Serving Writer_Feminist_Nonprofiteer Daily, 6am-11pm
Ann and Marc’s Garner home, tucked into a cul de sac in the Raleigh suburbs, is setting for a funny, occasionally emotional rumination over chicken and dumplings about the luck of the draw as their dogs roam around the table. Both have MS. Both were divorced when they met on a blind date. It might never have happened. But even that first date, marred by a sitcom-worthy stomach bug and their resistance to dating someone with the same challenge, seemed to signal something about fate, and how we end up where we do.
Instead of illness and the slow burn of victimization defining them, they choose a life of proportionate snark, knowledge and trust. Marc, a counselor, lives his life by something called ‘ethics with an edge’ (like taking handicapped parking when there's no other spots). It's not all easy, obviously; he has flareups, and Ann’s job as baker required her to stand in extreme heat or the chill of the walk-in. MS is just a part of the hand they’re dealt. They’re wise and funny and focused on loved ones- Marc's daughters, their dogs, and I hear of the recent loss of a musician friend, the Johnny of Johnny and the Generations, to cancer at 60.
I searched the Generations' Youtubes- oldies performed at the Moose Lodge or the Italian American Club, venues Ann called "bad, but cute". Johnny sings under strobes that light couples, most 50+, dancing on wooden floors. He sits with his walker beside him, each note radiantly sincere. It's avideo I'd have cynically dismissed before, lots would. But why? He belonged to people, he believed in something, he did what he loved till the end. When there's so much bad, why not appreciate that?
Johnny's groupies: a razor-sharp vivacious blond and her funny, warmhearted Jewish guy, who found each other on a blind date and occupy a little side-street paradise. The singer: physically gone, but living on in another, virtual cul de sac of the universe- Youtube. Marc: heals. Ann: creates. Johnny: sings. I: ask questions. We're all complex, meaningful mechanisms with Generations, cells of mistakes and romances and biological mishaps built in. The hands we're dealt; how we use them is what's interesting.