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For those of my friends and family and associates that have posted “Me Too” as your status or update, I am so sorry for the harm done to you. I will do what I can to educate other men and if my learned and inherent sexism has ever resulted in actions of mine that made you uncomfortable, I am truly sorry. Educate me. I can learn to be a better man in support of you as a woman

For the MANY of my men friends who have posted in this topic or commented, I both thank you and caution you. This is not a strength of mine, but I have found that a better response in this situation is less man-splaining (man explaining) and more ACTIVE listening. Here is a great resource as well – http://www.mencanstoprape.org/

Men Can Stop Rape: I met these folks in 1992 when a friend and I invited them to speak at Catholic University as undergrads. It was one of the first times in my life that a black man and a white gay man spoke to me in a way that challenged everything I assumed and everything I had learned or inherited. It was a gateway to my own coming out and a gateway to the life-long journey to learn by listening. Especially to the experience of the “other.” These others – a Black man with a Doctorate (the first one I had ever met in my life) and a gay man who had moved beyond coming out to a space of doing something for others from his position as “another other” – changed my gestalt.

I am saying something because of the debate I have seen around whether or not there is a merger of sexual assault (severe) with unwanted sexual advances (less severe, but horrid). I would suggest to my men friends that while there is a difference, there is no need to parse these when a woman posts “Me Too.” It is their experience to define, our job to listen and learn. They have been hurt by men. Our job is to train other men, learn and speak up when boundaries are crossed. There is (generally speaking) no need to stack hurt in a hierarchy of pain. Injuries to women by men in any form hurt us all, so I would prefer we work towards solutions women desire. We only get their by the women in our worlds guiding us. So to my women friends, I say it again- help me learn from errors I made yesterday and errors I make today and with your help and some humility, I’ll make fewer errors moving forward.

Humbly yours #unclerandy

 

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Announcing, 2 Bedroom Condo, 2 bath, 2 cats, 2 cars and 2 fidgeting queens ready to rent a fully furnished condo with a large deck and peek-a-boo bay view in Emeryville, CA.  Bay Area rent will fetch us $3500 – $4200 (furnished). Wine and booze (lots of it) included.

Ok, MAYBE I’m being dramatic. We adore our life in the Bay Area.  More importantly our chosen family (mostly) is there. There is still a solid list of things that draw us there and keep us put. If all we ever do is live there and bitch about it while we are elsewhere, we’ll have one of the bestsellers ever written.  However, Palma is magical. And for less than half of what we could rent our place out for in California we could get access to this shit-hole of a 3 bed, 2 bath, pool and gardens dump-of-a-place outside Palma. https://www.kyero.com/en/property/4534016-town-house-long-let-biniali

Oh, and did I mention I own an internet-based company.  Oh, and we have no kids that we have to worry about the disruption this would cause. Yeah, and our good family and friends would visit us.  Meahwhile Chris found yet another AirBnB dump.

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At cafe today we created a pro-con list of what it takes to live in the Bay Area and what like and dislike about the Bay Area. The positives still vastly outpace the detractors, but we are surprised by a number of the things that once made Northern California feel like the place to be ceased to be. WTF does that mean? Maybe nothing. Maybe that in year when we take another stunning vacation I’ll revisit these same damned questions.  OR maybe that because we have definitively concluded that being parents is off the list, we can now pivot to creating adventure.

Today has been stunning. I do wish this Cathedral wasn’t so ugly.  The dude who created this worked with some slacker of an architect, Gaudy or Gaudí or Garish – I dunno, AND apparently he pledge to build this if the Virgin Mary helped him win some war.  She must be pissed. IMAG2132Outside this dump we found a local Mercat that allowed shoppers to give the fish they purchase to another shop that would quickly prepare the food provided you buy a drink and eat it there. Yeah, we suffered through that first with a fist-full of Gambas (shrimp) only to follow that with a stop at a Cheese and Jamon purveyor that offers sampling items. The temperature was so precisely right that the fat from the Jamon leg was dripping ever so slightly that under the leg of love pooled a small amount of glistening joy.  I wish they made Jamon soap, Jamon hair jell, Jamon body conditioner. Hell, I’d even use Jamom oil as…. eeh, never mind. I am now scraching my head to find a place in our world where a farmer’s / fish market would let us do this.

