Don't Believe Everything Your Children Tell You
When they roll their eyes and draw out your name, Mooooom. Or, actually, it sounds more like Maaaaaaaaaam ... and they have your phone in their hand and they make you feel really small and not very smart because you haven't closed the tabs recently.
The lecture is the same every time: about battery life and probably something else, but mostly I think it's a battery life issue. You have let them down because the poor battery on your eight hundred dollar texting device is working overtime because you have opened Mail and Instagram and Voicemail and Alarm and Weather and Maps and Maps and Maps and Kindle Reader and Amazon Music and Voice Memo and the New York Times Grammar Quiz, which is a far better addiction than red wine, you tell them. Seriously! Who doesn't want to be a better copy editor!
They won't hear it. To be so careless as to forget to close your apps! is high on their list of modern transgressions.
You've got bigger things to worry about, I say, as we are loading up the car with posters to head to the pro-gun control/anti-school-shooting rally. Angry young men are using you people as target practice these days. Get in the car.
Things are speeding up and we're all going down, one way or another. The world is so weirdly different now. It used to be that you could walk to school, share your lunch with your friends. No one was allergic to anything and some people's parents didn't even know where they were all day. You could go home with another kid without telling your mother. Everyone's mom was confident that, like the prowling and hungry family dog or cat, you would find your way home in time for supper.
Yes, my loves, things are in bad shape and we are all going down, but it won't be because of the 38 open tabs on our cell phones, I promise.
My Friends are Laughing
They're entitled to it. To yoga I said Never! Actually, I think I might have said NEVER!!
The more I said No, however, the craftier yoga became. She stealthily worked her way into my life until she was sidled up right beside me, nestled inside of a person I love so much that I had to invite my friend and her yoga over for the afternoon. It was as if that goddamned yoga kept following me, smug in her knowledge that she would wear me down, eventually.
I knew it was curtains when I heard my dad telling someone he was doing yoga. Somehow that seemed to be the nail in the coffin. Or I don't know, maybe the pry bar, it's too early to figure out the right metaphor. It was like .... Christ, if my conservative Republican dad is doing yoga, then I better shut up and give it a try, too. That's not actually sound logic, but that's how it went.
Then came The March. It was as if The Yoga loosened the very fibers of my being and they were all rallying and shouting ... Quick! Get her to a march! Make her hold a kitten! See if she'll test drive a Prius!
One by one, the pillars of my Melissa Refuses campaign were starting to fall.
But you know, these kids, these angry teenagers, they're irresistible, captivating. I love listening to them shouting. It feels like the power and energy they're gathering is actually going to cause worn-out institutions to start to crumble. I can just see the little pieces of concrete giving way and I can imagine the whole damn thing falling eventually. These kids are tenacious and smart and articulate and beautiful and madmen with weapons are gunning down their friends. Christ, if I had cowered under a desk while someone walked through my school with an assault rifle and I lived to tell the tale, I'd spend my days screaming at the incompetent and greedy adults who put that in motion, too. I'm on their side.
And, as Coco pointed out, the women didn't really have a purpose, they were just mad. These kids have an actual goal and the laws are already changing because of them.
Also, a lot of the women were wearing silly pink hats on their heads back then. Representative of their genitalia, I think. Maybe I got that wrong, maybe it was a cat thing, but I doubt Emma Gonzáles' message would be quite so powerful if she were standing at the podium wearing that business.
Do you think men would march in Washington wearing a knitted version of their junk on their head? I asked the nearest man when this was burning a hole in my tolerance. Because if you can imagine tens of thousands of men doing that, then I'm down with it.
It was a derivative of my lifelong argument about make-up: show me a man who has painted his face with goop, one that's not on his way to a club hoping to hook up with another man, and I'm on the make-up train.
I digress. Yes, I went to a march. Yes, it was uplifting. Yes, we sang songs and walked around town. It was a good way to spend a morning and I ran into a bunch of people I know. Still, I did find myself looking around and thinking ... we're preaching to the choir here; everyone here is on the same page ...
Eventually I got cold and Coco had to go to the bathroom so we went inside the closest church. While I was waiting for her, I saw some roped-off stairs. I wanted to see what the sanctuary looked like and I felt I had enough authority, as a pastor, to bypass the rope and head up, which I don't, of course, but I moved the rope and went upstairs anyway. I found my way to the heart of the place. There was a man sitting by the organ wearing a terrific wool sweater. I went over and said hello and then I sat down and talked with him for a while. He described in great detail the story of the stained glass window behind the alter. He told me about the history of church organs in the state of Vermont. He told me that their pastor was going to retire soon and I could see that he was sad about that. She's the best boss I've ever had, was what he said.
The church was really beautiful, the man was really kind. I went back downstairs, slid myself past the roping again and rejoined the ranks in the park. I was there for Coco. I was there for the 17 and the 28 and the 13. I was there for Charleston churchgoers and the Pulse partiers, now dead. I was there because I get that we die, it will happen sooner or later, but I would much, much prefer that it not be at the hands of an angry madman with easy access to a gun.