Tuesday, February 6

Tuesday's Thoughts

Just some thoughts as I procrastinate...

I had an experience last spring that I feel really sums up a major theme that I've been writing about in my book; my birth family vs. my "chosen" family. I was at a VERY fancy literary party in a high class loft in Manhattan. I was there early and I stood in the kitchen talking to a fellow writer, I'll call him Dude. Dude's friend walked in to the apartment wearing a flannel shirt and a wool cap. Dude called out to his friend, "What are you wearing? You look like a low life."

The friend took off his hat and said, "what?"

"I said you look like a low life," Dude said, "like a longshoreman or something."

Now, Dude had no idea my father was a longshoreman, so I didn't take this as an insult. Indeed the friend definitely did look like a smaller, gay version of my dad in his work clothes. Dude had probably never known blue collar people and probably didn't think any of their progeny would be at this type of event. It probably did not occur to him that describing a longshoreman as a "low life" may have been offensive to his present company. I didn't know what to say, so I turned my attention to a bowl of hummus. I didn't even blog about it at the time, thinking perhaps I was making too much of the situation. But looking back at it now, this experience exemplifies the two worlds I've been teetering between since I left my parent's house to go to college all those years ago; my uneducated working class family and the more intellectual and in some cases, overeducated and overly entitled circles I now run with. And the fact that I've pretty much always felt like an outsider to both.

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