Wednesday, January 26, 2005

All American City

Well here we are in lovely Vancouver. Some moron along the route to our neighborhood from the freeway has a sign posted about how Vancouver was voted an "All American City" some year or other. Like in his yard, up above his fence so passersby can see it. Wonder who votes these things? Republicans, I bet. What does it mean to be an All American City? Predominantly white? Upper/middle class? Does Vancouver invade its neighboring cities in a fruitless yet patriotically vital search for WMD's?

This all makes me think about the military. I mean, we grow up knowing that the US has military bases all over the world, in Germany, in the Philippines, Okinawa, you name it -- but imagine what it would be like to have some other country's military bases here in the States? Like, a British naval base in Florida or something. Or some other non-caucasian nation maybe, like Egyptian or Japanese, just to throw your inherent prejudices into the works (supposing that you the reader are your average if liberal caucasian and not some kind of uber-accepting-down-to-the-marrow type that theoretically exists -- more on this in a moment.) Wouldn't that be strange? Would it feel creepy? So far as I know, no such base exists But there are American bases, filled with mainly caucasian and African-American soldiers, all over the world, in places where white and black folk don't generally live. Something to think about.

About that caucasian thing: I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood. Black kids were bused over to my school in an effort to integrate us all -- with some success I'm sure, in that we grew up knowing that other people had different skin colors etc etc. But some of the black kids terrified me because they were culturally different in a way I did not understand. And also a few were mean. Later as an adult I lived in a predominantly black/mixed neighborhood and at least once was harrassed in a sort of small way for being white. And heard gunshots pretty regularly in the summer, which had never happened in my youthful suburban existence. I consider myself a pretty liberal, non-prejudiced person, attempt to honor all cultures blah blah blah, but I can't say that I am so comfortable with the whole race issue as to not even see a person's skin color or anything like that. I don't like walking downtown after dark and passing a group of young black men because I'm afraid of being harrassed, more so than if passing a group of young white men (although not much more so, really). So although I feel that I am pretty with-it and accepting, I can't say that I am without some inherent feelings about race. Which I deny when they pop up in my head, which I would never allow to color the way I think of any individual, which I allow are pretty much just leftover feelings from being a nervous white kid sitting next to the loudest and most potentially violent black girl in my grade. But they are still there.

Okay, on to other more mundane topics.

Baby seems to feel better today, only a little whiny, no throwing up, some actual smiling, ate a decent sized breakfast, etc. She's napping currently, which is how I find the time to (gasp!) do something besides cater to her every whim. I should be unpacking but alas, I lack motivation. I will no doubt get down to business eventually, but we are going to Costco with Shannon once Delia wakes up so I'm taking this hour to be frivolous.

Julianna got the office set up yesterday, more or less; put the table together, moved stuff around, cleared some odds and ends out. Books and DVD's remain to be shelved, printer hooked up, etc, but the general layout is intact. This is the office and cattery, the scratching post is set up in the window and the litterbox lives in the closet. Once we figure out a way to do it, the food dish will be in here too, but so far we haven't found the right spot to be a) accessible by cats and not dogs and b) secure and tip-proof. We were going to set it up on the scratching post tree but I fear it will end up knocked to the floor as we have some pretty impaired cats. Wilbur has back/leg issues from an injury when she was a tiny kitten, Beany's caboose is pretty rickety because he's pushing 16, and Slick... well, he's just a clumsy idiot. I suspect we will find a box of some kind and fasten it to the cat post up high where the dogs can't get it, and put the dish in there.

Yesterday I was sent out to coffee. I woke up with a gnarly headache, the baby was whiny and threw up her breakfast, etc. Julianna decided to stay home with us. Then she fell asleep on the couch for two and a half hours. How very helpful! She woke up as I was about to put Delia down for her second nap, and in a very contrite and guilt-stricken tone told me that she thought I should go to coffee and read the paper for a while once the baby was down. Man, I was out of there like a shot... I had a nice brainless time looking at the newspaper, then went and bought the wrong sized aquarium cover (broke ours unpacking) and returned home refreshed.

We pawned off our neon tetra to a friend so now we have just one fishtank, in the kitchen, with our beloved goldfish Lumpy in it. He looks very happy -- swimming around nibbling at the plants, maneuvering his massive tumor between the rocks, etc. It's a good life.

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