Sunday, October 31, 2010

Update on Life

There isn't much of anything terribly interesting happening in my life right now. I recently turned 31, having noticed that the adages about time passing more quickly as you get older and how birthdays just don't hold a lot of significance anymore when you get a lot of them under your belt, woohoo I guess. Not that I mind getting older. It has it's gifts as well as it's down-side. The three decades I've spent on this earth have helped me grow, mellowed me out and given me a deeper sense of what really matters. I just hope that I can maintain the grace to keep on growing throughout my life and not be some crusty old bastard who thinks he knows everything and is immune to new ideas in his old age.

I love the Forester but am still acclimating to the way it drives. Handles well like the Impreza but the transmission is geared differently and there isn't as much play in the gears. The Impreza's gearing was spaced a pretty evenly. Every upshift ensured that it would bring the tachometer down 500 rpm. The Forester seems to have random/odd spacing. 1st to 2nd brings it down 500, 2nd to 3rd brings it down 700, 3rd to 4th brings it down 800, 4th to 5th brings it down 1,000.

Life has tossed me another lesson about learning when it is appropriate to keep trying and when one's effort is wasted and it would be better to pack it in and move on to more fruitful pursuits. In short, I've given up on the idea of fixing my house up and reconditioning it. It just needs way too much major work to be worth it and I am sick of living in a hovel which is badly designed and highly inefficient, always having something breaking down. My intention at this point is to live in it and keep it functioning as a home for a couple years or so while I amass money and resources, then I will completely rebuild it from the ground up, including the pouring of a proper floating slab for it to rest on. I am thankful for what I have currently but I don't perceive that this place will meet my needs indefinitely in it's current state. I have a rough draft for a new home design in my head but have yet to put it down on paper. Maybe I'll post it when I get it worked out.

Regardless of having given up on the house refurbishing I don't intend to sell or give up my location as one really can't ask for a better place: on a dead-end road yet close to the main road, babbling brooks on the property, babbling creek nearby, facing south, lots of space, huge conservation easement surrounding my property, central to 3 major towns without being close enough for urban life to disrupt the rural microcosm, clean ground water, decent neighbors, abundant wildlife and mature fruit trees. One really can't complain about having such treasures.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pneu Karr

Well, I said I was going to do it and I did it. I loved 'Matilda' dearly, we certainly had some good times together and went through a lot in our short engagement but I changed and she was no longer able to meet my needs. I was desiring a vehicle with more cargo space and one which was capable of towing. Almost every expert and non-expert told me that Imprezas are NOT meant to tow anything and that I'd be best off getting a beater truck on the side. Two vehicles would have been impractical for me, so I traded Matilda in for this '07 Forester, henceforth to be called "The Smurfmobile" as a sibling to my sister's "Frogmobile" (also a Forester, green in case you didn't guess). We are in the process of attempting to convert the rest of our family over to the religion of Subarism. I'll be taking her in to get the tow hitch and wiring harness for trailer lights put on next week.

As one of my friends pointed out, this vehicle will do nothing to counter the running joke that I'm a butch dyke trapped in a gay guy's body.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Religious Proselytizer

This post is a little raw, it is not happy or fun. Hell of a way to kick-start the blog again after a long hiatus.

I was working my usual shift yesterday and a customer who was a representative of a local church came in. This particular church buys a hundred goldfish every year to use in some sort of object lesson which relates to the Bible & Christianity from what I gathered, I didn't ask for details. The man was quite friendly and pleasant as we made small-talk while I bagged up his fish. Then, obviously with purpose, he railroaded the conversation onto things he has done in the way of missionary work with children and my blood started to cool rapidly. I listened quietly, maintaining a friendly but somewhat deferential composure yet still felt that old, familiar pang of discomfort which comes with dealing with folks who are always attempting to inject their religious sensibilities into conversations and I knew what question was coming and knew that I had to be truthful.

