Run! Felina Run!

Run! Felina Run! It’s what was in my head as she told me about the pendejo who had invited her to stay with him on a visit to Richmond.

He was all that. He called himself Akim Kogan. Former addict, 6 years clean and sober !with tokens to prove it!, ex-felon on a long list of drug charges, tatted, long-haired, bearded, beyond 29, divorced, said all the right twelve step slogans . . . catnip for Felina. All good right?

Family Drama

We will get to that. I want to interrupt Felina’s nightmare. Jolana, it seems, has blown up this family gathering in South Carolina. My plans to chill with a cooler of beer in a hotel room have morphed into a tree-killing spreadsheet detailing everything Jolana wants in an epic family reunion. Lina has begged off and made plans to vacation in Kentucky with the in-laws. Way early on, Karelma dismissed the “let’s go total hippie and camp out in a farmer’s field in Oregon” plan. Merida will only see about half the sun covered by the moon. For Karelma, enough. She hasn’t been home with the fam in a few years. Between Jolana’s insistence that everything be perfect in Oregon, wait, sorry, South Carolina and missing the fam, Merida was an easy choice.

This event is wired to explode the way Jolana is rigging it. It *has* to go letter-for-letter the way Jolana has it planned on on her spreadsheets. It’s not going that way. My Dad, firmly attached to his baby-girl Lina, will be camping with her in South Carolina. So, there is that. I sort of like the idea of not going to South Carolina. Save for my Dad, the fam is finding other places to be that weekend. Because of my Dad I will also be in South Carolina. Tito will be with Lina and her in-laws in Kentucky. There is a Felina connection to this. I invited Felina and bae to use the other bed I reserved back in January. This ought to be good.

Bae Issues and Akim

Back to Felina. Felina and bae had an epic, bipolar fueled battle. Bae was evil on his face. He was the worst boyfriend ever. He should do the world a favor and just eat worms and die. Because . . . dirty dishes at the start. Felina’s Mom was also in Richmond lately. Felina’s Dad passed a few years before I met her. Good man, good life, but he went home to God after a battle with emphysema and heart disease. Felina’s childhood home in Puerto Rico was always a rental and without her Dad to keep the rent paid her Mom got behind. Plus, Felina’s Mom had the usual storm cloud of old people problems.

Felina had convinced her to buy a house in Richmond. No, I am not going to go down the rabbit hole of how a poor Puerto Rican woman of Catalan descent qualifies for a mortgage in Richmond. Ok, just a little: remember the Shrub era mortgage crisis? Yeah, that. So, taking care of Mom meant periodic runs to Richmond. Though, this being Felina, things with Mom tended to be stormy. Felina needed a place to stay while visiting Mom and Akim had been in her ear about how good it would be to see her. Bae’s geo-locus within 50 miles was suspicious because . . . dirty dishes at the start. She had to go somewhere. Akim was the Colonial Heights somewhere.

On a Warm Summer Night

Still Not Asking for It Run! Felina Run!It was fine for a couple nights. Night 3 there was tequila and roast chicken and an impressive sounding, long winded speech about how capitalism was evil on its face; including a dreamy vision of a utopian world in which no one ever got sick, never died and never aged beyond 27. Sex was easy, drugs were easy and the Internet was a government funded civil right. ‘cuz Felina and maybe he had a shot. She remembered bits and pieces of a rant about women weaponizing the word, “mansplaining”. There was something else about “rape culture” being a fraud. Akim didn’t get the irony of him mansplaining rape culture to an abuse victim. He was feeling his alpha dominance. Felina was feeling a need to sleep behind a locked door.

Sometimes You Need More Than Locks

Felina grew up Catholic so this New Age pseudo-Jewish drunken preening just weirded her out. Felina got off the couch, went to the bathroom to pee before bed and then to the extra bedroom. There was no hint from Akim that he was a prick. She slept with the door open.

I got a text message from Felina that she wanted to talk about a situation. That can’t be good. Then nothing until the next day. She and I had talked about giving her tanning bed time at my local gym. That turned in to a request to be picked up from the Pony Pasture in James River Park.

We headed to the Fan where Inger was crashing with some friends. I’m not used to having Felina cry. Usually she unloads a manic rant that runs 5-10 minutes and then either she’s at her destination or she gets quiet and falls asleep. This time there were tears. The makeup became a mess, “I trusted him! He’s been so good on social media. I stayed with him before and it was fine!” Still nothing on why Akim had gained a spot on Felina’s shit-list.

 A Level Down

This is what came through the tears. She had gone to sleep before midnight. She woke to find Akim’s hands on her. Another pig getting off by touching her. I heard this and wanted her to punch him in the balls. Make him hurt. She didn’t do that, “I went possum. We didn’t have sex or anything. I let him finish. He left the room and the next morning was all happy and shit. He had coffee, scrambled eggs and home fries ready for me. I hate eggs. I am vegan.

It’s a trope. Why don’t abuse victims stand up for themselves? Why didn’t she beat the shit out of him the first time he tried to hurt her? Some do. There are women that go to jail for defending themselves. Felina is not that woman. For all her fire she carries unspoken core beliefs about men that leave her vulnerable. She’s had men trying to get with her since she was a child. She’s internalized this intrusion as something men need of her. Men need sex. They need women. She is helping them. To which, I’d say, “Not like that!

A lot of the talk on the ride to the Fan revolved around boundaries. Maybe it was ok for him to touch her. Maybe this was a polyamory thing and she should have fucked him. Akim was older, wiser sounding, claimed a strong presence in the cube rat and bill paying world, a girl could do worse. He wasn’t as bad as the bicho she knew as a girl. Through it all I kept hearing things about bae that made me like him and his family.

Forgiveness Includes Justice

We talked about forgiveness. One thing about that. Forgiveness is not also foregoing justice. Where crimes have been committed the perpetrators need to be held to account. Felina, being firmly in the black-market, off-radar world, can get justice but it won’t come from the cops. The place where Akim is vulnerable is his carefully crafted beard that keeps his criminal truth ignored. I’ll never know if Akim escaped consequences. It’s not the sort of news you tell in Felina’s world. Shit just happens.

A bit about bicho. He’s not just guilty of sexual assault. He owns a sex-train of broken hearted single mothers whom he seduced and abandoned. All this free-love has accrued multiple child-support obligations that he has not kept current. Most of the cube-rat beard is a front. It won’t take much to break the spell and cause him some ugly karma.

We got to her friend’s house in the fan. The house was dark. Door knocks produced no response. After a few minutes I saw her disappear into the alley. She came back a bit later clutching a note. The friend had gone out with Inger and other friends to The Camel and would be back later. Felina had a key to let herself in.

There is no pithy wise ending to this. Stories like Felina either work their way around to a happy ending or they don’t. I pray that Felina and bae figure it out, take care of bicho, and settle in to being a good life, mayhaps back on Puerto Rico. Time will tell.

Last thing, a link some may need: RAINN. Don’t suffer in silence. Ever.

