the response

I put the same post up on my FB page yesterday. I though you may like to read the response I got back.

Andrew: Hmmm….is this suppose to make me support or condemn Chick Fil A?  All of these are legal points of view. I don’t agree with every viewpoint on this list, but I think many of them are worth supporting.
Lanie: I agree, Andrew – I just wanted to point out that it’s not all about organizations who don’t support same sex marriage – it’s a number of other things as well.
Andrew: So you are against the bulk of the issues above?
Lanie: Some not all – I’m more of the shades of grey not black and white definite. But the ones I am opposed to I don’t want to give money to organizations who are against it. I don’t know why Christian values have to single people out. I thought that was about love and support?
Lanie: I ask u this – what if there was an organization who was against you getting married to the person you loved? Would you support it? (Notice he never answers this question in his debate)
Lanie: Again, this is just information gathering and an open discussion of different points of view.
Andrew: I don’t ask that you support any company you disagree with.  However, there is a difference between supporting a company, ignoring them because they have different beliefs, and attempting to wage war with them.  Most of the comments against Chick Fil A haven’t been a “we don’t agree” they’ve been “they think different from us, so they must be destroyed”.  Isn’t that the very attitude the LGBT lobby is suppose to work against?  I thought conservatives were suppose to be intolerant.  Most of the groups and people speaking out against Chick Fil A have been very, very intolerant.
Andrew: You say this is “just information gathering” and yet you also say in your original post that you need to know  what “you’re giving your money to support the next time you bite into a chicken sandwich”.  That doesn’t sound like information gathering.
Andrew: I posted my solution to this issue a week or so ago.  If you are interested in an open debate (and I always am) I would love your comments on this:  http://politicalfriendsblog.com/2012/08/the-political-friends-blog-gay-marriage-solution/
Lanie: I’m with you, Andrew – I don’t condone the rally against other peoples beliefs I was just pointing out the many other things that the organizations support.
Lanie:  I’d be happy to read the article you attached for open discussion.
Sharon:  Thanks Lanie…I always appreciate information that helps me make good decisions…And to Andrew…I agree wholeheartedly that hating on Chick-fil-A or wishing them ill is exactly what I want them to stop doing to me because I’m gay. I feel no need to put them out of business or have them punished for having an opinion I disagree with, but I do think that it is a perfectly rational decision to withhold my money from them because I dont agree with much of the above. While I dont care what they do with their money… I do care what is done with mine. I also happen to think Chick-Fil-A does some great things and while I hope they continue those, I will be one of those not eating a chicken sandwich for the very reasons Lanie has posted 🙂
Melanie: I think it is safe to say that there is enough vitriol on both sides of this Issue that could be deemed “waging war”.  However, when a company opts to donate to organizations who wish to take away my civil rights, that is much different than having a difference of opinion. I know of no “LGBT Lobby” organizations that seek to take away anyone’s right. Conversely, they seek only to fight For the rightist of people.
Melanie: Despite the media spin, I actually support Cfa’s freedom of speech and frankly, I would agree that they contribute and do some good things in the community. Unfortunately, their donations to certain anti-gay organizations is so egregious that it overshadows their positive contributions and preclude me and a multitude of gay, straight, non-warfaring folk from simply contributing to their bottom line which is ultimately used against me.
Andrew:  I always support someone’s right to take their dollar elsewhere.  That being said, I don’t support a lot of the vitriol against Chick Fil A.  You can say it comes from both sides, but I don’t see that.  Gay marriage isn’t a Civil Rights issue.  Its a definition issue.  Marriage has never been seen as something between a man and a man or a woman and a woman.  Those who support a traditional definition of marriage aren’t violating your Civil Rights.  If you want the legal definition changed, then lobby your representatives to change it.  Run for office on a pro-gay marriage platform.  Introduce resolutions on voter ballots.  But don’t threaten a business for having an opinion as mayors in Chicago and New York have.  And don’t accuse people who see differently than you of being “anti-gay”.  What you do in your bedroom is your business. I don’t want to know about it REGARDLESS of your sexual orientation.
Melanie: Respectfully, it  is a civil rights constitutional issue that is playing out in our court system as we speak. I have not the energy to convince you that this is more than a sophomoric idea about what I do in the bedroom. It is much more than that.
Sharon: Andrew, You are right that the constitiution does not define marriage as man+woman only but DOMA does. This legislation effectively silenced all the people that had ran and won on pro-gay platforms and those elected officials that voted for and legalized gay marriages in some states….but gay marriage isn’t really the point – hate is….some of these organizations that Lanie has listed have lobbied our government to remain silent about human rights violations in other countries where gays are criminalized and killed – just for being gay….the Family Research Council is a certified hate group and supports the criminalization of homosexuality (I seriously thought that idea had left with the Nazi’s but I guess not)….anyway my point is that there is a big difference to me in defending traditional marriage and supporting hate. So I dont care what Chick-Fil-A says about gay marriage, I simply dont want to give money to a place that will send it an organization that thinks I am a criminal and diseased and psychologically disturbed because I love a woman.
(Andrew’s wife): Who “certifies” an aorganization as a hate group?
Charlie: amen to my girls,,,
Charlie: right on Lanie an Sharon!!!!!
Updated with additional comments as they come in:
Sharon:The organization that “certifies” hate groups is the Southern Poverty Law Center….from a NYTimes article “The Southern Poverty Law Center is a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society. Founded by civil rights lawyers Morris Dees and Joseph Levin Jr. in 1971, the SPLC is internationally known for tracking and exposing the activities of hate groups”
Wait, there’s more….
Andrew: The Southern Poverty Law Center does not have a sterling reputation.  If you are going to put this much research into Chick Fil A, you should look at some of the SPLC’s activities as well
Jacob: Wow…what an argument. I think people should learn that disagreeing with someone’s position does not mean that you hate or wish ill will on them. It is an opinion. However, if the justification is that you do not support Chic Fil A because of they donate some money to many groups that is fine. They support my son’s elementary school, a Soldier of mine over seas was adopted by a chil fill program that put kids with parents and he turned out great because of it and lets not forget the myriad of people who use chic fil a to go to college because of their generous scholarship programs. Lastly, they are a Christian organization with traditional Christian belief…are we really shocked this is their position. I EXPECT it to be that. However, if you would like to really put some more meat behind your argument STOP buying gas and all petroleum products. Anything from the ISLAMIC world hates gays. That includes just about every single product you buy. I suppose if you really want to live “hate free” you could make all you need. Where does the line draw and at what point are you hypocrytical attacking one business but not another.?
Sharon:I agree Andrew that SPLC is not perfect and is certainly guilty of many biases and probably worse but in my opinion overall they have the right read on the organizations listed here.Jacob- you raise some great points.   As I said before I am not wanting chick-fil-a to go down I am merely making a decision not to have my money get sent to these organizations. That said, I agree wholeheartedly that chick fil a does some awesome stuff. As a Christian I still agree and respect much of what they do and I hope they continue doing it. My intent above was to try and point out that the chick fil a issue isn’t about gay marriage to me. As for being hypocritical the answer is to an extent yes. If I did the research I would probably find most organizations support things I don’t like but 1. Ignorance is bliss 🙂 and 2. Criminalizing homosexuality is more than just a difference in opinion about gay marriage.

