My So Called Life - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Embrace life -- both the sweet days and the bitter...embrace the joy and the sadness...the successes and the defeats -- for all of these things, both good and bad, have made you who you are.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Midtown - Where The "Happy" People Are?!?!

So I am walking into my job this week very early and one of the new hires walks in with me. He introduces himself and tells me that a group of the "younger" people in the office get together every Friday and go out for lunch. Not knowing anyone and definitely "younger" I say yes.

So later in the day I email him and ask him the usual questions about how long he has been here in Atlanta and what areas he would recommend for an apartment.

He lives very close to the office in a place called Smyrna - very close to Vinings - Vinings is a place I would compare to Addison Circle in Dallas based on what I know about it. Very Yuppy-ish.....

So I mention to him in an email that Samuel wants to live in Midtown but I have not heard much about any of the areas in Atlanta.

So he responds and says "ha ha...yeah...Midtown is where the "happy" people live."

I just had to laugh at that...

I don't know why it struck me as funny - I would have assumed he would just said gay or homosexual but he used happy in quotation marks...that just cracks me up...

Well one thing I can say about this office is that the gay people are well represented....From what I can tell a few managers and many employees are.

I could have sworn I overheard one of them talking about his partner to a fellow employee in the bathroom the other day. You would NEVER have that kind of openness in the Dallas office where I used to work...but I like it....

So anyway - the younger people in the office don't seem to be the most open minded group of people which is kind of surprising to me....but oh well

I think this one girl has a crush on me - I honestly don't know how to respond lol

It has been ages since a woman showed interest in me - I should just wear a sign that says "Sorry honey I am gay and starting to date someone here in Atlanta."

She seems like she would be a lot of fun to hang out with though - great personality and very positive girl...

I think we would get along....

I am one of those "happy" people after all...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Atlanta To Dallas - The Trip From Hell

It started out good - we left around 10:00 am to leave Dallas and make our way to Atlanta. Sam and I were feeling good and I was very excited about the trip. We decided to take the northern route using I-30 and I-40 to avoid Hurricane Rita (damn bitch!)

After traveling about 70 miles we hit rain...and we would have rain and downpours and buckets and then some for the next 300 miles.....grrrrrrrr

It was so frustrating - Rita dumped a shit load up rain on us and we were only in the outer bands of the rain storms and cloud cover...I cant imagine what kind of flooding the areas got where the storm was directly over...

So we get to Arkansas - yes it was still raining. Arkansas can be summed up in a few choice words - disgust...hatred - gross...frustrating - BLEH BLAH GRRR ARG

I mainly felt like that b/c of the Hurricane Rita experience - not to mention the fact that we were driving when a tornado watch was issued for Benton Ark for 7:40 and I looked at the clock on my car and it said 7:40 - what luck?!?!

So it was raining so hard at one point I was going about 15 on the highway - I have never seen it rain so much - it was like going thru a carwash so much water was coming down - and right in the middle of check engine light comes on...


We stop at a McDonalds and I see the most interesting people I have ever seen. I call them interesting for lack of a better word....

We drive and drive and drive some more....

It rains on and off until we hit Birmingham, Alabama.

We arrived in Atlanta around 2:00 am with the time change...all in all it took around 16 hours for a 12 hour trip - ugh ugh ugh

This is just a brief summary of my trip to Atlanta - I have lots more to blog about in the coming days!

I am using the wireless internet at Barnes & Noble...woohoo

Talk soon everyone!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Life In Atlanta - Differences Everywhere!

Where do I begin to tell you about how everything is different here!

Things in my job are pretty different...different laws, different people, different everything...

The city is much more spread out than Dallas, and the traffic is not as bad as I thought...

Its a little overwhelming driving in it but I will get used to it after a while...

Sorry for the short update, but I am swamped here at work already and need to jet

I dont have internet at home so my updates will be sporadic...

I will update when I can...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Samuel Arrives in Dallas

The time has come for Sam to visit Dallas.

He arrives this evening around 7:30 pm. I have not seen him in a while so I am very excited.

