, foul-mouthed SCREAMING to a necessary MINIMUM!

Childhood should be filled with lots of giggles, laughter and play. Please, go ahead. Play. Sometimes, even loud, obnoxious play is good too...It is my belief (however incorrect) that play should never have to include profanity as verb modifiers or adverbs. Nor does that need to occurr at the top of your lungs, kiddies!

But there are other public spaces for that - they are called parks. Why should a park be desolate and silent, and a library full of children screaming at one another and running about? Go there! It's right outside. In fact, the City spent 18 months and hundreds of thousands of dollars to renovate this space...so that you wouldn't be here, screaming while I am trying to READ!

Of course, complaining to the over-wrought librarian is of no use whatsoever. Her response to my statement that there was no place quiet to read in a space designed for quiet reading? "Tell me about it."

Tell you about what, Madam? The noise? Clearly you can hear that. The hoardes of children - clearly under five - who are not supervised? You can see them, and you instituted that rule, babe. How the designated wheelchair spaces are filled with people who are clearly not disabled? Well, Madam librarian, before you go on at me about hidden disabilities...let me point out that this person has their feet on the table, wearing an iPod so loud that you and I can both hear it, and are apparently 'reading' 50 comic books all at once.

I get the point: this is a library, and not a daycare. You are not here to babysit the neighborhood children. But you are the adult in charge here. Act like it. Please.

Thanks for nothing, lady.

Whatever happened to the neighborhood library of my childhood? I remember it like yesterday. It was so quiet you could hear your feet touch the floor, and make the old wood floors creak. The library staff were always sure to help you with whatever you needed (and a little extra, if you were a regular), but they always made sure that the library space was treated with respect. You spoke with respect, and you spoke quietly, if at all.

I miss those days. When you could find a place to read, and lose your place in the day. I miss the libraries of my childhood.

I guess the secret joy is that you get to take a little piece home with you. Borrowing a library book to me, is like borrowing a piece of tradition. You borrow, you read, you return. I relish the satisfying 'thwack' of a book hitting the bottom of the 'returns' bin. One book down, a million more to read. Millions of pages of delicious words and gloriously satisfying knowledge. Such power to weild with a tiny little square of plastic. My library card; my sword.

Unless of course, you're reading Canadian Literature. But, I digress.

Today, while pointedly ignoring throngs of screaming child-beasts, I found the most gorgeously poignant piece of literature I've read in a long time. "Life on the Refrigerator Door" by Alice Kuipers (which, by the way, though it's classified as Can-Lit doesn't count because she was born in London, England. Phew. You're lucky, Ms. Kuipers) is a fantastic book.

I will tell you that it was so good, I read it in a couple of hours (not bad, considering its 230 pages). What I will not tell you is what it's about. You must go and read it. You will not regret it.

Write yourself a note. Post it on the refrigerator door, to remember. Put it on a little scrap of paper. Whatever. Just go and get it. Read it, and then give it to your friends so that they can read it.

Beauty.

Beauty, surrounded by screaming child-beasts. All is possible with the Almighty Library Card.

Thank goodness for cloudy days.

All my love to each of you.....xo

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Little Scraps of Paper

Hi, there, Blogland Friends!

I have missed you. It has been some time since I've last blogged...but I've thought of you. Where you are...what you're doing...why there are no comments...you know. The usual things an intermittent cyberspace blogger thinks about.

The last time I blogged, I posted a letter that I had written to a Regional Transit Company, which shall remain nameless. Due in large part to the fact that I have little desire to be sued for libelous slander. Hmm. I wonder if First Amendment rights apply to those of us in the True North, strong and free...

However, here I sit, slightly sunburned and freshly showered reflecting not upon the Human Rights Commission's decision to reject my application for consideration of violation of Human Rights, but upon a scrap of paper that I found yesterday while cleaning up mass accumulated sheaths of paper. It is an innocent little thing, a piece torn from a free local newspaper. On the back, there are ads for cruise lines, nanny-seeking families and male enhancement drugs (funny how life sort of goes in that order...) but on the front, scribbled in my own reckless cursive, appears the following: 'who are we to comment on the propriety of another person's choice of sexual expression?'

Source unknown. Maybe it was me. Maybe I read it somewhere. It does sound awfully prolific...esoteric. I will take credit for that, I think.

I often find myself writing down things that I don't want to forget (often to forget where I wrote them, and sometimes forgetting why I wrote them down exactly...but knowing there is a reason. Like, Santa Claus.)

I thought of this little innocuous scrap of paper this afternoon...while standing at the corner of Church and Yonge Streets in the blistering sun watching my very first Gay Pride Parade.

I thought of all these people - literally thousands of them - both in the Parade and watching it, who have been subject to the judgement and moral sanctimony of those around them for longer than we can even remember. People who have been subjected to the judgements of others...judgements that we have no place making, and go far beyond our right to excercise freedom of thought and opinion.

Consider: It is against the law for any man in a relationship with another man - committed or otherwise - to donate blood. If you were dying....and a pint of blood could save you, would you care at all about the person who gave it? I doubt it.

I watched a Parade float full of couples marry along the route. I could see that same shine of love and hope in their eyes that I felt on my wedding day, even from my lowly post on the street, behind a steel barricade. How can I not stand behind two people who love each other so much that they are willing to spend their lives, perfecting that love?

I felt a strange kinship with these people...no, I am not gay. But I do know what it feels like to spend your life feeling like there is something completely beyond your control that holds you back from living the life that you want to live. And that something has everything to do with what other people think of you, and what they believe you to be.

Returning home, I was so surprised to hear people ask, 'why would you go to something like that? Are you gay or something?' Well, no. Recently married to a wonderful man, dear Sainted Husband, pretty much rules that out. But I remain taken aback. If you were struggling with something that defined you as a person and permeated your whole life, wouldn't you want people - gay, straight, bi, transsexual, black, white....whatever - to stand behind you? To say that your struggle is important because we are important to one another as members of the Human Community?

While part of Pride is the 'we're here, we're queer, get used to it' mantra, a bigger part is supporting each other and the people we love in the choices that fulfill their lives in a way that is meaningful to them.

Thank goodness for those little scraps of paper. Without them, today might have been lost in a rain of Trojans and Mardi Gras beads.

My love to you all; whomever you love and however you do it.