The Rally

Andy stood in the dark on his back patio looking at the night sky.  He sang softly to himself, barely audible.

L’amour est un oiseau rebelle
Que nul ne peut apprivoiser,
Et c’est bien in vain qu’on l’appelle
S’il lui convient de refuser.
Rien n’y fait, menace ou prière.
L’un parle bien, l’autre se tait.
Et c’est l’autre que je préfère.
Il n’a rien dit mais il me plait.

Turning around he found his brother Max standing by the French doors that lead to the patio. Andy in his jeans and white dress shirt was in stark contrast to Max’s all black, mostly leather ensemble.

Max smiled. “I’m still in awe of the beauty of your voice baby brother.”

Andy gave Max a bro hug. “Thanks. You worked tonight?”

“I’m keeping the world safe for Vampires everywhere.”

“And you’re greatly appreciated by all of us.”

Max was a hunter of Vampire Hunters. Andy was an opera singer. Both were Vampires. And they were brothers, with the same chestnut brown hair and hazel eyes that could go pitch black on demand.

“Tonight,” Max began, “I was off from work and looking for a bite to eat, and I ended up in an alleyway with an incredibly angry woman.”

“Were you going to…”

“No. I’d passed some sort of event, I think it was a rally of some sort. People were mingling outside and it looked like fun. Then one of them called me a faggot when I walked by.”

“What an asshole.”

“It doesn’t matter. At least it didn’t then. You know I’ve never cared what they think. I’m not one of them.”

“You’re the most standoffish Vampire I know.”

“Like I said I’m not one of them. But tonight was different. She got to me.”

Andy smiled. “She? Love?”

“No. Of course not. I turned the corner into an alley, and there stood a woman, alone. Someone yelled, “You’re a cunt Lila. You know that? Would you rather hang with a bunch of fucking rug munchers and queers?” She didn’t respond to him.

She looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Have you ever known what it is like to be different? To be hated? Do you know what it is like to feel hated for not hating?”

Not a single warm blooded human has ever asked me that. “Why were you there?” I asked her. I wanted to know what would have convinced her to be at such an event.

“A couple of coworkers asked me along. One of them has a friend I kind of liked. I thought it would be interesting. I had no idea how interesting. It was like going back to 1930’s Germany. The guy, that asshole who yelled at me was dating the girl I liked. I didn’t know.” She looked at me in an odd way. “Why were you there?”

“I wasn’t there.” I told her. “I just got off from work. I was just passing by, on my way to get a bite to eat. There’s a wine bar a few blocks from here. Please join me. We can talk.” As we left the alley there were more jeers. I turned to the men and gave them the most awful visions. One fell on the ground clutching his stomach. Andy, you would have been proud of me.”

“So tell me about her,” said Andy. “What did you talk about? Did you talk?”

“We talked for about three hours. She asked me if I was gay.”

“Did you tell her your preferences?”

“That I am attracted to both, but mainly women? Yes. She didn’t blink and eye.”

“Then what?”

“We talked. Then we walked for a while. I drove her home. Then I kissed her cheek. She didn’t even mention that my lips were cold or my eyes had gone almost black in color. It wasn’t romantic, but I’m going to watch after her. She might not know it, but she’ll never be alone, or unsafe.”

“What about dinner? Was it her?”

“No, some guy in the bathroom of the bar. It was fast and easy.”

Andy didn’t ask the reason for the rally and Max didn’t mention it.

About an hour later, on the drive home, Max watched the sunrise through the rain. He tried not to think too much about the night. He could have killed the men who called him names and yelled at Lila, but he didn’t. There was a lot he could have done, but instead he decided to perform the rare act of listening. Just listening.

After dropping his clothes on a chair he texted a Vampire woman he was trying not to fall in love with and asked her to come over. Then he climbed into bed and closed his eyes to the new day.

 

~ End

 

Note: I wrote this after listening to my teenager talk about what is going on in the news and the bigotry and hate and sheer ignorance we hear coming out of so many public mouths. This is a quickly written sort story, and not great literature (or even a great story) but I hope you understand the meaning behind it. Haters are going to hate but wouldn’t it be nice if they didn’t hate and didn’t spread that hate to others. It is something we all must think about if we value our freedoms and the future of our children (who are usually smarter than we are.) ~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman.

 

California Afternoon, Vampire Guys (again), Parenting and Modern Life

California Afternoon, Vampire Guys (again), Parenting and Modern Life

Yellow Flip Flops

Michinori waited for his teenage twins in the school parking lot. I waited with him. We also had loads of books to donate for the library book sale (our tax dollars not at work.)

