One day my kids are going to call me old because I remember the plastic bag ban being implemented in Austin.
“You mean, people didn’t always have reusable bags?”
It’s going to be weird to explain to my kids that many people were opposed to it because it’s inconvenient.
“But I don’t get it. We still get to use bags.”
I don’t know if my kids will be inquisitive enough to ask questions, but I often think that would be their reaction if they end up being so. I spend a lot of time thinking about what parts of our lifestyle are going to carry on to future generations, and when people have “2000’s” and “2010’s” parties, what are they going to dress like? My guess is emo kids and hipsters, because really that’s all we have to our name, I think. I don’t totally know how I feel about that.
My kids are going to be so perplexed that gay people were denied their rights. I’m going to have to explain the sequence of things and my perspective and answer the obvious questions, the questions so obvious no one ever asks.
“But then, what would happen if they caught you being gay?”
Thinking about those obvious questions children ask, I remember that nothing in history is so black and white, really. I remember hearing stories about the civil rights movement when I was a kid, and how I asked someone once what happened to the people who weren’t black or white, but “tan”, like me? Someone should have told me then that there’s more to the story, that it wasn’t just as easy as “black or white”. Most of history is tan, like me.
You see, back when America granted slaves freedom, we thought that was it. We did it. We are all officially people now. That’s great news. But then somewhere around fifty years later, we realized we left out the women, and half of us denied that we did. Finally women got their rights, and fifty years after that, most of us realized we didn’t actually set the blacks free at all. And finally, we did it. The blacks were equal. The women were equal. America was perfect.
Until fifty years after that, when we realized we left out the homosexuals. We didn’t mean to, it just happened. And now most of America is apologizing and making sure no one is excluded.
Except fifty years from now, far after gay marriage has been legalized, we’ll realize we left someone else out. I’m sorry future oppressed person. I swear I don’t mean to, history just happens in this way, and if less people talked and more people listened, maybe you wouldn’t have to wait another 50 years to be un-oppressed.
Maybe instead of explaining to my kids what has happened, I’ll just tell them all this. My kids will have many more pictures to look at of me as a teenager than we did of our parents thanks to digital cameras. But no amount of pictures or HD videos will allow them to know the moment I’m living right now. So maybe with these obvious questions, I’ll just say, “Hey kid, shit happens, then you fix it.”