Peggy Are You Okay


-- चार हजार दो सौ छियासी --

Given how much emphasis I would argue is on the "local" part of "local celebrity" phrase as it applied to Peggy Platt, I really figured the first local newspaper in which I'd read an obituary of her would be something more along the lines of The Stranger -- they may be a weekly newspaper, but they still have an online presence that can be updated any time, after all. But, nope: this morning I found several links on Twitter (where I have been monitoring mentions of her) to the Seattle Times obituary. No quote from her longtime comedy partner Lisa Koch, but given that Peggy Platt died just Monday night, in all likelihood, aside from close family members, probably no one is more devastated than Lisa Koch, and it's a bit soon to be getting comments from her.

Curiously, The Stranger still has no mention of her death, that I can find. Actually the very first article I found yesterday was on the website Seattle Gay Scene -- not to be confused with Seattle Gay News, the newspaper run by the awful George Bakan (pronounced "Bacon") 1999-2000 and where I organized an attempted strike in August 2000. Their website still has no mention of her either, incidentally. In all likelihood, both papers will have something about her in their next issues. Ditto Seattle Weekly.

I thought maybe I'd see mention of her on the Capitol Hill Blog, but, nope. It's been several years, but she used to be kind of a fixture in the neighborhood. For a while I saw her sitting at one of the outdoor tables outside the Espresso Vivace coffee shop on Broadway.

The very first I heard the news, actually, was via an email from Laney, sent yesterday afternoon at 2:14 p.m. I was pretty saddened by the news, although frankly not hugely surprised, given her long history with weight problems. She even talked in her 2001 show Fat Girl Follies -- which I went to see while working for the Seattle Gay Standard -- about having had her stomach stapled. As happens with so many morbidly obese people, in the long run it left no particularly perceptible difference in her size. I remember thinking that show was pretty good, albeit lacking in polish, not quite rehearsed well enough -- not typically the same with the shows I have long known her most from, Ham for the Holidays, which ran for years before I saw my first one in 2000, and still I saw a total of 11 of them -- the last of those just this past November, with Evan. During the first decade of my exposure to these shows (the first five), I saw them with Barbara, two of those with Shobhit, who joined a third time in 2013; I saw another two of them with Susan (2010 and 2011); two with Laney (2015 and 2016), the second of those also with Jessica; and then last year's with Evan.

It's kind of strange to think how recent that was -- four months ago -- and how, when you see a performer you admire so much, you don't think about how quickly they can go, and just be gone forever. I had been seeing her perform for a very long time (17 years), and many, many others have known her locally for a decade and a half even longer than that. I had no idea until that Seattle Times piece that she had that part in Harry and the Hendersons. Curiously, although she has quite an extensive resume of local performances -- it's not an exaggeration to say she was beloved in Seattle -- that's her single screen acting credit.

She was 58 years old upon passing. I can't seem to figure out when her birthday was, but since there's greater chance it's after April 2 than it was before, let's say she was born in 1959. That would make her about 28 in Harry and the Hendersons; 37 when Ham for the Holidays started in 1996; and 42 when she did Fat Girl Follies in 2001. It's so strange how much time can pass without you realizing it as you get older. People whose presence you've been taking for granted for decades start to die.

I never even met Peggy Platt -- and 58 is certainly not particularly old anymore. But the older I get myself, the more people in my sphere of observation will die for all kinds of reasons, just by virtue of simple math. Grandparents are one thing -- in the realm of my own perception, they were always old; it was a given they'd be among the first to go, and now they are indeed all gone. Soon enough, this is going to start happening with people I know who are younger than that, but are not necessarily so young themselves anymore. Honestly it'll be a surprise -- if not a miracle -- of my mother lasts another decade. Whoever it starts with, it's one of the few things I actively dread, in spite of its inevitability.

-- चार हजार दो सौ छियासी --


-- चार हजार दो सौ छियासी --

Well, that gave me something to write about today other than yet another evening of old nineties episodes of Roseanne, anyway. I'm feeling an increasing amount of cognitive dissonance between the greatness of that show in its time and the batshit crazy that Roseanne Barr is today. Although to be fair, she caused more than her fair share of uproar during the show's initial run, usually infuriating conservatives -- quite the irony now, given how much they're rallying behind her as a Trump supporter. Those people are such easy targets, such uncritical lemmings, it never ceases to be astonishing. I mean, this is the woman who once grabbed her crotch and spit while singing the National Anthem terribly at a baseball game.

