Everything Ends Eventually

radioactive-happiness-face

It was my plan to write today about happiness.  How sometimes, happiness is a choice and one that can be very hard to make and how frustrating it is to have to make that choice over and over again.  That was my plan.

I just got some news that upset that plan and, of course, me.

I’ve written in the past about my dear friend, who for these purposes I call “Eve”.  I met Eve when I worked in retail 12 years ago.  I liked her and enjoyed our friendship but some things happened along the way that for a time we weren’t as close as we once had been.  When I moved to California, I assumed I’d never see her again, indeed, I never thought I’d speak to her gain.  I don’t think I realized then, that her grandparents live in the bay area and she has a long-standing tradition to come to the bay area to visit her grandparents the week of Thanksgiving and when the time came for her to come visit the first year I was here, she contacted me and invited me to come hang out.

I was really glad she did, and with the trappings of our previous work relationship, and with all the rumor and hushed conversations of others out of the way we had the opportunity to really grow in our friendship and our love for each other.

Earlier today, I logged on to Facebook (evil site that it is) and found that I had been “tagged” in a note by Eve.  I looked at it to find that it was one of those “25 random things about me” lists.  (Random thing about me #1:  I’ve been dreading being asked to complete one of those!)  As I read her list, I noticed that number 15 said this, “My mother and I have an amazing relationship, I die a little inside knowing I have less than 12 months to spend with her before she moves to the west coast.

“Awesome” I thought, “Now maybe she’ll make more trips out here and I’ll get to spend more time with her.”

Eve told me years ago that her mother was planning to retire to the Bay Area so she could be close to her parents.  I always secretly hoped that Eve would move with them, or shortly after them, and we could be close again.  A few years ago Eve’s mother took a huge hit when the stock market faltered and she lost a significant amount of money.  Apparently, that’s when they decided to move west, but some place a little less expensive.  So today, I asked Eve about this:

Self:  So I didn’t realize your parents were going to move here so soon. Where are they going to live?

Eve:  In Portland, OR or Vancouver, WA.

Self:  Oh. I thought they were moving here.

Eve:  No.  And, my Grandparents are even moving up to Portland or Vancouver, too.  So this Thanksgiving will be the last time I head out that way

Self: Oh, no.

Eve: Yup.  So I’ll get to see you in Feb and in Nov and that’s that for awhile

Self: Well, you’ve just totally bummed my day!

brokenheartThis is tragic!  My heart is absolutely breaking!  I don’t know what my life would have been like without her in it.  I don’t know if she had any real impact on my existence, other than to have been the one person I knew I could come out to and know there’d be no negative repercussions.  But I know that these brief, and few and far between, visits that we’ve shared over the last 11 years have meant the world to me, and they’ve been the life’s blood of our friendship.

I feel like our relationship is ending.  Is that silly?  I mean, in this day and age with Instant Messengers, and Facebook and iPhones with text messaging, is that silly?  The problem is, I’m doing what I always do.  I’m thinking about this a few steps ahead.  Yes, I’ll see her, however briefly, when she comes out to visit next month, and I’ll see her again very briefly in November.  The visits will be fun, but they’ll go much too fast, and there will be a cloud over them.  And in November, when she walks me to my car (if she walks me to my car) and hugs me and says good-bye.  It will be for the last time.

I haven’t been to Tulsa in five years.  My sister and her family have moved to New York.  I’ve lost touch with all of my other friends besides Eve.  I love Scornful Mother, but I can’t stand to be around her for long.  Going back to Tulsa, really isn’t in the cards.

Ultimately, I’m only a very small part of Eve’s life and I don’t fit into the rest of it.  I’ve met her boyfriend twice, but I don’t know him, I’m not completely comfortable with him and I don’t think he’s completely comfortable with me.  I’ve never met his two children but I know they’re troublesome and I don’t really feel like I should be involved in that.  And despite the way I speak of Eve, we don’t really have the kind of deep connection where I would be welcome and convenient as a part of her every day life, however briefly.  Therefore, going to Tulsa, with the purpose of visiting her doesn’t seem likely.  And even if I did, I couldn’t get away with being there and not seeing/visiting/staying with my mother.

