Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Pretending I was in A Galaxie 500 video

As we moved out of the farmlands into the grid
The plan of a city was all that you saw
And all of these people sitting totally still
As the ground raced beneath them, thirty-thousand feet down

- Liz Phair, Stratford-On-Guy

Flying into the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport through clear skies I was struck by how beautiful the lights of the city sprawl are. The plains allow for streets and houses to be laid out in an orderly grid, evenly-spaced street lights and the occasional gauzy-dotted expanse of parking lot, punctuated by irregular blotches of darkness where lakes or the Mississippi river break the terrain. Very different from the way the Seattle area is shoehorned into the undulating spaces between the Cascades and the waters of Puget Sound.

I got to see members of my extended step-family that I haven't seen for years. I'm older than of any of the Karbo clan kids, all clustered tightly together in a rough 10-year spread with the oldest about six years younger than me; all the "kids" are grown up, getting married, having babies, finishing school, finding their places in the world or still casting around wondering where they're going to land. My aunts and uncles now solidly see me as an adult. My grandparents grow older and weaker, slowing down but not ready to stop just yet. Being together for this wedding affected me much more than any of my visits back for holidays have in recent memory.

Finding myself alone and relaxed with my Lindroos clan was particularly potent. My aunt JoAnn died unexpectedly just over a year ago. My dad and my uncle and my grandpa are the remaining core of our family. Adoptees sometimes talk about the experience they have when they meet their biological families, a sense of belonging or being like these people who are otherwise strangers. That is how I feel around my Lindroos clan. Not so much with my cousins and peers, but with my elders. My step-mom pointed out to my aunt one afternoon that my uncle, my dad and I were sitting around together chatting, legs out, ankles crossed, fidgeting our toes. And we surely were, the Lindroos fidget. The ladies who married into it groused good-naturedly about the Lindroos traits that run through their husbands, and I just laughed and laughed with recognition and love. In the last couple of years, especially since my grandma's death and my uncle's return to Minnesota, I've gotten to spend more intimate and quality time with this part of my family.

The one somewhat sour note for me in the whole visit was the intense religiosity of the wedding itself. It seems all four of my brothers have grown quite religious, surprisingly religious, of a brand of Christianity that I can't personally embrace. There is no way as Kate's mother I would stand up at her wedding and exhort her to be submissive to her husband, "like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master." Every word about building a marriage under "God's vision" and "God's plan" and finding "a ministry" was like a jarring claxon; my brothers and their wives (those who have them) are moral, loving, giving people who clearly take their faith and devotion here and I wouldn't ever try to deny them what comfort or inspiration they find in the religion they've embraced but I do not take that same comfort. I can't lay a title on my own beliefs (agnostic? humanist? nihilist?) except to say that Christianity brings me no comfort or inspiration despite the alignment of my basic beliefs with the the teachings ascribed to Christ. It was the one sadness I felt on the trip.


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