Jacob: I do not think Chic Fil A criminalizes being gay. They are a very Christian organization and in the traditional sense they are bound by a way of thinking that has been in place for quite some time and we are looking at the heart of their culture. Religion and belief are things that are deeply personal. The Amish have some weird ideas but I do not detract from the proven culture of good things that come from them. I definetly do not attack them for being devout to their belief. They are simply what they are. Just like your opinions are what you are. I do not hate you for it. However, there has been this increased presence that if you do not agree with certain groups that you are a biggot and that is not really accurate. I almost feel sorry for that mind set because it becomes a prison in an off itself to project these sorts of things on other people and then it becomes a self fullfilling prophecy.
Sharon: Chick fil a donates money to a group that lobbies congress to make homosexuality illegal. That is something that seeks to harm me personally. Again, I see a difference between being a Christian and supporting the criminalization of people because they are not like you.  I am a Christian and a gay woman and the Jesus Christ I believe in wouldn’t give money to many of the groups above because they are seeking to harm others. And again, a boycott is a reasonable way to draw attention to an issue so I dont see what is so unreasonable about my choice.

offensive on many levels

Granted, I am as tired of the chick-fil-a debate as everyone else is but I did a little research today on just what organizations they give to and what those organizations support/don’t support. Below is a list of of the organizations they gave to and what they stand for.