 

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Felina Novella

#felinaramos. Felina Ramos is my own personal, IRL soap opera. She is my guilty pleasure. I unfollow her on Facebook and then lurk. Everything about she and I is trouble. Yet I still vacillate  between following her, ignoring her, lurking her and going back to following her.

Yeah, what now? Right. She puts a message out on her wall that after she has had some sleep she wants a ride to a fast food place. Her offer is to buy from the dollar menu and also pay for a meal for her driver. I said I could do better than that. All normal and not blog post worthy. This is Felina, though. I get there and unlike previous excursions she comes out the door shaking. There is a tempest alive in her house between her cousin, her auntie, and her. Cops have been called. Contraband hidden. 3 latina women in full battle mode doing their level best to tempt the other into a fight. Entertaining for me and sad to see.

The cousin is learning a hard lesson. Once you escalate to fists there isn’t much else you can escalate to and have the same effect. The next level up is bloodshed and either a combination of jail and hospital or the morgue. The cousin’s attempts at psychological warfare are falling flat. She’s already used the nuclear option so another nuclear option is greeted with, “meh.”

I spent a few minutes with Felina on the front lawn teaching her some basics of sword fighting that enable a warrior to be cold in the middle of a fight. Hollywood has orgasms telling pornographic depictions of war as passionate. Actors get to display great emotion, to *ACTING* on camera. It’s all bullshit. A good soldier is no more excited by battle than he is by his morning shit, shower and shave. This is achieved through training and some simple techniques. I showed Felina some of those techniques so she could sooth herself and be effective.

A little more about the technique. You have seen Bruce Lee and others go through dramatic motions and vocalizations to focus their energy. That’s for camera. The real technique isn’t obvious to those uninitiated. It also doesn’t stand out because a swordsman should live this way so that there is no shift between battle mode and life mode. It is the way he is. He is never not practicing bushido.

Back to Felina. After the cops came, after the cousin lost the momentum, we went to the bodega to make groceries. Felina is a hot mess. She is also a good catholic girl who can’t escape her confession of faith nor her anger at the church. Felina, when she begins to be attracted to a guy or a girl, has expectations of the prospective partner. One of them is that when she complains of being hungry said partner should offer to feed her. Whelp . . . the current bae is a very fashy boy. He is tall & skinny, olive toned, of non-obvious lineage, with sharp green eyes and fiercely blond, nappy hair. He favors androgenous fashion, mixing thick cowboy belts with leggings, ripped jeans and wildfang sweaters. He is also a rather fine snowflake, expert at the approved fashy signals.

So, we’ve all been there. You go to the kitchen, hung over, dreaming of a favorite cure, and upon a search of the cupboards, find that the cunt cousin has scarfed down what you had hoped to eat. Through the fog of the hangover you remember that you ended last night having to get the bae to pay for your Uber home because this week’s check got smoked on a bar tab. There was a fight with the bae because he was not being very copacetic and you were drunk. So, the refuge of a millennial, social media, becomes a place to shout out your annoyance and desperation. What’s the reply of all those fashy friends to your plight? “Wow, that sucks. Wish I could help but . . .” Bae isn’t returning your texts or replying to voice mail. A quick trod around the tubes turns up a thread on gab.ai where the bae is flirting with some yup bitch. Asshole.

Yeah, so . . . all that virtue signalling about the plight of the downtrodden and when one of ours is ass-out the sincerity is smoke on the water. This isn’t just a thing with the fashy protest crowd. My brethren, confessed Christians, do this. Actuality is scary. It threatens our bubble and we react by trying to push it away. Guys like my Uncle Gary and people like Felina, who are an affront to a few orthodoxies, at first generate an itch to shun.

My Jesus was a badass. He was a carpenter who ate with thieves. He did scandalous things that insulted the establishment of his day. I don’t hear him saying to me, “Wow, Felina is a handful, stay away from that mess.” No, he says to me, “learn to love her as I would love her. Serve her as I would serve her.” Ruh roh. That’s not inside my comfort zone. Watching three women go at it is not my idea of a pleasant Sunday afternoon. Listening to Felina hope that her cousin is arrested isn’t the sort of Gauloise fueled conversation I imagine I could have with a girl like Felina. Yet, here I am, leaning on the fender of my Impala, waiting for the storm to subside.

She had me on her front lawn and bae on the phone. Fashy boy was begging off. He had to work overnight at Denny’s and didn’t have any clean uniforms. The circle of friends she engaged with on social media evaporated as she posted about the fire fight under way between cousin and auntie. Everybody was broke, out of town, had to work, car trouble . . .

I did my small act of kindness with some love. I dunno about great love. Felina is on my list of folk who are a challenge to love. She is this big storm of hot mess that seems untamable. At the bodega she lit up buying Haitian items. I had a whole different list in my head when I offered to make groceries. No matter. Part of my task is to do these acts of kindness agenda free. It was illuminating to see what she bought.

On the way back she was negotiating a night away from the house. Bae wasn’t pleased. He didn’t get that a standard piece of advice is to stay away for a bit until things calm down. She was just going to drop the groceries and get a ride to the friend’s house. Cousin’s parting shot was a post on social media that Felina was trading nekkid favors for what I spent at the bodega. As if. But, in the hour since we left the cops had calmed things down and the auntie had started some red rice and stewed chicken. So, from my passenger window she said her goodbyes and went back inside.

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Inger

Inger’s first appearance on the blog was last August when I started a kurfuffle for tossing about the word “rape” too casually for some. I didn’t name her then. I described the incident in a post titled, “It Was Rape“. I never named the girl who threw herself at the mercy of the guards a manic shadow of her Ivy League self. It wasn’t necessary then. It is necessary now. Also, most of my readership know that I am first a fiction writer who also writes prose. Thus, Inger is not a real person. I have to say that because my PDFRB minders read a draft and accused me of shaming rape victims and giving undue press to rapists.

Inger, I and my peers need to apologize. We failed to raise you right. We were so concerned about your self-esteem we kept a bubble around you such that you were never allowed to fail. We feared the damage done to you by a dangerous world so you lived in a cocoon where you could do anything you wanted and were never held accountable. Now, grown, your world is a cackling nightmare of anxiety triggering aggression and threats. There are boogeymen everywhere who have hurt you. Men are, on their face, muderous assholes intent on killing you. White men are the worst. White women are agents of the white male devil and thus more evil because of their complicity in the violence and oppression.

We succeeded in protecting you from strife. In Little League you always got a trophy regardless of how well you performed. We beamed with pride when you showed up at your ballet recital in a rainbow tutu, a black leotard and Doc Martins saying you were dancing for the rights of black people and the downtrodden LBGTQ community. We taught you that having a tantrum meant getting a better trophy so you learned to be expert at using anger to get what you wanted. We explained away and excused your troubles in school as the fault of a legion of enemies set against you. It was never your fault.

When you saved our dung in mason jars and used it to finger paint on the walls we proudly took our pictures to the local copy store and had large format images of your art framed. Your use of infant poop was inspired.

