28 03 2016

I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means—except by getting off his back. – Leo Tolstoy

17 of 100

14 06 2013

17. Do you drink? Smoke? Do drugs? Why, or why not?

I often have a cocktail or two a week. And I might have more if on vacation and walking home from the place where I’m drinking. I prefer gin martinis and Manhattans, but will sometimes have a cosmopolitan or Long Island Iced Tea. If making a drink for myself, it’s usually a gin and tonic. I occasionally have whiskey by the shot or in soda. My favorite whiskey is Crown Royal. When out at a bar I’m usually the driver and then prefer a Corona Light (no lime), or maybe two of them if we’re going to be there for several hours. I don’t drink to get buzzed or drunk, but have learned to enjoy drinks socially. It is very unusual for me to drink alone.

I don’t smoke. It’s not good for you, it costs a lot of money, and it smells bad. My father smoked until my senior year of high school. During his last few smoking years he smoked 2+ packs a day. Growing up in a smoked-filled house, and enduring countless trips in smoke-filled cars can’t have been good for us kids. All those chemicals can’t have been good for my mother’s health, either. I grew up in a family that struggled to make ends meet and lived paycheck to paycheck. It was not unusual for there to be serious discussions regarding medical care before seeking it, such as having glasses for poor eyesight or visiting the doctor due to illness or injury. As a very young child I broke my nose but wasn’t taken to the doctor. I have breathing problems as a result, even after one adult surgery, and a second surgery was recommended earlier this year. As a teenager I had a broken wrist bone, but was only taken to the doctor after several days of complaining about pain. However, there was never any question that dad was buying his cigarettes. I think it was my father’s way of making sure we knew how little we mattered to him. As you can probably guess, smoking has never appealed to me.

I have never had a desire to take illegal drugs, and fortunately have never had a drink spiked with them. I also have never smoked Mary Jane. It has never appealed to me. I have enough to worry about without illegal drugs.

“Get up and dance, get up and smile, get up and drink to the days that are gone in the shortest while.” –Simon Fowler


16 of 100

12 05 2013

16. Can money buy happiness?

While having money, or more money, may not directly make a person happy, it certainly does help. The vast majority of stress in the life of the average American is related to money. More money bring with it better working conditions, as well as the possibility of not having to work. More money provides better healthcare, it helps free people from the worry of not being able to provide adequate housing, clothing, and food for themselves and their loved ones. More money makes possible safer neighborhoods, safer and more luxurious cars. More money brings with it greater access to influential business leaders, community leaders, and politicians. More money allows better legal representation. More money can mean better schools and libraries. More money means less stress when contemplating retirement. It makes travel and leisure much more possible. So, yes, money can definitely improve your life in significant, and potentially transformative, ways. It doesn’t necessarily make your happy, but it can certainly remove a number of reasons for being unhappy.

“Money isn’t everything…but it ranks right up there with oxygen.”
― Rita Davenport

15 of 100

3 05 2013

15. If you could pick anywhere to live the rest of your life, where would it be?

This is a difficult question. I love quaint Oxford, Mississippi, but also love Manhattan, Toronto, and Provincetown. Westchester County, New York, is nice, too, if you can afford it. With a big lotto win, probably a Westchester home would win out. It’s close to Manhattan, but quieter and more relaxed. Provincetown is great, and i would love to live there, but I’m not sure I would want to spend the rest of my life there. Toronto is amazing, and would also get serious consideration. Unfortunately, despite my love for Oxford, Mississippi wouldn’t be a great place to live due to it’s anti-gay laws. I don’t want to live in a place where my spouse is considered a legal stranger to me. On a budget, Toronto would be more fun than New York. It’s plenty large enough, and after several visits I still look forward to returning. I have friends there, and feel quite at home.

My heart will always be in Dixie, but my home will likely always be in New York.

“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.” ― Sarah Dessen, What Happened to Goodbye

13 of 100

14 04 2013

13. You know at least one person named Michael. Tell me about him.

This has been the first of the questions that I’ve really struggled to answer. I know, and have known so many people named “Michael”. The one that keeps coming back to mind is the first Michael I remember, and I haven’t seen or heard from him since school. I’ve tried to find him online, but have had no success. I’m sure we had some classes together, but my strongest memories from him are riding the same school bus. He was quiet, and thin. He was about my height, with dark hair. At the time I thought he was the embodiment of what I wanted to be. I only remember him as a nice, pleasant person, who was one of the guys without ever being rude or condescending. He didn’t have to be the center of attention. Remembering him now I suspect that he was a little shy, although not cripplingly so.

I would love to see him again. I imagine that he has a wife, two or three kids, and a job at which he works really hard for moderate income. Is he still rail thin? Does he still have an adorable smile? Is his hair still combed straight down? Does he still have a full head of hair? Does he have a beard? Is he happy? Is he a fundamentalist? Would he be freaked out that I’m gay? Does he even remember me? If he does, what did he think of me way back then?

It feels weird to write about the Michael that I probably know the least about. On the other hand, I’m overwhelmed by the number of Michael’s I know, and all that I could possibly write about them.