So, I’m doing what I alwasy do.  I’m thinking about this a few steps ahead and what I see happening is, our interaction will dwindle.  Eve is never on Instant Messenger any more.  Occasionally, I talk to her via the chat function of Facebook, but it’s not very convenient and it’s very infrequent.  We exchange one line comments and topics on Facebook but it’s all very superficial.  We don’t spend much time on the telephone.  And text messeging is no way to carry on a conversation.  Soon it’ll be nothing but comments on each other’s Facebook activity.  I don’t imagine I’ll ever see her again.

funny-pictures-sad-cat-blackandwhiteIt is at a moment like this, when I’m faced with difficulties and sad things that are not within my control, which really aren’t about me, that I remember just how much of an effort it is, how much hard work it takes to be happy and at this moment, I can’t put forth the effort it requires.

Inform Your Face

They say that children are very perceptive.  That they pick up well on our moods and our attitudes. I believe that tends to be a spiritual thing as much as a physical thing.  The last time I went back to Oklahoma to spend Christmas with Scornful Mother, CPA Sister, et. al., I had a bit of a blow up with SM that resulted in an abrupt change in our relationship.  At the culmination of this exchange when SM had put her hand up in my face, potentially to hit me and I reared back, glared at her and said, “Don’t! You! Dare!”  I looked down at Precious Niece #1 and saw that she had a confused and possibly frightened look on her face.  It broke my heart to see and at the same time, I was just so angry, that I could do nothing about it.

I believe that we never actually outgrow that perceptiveness.  I think if we trust our guts and follow our instincts we will find that we are, as full grown adults, still very perceptive.  It has been my experience, since I started therapy nearly two and one half years ago, that when Insightful Therapist states (generally not asks) that I’m experiencing a certain emotion, she’s almost never wrong.  If I stop and consider what she said, I’ll usually realize that, yes, in fact, I was feeling that emotion, even if I hadn’t realized it before she said it.  She’s a therapist and they are trained, (she’s quite skilled), to be open and really listen and observe their clients during their sessions.  I’ve been learning that I have the inherent ability to pick up on these things.  I think we all do.  Especially when its someone we’ve gotten to know.

The problem is we don’t usually trust ourselves.  As we grow and we are entreated, first by our parents, and then by the rest of society, to behave in certain “socially acceptable” ways we learn to be deceptive and dishonest about our feelings and emotions.  And as we learn this we also become less sure of truth of other people’s feelings and emotions.  You’re interacting with another individual and their tone of voice, their body language, their facial expression or some combination of the three tells you, this person is angry at me.  So you ask them, “Why are you so angry at me?” and they say, with steam practically coming out of their ears, “I’m not angry at you!”

It’s the very foundation of our perceptions and our faith in our own understanding of them.  Evidence tells me this, but the person says that.  Either they’re lying to me, or I’m wrong. And even at that, it’s generally not “socially acceptable” to assume someone is lying to you – especially not your own parents – so you must be wrong.  Eventually, as you age and branch out more and more into the world, you begin to assume that your perception is wrong and that you can’t know what the other person is thinking and feeling and therefore you should not assume you’re perception has a chance of being accurate.

I can still remember, on occasion when I was but a wee small lad, Scornful Mother would tell me to stop being angry (yeah, because that works) and I’d tell her “I’m not angry.”  She would say, “Well then, inform your face.”  Clearly she was presuming to know what I was feeling.  But you see, she was in front of me.  Looking at me.  Seeing my facial expressions and my body language.  More than likely, she was right.  “Inform your face.”  That could just as easily be “inform your tone.”

I was reminded of that phrase just the other day in the Tuesday Morning Torture Session. Douche Bag was acting particularly confrontational and accusatory, particularly toward me.  In the last month or so, he’s handed out random assignments, willy-nilly and without much thought to how appropriate the tasks are for the person he’s giving them to.  He’s given me a number of tasks that are not within my bailiwick.  I used to speak up when he’d do this but he’d just make light of it, crack a lame joke and then move on without acknowledging his blunder and reassigning the task.  So there were two items on the agenda for which he had asked me to get quotes from various vendors.

He wants to replace the Elevator Lobby Directory signage on several of the floors of our building.  He’s pushing for this to happen before the end of the year, for budgetary reasons, but he hasn’t given enough time to make this happen.  He’s also been talking about replacing these for three years so it’s a little hard to get fired up about them now, but he’s been pushing me to get a quote from our signage vendor for that project.  The price per complete unit is set, regardless of the text, and I’ve informed Douche Bag of the approximate cost, but he wants a formal quote in writing from the vendor.  So I informed our contact that I didn’t have all the information I needed to place an order yet, but I needed a quote for this many of that product, installed.  The contact replied that I needed to fill out the order form and then so-and-so in the home office will price it out for me.  I replied that, as I had previously stated, I wasn’t ready to place an order but that my manager was requesting a formal quote.  He told me they don’t generate quotes based on an e-mail and they needed the order form.  So I advised DB that I couldn’t get a quote and of the reason why.