We catered to your every whim. Switched brands of locovore soy milk because you told us the son of the family owned business was an evil pig exploiting young girls for profit. We never quite understood what made him so evil but since you were our precious snowflake we complied.

We defended you through to College at Stanford when you spent your first semester occupying the central square as a protest of the presence of white students proving endemic racism on campus. We hired lawyers to help you sue your professors who asked you to write essays that you said caused you duress. We lost but never stopped believing that you were right.

Please come home. We don’t know where you are. We are worried about you. We saw that Periscope video of you yelling, “rape” at work and were frightened. We have attorneys on retainer waiting for you. We support your fight for women’s suffrage in the workplace 100%.

✠ ✠ ✠

In the weeks following Inger’s spectacular exit from her internship at a Silicon Valley social media company she lost it. After being examined by the Trauma Center and having a rape kit collected she was nearly catatonic. A social worker and a psychiatrist examined her and had her transferred to the Psychiatric Ward. In California you can only be held for 72 hours involuntarily before they have to release you or have a plan for you. Inger got herself released.

She had the usual kit of a first world citizen of these United States. Purse containing necessities including ID, credit & debit cards and some cash. A scarf, ripped but usable. New cotton panties courtesy of the county since her VS Pink thong was ruined and a lacy thong in a psych ward is not a plan. Her phone, which had everything she needed to get an Uber back to her apartment. Her life was waiting for her. She just had to go home.

She did not. She was released at 8:00pm on a weeknight. She made her way to Calero Park, befriended a goth boy who had a tent and a spare sleeping bag. She was there for a couple days, begging for spare change and eating out of dumpsters. Her last stop in the first world was a visit to FedEx Office to mail her purse and clothes to her parents in Ashland, Va.

We failed you as parents and for that we are sorry. Please turn on your phone and let us know you are ok, ok?

Felina was a classmate at Stanford the school year before the internship and the cry of “Rape!” They were friendly but not close. Stanford was a fail for Inger and the softest landing after a fall was Swarthmore. Inger’s internship was on plan, in her senior year at Swarthmore and bode well for her. Inger and Felina mostly stayed in touch through Instagram and a shared love of creating memes. Then after the rape shout Inger went dark. Felina thought maybe she’d been ghosted by Inger.

That’s some of Inger’s back story. I said in a recent post that she was back in rehab. Getting clean and sober for Inger isn’t simply suffering through cold turkey and a bunch of Fellowship Meetings. Inger has come in to adulthood sporting PTSD and Schizophrenia. Inger, angry, doesn’t know how to self-soothe or calm down. Inger can’t cope with duress without a meltdown. She becomes a babbling idiot at the utterance of three words, “you are wrong.” She’s got some life skills to learn while getting clean.

What happened to the guy? When Inger went dark and resurfaced in rehab for the first time in Martinsville at Piedmont Community Services the cops tried to talk to her but she refused. The rape kit showed signs of sexual battery but the evidence pointed to someone else, not the coworker who was gang tackled by the guards. The police were willing to follow up on the case but Inger’s way of coping with them was a screaming fit in which she claimed that the police had invaded her brain with worms who were telling her that she was carrying the alien baby of a drunken party-goer after an all nighter in Calero Park. The staff asked the cops to leave and it was a few days before Inger returned to group.

Without clear evidence to support the screams of “Rape” the cops were left flat. This isn’t Law & Order SVU. This is Santa Clara County’s District Attorney’s office with the usual challenges. Every Assistant District Attorney has to weigh the cost of prosecuting a case against the likelihood of a conviction. Inger’s accusations of “Rape” didn’t have enough meat on them to justify spending the county’s money on prosecution so the charges were dropped.

Though, in the overheated, totalist mood of the country and of California, the scent of an accusation stuck to the coworker like skunk piss. His indifference to her accusations caused a social media storm of bad press, rumors and gossip which left his employer accused of being a fellow traveler of a rapist. Despite the absence of legal interest in his alleged sins the coworker found himself without a job and blacklisted.

So . . . Inger. I am sorry that my generation’s best intentions became your worst nightmare. The great sadness is that as shitty as it is, it’s on you now. I wish you all the best in this stint of rehab. Piedmont County is a good place to be.

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Mincome

Salmos 84:3, “Señor Todopoderoso, rey mío y Dios mío,
    aun el gorrión halla casa cerca de tus altares;
también la golondrina hace allí su nido,
    para poner sus polluelos.

Sweet! I can live on the dole and pretend I am a writer who makes enough to support his addiction to useless work! Stellar. I love my fellow red-diaper babies. Especially the anarchist ones. We’ll tear down the government and make one of our own. The community will own everything. Everybody will be guaranteed a base salary regardless of whether they work or not. We’ll make education free. We’ll make health care free. We’ll eliminate income taxes. We’ll legalize all drugs, opioids, marijuana, all of it. Let’s make sex workers a protected class. LGBTQ Forever! We can set up houses all across the land where you can get your freak on and be stoned! Awesome!

Never heard of this? Think this is a pipe dream of a hippie wanna be millennial? News Flash, we did this. We hated it. What happens when you guarantee income to us, the dysfunctional end of the Bell Curve? Good things? No. We become more fucked up than we were before you made it possible us to expand our man-caves in our parent’s basements and buy better pajamas. If you haven’t noticed, dysfunctional people do dysfunctional shit. Giving us a monthly check just means we can do more dysfunctional shit. It’s awesome.

Mincome is a solution looking for a problem. It is an overly simple framing of the problem as lack of income. It ignores much about us, about people, especially my us, the dysfunctional at the scary end of the Bell curve. The potential for unintended consequences is stunning.

But, we have some who pitch ideas like mincome as the reasonable thing to do. These folk desperately cling to their pumpkin spice latte’s and Nordstrom credit cards (badly over their credit limit) and other social signals to prove that they are the good folk. Mincome is another way to signal that they care. And, after all, it is the strength of the caring signal that is the important thing.

One of Felina’s friends is like this. Felina met her at Stanford. She’s picture perfect NoCal grunge with a bit of goth added. Felina liked her because the girl had the best weed she’d ever smoked. Oh, oh, OH! you are horrified that a hot mess like Felina gets high? Just . . . go away. I’m not going to get dragged into a 1500 word rant that boils down to Nancy Reagan, “Just Say No.” I’m busy with another axe I want to grind. Y e e e s I am a Dad and I inhaled and now I don’t and as-far-as-I-am-concerned addiction is a deadly short game. B u u u t . . . this isn’t an anti-addiction rant.

Where was I? Oh. Felina’s friend, Inger (pronounced anger). No, I am not going to describe Inger’s age, hair, her figure, all that. There is enough free porn on the Intertubes that you can rub your sausage or clam without my help. Is she hot? Are you stupid? Inger is all about protests and grunge guys who claim they are musicians because they can crush Dragonforce’s, “Through the Fire and the Flames” in Guitar Hero. Inger is also, lately, off the radar doing another stint of rehab. Don’t get your hopes up. She drifts about various soup kitchens somewhat volunteering but mostly eating and live tweeting.

