Friday, May 29, 2009

Fugitive from The Garden State

I always thought there might be something romantic about being a fugitive. But as with many things in my life, I did not know I was actually something until after it occurred.

Scene One: The Watertown, MA Registry of Motor Vehicles

I enter the mall (by the way, who puts a RMV in the mall?) around 9:40 a.m. intending to update my license with my not-so-new last name. I read the hours on the website wrong and the RMV doesn't actually open until 10. The line is already out the door, and I end up behind a guy who is bitching non-stop about having to wait and how the RMV takes too long and blah, blah, blah, his tax dollars at work. Around this time, I realize that I forgot both my book and my magazine so I either have to go zen or actually engage with this idiot. I turn inward and start counting the ceiling tiles, and then playing with my Blackberry. I actually work and send a few emails. Twenty minutes pass, the gate goes up, and the line starts moving. Twenty five minutes later, and I'm handed my paperwork to fill out.

The place is ridiculously crowded and I pace the aisles hoping that somebody will give the pregnant lady a seat. Nobody makes eye contact. A seat opens up, and a teenage boy and I both lunge for it. He plops down, but his mother comes by, whacks him and makes him get up. I journal a little about the crazy in my head, get bored, and engage in a few rigorous rounds of Brickbreaker. My number, B235, gets called.

The kid processing me is a newbie. It's his first day of work, and he's making a lot of mistakes. He also doesn't quite get the difference between my original last name and my new pretentious, hyphenated last name. We go back and forth multiple times, but I finally hand over my Social Security Card and just tell him to copy it. I should be annoyed, but he's a sweet kid. I say I didn't want a new picture because of how "fat" I was now, and he goes out of his way to tell me how cute I am and how I don't look different at all from the neck up. He takes the card and my license and puts the license in a "to be destroyed" pile.

We're almost finished and the kid says, "Um, I'm sorry, but I can't update your MA license because of your, um,....'trouble' in NJ." I ask what trouble. He tells me the 'trouble' from May 2007. I tell him that I have lived in Mass since June 2006 and ask him to double check the social security number. He calls a supervisor. She checks and tells me that I have an outstanding conviction and possibly an outstanding warrant for my arrest in NJ. What for? They can't tell. They feel bad for me because I am horrendously pregnant and sweaty, so they say they'll call, but the number for the NJ DMV has a 45 minute wait. They apologize and tell me they can't wait that long, and that if I get it resolved, they'll be more than happy to process my license change.

I don't freak out. I just ask for my license back, so that I can drive home. "Um, well, in situations like this, we're actually supposed to keep your license." And, the kid adds, "I think I'm supposed to report you to the police." Again, I do not freak out. I tell them that my due date is Tuesday and that I'm probably not a flight risk and that I have never even gotten a speeding ticket in my life, and could they please help me out because I am about to have a baby and I need some photo ID for the hospital and need to be able to drive? They agree. When they turn around to find my license in "to be destroyed pile," they realize that the licenses have been moved, presumably to the place where they are to be destroyed. The kid runs into another room, and after several moments of more ceiling-tile counting and avoiding pitying stares from strangers, he comes back. "Got it!" He hands it over, and everyone tells me to have a good day and to come back when I have my 'trouble' taken care of. I am convinced that they're only being this nice to me because I am quite literally waddling.

Scene Two: Comfort Feeding

I go into the convenience store next door, buy a king size Hershey bar and a package of Parmesan goldfish, and eat them all in the 10 minute drive back home. YG is on a conference call and gives me the thumbs up. I motion BIG thumbs down.

Scene Three: Please Wait for The Next Available Representative

I call the NJ DMV. I'm on hold for 42 minutes. There is muzak interrupted every few minutes by a voice recording telling me that they are very sorry for the wait and I will be handled by the next available representative. This bothers me more than actually holding. Many loud sighs follow.

I get through to a woman that tells me that yes, I have a warrant out for my arrest in NJ because I never told my insurance company that I moved out of state (I just let the policy lapse when I got a new one up here) and I never turned in my old plates. She says that they sent me notifications 5 times, but they were returned to sender. I asked where they sent them. To my old NJ address, of course. She then tells me that I'll have to talk to the uninsured motorists division, but that I'll probably have to pay a fine of several hundred dollars to rectify this. She, is, to put it mildly, unfriendly. I am reminded that I sometimes DON'T miss home.

I wait on hold again for 25 minutes to talk to the uninsured motorists division. I have a conference call for work that I need to be on and try to figure out a way to explain what I'm doing instead. I send a short email. I wonder if my coworkers think that I am either prone to general unluckiness or just a big exaggerator. I put this latest story in the context of other ridiculous events that have kept me from work and think it's the latter. There was: The Time I Locked Myself Out of The House With Everything Inside, The Time I Had An Allergic Reaction to My Own Skin And Had to Spend A Week Slathered In A Vaseline-like Substance, The Time I Sprained My Chest Wall and Couldn't Get Out of Bed, and so on. I wonder how I still have a job.