We will be here in Dallas until Saturday morning when we pull out for Atlanta.

Everyone say Hi!!!!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Late For Work - A Good Deed Missed

I was not necessarily running late for work this morning. I woke up at 7:00 am and had to be at work by 8:00 am. I am working overtime right now because of the hurricane catastrophe so my hours are from 8:00 am - 7:30 pm. So yeah...I woke up with plenty of time.

I got dressed and walked out the door at 7:45 am because I am only 10 minutes from work. As I entered onto Highway 635, the big Loop around Dallas, I hit 3 slowdowns because of prior accidents.

8:00 am hit and I was not at work yet. The prior day my manager had mentioned something about me not logging in right when I get to work so I had made it a point to get to work on time today.

Well that definitely was not going to happen now. I was within 3 miles to work and it was 8:04 am. I passed by this truck with two guys standing outside of the vehicle. The vehicle was obviously disabled and I could see at least one flat tire.

As I passed by them, one guy had his head halfway lowered and half-heartedly stuck out his thumb in a vain attempt to get me to stop and help. For some reason, it really hit me. That simple gesture showed that he did not think I would stop but he had to at least attempt.

I would have stopped. I wanted to stop. I really did. For some reason I really wanted to stop this time and help them out. Lord knows I have been disabled many times on the side of the road when no one had stopped to help me.

But I didn't - and why didn't I?

Because I knew that if I stopped I would be at least 30 - 45 minutes late to work and that would not cut it for my manager....sigh

Oh well - I hope they got help.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Kenny and Renee - A Match Made In Mistake!

Ok - didn't we all see this one coming!?!?

Renee Zelwegger and Kenny Chesney are annulling their marriage.

What a shock?

Does anyone else still think Kenny is gay?

Another Week Almost Done - Thank God!

I am sitting here at work and I desperately need a break. I am exhausted. I am frustrated beyond all reason! Argh!

Breathe in! Breathe out! Find your happy place!
Breathe in! Breathe out! Find your happy place!
Breathe in! Breathe out! Find your happy place!

Phew...ok done! I'm there...

So just a post to let everyone know I am still around...been super busy working 12 hour days because of the Catastrophe in New Orleans...

Only 6 more business days at my Dallas office and I am gone!

Talk to you guys soon!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Puzzles With My Niece - A Lesson Learned

I went home yesterday. For those who know me, that would sound pretty strange because I do not go home that often anymore. The dynamics with my family are interesting and would require an entire post solely devoted to that topic.

This visit was different. This visit was defined by one major theme.

The ending of one generation and the beginning of another one.

The moment I walked into my parents house, there was a different air. My dad immediately hugged me (which he never does!). My mom walked up and gave me a hug and I could swear she almost started crying. Then my niece popped up from behind the kitchen table and ran over and gave me a hug. I don't get to see my niece that often.

I was thinking about this today, and I believe I understand what went on this weekend at my parents house. My parents have come to terms with their own mortality...esp my father. Everytime I see my dad, he looks worse worse everything. And it is very hard for me to watch.

Perhaps that is why I do not visit as much anymore. There are other reasons too which I will visit in future blogs.

Anyway...we had dinner, watched the UT - Ohio State football game and had good times. I was about to leave when my niece asked me to stay and work a puzzle with her. I decided to stay. Even though I love getting back to my life in Dallas and being able to lose myself in the city, I decided to take some time and slow down and spend some time with family. It was a little strange, but I did have a good time.

I saw two generations and realized the blessings of both. One on the way out, and one just beginning. I was in the middle and suddenly I realzed...

I need to slow down and enjoy my life before it passes me by and I lose all that was given to me as a gift...

Saturday, September 10, 2005

When The Flames Of The Past Come Back Around - Damn Them!

Last night I went out to the Round Up. The local country gay bar. I love country bars. I love the atmosphere, the people, everything about it. Everyone is so laid back and relaxed.

