Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bike Ride

I found out yesterday somewhat accidentally that I live about a six mile bike ride from my Dad's house, where his widow lives.  I mean I knew that the woman lives just down the peninsula from me, but, by car, the trip seems longer than it does, I've found out, by bike.  I live in a city created out of landfill.  She lives on an extension of that landfill just south of me.  Again, I hadn't put it together until deciding to ride along the huge Oracle compound just across the lagoon from my neighborhood.  Beyond the Oracle offices and Ellison's Team Oracle racing boat are a series of interconnected neighborhoods that stretch on into Redwood Shores, a new-ish division of Redwood City, where the widow lives.
This bad-boy is docked by my house.
 I took my bike into Dad's self-contained neighborhood of tan town-homes with Spanish tile roof-tops, intending to do a 'drive by' on his house.  I hadn't been to his place since the awkward memorial dinner of 2003 where his widow's kids thought it all right to spend a majority of the evening cheering the baseball game on TV.  I'm crying into my plate of pasta while you lot are screaming 'Allll riiiiighttt!!!' every few minutes.  Thanks, dicks. 

The only thing distinguishing Dad's beige home from the others on the street was a 'welcome to my home!' wooden sign that the widow had affixed to the front door.  Dad would not have hung that sign, I found myself thinking as I pedaled by.  I thought, too, about the garden that was left to wither after Dad died.  I was reminded of Basil & Rathbone, Dad's two, small terriers that the widow had put down because she claimed she couldn't take care of them.  I thought, too, how I doubt I'll ever go by this house again, an invite from the widow notwithstanding.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Rachel Dolezal

I have been trying to figure out why this whole Rachel Dolezal thing is bugging me to no end.  Why should I care, ultimately, if this woman has been fibbing to those around her in Eastern Washington about her heritage?  Ms. Dolezal has been recently exposed as having two white parents after she'd claimed that an associate of hers, a black man, was her Dad.  The city of Spokane is now looking into whether or not her ticking the 'black' box on at least one civic-related, volunteer job application constitutes a policy violation.  It would seem she actively sought to deceive folk for professional benefit which seems a greater transgression than simply leading people to believe she wasn't white because it doesn't fit her personal narrative.

In reality, Ms. Dolezal is about as white as I am.  The difference between us other than age and geographical locale is that she has decided to hide who she is behind tanning creams and wigs in order to pass herself off as black.  Some have chosen to label her behavior as 'mental illness' while others have called what she's done a version of 'blackface'.  I think, above all, she's letting the world know that she places little value in being Caucasian.  Indeed in the 'after' photos she looks very comfortable in her new-found black identity.  If her 'selfies' are any indication, it would seem that she likes herself better as a black woman.


What actually galls is that she's both spoken and written from the position of someone who has supposedly been marginalized (as a black woman).  Her language is rife with a 'whites don't understand us' position.  The mantel of blackness is one she chose to wear, not one that was given to her at birth.  Although she seems unlikely to do so, Ms. Dolezal is free to walk away from her black identity anytime she'd like whereas those who were actually born black do not have that luxury.

The work Ms. Dolezal's done on behalf of the African-American community should stand although one now wonders her motivations behind such efforts.  It has been reported that she's revitalized the Spokane chapter of the NAACP since taking the helm.  From this point on, however, she can no longer work for social justice as a black woman because she is not one.  As others have pointed out, she could have done the work just as effectively as a white woman, but, perhaps, she felt she would not have been accorded the respect and acceptance she sought were she to have remained white.  I don't know.  I'm curious to see whether or not the NAACP will continue to support her as they have since her cover was blown.  I think that Ms. Dolezal should relinquish control over the Spokane chapter and not because she is white, but because she pretended to be black.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Therapy

A few weeks ago, I thought that I had met someone who would make a good therapist.  Here's what worked: she didn't ask me if I were always 'manic', she took notes and asked appropriate questions.  That was the first session.

Today's session, our third, began late, for what reason I don't know.  I sat on the sofa in the foyer watching other 4pm folk be called into their appointments by therapists who came out of their offices to 'pick up' clients, as it were, in the waiting area.  In my years as a client, this is usually how things are done.

At five minutes after the hour I knocked on her door.  I heard a voice inside, but wasn't sure if it'd said 'I have a client in here still' or 'one moment', so I walked back down the hall toward my seat.  When the therapist then poked her head out she made a production out of my not being able to hear her through the door, but didn't mention why she hadn't called me in to her office at the top of the hour.  Things went downhill from there.

It was clear within a few minutes that the therapist wasn't using any of the information I'd previously given her about myself to proceed.  She asked me again if I drove.  This topic was covered in great detail in our first session as driving had produced in me a brutal panic attack when I'd first arrived back in CA.  She also asked me again what I had hoped to achieve out of therapy with her.  I repeated what I'd told her during our first visit.

During our second session, she'd given me 'homework' and insisted I was to have it completed for today, so that we could pursue a course of therapy which she'd suggested I try.  For some reason, today, she never asked me for it.  I also created a family tree of sorts, as per her request, which she then could not decipher although it was quite basic. 

Half-way into today's session, her phone rang loudly.  I now know the therapist is into cheesy pop music.  She turned the volume down and said nothing.  A few minutes later, her phone rang again.  This time it was just a series of buzzing sounds which made her pick up the mobile twice, giving it a perplexed look each time.  Nothing was said to me.

Therapy is stressful enough in the best of times.  I do not look forward to going back.  Fortunately, she'll be on holiday next week, so I'll give her mobile a ring {cue pop music} to let her know I'll not be continuing our sessions.