Happy Oyster

I’ve been asked a number of times today if I have anything fun planned for Easter. Maybe it’s that I’m not a christian, but I never ask people if they’re planning on enjoying a religious holiday. Because I know that not everybody is of that religion, and not everybody celebrates that holiday. All I know is I get tired of the following:

Well-wisher: So, have anything fun planned for Easter?
Missy: Um… not really. I don’t celebrate Easter.
Well-wisher: Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t know you were Jewish!
Missy: Um…I’m not.

Then they give me the look. The “you have alien spiders on your face” look. And sure, I could just tell people, “Oh yeah, I’m sure Easter will be bitchin’.” But should I really have to do that? People act like I’m the rude one for not just “going with the flow.” But really, aren’t they the rude one for making assumptions? Wasn’t this country built on religious freedom?

At any rate, it’s only 12 days until Beltane.

Eat It, IRS!

I’m packing up the taxes so they may dash their way to Fresno, California for processing. This is the first time for Fresno; I used to send them to Ogden, Utah. Another first (at least in the last few years) — I get to use the yellow “no I’m not sending you money” label. That’s right, it’s refundsville, daddy-o! Not much of a refund, but any tiny bit coming back is better than having to cut a multi-thousand-dollar check

It does kinda irk me that after making me do all these calculations, and filling out that bastard of a 1040, their envelope isn’t postage-paid. So now I’ve got to waste a couple of precious Duke Kahanamoku stamps. Oh well; two 37¢ stamps are probably worth not having to worry about taxes for another year.

On a complete side note, I had to search five online ASCII tables before I could find the code for the “¢” sign. But I needed that authenticity. Can’t just go around saying $0.37 like a fool. Just another patented example of Missy’s Anal Nature&#169.

My home is ready "for the children."

Just standing in my bathroom, brushing my teeth, I was suddenly amazed to see how many of the things around me in my childfree house are full of warnings for my nonexistent children.

The cord on my hair dryer has a tag which cautions me to warn children about the risk of death from electric shock, should they get the bright idea to drop a plugged-in hair dryer into a bathtub. There’s even a charming illustration of a full tub and a hair dryer just about to plunge into the moist depths, with the big international “NO” circle-and-slash symbol over it.

I looked at the bucket of kitty litter, only to see that I should never partially fill the bucket with water and then let a child climb in head-first. According to the illustration, little baby Upsidedown might drown in as little as a few inches of water. When I was a kid, buckets never had such warnings. We even kept a bucket of water out on the back patio for the dog to drink from, and amazingly, neither I nor my brother ever managed to drown headfirst in that bucket.

Oh look, the garbage bags! I should never let my phantom children play with them, or put the garbage bags over their phantom heads. As much fun as that sounds, the bags present a “choking hazard.” And let’s not even start on the bottles of cleaning chemicals, which all fretfully recommend I keep them out of the reach of children.

So even though I have no children, will never have children, and a child has never been in my small bathroom, my bathroom still has the word “children” in at least a dozen places.

What a world.

Big Yellow Taxi

Driving home tonight, I was treated to some unknown pop group’s fresh new rendition of “Big Yellow Taxi.”

How many times does this song need to be redone? I’ve heard like 5 versions of it already, and “BYT” is not a song I have ever sought out. In this particular version, apparently they thought to change it up a little by using some different notes than the original. And add some syllabubs here and there. (I meant syllable, not syllabub. I’ll give a quarter to the first person who gets the reference.) Heck, I made my dad a CD with 15 different versions of the song “Hotel California,” because he has this “thing” for the Hotel California. When we went to Cabo San Lucas a few years back, he hired an all-day taxi to take us an hour out into the desert to the town of Todos Santos, where we proceeded to have lunch at the Hotel California. Such a lovely place. We were livin’ it up at the… well, you get the idea. 15 versions, people! I don’t care if the song is considered a classic, there should be limits to the number of times people can (to quote American Idol,) “make the song their own.” Want to remake a song? Pick something that hasn’t been done before. Remake “Xanadu.”

Personal Choice Discrimination: Yet Another Screed

A conversation with a friend yesterday got me to thinking about some things. We’ve all been told it’s not OK to discriminate against somebody because of their race, gender, handicap… anything that’s beyond their control. But when it comes to peoples’ personal choices, apparently it’s open season for scorn, derision and downright nastiness.

You see, I’ve decided to not have children. When people find this out, there’s apparently some unspoken signal that it’s now open season on my choice. I understand that a lot of people have a hard time comprehending why I’d make such a choice (though the reasons are many, and good), but your lack of comprehension is no reason to harass me. The “childfree” (as “childless” implies something is missing in one’s life) have developed a phrase for this particular harassment: Breeder Bingo. It’s the lines that childfree people hear so frequently you could fill a Bingo card with them. I’ve had many of these said or written to me, both online and in face-to-face conversation. Lines such as:

“You’ll change your mind when you’re older.” (Ah, yes. Because obviously at 30 I’m still too young to know my own mind.)
“But you’d be such a good mother!” (How can you tell that? I bet people thought Andrea Yates would be a good mother too.)
“What if your parents had thought the way you do? You wouldn’t be here!” (Yes, and I wouldn’t have to put up with this interrogation, either.)
“Who will take care of you when you get old?” (Retirement planning.)
“You’re not a real woman/real grownup until you’ve had a child.” (Since 9-year-olds can have kids, I doubt this is true. And yes, I’ve been told I’m not a “real woman.” Isn’t that charming.)
The list goes on: “You don’t know what real love is until you’ve had a child. You must have been abused as a child to hate children. You must have serious anger issues to hate children.” Strangely, even though I refer to the childfree movement as the “BabyHaters,” I don’t hate children. But in expressing that I don’t want them, it’s assumed that instead of loving children, I hate them. There is, apparently, no middle ground for child ambivalance.

It’s also interesting to be in the cultural minority on other things that may or may not be considered personal choice. I used to be classified as morbidly obese. Being fat isn’t necessarily a personal choice, but it isn’t necessarily genetic either. For myself, it turned out to be complete personal choice; I made the choice of what to eat, and it turned out that those choices made me fat. So since for some people it’s a personal choice, it’s OK to make fun of them. Hell, I was again in the Personal Choice Minority when I lost weight using the Atkins diet, and was harangued with lines like, “don’t you get tired of eating all meat?” (Not really, since I’m eating more vegetables now than I did when I did a low-fat diet.) “Your cholesterol will go off the chart.” (Actually, my triglycerides are way down and my ratio is fantastic. Total cholesterol is 148.) It goes on and on. Since it’s not a part of my genetic makeup to follow the Atkins diet, it’s therefore fair game for discrimination.

I guess my point is that no matter whether you’re a minority for reasons beyond your control or for choices you’ve made, there’s no excuse for harassment. If you choose to have children, I’m not going to discriminate against you for it; you’ve just made a different choice than I have. If you vote for the other party, I’m not going to treat you like a lesser person for it. If you’re overweight, I’d gladly tell of my personal experience, but only when asked. As long as your choices don’t infringe on my own rights, you can do whatever you like. Make whatever choices you want. I just wish people would offer that same respect to me.