Thirty years ago, I was working part time as a DJ in a gay bar. I enjoyed it because I was very into music and I was especially happy about getting to play something other than the miserable disco schlock that is mandatory in 99.25% of all American gay bars.
One night, several heterosexual friends came by to hear me. Two of these friends were a couple (of the male-female variety, obviously). At some point during the evening, they kissed. And that finally pushed my boss over the edge. He was already offended by their very presence in the place and when they had the audacity to engage in a very tame public display of affection, he came up to the booth to tell me he thought they should leave.
I was appalled that a fairly sophisticated gay man would not ultimately realize the irony and hypocrisy involved in his actions. Ethically, I felt that I could no longer work for him.
So I quit.
That very night.
You see, that’s what you do when you face such moral outrage that you can no longer justify doing your job.
And that’s what Kim Davis needs to learn. She needs to do the job she swore an oath that she would do. Or she needs to quit. Right now.
For her to continue accepting her salary amounts to theft and misappropriation of public funds. For her to continue refusing to do her job amounts to criminal misconduct. Her beliefs don’t matter one infinitesimal damn. She’s free to believe whatever she likes. She is not, however, free to continue collecting her salary while not doing her job.
A lot has been written today about the hypocrisy of “sanctity of marriage” claims being made by a woman who has been married four times and divorced three, and who seems never to have cared very much whether or not her children were fathered by her husband at the time. It’s a fair criticism, but one that her supporters feel is a moot point since her sins happened before she was “washed in the blood” (or in the Holy Windex). Too many conservative Christians use the “not perfect, just forgiven” excuse as a way of refusing to take responsibility for any of their own actions, which is particularly ironic in that so many of these same conservatives very much stress the concept of personal responsibility in others.
But even being the biggest hypocrite on the face of the earth would not disqualify Kim Davis from keeping her job–although her double (triple? quadruple?) standard does make her a pretty wretched human being.
What disqualifies Kim Davis from keeping her job is the fact that she refuses to do it.
So that article about which I was so stressed went through peer review and was accepted with minimal revisions in four days. That’s a pretty enviable turnaround time for an academic journal, some of which take many months for a decision (a good example being the other article of mine that got accepted this summer). Even better, this one was accepted in time for me to add it to the tenure package, giving me two extra publications to include.
And I’m already done with the revisions.
Pretty good way to start a long weekend, methinks.
So I heard it again today. This time I was in pancake house in Richmond, Virginia, rather than a hoffbrau in Daly City, California. Again I found myself in a time capsule of a restaurant (one that had a juicing machine that invoked the spirit of the Florida Sunshine Tree).
Fifteen years have passed since that odd moment in Daly City, but I still remember the sensation of wonder at how I came to be in that place at that time. It wasn’t a negative thing, really. I think I was just a bit bemused.
Yeah, that’s a good word…
A hell of a lot has happened since then, and I like to think I’m a little less baffled now. I’ve bounced around a good bit more and I did much of that bouncing with a partner. But I’m alone again, as I was this morning, and I pretty much think that fits. It works for me and doesn’t cause anyone else problems. I have a bit more direction now, and maybe my life is a bit more “orderly” but I still have a lot of fun. Granted, I define “fun” a little differently now, but I still love more than anything else to explore…which is why I was in a pancake house in Richmond, Virginia, this morning.
Yes, I’ve found several more occasions to think the world was ending since 1999, and yes, things have still not always worked out according to plan. And all in all, the world has still not really ended, no matter how much I thought it might. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed a little more perspective; even though I still start bawling from time to time, and even though I’ve known a whole new world of stress the past few years, I also know it’s not a terminal condition and that I will eventually get through whatever is causing me trouble.
I have no idea where I will be fifiteen years from now. Im dying to find out.
Listening to WQDR (and WQFS from Guilford College) when I was in high school is what taught me that there was more to pop music than theTop 40.
Contrary to popular belief, real AOR stations were nothing like the miserable “classic rock” format that they morphed into. Although they did play some hippie rock that was already past its “sell by” date, there was at least some variety to their interpretation of it–not just the same 17 Lynyrd Skynyrd and Led Zeppelin songs over and over again.
And they also looked to the present and future by playing artists like Elvis Costello, the Clash, and even Earth, Wind and Fire (which just didn’t happen on rock stations in 1979 when all music by African American acts was assumed to be “disco”). They gave their listeners credit for much more sophistication than commercial radio stations do now.
It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it was better than most commercial radio before or since.
