Pride…

…otherwise known as GHHD1 [1]Gay High Holy Day #1 is this month. And again this year we see people in a pissing match about changes to the Pride flag. It’s downright embarrassing at times. While I tend to avoid the keyboard warrior approach, after more than a few disparaging comments, I have a few thoughts….

Claiming the flag was designed in its original form to include everyone, while technically true, is irrelevant. If you actually knew your “herstory,” you would know it was changed almost immediately after it came out. It is not sacrosanct. And nowhere did the original creator say or even infer the flag should never be changed. The only constant in life is everything changes. The flag is what we make it.

I personally like the original version only for its simplicity. It calls to me with the meaning and design. I also originally liked the idea of keeping it the same, but I listened, I learned, and I understand better now. [2]Not so hard really  And considering how co-opted the flag has become by corporations, who just want our money, I also like the idea of the new variations.

And I’m about to step on some feelings here, but it’s meant as tough love. Exactly why is it most of the complaints are coming from cis white gay men (CWGM)? Mmhmmmmmm? If you don’t like the variations of the flag then use the one you like. No one is forcing you to do otherwise. Like seriously, how are you in any way harmed? [3]The older I get the more I wish white people in general would just shut the hell up. Lawd, we have such thin skins on just about everything. 

A lot of CWGM feel attacked anytime someone calls out how often our PoC, Trans, Non-binary cousins etc aren’t as accepted in our community. And it’s good you still feel uncomfortable, it means there is still good in you. But, it is time to stop pussyfooting around and own our part. I say our because I am a CWGM. If I can learn and grow so can you. Channel those feelings in the pit of your stomach into something useful. And a word to the wise, you can disassociate any personal involvement because you’re not one of the bad gays, but that doesn’t erase the issue. You can do better by just closing your mouth, taking a seat, and listening.

You have to ask yourself, is it any real surprise many groups in our alphabet mafia [4]lovingly borrowed from TikTok don’t feel included? CWGM have spent decades using phrases like “no fats, no fems, no black, asians, straight acting only, etc“. How can you be shocked these same groups do not feel recognized? We don’t want lesbians in our bars. We don’t want trans men in our play spaces. We don’t want fem men virtually anywhere, except drag. Come on! Deep down you know why. These stigmas persist even today all over this country.

Being gay didn’t erase racism or the privilege many CWGM are afforded in society. And while you can’t always control that, it’s ok to acknowledge and accept it. You don’t need to get your knickers in a twist just because someone calls it out. Let that uncomfortable awkward feeling guide you to do better. If we did a better job making others feel included instead of “less than” us, maybe they wouldn’t need or want their own version of the pride flag. Frankly, collectively they outnumber us so be grateful the shoe isn’t on the other foot.

So… I humbly ask anyone reading this to try a different path. Instead of complaining about what the flag should be, just accept that no one person owns the Pride flag. Nor does any single group in our community own the flag. You don’t get to tell others what the Pride flag means to them. You don’t get to tell them they can’t make changes. Instead, use whatever version you feel connected too and let others do the same. /rant

*

I’ll most likely be working on Pride this year. While I have my issues with the commercialization of Pride, with recent events it is clear we still very much need it. I volunteered for the field detail overseeing medical dispatch for the fair. I have worked it for years prior to the pandemic. After the lockdowns, I’m now eager to be out there again seeing the sea of faces.

Whatever your path, I wish you a happy, safe AND inclusive Pride.

And as always, hope springs eternal….

References

References
1 Gay High Holy Day #1
2 Not so hard really
3 The older I get the more I wish white people in general would just shut the hell up. Lawd, we have such thin skins on just about everything.
4 lovingly borrowed from TikTok

Nose Knows

I’ve needed a medical procedure for my nose for years now. I’ve been putting it off, but the necessity finally came due and I went thru with it. It didn’t help I had a deviated septum and naturally very narrow passageways combined.

