Tuesday, August 10, 2010

When I get the next request

Here’s the crazy thing that happens -- behind the scenes, as they say. I get a call from Tell Me More, that NPR program, asking me if I’m available to go on the air to talk about the Prop 8 decision. Here’s the problem: they want me to go into the studio at 7:45 am the next day. Luckily, they catch me at a good time, a day when I actually don’t feel awful. But then I think wait, what on earth did I just agree to?

Here’s the thing: I’ve been trying for so long to interject an anti-assimilationist perspective into these national debates on gay marriage, gays in the military, etc. And sure, here and there I make some progress, but of course we know that the larger debate almost never includes a radical queer perspective. Let’s say there are a few dozen of us who make some inroads here and there, but overall it’s the same thing -- either gay assimilationists waxing on and on about their amazing progress, or Christian fundamentalists talking about how gay marriage marks the end of Western civilization (don’t we wish?).

So that’s why I agree to go into the studio at 7:45 am. I’m thinking: let me try this, let me try and see if it works. With my new schedule, right? I mean, I can’t even remember the last time I left the house that early. Oh, wait -- on one of my book tours, because the train leaving from San Francisco left around then. That was horrible -- I hardly slept at all, and then I felt like I was strung out on drugs. Maybe this time, with my new schedule, it won’t destroy me to such an extent that it throws me off that much. For a week or two. Maybe I can return home, and get back in bed, and be kind of okay.

I’m so glad it’s foggy out, foggy and freezing, and there’s a cab, as I got up way too early but only once, at 5 am but not at 1 am and 1:30 and 2, etc. thinking: did I miss it? Did I miss it? I even leave the house on time, jump in a cab and get there early, and I still feel coherent, my brain is working fine. My digestion does the same thing it always does when I get up too early -- I have to rush to the bathroom several times to shit before I go on air. It’s nerves, too, but then the show starts and it goes well, and then my digestion kind of feels okay. Or not so jittery, at least.

Outside it’s too bright -- even though it’s still foggy, there’s this haziness to the sun, But I brought sunglasses. The bus comes right away. I get back home, and get in bed, and when I get up again I don’t feel that awful. Sure, my head feels distant, flattened, but also I have all this extra energy there too, extra energy that maybe doesn’t mean I’m not exhausted but at least I still have energy. The next day I’m in more pain, and I’m more exhausted, but at least I didn’t wake up wired in the middle of the night. The next two nights I do. But still I want to think it didn’t throw me off too much, to think that I can do it again. I guess we’ll see when I get the next request.


JR said...

I'm glad you were able to make it to the studio that day, because I really appreciated your contribution to that discussion (I've been a fan for a while but that was the first time I'd heard you on the radio)--you were right to say at the end that it was a great conversation.

Best wishes to you,


mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

JR, that's so great to hear -- thank you so much!!!

Love --