Well I decided to go out and have a few drinks even though I had to work in the morning. Anyone who knows me, knows I love my Skyy Vokda. So I am out drinking it up, talking, and laughing with one of my friends when I accidentally lean in too quick and bump my nose directly into my friends shoulder. I lean up and rub my nose...because it hurt obviously. My friend also reaches up and grabs and rubs my nose.

Then my friend tells me that this guy behind me was checking me out....checking me out UNTIL my friend reached up and grabbed/touched me. I turned around and looked to see who it was. I knew him. His name was Kevin.

To say Kevin is hot, is a definite understatement. I wanted to date this guy so much. We went out to dinner a few times, and I thought had a good time...but he stopped calling and slowly lost interest. Slowly he would stop acknowledging me when we would run into each other at the bars.

My friend told me I should go talk to him because he was checking me out. I tell my friend:

"He can come to me if he wants to talk to me. I spent enough time chasing after his ass..."

Well right as I was finishing that statement, I looked up and guess who smiled and waived at me from across the got it!

So I smile and waive back politely and then look away...

I look back and he is gone. Damn! I think. I wanted to look at him some more...

Well then I feel a tap on my shoulder and its him...hubba hubba!

We hug, talk, smile, laugh, catch up....good times. Kevin mentions that he is leaving Dallas in a few weeks and I add that I am too. I tell him all about my Atlanta story and he tells me about his future in Los Angeles. We are catching up and I am enjoying talking to him so much...

I can feel the conversation coming to a close and every fiber in my being was yelling "ASK for his number...ASK for his number!"

But I didn't...I couldn't...

That is not how it was supposed to be. I had already spent enough time hoping and wishing for Kevin back when we went out. If he wanted my number, then ya know what, he should have and could have asked for it.

Why should he have asked for my number this time, you ask?!?!

Because I am worth it...

Friday, September 09, 2005

Leaving Dallas, Texas - Second Time Around

My friend Samuel has his ticket to come out to Dallas, TX on Wed Sept 21...

He will be spending a few days in Dallas with me before we leave on Saturday Sept 24 to drive to Atlanta...

Two more weeks is all the time I have left in Dallas.

Things are getting wrapped up at work.

This is a different feeling than I had the first time I left Dallas in the fall of 2003 for North Carolina. When I left in October 2003, I did not feel much sadness at all because I had this feeling that I would be back. I still had friendships here and had many connections here in Dallas.

Now it is different...

This time I have a heavier feeling of sadness because I do not see myself coming back here anytime soon (but never say never right!?!?). I will never say never, but the connections I have in Dallas have shrunk to a few close friends who I love...

So this time I leave with a more sober feeling of what I am doing and why I am doing it. I am not moving this for anyone else other than make ME happy!

Food Addiction - A Useless Side Point!

I Love Chipotle!

I do not know if they have that in Atlanta....

I sure hope they do...

Monday, September 05, 2005

Blatant Stupidity - Blatant Racism

It still amazes me the incredible amounts of stupidity that still exist among people in this nation.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the unthinkable damage brought upon New Orleans and the people therein, I am warmed by the outpouring of help and aid.

I am also saddened by what I just witnessed in a local coffee shop here in Dallas.

Two gay men were talking about the Hurricane and the devastation and loss of life.
Below is there conversation as was overheard by me:

Idiot #1: "Now I don't mean to get on my soapbox but listen. All those people in New Orleans didn't have enough money to get out. That is one excuse I am hearing. But they had enough money to have babies they couldn't afford."

Idiot #2: "I know I hear ya. There needs to be population control."

Idiot #1: "Yeah maybe that is why they delayed for good reason in sending in people to help."

Idiot #2: Audible laughter

Idiot #1: "By delaying they are going to let all those uninsured poor homes be laid to waste and developers can come in and shape up the city."

Disgust. Outrage. Frustration. Anger.

Just a few of the emotions I felt as I watched in horror as these idiots talked about the situation.

I had to say something....

So I did....

Below is the transcript of my remarks to the above mentioned Idiots!

