The day(s) the world was amazing

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Even the local churches got in on the action celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision.

Usually I make a point of keeping better track of important Supreme Court rulings. When the Supreme Court was set to rule on California’s utterly hateful and bigoted Proposition 8, I was awake early, emotional, nervous. But it slipped my mind on Friday, probably because I’ve been so focused on learning to live in a new city and state, planning a trip to India, writing my third novel, trying to buy a house, trying to do well at my new job, learning the painful art of commuting, and doing as much freelance as possible to pay for said house that I mentally dropped the ball.

And I’m sort of glad I did. The downside to having an obsessive A-type personality is that I spend a lot of time worrying about worst case scenarios which is ridiculous because most of the time I can’t impact the outcome and when I can, I’ve already done everything I could (and then some) to achieve a desired outcome. I so rarely get to experience the thrill and triumph without the panic and nervousness that precedes it.

But Friday morning I was sitting in my car in a rather lengthy line to get onto the I5 South when the DJ who handles KQED’s morning show delivered some of the most beautiful words I’d ever heard. The Supreme Court had just made marriage equality the law of the land. He followed this news with song after triumphant song celebrating love and its power and I honestly didn’t want that particular commute to end. I was crying and thinking about all these incredible people who would wake up for the first time in a world where they could marry their partner, just how momentous and beautiful it all was.

The whole world was amazing. Rainbow flags all over Facebook and, more importantly, so much joy.

I went from work to what I only semi-jokingly call my bar–74th Street Ale House–which I started going to under the misapprehension that it was a German soccer bar called Prost, which is, in fact, a couple yards further down the street. I started going to this bar because I needed a place to watch the Women’s World Cup. We don’t have cable and anyhow it’s a lot more fun to watch with other people who are as excited about the outcome than it is to watch on your beanbag with two grumpy cats who don’t like noise or cheering.

So on the heels of one of my very favorite days, I got to watch my team play the best they’ve played during the entire World Cup against China to easily advance to the next round. Throw in some hard cider and garlic bread and, well, I did mention earlier that the world was perfect, right? At the same time, downtown the mayor of Seattle met with the Seattle Men’s Choir IMG_0238which I had just watched perform a Queen-themed show just two weeks before, for a well-deserved chorus of “We are the Champions.”

That night I wanted to celebrate so we went to Bluebird Ice Cream. It just so happens that it’s been hot as hades in Seattle (and humid to boot) which is not my favorite weather. So there were a lot of people who seemed to have the same idea and the small ice cream parlor was packed the entire time we were there.

“Free rainbow sprinkles to celebrate the Supreme Court decision?” asked the employee behind the counter and it’s so silly but my heart wanted to burst. Everyone was happy. Everyone was celebrating. And not for something silly like their team winning the Superbowl (or even the US soccer team going to the world cup, as much as I admire them) but for something that mattered, that’s actually going to change lives.

As we sat and ate our ice cream I loved hearing her ask each of the customers that came in if they wanted those free sprinkles. I even chuckled when one woman said no and then quickly clarified that she WAS celebrating the decision, she just didn’t want sprinkles.

We went home and I didn’t want to sleep that night. I was excited about Pride and the Urban Craft Uprising but the day had just been too good.

Nonetheless, I did sleep eventually because Colin and I had to wake up early because I wanted to be one of the first 100 people IMG_0241in line for the Urban Craft Uprising. (The first 100 people receive swag bags and I’d hoped that if I went into the craft fair with free stuff in hand I’d be less likely to spend money … silly rabbit.) The doors opened at 11 a.m. but by the time we got there around 9:15 a.m. there was already a sizable line around the door. I tried to do a head count but people were moving around, coming and going, and all I could determine was that it would be close.

I live by a religion of checks and balances. If things are going really well, I brace myself for the inevitable fallout. When things are absolute crap, I imagine that the universe owes me a good turn. It’s an imprecise system, but given that the world is nothing if not dual beauty and horror, it’s ultimately pretty reasonable. You can expect some good days and some bad days, so it’s best not to get too comfortable in a single state of being.