I chose a quiet afternoon in after a brilliant long walk this AM. I’m hydrating, stretching and going to nap so that tomorrow when I’m crushing the limp-along marathon I will at least be well rested.  Until then, #unclerandy out.

Friday started with a slow and sweet wrap up to our short time in Mahon. The island is sweet and stunning and win the off-season takes on a particular charm. It’s a small island so I think it would spit me out before too long.  This is possible the first time I’ve been to a Spanish tourist location where I have felt it would be better to be traveling during the busy season.  Alternatively coming here in the dead of their (mild) winter might make for a great location to catch up on reading, thinking and practicing Spanish.

We are off to Palma to register for the marathon, check into our next place and address the logistic of the race. Chris has again planned this to a perfect rhythm. Our pace has slowed and our appetites are up. We’ve been walking about 5-7 miles a day and its been great.  Wine is cheaper than water here, so we are adjusting our consumption appropriately.

I did have a shocking realization. I prefer a life a leisure. Yep, there it is. While I am not lazy it occurs to me the I am a better version of me when relaxed. Vacation pulls out grand ideas of art, writing, discoveries, travel, adventure and exploring both the interior of my mind and the expanse of the cultures of the world. I need a benefactor. I’ll take applications or references should you be called to this. I would chase the great foods of Spain and the deep thoughts of a restless and middle-aged Chobbit (chubby Hobbit).

Work yanked me in a bit abruptly. I customer sent a message that read quite shitty and almost an ultimatum. Those go over really well with me. My team and I all concluded that this customer was off- so I responded with a gentle challenge and called them out a bit. This was a risk, but one we / I thought worth taking. Their response was good, but it was clear that either we all mis-read or that she over stated, or perhaps a combination of both. What strikes me about this (especially as we are exploring other cultures) is how much is lost in translation or open to (mis) interpretation.  I have always been acutely aware of the “receiver effect” -that I perceive things through my own filter- so this interaction reminds me that very often our current form of “social” communication breaks connections rather than creating them. I am aware of how this has happened in the world of Facebook yet is was a striking instance to see it in business. The abrupt yank  into the intersection of intention and meaning intrigues me. If you have any articles or thoughts on this- message me. If I have ever misinterpreted your intentions or words and you need to explore that, ping me. I still love to learn. Maybe my future benefactor would like me to explore this more.

Some background on the pictures.  I’m getting more selfie and less F-OFF by leaving the hello kitty stick and the drone at bay. I may need some alone time with them as I’m enjoying the #MrYummy time rather than #badMrYummy.

We stopped at the local market (mercat) and had an amazing tasking of Jamon Ibericao and Spanish cheeses. After washing that down with beer and wine (don’t judge, the glasses are small)- we went and registered for the marathon.  I was able to stand on the winners podium too. Hey, a chobbit can dream.

36 hours in and I am already down the path of self-reflection.  Does vacation do that to you?  I am questioning where I live, how much I work and what I can do to reclaim a sense of balance. Step one- I should probably avoid the spike in these thoughts due to pushing them aside until I am on vacation.

I am resolving to getting back to my artwork. I still want to learn Spanish. We still want to live somewhere we have access to gardening. I would still like to live near to my biological family. We still want to live in Europe. And yet where I live is lovely and the life I have need not change in order for me to be happy. Is there such a thing as happy AND unsettled? Restless-bliss? A first-world problem indeed.

Day two – mostly jet-lag recovery and a stunning bus trip to Ciutadella- a quaint harbor town on the other side of Menorca. Our base in Mahon has been calming. It’s off season so there are no crowds, the town is sleepy and in a short afternoon we are able to walk the entire circumference.

We tend to make big decision on trips like this. Often it starts with a conversation about where we travel to NEXT year and circles around to what we think about our life, career, friends and the quality time we spend. This time around we have stated to each other that adopting a child is not a viable option nor a pursuit we are going to take on actively. it feels like that ship sailed some time ago and that reality steadies our resolve to be passionate uncles and to push ourselves to continually grow and contribute to the growth of others where we can.