He then went on to ask about the removal of an out-of-service HVAC unit in a storage room.  This is something that has been in his hands for a very long time.  He asked me to get a quote from a certain vendor to remove the unit, to ask our engineers about who can remove and dispose of the coolant and he stated that he would put in the construction request for our in-house construction people to remove the duct-work.  That construction request comes to me and he hasn’t done it (in over a month) so I didn’t see any sense in rushing the rest of it.  He came down on me in the TMTS for not having taken care of the HVAC unit.  When I reminded him that he had said he’d do the construction request and he hadn’t done it, he back pedaled a little bit and I said, “You understand that these things are not in my hands, right?”

“Yeah, I understand,” he said.

“Because you’re acting like this is all my fault!”

“No, I’m not.  I know it’s not your fault.”

Then inform your tone.

Douche Bag stepped into my office yesterday morning with a stack of papers in his hand, pertaining to a “spring cleaning in the fall” project he was pretty much single-handedly working on, and asked me, “What’s your schedule look like today.”

“Well, I have a meeting with [Furniture Vendor] at 11:00.”

“Good,” he said, “I need you to coordinate all this stuff with the vendors today.  They’ll be here at 1:00.”

“How am I supposed to know where this stuff is?”

“You know the contacts,” He said, “ask them,” and then he walked away.  I don’t know the contacts.  I know people who may or may not be the official contacts and who may or may not have submitted the paperwork for the clean up.  Just asking the contacts, wasn’t going to do the trick.  The vendor didn’t show up until 2:00.  I gave them the paper work and the names and phone numbers that I knew and sent them out into the world.  They never checked in with me again.  I was at work until 6:30 and I never heard from them.  I could only assume they were done.

This morning about fifteen minutes after I arrived, DB came stomping into my office flopping copies of the paperwork in his hand and said, “I need confirmation that all this stuff was picked up.  There were fifteen boxes on the sixteenth floor that didn’t get picked up and the department had them stacked up on their conference table.  Oscar (one of our janitors) and I had to go down and move them ourselves, into the hall.  I want those picked up today.  And I want a quote for that HVAC unit (which he still hasn’t put in his construction request for) by tomorrow.”

I called the vendor to inquire about the work and before I finished explaining why I was calling the contact said, “Oh yeah.  They’re not finished.  There was way too much stuff to pick up in the time frame that was agreed upon by Douche Bag.  They’ll be back out there today to get the rest.”  They did not talk to anyone about that when they left yesterday and so it is largely on them but either way it’s not my fault that this thing I had nothing to do with untill he dumped it on me didn’t go right.  I asked about the HVAC unit and the contact stated that they could take it today, too.  I explained that it wasn’t necessarily part of this program but that DB had instructed me to get a quote from them to uninstall, disassemble and remove the unit.

“Oh.  That’s not what he and I discussed before.  I told him a couple weeks ago that we could haul it out, but we don’t have the ability to uninstall it.”  So first of all, DB had me spinning my wheels on this for nothing because the people he told me to talk to about doing the work can’t.  But even worse, DB has been talking to them directly about it without my knowledge and I would just have been doubling the efforts.

I informed Douche Bag of all this information and reminded him that, again he’s acting like it’s my fault.

“I know it’s not your fault,” he said.

Well then inform your tone, dip shit!  Inform your tone.

It’s All About Eve

My retarded clever gene has struck again.

I’ve tried three times to start this post in a clever way and nothing seems quite right, so I’m just going to be straight… eh’hem.  So to speak.

The love of my life is coming to town.  I’m totally stoked!  She’s bringing her boyfriend.  I could do without that.  Not that there’s anything wrong with him, he’s actually a really nice guy, but her having a boyfriend means she’s not pining away for me and I’m not loving that.  Her name is “Eve” (as in “All About… “).  OK, it’s not really, but I call her that here because she will be the first person to tell you that “it’s all about me”, and she won’t be kidding.  It would be annoying and a real turn-off except that part of what is all about her, is her genuine interest and care for the people in her life.  She has an amazing ability to turn that “it’s all about me” selfishness right on upside down into a selflessness that is completely unparalleled.  I also call her “Eve” here because, well, even though it is an actual real name (the only one you’ll find in my cast of characters, thus far) it is absolutely nothing like her real name which makes it sufficiently anonymous while still being slightly clever.  (Seriously folks, I need someone besides me to validate my cleverness.)

