Thursday, August 30, 2012

"All's Well That..." (well, you know the rest)

Driving to the office this morning, I thought "It's going to be less-than-wonderful day."  I had to fit in my work around four hours of meetings that were scheduled.  My best work-buddy was out on vacation.  I had just been assigned a new project, and the sales manager was, as he expressed, "anxious" to start.  I had a strong feeling that it was going to be a twelve-hour day at the office.

I decided to slow-roll to work; taking the streets, instead of the freeways.  I still arrived just ten minutes past my normal morning ETA.  As I trudged from the parking garage to my building, the weight of my laptop case emphasized that I had also worked from home the night before.

I wasn't bummed at facing the workday; I just wasn't jumping for joy.

But then I stepped out of the elevator and onto my work floor.  And here's what greeted me during the course of the day:

Two sweet-tempered co-workers:
"You made my day yesterday.  Thank you!  You are always so nice.  You know, you were the only one who bothered to talk to me when I was first hired."
"Of course, he's nice.  He's from Louisiana."
Reply to "thank-you" e-mails that my lead project manager & I sent to a co-worker, who had went out of her way to rush a request for us:
"It was my pleasure.  You two are a wonderful team to work with."
Kind words from a manager when I made a bad assumption, and it blew up in my face.
"Just look at it as a learning experience.  I know it may sound trite.  But don't kick yourself.  Anyone could have made that mistake."
During my afternoon break, I was reading from the Shakespeare app on my iPhone.  "All's Well That Ends Well."  Act 4, Scene 3.

The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together.
It did end to to be an eleven-hour day at the office.  But I had a good time.  Ken had packed pizza for my lunch.  Some good friends made my day.  I had time to help another friend review a complex document to free up some of her time, so she wouldn't have to work a fourteen-hour day.

What made working late today completely worth it?  On my route home, the timing was perfect to see the luminous full moon rising over the city as I drove east on Pierce-Elevated.


And then I was able to see a spectacular sunset as I was driving west on the South Loop.


And of course, I arrived home to a smile and a hug.

It was a more-than-wonderful day.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

uhm...hey, Father Time. I didn't see you coming.

I've never been much bothered about the aging process.  I have friends that have hit milestones...30, 40, 50 years old, and it was almost devastating for them.  I've never given it much thought.  My indifference to the passing of time probably is:
  • Due in part to good genes - My Dad is a bit past 70 and can still pass for a man in his late 50s.  Consequently some people are surprised when I reveal that I'm pushing 50. More than a few guess late-30s
  • That I'm still a big kid (and that can work to my advantage, but also can bite me in the butt)
  • A reflection of my inability to take myself too seriously
Oh, I've had my "what-the-hell" moments:
  • I was listening to the radio when I was in my mid 20s.  A Bob Seger song came on that was released when I was in high school.  The DJ referred to it as an "oldie."
  • I caught up on Facebook with a young lady that I used to baby-sit when I was a teen.  She had three children and was in her early 30s. Yikes!
  • The high school students that are in our office as part of a work-study program started addressing me as "Mr."
But milestones didn't bother me:  my son graduating high school (just a reason for celebration), my turning 40 (no big deal),  my buying my first house as an adult (it was like a cool one-level tree house with no need for a ladder; a place that I could hang out with my dogs).

And then, age slapped me in the face.

Ken and I were in New York City with our best friends.  We were dining at a popular restaurant in SoHo.  I picked up my menu to see what I could see...and I couldn't.  Huh?  I pushed the menu back to arms-length, and I still couldn't read it.  I said aloud.  "It must be too dark in here.  I can't read the menu."

The Brunette giggled and handed over her reading glasses.  "Here you go."

Stunned, "I don't need these!"

She laughed again.  "Yes, you do"


Following that trip to NYC, I kept a close monitor on my eyesight.  My vision was still clear.  Maybe my eyes self-corrected; I kept my hopes up.

And then, my son gifted me a guide for a video game that I love to play.  And all I could do was gripe about the small font.

I checked with my Dad.  "How old were you when you started wearing glasses."

My Dad (in his succient manner):  "Your age."