Eagle Forum: The organization is opposed to the legalization of abortion, against international oversight from the United Nations or the International Criminal Court, supportive of English-only education in schools, supportive of women’s role as “fulltime homemakers“,[12] and opposed to same-sex marriage.[13] Circa 2006, Eagle Forum began preparations to fight the introduction of the amero Northern American currency. They support those saying Christopher Columbus is a hero. It has also been active in the anti-vaccination movement, particularly fighting mandatory hepatitis B vaccination requirements for newborn babies,[14] and opposition to sex education in the public school system.[

Focus on the Family: Focus on the Family’s stated mission is “nurturing and defending the God-ordained institution of the family and promoting biblical truths worldwide.”[1] Focus on the Family opposes abortion, divorce, gambling, LGBT rights,[2] pornography, pre-marital sex, and substance abuse. It supports abstinence-only sexual education, adoption, corporal punishment, creationism, school prayer, and strong gender roles.

Family Research Council: The function of the FRC is to promote what it considers to be traditional family values, by advocating and lobbying for socially conservative policies. It advocates against LGBT rights, abortion, divorce, embryonic stem-cell research, and pornography.

Exodus International: Exodus International is a non-profit, interdenominational “ex-gayChristian organization that seeks to limit homosexual desires. It was founded by Michael Bussee, Gary Cooper, Frank Worthen, Ron Dennis, and Greg Reid. Exodus International asserts that reorientation of same-sex attraction is possible,[1] but warns its members not to go to counselors who claim they can help eliminate all attractions to the same gender.[2] It does not conduct clinical treatment but holds the position that, “reparative therapy – a holistic, counselling approach to addressing unwanted same-sex attraction – can be a beneficial tool.”[3] Techniques “can include abstinence, lessening of homosexual temptations, strengthening their sense of masculine or feminine identity, correcting distorted styles of relating with members of the same and opposite gender.”[4]

I mean, not are the organizations offensive to gays but what about women, people of different nationalities, if you’re in to preventative health, sex education, divorcies, feminists, gamblers (some people do this for a living) – I mean, these organizations offend a NUMBER of people – not just gay people.

Do you agree?

trips

Happy Friday, everyone!

It’s been almost two months since Charlie moved here and the weeks have flown by. Pretty soon we’ll be flying out together to Florida. I was thinking today that I can’t wait to be able to sleep in a little bit with her next Friday before we have to make our flight…………wrong. We both realized that we leave Atlanta at 8:45 a.m. I wondered again why we booked it so early but maybe it was because of price. Or maybe it was because we wanted to start our vacation early. All I know is that I hope all this hurricane madness is over with by the time we get there.

It’s going to seem surreal landing in Orlando again. Orlando seems to be a mile marker of some kind. It’s been almost exactly two months since I landed there to pack her up and make the drive back. It will be almost a year from the date I was there going to and from Key West – the trip that marked the beginning of everything.

Yes, Charlie and I have had feelings for each other ever since this time and it’s grown from there into a blossoming friendship. Even now, together, we are each other’s best friend. I reminisce about that trip as well as look forward to new trips with her.

chex mix tuesday

I had a relatively uneventful trip back from Denver. I was ready to come back, too, despite drinking a lot of good beer there. I wished for the thousandth time that Charlie could have been there with me. She could have gone out on hikes during the day while I was in class. Although, I’m sure I would have wanted to skip class if she were there.

Once back, she had made me dinner and we spend the night in catching up. The next day we ran errands, worked a little and then went to a Blues and BBQ festival. We had a lot of fun – I enjoy showing her new things in the city and there’s always something going on. We have a pretty busy schedule the next week or so. I have to work this weekend and then the end of next week we fly to Florida for her Dad’s 80th birthday. Yesterday, she wanted to try on outfits that we were going to wear to the party after establishing it was a slacks/dress shirt event. I assumed I was just going to wear either my suit or at least my suit pants with a nice shirt. (which, I’m still going with) She tried on several outfits for my benefit.