I welcomed the company of an old friend on a Friday afternoon as I waited but… as you know, anytime a male Vampire goes into a public place, especially in the middle of the day he’ll get a lot of looks. They just reek of a certain “you want me now.” I just hoped the librarian’s knees wouldn’t turn to jelly when we brought the books in. I could already hear the women in the office and the female teachers saying, “Michinori is here.” It was worse than someone bringing a box full of 6 week old Lab puppies or cake or anything that pulls you and makes you giddy for absolutely no known reason. You know the feeling.

It was almost as bad as when my brother Max would go up to the school, except Max would intentionally flaunt it. He is so bad that way. He is horrible. When my husband Teddy shows up parent information meetings are packed with mothers of teenagers. It is good for the school but almost embarrassing for me. I should keep smelling salts in my purse for all the swooning.

Even years ago (a long long time ago) when people didn’t mingle the way they do now, women would look at my friend Michinori, feeling shocked that they’d be so attracted to such an exotic gorgeous creature. It was so wrong. No matter what color or background they were drawn to him. Then again he wasn’t just Japanese, he was also a Vampire.

He’d come to California years ago as a teenager, about the same age as our kids are now, to build the railroad and maybe escape his life as a less favored son. He met the 8th daughter of a San Francisco merchant. She was just one of 14 children (split between several dead wives.) They’d seen each other by the edge of the river, a place they both went to get away from the world. It was a world they didn’t feel like they belonged.

And when they met they found that they belonged with each other. It wouldn’t be easy for the dark eyed Japanese boy and the blue eyed American girl of Welsh descent.

They would live in the few places where they might be marginally accepted. Proper men and women shunned them.

Fernando and his friend Michael didn’t shun them. They were also a couple of mixed cultures and of the same sex. They lived a dangerous life with a love that wasn’t accepted by anyone. Both couples were outside of the law and outside of common decency.

Yet, in the circle of friends and family Fernando and Michael had made all were accepted. So they accepted Michinori and Rosalie, who in 1875 became Vampires. And they became my friends.

This was around the time my husband Teddy joined our ranks (another story.)

By 1999 Michinori and Rosalie were no longer seen as an oddity, especially where we lived, they were just another normal couple. That was the year their twins were born. That was the same year my own daughter Clara was born.

So we’re waiting at the school when we start to laugh about some stuff our kids had been talking about…

You know you’re from California when…

  • You know YOLO is a county.
  • You live on a fault line and your house is still worth a million dollars.
  • 65F is considered freezing.
  • Everyone gets excited when it rains.
  • You have flip flop tan lines on your feet year around.
  • You always know where the closest Certified Organic Farmer’s Market is and the price of strawberries.
  • You have a stash of old sheets to throw over your citrus trees in the winter.
  • You’ve never experienced a snow day.
  • You get tired of people from out of state asking you how many times a year you go to Disneyland.
  • Every high school has someone famous on it’s alumni list.
  • You NEVER say “Cali” when you talk about where you live.
  • You’re always within a two hour drive of anything you could ever want to do.

We went on for another 10 or 12 items then heard the final bell. School was out. Word was also out about Michinori being at the school.

Our children have a tight circle of friends at school.  The Vampire kids stick together because they like to be with their own kind. But they had friends of all different kinds. They accept that. Despite all the stupid things going on at their school, I hear there is tolerance that isn’t found at most schools. That is a tolerance for people who are different. You know I don’t even like to use the word different. Lets just call it an acceptance of everyone no matter who or what they are. You like the people you like and love the people you love for who they are inside. We teach our kids to see people for how they act and how they treat others – that is what matters.

That said, those Vampire guys… sigh. They’ll always take advantage of their unique charms but as long as they keep everyone happy I guess that’s ok.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Click here for “Why Vampires Wear Yellow Flip Flops.”

Stupid stuff my kid heard … and the Day of Silence

Imagine a class full of high school geometry students taking a make-up test. Outside in the courtyard they can hear a kid yelling.

“Dennis. Hey Dennis. Dennis. Dennis. Hey Dennis. Dennis.”

“What the Hell do you want?”

“You’re a fag.”

The silence of the test was broken but kids trying not to laugh.

Pretty random. They’re best friends. That is just the way high school (and older) guys talk to each other. Forget scolding me about being politically correct. They shouldn’t say fag but they do. These are the same kids who did the LBGT day of silence in support of their friends. Yes, this is real life so there are a lot of mixed signals, missed messages and all kinds of things going on.

