It’s February blues time, but put away your mood ring. Put away your wedding ring. It’s lovely, by the way. Time to throw away that O-ring with the faulty seal. Get out your old Cracker Jacks de-coder ring or your iPhone.
Today’s meta-meme is code-breaking. Everybody is breaking into a sweat trying to break a code. In “The Imitation Game,” Alan Turing tries to break the unbreakable German Enigma code. In “The Theory of Everything,” Stephen Hawking tries to break the cosmological code.
They’re not the only British Mensa mensches. In the three-part BBC series, “Blechley Circle,” four code-breaking women in World War II, become civilian sleuths and solve a case of a serial killing in peacetime using the analytics they used in wartime.
Code breaking is not just for the Brits. In “Serial,” the podcast spinoff from “This American Life,” journalist Sarah Koenig tries to break the code of the 1999 murder of Hae Minn Lee in Baltimore.
I do not have a code-breaker’s disposition. Finding “Blechley Circle” on Netflix is my enigma-breaking best. I’m not proud of it.
Trying to solve grammar school math word problems left me weeping, whining, “Can’t Dick just go out and measure the width of the road?”
Since God was the convenient answer for everything, dogged curiosity is not my forte. I was raised to think that anything in parenthesis was none of my business.
Growing up, my binaries were not zero/one. They were: good/evil, heaven/hell, Catholic/other and white. Early feminism deflated those binary balls. As a new feminist I strove, not for the patriarchal either/or, but for the motherland’s both/and. Both binaries and ovaries.
We all did. I don’t know what happened. We had kids. We got jobs. We got tired. We became hypoglycemic.
I drifted. I told myself that a certain hardening of the categories comes with age. From a Rita Mae Brown both/and, can-do feminist action figure, I was trending toward a gloomy, pessimistic Eeyore of either/or-ness.
The transgender movement is the next generation of code breakers. They continue the safe cracking of feminism. The trans-activists in my life and at my table kick my two-cheeked ass.
I get annoyed at PGP [preferred gender pronoun], then remember no one was more annoying than I when I insisted on “she” for “he” in public readings, and hissed Ms. whenever needed.
Endless permutations of gender variance remind me that I tried to read the code of heterosexuality and break it by being a young butch.
As a young lesbian feminist I was on fire with freedom. The transgender movement has rekindled that flame. I am invigorated, off-kilter and uncomfortable. I thank the trans movement for that, especially the young activists. And I wish some young person would come over and show me how to download “Transparent” from Amazon.