“What do you think of this?”

“Hmm, hot. But, try on that other.”

“Ok. Now what do you think?”

“That’s nice, too. But, try this other pair of pants on.”

(I don’t think she realized how much I enjoyed watching her)

“Are you nervous about meeting my family?”

“No. Are you nervous about them meeting me?”

“No, I know you’ll be fine.”

“Ok then because I was planning on burping and farting in front of them and then grabbing your boobs and telling them you are a hot lay.”

“I don’t know if I’d go that far, hon, although my dad would probably get a kick out of that.”

We were walking the dogs down the street talking as we always do at night after we’re both home from work. The dogs have gotten a lot of attention since she’s been here because one of us is always around. There’s only a period of 4 hours at most that they are left alone but even then they have each other. Although, the other night when I was in Denver she went to meet Ellen after work and Bailey had torn up her Moab hat.

“I’m sorry I didn’t get you a hat but there just weren’t any decent hats at any of the places I went to in Denver.”

“That’s ok, hon. I’m just glad you’re back!”

Denver day/night 2-1/2

I’m still in Denver. I’m ready to come home. I’m very hungover and tired today. I’m out here taking a class for work. In a way it’s cool to be in a new place, meeting new people – especially ones that do what I do in other states and know WTF I’m talking about when I discuss work – yeah, that’s refreshing and the main reason I enjoy going to these things and, I think I mentioned that my hotel room is a suite and very nice.
However.
I don’t’ appreciate my curtains being opened every day after my room is serviced. I don’t realize this until I get out of the shower and am walking naked with the ironing board into the front room and see people standing waiting for the elevator (which, is right outside my door) and realize that if I can see them through the sheer drapery then they can see me – standing there, naked, with the ironing board in my hand. This morning when I realized this a woman waiting outside happened to turn and see me right as I saw her. I immediately moved the ironing board in front of my naked body. I must remember to close those curtains tonight when I come back to the room.

Last night a bunch of us went to downtown Denver to do a brewery tour. Although, much to my disappointment it became a bar hopping tour with only hitting one brewery. We had taken this light rail downtown not having to drive. However, the light rail should be called the Caterpillar line because it was so slow. After hitting the last bar which was one of my favorite breweries we walked toward the train station. There was a group of seven of us. We were all pretty drunk tipsy and ended up losing each other. It started off with walking towards the baseball stadium and we stopped and said, “Wait, where’s Chris?” (guy from VA)

So, we lost Chris. Then, “We want to go this way.” Barbara from Indiana and Justin from VT.

“We want to go this way.” Jim from NJ, Blaze from ME and Ed from NH.

I was torn in the middle but since I had been hanging with Barbara and Justin all day I decided to go with them. So, we split up. We walked and walked trying to find a train station. We stopped at one point and asked where one was and a guy pointed us to an Amtrak station – which, we waited at for a half an hour before we realized it was the wrong type of train and we needed the Caterpillar rail instead. Justin got impatient and said he was going to get cigarettes after we finally found the station and went off to find a convenience store. While he was gone the train pulled up.

“What do we do?”

“I think we’d better get on.”

“What about Justin?”

“Hope that another train comes for him.”

So, we got on. In route the train stopped twice for maintenance. The conductor came by and asked us where our stop was and said he’d wake us up when we got there and we both fell asleep. It was 2:15 by the time we got to the station. After getting off the train I called the hotel and asked if they would send a shuttle over to pick us up. No avail. Then I asked if they would send over a cab and they did – a cab pulled up not more than 5 minutes later much to our relief. We finally walked into the hotel at 2:30 a.m.

The next morning, I saw Barbara down at breakfast and sat down.

“Where is everyone?”

We were the only ones from the previous evening that made it down to breakfast.

“I hope Justin made it back ok.”

“Me too.”