I first noticed the problem after developing an unconscious habit of sniffing to breathe. I guess my body was compensating for the reduced airflow. [1]Shawn was convinced it was more habit than reaction  I also snored more. Throw in the additional effect of allergies, it would get so bad at times I’d lay down for a nap and my nasal passages would completely close up. (My allergies were more constriction than congestion.)

After a while I started using Afrin to help open up my airways at night so I could sleep better. It worked great but wasn’t really a permanent solution. And then…the pandemic hit. Between lockdowns and procrastination, I kept putting off the surgery. That didn’t work out so well. Apparently, Afrin enlarges the prostate. (Who knew?) So, the time came to bite the bullet and “get’ter done.”

Part of the reason I kept putting it off is the docs’ always said it’s an “uncomfortable” procedure, which is code for painful…and it was. However, it wasn’t as bad as I expected. It’s outpatient so I wasn’t expecting a huge ordeal. You pass 50 and suddenly everyone thinks you’re made of glass. During my pre-op with my regular doctor, they were concerned about a small defect in my heart. I’ve had a slightly irregular heartbeat for over a decade and it causes me no problems. However, now that I’m over 50 you’d think my heart was about to give out. And this is a week prior to the surgery. Of course, this also requires a negative covid test, which has to also be scheduled separately and I can’t use a home test.

I managed to get the appointments in time. I show up and they can’t get my heart rate over 140 for a while because…*drumroll*…. I workout 4-5 days a week and my heart is more than used to the stress! After 10 full minutes of speed & incline increases every minute, we finally get to a point where I’m in an all out sprint running uphill. And I’m expected to keep it up for a full two minutes. I won’t lie, the incline made a huge difference, but I made it. The techs were cooing over how awesome my blood pressure was the whole time. Needless to say, I passed the effin’ test. D

Due to timing of the first covid test, now I have to go for a second one prior to the actual surgery. Joygasm!

The surgery was roughly 2 hours and I’m out the whole time, of course. The staff and docs were all great. I have zero complaints about my care. Naturally, the anesthesiologist didn’t give two shits about my very minor heart defect and was bewildered as to why I even needed it. Shawn came to get me and after-care was relatively simple. [2]He was tickled by my apparent incoherence as I slowly shrugged off the haze of anesthesia. The pain was manageable with hydrocodone the first night and day after, and by the third day I was just using Advil. Luckily, they don’t do the bandage-stuffing anymore. (It’s often messy and adds to the discomfort.) Instead, they inject foam which dissolves on its own over time. Shawn totally dodged that bullet! Heehee

They tell you to expect random bleeding and they weren’t joking. The bleeding was minor if not incessant for the first couple days. Afterwards, it was just an annoyance. I had two stents put in and taking them out a week later was an experience on its own. One got stuck and he had to “work” that thing like a male escort at a Republican convention. Ironically, the other one hurt more. It came right out but I thought he was pulling my brain out through my nose for a second. As soon as they were out, no more pain, just a mild throbbing discomfort.

Fast forward a week and a couple days, the nose is still swollen inside and a bit gunky but I am noticing a difference. The doctor was very happy with the results. In my case, it may not be a 100% fix due to the aforementioned narrow passageways; however, any improvement is good at this point. I’m eager to see how it affects my breathing at night without the Afrin. Shawn says I’m already not snoring so it’s looking good so far.

Hope springs eternal…

References

References
1 Shawn was convinced it was more habit than reaction
2 He was tickled by my apparent incoherence as I slowly shrugged off the haze of anesthesia.

Twit

Thoughts on 3lon buying the blue bird?

For myself, I barely use Twitter anymore so I’m not trying to necessarily pick a side here. I am deeply concerned about how this will unravel though. He has plans to fundamentally alter Twitter IMO. Like it or not, Twitter has become a household name. It is a mass communication tool with global reach.

I’ve already seen folks within the #alphabetmafia applauding his purchase. I wonder if they’ve thought this through. Twitter will now be privately owned, which means he can do whatever he wants with it (within some limits). He can dis(allow) any content he deems (un)worthy. He could try to monitize it thru more than just ads. What happens if he does and decides porn is no longer allowed? Can you say “Tumblr?” You may not care if porn gets the axe, but LGBT+ issues are routinely flagged as “adult material” online.