Inger is all about mincome. She totally cares about poverty and world peas. She’s punched a Planned Parenthood protester in the face more than once. After graduating from the county’s Anger Management class, twice. She also, before rehab, was depressed because she wasn’t able to get this year’s Nordstrom BP Cotton Anorak. Inger wants mincome for herself. And free mental health care, especially free mental health care. Legal weed, maybe also. Actually . . . legal weed first. Until rehab happened.

One of the many things that mincome ignores is something we Reformed Tradition Christians have heard all our lives, men are made for work. We don’t need more money or a guaranteed minimum income that means we don’t have to work. We need a cause to pursue, we need work. Not so we have access to necessary resources. It goes deeper than that. Idle men, especially idle young men, are fertile ground for trouble. Mincome takes away a key component of our reason for existence–our work.

Women are different. Women are made to help men love God more dearly. They are also the bulk of the work of birthing and raising the next generation. That secondary purpose, kids, is preoccupying for women. Women should and do work, but their two responsibilities mean that they are not first made for work in the same way that men are. I’ll grant you that for a woman, mincome can feel like a solid plan. Inger agrees.

These childish platitudes keep being pushed by left-wing media. Poor people? Give them money with no strings attached. Done. Hungry? Feed the hungry. Homeless? House the homeless. If we do enough of this we’ll accomplish an end to poverty, hunger, and homelessness. New Deal? New Frontier anybody? How about the Great Society? The War on Poverty? How is that working out? An unacknowledged elephant in your safe space is that simplistic solutions like this surface disastrous unintended consequences.

2 Tesalonicenses 3: “Porque incluso cuando estábamos con ustedes, les ordenamos: «El que no quiera trabajar, que tampoco coma.»”

Todo 2 Thessalonians 3 vale la pena leer. One of those unintended consequences is a non-verbal insult to men. Through mincome you are telling us that we can’t provide enough to our kin, that we are not enough. This is demeaning. So much so that our answer is to take your mincome and use it to run black market businesses where we can feel pride of ownership and the satisfaction of being providers to our kin.

We have dumped trillions in foreign aid into third world countries. These trillions have spawned countless acts of evil and corruption. Our trillions we intend for the poor and suffering enrich government bureaucrats and corrupt NGO’s. Yet we continue to be told that we are not doing enough, that we have to dump more cash into the life of that big eyed kid on TV because he or she is still miserable. And that the problem is that we are not trying hard enough. These Utopian fantasies of an end to misery will work if we just apply ourselves with enough due diligence. Did you fill your UNICEF box this Halloween? It’s not our fault that after 73 years these endeavors have entrapped those we sought to help. You really want Grandma to live on cat food? What’s your answer to a single mom with a dickface baby daddy? Grow a garden? Raise chickens? Seriously?

Yah, yah. All this government funded mercy does some good. Cities that have done, “Housing First” have had some success with it. You can listen to the Freakanomics story here: Most of the time when a story of this sort is aired it is presented as the most original, best idea ever. No one has ever thought of this. Why not just pay a guaranteed income to everybody? Poverty solved. I mean, what reasonable person would oppose that? Grandma could afford wet cat food.

But . . . whatever. Do it. Pay a guaranteed minimum annual salary of at least $40,000.00 with benefits. Give women free child care, free maternity leave, and 320 hours a year of paid time off. Ignore Cuba, the USSR, China, North Korea, Venezuela and others where such nonsense is the rule. Ignore the half-century of experience we have in this country with presidential initiatives like Roosevelt’s New Deal and Grandma Billary’s proffered Fair Deal. Us deplorables will happily use your benevolence as we have for most of a century. We’ll cash your checks and take that cash to the black market where we can get all our gluttonous heart desires. We’ll occupy ourselves with grey and black market businesses to give ourselves the work we can’t get because we accepted mincome. Thank you and please, may I have another?

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Plus One Deplorable

This is the thing. I’m normal. Kind of. A reason to be happy? Not for me. A theme of my life has been the need to have my needs met and an itch to be loud. I wanted life to mean something, to have an impact on more than my immediate circle of kin and friends. Explains this blog, maybe. The ways I wanted to go about being loud have put my serenity at risk. There was jail. And homelessness, more than once.

So, since leaving my son and his Mom in 2002 to find a way of ending the insanity I’ve returned to a bad hobby. It’s so common as to be laughable. Lolita. It was a play then it was a movie. It’s taboo. Old fart loving on nubile young thing. Not good. And way too common. In Hollywood, and among the rich & stupid, it’s almost de regueur. You get to a certain level, a certain age and you get awarded your own SYHT. I may be the right age. I’m a little low-brow to qualify for that lottery drawing. It doesn’t stop me from some rather deplorable late night fantasies.

Lisa Brooks, a student of mine, SYHT 2 & 3, one of whom was a stripper, a waitress at Richbrau, SYHT actual, who inspired the initials I gave her, Aimee, whose Dad is an elder at a local church, a local web developer and graphic novel writer, and lately, Felina Ramos. The bad hobby? I keep trying to catch me a kitten and failing.

What’s knocking about my heart is Felina Ramos. I should run the other way when Felina meows and leans against my leg. Did I? No. I tried to scoop her up to feed her and she bit me. Serves me right. Four hours from the time I left work until I hit the door at the house with the mind racing at the depravity possible. She wasn’t where I thought she’d be. She was an hour away in a completely different part of our metroplex.

For Felina, I am an absurdity. I’m an older guy who is attracted to her but my impulses run to being Pappa rather than boyfriend/beard. Felina’s experience with men is that they want her cookie and not her. She may say she likes guys for more than just a 3am romp. But too much of life has taught her that it all comes down to that, to bumping uglies in the wee hours of the morning. She can’t look at me, look at any guy, without a little anxiety, a little question, “when will the abuse start?”

All the good people in the fat part of the curve have all the usual tropes about women like her. “She must like it” [Hell no], “You can tell by the way she dresses. She brings it on to herself with the men she goes with. “. [Law of attraction, I get it, but unfair.] The thing is, when you are that far down, that deeply captured by the dark side, you resonate dissonant.

You attract crazy and abusive. Dissonance feels normal. We (yes, “we”) tend to attract to us the things that represent our unconscious signals, good and bad. I am absurd to Felina but that thirty-something musician who wants to be Marilyn Manson 2.0, him? Felina is all about him. He confirms for her what her broken heart believes about men–we are dogs, pigs and goats. Nothing from men is free, “ass, gas or grass . . .Matthew 5:1-12 is insanity for her.

I could easily stand on my heritage as a WASP, on my blue-bloodline and my upbringing. I’m Presbyterian, for God’s sake. I could stick to the party line about how everything has to come to me without any agency of my own. I could say it’s because of Felina that I have done foolish things. In the popular orthodoxy, I’d be right. Also, in the orthodoxy of the day, Felina is a goddess. She, with her downtrodden story, is to be worshiped as confirmation that all men everywhere are the same–dogs, pigs and goats. What say I? Yep.