Now, if you’re a regular reader (and if you’re not, you should be!), I’m sure I can imagine what you’re probably saying to yourself right now.  “This dude is gay.  Why is he talking about a woman as the love of his life?”  And you’re probably right.  It’s a little bit odd.  But I guess you’d have to know us.

Eve has a far clearer picture of the real me, than anyone else in the world, I think.  I shudder at the thought that maybe she doesn’t know it all, and if she did, I’d finally succeed in driving her away.  Lord knows I’ve worked pretty damn hard at it over the years.  But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

I met Eve around the middle of 1995, I think (may have been 96, I’m bad with this stuff.  But she’s not.)  I was working as an Assistant Manager at the Men’s Clothing Store that happened to carry a moniker deceptively similar to but has no affiliation with that of a former NFL Running Back but which has since gone out of business, when Eve transferred in from the Salt Lake City store.  She was a year younger than I which is to say, she moved to Tulsa, because she still lived with her mother and her mother moved to Tulsa for work so therefore Eve moved to Tulsa as well.  Eve was essentially placed in our store by the District Manager who didn’t ask the Store Manager for her opinion or an interview and therefor Eve was starting out on the losing end.

The fact is Eve had everything you want in a “sales girl” in a men’s clothing store you want to be viewed as “young and hip.”  (Just to remind you that I am gay, and just how much, it popped into my head and I started to type, “now Eve Peron, had every disadvantage, you’ll need if you’re gonna succeed.”) (and that’s an Evita reference for those who don’t know.) She was young (19), beautiful and very flirtatious.  Before her mother’s job brought them to Tulsa, Eve was the strongest seller in her store.  This is the reason there was no question whether she’d be brought onto our staff when the call came in.

Eve was instantly disliked by the Store Manager, Jodi (I’ll use her real name because we aren’t friends, I don’t know where she lives and I doubt she’ll ever see this) because Eve was “forced” upon us, and by the First Assistant Manager, Paul (I’ll use his real name for all the same reasons) because of no reason that I can identify.  It’s possible that Paul was just loyal to Jodi and that was all it took.  I don’t know.

Eve has an amazing memory.  Stunning even.  She remembers specific events, and specific things that were said that I have no recollection of whatsoever.  She consistently blows me away with the things she pulls out.  I on the other hand, can’t seem to remember jack shit!  I don’t really remember how I came to be friends with her.  In fact, I thought things were somewhat tense between us.  I remember more than one occasion when Eve drove me to my car at the end of our shifts.  It was the holidays and the lowly mall employees were relegated to parking in the middle of BFE so that the precious patrons wouldn’t have to walk very far.  On more than one occasion we had conversations about why she was having trouble with Jodi, and what Eve could do differently to win her over.  Eve tells me, however, that there was rumor and speculation about me having had feelings for her.  Looking back, I realize that’s probably true.

Jodi quit soon after Eve joined us and we got a new Manager named Becky (Oh. My. God.)  I remember that Becky and Eve usually worked the day shift together which did not make Eve very happy because there was far less business in the day time than there was any other time, but that’s how the schedule usually came together.  I remember walking into the store one late November afternoon and finding Eve standing in the front window, waste deep in a gold leme faux gift box.  Becky felt that Eve would be fairly artistic and that she should do the holiday window display.  I have two specific memories from this day and no idea what order they come in.

Memory #1:  I’m somewhere in the store, doing something store-like, and I hear a yelp.  I look toward the front of the store as Eve slowly turns around to face me, biting her bottom lip and a glisten of fought back tears in her eyes.  When she could speak again, after the bleeding had stopped she revealed to me that she had been holding a piece of our semi-industrial strength packing tape in between her lovely lips while arranging the tissue paper she was about to tape in place and when she literally yanked the tape out of her mouth, some of the flesh from her lip came with it.  It was one of those things that we knew we’d laugh at some day, but you should have seen her face in the moment.

Memory #2:  (I’m guessing this one comes first.)  Eve is in the window up to her eyeballs in paper and gift wrap and clothes and mannequins and I hear her say, “Oh sure!  Make the Jewish girl do the Christmas display!”