I’ll find time to resurrect the drone and see if I can fix it. I’ve been tentative with the selfie stick only becuase I fear the looks and we are off to such a great start, I’m not sure getting whacked by a hello-kitty stick would make this trip better.

I spent the evening listening to Fox News. I understand more now why our nation is so divided. We are being duped so we stay divided. I am saddened, and I am fired up. Trump is #notmypresidentyet- but that doesn’t make me a sore loser.  Yeah, I have been quiet on #Trump since the election. That time is over.

I have listened to the push-back on the #notmypresident movement and the cries for disappointed folks like me to stop being sore losers. Well, he is #notmypresidentyet, I am not a sore loser. I’m just profoundly disappointed. I accept he’s been elected by a minority of Americans, but don’t expect me to jump aboard the Trump train. Not now. Not yet. I need him to show up, man up and apologize.

But he will not apologize.  That’s one of the main reasons I am disappointed. We elected a bully that gloats the results of outright hostility and lying. I believe in redemption and forgiveness, but Trump clearly sees no wrong in his actions.

Why do I remain so bothered? Why do I want an apology? Why is he #notmypresidentyet?

  • Misogyny – the systemic hatred of women. It won. There is a rudeness and condescending way in which Trump spoke about women during the election and I will not let that go until I see a change and hear an apology. Michelle Obama said it best, but we all know the way he brushed off his language as “locker room talk” was a pathetic attempt to excuse away the inexcusable. I am sick of people brushing his words aside and being willing to accept him as a change agent someone who breaks up the status quo as though that is enough to look beyond his misogyny. It is not enough for me. All the change he might bring (and yes, I’m hoping he is successful and does good for our country) is not enough for me to accept the systemic hatred of women he emboldens. He applied sexism as a tool and then denied its very use.
  • Racism – he’s a proven bigot and racist. Unlearning my own inherited sexism and racism in my early years has made me a better person. It is thanks to patient women and patient, caring women of color that I can understand my white privilege and become more responsible for my own racist actions. Trump flaunts behaviors that look like he feels entitled to his sexist behaviors and that he has no idea of how white privilege has aided him. I want leaders who live by examples that can help shapes our children. What lessons do kids learn from Trump actions? That scares me.
  • Hate bating bullying – Trump used it as a tool and he won. Why should that make anyone happy? He’s even back-peddled from many of the position he touted during the election process – (making him slightly more tolerable?) – but not enough to lull me into complacency. Fine, he’s a good strategist. He played chess and won. But his debate behavior (talking over Clinton, blurting out insults, leering over her as a power-play) and his campaign trail race-baiting was a calculated call to the worst sentiments of racism, fear and division among us. He is part of the financial and political elite that works to drive American apart so we don’t focus on them and hold our political systems and officials accountable.

I’ve long accepted my ability to blend in with the majority of Americans (white men) as an obligation to look out for others. Obviously being gay helps me identify as a minority. I am sure that is why the election of Trump strikes so deeply at my core values.

I have to keep reminding myself that roughly 47% of Americans did not vote. Unbelievable. Inexcusable. Some 4-6% of Americans voted for a 3rd party candidate.  That means less than 50% of Americans voted and even if Trump and Clinton had split the rest (they didn’t – Clinton won the popular vote, among those that voted) – that still means only 1 in 4 Americans stood up for Trump.  I’m also willing to accept that is a small minority of them that embody the sexism, racism and bigotry that he did during the campaign.  I want to believe he’ll be President of all of us and that most of his supported are just equally pissed off as I am and wanted a change.

All of that is going to take time and adjustment.  My way of adjusting will be to write about it.  I welcome comments, but I know I’m doing this mostly as a coping mechanism.

I’m also starting a separate blog, Occupy My Street and soon will be joined by others who have something to say.  Feel free to join the conversation, occupy my street and I’ll occupy yours.  That way we can come together. That way we can stop letting the 1% define the agenda that keeps us fighting one another instead of holding them accountable.

For now, he’s #notmypresident because I can’t look past the horrible behaviors until I see a change or year an apology.  I’m holding my breath.

#unclerandy