Becky Says...

June 2002

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June 18

A friend who told me an anecdote on herself reminded me this afternoon of a story that happened years ago, shortly after the first friend who happened to be gay decided to come out to me.

This friend, a second mutual (and also gay) friend, and I were all having lunch one Sunday after church, in one of those restaurants in Chapel Hill that drew the after-church crowd --- meaning all ages and all backgrounds, all dressed up. This was back in the day when Stonewall memories were still pretty fresh, and when the notions of what we now call political correctness were still being thought of as simple politeness.

And it was a time in my friendship with these two people that I was still not quite sure if it was okay for me to laugh at gay-oriented jokes. And my two friends were still shy enough about the subject they didn't quite know how to make jokes that would give me a clue. I was actually fairly grateful that circumstances hadn't arisen wherein I had to worry about hurting anyone's feelings or making an ass of myself.

As we were waiting for our meals to arrive, we were quietly chatting about the church service we had just attended, making comments about our upcoming schedule of anthems (all of us were choir members), and in general not paying much attention to the surrounding crowd in the restaurant.

Until one little lady at a nearby table did something that changed the tenor of the day. She and her tablemates were discussing whatever, when she raised her voice and announced, "Well, it's like that old Quaker saying: I may be queer, but thou art queerer!"

To this day, I have no idea what prompted her to make that remark. I also don't care. She has my eternal gratitude for breaking the ice. The three of us wound up laughing so hard we were almost choking, and it was never necessary for me to wonder again if it was okay to laugh.

Text copyright 2000-2002 Becky