Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I met my new Little Sister today. She is not-quite seven, gorgeous little girl, who tied two jumpropes together for me to jump because, she said, "You're pretty tall." Then we played Monopoly, with the breathtaking surrealism of first grade.

"This property costs two hundred dollars," I report.

"Would you take a five?" she offers.


It is exactly the correct antidote to the general panic around bank failures, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and whatever else there is out there, to be playing Monopoly with a little girl who declares, "I am the bank and all the money is mine."

If she lands on Go To Jail and she doesn't want to go, she just skips over it. I don't contradict her. I want her to grow up to make her own rules.

When I was helping her ride her bike in their tiny backyard, she said, "I thought you was gonna be black."

"Did you want me to be black?" I asked. "Would that make you more comfortable?"

"Yeah," she said. It was one of the more honest conversations about race that I've had.

Later, as we were playing Monopoly, she said, "All of the Presidents were white."

"Until this year," I said. "But maybe this year we might bget a black President."

"I know," she said.

"Do you know what his name is?"

"Obama. My granny is going to vote for him."

"Me too."

I wonder if Barack obama could have any way of knpowing that his choice to run is impacting the world view of a first grader in Oakland with chipped purple nail polish and a pink bike with no training wheels.

"But how come...?" she asked, and then stopped. She likes me, for having only known me a little while, but trust takes a long time to build.

"What?" I ask.

She mumbles something that sounds like,"shot," and we keep on rolling the dice and moving our little figures around the Monopoly board. I wonder what she knows about Martin Luther King. Does her granny openly fear assassination for Obama, and does she talk about it? Do people at her granny's church pray for Obama's safety?

I can see that I will be learning as much from this little one as I will be teaching her. She wanted a date with me, "tomorrow," but tomorrow I go with Carla to Harbin Hot Springs, where we will loll around naked in the pools, eat great food, and DO NOTHING.

Carla is the busiest dying person there ever was. How many other people with fatal diseases are gigging, recording, performing weddings, writing, parenting, throwing bachelorette parties, composing, endorsing, befriending, and embarking on new adventures daily?

I got the bulk of Elizabeth's piece In remembrance Of written...six monologues so far. She may want me to write one or two more, but I've got material for each of her dancer-actors to work with, and I can go away with a clear conscience, knowing she will be doing wonderful things to shape and highlight and choreograph the material. the show will be the first two weekends in September at St. Gregory of Nyssa's Church in San Francisco, where See How We Almost Fly was produced in May of 2007. Tight turnaround!

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