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The formal title of this photo is “Kitty with Swag.” The yarn ball, along with the terrarium and sculpture in the other photo all came in the free swag bags.

The previous had been record-setting good. And I figured the swag bag would be the start of my comeuppance. Instead, by IMG_0268 IMG_0265 some miracle, a woman came around handing out numbered tickets. Mine was 99. I am not proclaiming any of this to be either legitimately miraculous or deserved; I’m merely observing that a series of truly wonderful things happened, though none could hold a candle to the Supreme Court and that absolute badass RBG endorsing marriage equality.

Despite the fact that I had not one but two free swag bags–I pressed Colin into service as an extra body and he was number 98 in line–the notion that I would somehow avoid buying something at a craft fair was ludicrous. The notion that I wouldn’t fall in love with the most expensive booth in the whole damn fair was also rather ridiculous. I am nothing if not a sucker for a handmade jacket and that is what I went home with … in 90+ degree heat.

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It’s not the first jacket I’ve fallen in love with and it probably won’t be the last but damn if Bella Sisters of Portland don’t know how to make a beautiful jacket … or several. I had to restrain myself from buying more.

My first Seattle Pride was amazing, and sweltering, the latter of which limited the amount of time Colin and I were willing to commit to spending outside.

So far the system of checks and balances is all over the place. I’m ridiculously happy. I’ve got a bag of random craft crap and free rainbow sprinkles. Gay couples all across the country are starting to get married.

Clearly, something had to give. I figured that something would be the US Women’s National Team when they played against Germany in the semi-finals on Tuesday. Notwithstanding their impressive play against China, the US hadn’t shown the kind of play I thought would be required to defeat the No. 1 ranked team in the world. That is not to say I didn’t think they were capable of it. The US team is incredibly fit, fast, and, perhaps most importantly, they play like they expect to win. (And they’ve got the world’s better goalkeeper who, along with Megan Rapinoe apparently plays for Seattle’s Reign FC.) But the US team also plays to the quality of the team they’re playing against. So I knew they’d step it up against Germany; I just didn’t think it would be enough.

I had to leave work at 3 p.m. in order to make it to the Ale House by the time the game started at 4 p.m. The bartender took one look at my sweaty face and cheerfully proclaimed, “There must be a soccer game today!”

The first five minutes were rough. Germany pushed hard and, fortunately, the US didn’t panic. I panicked. I was bouncing up and down on the barstool, gobbling down garlic bread, and generally making a fool of myself. But then I’m not a professional soccer player (that particular dream failed to materialize). When Julie Johnston fouled a German player inside the US penalty box and Celia Sasic stepped up to take the penalty, I figured that was the moment of comeuppance. The German don’t miss penalty kicks and Sasic had scored two in the previous game when the Germans barely defeated France to advance. But somehow Sasic missed the kick. Some of the US players are crediting Hope Solo’s stall tactics with getting inside Sasic’s head. I’m not sure if that had anything to do with it, but I do know that there was a bar on the corner of 74th and Greenwood Ave. full of people softly cursing “shit, shit, shit” certain that the US was about to lose, as everyone had predicted.

Then the US receives the exact same opportunity–the World Cup equivalent of a golden ticket. A penalty kick inside the box. Only Carli Lloyd succeeded where Germany had failed. I didn’t realize the number of people behind me in the bar who were watching the game until we all jumped up and cheered together. Another warm feeling. Certainly not as good as rainbow sprinkles, but nice nonetheless. And they followed it up with a second goal just for good measure. The US defeating Germany 2-0 wasn’t on anyone’s list of things that were likely to happen on Tuesday, June 30. But they did. And now I get to go into the World Cup finals actually expecting a US victory over Japan. Not an easy victory. No one wants to be handed a World Cup title, after all. But a victory.

I’m still wondering when that comeuppance will finally show its unattractive face. There are a lot of opportunities for things to go wrong when you’re in the process of trying to buy a house and planning a trip to India. And the truth is, there will be bad days. Horrible days even. Maybe even a few days when I regret this move to Seattle. But I think about the fact that every gay couple in America will soon have equal access to marriage and I can’t not smile. Rainbow sprinkles triumphed over hate.

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