I checked with my Sister.  "When did you start wearing glasses?"

My Sis:  "Uhm, I started wearing glasses when I was in my 20s.  I switched to contacts a couple of years later.  Do you even know me?"  She stepped back and grinned at me.

So there I was, nothing to do but go to CVS and purchase some $10 cheaters.  Eventually I had to purchase three pair (one for home, one for my truck, one for the office).  I kept losing track of them, probably because I did not want to admit that I needed glasses at all.

But it's ok.  I got a compliment from my "sweetheart" at the office:  a beautiful young lady with long dark hair, a dazzling smile, and ebony-colored eyes.  "You look so intelligent wearing your glasses."

I raised my eyebrows gave her a big smile, and said quietly.  "Good...I'll fool everyone."

And Father Time?  He can go crash somone else's party.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Begin Again...Again. And let's begin on the subject of "Traditional Marriage"

Back in April of this year, I abandoned this blog to start another:  Jason, All Day Long  The reason for the new blog?  I wanted to be more open about my life.

Some friends expressed their disappointment in the new "vanilla-named" site.  They like the edginess of "The Queer Next Door."  After the switch to the new blog (quite oddly), I took a long hiatus from writing and posting.  I had been somewhat consistent on my "Queer" site.

Now, I could use any number of excuses for not posting on the "Jason" site:
  • I've been super-busy with my day job
  • I'm taking piano lessons and trying to practice at least an hour a day
  • I'm brushing up on my Spanish (with the goal to be a middle school foreign language teacher one day)
  • I'm playing a video game that can absorb every minute of my free time (if I'm not careful)
Now, these are all excuses.  And as my mom used to tell me, "That's a good excuse, if you're looking for one."  And I guess these are all nothing but excuses.

But maybe the root cause for my recent silence is that I didn't seem very excited to write as "Jason, All Day Long."  Maybe I wanted to remind people that there is a queer living next door. 

And I wouldn't think that this reminder is necessary (at least with the straight people that I encounter); most people that I know are perfectly all right with homosexuals.  But there is one man in our neighborhood who drives a station wagon with his "Marriage is between a Man and a Woman" bumper-sticker opinion flying free.  Myself, I have a Human Rights Campaign "Equal-Symbol" sticker on the back glass of my truck.  I've had a few straight people ask, "What does that mean?" I smile and explain.  For the people who aren't aware of HRC, the symbol of equality should work its way into their minds at least at a subconscious level, (I would hope).

Then you have those organizations, like the American Family Association whose primary mission appears to be decrying the "Homosexual Agenda" and working toward the assurance that the Defense of Marriage Act is upheld.  They push campaigns, such as the Chick-fil-a "Appreciation Day" to support the CEO's stance on tradition marriage. 

While "traditional marriages" end in divorce 50% percent of the time for first marriages, 67% for second marriages and 74% for third marriages (according to recent studies), I am left with the thought that not only is traditional marriage between a man and a woman, but the same can be said for traditional divorce.

Ken and I will be married for a year in September.  We have been together for six years, our best friends (a lesbian couple) have been together for 20 years, and my gay brother-in-law and his partner have been together for 20 years as well.  Maybe we homos are getting the game right.

I'm not much of an advocate of homosexual rights.  I just live my life, open and honest.  What leads me back to this site today?  I was preparing my lunch in the kitchen area of our work floor.  A person from another department that shares our floor walked up.  She commented on the small container that held my fresh green beans.  "That is so cute.  I couldn't get up early enough in the morning to prepare my lunch.  Does your wife do that for you?"

Without pausing, I said, "I don't have a wife, but my partner does this every morning for me.  He spoils me."

And the usually chatty woman was silenced, although she laughed nervously.

I have a picture of Ken displayed prominently at my desk.  It's the largest photo there (amongst the photos of my son, my sister, my best friend, and my nephews).  If someone comes into my cube for the first time and doesn't know me very well, they often ask, "Who's that?"

I always reply.  "That's my husband."  (and typically with an voiced exclamation point). 

That's what the State of New York says.  And I can say with assurance, we couldn't and wouldn't add to the growing divorce rates.