If anything, in this post, I am writing a confession rather than an accusation. Felina is God’s business, not mine. My business, my dog in the fight, is my 0-8 record at luring a kitten to me. I’m annoyed at my failures. Felina, or someone like her, is catnip to me. Failing, though, is probably the better thing.

Felina is about five years out from being sick and tired of being sick and tired. When the street becomes too much she crashes with some thirty-something guys in a home that is sometimes subdued but on the speed dial of the local cops. Remember the movie Hangover? Yeah. But, like, a suburban house that is like that all the time. That is Felina’s milieu.

The old reliable, my awkwardness and stubborn insistence on some personal tropes with women disrupted the dastardly plan. The other thing is something I had to get used to. I’m not abnormal. The bipolar vibe that was so attractive back then just doesn’t click with me. Felina, as I think about it, was perhaps hoping she’d make it past my front door and then who knows? I bought dinner for her at Chipotle. Buzz kill.

Then last night, which ended up being four hours on local roads driving, parking to send some texts, driving some more, rinse, repeat. Felina had been talked into moving a friend after work and instead of the promised easy couple hours it had spun into an all-nighter. Meanwhile I’m wandering about Metro Richmond hoping to find my stray kitten. Since, Felina has made me a ghost.

My win-loss score with this bad hobby is 0-8. The closest I’ve come is a really odd, awkward, naked afternoon with SYHT actual. Parts of me feel a bit peeved at this. Eight attempts and all I got was some necking with SYHT.

I got the house. I got the car. I filled the house with the stuff I thought would be attractive to her. Stuff that my Mom would like. Stuff that my son’s Mom liked when we were still married. I don’t have the HiFi yet. I did get a TV. FIOS got cancelled when I couldn’t pay the bill last spring. So far, it’s just me in that house.

I’m sort of like that puppy that catches a squirrel and doesn’t know what to do next. Propriety should lead me away from my hobby and a realization that I’m old enough to be a grandfather. I have no business messing about with women young enough to be my daughter. 0-8 so far. Over 950 words about a lot of fantasy and a night on the road going nowhere with a hope that cannot be. I am still a fool for love.

 

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Felina Ramos

Felina Ramos is in her twenties. It’s been hell getting here. I was all set to write a blog post about the speed at which many tag a given narrative as proof of rape culture and in so doing, cheapen the phrase. Check your narratives people. And, yes, I am hinting that my story of a young intern flipping out because a coworker smiled at her will continue in this space. Felina, though.

pigface-flowerFelina’s story killed it. I know she’s an outlier, that most women don’t have such an outsized story to tell. I am one who loves to point out that the stories we publish are the ones that have a larger than life aspect to them. Only a small percent of us are black and bullet ridden. Only a few women have survived as much as Felina. The 99% will never have a story worth a blog post. Felina does.

Felina dresses goth, has a bloody rose tattoo on her left arm. She’s in Richmond trying again to get her grades together to return to Stanford where her full ride scholarship awaits. Her uncanny attraction to pigs is a bit unnerving. She’s not attracted to them. Too many come at her with attitude she reads as, “I could get from flirty to dirty sheets pretty quick with you.”

How About . . . No

I see what the pigs see. I also saw the steel and concrete in her eyes buttressing a deep river of anger that made me decide that I’d regret checking her off on my bucket list. The weather has been good so she’s been living on the street. It’s not as if Felina hasn’t been offered help. It is this. The last time she agreed to take a bed in a shelter she woke up to find the overnight worker fondling her. The place promised to be safe, to be somewhere where she could try again to get healthy, was a place hosting a predator.

Felina spent a night in jail recently after she slapped a well meaning woman at the bus stop who offered, “everything happens for a reason. You have to look for the lesson in this.” The things that Felina has survived defy explanation.  The lesson life has taught her is worse than a night in city jail after bitch-slapping that woman.

Felina, 24, born in Haiti to a Peace Corp father. Dad came to Haiti as an aid volunteer for Hurricane Gordon (1994). Mom was Mormon at the time, in Haiti to soak up the sun, eat, and maybe find out about her family’s connection to the island. Dad’s roots were Moorish and Mom’s were Catalan. Felina grew up in Puerto Rico. A fine beginning that went further south for Felina at around age 12.

The thing that has been so stunning is her inability to escape predators. Monsters under the bed? She’s got men wanting her in the ugliest way. Mom & Dad wanted her to break the family curse and so sent her to boarding school. Their idea was that if they sent her to a good boarding school she’d be safe and set for college and success.

Good Plan . . . Gone to a Nightmare.

Boarding school had a janitor (pig #2) who liked them young. His special pet was Felina, who gave herself to him until she graduated with honors. She got a full ride at Stanford, as far away from Georgia as she could manage. Nightmare over? Not even. It was as if she had some sort of invisible nametag that said, “abuse me.” It wasn’t even limited to men. Women would coo that it’s safer with a girl and then bust out the latex and whips.

Childhood in Carolina, Puerto Rico before boarding school was a little better than what TV loves to show. Her parents did better than most. They both worked, her Dad sold shaved ice (Pure Mountain Water!) to tourists and her Mom as an office manager in a doctor’s office. She had one sister two years younger than her and an older brother she seldom saw. The brother was a soaring vulture who was only home when he wasn’t in jail or had run out of money. But, they had a house and a car, which was more than many of her childhood friends.

Felina’s reason for wanting to go to boarding school was a Bambalan (pig #1) friend of her Dad. This bichote started with her when she was eight. Then she got her first period and he told Papa that she was spoiled and could never marry a Catholic. Es lo que hacen los hombres.

Felina Ramos Knows

Felina knows a couple things. She knows that some men are weak against her and will do nearly anything if she asks them the right way. She knows that no one has ever been able to contain her behavior. She can and has done many taboo things. Lately, though, she knows that between bicho and a good book it is the book that feels better. Some rosehip tea, a fleece robe and something by James Patterson are way better than pene apestosas.

She’s on meds and most days her life trying to hold it together almost makes it to sundown without drama. She’s was living at home in Carolina helping take care of her parents for a couple years. She became the parent in the family for her sister and her gilipollas brother. Then a friend of the family told her she could come to Richmond and study at John Tyler to get her grades up and go back to Stanford. One more gallo del paseo who had her crotch in mind. She still hopes to make it back to Stanford some day.

I was ready to launch, ready to yell at those who cheapen the phrase “rape culture” by spewing it with abandon. It was one of those odd moments I’ve had. I saw what the predators saw. She comes across as an easy fuck. Sometimes, she is. Her heart is walled up behind a deep stone fortress of too many men assuming she’d like it quick and rough. She’s been abused too much, taken for granted too many times, had hands and bicho invade her safety. She is the exception that kills my glittering generality. Her story is too oft told, too old for a young woman.