Still, in spite of both of us making the conscious choice not to watch the reboot, Shobhit and I watched another several episodes from season 5 last night, and Shobhit is just as into it as I am. The show, in its initial run, was ridiculously progressive in countless ways. Darlene -- played by Sara Gilbert -- is the show's MVP in retrospect (Laurie Metcalf as Roseanne's sister Jackie was basically considered that at the time, which was itself not far from the truth); she's easily my favorite character as I watch it now.

The show then was riddled with behind-the-scenes drama for its entire nine-year run, which looks poised to continue now, just for different reasons. Two decades on, though, the initial show remains impressive for how well it came together in spite of all that shit, largely spearheaded by Roseanne herself. She was "difficult" even then; she never exactly mellowed out. By magic somehow happened with the other people who worked on the show -- it's the entire cast, especially John Goodman and Sara Gilbert, who truly made that show what it was.

I never did watch the show's ninth and final season, 1996-1997; I was in college at the time, and near the beginning of about a decade-long period of not really watching any TV at all because it pretty much all sucked. By all accounts that final season was terrible -- "weirdly terrible" is a phrase I keep seeing -- and I'm on the fence regarding whether to watch it this time around. I might just leave it up to Shobhit, and if and when he's ready to give up, that's what we'll do. I do know they win the lottery in that season, though, which of course would transform the show into something completely different from what it always stood for before then. I'd argue that would have been the first glimpse into the depth of crazy that Roseanne Barr was headed for.

Anyway. We had pizza for dinner. Went to Trader Joe's for a quick bit to buy milk so we could come back and make chai, which we make almost every day these days. Last night we added whiskey -- Shobhit did to help him sleep because he had to be up for a shift starting at 7:00 this morning. I did because he did. He actually went to bed a few minutes before I did.

When I listened to one of the new podcasts I listen to regularly this morning, called Keep It, they talked about all the Roseanne craziness, and the myth of the power of "white working class" being the "ignored" voice in America that elected Trump -- and how the current iteration of the show perpetuates that myth. They titled the episode "Roseannie Are You Okay." It took me a minute to make the connection to Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal," in which he repeats the line, Annie are you okay? Annie are you okay? Are you okay, Annie? For some reason I keep thinking about that.

-- चार हजार दो सौ छियासी --

There is other notable news, though: although their 2015 visit had been their first time to Washington State since Grandpa Minor's memorial 19 years before, Uncle David and Mary Ann are traveling to the states again this year, less than three years after their last time. They'll be in Seattle proper for two nights in mid-May -- just a couple of days after Ivan is scheduled to return from Europe for an overnight visit before finally moving on to Vancouver, B.C., in fact -- and we've now got dinner scheduled with them on Tuesday, May 15. The plan to visit other relatives of Mary Anne's in Ocean Shores, and to Olympia (where Uncle David, as well as Mom, was born), and maybe even go see Mom and Bill again. I kind of hope they do; it might just yield some new photos for another good set to put on the 2019 calendar.

I'm a little bummed that they'll be in Seattle proper so briefly, but I'll live. I'm thrilled we get to see them again. Three years between visits is way better than nineteen. Even Shobhit loved meeting them back in 2015, mostly because they proved to be so liberal, quite in contrast to Mom (and to my maternal grandparents, who Shobhit never met).

Another thing I added to my calendar this morning: Shobhit's cousin Abhishek and his family, coming for us to host them for lunch on Sunday the 15th. Shobhit's hoping to volunteer at VegFest this weekend so even though I initially proposed that, it would have been tight that weekend anyway; this works better. This will be the first time in a while we've gotten together outside of once a year around the holidays. After them, I'll see when Lynn and Zephyr might like to come for dinner. We already tried Steve and Manish from Trikone-NW, but that doesn't seem to be panning out.

-- चार हजार दो सौ छियासी --


[posted 12:16 pm]