American Taboo, by Philip Weiss. Read it here.
Almost exactly a week ago I began a long trip to Florida via Philadelphia. I met my friend Bill in Philly so we could catch a plane to Florida and ShelterBox USA’s winter workshop meeting. It was terrific to catch up with Bill and spend some quality time with him, and to see other friends I hadn’t seen in a long time, and meet some people I’ve been communicating with on the telephone or by e-mail.
Really, really cool stuff. Of course, today the work begins–I’m back to scheduling stuff and just waiting, waiting, to go on deployment while I steal a few moments here and there to devote to my other clients.
“Other clients”–ha! as if ShelterBox is a client! Still, I find the work they’ve set upon me interesting and a natural extension of the work I’d be doing anyway. However, now that I know I have some folks depending on some productive results, there’s an added extension of pressure. At the moment, I’m itching to deploy. It seems all of my friends are going! Agh. Nothing to do but move forward and wait for the call.
In the meantime, here’s some of what I saw in Florida.
Erica picked me up from the Winter Workshop. We got locked out of her car–it was still running!–and E’s brother Nick tried to make it right. Three older folks (we were in Florida, after all) stopped by to help, and two hours later, the locksmith showed up.
This bird seemed to think it was such a good sight that it stuck around to watch how we did.
There is no photo of either bunny, the cat, or the fish cos, respectively, I am a bad photographer; the cat and I had a raging fight and I have started to referring to it as North Korea, a la Erica’s boyfriend Kevin; and I did not want to scare the fishies with the flash on my camera.
Anyway, E and K went off to Tampa to celebrate Valentine’s Day and I proceeded to spend the rest of the night editing, watching the Olympics, and fighting with the cat.
I went to volunteer at the ShelterBox USA offices the next day. Good fun. Busy. Crazy.
The following day E and I went to the Ringling museum to check out the Norman Rockwell exhibit. It was way, way cool.
And then I go to meet Lindy for lunch! Lindy! Lindy! Lindy from my ARFE life! Crazy! She’s started up her own company based around Nordic Walking…we had a really lovely day on Siesta Key, and I realized that I need sunglasses if I’m going to do this kind of thing. I mean, I have them, but I’ve been wearing my spectacles a lot, and I wanted to see everything crystal clear, so I went without on this bright day. What a moron. Needless to say, I went and ordered a pair of photochromic glasses then next morning.
We walked about five and a half miles along the incredible sands…they were beautiful. I was so grateful and happy to see Lindy. It’s not that I had despaired of ever seeing her again, but I didn’t know if we would stay relevant to each other after she left her job and I left ARFE. But personalities don’t change with jobs, and I always liked Lindy. Along the way we did this:
Lindy says they’re “seablobs.” Jim is informing me over my shoulder that they are actually jellyfish, and that he and his friends used to throw them at each other when he was growing up in Rhode Island. Yuck!
That night I had dinner with some ShelterBox USA board members and then drove home to hang out with Erica, read, watch some Olympics, and have a glass of wine.
Next morning, last day of my stay in FLA, Bev, another SRT, came and picked me up. We had lunch at Simon’s, a lovely little whole-food joint. I had some gorgeous haddock wrap thing with smoked gouda and a mango salsa. Yum.
it was an hour ride to the airport filled with terrific conversation, then, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
I had a great time. It was well worth the effort to go down there. If I hadn’t, I doubt I’d be either as energized or as overwhelmed by the work ahead. In the end, the added energy and sense of cohesion about the organization–and face time with key folks, friends, and admin alike–make it all worth it.
New book review: Read it here.
I am ridiculously proud of him. Without getting too much into the gory details, we’ll just say that there were a number of obstacles in the new couple’s way. Some of them were curiously people-shaped.
There’s not much to say here, really. I’ll post what I said during my toast to the happy couple, as best I can remember it.
“Hi. I’m Yi Shun. I’m Bor’s sister. I write for a living: I tell stories. I’ve got a couple of good ones about Bor (some involving some embarrassing bits), but I’ll only limit myself to one tonight. We can talk about the embarrassing ones later.
“When I was nine or ten–that would have made Bor four or five–I considered myself a really cool kid, too cool to be seen with the likes of a little brother. So one day, I was out playing with the way-cool neighborhood kids, and Bor was tagging along, and I told him, in so many words, to Go Away. So he went, all tears and sniffling, and I went on playing with the cool neighborhood kids.
“Not five minutes later, they turned on me. We got into a huge fight, me on one side, them on the other, yelling across the street. I think they did something to my bicycle. Now, if you ever wondered what five-year-olds do when they’re not trying to play with their older sisters, I can tell you: They’re spying on their older sisters. I know this because, suddenly, from around the corner, came Bor.
“You have to picture Bor at age four or five. He was perfectly round. So from around the corner comes this perfectly round little kid, and he’s screaming, ‘HEY! Don’t pick on her! That’s my sister!!’
“That day, I knew. I knew what loyalty meant, and unconditional love. Some four, five-year-old taught me that.
“So when Bor met Laura, years later, and we met Laura, I was so pleased to find someone who not only was deserving of this level of loyalty, this brand of love, but someone who understood it, gave it back, reflected it onto her community, her friends, her family. I am proud to call Laura my sister. I mean, I always wanted one of those anyway.
“At this point in the wedding, someone usually cracks the old joke. They ask the bride to put her hand on the table, and the groom to put his hand over hers, and then they say something like, ‘Oh. Cherish this moment, because this is the last time the groom will have the upper hand.’ That’s funny and all, but it doesn’t work that way for Bor and Laura. They’ll go through life hand in hand, on equal footing, sharing all of their major decisions and as true partners. Congratulations, you two.”
Yeah. That’s about it. Great ceremony, great to see friends and family, great to be a part of the wedding party, great to see them get married and celebrate under a warm California sun.