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The Notorious MOM Gets Invested

2004-12-06 - 8:55 a.m.

Ladies, gentlemen, and the transgender of all ages, my life is complete. Well, my diary life, that is. Why? Because as of my last entry, someone has propositioned me for sex based on what I wrote. That is pretty much why I started writing in this diary in the first place. Never fear, though--I shall keep writing. Take right now, for instance. At the moment, I am taking a quick break from writing my paper on the reading practices of medieval women in relation to the poems of the Pearl Manuscript, which is actually going swimmingly at the moment. I have written my intro and about half of the material I intend to work with, and I'm less than two pages away from the minimum! Woo-hoo! If I get an extra rush of energy towards the end of the evening, I might even write my intro paper on Rushdie and the author function, because I am that much of a bad ass. Only time will tell, though.

I do, however, want to tell you guys about my weekend, in which The Notorious MOM got herself invested (AT THE ROTARY CLUB! Not really, that was just a little shout-out to NelaBella!). Now, as you know, my mom got herself a high-falutin' government-ish job, and this is the kinda job that, when you officially take it, you get invested. This, suffice to say, is a big to-do. And I had to drag my ass to the Rio Grande Valley to do some to-doing.

This was nowhere near as fun as you may imagine. First of all, I had to get out of class early. One of the primary differences between grad school and regular school is that you DON'T want to miss class. First of all, it is entirely of your own volition. You cannot blame your parents, even when they have investiture ceremonies. You have to take the heat for it. In addition, you miss out on whatever important stuff might be going on that day. In my case, I had to duck out of performance studies, and Shjacks? Was not happy. She understood, but was not happy. This was not good for me, because I want to make Shjacks happy enough to maybe be on my doctoral committee one day. Fortunately, we managed a compromise whereby I would only miss a third of class. I still felt bad about missing people's presentations, though, as they were the culmination of months of work. However, a son's got to do what a son's got to do.

In this case, it involved flying with a cold. As for this entry, it involved me going back to work, finishing my paper except for a few quotes from books in Grad Services that I will get today (WOO-HOO!), and starting this up again this morning. Anyway, back to flying with a cold.

Flying with a cold never used to be a huge problem. Flying in general never used to be a huge problem. In fact, sometimes I feel like, with all the traveling my mom did for business and all the family spread out over the country that NEEDED to be visited every year, I kinda grew up in airports. I've never been afraid of flying or had any feelings of motion sickness. I can get through the line and race to the gate with the best of them. In fact, if you want to freak me out, put me in an empty airport. It feels so wrong to me. There was once this shitty Stephen King made-for-tv-movie called the Langoliers, and it was completely idiotic, but the one seen when everyone's in an empty airport made me change the channel, even though nothing happened there.

A few months ago, however, I was flying home (I think from getting my apartment here in Berkeley) and as soon as the plane started descending I felt this intense pain in my sinuses. It felt like someone was driving a screw into the corner of my eye. It felt like the Extreme Makeover Home Edition team was trying to convert my skull into a four bedroom bungalow with a pool and second floor balcony. It felt like I was Elle Driver in Kill Bill Vol. 2, and the force of air pressure was The Bride, if you get my drift. The pain didn't stop until after the pain landed and I was able to walk it off outside. Since then, I've always felt a little pain during descents. I figure I should get it looked at, but I know I don't have time for it.

I regretted that during this flight, because the pain did not begin during the descent. It started a little after take-off and lasted all the way through the flight. Did the stewardess have pain killers? No. Was she a total cunt about it? Yes. I finally asked for some salt and a cup so I could mix up some warm saline to flush out my sinuses with. What I got was a SCALDING HOT cup of water that had been taken from the center of the fucking Earth which caused me to burn the edge of my nostril. Yes, folks, I was in rare form. However, once I added a bit of cold water, flushing out the sinuses helped a little, not to mention the fact that I chose that moment to give a healthy "Screw it!" to the directions on the Nyquil box and overdose myself. I managed to make it through the flight half-conscious.

Then, of course, came the second leg of the flight. Ha ha ha.