I’m still there. I live here too. I see that the devil is hard at work eating souls. He’s made an oven for us and we are being baked in depravity until we are nicely golden brown and bubbly. I’m past the age where every woman I see is one I want to fuck. If SYHT reappeared in my life offering a bit of bacchanal it wouldn’t be an obvious yes. I flirted with Felina. But I’ve driven too many miles in a cab, carried to many Felina’s to be captured by her spell so easily. Not Felina specifically, but many like her who got with a guy hoping to use him as a lily pad and discovering he was a drunk, an asshat and worse. Women whom I pick up between 3 and 5am who had something in mind that didn’t happen and now need me to get them home.

What Size Are You?

The thing that bugs me is that the young women burning up the tubes with accusations of rape culture present it as a fact as immutable as the sunset. It is again the assignment of a narrative based on the stories of women like Felina as proof that all men are pigs needing castration and a training bra. And again the stipulation that the victims have no agency. They must just accept their fate as jaiva for bicho. They were born this way.

The genius of Christ was this. His revolution started within. He asked us to examine our own lives and the ways we are broken and in need of repentance. I can’t offer an answer to Felina that explains why life has been shitting down her throat. I can offer her hope that the shit-show can be less shitty. I didn’t start out well at age 19. The ending will be a lot better.

Felina and I are connected through social media. Lately I’ve become a ghost to her. If I were younger and hornier this would be a problem. Now? Meh. Some people are with us for a season and are gone. We get to keep the memories. Felina, when I told her I prophesized that she’d be ok, at first got angry with me and then got quiet, mascara and eye-liner leaking down her cheek.

We owe ourselves and Felina a little introspection and as needed, some effort at behaving better. And yeah, this site is for the pigs, the outliers and malcontents, God made them too. I still hope Felina will find the right support and be able to end the nightmare. And . . . allow me my hope that maybe the pigs will get a shock of recognition and perhaps chill the fuck out.

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Alcohol Is The Truth Serum – Social Matter

Round, round with the glass, boys, as fast as you can, Since he who don’t drink cannot be a true man. For if truth is in wine, then ’tis all but a whim To think a man’s true when the wine’s not in him. Drink, drink, then, and hold it a maxim divine That there’s […]

Source: Alcohol Is The Truth Serum – Social Matter

More prompts from AntiDem. And here we go:

Dear Wanna-Be,

Fail. Sorry, it just is. I picked you up Sunday morning outside Bar Code stinking of your own puke. Your debit card was no good and you had no cash for the cab fare. Your clothes are at the cleaners. They will be done next week. I remember you. Your robot won the regional robot wars competition. I saw your post about pledging to KHK. I was your cabbie at the airport in 2008 dropping you at the Omni for your onboarding with Dominion Power.

millenial nerdI dropped you at the Healing Place because it was Sunday morning, Central Intake wouldn’t open for another few hours, and as I listened to you I heard the fallout of that meteoric rise. From the Omni Hotel to the Healing Place in six years. That was faster than I thought.

Why did you keep repeating, “we have to get rid of the girls” on the way to rehab? Girls are cool. They are more than cook, wet hole, maid and child-care worker. They make us more than we could be by ourselves.

Wow! I just read your post about alcohol being a better truth serum. Is that why your Monday will start with a case-worker for the homeless at the Healing Place? Makes me glad I opted out of the upper-middle class, Ivy League, white collar union life my Dad hoped I’d be down for.

You thought nirvana could be found on rural land gone fallow long enough for the trees to regrow. The plan was to live on the land, declare it sovereign, make moonshine and kick out the girls. That way there would be nothing the cops could do to you and you wouldn’t have to hassle with normal annoyances like dishes and diapers. It’s be ok to rough-house with your friends, blast Elysian 247 and stay drunk.

I and my downtrodden friends know this story arc too well. Everything is going your way, you are the cool nerd getting all the accolades. Then the façade begins to crack and the years of debauchery take their toll. You are not the object of devotion you once were. There are longer recoveries from the hangovers. Maybe some arrests for misdemeanors common among low-rent addicts. The negative consequences escalate. There is rehab, jail, hospital, rinse, repeat.

It goes both ways. Sometimes the end of the story is a funeral in which everyone mourns the fact that all the furtive efforts to stay in recovery fell short. That happens more often than the happier ending where it gets bad enough that this time you stay in recovery and there are an ever increasing number of sober sunrises. Nobody likes the third outcome, where it just sort of simmers along, never quite taking a direction, and some decades pass accumulating a middlin story of regrets until the funeral comes and the eulogies are conflicted over whether there was blessing and joy or it was all an unrelenting dirge of hard times and trouble.

I have news for you. There are no secular utopian communities older than a few decades of any size. Most of them can’t expand above 150 people without some sort of splintering. Ones like yours, based on juvenile ideas about what a real man is, are destined to fail, have failed. That you are in my cab puke drunk and penniless should be a bellwether worth paying attention to.

Too, addicts make terrible community organizers. The needs of the addiction trump everything. For all your ideals, that you drink means you first choose moonshine and then worry about things like shelter and food. Alcohol is a truth serum in one sense. Whatever hot mess got you started drinking escalates into increasing negative consequences, the last of which is death.

No, that I didn’t take you to Barton Avenue and the Wingnut isn’t a crime. Mo moved out of the Wingnut a couple years ago. She’s been sober since before she moved. Your fantasy of amenable debauchery at the Wingnut is an impossible faff. You should thank me that I didn’t take you there or the cop shop. I’m supposed to call the cops on you, burn a third of my shift with them trying to hold you accountable. I’ve had ones like you in my cab numerous times. You may have created a debt for $40.00 or so because you couldn’t pay. I can eat that and be ok. It’s when it becomes about the cops and arresting you that the debt escalates into hundreds of dollars and we are both trapped in an impossible conflict. It’s why I took you to the Healing Place.

So, your idea of utopia is a fort where you can be drunk with your buddies and horseplay with them? Right. You are a drunk. I shouldn’t expect you to be clear. I’m talking to a host to a symbiont called liquor that has you trapped. Out of your mouth come the words of the alcohol and you. You won’t even remember your brilliant scheme to buy some land, invite your buddies, build a moonshine still, and ban the women and the cops.

Foolishness. But, whatever. You are drunk so I shouldn’t be surprised. You are young, so the weight of your idiocy hasn’t hit hard enough yet. This is your future: your girlfriend will leave you, your inability to hold down a job will mean you teeter on the edge of homelessness, the demands of the bottle will push aside all other concerns of your life. You might even adopt the uniform of the millennial gypsie: light brown corduroy’s, a military tan t-shirt, Doc Martins, a Vietnam era camo jacket, dreadlocks, a beard, a dog and a tin cup to beg with. Having adopted the uniform you will live the dream with a sign begging for cash and living outside. You might even say you are living a more authentic life than us rubes who work a day job and pay our bills on time. Do you. Do it. One day, it’ll hurt bad enough that you’ll have to choose your light brown life or come in from the rain.

