Spring where I live is perfection. So I felt a little sheepish feeling inexplicably down on such a delightful day. Lunch with friends in the park seemed like the perfect antidote. My friends are an earnest priviledge to know. They're smart, sexy, and fun. I love them. They are, frankly, better people than I am.
The subject of names came up. I mentioned that some people I knew had named their daughter Liberty. My open minded friends assumed I was poking fun and proceeded to deride and stereotype. Later I'll tell them that Liberty's parents are friends of mine who will probably be the ones bringing them sandwiches and toiletries when the President orders a hurricane in their area. I don't know if I'll tell them that their mockery made them sound like my curmudgeonly father when I told him about my hippy friends naming their daughter Sequoia. To be fair, I don't think my lunch mates knew they were doing it. Most people are not knowingly dismissive, are they?
Later that picturesque spring afternoon, one of them brought up a conversation we'd had about a certain annoying radio and TV personality. I had given him an hour of my time, and found him, at least for that one hour, saying things that they themselves might have said, making their bitter hatred somewhat of a mystery. I had also found out that he gave all the profits from sales of his promotional "gear" to charity--inner city youths, college scholarships, etc. They proceeded to deride and stereotype, making assumptions that made them sound like the Religious Right, running from the facts lest they have to accept that there might be tires on the other side of the car that might be worth inflating. (Luckily, the personality in question isn't a personal friend. Had I given a crap when the subject came up, the uselessness of the conversation might have felt more egregious.) To be fair, my friends are loyal viewers of the people who make a career making fun of people like him, and who am I to say the opposition isn't the best source of information? Serves me right, right?
As the breeze danced in the giant oaks, a certain springtime holiday came up, and one or two good people at the table went out of their way to belittle what are for others deeply held religious convictions based on either thousands of years of tradition, or recent spiritual epiphanies, or both. It was all very enlightened and progressive. And the breath left my lungs with the warning of how futile all the test responses sounded. I had faded into the corner and realized how they must talk when I'm not around.
The food was good. The weather was perfect. The conversation was otherwise charming. It was a day to be relished. Truly.
I get by with a little help from my friends.