He may be the new sole owner but he leveraged that purchase and he will want a return on his investment. Keep in mind, this all started because he was censored for spreading conspiracies. Who will keep that in check now? I mean Twitter wasn’t doing a bang up job before, but there was some effort to keep it honest.

I have no idea how this will play out. I don’t have any immediate plans to delete my accounts. I also wish I could say I don’t care, but I do. The ramifications of this are breathtaking.

A single man just bought a social media company with over 300 million users. What does that kind of wealth say about our society? What does it say about our future?

Right

I had a female scream at me a week or so back after I almost hit her with my motorcycle when she walked out in front of me at an intersection. She launches herself full speed into the intersection right in front of me. On a side note, I actually encounter this question a lot in my job too.

My first reply was, “even if you were right, would you rather be right or dead?” That, of course sent her into another screaming fit of “the pedestrian always has the right of way,” which is wrong. I didn’t have time to keep screaming back so I drove away leaving her screaming like an idiot.

The pedestrian has first dibs on “right of way” at an (un)marked crosswalks. [1]California vehicle code 21950. The rule is the same in all states but may be under different statute numbers  If neither party has committed to the intersection, the pedestrian always gets first dibs. The latter is where most people get confused. If a vehicle(s) enters an intersection from either side, pedestrians do not have the right of way over the vehicle.

Now, does that mean the vehicle is free to run you over? Of course not, the statute spells out the requirements to slow and proceed with caution. On my incident above I was fully in the intersection crossing and almost into the opposing crosswalk when Karen decided to launch into it. Yes, I had enough time to slam on the brake and not hit her However, another foot closer and she would have been sticky putty under my wheels.

So, now you know. Don’t be a Karen, More importantly, don’t let the epithet on your tombstone be, “he had the right of way“.

Now…get off my lawn you crazy kids!

References

References
1 California vehicle code 21950. The rule is the same in all states but may be under different statute numbers

V-Day

Yet another made up holiday is fast approaching. Whether you are single or not, please do not let it get you down. Way too much emphasis is spent on some randomly made up day to show “your love.” If anything it’s just another commercial scam to increase consumerism. Frankly, if you truly love or care for someone, you shouldn’t need a day to tell/show them. More astutely, it is and should not be some sort of signal you are less than others simply because you are not currently coupled.

While I am currently in a LTR, Shawn and I do very little for the holiday. We basically acknowledge it and move on. There is no pressure, expectations, or obligations for either of us to “demonstrate” our affections. We each find our own way to show each other we care on a regular basis.

So if you are dreading the adnauseam ads and displays, I’m with you. Hang in there, it will be forgotten the very next day.

hugs and tugs

Petty

I try not to be too petty but sometimes I just can’t help myself. I am still a work in progress after all.

About a year or so ago this guy flirts me up on IG.  He was moving to SF and looking to “make friends“. He came on pretty heavily. I’m sure you can read between the lines on that meaning. We chatted off and on for a bit and eventually he asked if he could text me. I text him and he immediately tells me, “wow did not realize you were a ghetto android user” and then proceeds to ghost me. I clucked to myself and promptly moved on with my life. I’d forgotten about it until recently.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, he apparently moved, or at least was visiting as he sees me in the shower at the gym. He decides to get all “flirty.” To be clear, it was obvious he recognized me. My first thought was to be gracious but my pride got the better of me and I wasn’t having any of his shenanigans. I’m excellent at giving resting bitch face Right before I exited I leaned in for a moment of privacy and said, “I still own an Android.”

I did get to witness the brief look of shock on his face. I won’t lie, in that moment it felt delicious. I did feel guilty for a bit later on but also got over it just as quickly. I know it should have been beneath me but I couldn’t help myself. Frankly, if you’re that effin’ shallow, I’d rather not “know” you anyway. It’s one thing to joke or just “fanboy”, it is quite another to be so incredibly shallow.

