Well, guess where we are. You have three guesses. Nope, not the surface of the moon. Nope, not deep in the moon. Nope, not hell–close, though! We’re in Mojave where the train passes through every hour or half hour or whatever, blowing its whistle like crazy.
I was up writing–poor Ming was sleeping, and the train came, whistling, and he woke up scared, sat up, looked bewildered.
“Train,” I said. He seemed to fall asleep again quickly.
When Ming and I visited Sacramento a while back, our friend said, “Welcome back to the correct state!” That brilliant sentence of hers stuck with me. I really did feel for a long time that other states were nice to visit, but really, we knew where statey goodness was to be found longterm.
My birthplace is lovely, and then where I grew up I have my gripes about. Where I went to school, wonderful–where I went to grad school, less wonderful, but the beach was nearby. Then Bishop, California was a gorgeous place to suffer two years and learn I need cities.
But Sacramento, that was such a good place for me. I was delirious with diversity. I really needed to live somewhere with many kinds of people. I would go to the big farmers market under the bridge and let all the different languages I heard nourish my soul.
At the park by my first apartment there, lots of Russian people would go for walks. The ladies wore these kerchief things on their heads. There were lots of Hmong people too, who went to my mental health clinic. Lots of Black people. Lots of white people. A good amount of the kind of people I was most used to, the Mexican-American people who’ve been in the US a long time. Or like my peeps–borders crossed us.
I went to a church that was mostly all Bengali people and other Indian people, with some white people also. I went to a dentist place for Native American people, though I’m not Native American. For a while I got doctor services at a clinic for Filipino WWII vets.
Then I met Ming at a party. I’ve learned about his Asian-Americanness, Chinese-Americanness, his kids who are mixed, his parents who are not, his sister who has her feelings about all that, the way people think he’s Native American, the way people ask him all the time “where are you from?” and he says “the California Bay Area” and that was NEVER what they meant. They all mean, “Please tell me your ethnic background so I can classify you and be more comfortable as the white person here.”
So it’s fun to watch them try to think how to rephrase their question, and I judge them super-hard on how they do it. I’ve been watching this for almost eight years. Ming letting them work for it. Watching them try to think of how to say what they really want, which they kind of actually shouldn’t want. Might as well.
Why do I need diversity? Not sure. To me it feels like real life. All the other stuff feels like a weird experiment that I need to get away from.
I can’t think why I told you that story. I know I’ve told you before but not as well. Thanks for allowing me a little repetition.
In Las Vegas, we saw our friend G. We went to the natural foods grocery store, where I helped them look through discount supplements, which felt like a dream.
If that was my dream, I would think it had to do with finding healing on our own terms. Helping one another find healing. I don’t know–semi-on our own terms. Not going all the way to shoplifting the supplements or growing our own herbs in the cat courtyard–finding a middle place with it.
Then we went to frozen yogurt–I’d given them the small zine Laura-Marie’s Masters Degrees, and they saw I like frozen yogurt, so somehow the frozen yogurt trip was healing. It was a delicious treat in an everyday sense, but it was also nurturing to have my love of frozen yogurt honored.
Is that crazy I think that? That’s cool–I’ll be crazy, if I get my frozen yogurt needs honored. And all the other stuff that zines was about. Wanting to learn, what matters to me, the garlic thing.
No photos had existed of just the two of us. So here are the photos Ming took. The first one is about listening, and the second one is about access intimacy.
This friend never made me feel like a weirdo for needing something different, being fat, or being crazy. That day may come, but for now, I’m praising God for being understood, good times, and people who don’t tell me to act normal. Thank you.