T.I.C. transitions

Jew on the Waves of Fate

Archive for the tag “Colorado”

My American Marriage Roadmap

On June 23, 2011 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed what many are calling “historic” legislation that made New York the sixth state in the U.S. to legalize same-sex marriages (it is legal in Washington D.C. as well).  The news has touted the various reasons why New York’s decision is so important including the size of the state, the largest to legalize same-sex marriage to date.

This important step that has been taken in the state that I not only live in but is the state of my birth led me to wonder the status of same-sex unions in the other places that I have lived.

NY Map by Kevin Middleton from Toon Maps

Doing this mildly thorough research I have realized how representative these four states are of the diverse opinions Americans have on this topic.

I was born in New York and we already know that come July 24 (or thereabouts) same-sex couples will be able to marry and receive the same rights and privileges associated with that union that heterosexual couples receive.

NEW YORK = MARRIAGE FOR ALL COUPLES

After New York I moved to Illinois.  Known for Lincoln, political corruption (the two are unrelated to my knowledge), an recently abolishing the death penalty, Illinois recently (June 2011) instituted and legalized same-sex civil unions.  These unions have the same privileges and benefits, to my knowledge, of a marriage however they are not officially titled as such.

ILLINOIS = CIVIL UNIONS FOR SAME-SEX COUPLES

From Illinois I made my way to Florida where I lived 11 hot and humid years along the Treasure Coast.  As of 2008 Article 1, Section 27 of the Florida Constitution states: “Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.”

FLORIDA = CONSTITUTIONAL BAN ON ALL SAME-SEX UNIONS

My next 11 years were spent in the Centennial State AKA Colorado.  More specifically I lived in Boulder…an interesting city.  In 1975 City of Boulder clerk and recorder Clela Rorex issued the first same-sex marriage licenses in the country. Unfortunately with the issue all of a sudden raised Rorex and Boulder were quick to take fire.  The marriages were later invalidated.

As of 2008 the Colorado Constitution has stated in Article II Section 31: “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state.”  Allowing for the future possibility of civil unions for same-sex couples though recent legislation that attempted to institute these unions never passed.

COLORADO = CONSTITIONAL BAN ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

This is only a snapshot of some of the country, a country that is very disjointed in how it chooses to deal with what seems like a simple issue to many.  I recognize that the issue may not be so simple for all people. However I am a big fan of civil marriage, which I believe should be separate from religious and spiritual recognitions of personal unions and available to all consenting adults of any gender, race, ethnicity, religion and so on.  The religious and/or spiritual side of it, in my opinion, should be left to each couple’s personal preferences and practices.

Something to consider.

Zen Subway Riding

When I was younger I used to visit New York City every year with my family. It was part of our autumn tradition ever since we moved from New York State. On the way to Rhode Island for a thanksgiving/Davis family reunion we would stop and see my mother’s father and stepmother in Queens. Part of the tradition involved my father taking us into Manhattan to see the sites, his old haunts, and, I think, for the overall NYC experience.

A key part of that experience was riding the subways. This was insisted upon and my clearest memory of this was my father’s lessons in “Zen Subway Riding.” He would have me stand in a strong stance, often called a fighting stance. One leg in front of the other, knees slightly bent, the kind of stance I learned in Karate and Aikido classes. It was about balance. He would challenge me to stand for as much of the trip as I could without holding onto any of the poles or handles.

I am sure everyone’s parents had their own eccentricities that annoyed their children immensely and yet those children, as they grew up often look back on them fondly. This was not the case for this particular eccentricity. I feel as if I enjoyed the challenge even back then. I do not remember complaining much about it though my father may remember differently. I remember that as I tried to maintain my balance on the train car with my hand poised to grab the pole my father would tell me stories of his life in the city.

One story in particular that pertains to the skill he was teaching was how he taught himself “Zen Subway Riding”. But he added another component, he would ride between subway cars (DISCLAIMER-WARNING: Please do not attempt this. Adhere to all MTA guidelines when riding on the NY subway system). Needless to say I thought my father was…to put it in the most elegant terms I can, badass. Perhaps a little crazy but I would not want him any other way.

Why, among all the lessons my father has attempted to impart to me, does “Zen Subway Riding” stand out? I have found myself practicing it on the buses in Boulder and the airport tram at Denver International. I would still put my hand up occasionally, ready to grasp the bar if needed and sometimes cheat a bit, as I definitely did as a child, by saying I was not actually touching the pole when in fact I was leaning against it a bit with the palm of my hand.

I live in New York City now, riding on newer cars and some that look like the ones I rode in the 90s. I do not practice “Zen Subway Riding” each time I am on the subway but I think about it each time the train lurches to a start. While I try to fit in and read or check my phone while sitting, leaning against a door (you’re not supposed to do that either) or trying to look as nonchalant as possible as I awkwardly grasp a bar above my head I still maintain the stance my father always told me was the best way to keep my balance. Any time I stumble a bit I evaluate why it happened so I can work to avoid it.

It is not overtly noticeable but it is a connection across time that links my father’s life in the late 70s and early 80s to my childhood in the 90s to my adult life in the new millennium. Transitions. This one has reaffirmed or even created a shared experience and has not weakened the connection.

a new chapter

Picture turning that page, it ended a quarter of the way down and the back is blank.  Why?  This is because you are starting a whole new chapter, perhaps a whole new “part” (you know those books that are split into multiple parts and then chapters).  I am thinking about how to creatively graft this metaphor onto my situation.  Let me take a different approach: how would I have begun this “chapter” of my life had I been writing it as a part of a book.  Perhaps the last chapter would have ended with the hectic and stressful last minute packing and preparation before passing out on my parents’ couch for my last night in Colorado.

Thus Far Untitled Autobiographical Literary Attempt
By Ronin
Part 4 Chapter 1
(or whatever number it would be)

We began driving.  Well my sister began driving and as she found various ways to express her excitement, relief, anxiety, and all the other emotions that were bursting from her I strained to decipher my feelings.  This was it right?  This was when I was supposed to express my thoughts on this major transition.  Up to this point I could say I was focused almost entirely on the preparations and therefore did not have time to think about superficial sentiments.  Aw sweet rational, blank faced solace.  But now that I was supposed to be flooded with all of those feelings that I had pushed aside yet I was still struggling to sort the internal disorder.

I have not been one to cry for quite some time and I felt damn near guilty for that as I hugged my parents.  I must admit that one pang I felt in my gut came from watching my mother wave to me and knowing that I would not see her for quite some time…odd, thank you Freud.  I know of course that I will miss all three of the parents [Note: three parents?  Refer to the end of Part 2 of this book] for varying reasons but leaving ‘mommy’ turned out to twist something inside and I would be lying if I said I was not surprised by this.

We were on the highway anticipating what we knew would be the dullest and therefore the most straining part of the drive…Kansas.  Kansas and its endless fields of corn and sunflowers where looking in the rearview mirror is no different than looking ahead, that is if there was any space to see out of the rearview mirror.  Farewell Colorful Colorado, you emblem of an independent century.  I will miss your stunning sights, your schizophrenic weather, and your purple pretentious politics.

As I make my transition to the Big Apple, a feat I will attempt to do without damaging these damned braces, I hope I will not go down in flames in a city that greatly overshadows the entire state that encompasses it.  There are a few stops along the way and perhaps I will be able to sort out the chaos in my head by the time I get to Manhattan.   Nah, probably not.

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