Panera.

Photo on 2011 06 24 at 19 40

I am sitting at the local Panera, where I believe that the natives have finally learned that it is not appropriate to ask for fries with their meal. They still haven’t broken the habit of standing as far away as possible from the counter before being called upon to place their order, but I can share a big sigh of relief that no one mentioned wanting fries with their happy meal for their screaming kid that is taking his pants off whilst standing on a chocolate chip cookie.

Even though it’s Friday in many parts of the world, it is Tuesday night in my world and tomorrow is a workday for me. It’s my quarterly turn of on call. Longtime gentle readers of my blog may remember the old job where I was on call every few weeks and on the brink of insanity under all circumstances. They newish gig I have doesn’t foster that type of response since on call isn’t nearly as involved as it was with the old job. I’m feeling good.

Other parts of the family are out exploring the world tonight. I’m in the mood to chase a thunderstorm. It seems like Mother Nature is giving me the opportunity to do so. I took some shots of an impressive line of clouds on the ride home.  It looked something like this.

 

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The bark was much worse than the bite, because there was hardly any lightning and thunder, nary a tornado but plenty of rain. We get rain with everything now. It’s like the sprig of parsley on a mediocre dish. Rain always comes with the landscapes in these parts. One of my co-workers from the Dallas-Fort Worth office commented that he didn’t know it was so much like the northwest in these parts. I said that it usually isn’t unless this is the new norm.

I have received quite a few emails and tweets about my marriage post (the post previous to this one). Since writing that post the New York big wigs have announced that the NYS Senate will vote on the same sex marriage bill (they call it #SSM) tonight. Should the vote be the right one, I will be proposing to Earl before morning. We have dreamed about having a big shin dig. I think it’s high time that we finally did. I hope all of our family comes from all parts of the world to share the celebration with us.

I posted such random things when I am at Panera. I just noticed that the Turkey Focaccia sandwich looks less appetizing than your standard grilled ham and cheese made with welfare (yellow) cheese. At least cheese in a can would have spruced it up a little bit. Perhaps they need a sprig of parsley.

Earlier in the week I shared a few comments about some of the podcasts (netcasts) from the TWiT network. I have adjusted some of listening habits and am now focusing on TWiG, “This Week In Google”.  The regular participants of that particular podcast rock. I am a fan of geek girl Gina Trapani. She is an out lesbian, writes a book now and then, writes plenty of articles about all things tech but most importantly, she loves Chipotle and isn’t afraid to dance to a little bit of “Glee” like we all do. Along with CUNY professor Jeff Jarvis,  they join Leo LaPorte to talk about all things Google and the cloud. Google has made a few missteps along the way and I’m not a huge fan of ad-based products, but I have to admit that they write magnificent code, and ever since switching to my Android-based HTC Thunderbolt, I’ve learned a few good tips here and there.  I hope to shake Gina and Jeff’s hand someday. I think they make wonderful contributions to the community.

By the way, I’m becoming a bigger fan of the Google Chrome web browser. I actually run Chromium, the open source version that doesn’t have the Google branding in it, but it still allows me to sync with my Google account. It’s all good. I figure Google doesn’t have enough time to sit down and read my stuff. There are other more interesting people in the world.

And last but not least, I caved in and trimmed my mustache back but left the beard untouched. I have a habit of chewing on my mustache when it’s long. The trimmed ‘stache with big beard makes me look trendy. Especially when I have my hat to the back.

 

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Marriage.

I vividly remember my first kiss. Now I’m not talking about the first kiss I had, sometimes in the late 1970s, when I stole a kiss from a girl named Lisa behind one of the airplane hangers on a Sunday afternoon. I’m talking about my first _real_ kiss, which took place in a 1982 Dodge Omni, behind Alumni Hall at SUNY Fredonia in the fall of 1986. It was quick, a parting gesture of a fantastic evening of a lovely dinner in the small college town. His name was Steve and he looked like Herbie, the one who wanted to be a dentist. Though I had kissed many times before that moment; heck, I had even copped a few feels, removed a bra or two and even tried to do it a few times before then with a lovely girl named Kristi, that kiss in the 1982 Dodge Omni behind Alumni Hall was just a confirmation of what I had known all along. I like guys. It was like the protective cover had been removed from the pane of glass and I could see ahead clearly for the first time in my life.