That year we decided to have a “Secret Santa” gift exchange in our store.  The rule was that we would not spend more than $10.00 and there was a sheet behind the register where we were supposed to put down ideas about what our Secret Santa could get us.  I remember very little about how the whole exchange went down but I remember that I had picked Eve‘s name.  Most of the staff went into the thing with limited (read: negative amounts of) gusto and most of the gifts amounted to $10.00 gift certificates (yes!  Certificates, not cards!) to Blockbuster, or a music store, or McDonald’s (actually some of those college kids really appreciated the McD’s certs) or a $10.00 bill stuck into an envelope.

By this time Eve and I had become friends and there was no tension that I can recall, so I really wanted to give her a good gift.  I didn’t care about the Secret Santa.  I didn’t care about the $10.00 limit.  I wanted to give my friend a good Christmas gift.  You see, gift giving is a major weak point of mine and I’m always disappointed by my own poor gift giving acumen.  But Eve had let something slip.  “James and the Giant Peach” was coming out in the movie theaters and she wanted to see it.  She mentioned one day that “James and the Giant Peach” had been her favorite book growing up.

It was one of my good days and I was paying attention.  I made a mental note and when I got the chance I went and found a pristine, hard cover copy of “James and the Giant Peach.”  Now, as I’m writing this I’m realizing, I may even have special ordered it.  You know, it’s funny!  To me, giving a book as a Christmas gift isn’t a big deal.  That has a lot to do with the fact that Dead Beat Dad‘s parents used to send us books from foreign countries, travel guides I think they were, all the time.  Every Birthday and every Christmas we could count on getting a book from the grand peeps.  And to tell the truth, it sucked!  So big deal, I thought, so I got you a book.  It’s only special ’cause it’s your favorite and I thought it’d be nice for you to have a pristine copy. But to hear Eve tell it, it was a big deal.  It seems like she’s told me it had to have been expensive.  Whatever was so special about it, it was certainly grist for the rumor mill.  I didn’t care.  I’d done something nice for my friend and she was grateful.

And then tragedy struck.  Eve decided to take up her Dead Beat Dad on an offer to come to Idaho where he lived and work in his office.  Two years earlier I had taken up my own Dead Beat Dad on a similar offer for many reasons. I couldn’t blame her for going.  I had already done the same thing.  But as I recall it (which is admittedly probably faulty) this is the moment that it hit me.  This woman matters to me. And I was about to lose her.  I was terribly sad she was going and didn’t really know how to tell her.  I wanted to ask her not to go, but I had nothing to offer her to make her stay.  So I said nothing.  And she went.  And we lost touch.  I was never very good at long distance relationships.  Even my relationships with my various family members have suffered from distance.  With one notable exception, I’m not convinced that’s a bad thing.  But I digress.

Eve left me and I was devastated.  But two years in Idaho was enough for her and she moved back to be with her mother, and Eve and I were back on…  So to speak.  There was no aspect of our relationship that pointed at romance.  Eve never expressed that kind of interest in me and I certainly didn’t have the cajones to try and make something happen, so there we were, smack dab in the middle of friend central.  A few years ago I asked her in an instant message conversation if there was any chance we would have ended up  together if I had not moved to California.  She told me “I don’t know.  It’s possible.  But I’ll tell you this much.  You wouldn’t have stayed a virgin for so long.”  (You should have seen the looks on my co-workers faces when the realized that boom they heard was me falling out of my chair.)

Something unusual happens when Eve drinks alcohol.  She gets very drunk, very fast, on very little.  And then a half hour or so later she’s perfectly sober.  No doubt a breathalyzer would disagree, but for all intents and purposes she’s good.  After she moved back to Oklahoma Eve met a guy and despite his name, he did not live in a giant peach, and despite his not living in a giant peach, I’m still going to call him “the Pitts”.  (Hey my clever gene is waking up.)  The Pitts was an ex-husband and a father of two children, and a carrier of a nasty little venereal disease, none of which did he bother to mention to Eve.  So on one particular evening when they were together and Eve‘s odd metabolism had done its worst, she convinced him they should have sex.  The Pitts, apparently resisted (only a little I’m sure) but she told him, “C’mon.  You know we’re gonna do it eventually, why wait?”  So they did.  Under protected.  If ya know what I mean.

The Pitts left her with two “gifts” that night.  Not long after that, he just left her.  When Eve knew she was pregnant, she told me about it.  I was a terrible friend, for I was still under the influence of Vengeful Mother and had not yet learned to form my own ideals and principles (yes, even in my early 20s).  Eve told me, “I don’t know if I can do this.  I’m not sure I can keep it.  I’m thinking of having an abortion.”  I don’t know what I said, or how I reacted, but I know something in me changed that night, at least for a time.  Abortion, I thought, how can she consider an abortion?  Abortion is wrong.  If she does that, she’ll be wrong.  I can’t be friends with someone who has an abortion! Far be it from me to just support my friend through whatever she may be going through without judging her actions.

