Saturday, February 03, 2007

Like the Deadly Hands of the Radium Clock

Siobhan first called me at work yesterday morning.

Siobhan: Not dead yet!
Tata: If you were, this phone call would be even more interesting. Where the hell are you?
Siobhan: Hospital.
Tata: Huh. Can I panic now?
Siobhan: What time is it?
Tata: 10:37.
Siobhan: Wait until 10:38. I gotta go get a test.

I postponed panicking until such time as I knew why I should panic, since I like to plan these things carefully. Later, we agreed I'd visit at lunchtime. Then, we agreed I would not visit at lunchtime. Then I had a meeting all afternoon, and enough time had passed that Siobhan's many admirers were taking bakery numbers in the lobby. Nobody with an IV drip needs to hear my mouth on a Friday night, so we agreed I'd visit today, but that doesn't mean we haven't been on the phone all morning.

Siobhan: They did an ultrasound on my chest and apparently I have a heart.
Tata: Get out!
Siobhan: It didn't grow three sizes but it is black.
Tata: Nobody touched it, right? Your heart is pure, concentrated Eeeeeevil!
Siobhan: Right. Don't bring me flowers. I don't have room for more.
Tata: Are your admirers there now?
Siobhan: No, but I expect them any minute.
Tata: Throw them out at 2.
Siobhan: How about at 3?
Tata: Sold!

So, while we're waiting for me to finish my pre-departure routine of bathing and complaining, I thought we might also observe that things are happening elsewhere, and some might matter more than others.
Natalyn Gracia loves her pink hair and so does her dad, Ricardo, but the Dalton Early Childhood Center calls her extreme and she's missed the last four days of school because of it. Ricardo had her hair dyed for a school parade back in October. But, he said, he never got the warning letter that came two weeks later. If he had, he would not have had her hair re-pinked over the Christmas break.

A spokeswoman for the school said they are working with Ricardo to make sure the girl is under compliance with the schools rules, which means she has to lose the pink hair.

Sometimes, I can tell people are speaking in code. I can't always tell what they're really saying, but I can tell someone is stringing together words in a manner inconsistent with common usage. For instance, when I think of a four-year-old with pink hair, I think of a darling little fuzzball who asks interesting questions and trusts adults. Apparently, the Dalton Early Childhood Center thinks of this.

Apparently, Teh Gay is such a threat to civilization that a preschool has a rule against pink hair. I've had toy-pony-pink hair, and it didn't make me any more queer than usual, but it did make people nervous, so I've seen the hand-wringing up close and personal. As with hate speech problems where the answer is more free speech, I think the answer here is more pink hair. I hope all the kids' parents take her classmates for - forgive me - pinking. There's nothing terrifying about hair color, if you're not allergic, but there's a lot to be frightened of when the adults act like big fucking babies.


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