51

It’s here folks, I’ve hit 51 today. Parts of my body definitely feel 51 but overall I don’t feel it. I always appreciate well-wishes, kudos, etc, but if you know me you know I don’t make a fuss about it.

On the flip side, realizing I’m half a century old does feel a bit weird. So what does 51 years mean? Well, I can remember when cellphones (and pagers) didn’t exist. I can remember when one had ‘friends‘ they were people you actually knew in person. I can remember the ‘before times’ when there was no internet, social media, or “apps”. I can remember when TVs had 3 or 4 channels at most and that was depending on which frequency bands you could get on your rabbit ears. [1]And god help you if you plugged in a VCR and didn’t set the TV to channel 2 or 3. “Streaming music” meant jamming an 8-track tape in a flap that did nothing to keep out years of accumulating dust and listening for the warble of the tape drive kicking in before you turned up the speakers with an actual knob. So yeah, a lot has changed.

Shawn always finds a way to do something incredibly nice or generous for me, so I’m sure it will be lovely. Age comes to us all and most days I’m just grateful I’m still here. If you read w/any regularity you know my younger years were rough and even my initial arrival in SF was a personal struggle. Having come thru it all stronger, albeit w/more scars, I feel good. One of several reasons I started this blog was to help me discover the man I wanted to be. I felt like a blank slate in many ways and needed to find my path in life. I used to think less of myself because I had been convinced I wasn’t a particularly good or moral person. I spent many years doubting I even had a sense of morality or a moral code. Considering the state of affairs today, that irony is not lost on me. Hell, I’m practically a saint by the standards we see in our politics and leaders today. All hail the great and powerful nobody….

As I move into my 51st year, I find myself trying to keep my mind and spirit focused on the things in my life I can control vs letting myself “feel some type of way” about things I have no control over. With age comes wisdom and I’m certainly trying to apply it to myself. I don’t waste a lot of time on regrets, as it just seems pointless. “Shoulda, coulda, woulda” never makes one happier. My life has been and is what is because I never gave up on myself. That pretty sums up my thoughts on my birthday. I still miss my beloved Cooper. His anniversary is just 8 days away and it’s already in my thoughts.

Of course, aging in the gay world has its own challenges. And it isn’t really a secret many gay men struggle with the lack of physical attraction as we age. I’m not tucking, jabbing, or cutting anything to pretend I’m 20 years younger than I am. I have no problem w/physical touch-ups but I’m seeing people in their 20’s, 30’s getting botox over the tiniest of lines. I weep for them in their older years. More importantly, I earned these f**king wrinkles! Luckily, I live in an area where the average age is higher so I’m not really ‘struggling‘ much…yet. 😉

I usually giggle when I hear or see folks inferring my age should deter me from activities I enjoy. Frankly, what you think of me is really none of my business. But I won’t lie, I did have to remind myself of that a few times this past year. It is one thing to be realistic, it is quite another to let yourself be pressured into avoiding life’s pursuits because of the selfish projections of others.

Lastly, I took off from work so I get a nice 5-day weekend. We didn’t really plan any trips, courtesy of Omicron [2]that bitch! but just being off is its own reward. Here’s to another year… above ground!

References

References
1 And god help you if you plugged in a VCR and didn’t set the TV to channel 2 or 3.
2 that bitch!

Perky

Ever have one of those days where for no apparent reason you have an extra pep in your step? You feel extra just for being awake? Or, you just feel awesome for no real reason? I had one recently and I was tickled pink when I realized it. I guess it has been so long I had almost forgotten what it felt like. At face value that sounds kind of sad, but considering the state of the world these last couple years anyone could be forgiven.