We drifted again.  At the time that she told me this I was contemplating a change of my own.  I soon made my move to California, and while we talked some after that, we lost touch again.  The few times that we did talk after that I never asked, and she never said, what she’d decided about the baby.  It wasn’t until the following October that she made contact with me again and told me that she and her parents… and her son were coming to California the week of Thanksgiving to visit her grandparents and that if I wanted to we could get together while she was here.  It was at that moment that I realized just how much I missed her, how much she had meant to me and how I had just walked away from it. I’d like to think that I’d have felt this way regardless, but I admit that when I heard her say “my son” and I knew she had not had the abortion, my heart skipped with joy and relief.  I guess somehow that made her acceptable again.  I’m a terrible friend.

There is more to this story I haven’t the time to tell now, but suffice it to say, Eve is my dearest friend!  She means the world to me, and we have a relationship that defies explanation.  We hardly ever talk to each other, probably more my fault than hers, but when we do see each other, every year, the day after Thanksgiving, like clockwork, set your watch by it, for ten years running?  It’s like we never missed a day.  It’s awesome and I wouldn’t give it up for the world!  Vengeful Mother asked me to come “home” for Thanksgiving, the other day.  I told her, “No.  I have a prior engagement.”

The love of my life is coming to town, in 16 days.  I’m totally stoked.

It’s Cold

It’s Friday.  It’s morning.  And it’s cold. Yes folks, it does get cold in California.

In my imagination, I look out my 23rd floor office window and see Lake Merritt, frozen over.  It’s not cold enough for ice skating.  Not yet, anyway.  But the kayaks are gone.  The rowing crews in their skull boats are gone.  And the senior excursions on the larger rowboats, all the passengers dressed in white with white sailors caps, looking oddly reminiscent of the Titanic Survivors from my vantage point, gone but not forgotten.

In my imagination, I look out my 23rd floor office window and see the roads are a little darker in color, the overnight frost has been crushed to fluid, but not totally absorbed and the cars are spreading it everywhere.

In my imagination, I look out my 23rd floor office window and see the grass and trees in the park across the street with the bits of ice frozen solid over every branch and blade.  I can hear the crunch of the green shirted school childrens’ feet as they walk on the grass.  I can see the birds huddled together for warmth at the inner most part of the trees.  They too, not prepared for a California winter, wishing they’d flown further south. And I can hear the thoughts of those green shirts, quietly cursing the powers that be for making them go out in the cold, while simultaneously laughing and screaming as they play heartily with their friends.  And laughing at the absurdity of the hope of school being closed do to inclement weather.

In my imagination, this is perfect curl up by the fire, under a warm blanket, with a good book and a hot toddy weather.  In my imagination.

In reality, it’s 56 degrees, and yes, that’s cold.  At the peak today, the temperature will be in the mid 60s, and I’ll get no sympathy from CPA Sis and her clan in Up-State New York who soon, will not have to imagine the scene I just described.  They’ll be ankle deep in the powdery white stuff and watching their breath form clouds of vapor as they speak and breathe.  I’ll get no sympathy from Vengeful Mother in Oklahoma, who soon enough will have to contend with temperatures at or below freezing for days on end, and roads that are covered in ice from sunset to sunrise and drivers who can’t manage.

But I tell you, people!  It’s cold!

The Very Most Important Election

I hate a cliche.  Always have, and at this time of every fourth year, one of my least favorite cliche’s gets heavy rotation.  “This very important election.”  I hear it all the time, and it so rarely seem true.

This week-end I was watching Saturday Night Live (love it) hosted by Ben Affleck (love him) and he made that statement in his opening monologue (loved it – He’s a curse to any candidate he endorses so he’s endorsing McCain) and it made me stop and think.

This really is a very important election.  In my opinion, the most important election in my life time.  There is so much on the line right now.  So much is at stake.  Especially here in California, and especially to those who are like me, gay, and desiring equality!

You see, I’ve never put much stock in elections before.  I vote, because I’m “supposed to” and because I’m a Permanent Absentee voter and if I don’t vote in every election, I’ll lose that status and have to reapply.  But up until this year I’ve voted on issues and offices based on some very simple factors.