“The problem, if anything, was precisely the opposite. I had too much to write:

too many fine and miserable buildings to construct and streets to name and clock towers to set chiming,

too many characters to raise up from the dirt like flowers whose petals I peeled down to the intricate frail organs within,

too many terrible genetic and fiduciary secrets to dig up and bury and dig up again,

too many divorces to grant,

heirs to disinherit,

trysts to arrange,

letters to misdirect into evil hands,

innocent children to slay with rheumatic fever,

women to leave unfulfilled and hopeless,

men to drive to adultery and theft,

fires to ignite at the hearts of ancient houses. ”
― Michael Chabon, Wonder Boys

12 of 100

30 03 2013

12. Name a song that never fails to make you happy.

I narrowed it down to two, and included links so that you can hear and see them the way I do.

Who doesn’t like Heman? Careful readers will notice a reference to a previous post within the video/song. What’s going on?

And, for a change of pace, the Avett Brothers. Talk on Indolence starts out a little shouty, but the music is amazing. Even though the song has a more serious them, it energizes me. I love to blast in in the car or at home when I notice that I need a lift.

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind,
flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” –Plato

11 of 100

23 03 2013

11. You’ve got the TV on, but you’re not really watching it. What channel is the TV on?

If the television is on, but I’m no really watching it, it’s probably on HGTV. HGTV has several shows that are almost interesting, and if I’m sort of watching it then I can look up if something is shown or said that catches my interest. We don’t usually have the television on when we’re not actually watching, but this channel can provide the perfect mix of low level interest to bring on a good nap.

“No day is so bad it can’t be fixed with a nap.” –Carrie Snow

10 of 100

20 03 2013

10. How is the relationship between you and your parents?

My relationship with my parents is civil, but not deep. I grew up in a family that didn’t talk about feelings or show much affection. Everyone was apparently supposed to know they were loved without asking. I didn’t feel loved as a kid, and never felt that I belonged. For a couple of years around ages 5 and 6, I prayed every night as I went to bed that I would die in my sleep that night. In time I realized that this might not be the divine plan for me. For the next year or so I prayed that my real family would find me and that they would take to the place I belonged. Of course this didn’t happen, as I was already living with my biological family. My parents didn’t hate me, and I wasn’t physically abused. In retrospect I know they cared on some level, but it wasn’t enough and they weren’t very good pretending that it was.

For several years, beginning in my late 20’s, they had virtually no contact with me. I asked my mother once during this period if everyone in the family was well. She replied, “Yes.” I asked if everyone at church was okay. She replied, “Yes.” I asked if there was any work story she could tell me. She replied, “No.” I asked if she could make up a story just so could pretend to be talking. She replied, “No.” Such was our relationship for far too long.

Things have improved somewhat, and I now see my parents about once every two or three years. We live about 1,200 miles apart, so there is no natural or incidental occasion to run into each other. We’ve developed the ability talk about anything that is meaningless and socially appropriate. I’ve given up hope of ever having true dialogue with either of them. It seems so pointless, and such a waste of potential. Nevertheless, it is what it is. I will never really know them, or about the struggles or joys of their lives. I’ll never know what they daydream about, or hope to do some day. I have no idea what they hoped to be when they grew up, or what regrets they may have. And they know even less about me. But, when we’re together we honor the pretense of being a close, loving family.

“Smile, even if it’s a sad smile, because sadder than a sad smile is the sadness of not knowing how to smile.” –Author unknown

9 of 100

19 03 2013

9. What holiday do you most look forward to?

I’m interpreting the question to mean publicly recognized holidays, instead of birthdays, anniversaries, or other personal days .

Christmas is the holiday that probably gets the most effort and attention. There are usually decorations to put up, social events to prepare and/or attend, a little shopping, familiar songs, gifts to give, and visits with friends and family.

New Year’s Eve is usually spent with friends, as a couple of our friends usually have a wonderful party.

However, I think Thanksgiving has to be the winner for me. A few years ago my husband and I invited a few friends to our house at Thanksgiving. They were all people reared elsewhere who did not have a Thanksgiving celebration to attend locally. It was a roaring success. We have continued to have our “orphan” Thanksgiving each year since. No one who attends is actually an orphan, but somehow the name stuck. My husband’s family has long had a tradition of welcoming in those in need a of a warm meal and a visit with friends. In addition to having their own families of birth, they are each part of our chosen family. Hosting Thanksgiving dinner can be a fair amount of work, but, perhaps because there are so few of us and we are so at ease with each other, it never seems like a chore. In addition to a shared meal, we sometimes watch a show, or play games, and there are always cocktails. The experience is always a little different, but is usually marked by a wealth of laughter and love. And it is always a day to remember fondly.

I believe the quote below hints at the meal, the humor, and the familiarity that characterize day.

“It wasn’t easy telling my family that I’m gay. I made my carefully worded announcement at Thanksgiving. It was very Norman Rockwell. I said, “Mom, would you please pass the gravy to a homosexual?” She passed it to my father. A terrible scene followed.” –Bob Smith

8 of 100

18 03 2013

8. Name a movie that you knew would be terrible just from reading the title.

It’s hard to pick just one, so I’ll list two.

Ernest Scared Stupid
The Garbage Pail Kids Movie

I’ve enjoyed my share of less than brilliant productions, so I don’t mean to poke too much fun. I’m sure they provided some gainful employment, and that someone enjoyed them.

“When I was very young and first worked in Hollywood, the films had bred in me one sole ambition: to get away from them; to live in the great world outside movies; to meet people who created their own situations through living them; who ad-libbed their own dialogue; whose jokes were not the contrivance of some gag writer.” –Anita Loos