Me: "Excuse me...I just wanted to say that I am all for people having their own opinions about things in this country, but my opinion is that you are full of shit. People are dying of hunger, of thirst, of disease...they have lost all they owned, their city is gone, their homes, their lives are gone. Everything they could ever call their own is now fucked..and all you can talk about is population control for a segment of the population that you deem worthless and a sponge on the pocketbook of society. How dare you! I hope the next time you life is fucked beyond all recognition that people talk better about you than you have about the people of Louisiana!"

At that I packed up my laptop and walked out to a coffee shop full of applause...

My work here is done for the day!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Effortless Expression - A Wonderful Feeling

Many times I journal and the thoughts simply come into my mind effortlessly as I write. Without having to think or pause, the words keep coming. My thoughts, my feelings, my emotions pour forth from my mind and appear. It is a wonderful and exciting feeling. In those moments, you feel as if everything you ever say can be.

There is no limit to what can be expressed, to what can be written.

There is no limit to what you can learn about yourself.

There is no limit to what you can teach others through your own experiences.

There is no limit to diving into your soul to expose a new understanding of self.

There is no limit...

Having no limit as to what can experienced, written, spoken, learned, taught,and understood, brings about such an amazing understanding of self that we can all hope to be so lucky to experience it at least once...

and if we are lucky, many times in life...

Saturday, September 03, 2005

What It Would Mean To Lose New Orleans - A New Perspective!

Anne Rice has an interesting piece in the New York Times about what is would mean to lose New Orleans....

Rather than post a link I am posting the entire story because I believe it is that good and necessary for everyone to read.

So I give all credit to Anne Rice for the following piece - read it and may your eyes be opened!

Do You Know What It Means To Lose New Orleans?

WHAT do people really know about New Orleans?

Do they take away with them an awareness that it has always been not only a great white metropolis but also a great black city, a city where African-Americans have come together again and again to form the strongest African-American culture in the land?

The first literary magazine ever published in Louisiana was the work of black men, French-speaking poets and writers who brought together their work in three issues of a little book called L'Album Littéraire. That was in the 1840's, and by that time the city had a prosperous class of free black artisans, sculptors, businessmen, property owners, skilled laborers in all fields. Thousands of slaves lived on their own in the city, too, making a living at various jobs, and sending home a few dollars to their owners in the country at the end of the month.

This is not to diminish the horror of the slave market in the middle of the famous St. Louis Hotel, or the injustice of the slave labor on plantations from one end of the state to the other. It is merely to say that it was never all "have or have not" in this strange and beautiful city.

Later in the 19th century, as the Irish immigrants poured in by the thousands, filling the holds of ships that had emptied their cargoes of cotton in Liverpool, and as the German and Italian immigrants soon followed, a vital and complex culture emerged. Huge churches went up to serve the great faith of the city's European-born Catholics; convents and schools and orphanages were built for the newly arrived and the struggling; the city expanded in all directions with new neighborhoods of large, graceful houses, or areas of more humble cottages, even the smallest of which, with their floor-length shutters and deep-pitched roofs, possessed an undeniable Caribbean charm.

Through this all, black culture never declined in Louisiana. In fact, New Orleans became home to blacks in a way, perhaps, that few other American cities have ever been. Dillard University and Xavier University became two of the most outstanding black colleges in America; and once the battles of desegregation had been won, black New Orleanians entered all levels of life, building a visible middle class that is absent in far too many Western and Northern American cities to this day.

The influence of blacks on the music of the city and the nation is too immense and too well known to be described. It was black musicians coming down to New Orleans for work who nicknamed the city "the Big Easy" because it was a place where they could always find a job. But it's not fair to the nature of New Orleans to think of jazz and the blues as the poor man's music, or the music of the oppressed.

Something else was going on in New Orleans. The living was good there. The clock ticked more slowly; people laughed more easily; people kissed; people loved; there was joy.