I tend to be a rather upbeat person. It is just my nature. As I push 51, it is also a mark of pride I still have such days. My job has certainly had an impact on a subconscious level. Being on an assignment for the past 5 years definitely helped. In general, I believe life’s responsibilities and worries tend to wear us down and take the “shine” off our world view. That said, I definitely missed the feeling and hope I’ve found enough of my old optimism to have more of them. The irony here is in some of the roughest times of my life I was the most optimistic. Nothing really seemed to tarnish my boundless good moods back then. One could say I’m a bit more jaded now.

I can’t help but wonder if my recent attempts to limit my social media exposure has anything to do with it. I spend less than 15 mins a day on FB or Twitter. About 90% of my IG feed is thirst traps and gym motivation. My brain gets its fill of context switching from TikTok, where I’ve curated a feed of comedy and funny home videos. [1]Context Switching can be highly addicting and destructive to your work day or motivation I’ve also started denying myself the urge to check media/news apps first thing in the morning. I deliberately avoid them for at least 30 mins to an hour to give myself time to wake up and just be present. I pick up my phone and briefly scroll the notification panel for anything truly urgent and then just avoid it for a while.

I’m fond of saying “hope springs eternal” here and it has been a struggle these last 4-5 years to follow that mantra. Not to go all doom and gloom but I’m seriously worried for our way of life. Greed, bias and anti-intellectualism has replaced integrity, truth, and science. But, at the end of the day, I can only control myself. I cannot control others. My innate desire to “correct someone on the internet who is wrong” is slowly being replaced by a “leave it alone“. Successful discourse online is all but dead. I firmly believe my avoidance of that toxic environment is having an effect on me. I’m eager to test the theory.

So….hope springs eternal… (you knew it was coming.)

References

References
1 Context Switching can be highly addicting and destructive to your work day or motivation

Work, Bish!

My work assignment in records ended a couple weeks back now. While it was an enjoyable and relatively easy gig, I’m glad to be back on the main floor doing my primary job. If you missed it, I was assigned to records for my Department for the last five years. And yes, it’s as tedious and mundane as it sounds. However, after 15 years it gave me a break from the daily onslaught of negativity from handling life/death calls.

I took the assignment because I recognized I was becoming bitter and resentful toward the public. I mean no one calls 911 because they are happy, right? I consider myself fortunate as I seem to handle it well. I don’t dwell on bad calls or worry about the outcome. To do so would constitute a no-win scenario. In other words, I would burn out. However, handling life/death calls day in and day out for 15 years creates a trauma all its own and I needed a break.

My hubby thinks it’s weird that I’m happy to be back. I’m going from a comfy administrative gig to live fire, so to speak. I can see how he could think that, but I am happy to be back. The five-year break was exactly what I needed to reset my clock. I also didn’t sign up to be an admin clerk for the rest of my career. While it is a fine job, I’m overpaid for that type of work. I even miss the indignant callers. [1]It’s hard to explain but after so many years of doing this job, they bring a sense of normalcy. It would be weird to be back and not encounter them. lol

The best part is no more alarm clock! I’ve gone back to my old shift, 1500-2300 hours (3pm to 11pm) Mon thru Fri. Because I work out 3-5 days a week, the 10-hour schedule really pulled down my mental well-being. And we know gym is like church! hehehe Every day I felt constantly rushed to get everything done so by the weekend I just wanted to veg. The COVID restrictions only made it easier to just stay home. I didn’t have to find reasons to get out of doing things because we couldn’t. I’m glad it’s over. The downside is being on my old schedule comes with a lot more rigidity and getting time off beyond my required vacation sign ups is very limited. So it isn’t all rosy. lol

The early hours were rough enough, but the constant feeling of being rushed sucked major donkey balls. I am soooo happy to be back on a swing shift. My body fought the early shift pretty much the whole time. While I did adapt a bit to the early hours, after about a week my natural clock was already back to normal, and it feels great! I’m loving going to the gym before work and not being up a daylight-thirty. Shawn noticed the first week and pointed out I was almost giddy.

So there ya have it! I’m BACK! lol

References

References
1 It’s hard to explain but after so many years of doing this job, they bring a sense of normalcy. It would be weird to be back and not encounter them. lol