June 2007

I snapped a picture of this license plate on Sunday when The Boyf and I went out for brunch. I was mainly amused by the scare-/irony-quotes around GOD suggesting that God may have been impersonated or at the very least using a pseudonym. The Boyf and I were both absolutely mystified as to its meaning but a tiny amount of Googling turned up this explanatory video. Summary: a dude Shatners about the Devil trying to kill him but the Christian God, as might be guessed from the tag, blocking it.

You know what drives me crazy about religions that incorporate a concept of a chosen or protected people? They’re effectively giving the rest of us the finger. That’s not terribly tolerant of me but there you have it. Drives. Me. Up. The. Freakin’. Wall. Implying that those who died ahead of their desired time were allowed to be taken because they didn’t have a special purpose: not the best way to convert me to your religion.

That said, his singers do have great voices.

Sunday afternoon I was lazing on the back deck when I decided to get productive and test how hard it was going to be when I (eventually) took down the old garden shed in my back yard. People who’ve known me or read this site for a long time will remember that a year and a half ago I walked out onto the back deck the day after Thanksgiving and at the conclusion of an extended triple-take came to realize that a tree in the back yard had fallen onto the shed. The shed itself was still standing in the same way a crumpled soda can can be carefully balanced on its end: precariously. Given that it was still standing, though, I continued to store the lawn mower and various other things in it because, well, how many alternatives did I have?

I finally got around to ordering a new shed in March and it’s been awaiting construction ever since. I now have offers from Pants Wilder and Mr. Pink Eyes to help build the new one and so I needed to at least appear to have done something towards taking down the old one by virtue of having judged how much of a pain the old one would be to disassemble before the new one could go in its place.

With much languor and little energy I dug out one of the various power drill/driver things my father has given me over the years as a subtle way of trying to get me to butch up. I tested the charge on the battery, walked over to the shed with a cigarette dangling from a corner of my mouth and removed one (1) of the many dozens of screws holding the thing together. I was impressed by how easily it came out and started to call that a victory given I’d just demonstrated to the low standards of my own satisfaction that this would be a minor task when its time came. I half-turned to walk back to the deck.

Then the shed made a noise. Specifically, it creaked.

I have watched a lot of movies that fall into the noise-in-the-dark category of horror films. There is a specific kind of creak – door, cabinet, whatever – that communicates on some animal level that death is very imminent. It was precisely that kind of creak. It was the sort of creak that immediately, without a moment’s delay, summoned forth in my mind the certain knowledge that I was going to be that dumbass who dies doing some handyman project in his back yard and isn’t found for days. I was going to be so posthumously humiliated.

All at once, the race was on. I got all the tools and the mowers and various things out of the shed. Every now and then there’d be another creak. I took the garden rake and tried to pull some of the accumulated leaves and other biomass off the roof to lighten the load. Nothing was making a difference. That thing was coming down whether I liked it or not, so I might as well like it.

In a matter of a few minutes I was able to get the wall panels off the back and start grabbing the shelves and old paint cans and whatever other environmental disasters our home’s previous owners managed to tuck away in there for me to find. Finally I had it cleared out and the roof was sitting lower with each passing moment. With one final shriek of metal the whole thing folded in. I jumped back – so loud! – and the roof was sitting in a heap on the floor of what had been my shed.

I knew I needed to drag everything off to the side and try to get someone to come and haul it away, and I couldn’t find my work gloves, so eventually I settled on an old dish towel for a little hand protection, wrapped my hands around some edge or another on the underside of the roof, lifted it up and made my best Hulk smash! noise. In a single heave I dragged the 8’x10′ metal roof off the base, piled up the walls on top of it and that was that.

I don’t have a shed anymore.


Time to see if Pants Wilder or Mr. Pink Eyes is busy on Sunday…

Today I stepped into the break room to grab a soda and one of my colleagues from another team sighed in frustration at the spouse she was trying to reach on his cell. “Are you married?” she asked.

“Effectively,” I replied.

“What does that mean?” And to be fair, I was being slightly evasive. I am not at all concerned about being out of the closet at work – the first thing I told my boss and his boss at my interview was that I had to know they did same-sex partner benefits in order to bother with the interview at all – but I do tend to place a high premium on personal privacy. That said, the bluntness of her question earned a blunt response.

“It means we’re gay so we can’t get married.”

“Oh!” She looked mildly confused for a moment. “I didn’t know that!” I took this to mean she didn’t know that I am gay, not that we are second-class citizens when it comes to any number of legal rights, but then she went on: “I thought they’d legalized that.”

(When I told that to The Boyf his response was, “Oh, that’s sweet… in a way.”)

“Well,” I said, “Let me be more specific. We don’t live in Massachusetts, so we can’t get married.”

“But I thought you could get married in San Francisco or something.”

“The mayor of San Francisco started issuing marriage licenses for a few weeks, a few years ago, but the state government and state supreme court halted it and revoked the licenses. Regardless, it’s not legal in North Carolina and if we got married somewhere else and came back here state law specifically forbids the recognition of those rights.”

“Well,” she said after a long pause, “You’re living together and that’s the important thing.”

(Again, we agreed: sweet, in a way.)

I said, “It’d be nice to have the legal protections, though.”

“Oh, what do you mean?”

“Well, if I got hit by a bus tomorrow and my family decided to be dicks about it…” and on I went into the usual spiel. She countered with a familiar horror story she knew from a female friend whose unmarried male partner died and the family got everything, etc. It’s a story we all know because it happens more than you’d think. If you don’t know someone whose family swooped in like vultures the moment they died, well, you’re in the minority. It’s not something that happens to gay people or straight people, it’s something that happens to people because some families are simply, as I say, dicks.

I kind of wanted to hug the colleague, after, and I kind of wanted to scream in anguish. Didn’t they legalize that? Girlfriend, I wish. That there are people who just assume that’s all been dealt with is a positive sign of the way society overall has changed but it’s also the reason why it hasn’t been dealt with; people are easily distracted away from problems that affect them directly. We, as a society, are shitty at follow-through.

I have a client who always ends requests with “kindly do the needful.” Is that at all proper English? It drives me insane. I don’t know why seeing that drives me insane, but it does.

Also, small world alert: one of my clients at NewJob had a question for me and forwarded me an email from the administrator at a company with which his is partnered. It turns out said admin is one of my favorite client contacts from LastJob. The world is so tiny, so very tiny.