A Gay in the Life: Mothers, beaches and AIDS (Oh my!)

It may be an excuse more often than not, but I am a stickler about how I spend my free time. It's very precious to me. It's when I write, read comics, relax — whatever I want to do. And driving to the beach, boxing traffic and eventually selling my kidney to find parking isn't usually in the cards.

Neither is appeasing our "You guys are gay, so I love you!" neighbor who informed us that she needed an audience, to be recorded, for her school presentation on the benefits of gay marriage.

On the weekend my mother was in in town — all on the week before my man and I were flying to Chicago for a meet and greet with Marvel Comics staff. Our portfolios weren't ready, and as we've both always wanted to work for them, Murphy's Law was in full effect.

I'm telling you, there just aren't enough hours in the day. Or he and I need to learn to say that we're busy, sorry — try putting shoes on your kid sometime. (Or maybe just "no.")

Whatever the case, we were behind on our portfolios, my mom was in town, we'd added the neighbor's presentation to our list (although she did loan me a garbage bag once, so maybe we owed her) and my legs were pale. I'm pretty good with multi-tasking, with budgeting time and strategizing, but I was at a loss. I had Marvel nerves.

And then it hit me: I was in a relationship. Just like the laundry, I could count on my boyfriend for help. He'd do a lot of the hard stuff. The washing, the drying, and I could just fold everything. (Y'know. Eventually. I work a lot.)

He could go learn the pros of gay marriage and I could hang out with my mom. We were a team and the crisis was averted. Unfortunately I'm not great with playing hostess — that's why I married one — but my mother soon reminded me that I was only half the reason she comes to Florida. The other half starred in The Little Mermaid.

I knew Ariel was out of town, so I took her to the beach. I was wearing shorts, anyway, so the answer had been obvious.

My boyfriend learned from our neighbor's presentation that the largest benefit to he and I actually being able to marry was that gay marriage would greatly reduce the country's HIV rate (uh, are you serious?), and I learned from spending time with my mom at the beach that if I don't take the time to smell the ocean — or at least the sweat-stained tourists (not you, Mom) — there's really no point in working as much as I do.

You have to take time to enjoy the little things. Seeing the beach through my mother's eyes even reminded me that I live in a very beautiful part of the world. And it reminded me that I can rely on others, especially my boyfriend, and relax a bit more. Even work on my tan.

Of course, all of the beach time, although it was nice to see my mom and soak up a little sun, threw me into a complete panic. My portfolio still wasn't finished and there was so much to do.

But an education from the uneducated concerning AIDS is no day at the beach, and I suppose my boyfriend got the raw end of the deal. But there's give and take in every relationship, so give me a break.

I work 40 hours a week.

My mother recently came to visit from Ohio. She's a big fan of Florida — an ex-hippie, gimme-the beach-and-sun kinda gal.

I love the beach. I'm sure I got her eyes or something, but I know I definitely got that from her. I love listening to the water, I'm pretty sure I was a mermaid in a past life, and everybody looks better with a tan.

Everybody. Even you, Pattinson.

That's why she couldn't quite fathom that my legs were paler now, living in Florida, than they were up in Ohio. (I spent more time in a tanning bed than I did my own. Yeah, yeah, it's bad for you. Life's short.)

But the simple truth is this: My boyfriend hates the beach — the sand, the surf, the skin you're left with in 30 years — and well, who has time to hit the waves, anyway? I work 40 hours a week. (He loves it when I say that. It's usually because I haven't folded the laundry he's just done.)

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