As predicted, he suddenly asked ,"Are you a Christian?" Without pause I answered him ,"Used to be." A slightly confused look came over his face and after a brief delay he asked me why I don't consider myself to be so any longer and I told him that a majority of the people I've known over the years who called themselves followers of Christ were some of the biggest hypocrites I've ever known and that Christianity was responsible for me having to leave my home upon coming out of the closet, as well as being alienated from most of my family for many years, this in addition to a lot of religion-based strife in my family and life. He did not address this point but went on to ask me what church I went to when I was younger. I told him that my family had attended a mix of Baptist & Evangelical churches. Then he launched into what seemed to be a well-rehearsed diatribe about how if I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart that none of that mattered, that I was still saved, blah blah blah... My blood went from freezing cold to boiling in a split second, I began to shake a little and realized that I needed to end this interaction before I said something which could get me in trouble so I cut across him a bit tersely and told him that I did not wish to continue this conversation and asked if he needed anything else today. He stopped, looking a little surprised, thanked me for my service and the extras I always throw in for customers and left my department.

Could I have been more polite? Probably, and I felt badly that I did not handle this interaction better. Could I have engaged him in a deeper conversation about all of the hows & whys of my story? Maybe, but he really didn't seem to notice (or was just choosing to ignore) the elephant in the room: Christian hypocrisy and the destruction it brings into people's lives as well as the religion as a whole. The modern, Evangelical Christian collective, no matter how bright and progressive some of them attempt to portray themselves as, have a dark side and lots of skeletons in it's closet. It bothers me deeply because I have personally suffered a lot because of people like this, who choose to abandon critical thinking and instead follow a set script without regard for the inconveniences & contradictions which exist within that script as well as the fact that if they want to understand weighty matters pertinent to our times, they need to first listen and fully understand these matters and adapt their message to modern times. This is why I choose not to wear the label of 'Christian' any more. I have no desire to be identified with this group.

Do I hate Christians? No, I don't. While I don't have an abundance of faith and I do not take the Bible literally, could probably be considered more of an agnostic; I love the example and story of Jesus put forth in the Bible and I agree with a fair amount of what the modern incarnation of Christianity claims to stand for. I just have issues with those who claim to follow him and his example but much of the time act nothing like him; those who are in love with the violence and vindictive anger in the Old Testament as well as the image of angry Jesus kicking the money-changers out of the temple and waging war on everyone whom he disagrees with while completely ignoring that most accounts of his life put him forth as primarily a man of peace and deep wisdom who fought off his opponents gently with words, truth and logic. Are there self-titled 'Christians' out there who really do act like this? Of course, but sadly they are an increasingly silent minority from what I've seen.

As collected and calm as I may pretend to be at times, this run-in with an outspoken evangelical shook my foundations and caused me to realize that I am still very angry. Angry with what has happened to me, angry that I will probably never be fully accepted as I am by my parents, angry that if I again find someone to share my life with that my parents will always regard him as an unwelcome interloper and outsider, angry that my Mom and Dad are sweet, loving, incredibly giving individuals who, in their need for significance and fulfillment, are being blinded and used by a political religious movement which is not held accountable and has very little regard for the damage it is doing to some of the families influenced by them. Most of all I am angry and sad that I had so much innocence and happiness before dogma corrupted my life. Did I make my own share of mistakes in the process? Damn straight, I take responsibility for that. Still, part of moving on from this means that I just need to stop wondering how it might have been had I not been brought up in a conservative, religious household. It had it's upsides too and the 'what ifs' and 'might have beens' are not pertinent except when using the image of them to direct one's self where to go and how to improve things so that others may benefit.

All of that said, I am one of the fortunate ones. My upbringing could have been worse. At least my siblings and I were loved and my parents truly cared about what happened in our lives. Despite mistakes (all parents make them), they at least cared and tried. My family has become closer again over the years and I can say in truth that none of us are the people whom we once were. We've learned where each others' boundaries are and for the most part we do not push them. At least in my case I was allowed to finish trade school before I had to leave my home. There are a lot of folks out there, many of them young or underage who are kicked out of their homes and their entire families' lives completely after it is discovered that they are homosexual. Even worse, some of them are packed up and sent off to 'Ex-gay' programs where they are subjected to all manner of confusion and pseudoscientific 'treatment' which ultimately causes more harm than good.

This experience simply brought to mind that as skilled as I've become at dancing around these issues, I can't any more. I have to roll up my sleeves and dive in. The only way I can progress further in this struggle is to engage myself in theological/religious matters again. I needed the vacation I was on, no doubt, but vacations need to end sooner or later. My head has been restless and needs to get back to doing The Work it was intended to do.