I finally get through to a woman named Lisa Ann who is gruff, but tells me exactly what I need to do. I miss home. Basically, I have to fax in proof that I registered the car elsewhere prior to May 2007, along with current license and registration, to waive the fine and remove the warrant. I am a pack rack, so my registration from December 2006 is quickly located in the black hole of junk otherwise known as my glove compartment. I have 40 minutes before my rescheduled conference call to get up to the business center at Staples to print out my intention to destroy my NJ plates, make copies of the registration and fax it all to Lisa Ann.

Scene Four: Which of Dante's Layers Is This?

I waddle as quickly as I can, and am confronted by a line much like the DMV. It must be Senior Citizens' Day at Staples, because a number of Biblical-era aged folks are milling around waiting to make copies and scanning old photographs. Nobody knows how to use any of the "self-service" machines. My zen from earlier is starting to wane, and I roll my eyes and sigh. A lot. I feel bad, but can't help myself. I finally get access to a copier. Out of paper. I wait again. I wait for the one employee to print out the letter saved on my USB stick, but he has to help a man printing out fliers, and all shades of yellow paper are not sufficiently yellow enough. Finally, I am ready to fax. Another line. Busy signals. General annoyance.

Finally, it is over. I have five minutes to get home and get on the phone. I race out of there, and am turning the key in the ignition when I realize that I left my current license and registration on the copy machine. More waddling, and then finally I am home, and on the phone, trying to explain my lawless state.

Scene Five: Redemption

Lisa Ann calls an hour later to tell me that I am cleared and that everything will be dropped from my record. I thank her profusely. I sit and think of all the times that I could have been carted off to jail in the past two years -- all the times that I ran the red light on Fairchild, all the times I sped on the Parkway, all the times I parked illegally, all the times I forgot my EZPass and went through the lane anyway. I wonder how I managed to stay so hidden. I am a relatively easy person to find.

I finally get around to laughing about it. Then I remember that I still need to go back to the RMV.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fuck California

Yep, the sanctity of my holy union was definitely at risk while all those crazy mo's were out there getting married. YG and I were totally terrorized.

Feministing lead me to this link. While I'm angry, I did like the response from a local Gay and Lesbian Community Center:

"Today, our Supreme Court sent a mixed and troubling message. While upholding the legal marriages of the 18,000 same-sex couples who married in California, the ruling establishes that all Californians are NOT entitled to equal protection of the law. This is a sad day for our state and a setback for the cause of freedom and fairness.

But it's also important to keep this in perspective. Every noble struggle known to man or woman has been filled with losses--temporary defeats that people had to endure and overcome. We must pick ourselves up and move forward, knowing that justice ultimately will prevail and the right to marry will one day be ours forever.

Fortunately, this loss comes amidst a veritable tide of progress in many other state supreme courts and legislatures--a tide that cannot be turned back, no matter today's decision. Not only are courts and legislatures recognizing that it's wrong to discriminate against any group of people by denying them the fundamental freedom to marry the one they love, but now even a majority of Americans agree. Most people in the nation now believe that same-sex couples should be treated equally under the law.

That is enormous progress and we e cannot let one election, one court case, one defeat - or even many defeats - stop us. And we must not let such challenges limit our dreams. Those who came before us and who could never imagine our successes did not give up. We owe the same dedication to those who are yet to follow.

Most importantly, we cannot afford to lose sight of the bigger picture. Ours is not a fight simply for the freedom to marry. Ours is a fight for full equality; full equality and nothing less."

I totally want to buy Zygote one of these, take a picture of your average boring white family and send it out to all the bigoted motherfuckers out there.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Recap

Or the official start to my fourth summer in Massachusetts. :-)

I took the day off -- always a good idea. Around 9 a.m., I hauled myself into Boston in the 90-degree heat for a very special appointment (i.e. leg wax) . Why didn't I take the car? No idea. My commitment to sustainability? Probably not. I just didn't think of it. Note to others: the T sucks ass when you are pregnant and it's that hot out. The T sucks ass even more when you have to ASK people to give you a seat. By the time I arrived, I was sweaty and late and had to change my underwear. Hot. The appointment was uneventful, and I now have fresh, smooth legs which make me happy.

I took the train back (again, why?) and treated myself to some massive chicken tacos from Chipotle and spent the next hour and a half of my day off, sitting on my ass on the couch eating "mexican" and watching What Not to Wear reruns. It was awesome. Really. Then I picked MG up at school and brought her to a doctor's appointment before coming home to a deliciously yummy meal out on the porch, prepared by YG. After dinner, we walked up to JP Licks for ice cream and people watching and the Square was packed and bustling, and summer is officially here.