It was in November 1995 when I first saw the huge fireworks in my head. I had seen a sparkler or two along the way up until then, but the moment I spotted a man named Earl standing in the corner opposite of the DJ booth I was working in, I saw huge fireworks exploding in my head and I knew that I was somehow, somewhere, going to spend the rest of my life with that man. I just knew it, and I wasn’t going to accept any other answer along that path. Luckily, Earl knew it too. After a bit, the “happily ever after” came to life and we had a small, private commitment ceremony at Penn’s Landing late in 1996. Though the ceremony did not take place in a church, we opened our hearts to each other and to a “higher power”; many in this part of the world call him God. Personally, I think he’s much more than any “him” would aspire to be, so I just think of all of it as a Higher Power. I figure if man is the best that this world can do then we have fallen way behind in the curriculum.

I talk about fireworks and first kisses and the like because the New York Senate is debating whether to approve legislation for same sex marriage again today. I will be the first one to tell you that I am tired of hearing about the debates of the topic. I’m sick of reading about people doing and saying hateful things all in the name of their love, the only love that is valid. I’m weary of people saying that if it is legal for me to marry Earl, my one true love, then somewhere in the country, someone must be allowed to marry their cat because it feels right to them.

I imagine that my grandfather saw fireworks when he met my grandmother, and that applies to both sides of the family. I remember the slightly mischievous grin my grandfather got when he sat at the dining room table next to my grandmother. I remember the way my aunt’s eyes would light up when she saw my uncle, I am able to decipher the excitement my father exuded in his own unique way of expressing himself when he sees his wife (either version 1 or version 2). I see love and it is the same kind of emotion that fuels the fireworks that I saw this morning when Earl was making my lunch in the kitchen. The same fireworks I saw in 1995 but even stronger. I tell him everyday, “I fell in love with you today.” And it’s true.

I believe that the folks that protest same sex marriage have varying motivations that all share the same undercurrent: fear. I believe they fear change. I believe they fear obsolescence. Perhaps they fear that if nothing mean and nasty happens when a gay couple gets married that this must mean that there are more inaccuracies in their beliefs. I understand that this lack of vengeful response from a higher power might rock their faith. I get that; they believe out of fear, not out of love. “If I don’t do this, then something really bad is going to happen to me for eternity.” If that’s their belief then I say great, whatever gets you through the day. Just don’t impose your beliefs on me. My business is not your business. And marriage shouldn’t be a governmental business. The folks that scream for smaller government are always wanting government to intervene on gay marriage. If it weren’t for the fees for the license, the government wouldn’t care less. They just want the filing fees and the like.

We have no desire to get married in a church. We believe that the higher power is everywhere and that it is not confined to a man building full of lavish adornments. When we get married, and we definitely will, it will be a celebration of our love and a symbol of the commitment we have lived for the past 15 years. That commitment deserves the legal recognitions afforded to our heterosexual counterparts, because the government has made it their business. Our love is just a strong, if not stronger, than all the straight marriages that we know.

Living in constant fear must suck. If people lived with a motive of love, celebrating all that was around us, instead of telling the world how wrong it is for us to love someone of the same sex, when we know that we were made this way, the world would be a much better place. There has been more bloodshed in the name of religion over any other reason.

There is going to come a day when I am going to have to make decisions for Earl and/or vice versa. Luckily, we have legal paperwork in place to grant us the ability to do so, but the legalities of this only extend so far because we are not able to get legally married. (Heaven help anyone that would try to stand in my way. The only thing that will ever keep me apart from Earl is death, and if necessary, I will go to that point in a most spectacular fashion to protect the one that I love.) Can a married couple imagine what it is like to be kept apart from their hospitalized spouse? Can a mother or father imagine what it’s like to have their kids taken away because the government hasn’t sanctioned their love? I didn’t think so. Imagine how you would feel today knowing that the government was voting on your right to legally love someone. Think about that for a moment.

Today the New York Senate will most likely vote on this hot topic. Let’s hope that they vote with their heart and their conscience and not out of fear.