We hitched a ride to the class with another student from Wyoming and even after class started they still weren’t there. We were starting to get worried .Finally, a half and hour later Justin and the others trickled in. It was “What happened to you?”
We were all talking and the instructor had to tell us to shut up. It was funny to be honest. So, we tabled it to a break. Chris had been walking down the street and suddenly realized that we weren’t there. He found these two ladies coming from the baseball game and walked with them to the train station where he met up again with the other three guys. Justin had found a convenience store but had gotten lost getting back to the train station and ended up cabbing it back to the hotel.
So, I’m worn out and sitting through an 8 hour class that’s death by powerpoint is hell hung over. Plus, I still haven’t gotten to the breweries I want to get to. I may go tonight on my own and get an early start.

Sunday fiasco

Sunday, I had to fly to Denver for a class all week. Saturday evening Charlie and I decided to go out on a date and paint the town red. We first took the dogs to the dog park in the neighborhood of our favorite beer joint. Sadie ran around and tried to play with this puppy until the puppy’s older sister about snapped her head off. At one point Sadie was running up the hill and the dog jumped out and snapped at her and she ran under the table Charlie and I were sitting on.

The owners were like “She never does that.” And, “She won’t bite.”

Yeah right, like she wasn’t going to bite my dog when her teeth snapped together just now.

Those owners finally left and were replaced by almost the same. Two dogs – one a puppy and the other older dog very protective. Although, this one wasn’t quite as protective but when they ran down to the bottom of the hill and the puppy went into the mud Charlie and I both groaned. I didn’t savor the puppy coming back and jumping up on me with her muddy paws and said, “Want to go before they come back?”

“Yes, let’s get out of here.” We immediately leashed the dogs up and ran out. I’m sure those owners were like, “Where did they go?”

We went to our favorite joint for a beer, then a margarita at another restaurant across the way but after not allowing us to sit on the shaded patio with the dogs and only out in the bright sun I suggested we go home and drop the dogs off and go somewhere else, which we did. We ended up at a taco place in East Atlanta, then a bar and then meeting Bird at another club.

The next morning Charlie and I woke up on opposite sides of the bed we normally sleep.

“How did I get over here?”

“I have no idea.” And “There’s no coffee.”

I groaned and threw on some clothes and drove up to the waffle house. Once back after walking through the door with the coffees I saw Charlie sitting at the bar. “You’re not going to like this.”

“What?”

“There’s a rat in the pantry.”

I groaned again. I wasn’t up to killing a rat in my condition. “I will get it out.” Opening the door to the pantry I kicked a plastic container until it ran out, over my foot and behind the washing machine as Charlie screamed. My head started pounding more.

I  jumped in the shower and after getting out started packing for Denver. I hate packing the day of leaving. Normally, I am packed the night before just in case I wake up late the next morning – this had saved my butt years ago when I went to Miami. Once packed Charlie and I got in the truck and started to the airport. I wanted to get there early so we could have breakfast. We got there, parked and walked towards the terminal.

“I want to check in with Delta down here because there’s no crowd.” We walked in to the Delta check in counter and there was a woman in there with three screaming kids. Again, my head started throbbing. I quickly checked in on the kiosk but when I hit the button to check my bag that I was traveling for military and when I handed my bag to the guy at the counter he asked me how I was paying. I explained I was traveling for military the man spat “ID?”

I stepped over the children who were sitting on the floor screaming and handed him my CAC card. He studied it like it held the answer to the universe. Finally, he handed it back to me and said, “You must be traveling on military orders.”

The kids screamed again and I didn’t feel like fighting him so I said, “Whatever.” and handed him my debit card.

We finally got out of there and went inside. Charlie and I walked over to this breakfast place, ordered croissants and sat down to eat. It was then I took out my boarding pass and realized that my flight was at 1:45 instead of 11:45. I groaned.

“Omg! We’re here sooo early!”

“Well, maybe you can change your flight to an earlier flight, baby.”

We got up and walked over to the Delta ticketing counter and found out that yes I could change my flight but my bag was still going to be on the later flight. Great. My hotel was a 30 minute shuttle from the airport so it wasn’t like I could leave and come back later for it. What a pain. We found a couch and Charlie snuggled up next to me (both of us oblivious of any stares we received) and watched Project Runway on my Kindle. I had purchased a splitter and just happened to have two sets of headphones. Eventually, we were hungry again so I got up and got us some Chinese food and we settled back down to watch. Finally, I had to leave. She walked me over to security and we kissed. Again, oblivious to any stares. I felt a tug at my heart as I watched her walk away while I stood in the security line. I was going to miss her.