Which is why so many New Orleanians, black and white, never went north. They didn't want to leave a place where they felt at home in neighborhoods that dated back centuries; they didn't want to leave families whose rounds of weddings, births and funerals had become the fabric of their lives. They didn't want to leave a city where tolerance had always been able to outweigh prejudice, where patience had always been able to outweigh rage. They didn't want to leave a place that was theirs.

And so New Orleans prospered, slowly, unevenly, but surely - home to Protestants and Catholics, including the Irish parading through the old neighborhood on St. Patrick's Day as they hand out cabbages and potatoes and onions to the eager crowds; including the Italians, with their lavish St. Joseph's altars spread out with cakes and cookies in homes and restaurants and churches every March; including the uptown traditionalists who seek to preserve the peace and beauty of the Garden District; including the Germans with their clubs and traditions; including the black population playing an ever increasing role in the city's civic affairs.

Now nature has done what the Civil War couldn't do. Nature has done what the labor riots of the 1920's couldn't do. Nature had done what "modern life" with its relentless pursuit of efficiency couldn't do. It has done what racism couldn't do, and what segregation couldn't do either. Nature has laid the city waste - with a scope that brings to mind the end of Pompeii.

I share this history for a reason - and to answer questions that have arisen these last few days. Almost as soon as the cameras began panning over the rooftops, and the helicopters began chopping free those trapped in their attics, a chorus of voices rose. "Why didn't they leave?" people asked both on and off camera. "Why did they stay there when they knew a storm was coming?" One reporter even asked me, "Why do people live in such a place?"

Then as conditions became unbearable, the looters took to the streets. Windows were smashed, jewelry snatched, stores broken open, water and food and televisions carried out by fierce and uninhibited crowds.

Now the voices grew even louder. How could these thieves loot and pillage in a time of such crisis? How could people shoot one another? Because the faces of those drowning and the faces of those looting were largely black faces, race came into the picture. What kind of people are these, the people of New Orleans, who stay in a city about to be flooded, and then turn on one another?

Well, here's an answer. Thousands didn't leave New Orleans because they couldn't leave. They didn't have the money. They didn't have the vehicles. They didn't have any place to go. They are the poor, black and white, who dwell in any city in great numbers; and they did what they felt they could do - they huddled together in the strongest houses they could find. There was no way to up and leave and check into the nearest Ramada Inn.

What's more, thousands more who could have left stayed behind to help others. They went out in the helicopters and pulled the survivors off rooftops; they went through the flooded streets in their boats trying to gather those they could find. Meanwhile, city officials tried desperately to alleviate the worsening conditions in the Superdome, while makeshift shelters and hotels and hospitals struggled.

And where was everyone else during all this? Oh, help is coming, New Orleans was told. We are a rich country. Congress is acting. Someone will come to stop the looting and care for the refugees.

And it's true: eventually, help did come. But how many times did Gov. Kathleen Blanco have to say that the situation was desperate? How many times did Mayor Ray Nagin have to call for aid? Why did America ask a city cherished by millions and excoriated by some, but ignored by no one, to fight for its own life for so long? That's my question.

I know that New Orleans will win its fight in the end. I was born in the city and lived there for many years. It shaped who and what I am. Never have I experienced a place where people knew more about love, about family, about loyalty and about getting along than the people of New Orleans. It is perhaps their very gentleness that gives them their endurance.

They will rebuild as they have after storms of the past; and they will stay in New Orleans because it is where they have always lived, where their mothers and their fathers lived, where their churches were built by their ancestors, where their family graves carry names that go back 200 years. They will stay in New Orleans where they can enjoy a sweetness of family life that other communities lost long ago.

But to my country I want to say this: During this crisis you failed us. You looked down on us; you dismissed our victims; you dismissed us. You want our Jazz Fest, you want our Mardi Gras, you want our cooking and our music. Then when you saw us in real trouble, when you saw a tiny minority preying on the weak among us, you called us "Sin City," and turned your backs.

Well, we are a lot more than all that. And though we may seem the most exotic, the most atmospheric and, at times, the most downtrodden part of this land, we are still part of it. We are Americans. We are you.

Anne Rice is the author of the forthcoming novel "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt."