November 2nd, 2008

20111112, Marilee

Lunch and Politics

I was careful not to wear an Obama button because I know my brother and sister-in-law are fundamentalist Christians and we generally try not to talk about things on which we disagree strongly. We see each other for about 90 minutes twice a year, and we don't need to get angsty.

Before we left, I had a battery out for my brother to put in the smoke detector, but it turns out my nephew is now tall enough to change it without a stepstool. He clearly got our genes and his sister got his mother's -- she's shorter than everybody else in her class. I had an appointment for the van to get its annual oil change and state inspection tomorrow and I asked if they'd follow me up to the shop so I could park it there and drop off the keys, and my brother was fine with that. This way they'll get it earlier and I won't have to get up in the morning. Then we headed on to Applebee's. It's not my favorite place, but my sister-in-law had repeatedly mentioned the last two times that it's their favorite place. We had an amazingly inept waitress who had to keep going back for things.

We'd just been talking about general things -- my nephew has his learning permit, my niece stayed home to give out candy -- and then my sister-in-law (she gave me a fundamentalist Christian pamphlet with underlines for my birthday a couple years ago) asked me who I'd voted for. I said Obama and she asked if I disliked McCain. I told her that I thought he would keep us in bad, wrong wars forever, and that he had admitted he didn't know anything about economics. I said I liked things Obama has -- a better economic plan, a better health plan, etc. and she said he likes abortion. Obama has never said that -- he's said he thinks each state should decide (with which I disagree) -- and I told her that, but I told her that I was in favor of women being able to make a choice.

Women are people, we shouldn't be dictated to about our bodies. I don't think anybody wakes up and says "I'll get pregnant and then get an abortion! What fun!" and the way to avoid a lot of abortions is serious sex ed starting at a young age and free provision of birth control, even if it's condoms. I mentioned that Virginia allows pharmacists and hospital staff to refuse to sell items or do treatments that are against their conscience and said I thought that was going the wrong way. We should make birth control more available.

Which is when my sister-in-law started telling me that her mother had considered aborting her at two months along and if she had, she wouldn't be here and there would be holes in the universe (she's not very bright). My brother, nephew, and I tried to explain to her that's not how it would work, but she has trouble with math; physics is beyond her. My niece was trying to be as small as possible at that point. My sister-in-law's mother told her that she was almost aborted, which was a very malicious thing to do -- to put the burden on the child -- but I said that when we make sure everybody knows about and has birth control, there will be fewer abortions. Women are still people, and they get to make that choice. Fortunately, that's when the check came.

When we got back, we took some pictures and I insisted that they send me copies. My niece ran up to the landing in the back to pick up a phone directory that's been abandoned there for two months (I'll take it to mixed paper recycling on Wednesday) and so she got to carry the candy.

We waved goodbye and I went back to the bedroom to take my jewelry and shoes off and there was a knock on the door. I thought maybe they'd had problems, but it was an Obama volunteer. I told him I'd voted for Obama yesterday and he thanked me. He also invited me to tomorrow's rally just outside of Manassas, but I told him I was disabled and can't handle the fair grounds, but I hoped there'd be lots of people. Then I watched my tape of Meet the Press while I put the Sunday paper in order, skimmed the front pages of the sections, and made the grocery list for Tuesday. I'd only gotten six hours of sleep last night, so I napped with my phone set to wake me up in two hours, just in time for the news.