Thursday, October 11, 2007

When the crises come together all at once at a particular point in time and space, that's the Perfect Storm.

What were we thinking? Another son. Not a bad deal, but the timing could have been better. We'll be fine. We're not that old, but our health isn't what it was when most people our age were first having kids. Then again, we called those "accidents" back then.

Nothing accidental, except the timing. This, and Rocky Horror, and a few interesting situations going on at work... There was something else, but I seem to have forgotten it.

Iain is on his way. Yes, a four-letter spelling of the classic Gaelic variation of "John." My poor wife told my step-mum about it, and... she hit the roof. Now, you see, I live in Utah where even people who are NOT Mormon tend to be conformists, as though they'd just stepped out of a time capsule from 1957 and were still afraid if they'd step out of line, Joe McCarthy would himself step out of a 1953 time capsule and send them to Siberia with the rest of the Commies who hate being normal Americans like everybody else.

Step-mum is a step beyond that. There are times when it seems her "Normality" filter has but two settings: "Intolerant" and "That's so far out, it doesn't even register." I don't mean like racist "intolerant," just that she will react much like a lactose intolerant will react to a good cheese burger and a milk shake. And one letter made the difference.

"He'll spend the rest of his life having to spell his name for everyone," she admonished. Good morning, I thought as Pam relayed this to me. His last name is a highly Germanic moniker spelled with 10 to 11 letters. The average American loses track after five. He's going to have to spell his name for people in the first place.

Pam was upset by this, but not by much. She's had to deal with my step-mother's tendency to ignore the rules of protocol, decorum, tact, and (REAL) normalcy since we were engaged. Nothing has changed in 12 years.

I'm really starting to have a problem with conformity. I've always wanted my children to FIT in, but not "blend in" with the crowd. I just cannot fathom why anyone not in the Witness Protection Program would WANT to be "just like everybody else," but here I am, listening to her madness, and getting into an argument with my in-laws over Home Owners Associations, otherwise called "enforced conformity."

They live in "normal" neighborhoods, where all the houses are no more than two shades darker or lighter than the next. Some floor plans may call for bathrooms with two sinks instead of the one, but you go into one of these places, and you'll never have to ask WHERE the bathroom is, because it's in the exact same place as where it is in YOUR house.

Everyone has the same landscaping plan, because it makes the neighborhood look more harmonious, and everyone just feels safe knowing their house is JUST like the one down the street.

Everyone has an RV and/or a boat that they may or may not ever use, and if they do, it's in the same RV parks and reservoirs that everyone else is using.

And if you ever ask them how things are going, they all give the same response.

"Same old. Same old" (Is this a good thing, then?).

And, of course, everyone has the same names that pinpoint their birthdate to the month, according to what was the hot name at that time.

I don't want to be the same. I don't want my sons to be the same as everybody else. Same means "average." "Average" means "mediocre," "bland," "ineffectual," and "BORING."

Hell, you just have to listen to the tone in these people's voices when they tell you it's the "Same shit, different day." THEY are bored out of their skulls, and they refuse to acknowledge it. They confuse boredom with security. They wouldn't know what to do if they were ever confronted by the unusual, let alone the bizarre. Well, I guess their "Normalcy" filter would block it out entirely. They just wouldn't see the extraordinary if it exploded in their faces, burned their houses, sank their boats, and drove their RV's off into a great fissure in the ground that leads to the bowels of Hell itself.

Maybe Elias and Iain will want "normal" lives, themselves. That would suck, but I would accept it. I just want to be sure they are equipped to recognize a good storm when they see it, and at least consider the option of trying to ride it.

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