Random yelling can always be heard echoing through the high school halls during class:

I’m not retarded.

I love you.

You’re Effing stupid.

And more common that you think.

“I’ll show you my truck.”

“Did you get your license?”

“No. I’m only fifteen.”

 

 

Also heard in sophomore English.

Student: Is Africa a country or a continent?

Teacher: A continent.

Student: Africa is so violent that I thought it was just one big country.

Teacher: That has nothing to do with it being a country or a continent. Africa has many countries.

Student: But everyone there looks the same.

Teacher: Don’t say things like that. It’s racist. Besides, everyone who is white probably looks the same to them.

What the girl didn’t know was that there is a white kid in the class who is from South Africa and a black kid who has parents from Nigeria sitting two seats down.

Then in World History Emily (we’ve talked about her before) said: I don’t use Yahoo because it is run by Jews. I only use Google.

Another girl: Excuse me? What are you talking about.

Emily: You know Neten-Yahoo the guy who runs Israel. That’s why they call it Yahoo.

At that point everyone was yelling at Emily to shut up.

And yes, all of these kids were required to take Geography last year. No, I’m not making any of this up.

But back to the Day of Silence

A true Ally actively combats anti-LGBT bullying and harassment.

My daughter told me that today is The Day of Silence. The kids learned about it in school. She is an Ally.

From http://glsen.org

Visible Allies are priceless for LGBT students, especially if they’re dealing with anti-LGBT issues at school. Allies can sometimes stand up and support change in ways that LGBT-identified students can’t.

Being an Ally is about standing shoulder to shoulder with LGBT students against anti-LGBT language, bullying and harassment in our schools.

ThinkB4YouSpeak

THinkB4YouSpeakLGBT teens hear anti-LGBT remarks throughout the school day, creating an atmosphere where they feel disrespected, unwanted and unsafe.

Anti-LGBT remarks such as “that’s so gay” are often unintentional and a common part of teens’ vernacular. Most do not recognize the consequences, but the casual use of this language often carries over into more overt harassment.

This campaign aims to raise awareness about the prevalence and consequences of anti-LGBT bias and behavior in America’s schools. Ultimately, the goal is to reduce and prevent the use of anti-LGBT language in an effort to create a more positive environment for LGBT teens. The campaign also aims to reach adults, including school personnel and parents; their support of this message is crucial to the success of efforts to change behavior.

Talk to your kids about it. If they’re straight I bet they have gay friends. If they’re gay support them and their gay and straight friends. They all have both. It just doesn’t matter anymore – it shouldn’t matter.

Day of Silence (April 17, 2015)

Silence can create change!

That’s why every year hundreds of thousands of students across the world take a vow of silence on a Friday in April. This quiet but powerful, student-led action raises awareness about the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying, harassment and discrimination.

Anyone can organize a Day of Silence activity or event, and it can be a powerful way to band together and take a stand. Learn more about how to register, organize, what your rights are, and what to do if those rights aren’t being respected.

Strength in numbers. Solidarity in silence.

____________________

If you have kids in your life (or someone who acts like a kid) talk to them about stuff. You know, just stuff. Talk and keep the dialogue going about everything. Not just hot button issues but everything. Encourage them to be curious and to see the big picture. Talk to them about not just blurting out anything that comes into their head. And yes, sometimes there are stupid questions.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Friendship, coming out, high school, tater tots and other musings on teens, life and love.

Ever since they were teeny tiny little things my kids seem to know everything. I don’t mean advanced mathematics and reading War and Peace at age three, I mean they know everything that is going on around them. No matter how big or small they know the scoop what is going on at school and everywhere else they go. They’re telling me secrets about school administrators. They seem to know every kid and the story of every kid. They know all about the teachers in details that would shock.

Of course they’re predisposed of this sort of knowledge (being Vampires) but they’re good. They know the right moment to wait at the door before entering. Their ears (the same ones that don’t hear their parents) hear everything around them. And, like their parents, people tell them things. It is as if the filters go off on everyone at school when my kids are around.

This morning I dropped my daughter off in front of the school. There are almost 2,500 students, she has been there since August, yet she knows everything about everyone. A kid got out of a car in front of us (in the NO STOPPING ANYTIME zone that ALL the parents stop in) and I asked her if she knew him. No she didn’t know him personally but she knew this well dressed kid was in the special education program, but he was in regular classes and doing well. She said he was nice. Some boys made fun of him last year because he looks a little different but that was put to a stop. I said he had beautiful hair (he had amazing hair). My child said “He has better hair than 90% of the stupid boys in the school.”