There was a freak snowstorm, so they decided to evacuate the entire campus…by air. They were directing everyone to Gate 36 at the on-campus airport I’d never realized we had. I didn’t really get the logic because PTI airport (where they were taking us) is even farther from my house than the campus is.
The alarm went off and I woke up before I actually had to get on the plane.
A timely article as I’m currently pondering whether I’m really getting that much out of the whole therapy thing anymore. A lot of what they talk about seems to be a fair description of how I’ve handled my own life the past few years, which is frankly a lot better than I maybe thought I was dealing with it at the time.
I particularly liked their focus on solutions rather than fig,uring out the genesis of problems and on the idea that no matter what you do, things are pretty much going to suck a lot of the time and the there’s not a hell of a lot you can do about it. Once of the things it took me a while to recognize is that depression is not primarily about feeling sad or hopeless. It’s about how you deal with life and whether your sadness (or anger or bitterness or complete ambivalence or whatever) defines the way you live that life. it’s less about how shitty you feel and more about what you manage to do in spite of how lousy you feel…and that includes recognizing when you need some help with the process.
So it’s going into accepting what you can’t control, the factors that are out of your hands, and seeing what you can do with what you can control. And learning to be proud of yourself not just for accomplishing what you can, and not beating yourself up for what you can’t. Not seeing yourself as a failure, when you haven’t really failed because it’s not something that you could have controlled in the first place. And admiring your ability to withstand a feeling of rejection, and the frustration and the pain, and keep going on towards a more reasonable goal while being a good person. That’s also what’s emphasized so heavily. Figuring out your own values and sticking to them.
Our support of profanity isn’t that we think people should get up and scream horrible things at other people, but it’s about helping people to get a sense of humor about what bothers them. As my father said, to take things less personally.
And especially this:
It’s hard to continue to do what you think is important when you’re faced with something shitty on a daily basis. Some people deal with that, and they become shitty to their kids, they become mean to people around them, they get fired from their job because they stop showing up. You deserve to give yourself a pat on the back for living a normal life in adverse circumstances.
In retrospect, I’ve probably accomplished the most with my life during some of the most difficult times when I felt the absolute worst. I’m not sure what the relationship was, or if there even was a relationship, but I suspect having a sense of humor about it all probably didn’t hurt. And if humor was a “defense mechanism” or an “avoidance strategy”, who the fuck cares as long as it kept me alive and kicking?
Being optimistic that I may actually close on the house I’m selling this week, I finally moved everything out on Thursday. There are a couple of boxes of odds and ends, and a couple of things for the junkman to pick up — things that Goodwill and Habitat would not take — but generally, it’s pretty much empty. If there were any chance of this turning into something emotional, they were basically negated by all the stress that’s been involved with the repairs and the oil tank.
Since I’ve pretty much been living in my “new” house for two years, I think I underestimated (or was in denial about) how much stuff was still in the “old” one. I’m a little overwhelmed by the influx of stuff. It’s mostly a storage issue, and when I get all my shelving set up I should be fine. There’s also an issue of excessive furniture, but I’m working on that with the consignment shop and with Habitat for Humanity.
So I spent today getting the place habitable. I can’t live with chaos for any length of time and even if I really need to be doing something else, minimizing the chaos is always going to be the first priority. I have to have one living space that’s completely normal, and I have to be able to at least walk through every room. I did manage to get to that point by this afternoon.
And then I made the mistake of driving over to Winston to pick up a few odds and ends. Shouldn’t have done that. I tripped on the curb while carrying a box, and did awful things to my knee. I’ll spare you the picture, but I have a feeling it’s really going to hurt tomorrow. The most fun part of the whole thing was that I didn’t even have anything to dress the wound with, since I’ve already cleared out the house. I had to run to Target with my bloody knee fully exposed and…um…bleeding. That was attractive.
It’s looking like we may actually be able to close on the house on Wednesday, which means I will be free of the place at last. That’s about a month later than the original planned closing, and let me make it clear that it has been a month of pure suck.
It has also pretty much eliminated the possibility of my annual Thanksgiving trip to Toronto the first week in October.
Am I bitter? Yes. Yes, I am.
Will no longer owning the house that’s been making my life hell for the past few months help me deal with that bitterness? Yes. Yes, it will.
Honestly, I’m just too damned exhausted and too damned done with it to spend any time getting sentimental…which is likely a good thing. And I’m liking my childhood home a lot better now that I have a much higher proportion of my own furniture in it. Either way, it will be nice having a weekend where I don’t have to move furniture or load boxes into my car. Except for the vacuum cleaner and two lamps, everything is out. I may go somewhere. I may park my ass on the couch and watch movies while eating bon-bons. The possibilities are limitless…