Friday night we went to my old high school, for the event honoring a couple of my all-time favorite teachers. It was great to see them again, as well as some other teachers/administrators that I remembered. Oddly enough, although the teachers’ careers spanned 35 years, the “former student” contingent consisted of 5 people from my graduating class plus one guy a year ahead. So we wound up having a mini class reunion as well. Although E and I skipped the impromptu after-party that my classmates decided to hold (complete with leftover cheese tray from the event, because you’re never too old to cadge free food at school), since I have a cold and we had to be up early the next morning.
It was clear that the fact I’d started a gay/straight alliance at the school had left a lasting mark. (This tied in with a bunch of other changes the honored teachers had helped promote, which is why the topic came up.) Remembering how stressful it been 25 years ago, to be one of very few out students, it was truly a wonderful contrast to come back as a mature adult and simply introduce E to people as my wife, and not have anyone blink an eye. There are a lot of times I marvel at how much society has changed in the last few decades, but to be right back in that environment where I first came out, the contrast was especially notable. No matter how much I hoped for change when that group first started, I truly couldn’t have imagined a world in which I’d someday be legally married to a woman. Or that those same teachers would someday greet my wife just the way they’d greet that of a straight male alum.
Saturday morning, E and I went to volunteer with a group of people from church, at a local organization that collects donations of furniture and household goods, then distributes them to people in need. Although M had volunteered there a few times with youth group, it was our first time volunteering. It’s a massive operation: warehouse full of stuff, ~100 carloads of items donated each Saturday, ~70 client families helped each week. We schlepped tables and heaved bureaus and wheeled bins full of sheets and towels and pots and pans. And not once did anyone mention the horrors in Paris. Because we were all simply too busy, focused on the good work that needed to be done, right here and now. Perfect.
And today, because we are middle-aged and I am feverish, we are sleepy achy lumps who are interrupting naps only to do a little laundry.