Wednesday, March 30, 2011

You’re Kidding, Right?

Guess what! I’m gay. Ok, if this does not surprise you, congratulations, you’ve been paying attention. Give yourself a pat on the back. Or a cookie, whichever floats your boat. I’m getting to the point where I’m pretty open about my sexuality. Open, but not necessarily lewd; I’m only lewd when the situation calls for it.

I’m also pretty open about this fact to my immediate co-workers as well. Mind you, I did not exactly wander into the room my first day and say, “Hello, bitches, I’m a lesbian. Deal with it.” Instead, I kept myself pretty deep in the closet for as long as I could. But by the end of that first year, most of them had me figured out.

I cleared up any remaining misconceptions this year, but again, only with my immediate coworkers, not to any other staff members, students or their parents. I’m sure several staff members outside the SLC groups have either heard things or simply guessed correctly, but nothing has been said. Whatever, I don’t really care what people think or say.

Except for when someone who KNOWS I’m gay goes and says something really, REALLY stupid like, “oh, that’s so gay.”


On Tuesday, one of my dear co-workers mentioned a business a few blocks from the school, where the baristas are clad in a little bit of fabric and a lot of imagination. The rest of them chimed in and while I let them have their rants, I mentally countered most of them. However, I kept my opinions to myself; I wasn’t sure where the issue was going to go, so I held my tongue. I didn’t feel like putting myself in a situation where I’d have to shoot my way out.

I even managed to keep silent while one misinformed gal blustered on about how elementary school students “have to walk past one of those places just to go to and from school every day.”

She’s wrong. That particular business is on a very busy road. Having been a member of the district’s Safe Walking Committee, I happen to know that the road where the business is located, despite having sidewalks, is NOT considered a safe walking zone and none of those kids should be anywhere near that road. Or that business. Besides, you can’t see much when you walk by; you have to get up to the damn window to see anything. I know this for a fact. I also know that particular stand has some of the worst coffee in the city, but I digress.

They all moaned and tore their hair at how “those poor girls” were ogled by men and that was “the only reason anyone stopped by those places.”

Um, those “poor girls” get an average of 300 dollars in tips every day. They enjoy their jobs, it’s part time so they can go to school and still afford to pay their bills They’re not on state assistance, and they contribute to the economy. It’s not a forever job, and they’re not forced to work there. I had a nice long chat with one bikini-clad barista during a slow time at the coffee stand. Very informative, and entertaining.

Anyway, my coworkers spent the next 15 minutes ranting about the evils of these coffee stands, tossing a few facts in with their emotions and jumping to conclusions. Someone even said, “We need to get a petition going to get rid of them.”

Now, I’m all for getting rid of bad coffee, but I’m fine with whatever the baristas choose to wear.

Then came the coup de grace, or more like the gaff o’ the day…I honestly wonder if she’s truly an idiot or just too young and thoughtless to STFU when she should. But she said, (and this is a direct quote) “Only men and lesbians go to those places.” It got kind of quiet after that. The discussion stumbled to a halt and awkward glances were cast my way. I said nothing, I just smiled sweetly.

Yes, I’ve been to “those places” and I’ve had a good look and gone away feeling pretty damn good. They’re polite, sexy, and they’ll even flirt with a fat, old lesbian who doesn’t tip all that well. Who wouldn’t feel good after that? It’s all in fun. It’s only a little more intimate and much less intrusive than striking up a conversation with someone sunbathing in a park. Sunbathers are generally not very communicative because you might be blocking their rays.

I also happen to know of several straight women who patronize the bikini coffee shops. As one of them puts it, “the baristas are nice, the coffee is good, and the owner is awesome.”

I believe in the right of women to work in whatever profession they choose, providing it is legal in the state where they live. They should be able to work as bikini baristas without being judged as misguided or pathetic, or worse.

This is, after all, America. You know, the “land of the free, home of the brave,” “justice for all,” and “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” place. You don’t have to agree with everyone, you don’t even have to like everyone, but we all need to share this lovely country, this beautiful world. A healthy dose of tolerance and acceptance would go a long way to making things a lot better.

For everyone.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Must Be Batshit Crazy

It was my birthday on Monday. Tam was a sweetheart and gave me an entire weekend to do whatever I pleased. My ex used to do that, because for him, birthdays were a big-assed deal. He’d take the day off from work (when I was a stay-at-home mom), and we’d go do STUFF in the BIG CITY. Usually involved him driving while I snapped photographs from the moving vehicle because STOPPING? WHY WOULD WE WANT TO STOP JUST FOR A PHOTOGRAPH?

Actually, he would be fine with stopping, but not always where I needed to be stopped, then I’d have to jump out, run two miles, dodging traffic, just to get back to the spot where I wanted to snap the shutter. I got pretty good at car photos.

Where was I going with this? Oh, yeah…

Tam, however, never really had a big deal made of her birthdays, which always makes me a little sad. Unfortunately, she was born during a particularly cold time of year, so tooling around and doing stuff isn’t all that comfortable. I do my best, but it also comes right around the time my flood insurance is due, and, well, that’s a lump sum of pain right before the major holidays.

This year, since my birthday was on Monday, I got to pick the activities for the weekend. I had already made arrangements with Sagacious Woman to have lunch with her on Sunday, so on Saturday, Tam and I headed toward the mountains in order to allow me to reconnect with my Spirit.

(As an aside, many years ago, I went on my very first Shamanic Journey in order to find my Spirit Guides. After it was all done, everyone had the opportunity to share what they found. As we went around the circle, I became more and more embarrassed because I didn’t see any animals. All I saw was the mountain. I decided to keep that to myself, but mentioned it to the Shaman after the class was over. She smiled and told me that having a Mountain for a Guide was definitely an ok thing.)