I’ll tell you what a real man is. He holds his own. He maintains himself well. He serves others as a matter of habit. He examines his life and himself constantly and where he has aspects of himself which impede him, these must die. He is not overly captured by the temptations of this world. He is humble, hard working, kind, loving and strong. He is good to the women. None of what makes him a real man requires buddies to drink with or land or docile women or amenable rules. A real father lives for his kids and his wife. He ensures that they thrive even if such assurance requires him to sacrifice treasured possessions or habits. You are a boy insecure believing a fantasy you learned from television and movies. Grow up.

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Who Washed Feet First?

It sounds like a catechism question, “who washed feet first?” Next, remember this lyric, “How do you solve a problem like Maria,” from the Sound of Music? Maria as a nun was an absurdity. But, Maria as a nanny and later wife of Captain von Trapp was a thing of beauty. Though, this post isn’t about Maria von Trapp. No, it’s about Mary of Bethany before Jesus was crucified.

who washed feet first? spikenard-anointing-feet-of-JesusSo, there was one before Jesus who washed the feet of another. She washed His feet and pointed to an answer to a persistent question: “what do you do with a thick necked people who have continued to sin in spite of everything done for several thousand years of recorded history?” If all the sane answers have failed, could it be that an insane answer might be the right one? It doesn’t fit that a bastard son of a poor carpenter from Nazareth could be the Messiah.

It fits that a subject of a king would wash his feet. It fits that anointing the feet of Christ with perfume is a sign of his authority as king of the Jews. The resurrected kingdom we got was not one that was victorious over Rome right then. Constantine’s deathbed conversion came later. In the normal course of events it is expected that the king’s subjects would show him their devotion through acts like this.

✠ ✠ ✠

Next, it is not fit that a woman would wash the feet of a man with her hair. That is a scandalous act. Perfume as expensive as nard would not be used to wash anyone’s feet. Judas is right to be shocked that a pound of this perfume would be wasted on such a decadent act.

Though, Jesus is not Caesar. He isn’t Herod or Pilote. He is a poor carpenter born to Mary under suspicious circumstances. Many whispered that the virgin birth story is a cover for Mary cuckholding Joseph. Judas said that selling the nard would raise money to do so much more good. Christ praises Mary for her act of devotion. This Nazarene speaks with the authority of a Rabbi but he is just a carpenter’s boy born out of wedlock. It is outrageous, it is absurd, that Mary of Bethany would use a pound of expensive perfume, her uncovered hair, and her tears to wash the feet of Jesus of Nazareth because Lazarus lives.

That is Absurd

Christ is absurd. He is a king that died. He is a martyr that lived. We say he descended into hell and took our sins with him. Did we stop being evil? No. An enterprising group of Twitter users sabotaged Microsoft’s “Tay“. Terrorists bombed Brussel during this year’s Holy Week. It would be easy to fill more than 1500 words surveying the news for all the ways in which we are evil.

I would be far from the first if I dove into the oft-asked, perpetual question, “why do bad things happen to good people?” Let’s leave it at this: absurd things happen that defy easy answers. My king, my Jesus, was killed by the Romans at the request of fellow Jews because of claims that he had spoken blasphemy. He said absurd things.

This is an absurd anointing of a king. It is crazy. It is scandalous. Judas Iscariot is right to be shocked. Six days before Passover she does this in the presence of Lazarus and others. If Jesus were a candidate for presidency this anointing, known, would be above the fold and push off the current kerfuffle over claims that Ted Cruz had 5 affairs. Why, then, would we keep this story, this scandalous narrative, in our sacred text, for over two millennia after Christ left us?

✠ ✠ ✠

Before that, for as long as we have recorded history, kings and democracies had failed us. People worshiped God and gods then. The Romans had their pantheon of gods, including many adopted from the Greeks. The Jews had their God of Abraham and the law. The morale was not improving in spite of continued beatings. We have laws, many, many laws. The laws don’t matter. Our Muslim brethren enforce those laws through brutal consequences. Brutal consequences only matter to some. To others they are just the price of living. Evil persists, sin persists, despite everything. We have kings. We have democracies. We have every stripe of economic system imagined. Crime exists. Disparity and poverty exist.

Mary Did You Know?

Mary did not know that she was washing the feet of a king. She knew that this wretch, this bastard carpenter’s boy, had said some absurd and amazing things. She had heard of miracles, perhaps seen them. Lazarus was there eating with them. Who is Lazarus? Go look it up. Her heart so filled with devotion, with a desire to honor this man reclining at table, that she annoyed Martha and scandalized Judas, with a decadent act such as this.

When it is all crazy, when all the philosophers, physicians, lawyers, kings, senators, rabbis, all their words, and soldiers failed to stop the ways in which we are evil to each other, what is God to do? Nothing has worked. He destroyed the world in a flood. While Moses prayed we made a golden calf. God gave Moses a set of laws and appointed the Levites as judges and religious leaders. He answered our cry for a King with Saul, David and Solomon. King David slept with another man’s wife. He sent us prophets and judges. He parted the Red Sea. He fed us manna and pigeons and caused water to flow from a rock. We still sinned. We still sin.

When millions of lambs, doves, calves are sacrificed and the good, law abiding people do the right thing and still, it is not enough. Evil persists. Lucifer still wins sometimes.

✠ ✠ ✠

What is God to do with us? What is he to do with his thick-necked people who build idols and worship Baal? What is he to do with us when he scatters us and scrambles our tongues so that brother cannot understand brother and yet, we violate every letter of every law and build temples to calves.

There are only two things left to do. Sound the trumpets and lay waste to His creation. Or, perform an astounding act of mercy and be born a baby and crucified. Christ is either who he said he was and we are truly forgiven or he is one of a legion of crackpots who lied to us.

When the only thing left to do is an absurd act of grace, can you not grant me that it is possible God would then martyr himself, wipe the record clean, and begin again with a ragtag bunch of dissident Jews who claim that a bastard carpenter killed by the Romans was the Messiah prophesied in the Nevim? No? Whatever.

The crazy continued. The absurdities continued. Today, millions upon millions celebrate the life and death of Christ the King, Jesus of Nazareth, whose story is absurd. We are countless lights, countless salts, working to be stones of the resurrected temple. We start with grace, with knowing that we are not only our past. We live as we understand Christ would have us live. As absurdity has abounded, so has countless miracles and acts of love and mercy.

Crazy Good

I don’t have space here to recount the infinite ways our absurd story has brought light and salt to this world. Yes, the church, churchianity and all the other names spat out in anger of us, has committed atrocities. We are not immune to evil. While I acknowledge that, I ask you to grant me that we have also done much good, do much good.

It is the eve of Easter, the Saturday between our ceremony mourning the crucifixion of Christ and our celebration of his resurrection Sunday morning. By tradition, Christ is in Hell. It is a day when I feel like fasting and writing. It is one of those moments when there is much to moan about. I am in the gap between scary and things working out. Tomorrow I’ll celebrate with my brethren at St. Giles the completion of the story. We will say, “Christ is Risen!” In the coming weeks I’ll traverse this gap and things will work out.

