Sunday, June 19, 2005

The normal ones

"Touting (sic) red-and-white Polish flags, thousands of members of a Polish youth organization opposed to special rights for homosexuals marched through Warsaw today in a so-called "Normal Parade" in answer to a recent "gay pride" event in the city." (WorldNet Daily)

Good grief. A "Normal Parade." Sounds like rush-hour in downtown Ottawa, doesn't it? Or a metaphor for the life sketched out by Malvina Reynolds in her immortal "Little Boxes?" It reminds me of the paradox about uninteresting people
--they are interesting because they are uninteresting. So I would dearly love to hold a balloon, bring the family and wave at the crowd of "Normals" marching down Bank Street, if it happens here.

What should we expect? Well, no priests or nuns, because they're not normal by any standard definition of the term. Celibate, given all day to prayer and political activity, wearing the uniforms of their trade, we are not dealing with averages, medians and majorities here. So we won't expect to see them.

What about Fred Phelps and his merry crew from Topeka, Kansas? They're all lawyers, every last one of 'em, and spend their time picketing funerals of gays and lesbians, carrying signs saying "God Hates Fags." Two things in no way normal, so they'll be absent too.

As near as I can figure it, we would see floats consisting of replicas of new property developments, the very "little boxes" of the song. There would be folks wearing sandals with socks. And a squad of well-dressed youngsters, doing their homework in formation, with all the boys in blue and the girls in pink. These are the people in commercials who spray their houses with aerosol freshness, who wipe screaming germs out
by the millions in the comfort of their kitchens, who kill bugs dead. The people next door.

I must live in the wrong neighbourhood, though, because I've never met any of these normal people. On one side, our neighbour likes to listen to opera at top volume while she barbecues, and has covered her garden area with frog replicas. On the other side is a distant relative of Jean Chretien, a retired electrical worker who is seldom in the best of moods, but warmed up to me when I acquired a family. Neither of them, I suspect, would qualify for the Normal Parade. In fact, no one I have ever met would.

So I remain fascinated. Who are these Normal people? What do they do, what do they think, where on earth are they hiding? It's high time that they dare to come out, be proud of who they are, and have a lavish
--well, not too lavish--Normal Pride Day. I'll be there with bells on, celebrating the self-liberation of our least-recognized minority, making the links, doing my best to build solidarity. They're there, they're square--get used to it.

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