Wednesday, February 11, 2009

welcome to kansas city, the midwestern leg of your trip.

i've been neglecting this little blog lately. oops.
things have been a little crazy, what with moving halfway across the country and all.

in fact, we almost didn't make it here at all. we came thisclose to death on I-90, just beyond the NY-PA border. we spun out, and ended up facing oncoming traffic. well past sundown. in what should've been travel-ban-worthy snowy weather. H, my invaluable travel buddy, claims we only spun around one and a half times (that's 540 degrees, if you're counting). i maintain that it had to have been way more than that. as the driver, i think that my version of the story trumps hers. in any case, it was absolutely terrifying.
makes me regret never doing donuts in safely abandoned parking lots when i was younger...
we miraculously didn't hit anything and got out of it alive...then crawled with the rest of the traffic over 2 miles of black ice to the next exit, where we slid into the first hotel and downed a shot of tequila each at the pub next door. (i should probably clarify: H downed a shot of tequila. i downed maybe a half shot, after dribbling the other half on the bar. i blame my lack of coordination on nervous energy from the spinout.)

if we'd taken our intended route - through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois - we probably would have died. luckily, the inordinate amount of money i paid for a moving company also afforded me an absolutely wonderful moving truck driver who told us terrifying tales of the awful conditions of I-70 (his route and our intended interstate). John, our driver, strongly advised us to take a different route.

never one to doubt a trucker, reroute we did. and so two massachusetts homos in a little blue car with a rainbow sticker on the back window drove, instead, through west virginia, rural kentucky, rural indiana, and rural illinois.
luckily, we both pass. H as a midwestern suburban mom, me as just plain het. we only got a few dirty looks from drivers with Jesus-fish on their back bumpers. not bad, given our route. and we only went about 300 miles out of our way. small price to pay for not spinning out off of a cliff en route, i suppose.

once we got to KC, we quickly found a really great local coffee shop (The Roasterie - not entirely fair trade/organic, but they've got some, and they're very invested in the local community, and they air roast their own beans). i still love dean's beans the best, and H sends me care packages consisting solely of their coffee. but it's good to have a local alternative.

before she left on a jet plane, H also introduced me to a friend of hers here in KC, who just added two super cute 8(?)month old babies to his family. twins - one boy & one girl. i've babysat for them once so far. i miss my babysittees in northampton, but these adorable babies are helping to ease the pain quite nicely.

i've been here for four weeks so far. i'm more homesick than i ever thought possible, but i love my job just as much as i thought i would. not quite a balance that i've struck yet, but it's on its way.
in the four weeks i've been here, i've learned more than my brain has the capacity to hold. the organization i work for bases their (successful) organizing strategy & tactics on the Midwest Academy's style of organizing. my new Bible is their activist manual. it lives on my bedside table. yes, i read it before going to sleep.

i've also learned an awful lot about Missouri politics.
like, for example:

there are essentially three parties in MO (related to repro rights, at least):
anti-choice Democrats, anti-choice Republicans, and the minority party of pro-choice Dems.
i've also learned that my state Senator, Jolie Justus, is one of the best in the state...and the only lesbian to have ever graced the state Senate floor.
i've also learned that sometimes, some of our state Representatives are still a little confused about which side Missouri took in the Civil War (officially, it took no sides), and refers to the Civil War during a hearing as the "war of northern aggression." yep. to make it even better, this reference was made in a hearing about a do-nothing House Resolution to register Missouri's disapproval of the possible-maybe-might-happen passage of the Freedom of Choice Act...which hasn't even been introduced in the US Congress this year. (the MO legislature spent hours on this pointless resolution this week, eventually passing today by a pretty big margin.)
but back to the "war of northern aggression" comment: FOCA, claims Rep. Stevenson (of Webb City, in southwest MO), would be "the greatest power grab by the federal government since the war of northern aggression."
yeah. he really said it. see?

there are other, more substantial bills that have been introduced already, and there are some really good, pro-prevention and pro-choice bills that have been introduced.
it'll certainly be interesting to see how this legislative session turns out...

let's see, what else about my new home state?
H's friend also introduced us to the world of really good Kansas City bbq. i'm a little confused about the bowl of sliced dill pickles that came with our takeout order (really? who needs an entire bowl of pickles with their dinner?), but aside from that: delicious. i'm not much of a bbq fan, but it's clear that they know their stuff down here.
i miss my cafe way too much. so, to ease the pain of separation...i applied to work part-time at a coffee shop in Westport that may be opening sometime soon. (they're waiting on permits from the city.) one of the few connections i have in this city is connected to the owner of this would-be coffee shop. hopefully, it'll come through, and hopefully, it'll come with the most important perk: free coffee. i could totally work weekends in addition to my slightly-more-than-full-time job...right?
speaking of that job, i spent an enlightening few days in st louis for some job training. i didn't get to see much of the city - mostly, i was in the office. i did, however, get introduced to one of st louis' best coffee shops, thanks to my wonderful and hospitable and similarly coffee-addicted host. and really, that's the most important piece of discovering a new city, right?

so there's the catch-up post. the common theme seems to be coffee. uh oh. my addiction is showing...

anyway, i've been thinking a lot lately about the connections between reproductive justice and sexual violence, so that may be a forthcoming post topic.
i've also been thinking about queer identities in not-so-queer-friendly environments (like most parts of the midwest).
and the connections between reproductive justice and queer movements.

wonder where this midwestern journey will lead...

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