For office, if I don’t know anything about the people, I vote for the Democrat.  If I don’t know anything about the office, or if there’s more than one Democrat I vote for the incumbent and if there’s no incumbent I vote for the person whose current title sounds like they’d be most likely to do well in the office they’re seeking.  For instance, on this ballot I had the choice of two individuals to elect for judge.  Once was a “public interest attorney” the other was a “deputy district attorney.”  I don’t know anything about either of these candidates and I hope never to set foot before another judge and therefore wasn’t really going to be overly affected by the outcome of this one.  Therefore, I thought for exactly 2.0876 seconds and decided that a “public interest attorney” as likely to be more fair and less jaded than a “deputy district attorney.”  Settled.

Issues?  What’ll it cost me?  What’ll it cost the state?  Does it make good financial sense?  I almost never vote in favor of bond issues.  I can’t condone paying 95% interest on a loan, any way you slice it.  There was one bond issue on my ballot that was for $998 Million with a payback of the principle plus $995 Million.  If you ran your personal finances that way you’d be homeless on the street in a matter of weeks.  The payback on this measure was something like $67 Million dollars a year for however many years and I can’t help thinking, “We could do twice as much if we used that $67 Million dollars to pay cash for whatever purpose its serving and just parse out the project over a few years.”  Seems like simple economics to me (and I’m an idiot when it comes to math and finance.)

I rarely vote in favor of School initiatives because, call me a bad person, but I don’t have children, and don’t think I ever will and I don’t want to pay even more money out for something that doesn’t benefit me.  I pay too much as it is.

This year I didn’t vote in favor of anything that gets it’s funding from property taxes because frankly, I don’t think we as citizens can really afford it.  Things are bad enough without piling on more taxes, fees and levies.  I will vote in favor for something that I think is a worthwhile initiative (usually something I’ll benefit from) and it’s funded by a fraction of a cent sales tax because I figure it’s more fair.  Everyone pays a share and it’s for a good cause (if it’s not, I don’t vote for it.)

Most years, the things we’re asked to vote for are silly, let’s-find-more-ways-to-spend-money-we-don’t-have initiatives.  I vote because I must.  I hardly call those “important elections”.

But this year, I agree.  This is an important election.  The country is in the worst shape it’s been in since the great depression…  Or so I’m told.  I’m too young to know that.  What I do know is, it’s in the worst shape it’s been in my life time!  I think (again idiot at math and finance) that we’re on the brink of a financial collapse and that we have our Government as a whole, and our President in particular to thank for it.  Something MUST be done!

And yet, that in itself isn’t enough to make this an important election.  This will be an historic election for sure!  By the end of this day we will either have our first black president or our first female in executive office.  Either way, we’re taking a huge step toward truer equality on a national level.  That’s awesome.  But the historical outcome is a given.  Still not “important”.

For the first time in my voting career, I’m asked to vote on something that really matters.  Not just another shall-we-waste-your-money initiative.  Not just another who should be in office for the next 2-4 years ballot.  Not just another transportation initiative or how-shall-we-deal-with-teenage-pregnancy initiative.  This year, I’m voting on something that impacts me directly and personally!  I don’t get much more average, so I never had to worry too much about discrimination until I came to terms with being gay.

Suddenly, discrimination is a real fact in my life.  If I ever fall in love and want to share my life with someone, will I be able to make it a legally binding commitment with all the rights and privileges that go with it.  CPA Sis and Mr. Fixit, Dead Beat Dad and Gigi the Homewrecker, and so many others.  They’re married.  They share all their financial and legal obligations.  They can speak for each other in medical situations.  If one of them dies the other will not lose anything besides their loved ones.  In the case of CPA Sis and Mr. Fixit if something were to happen to CPA Sis, Mr. Fixit wouldn’t have to worry about having their children taken away from him.

Now I’m no where near having any of that in my life.  Not sure if I ever will, and not really sure how much of it I want.  But what I am sure of is that I do not want to be told that I’m not allowed to have those things because I’m somehow a substandard human being.

I’m so proud of this state, and of the supreme court, the Republican, conservative supreme court for recognizing that we are not being treated as equals, that we are substandard, and for doing something about it.  Right now, as I’m typing this I’m allowed to be legally married to another man, in the state of California.  What’s at stake today, is whether or not I’ll still be allowed this time tomorrow.

What could be more important than that?

I Am Still a Heba Hate-a

I have a problem.  An addiction actually.  I’ve tried to deny it for a long time, but it seems clear that I can’t pretend any more…

Hello, my name is Kevin and I’m a TV-aholic.  I’ve tried to cut back.  I’ve tried to stop watching, but they just keep making new and better shows that grab my attention and that I have to check out and then they turn out to be good and I keep watching them.  Every Summer, I swear that I’m not going to take on any new programs.  I’m not going to add to my number of hours of programming.  And every year I fail.

