Near the beginning of class I was feeling really bored by the repetitious review, but then we learned so much new vocabulary (it boggles me that Will doesn't take notes, not even just the English words so you remember what it is that you learned and are supposed to be practicing) and there were a few moments of "What are you asking us?"
We reviewed man/woman and learned son/daughter (and oh, it occurs to me know that punctuating it thusly in a fannish community is problematic -- we haven't actually learned husband/wife or the like, come to think of it) and I could just feel Will tensing up beside me. He asked what the sign for trans is, and Alberto showed us the one kailen told me about that Kirk said is the sign for "beauty" but at the chest rather than the face. : He also taught us "gay" and "lesbian" and "straight."
I thought about asking for "bisexual," but Kirk had said basically you just fingerspell "bi," that there is a sign but it's basically "sex with two" which is problematic (I pointed out that it would be a better sign for "poly"), and I'm okay with the easy fingerspell of B-I. We got out 15 minutes early again, and I asked about "queer." He said you just fingerspell it, and I kinda sighed. As we walked to the bus stop and were talking about it, Will pointed out that it is still considered an offensive term by a lot of people.
When later I was explaining that January of my senior year in high school I got a crush on a girl and was like, "Oh, I must be queer," since I'd had a crush on a boy, and I should have said that my choice of terminology came from recently having read an essay by a mixed-race queer woman, which was my introduction to the term. (I'd already explained a little at the bus stop about how I wasn't looking for a sign for a GLBT umbrella term but rather a self-identifier and how "queer" is my preferred term, though I'll say "bi" for easy "I like boys and girls" shorthand, that it's one of those rare places in which I am liberal "this implies a binary . . . " -- in retrospect I should probably have thrown in the word "pomo.")
Edit: Oh, and I noticed the handshape that Emily used in demonstrating "queer" when we learned "middle" (e.g. "middle school") and I think as an alternative sign for "why." /edit
We waited about a half hour for a bus (opportunity for me to finish eating my dinner) and then walked back all the way to home from Harvard Square, getting to see where they moved houses on Mass. Ave. (We went in to the FoodMaster, and it wasn't until I got home that I remembered that I had intended to go to the FoodMaster myself to pick up a couple things.)
I ended up talking lots about my family history -- starting with talking about the UCN schism. Oh, and mom, I haven't yet mentioned this in LJ, but I was telling Will that now that I'm older and know lots of clergypeople, I have a lot more respect for what a demanding job that is. (Though you are still way more Christ-like with PB than even current-me would be.)
It's interesting reflecting back on this stuff. What did prompt my researching/writing of my essay? It must have been zining and/or penpalling, but I can't remember specific context besides that. I'm also not sure I had any non-hetero pen-pals, though I must have read zines by such people (I remember the bisexual woman in Florida with the lovely zines whose name I can't recall now -- and actually now that I think of it I was introduced to trans through zines).
Telling people stories also brings to the fore where my gaps are -- like how I was told the story of the founding of the Baker but didn't bother to make it stick, but also like how I never needed to articulate what Bill or Helen or whomever did, so when actually talking about it to someone I find myself stumbling over what should be offhand sentences ("mental health work . . . with children"). And also just how much I've forgotten -- like what the PB-Polly conflict was, what got railroaded in that Annual Meeting I went to (I know they added more Christ-language to the church creed, but that I could understand; there was something else that got railroaded in).
Also, the nature of story-telling in these informal contexts is such that you go off on or get pulled off on tangents, so I didn't even get to some of the really interesting stories. I mean, I mentioned the fact of the earthquake but didn't actually get to tell any stories, for example.
Will's right, though, that he did learn most everything about me in that hour and a half or whatever. (We parted ways after FoodMaster, and I got home about 9:30.)
I feel bad that there were plenty of times when he said stuff about himself and I wanted to ask follow-up questions but didn't (for some reason I feel like I'm prying if people don't volunteer elaboration on their own, even though I know that I need little prompting to talk about myself at length but often don't provide elaboration unprompted 'cause I don't wanna bore people, plus often people just forget that someone doesn't know certain stuff about them, like what they do for a living for example).
Edit: It also occured to me during our conversation that I don't know if Miles knows ASL, though my guess would be no. /edit
Edit: Oh, and I forgot to mention that we learned numbers 11-20 (having learned 1-10 last time), and 11-14 are this total "Bring it" motion which caused me to mentally snark about whether the people who developed these signs were parents of adolescents. /edit
I had a bunch of links and discussion stuff, but I was headachy at work today and didn't get much accomplished, so I would like to be closer to well-rested and actually productive tomorrow, so I am going to bed.