My flight was pretty uneventful except for the fact that all the seats behind me contained children and it was like romper room central back there. I thanked Goddess for headphones and settled in to finish watching Project Runway and then Breaking Bad. When we landed in Denver it seemed like we were landing on a prairie in the middle of nowhere. Looking out of the window there didn’t seem to be many trees. I wondered if I had gotten spoiled living in Atlanta – the city in the trees and that every other place seemed bald in comparison. Once off the plane I collected my bag and walked out to the curb to find my shuttle. I was told by some random man to wait on “curb 3”. Sure enough the shuttle pulled up but then I was told by a gruff man driving the shuttle that I should have checked in first inside. “Well, where’s that?”  The man pointed inside and me and another woman from my flight went inside to find it. By the time I had checked in I had missed my earlier shuttle and had to wait another half an hour to leave. So, I just went into a bar and ordered a local brew and called Charlie.

I finally made it to my hotel an hour and ½ later – being the very last person to be dropped off from the shuttle. (I loathe shuttle services now) I was elated to see that my hotel room was a suite and that the bar served complimentary cocktails from 5:30 until 7:30. After plopping my bags in the room I immediately went downstairs to partake. Later, I collapsed in bed and slept fitfully until my alarm went off at 6. I think the altitude got to me that first night – that and sleeping without Charlie.

 

chex mix Friday

TGI-F-ing-F

It’s been such a busy week. I can’t wait for the day to be over and spend time with Charlie. This is my life -every day – looking forward to being off work and seeing her.

Yesterday, after work I walked the dogs after it stopped pouring rain. It was pool night and I was waiting for Charlie to get home so we could go have dinner before. My pool nights are numbered now as my team is breaking up after this season. I should be sad but I’m not. I’m not going to miss that smoky bar every Thursday night and dragging in to work all tired on Fridays (as I am today). But, I won’t be seeing the last of my pool captain, Mick because softball starts up in September and Charlie and I have decided to play on her team. So, last week of pool is the end of the month and it will be “See you next Friday at softball.” Plus, in September is jazz on the lawn on Thursday nights. Yes, we have jazz, football, softball and [hopefully] cooler weather to look forward to.

I am feeling like I want to work less and spend more time with Charlie. Because of that I am having a hard time feeling like I want to do anymore landscape work for my client. She has this garden that is totally weedy all the time and she refuses to use any kind of weed killer. She pays me to come over and pull weeds for an hour a week but because there’s many there’s no way I can ever make a dent in it. She get’s 4 hours per month and I almost want to use up all 4 hours in one weed pulling visit and say “I’m done.” I mean, it’s like gardening in hell. It’s starting to become difficult making time out of a busy week to go over there and pull weeds.

Sunday, I’m flying to Denver for a week of class. I know I’m going to miss Charlie so much. It will be the first time we’ve been apart since she got here in June. She already has a couple dinner dates lined up with Ellen and Mick. Hopefully, she won’t be too lonely while I’m gone and she’ll probably have the dogs sleeping with her every night so there won’t be any room for me in the bed when I get back 😉

Have a great weekend everyone and I’m sure I will be updating while I’m in Colorado!

 

garbage man

Last night after coming home from class Charlie and I decided to go out and get something to eat. My period had started and I was craving either pizza or nachos or both. I needed junk to put in my trunk that night.

It was the first time we’d been there since this time.

“Come on, lets shoot some pool.”

“Ok, you’re on.”

I got the balls for the table in the front and we started to play. Adjacent to the pool tables were shuffleboard tables that were quite crowded. There were tons of couples playing with kids running around.

“Why are kids in the bar?”

“Because this is Decatur and kids are allowed in the bars since there’s no smoking.”

“That’s so strange.”

“You’ll get used to it.”