Four years ago, Green M&M and I moved into a new apartment that didn’t get standard cable service.  The company that did provide service, was only selling DirecTV though a cable connection and for a lot more money.  So we decided to sign up directly with DirecTV and cut out the middleman.  At the time that I was setting up our service they were running a special.  Receivers and dish for up to four rooms absolutely free with a two year contract.  But even more importantly to me, I could upgrade one of those receivers to a Tivo receiver for only $99.00.

I had heard about but had never experienced the wonder that is the Tivo.  Pause and rewind live TV?  Digitally record hours of television without having to worry about tapes and timer settings?  Listening to the b-doop, B-doop, B-DOOP, as I fast forward over the commercials I’d NEVER have to watch again?  What’s not to love!?!  Oh and did I mention that this receiver could record two separate shows at the same time?  My television viewing opportunities were endless! Heaven really is a place on earth!  Thank you Belinda Carlisle!

It is because of this perfection in a box that I never watch TV shows while they’re airing.  First, I always have a backlog of TV shows to watch, not a huge backlog, but I’m usually watching yesterday’s programming today, and today’s programming tomorrow.  Second, if I watched TV shows while they were on, I couldn’t enjoy the b-doop, B-doop, B-DOOP, because I’d have no choice but to watch the fucking commercials!  As a result, I know that I am a day behind on the Heba hating bandwagon but I couldn’t not join in on the Heba hate!

Unsvelt Girl who Runs is a member on the forums on the Runner’s World Website and apparently her gaggle of friends there had all kinds of venom to spew about Heba yesterday after Tuesday nights broadcast of The Biggest Loser.  Yesterday afternoon a chat window popped up on my computer screen and it was she, asking, “What’s up with Heba?”  I of course had no idea of what she spoke.  But I told her what I knew and sent her the link to my previous Heba hating blog post.  After that, I was jonesing to get home and turn on my beloved DVR and find out what kind of evil, beastly shit she pulled this week.

I wasn’t disappointed.  Well, I was disappointed.  I’m always disappointed to see people make idiots of themselves on National Television…  Or Local Television…  Or one on one for that matter.  But I got the information I was seeking and I don’t guess I can ask for much more than that.

So, if you even care about such things, I’m sure you can imagine how sad it was for Phil to come back to his room on The Biggest Loser Campus last week to find that Amy P., his wife, had in fact been eliminated and sent home.  There he was, along with the rest of the black team, having a quiet, somber dinner, when in marches the Blue Team (read: Gang) to intrude on their solace and make a scene about the perceived evil deeds of one Phil P.

“I hear you’re still saying hateful things about me.  I want to know why?”  Said the Evil War Lord, Heba.

But as if that weren’t bad enough, the other three Blue Team roughians– er, members, Brady, Vicky and Amy C. all joined in.  On a side note.  I thought there was hope for Amy C.  I thought how unfortunate that she got stuck with this bad crowd.  Wouldn’t it be poetic justice if one by one the evil three got sent home and here was Amy C., left behind to make something of herself and her experience.  Alas, ’twas not to be.

So Phil freely admitted that he approached Brady about forming an alliance to send Heba home.  He also pointed out that it was purely game play and that’s what the show is about.  He has never been shown saying anything derogatory about her.

Heba was on a rant about how he’s always been hateful to her and treated her so badly and she just can’t understand why (Gee, I wonder) and how she had never done anything to him.

But here’s the best part.  She sat there, looked Phil in the eyes and said, “I just want you to know that I forgive you.  I’m the bigger person and I forgive you.  You have to live with what you’ve done.”  Um…  Earth to Heba…  the moment you say, “I’m the bigger person” you lost all hope of being the bigger person.

The most pathetic part of this whole thing, to me, is this.  Heba and her husband came on the show this season because they’re newly weds and they want to start a family in a couple years and she wants to make sure she’s healthy enough to have a baby.  I can only feel sorry for any unfortunate child, cursed enough to have such a horrible person for a mother.  This is going to sound bad, but I hope she’s barren and I hope she can’t ever afford – or is never approved for – adoption.  People like her should not be allowed to procreate.

Last night, I reached a conclusion.  No matter who ultimately loses the highest percentage of their body weight and wins the show, Heba is now and will always THE BIGGEST LOSER.