India Choquette is a writer, a trainer, a teacher, a breakfast sandwich eater, a person in love with a person, and a FOrmer Vermonter living in New York City.

Re-Reading Harry Potter

 S. and I had a weird day today. The weather was weird. Our work schedule was weird. And I was/am battling with a giant plot puzzle in my novel. It also doesn’t help that we are reading Harry Potter at the same time, and J.K. Rowling is a plot wizard who weaves plot in such a perfect way that what was previously a rug transforms into an invisibility cloak and you and surprised and drawn in and can’t stop turning that pages. It gives me a plot inferiority complex.

When I say “we” are reading Harry Potter, I truly mean that. I am reading her Harry Potter out loud a couple nights a week before we go to bed. This might seem either sickeningly adorable or pathetically immature, but I love books and reading, and S. has NEVER READ HARRY POTTER.

THAT IS A HUGE OPPORTUNITY.

 She is a twenty-something human who somehow not only missed reading Harry Potter, but she missed EVERYTHING: she missed the midnight book releases at Borders,she missed ALL the movies, she doesn’t know any of the characters, and she has no idea what way the story is going to turn.

SHE DOESN’T KNOW ANYTHING.

 As somebody who loves stories, I can say that there are few things that give me greater joy than sharing a well-loved story with someone for the first time.  There’s that moment when you’re like, “Wait. You haven’t seen STAR WARS????” and then they’re like, “No. Why is that a big deal?” And you’re like, “WE ARE RENTING IT RIGHT NOWWWWWW!” And the night transforms into STAR WARS NIGHT.

And while reading out loud might be antiquated, it is EVEN BETTER with a book. You probably have had a similar experience showing a TV show or movie to someone you love (I’m looking at you “Office” people and “The Princess Bride” people). But imagine that delicious feeling for minutes and hours, over a long period of time, in your voice. I didn’t just give her the book to read. I am reading it to her. I am her Harry Potter savior, bringing her the gospel of good and brilliant fantasy.

Even though I mostly keep my eye on the page (AKA the Kindle app on my phone), I still do the thing where I look at her to see if she’s getting JUST HOW AWESOME a particular moment is—His wand uses a phoenix feather from the SAME PHOENIX as Voldemort’s!!!!!!!! GET IT??????

This is a long way of saying that S. and I are very cute. We snuggle up with Tempurpedic bed tilted up like a couch and spend time reading before we fall asleep.

We grab these sweet, quiet moments alone. We lean into them and exaggerate them because that is our personalities. We love doing things together. I love her dance, and I will sit on the floor of a studio and watch her move around for hours. And she will sit and hand proof the latest thing I’ve written. We like our life, and we like what we do.

We went to H&M today. I was surprised to see that they have a very sizable PRIDE collection. I remember this from last year, what I consider my first official Pride, and it still struck me as odd. I don’t know why I feel so uncomfortable with companies like H&M selling apparel designed to support people like me. It is a good thing that being LBGTQ+ has become mainstream, that it’s become “hip” for people to support. It really is a good thing. And it is good that places like H&M sell shirts that say “Feminist” or “The Future is Female.” But just feels like shirts reading “Green Girl” with a picture of the planet that are made out of cotton doused in chemicals, manufactured in inhumane ways. It feels disingenuous. It feels like they are profiting on something that isn’t theirs. And maybe I would feel better about it if they featured more diverse and controversial apparel: Black Lives Matter or End Gun Violence. But they don’t.

It makes me wonder…in states hostile to gay people, do they still carry these shirts? Or is there an office responsible for making sure that Alabama doesn’t get any of the “gay clothes?” Do they sell shirts targeted to specific populations? I know they make different flavors of Kit Kat in Japan (green tea—it’s pretty good), do they do the same for anti-gay regions? Are there “A Women’s Place is In the Kitchen” shirts on sale in more conservative places?

I guess, put simply, I’d like to know if they stock their pride collection in all their stores, or just the ones where it will sell, like New York. Alabama banned an episode of Arthur featuring a gay (but also animal?) wedding, so I doubt that they are selling “LOVE” in rainbow print or sweats with a tiny rainbow “pride” printed over and over. It probably wouldn’t increase their bottom line, and I have a strong feeling that that’s all these stores care about.

I googled it. There are at least five H&M stores in Alabama. I’m dying to know.

If anyone knows if they sell the H&M Pride Collection in Alabama, please tell me.

In one day, two different men (as different as they could be), asked S. and I if we were sisters. They were using it as a pick up line (gross), but it felt threatening to us. As if they were calling us out. Either way, asking us if we are sisters as we are shopping in Trader Joe’s (man #1: old) and walking down our street, yelling at us from a stoop (man #2: young), doesn’t feel good. It feels like they are identifying us as things they want, and then wedging their way in. And that’s just if we were straight women. We have this added layer of the danger of “being found out.” Or should we just flaunt it? There’s been a man all month in the subway screaming that homosexuals are an abomination. He’s been at both Columbus Circle and Union Square at various points. A couple (two women) were hospitalized in the UK when a few teenagers on a bus demanded that they kiss in front of them and they refused. Men sometimes feel that two women were put together for their entertainment purpose only.

What’s the best option here?

Probably reading Harry Potter at home.

What’s the brave option? What’s the option that allows us to have the best future? Are these opposites?

Would You Rather #4

The Egg