We were intermittently shooting in between kisses. I looked over and saw this guy and girl doing the same at the shuffleboard table. They reminded me of a straight version of Charlie and me. He had on a motorcycle shirt and a baseball cap and she a tank top – very similar to how we were dressed, too. They seemed to be as equally in to each other as Charlie and I. I thought about how nice it was that no one batted an eye at the two lesbians playing pool and kissing. A little boy came over and wanted to play. He grabbed a cue stick and I showed him how to hold it. After a couple shots he lost interest and ran off. I looked up and the couple from before were snugged up at the bar. Just then another guy came over – obviously, he knew them but then he put a proprietary arm across the woman’s chair. I frowned thinking, “It would have to be a very good friend of mine – probably only Ellen – to keep me from slapping their hand off and saying ‘Keep your hands to yourself.”     

Then, I thought, “Was I wrong about them?” the couple. I love people watching and reading people and situations. I often make up fictional characters when I observe. Which, I did earlier when Charlie and I were sitting at the bar.

See that guy over there?”

“Yes.”

“His name is Wade and he’s an accountant.”

“Wait. He has a polo on and a trucker cap.”

“Yes, but he wears shirts and ties during the day. Has a desk job – see how he’s all soft like he’s never worked out a day in his life? He trying to look all bro-man cool but he just can’t quite pull it off.”

“Yeah, I see it.”

“That woman there he’s with – he really likes her. See how he just put his arm down next to hers hoping to grab and hold her hand?”

“She just put her arm up and is gesturing with it.”

“Yes, her name is Claudia. She’s hoping to get out of here soon. The only reason she showed up was because she was hoping Wade would bring his roommate, Dave, that she’s interested in. But, Dave had an unexpected internet date come up and just Wade showed.”

“Her beer is almost gone.”

“Yes, and his is full and he’s nursing it.”

“I love coming home to you or seeing you when I come home.”

“I do, too, honey. I feel like I could have the crappiest job in the world but I don’t care because I know I’m coming home to you every day.”

“Me too, babe.”

“And, maybe that’s another character in a book. The guy that had been stepped on his whole life. The guy who missed college because he had to take care of his mom who had cancer. Who got a job dumping garbage because it had great benefits and allowed him to work swing shift  and overtime so he could take care of his mom.  The whole town knew him, felt sorry for him and treated him like an imbecile. He works a 12 hour shift and every once in a while he’d put on his only pair of good jeans and polo shirt – the ones he wears to church – and go out to a club to meet hopefully the woman of his dreams. He’s a nice looking guy, too. He’s rugged and what he doesn’t have in the brains department he makes up with having a big heart. Despite that, every time he’s out the same scenario happens.”

“What happens?”

“A woman comes up, he buys her a drink and they start to talk then she asks him what he does and he says he’s a garbage-man. Then, she leaves because women in those clubs always are looking for upwardly mobile men who have money. It’s always like this until one day he’s driving into town to drop off the recycling and he sees this woman on the side of the road with the hood of her car up. As he slows he sees her leaning on the side of the car with her head in her hands, her shoulders shaking. She’s crying. He pulls over and stops and gets out. The sound of his truck door closing causes the woman to jump and she suddenly has a look of panic.

“Hey, it’s ok – I just want to help.”

“She had had a bad day. She had just been laid off from her job and been rejected from the medical school she was trying to get in to. Now her car was overheating and she needed to get to an interview with the dean of her second choice school.  He introduced himself, told her to go sit in the shade while he looked at the car. Used to dating douchy doctors who screwed around on their wives she thought he was the nicest man she’d ever met. After wrenching the steaming cap off the radiator and pouring in fluid he asked her if she’s like to grab a cup of coffee later. She did. Their love blossomed after that and they eventually got married.”

“The first time anyone in town saw her on his arm they couldn’t believe it. Every man envied him, every woman took a second look at him and wondered why she never noticed him before. Despite having the worst job in the world he got to come home to the most beautiful woman in the world. She eventually graduated with honors from medical school and told him to quit that garbage job that’d put her through med school– that he was going to become a kept man. As he drove by in his new pickup truck that she had gotten him for his birthday the people in the town would wave – no longer seeing him as an imbecile. He waved back, remembering their patronizing looks from before. He knew it was because of his wife, status and money they thought different of him. He didn’t care – all the money in the world didn’t matter as long as he had her. He was still the hard working garbage man in his own mind – and, the luckiest man alive as long as she was by his side.”

“That’s a nice story, baby.”

“Thanks, baby.”

I am that garbage man.