Back to Saturday. The weather was perfect and the closer we got to the mountain, the more snow we saw. I didn’t worry, as my little red Forrester could tackle any kind of road conditions. She made it up and back like a champ and I felt renewed and invigorated. The mountains were amazing and their songs were pure balm to my weary heart and soul.

Then Sunday came. We lunched with Sagacious Woman, then on a whim, I decided I wanted to look at cars.

I love my Forrester. She was my very first new car. She was awesome, faithful, and pampered. Filthy, but pampered. She was also a manual transmission, which was fine, but I’m the only one in the family who could drive it, so…not a problem when I was living with my ex, but Tam does not drive a stick and her vehicle of choice is a mid-size pick-up truck. We can’t go anywhere as a family, unless I did the driving.

Then I began to have hip and knee trouble. It became excruciating to move my leg to operate the clutch, and a pinched nerve in my groin (yeah, that’s an ugly pain right there) made it even more difficult.

I began doing research on vehicle types, reliability, resale, everything. There we were, on my whim, looking at cars. I cannot really afford this, but my parents (who also have hip and knee issues) understood and stepped in to help me out.

I bought a car for my birthday. Way more car than I expected, but it boiled down to this: I needed a car that I could drive without pain. We also needed a vehicle that both of us could drive. Also, this is going to be my last new car for a very long time. I wanted something that would hold value for a while and not need replacing in five years. I also wanted to do this while my Subaru still had some worth. Considering, it was new in 2004 and had under 50K miles on it helped as well.

The other selling point was that I firmly believe in doing my best to reduce my fossil fuel consumption. I am now the proud owner of a bright red Prius.

Bright. Red.

Toyota calls it “Barcelona Red.” I call it “OMG! THAT IS ONE RED CAR! AND IT’S MINE!!!” red. She hasn’t told me her name yet, but that’s ok. Belle (my Forrester) waited almost two weeks before she spilled hers to me. “Majel” comes to mind when the Prius starts yammering on about the cell phone (yes, the Prius talks to me because it comes with built in blue tooth technology and insists I speak clearly in order to make a call). Um, just in case there are no Trekkies reading this, Majel is Majel Barrett, a.k.a., Mrs. Gene Roddenberry. Star Trek. Computer voice for the Enterprise. Don’t make me say any more…please. (and yes, I wrote “Trekkie” instead of “Trekker” because I’m old enough to be a Trekkie instead of a Trekker, so there, a-hen).

There you have it. My batshit crazy weekend where I made a huge decision (on my own), stepped out on a scary limb (almost by myself) and now I’m going to be a big girl and make my car payments.

Forever and ever (or the next five years, whichever comes first).

Friday, March 11, 2011

My Week

This week has not been wardrobe friendly to me. We’ll start with something that can happen to anyone, and that is the ol’ shoes-n-shit thing. Everyone has done it, wandered through a pile of dog shit and tracked it everywhere. I, however, inherited a lovely trait from my father: if we were on a golf course and there was one turd somewhere off the beaten path, we would not only find it, we would trod upon it and track it to the far corners of the earth.

It’s a gift, what can I say?

My problem is that the shoes I wear have a special non-skid sole, which means there are LOTS of places to pack in LOTS of shit, so, um, you get the picture.

Then there was the purse incident. For the record, I hate purses. I had one that I loved, it was designed perfectly, I could find anything in it, and it never once disgorged itself at the grocery store. It is, however, leather, which means it’s a heavy motherfucker and that gets tiring after a while. Especially considering I hate to go anywhere without paper, pen, inhaler, wallet, checkbook, keys and cell phone. All that adds weight, folks and my shoulders do not need that kind of pain.

So I gave up my favorite purse, and I’ve spent several years looking for the perfect replacement. I found a suitable one made of canvas, and with the exception of the grim pea-soup green color and uncanny ability to attract all kinds of dirt, it has served me well.

Have I mentioned my job lately, and what I do for a living? I’m a para educator in a special needs classroom. We are fully self-contained, and with rare exceptions, our students do not mingle with the general classes. Some of our students have physical issues as well as mental ones, and for one student, that means he vomits. A lot.

You can see where this is going, can’t you?

We were rushing to the bus when he started making “that noise” and we turned back to the nearest garbage can. Unfortunately, he managed to un-eat his lunch onto AND into my purse. Guess who gets to find out if her purse is washable! Yay, me.

Not only am I a para educator, I am also known as the potty princess. Several of our students need to be accompanied to the bathroom. Some can actually sit on the toilet, but still require diapers, while others are toilet trained but unable to get to and from the bathroom without getting lost or distracted.

I was toileting a student when she became…difficult. She began hitting and pinching me as I was attempting to remove her soiled clothing. Once she was divested of her diapers and pants, I was letting her sit on the pot while I logged information in to the record book. I turned around and the little darling grabbed the front of my shirt and refused to let go. It took me a while, but I managed to extract myself from her grasp and move away while she finished her business.

That was when I realized she was on her cycle and she’d been “investigating” herself when my back was turned. When she grabbed me… oh, yeah… I was glad my shirt is washable AND a dark color. I, however, had turned a shade similar to my now-abandoned purse. Not only that, but I still had to re-dress the darling and she was having nothing to do with it.

Fortunately, my supervisor is very understanding and allowed me to dash home for a quick change. In fact she kind of insisted, as she vacillated between gagging and recoiling.

I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am that the week is over.

I also cannot begin to tell you how much I’m looking forward to Spring Break in three weeks.