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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Stuck in Jackson: where the photo came from


Stuck in Jackson.

I am always with my camera when we are out and about. With my adoption of a smart phone, having a camera at my bidding is even more convenient. I tell my design students to do the same, as you never know what you might encounter when you are out doing mundane things.
We live about a mile from the Cascades, a park in town that has a great walking trail, cool play structures and the actual Cascades: a giant wedding cake of a waterfall built years ago. The falls are illuminated each night during the summer and sappy music is pumped in synced to the changing lights hidden beneath the water.  If you've seen Soylent Green, you may remember the room where the folks are brought in before they are dispatched. It featured comfortable seating, soothing music, and pretty things to look at. 

This is the Cascades. It’s God’s waiting room.

But I digress…

We were at the Cascades one evening with the kids, camera in pocket. We began the climb to the top of the structure, we frolicked in the mist blowing around at the top and then began the slippery descent on the other side. When we came to one of the side pools, we heard crying and yelling coming from the other side of the balustraud. It was then we noticed the kid with his head stuck between the balusters. Tod immediately sprang into action and went to calm the kid down and dislodge him; I immediately grabbed my camera and leaned in to get the shot.
The kid was pretty upset, so it took a minute for Tod to actually free him allowing me the chance to focus and get the shot with my cheap pocket camera.

Cruel?

Perhaps.

Funny?

Hells yea.

I ended up calling the pic “Stuck in Jackson” and it’s a perfect visual metaphor for my life in this town.
We’re stuck here, and we’re doing our best to get the hell out, but things beyond our power are keeping us here. We can yell, cry, and struggle, but that only makes it worse.

  • We live in a state where our legal marriage is not recognized and we do not (at great expense to us) share the same benefits as heterosexual couples.
  • We live in a state where people like Dave Agema can make horrible comments about the LGBT community and no one seems to care.
  • We live in a city where our director of HR (Crystal Dixon) believes that we chose to be gay and it’s not a civil right.
  • We live in a triangle where there are several abandoned or soon to be abandoned homes, as well as several vacant lots where homes used to be.
  • We live in one of the worst states to live in if you are in education, as the laws enacted by the Republicans in power are decidedly anti-teacher.


So what do we do? We begin to remedy the situation. Once Tod got the kid calmed down, he was able to move the kid up to the area where he originally put his head and in back him out. There are changes coming in Michigan, slowly… and soon we may be living in a state where we recognized as a couple. It’s a slow process, and there are things that make me want to scream and cry, but I need to keep calm and ride this out.

Until then, I am stuck in Jackson.