Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Someone who I can understand, someone who understands me

My mother: are you in a relationship? Me: you mean a sexual relationship? My mother: yes. Me: no. My mother: have you been? Me: no, not for a long time. My mother: I'd like you to meet someone special, a special guy. Me: whatever. My mother: is something wrong, is something wrong with that? Me: what's going on in your life?

What I don't say: when you visited me in San Francisco that first time and we were driving to the restaurant, Dad said are you dating any women -- I said I don't date women, I'm a faggot. At the restaurant, somewhere Italian in North Beach probably the only time for that tourist tragedy -- you told me that I needed to see a therapist to try to change things, you even had a recommendation -- Charles Soccarides, he was famous for conversion therapy. I caused a huge scene, I mean you were both therapists and this was 1992 in San Francisco and you were telling me to see someone to fix things, me. You said can you lower your voice, no I can't lower my voice!

That's an old memory -- you've shifted tactics, you're always shifting tactics -- now it's just anything that might pull me into normalcy on any level, even a partnered gay relationship like the gay men in the building where you now live, one of them had a Motherwell on the wall you recognized it immediately. I'm trying to remember what a Motherwell looks like, he was one of those Abstract Expressionists famous for misogyny I'm sure but what did his paintings look like? No doubt something where the brush strokes or the rollers penetrate the canvas but I'll admit some of those paintings still blow me away.

But anyway, I'm not sleeping with a Motherwell, or anyone really -- I don't even know what I'm looking for.

Back to our conversation. My mother: I'm coming to visit you, I can't believe it! Me: uh huh. My mother: you won't believe this, I made my reservation on Orbitz and I called back to get my reservation number but every time I call, I speak to someone in India or the Philippines and they don't understand what I'm saying, I keep trying to give them my email address and they don't understand, it takes 45 minutes and last time I asked are you new here and I wasn't prepared for the answer because she was new, I didn't know what to say. Me: maybe you should call the hotel. My mother: I was thinking of doing that, but I don't understand why any time I call for customer service, like when I called Dell about the computer or even the phone company, I get someone in India or the Philippines and I get so frustrated. Me: that's because the companies have outsourced all of their employees. My mother: what do you mean? Me: that's globalization -- all these companies go to India or the Philippines because a lot of people there speak English and they can hire them for 1/10 of what they get paid in the US and fire them whenever they want to and just move on to the next country -- it's terrible, you should write letters to the companies and get really angry about it. My mother: I just want to talk to someone who I can understand, who understands me. Me: it's not their fault, it's the companies’ fault. My mother: oh I don't know. Me: they don't even care anymore whether you're satisfied and if they don't care if you’re satisfied, then you can only imagine what they do to their employees.

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