Sunday, October 03, 2004

secrets

My husband is a Republican. I am a Democrat. As a couple, we've come to terms on our political discord, though the truth of the matter is, we actually see eye to eye on most issues. Not all. But most. He still believes that the war in Iraq is not a mistake and would like to see George W. in the White House for another 4 years, while the thought of the war and George W. make me nauseous. He's a better debater than I am. I tend to take everything personally. I don't argue with cited studies and statistics, but with emotion. And so I tend to lose our dinner table arguments. But I like to think that even though he can't sway me on the big issues, he's able to help me to see both sides of an argument. And in my own emotional way, with examples from my work in The Projects on the Lower East Side, the inner-city schools in Oakland, I can help him to see the other side of things as well.

On Thursday night, we watched the first presidential debate at the Sheraton Centro Historico with a group here in Mexico, the Republicans Abroad. My husband isn't part of the group, but was invited to the event by a colleague of his. We don't have cable at home and both wanted to watch the debate and so accepted the invitation.

There was more press there than Republicans Abroad, or so it seemed. I'm pretty sure that I was the only Democrat in the room until the very end when the former ambassador to Mexico showed up. But the people gathered to watch the debate were a pretty sedate bunch and so there was very little audible response to either Bush or Kerry. No cheers, no hisses. And I was quite relieved.

When the debate had ended, a reporter wanted to interview my husband, but he declined, not wanting his political affiliation to be somehow linked to the university he worked for, so we slinked out while the president of the group was interviewed and others lined up for their turn in front of the camera.

The next morning at work, one of the teachers asked me if I had seen the debate and I told her that I had. I went on to explain that I thought Kerry was strong, but I'm biased in that direction and that I had watched the debate with the Republicans Abroad. I didn't mention my that my husband happens to be a Republican. I tend to let him out himself when it comes up, especially among people we don't know very well.

That night, we went out with some of my co-workers and the teacher who had asked me about the debates was there. She assumed, as most people tend to do, that my husband was a Democrat. And she asked him how it felt to watch the debates in Mexico with a bunch of Bush supporters. She said that she'd never met a Republican in Mexico. And I kept waiting for my husband to say something, to tell her that she was talking to one right now. But he kept quiet and while he didn't actually agree with what she was saying, he was vague enough in his responses to her questions and comments that he didn't let on how angry her assumptions made him.

Later, this same teacher (who I really like, by the way) made a comment about IVF. One of the students we work with was conceived using a sperm donor and we were talking about how he doesn't know his father. I can't remember exactly what she said (I'd had a few drinks by this point), but it was something about not knowing your biological parents, about not looking like your mother. I kept quiet.

The people at school don't know about my infertility. I don't know if its something I'll ever share with them. I just don't feel like I know them well enough, trust them enough to share. Part of it is, that most of them are younger than me. None of them are married or thinking about having kids. The only kids we talk about are our students. The topic of pregnancy, of raising our own kids just hasn't come up. At this point, its hard for me to imagine how it would. My guess is they assume that if/when I'm ready to have kids, I will. And for now that's okay with me. If/when I have to take time off from work for IVF, I'll have to decide whether to tell them the truth about why I'll be gone for so long. I have a feeling I'll be vague about it. Need to see a doctor, have minor surgery, something along those lines.

Since Friday, I've linked these "secrets" in my mind: the fact that my husband supports Bush and the fact that we're infertile. While neither one of these things (I hope) would cost me the friendship of my new co-workers, they both have the potential to make things feel awkward between us, something that sets us apart. I already feel a bit out of the loop having joined the staff well into the beginning of the school-year, haven't bonded with them in the way that they seem to have bonded with each other. I don't want to jeopardize the potential for making new friends. It makes me feel a little dishonest, and I'm probably not giving these people the benefit of the doubt, but I can't help the way I feel, even if it's more than a bit irrational.

We skipped a second work party last night, not because of any of the above stuff I mentioned, but because we both just felt like staying in. I should probably worry more about the repercussions of that decision than who my husband will vote for in November. After all, my vote will cancel out his.

3 Comments:

Blogger Elenamary said...

aye gringita,

you are very strong in being able to listen to people talk about IVF and not share your own personal story. abrazos desde Ohio.

12:13 PM  
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