Plane Life

Many of you know that I travel more than your average worker.   I fly all over the United States working with local unions.   It’s a great job with plenty of stress, but I enjoy it.   One of the benefits and problems of flying is that airplanes are full of people who are at their worst.

I do believe that one cannot be mad at people stressing out.  En route traveling is a terrible scene.  Normally, I just laugh at people.   This week was great for laughing.

I was flying Southwest Airlines (I fly US Airways, as I have status, but I am budget minded for work these days, so I ended up on Southwest.)   I was transferring from at Chicago Midway to get on a flight to Minneapolis when I saw the following scene.

It was a full flight and there were no extra seats to be had, so some people were stuck to the dreaded Southwest middle seat.    I found myself in the second aisle from the back next to a mother and infant daughter.   It was desperate times.  The flight attendants had put the trays down on 6 successive seats.   Whenever anyone tried to sit down they would fake smile and say “These are for a family of 6,” with eyes that said keeping walking fuck bag.

A hippy woman in her forties or fifties with big jewelry and a mola skirt moved in to take a seat.  

“I’m sorry ma’am, but these are reserved for a party of six,” said Big Smile. Eyes looking for a challenge.

“I thought there were no reservations?” asks the hippy.    Her breath has started to accelerate.   Completely exasperated she throws her hands in the air and sits on an aisle seat near me. “I can’t believe this,” she mumbles.  Big Smile’s eyes exposed her joy from this victory.

To be honest, I never believed there was a family of 6.   I figured it was a full flight and it’s a tactic they use to create a moving buffer.   Known seats for last minutes stragglers, a place where people can be swapped out of in case of a problem.  The families had already boarded so the lie didn’t make much sense, but who cares.   They told us it was a completely full flight.

Southwest proved me correct.  Two last minute travelers came in and Big Smile escorted them to the empty seats.  Hippy sprung to action and bolted 3 rows back to take the other empty row of 3 seats.   She was behind me at this point. 

“They need to understand that I am really stressed out right now,” announced the hippy.

“Where do they get off?” responded the guy across the aisle.  (Where in the hell did he come from?  Go back to your stupid 786 habits of boring people book.)   “Nothing you did was wrong,” he concluded.

This woman got what she thought she rightly deserved.   She didn’t need to sit next to anyone.  She was alone.  Her breathing was labored, but she was free of people.   Then to my utter joy 3 people boarded the plane, and that malicious Big Smile swooped. 

“Two of you can sit right here,”  she beckoned down the aisle.   Hippy let out an almost silent moan of dread.   Every seat was full and we took off.

I liked Big Smile, she made me laugh with astonishment.   Hippy was having a bad day, but I hate people who reek of entitlement. If you are not in a good place, do not ever look for sympathy on an airplane.

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Dealings with tumblefurs

For those of you who do not know, I have a cat. Her name is Josephine. I got her in August of 2011. This is a picture of her.

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She is surly and not a particularly nice cat. She meows a lot and occasionally bites. She has been shedding a lot this summer. I brush her, I vacuum, and I brush her some more, and then start vacuuming again. I cannot keep up with the fur tumbleweeds in my house. I decided to call the local pet groomer for and he told me that he could get me in on Sunday at 11 am.

She is not the most loving pet on a good day. Your imagination shouldn’t need to shift gears to grasp how pissed off she was when I put her in the cat carrier. Well we jumped in the car and headed to the 5 star yelp groomer near my house.

Of course, there are other cats and even dogs in the shop. She instantly starts hissing at the other cats. Once the groomer takes her out of the cat carrie, he looks at me incredulously and says “Wow, she seems grumpy,” in the most stereotypical prissy gay voice you can conjure up.

Of course she is grumpy there is a big dog standing next to the table. A dog so big it can look her in the eye while she is standing on a table and he is on all fours on the floor.

“She is not really used to other animals, sorry,” I respond.

“Well, this IS a pet store. Of course there are other animals around,” the groomer says in the peevish voice he could muster.

We talk for 5 minutes and he says he will not shave her. He admits she does need to be groomed, but she is just too surly to be shaved that morning. He told me to come back when the place shuts down one night (is he hitting on me?) and he’ll shave her then when everyone, animals and staff, are gone. I was angry at Josephine for being a grouch, I was angry at him for being a wuss, and then I turn around and see Samer carrying Josephine near other cats so that he could hear her hiss.

Ugh.

Cat, why can’t you be normal? Groomer, I am paying you (way more than I want) to do this, I can’t imagine any cat is cool with being shaved, can you just do your job? BF, can you just stop harassing the pet that I am now hating on?

I never took the groomer up on the offer about coming back, Right now Josephine is sitting next me while I write this post and I am staring at a single hair glomming on to the screen of my laptop.

I came out 10 years ago today!

Today is National Coming out Day and it is my coming out of the closet anniversary! That’s right in a coincidence that could not be more planned to be cliche I came out on October 11, 2000. (I did not discover it was NCOD until 11 months later.) What have I done with my identity in 10 years? Well, clearly not enough for the community if we still have people taking their own lives.

This month seems one of our bloodiest yet. Yesterday I read about another teen who took his own like. His name was Zach Harrington. This coupled with gay bashings at the Stonewall Inn and the Bronx, a firebombing in Belgrade, and a rash of other suicides has left me in a funk.   

Things like Dan Savage’s It Gets Better campaign are important, but they do not seem adequate in the wake of the the current bloodshed. I have been out 10 years and this morning I feel like I did at the beginning of this decade: like we are at war.

I ignored these feelings for a long time. Queers are dying, heterosexuals are ignoring the problem, the right wing is attacking and winning, and the queers installed as our leadership seem to care more about lining their pockets than useful policy.

Let’s be honest. Do you really care about Don’t Ask Don’t Tell? Really? This is one of those policies that have baffled me for the past 10 years. Yes, yes it’s part of equality, but guess what else is part of equality. Not living in a culture where young men are told their sexuality is so vulgar they should kill themselves if it comes to light.

In 10 years of being out, I have seen Democrats ignore us, and Republicans openly abuse us in the national theater. I have (still to my shock) seen queer men work for these republicans and even dumber men defend them.

Personally, my 10 years have been great and I would never give them back. Coming out is one of the best decisions I have ever made, and I do not regret it. In 10 years I got better, but I am sorry to say the world around me did not.