Adventures in Personal Grooming continued on Saturday. I have no idea when this kid is coming, but I'm relatively positive that I won't have time to wipe my ass, never mind get a pedi in the upcoming weeks, so I had my hair cut and colored and then got a pedicure. I decided to walk the 2 miles home from Harvard and two women told me that I looked lovely, and another shouted from across Mass Ave, "I hope that baby has your beautiful hair." I will miss this part of pregnancy -- the random strangers complimenting you on how pretty you are. I think that should be an everyday occurrance.

When YG returned from bringing MG back to her mother's house, we finished off the nursery, putting up the wallpaper border. The ceiling is too high for me to reach, and he's still dizzy a lot of the time, so it was relatively harrowing, but we made it through without bickering -- a feat of greatness, considering I grew up in a house where bickering over shared chores is the norm, with physical violence and full-on shouting matches reserved for larger chores.

We took the T back into the North End for dinner, and ate at Taranta. I had read the reviews in Zagat and on Open Table and they didn't disappoint. We both loaded up on pasta (a lobster and crabmeat ravioli for me, and a sausage and onion dish for him) and chatted with a nice, young couple sitting next to us who were out on a date night away from their two kids at home.

I was hoping to avoid the insomnia again, but that didn't work. I was in my usual spot on the couch from 2-4 a.m., watching a documentary on the early days of AIDS.

On Sunday, I woke up late and noticed that I hadn't felt Zygote move in a while. I know that this is fairly normal at this point in pregnancy, but as the doctors instruct you, I drank two big glasses of water and sat on the couch for a while with my hands on my stomach. Nothing. I then tried jiggling the belly around a little bit, poking and prodding spots where I normally feel kicks. Still nothing. I decided I was being paranoid, so we took showers and took the 77 down to Harvard, fully intending to go to church as usual. YG suggested I call the doctor just to be sure.

We were sitting on a bench on Cambridge Common, right outside the church, when the doctor on call called back, asked me a bunch of questions, and then suggested that I come in to the hospital. I hung up the phone and immediately burst into tears. Sobbing tears. Out of nowhere. All throughout this pregnancy, I have definitely felt a bond with Zygote (it's hard not to when you have something growing inside of you), but I've felt removed and disconnected from friends who have talked about loving their in utero babies so much. Love just seemed like an odd choice of words, and then I course, obsess over being a bad mother already. I just think it's hard to love something in the abstract, and I've looked forward to meeting the actual person so that I can love him or her for real. But when the doctor said to come in, my brain went hospital/problem/baby/terror and I went from 0-60 without even being able to process it. YG was great, though. He told me that the crying would not help speed things along, and we hailed a cab and set off for Mount Auburn.

At the hospital, I had to sit through some annoying paperwork and registration, but once I got up to Labor & Delivery, I was put on the monitor and given lots of juice and water to drink. Zygote was in there, just napping, and "looked beautiful," according to the nurse. We had an ultrasound and saw the flexing of tiny hands and the slight movement of tiny feet. Of course, my kid would wait until we were actually in the hospital to start wiggling around, but the staff assured me that we had done the right thing by calling and coming in. Still, I felt silly. I am supposed to be perfect, after all. An hour later, we were discharged and walked back to Harvard Square where I ate away my idiocy in the beer garden at Charlie's. I know it's a Cambridge institution, but we never ate there before, and hell yeah, those are the best burgers in Cambridge. YG had something called a veggie reuben and that was delicious as well.

Back at home, we had some sexy adult time (i.e. napping on the couch while watching bad t.v.) and later went to the park for some exercise, before meeting some friends for dinner down the street. We finally got around to watching Milk, and I cried. Even though you know how it's going to end, it's still heartbreaking. The old footage of the cops rounding up gays gets me every time. And then I slept. Through the night. Horray.

Woke up late and enjoyed a nutritious breakfast of Cosmic Cocos, Whole Foods' organic version of cocoa puffs. Then we went back to sleep for another hour -- indulgent. Afterwards, we spent two hours planting. I've never really been into gardening, but YG loves it so we picked up a bunch of plants and arranged a border in the garden outside our kitchen, and planted a few other large buckets. It ended up being a lot of fun, and it looks beautiful. I'm hoping to manage it over the summer, and spend some time out there with Z.

We ate lunch (latkes and gazpacho, a match that should go together more often) on the porch, admiring our handy work. Then we drove over to Danehay Park so that I could take a walk, and YG could test his balance on his bike. He did well and was happy, and we sat on the benches and ate peaches while people watching.

And now, we're (by we, I mean YG) prepping for another meal outside and if the weather holds up, another walk up to JP's for ice cream. It may not seem like much. It's probably a boring weekend for many, but I don't know how much more adult time we have left and I have thoroughly enjoyed doing a lot of nothing lounging around in my bathrobe.