I got into my mom's new HQ at 11:30pm, having been driven from the airport by Uncle Author, who once wrote the worst book I have ever encountered in my life. Seriously, you have to get St. Caroline to tell you about it. He was part of a general onslaught of family that I would have been infinitely happier to see if 1) I was not missing valuable work time for the many papers I have due this week and 2) if I didn't have a strip-mining operation going on in my nasal passage. Seriously, I love my Uncle Author and my Aunt Fabulous Artist (she really is a fabulous artist whose work will soon be displayed in my apartment once I have time and money to frame shit) and my Aunt-with-the-KICK-ASS-Plastic-Surgeon (over the past two years, this woman went from Anne Bancroft to Kim Catrall, and she's in her 60s, I shit you not), but all I wanted to do was curl up in bed with Arundhati Roy's War Talk and a mug of peppermint tea.

Far worse, though, was the onslaught of friends and well-wishers. My jaw still aches from the amount of clenched smiles I gave out. I eventually developed a litany that served me well through a luncheon, a ceremony, a reception, and a holiday party with shitty, non-vegetarian hors d'oeurvres: "Yes, yes, thank you, yes, yes, I know, yes, oh she's very happy here, yes, she loves it, yes, oh I know she's wonderful, yes, of course I'm proud of her, yes, yes, thank you, yes, yes she's so excited to be her, yes, we're all happy for her, yes, yes, I am so happy for her, yes, yes, we always knew she'd go far, yes, yes, thank you, yes, very proud of her, yes." It was like the final chapter of Ulysses crossed with some horrifying Beckett play, and if you knew what I meant by that and are a cute gay guy, we should have sex.

Granted, not everyone who I pulled that litany on was an obnoxious sycophant. I got to meet the dykes in the education department (and believe you me, there are few things that I love more than a dyke in an education department). I got to meet the excessively nerdy student council president, who was an okay guy. I got to see my old boss from my brief stint in Washington DC. She and I were the only fun people in that office. We drove to work together and listened to Janis Joplin and Simon and Garfunkel and had a blast. I had a great time talking to her. I also had a great time once my cousin, her husband, my aunt and I all booked out of there, because my cousin and my aunt were drunk and therefore spent a lot of time bitching about our family, which always gives me a warm glow. Also, my cousin's dress was rather tight, so at one point she just unfastened it in the back. When we teased her about it falling down, she proceeded to flash her tits at the general population of Chili's. No one noticed, which is a pity because my cousin paid good money for those tits, and they look good.

But the weekend was not about me in any way. It was about The Notorious MOM, who asks very little of me and to whom I owe just about everything, and this was a weekend for her to feel like The Queen of the Universe. Everyone cheered when she processed in to get invested--she is the second Latino and the first woman to accept her position--and when she saw that I was waiting onstage to escort her to her seat she gave me a huge smile. I even got to put her Notorious Chain of Office on her! It was damn cool! She gave a speech that had everyone inspired. Everyone there was excited that she was going to be the one leading them for the next few years, if not the entire decade to come.

After the ceremony, I had to give the thanks on behalf of the family. This is the main reason why my mom wanted me down there, because family is important in the community where she works and I was the only one in the family with her oratory skills. I gave a brief speech about my grandmother, and told the people there that what I was most grateful for was their giving my mother a cause to fight for and a place to build, and that more than thanking them, I was welcoming them into our family. My mom was in tears. Everyone was enthralled. Bitch still got it.

The morning of my flight, I skipped breakfast with the family to go to the airport and get work done. In retrospect, I wish I hadn't, because I didn't get that much done and, knocking on wood, I think I'll get most of my stuff done with a bit of time to spare, even if it's only five minutes. I could have spent the morning talking to Aunt Fabulous Artist, or my no doubt hung over cousin, or playing with my little cousins who had to sit through what was no doubt a very boring ceremony for them. Work is important, no doubt, but in the end, family trumps it every time.

Also, there were a few more well-wishers flying out with me, so I spent quite a lot of time going, "Yes, yes, I'm so proud, yes, I had a wonderful time, yes, she's so excited, yes, yes, we're so happy for her, yes, yes, please go away, yes, yes, thank you so much, yes, so proud, yes, fuck off and die, yes, yes, thank you, yes . . . "

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