Monday, May 30, 2011

church of the motorcycle

Last night our book club met to discuss Unfamiliar Fishes, Sarah Vowell’s book about missionaries in Hawaii in the 19th century. My official review will go up when I post my May reads in a couple of days. My unofficial review is: meh. But the evening itself will go down as our most on-theme yet (with our zombie-themed World War Z book club coming in a close second).

We had some sort of Vietnamese catfish called swai (if that’s not an unfamiliar fish, I don’t know what is), Spam musubi, macaroni salad, pineapple upside-down cake, mochi cake, coconut pudding and mai tais. It was plate lunch at its proudest.

We even had a small child with a Hawaiian (and Japanese) name. Kohana was about twice as big as when I saw her last, which was half her lifetime ago. It was fun to play with her—she gives high fours and makes farting sounds with her mouth now. Sometimes I think I have all this angst toward babies. Hanging out with a real one (especially the kind that appears never to cry) reminds me that my angst is actually toward my ovaries and the imperfect medical profession and the legal hoops of adoption and self-righteous parents who think that changing a diaper is somehow harder than any of the aforementioned. Babies themselves are the opposite of all that. Babies rock.

This morning I met my friend Pat for coffee. I hadn’t gotten to really sit down and talk with her for a long time. At the risk of sounding a little woo-woo, Pat is a healer. The kind of person whose not-insubstantial struggles have only made her more loving and understanding toward those of us struggling substantially with much smaller stuff. She was telling me about fostering her daughter, and how, when A. was two months old, some biological relatives came forward and said they wanted to take her.

“I’m not Catholic,” Pat said, “but it’s what I know, and it’s what I turn to when times are tough. So I went to St. Dominic’s and prayed that the thing that was best for A. would happen.”

Her prayers were answered, because now A. is a happy, goofy, creative tween living with, as Pat describes herself, her butch daddy mama.

“Now my motorcycle is my church,” Pat said. “Wanna go for a ride?”

In theory motorcycles are just one of many things that seem to me like more danger than they’re worth. But cruising along in Pat’s sidecar, I quickly saw what she meant. Something about being so close to the ground felt safe, and the sky was close at the same time. We took winding green side streets all the way to the Rose Bowl and back. It’s been a few years since Pat has been to my house, but she knew right where to drop me off.


CC said...

I want a photo of you riding in that sidecar! (Riding in a motorcycle sidecar has been a dream of mine since childhood.)

Claire said...

Sidecar FTW!

And what's the opposite of FTW? The "imperfect medical profession" would be that. ARgh.

Cheryl said...

Okay, I confess: I don't actually know what FTW means [sheepish old-person grimace].

Raardvarks said...

"FTW"= For The Win

You're welcome ;)

Cheryl said...

Thanks, Raardvarks!