Today is a cold, grey day of “not yet.” My Jesus is buried in the tomb. We have the blood of those we sinned against on our hands. In two thousand years we have much to answer for. It is not yet Easter. Still God is dead for another day.

So, this I know. Of all that was tried, all that has been done, this crazy thing, this absurd king, did more to change the world for good than anything in history. I am called to serve a bastard carpenter’s boy from Nazareth, who died on a cross with criminals. This I know, serving Him has saved my life.

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Love is War

First Posted 09-Nov-2014

I had four riders in my car last Friday headed to a pizza place in Carytown. The girl sitting directly behind me and visible in my mirror complained that another girl not present, who had a crush on one of her friends, a guy, was getting all fussy about her spending time with the new crush. I listened to this and was reminded of something. Girls who are friends are not the same as boys who are friends or girls who are friends with boys. Since part of being modern is to include nuts who like nuts and bolts who like bolts, my point holds. There cannot be mere friendship when romance and lust enter the picture. A girl cannot just be friends with her paramour.

Loving-CoupleGirls can be friends with each other in a way that is different from the way they can be friends with boys. Ditto boys with boys. Our constant hunger for the hunt, for the conquest of her, is always present. We are either successful in bedding her, working toward success bedding her, or pissed off because we didn’t bed her. Women are not our friends. They are prey. They are still prey  when are blissfully sharing the post-coital moments cuddling as the rush of victory fades. Boorish, chauvinistic, piggish, yes. But, girls, ask a guy if there is no truth to this. I’ll bet he’ll back-peddle a bit before admitting that I have a point.

Same sex relationships don’t remove this aspect of the game of love. See, there can be no peace between men and women because of romance. The girl who complained that she felt pushed aside by the new girlfriend of one of her male friends was witnessing what happens when lust or love enters the room. It can’t be just friends anymore. Worse, is the game of “friends with benefits”. It always comes around to this question, “what are we?” If the answer is, “together,” then there probably is more sex, deeper commitment, and so on. I’ll have more to say on this–sex outside marriage.

Sex is a lot of things. One crucial thing it is–is to make babies. And babies and parenting mean a lifelong commitment to the child. It is life changing. A man’s life as a bachelor dies. In its place is a new life as a father. So, casual sex is toying with baby making and trying to pretend that it’s just a few moments of passion, a bit of horizontal bop without consequence. Once the hunt is on, once a guy starts pursuing a girl, he is headed for fatherhood and a potential death to life as he knows it. It is with consequence. This, then, is the bad news for the pretty young blonde who just wanted to be friends with one of her male buddies. It can’t be. He has gained a girlfriend at the cost of losing a buddy. In the near-term his friends have to adjust themselves to the new truth. He isn’t just him. He’s them, him & her together. So, love, sorry, your buddy is gone to be replaced by something new, a couple now called your buddies, plural.

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You Need Me

First Posted 15-Jan-2015

So, I nicknamed somebody, “SumYung HotTea” to make a point. The character was a collage of folk I’ve known. I thought I was done with her. Not. It’s never good to try and go blow for blow with a writer who owns a domain. This is why: This medium, blogging, thrives on conflict and strife. Being an ass in this space draws attention. Attention draws page views and drives traffic. Traffic makes me money. So, there is no reason for me to be reasonable here. Sending me nominally private communications on Facebook is almost guaranteed to get you written about here. Odds improve greatly if you argue with me. This is my turf. It’s my sandbox. I get to be as much of an asshat as I want.

You Need MeWhat prompted this? A note from SumYung HotTea that I need her. That actually, the things I said I didn’t value in her were things I should like about her. And the thing I thought was good was an attribute she didn’t care about. Right.

I need a dry drunk/addict lesbian with a huge idea that she’s good at things that are supposed to be hot. Good at sex? No. Good at house cleaning? No. I had to clean my house after she cleaned it. Good at . . . art? Music? Writing? Yeah, uhm, let me think . . . No. Can she cook? She cannot. Knows how to make Chinese tea? Not even. Hold a conversation? Sure, if you want to talk about drinking, getting high, lesbian sex, or Tupak and speak in monosyllabic slang punctuated with, “Feel me?” Feel her? Eew.

I’m running out of positives here. I need her for . . . what? I do have core beliefs. Bad or good, I have them. One of them is that for a relationship to work there has to be empathy. There has to be a sense that both parties would do self-sacrificial stuff for the other without hope of return. That it isn’t a barter, where there isn’t some sense of mercantile interest in the transaction. Not, “if you’ll take care of me I’ll do stuff for you.” Do what? Clean my house? Bump uglies? Feel her? Yeah, how about . . . no. Another belief is in humility, in selfless surrender to the relationship. I’ve become as healthy as I am, and I am far from healthy, because of a long string of sacrifices to God of the hurts, habits & hangups which have kept me from Him. Putting someone in my life who does not compromise, does not sacrifice anything to God or anyone else, would be painful. It’s so not hot.

I come from a family who does not compromise Our currency is long, intense, faux psychoanalytical conversations about what’s wrong with so and so. We believe that the world is messed up and we would be better off if it’d just stick to our orthodoxy. This next relates, work with me: my aunt asked my granddad, her father, why he never complimented the performance of my cousin. He replied that our family does not praise each other because it’d give us a swollen head. Maybe so, but a multi-generational diet of words about what’s wrong with us, with our family and the world, and a stipulation that the answer is to adhere to our orthodoxy, doesn’t set a course for healthy relationships.

My grandfather would not listen to any suggestion that you could puff & dry fruit without oil. He argued with us when we told him painting the interior of his contraption with lead paint made it useless for cooking fruit in oil in a vacuum that people would buy to eat. It’s part of our family insanity. More people like that, who have no room for me in their life unless I understand they are right? I’ll pass.

SumYung HotTea sends me a message and blow for blow, debates each of the elements of my message intending to set expectations. She tells me why my expectations, my hopes for the friendship need to be what she tells me they will be. Why? Why would I go back into a relationship where I have to fight for simple basics like empathy? Why be friends with someone who goes quiet when I tell her I only have $4.00 and tries to reschedule for Friday when I get paid? How is that a reason to fantasize about her naked? Maybe a couple decades ago, maybe when I’d rub uglies together with anyone that would rub uglies with me, today? Nope.

It’s the other way. I’m the one with the domain, the running web site, the sandbox in which folk can play. I have a house where so far, the bills are getting paid. I have a car I don’t owe money on. I was born a citizen so the INS is just a far off, faint aspect of my government. Relative to her, I’m rich. It’s what I have that is attractive, not what I am. I had that in with the wife I left. Wife 2.0 will love me for what I am, for who I am, not just for what I have. SumYung HotTea, as I listed above, she’s got nothing for me. Here I am trying to bury the ghost of Webb’s past with the stuff about my grandfather and this, a woman so like us, so like the worst of our craziness, making the case that I should be happy to rejoin the mess I’ve tried so hard to heal because I need her. Yeah, I need her like I need bullet wounds.

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