Monday, August 24, 2009

Blurring the Lines

I traveled to Cape Cod recently, and spent some time in the community of Provincetown, way out on the very tip of the Cape. P'town happens to be an area rich with shopping, beaches and a thriving nightlife -- and it also happens to be one of the most extremely rainbow-flagged locations I have ever seen. I can't recall ever experiencing such a warm and open community of people, within which any couple, or family, can find a space of comfort, even among strangers.

The vibe throughout this town is wonderful. People are relaxed and most likely on vacation, wandering through the streets hand in hand. Men and men, women and women, men and women, parents and children, friends -- the full gamut of people in all their quirkiness and beauty. One thing I observed in my wanderings was that it was impossible to tell on the surface who belonged with whom. A far cry from the traditional formula of Mom, Dad, 2.3 kids and a dog. I loved that. It really brought home for me the fact that our country, our world, is changing in important ways that have been a long time coming.

Even living in a place as diverse as NYC, I feel as though there is a compartmentalization of people of different races, sexualities, lifestyles. These divides run deep, and are hard to bridge at times. We coexist, but are still working to live in true harmony with one another. In P'town, I witnessed something fundamentally different. A blending of diverse spheres of existence into one thriving center of culture and sharing.

On the streets there, you simply could not look at the faces of people passing and make assumptions. That experience showed me how many assumptions I make about people I know, and about the strangers I pass in my everyday life -- assumptions that maybe I should learn to think past. I consider myself to be an open-minded person, but maybe I need to work hard to be more so.

Perhaps we all need to be challenged in these ways more often. The lines that define "a family" have blurred in lovely ways. I, for one, hope they keep on blurring.

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