Picking on other kids generally isn’t tolerated (bullying) at this school. Not just by the teachers but by the kids. They seem to self regulate the school culture and try not to put up with bullies. Of course it happens, but not as much as other schools. The main problem seems to be sexism, general teenage confusion, drugs and teenage angst.

Then she proceeded to tell me about a girl who is really short but can throw an 8 pound shot put about 25 feet across the field. All of the kids watch in awe and wonder.

Yes, the topic of conversation is always changing. Young brains are taking it in and processing everything. That is a good thing.

Last night my brother was over. Max has a house in San Francisco near our parents but when he isn’t on a job he tends to migrate to my house. He also happens to be my husband’s best friend.

My brother Max and husband Teddy sat together watching the game, never running out of things to talk about. They were born within months of each other. Their mothers were the best of friends who despite their differences and pregnancies embarked on a great adventure together. 164 years later the two baby boys, born in the midst of the California Gold Rush, are still best friends.

They learn back and stretch their long legs together and laugh about something. It is like they can read each other’s mind. Actually they can. Sometimes I wonder who is the married couple – Teddy and me, or Teddy and Max. But when you marry your brother’s best friend your brother is always going to be around. But that’s ok. Max might be a little serious and brooding sometimes but the fact that I can drive him nuts is worth it. And I love him dearly.

So it will be with my daughter and her friend Warren. They have known each other since they were toddlers. Who knows why they attached themselves to each other, but I know they’ll always be friends.

When we were told this week that Warren put out something on Twitter stating that he liked girls AND boys nobody was shocked or surprised. It was news. It wasn’t unexpected.

I asked my teens if anyone at their school cared. The answer I got was that most LBGT kids were cool and well liked. I can give a lot of reasons for that. We live in Northern California where it is OK to be gay. It is normal. Nobody cares. Luckily they have a school culture where all the kids hang out together with male, female, straight, gay, bi friends.

I hear more about how the Geeks LOVE Tater Tots and how the “Men’s Fashion Club” is mostly straight Asian boys who have great clothes and hair, and how my kids are tired of dealing with stoners. We hear about who is selling drugs and getting suspended (always the same kids.) We hear about how many bicycles and skateboards are in the gated area everyday (no busses in our school district) and about the crazy parking in the student parking lot. We hear about who is or isn’t going off to college and the fact that nobody knows where they have been accepted yet. We hear a lot about music. Some days it is ALL about the music. We hear about a lot of things – most of it good, or at least just interesting.

My kids are different. Yes, read the masthead…this is Musings of a Modern Vampire Mom. We’re at the top of the food chain so it makes being different easy. They’ve grown up keeping it to themselves like just another odd genetic difference. It is how they roll. When they were younger they’d ask things like “Why can’t we tell anyone?” or “Do you like being different mom?”

Now they don’t ask, they just accept. They see the same characters and situation in their families as most kids.

So Warren came out. We’ve talked to the kids about the old days when someone could be arrested, tortured or even killed for loving someone of the same sex. It still goes on in some parts of the world. Living in Northern California I try to think we’re more progressive, but unfortunately that isn’t always the case. But things are changing and it won’t be stopped.

Max never talks much about his past relationships with men,  or women for that matter. Right now he has a woman on his mind and can’t figure it all out. Another Vampire of course. But we never questioned his choices (OK I DO question his choices because he has made some really foolish ones, but it has nothing to do with the person being male or female). He is who he is. But for most of his life, at least to the non Vampire world his choices have been kept secret.

At one time it seemed off to my husband who was raised to be a somewhat proper Victorian man but his attitude changed as soon as he changed (into a Vampire). It wasn’t easy at first but a lot of attitudes have changed over the years for him but that is a good thing (he freely admits).

My kids are amazed when I tell them about the old days when people with physical difficulties were put away in institutions or kept at home (not school for those kids). They don’t understand that there were laws keeping people of different colors from marrying. They don’t understand the reasons behind fear of people who are just a little bit different. And maybe one day that difference won’t be different or at least won’t matter.

So will anything change for Warren? We doubt much. Maybe a few people will make comments, but nobody was surprised. Everybody still loves Warren. They’re still his friend. They’re all saying “We already knew that Warren. Tell us something we don’t know.”

Have a good weekend everyone,
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

teens beach

A few somewhat related posts on Max, secrets, teens and other things: