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  • Joia

Today's rhaps is on ... The Identity Police

Updated: Jan 21

Helen Frankenthaler, Moveable Blue, 1973

The other night I went to St. Mary's ER down the street, coughing up a storm, scared again by all the Unknowns. Good news came with the test results—not pneumonia or covid or even the flu! Though there's a black spot on my lung that will need determination at some point.

This was temporary certainty worth paying for, since US Medicare is not available yet for this wandering soul. I'm legal over on the other side of the world in that other land under that birth name. (Hey but you can't be in two places at once, right, Rodney Dangerfield?!)

At the discharge desk I was asked a lot of questions, likely over my lack of legitimate domestic insurance (Medicare A but not Medicare B?) by someone who would have preferred Spanish, my Portuguese not helping at all. In fact, even if I had Portuguese blood I would still be non-Hispanic, right? Or non-white? Am I non-Iberian then? Disjunctions are so tricky. Never know if they're inclusive or exclusive. Yes, white then, a total nordic Euromongrel—German, English, French, Dutch, Swiss, the absence of all other races. And then sexual orientation, the full alphabet soup of LGBTQIA, I'm supposed to know this at 1 in the morning, slumped over in my Worten walker that Carlos assembled for me when it arrived during the pandemic from Cascais Shopping in Alcabideche.

I started to cry. Who cares, I'm 68, an old non-gendered multicultural mess. Spiritually two-spirited, indigenous to some broken asteroid belt out there spinning in the Universe. And marital status? Divorced thirty years ago, am I single yet? All of the above, none of the above. Please.

So who am I and do the demographics help? I forgot the US cares so much about my individuality, bless its foxy self. At the Cascais Jazz Club, nobody cared who you were hanging with. But here! The Minneapolis lesbians thought me as weird as the San Diego professors and the Evangelical missionaries. Clearly my hair will never stay properly under the hijab for any of you.

Claro que não. Clearly not.

So shoot me.

As the Snake Island soldier said to the Russian warship, русский корабль, иди нахуй.

19 JANUARY 2023

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