Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A Funny Thing Happened

I spent the weekend in Midlothian with my family celebrating my mom’s birthday by going shopping with her on Saturday and then taking her and my grandmother to dinner that night. Shopping turned in to something of a farce as we (read my mom) managed to get lost on the way to the mall and on the way home from the mall. In her defense the roads in the Metroplex are poorly marked and she had only been to this particular mall once before. However she managed to turn what should have been a hour drive into and two-hour expedition/tour of Collin county and then we managed to turn the wrong way when we came out of the mall and ended up heading north for fifteen to twenty minutes when we should have been headed south. Fun times. While we were shopping, or rather she was shopping and I was working on a mall headache (I get headaches when I am at the mall for more than about 90 minutes), she said something to the effect of, “Well, I need to get an outfit because of your and Charlie’s proclivities.” I was bewildered by this statement and uttered something truly intelligent like, “Huh?” She cleared things up, “Well, I am sure you and Charlie are going to want to go out to a night club or something while we are in Seoul.” At this point I almost choked on my drink. Now while my mom is not a teetotaler, she is a conservative Christian who has, on more than one occasion expressed the opinion that I drink too much, and would not approve of James in all his chick magnet glory dropping his nightclub game on the ladies AND drinking at the same time. (Ha! I typed that whole sentence without giggling once!)

Now there are probably one or two of you out there who are stuck on the whole, “…while we are in Seoul,” thing. For those of you who don’t know my brother (younger) is serving in the Army in Korea as a liaison between the South Korean Army and U.S. Army. While in Seoul he met his soul mate and they are getting married at the end of the month and my mom and I are going to the wedding and then staying on to do the tourist thing for a week. This trip has been the source of a couple of faux fights between my mom and I. At first I was not going to go because, quite frankly, the plane ticket alone is over $1000 and I can spend half of that on a bad-ass wedding gift for Charlie and May when they come back to the U.S. I had discussed this with Charlie when he told me the glorious news and he was cool with it, in fact he told me he didn’t really expect any of us to come to his wedding and that they were going to have a reception here in the States at some point. Then around Thanksgiving my mom gets on this kick where we all need to go. My dad and sister were both able to bow out because of school commitments which means she was brining more pressure to bear on me to go. When discussing this, my dad asked if I would go if he bought my plane ticket. I told him I would and my mom then popped out with the idea that it could be my Christmas present. My dad quashed that idea real quick and so it was set, I would be going to Korea with my mom. This is part of the reason I bought the new camera rather than waiting for the D30 to come out and I hope to take advantage of my brother’s high-speed connection to keep you guys updated on my Korea Odyssey and my attempts to either start World War Three (you think I’m kidding, but I am trying to convince my mom we need to go on the DMZ tour) or come home with a war bride (apparently there are fewer shipping charges if you buy them over there as opposed to ordering them via the mail.) Of course I am going to try for both. Wish me luck.

Anyways here we are in the mall and my mom has just informed me that she plans on going out with Charlie and I at night. I did not have the heart to tell her then but I want at least one night out with Charlie without the ladies so we can pal around and whoop it up a bit. We shall see what comes of that.

We had dinner at Toshio’s a surprisingly good and hip little Japanese place in Duncanville which I highly recommend to anyone in the Metroplex. My mom was oddly squeamish about trying sushi. I never convinced her to try some, even the unagi, which is cooked. Oh well, I managed to get her and my grandmother to try green tea ice cream and red bean ice cream so there was at least one new experience on her 60th birthday.

Sunday I went to church with my mom and grandma. I usually do not go to church when I am visiting them because I like to sleep and I have some doctrinal issues with their church. After all they’re filthy Protestants who cannot bring themselves to see the universal truth that is Holy Mother Church. This Sunday was particularly auspicious day for me to attend as Brother Nick was teaching about predestination, or the belief that God has already chosen those of us that will be going to Heaven. In particular he chose to rely on readings from the letters in the New Testament rather than the gospels. If you read my review of “Misquoting Jesus” you know I am suspicious of literal interpretations of the Bible so when you are preaching a message that depends on a particular English word, I’m sorry but I am going to be a bit skeptical. On top of the textual issues inherent in the Bible to begin with he was teaching from the letters rather than the Gospels. These are not the words of God so much as the thoughts Paul, or one of his secretaries or followers or imitators, had on the faith. On top of these two source issues, I also believe that predestination flies in the face of the purpose of our creation. Man was created to enter in to a relationship with God of our own free will and worship and venerate him, otherwise we are nothing more than debased Angels, creatures who HAVE to acknowledge the glory of God. I am not theologically sound enough to defend my beliefs with scripture and the like, but suffice to say predestination doesn’t fit logically with my beliefs and the excuse that God knows what he is doing and doesn’t have to make sense to our mere mortal brains is a pile of hogwash. It is one thing to have to make a leap of faith and another thing to have clearly mutually exclusive doctrines.

After that we had lunch with my sister and her fiancée (yes, I am the only Wood without marriage prospects) and I putzed around in the yard playing with the new camera and my 4x Macro filter and taking pictures of some of my mom’s flowers. Here are a couple for you kids to enjoy:

The rest can be seen in the April Flowers album on my Webshots account. Clearly I need to learn a little more about the autofocus feature on my camera as I was having a real bear of a time getting it to focus on the item I wanted. I think it may have to do with the filter and I am going to have to be on manual focus when doing macro work with the filters.

Once I got home I had some work to take care of and then Scott and I went to dinner and then hit Downing Street for a couple of beers and a round of cigars. This is where the day got really weird. I kind of got picked up by a girl at the bar. She was already well into her cups and I am wondering what she was looking for. Nothing happened because I am happy where I am right now in the romance and sex department. Besides, she was REALLY drunk and I am too much of a gentleman to take advantage of someone while they are drunk and she ended up passing out before things could even head towards the monkey football arena.

Now the reason I told you the story about Becky (I forgot to mention her name was Becky) is that when I was talking with one of the ladies in the office on Monday it came up in conversation that I had been picked up at a bar the night before and I mentioned that this had NEVER happened to me before. The first words out of the young lady’s mouth were, “By a…?” The unstated part of her question being boy or girl.

I was a bit taken back by this question. As I think about it now I am not certain why as it is certainly a legitimate question, but suffice to say at the time I was flabbergasted. I told her that it was a girl type thing that did the picking up and then we talked a bit more, but I was stuck wondering if I came off as gay and if I do I certainly hope it is a rugged manly cowboy gay rather than effete New York intellectual gay. I don’t think I dress neatly enough as quite frankly, I am a somewhat disheveled kind of guy. I really should be a college professor. Of course as I was sharing this story with Mr. TunaCan he interjected at just the right moment and asked, “By a guy or a girl?”

As I am sitting here writing this entry I am starting to realize that I have not conveyed the humor I intended to with this story and that I am opening myself to one of those deep, dark moments of navel gazing as being gay is something I have been afraid of for a long time. The Lesbian (see here for historical reference) told me during the whole I’m[she]-gay-and-it’s-your-fault thing that he current girlfriend had a friend just like me who turned out to be gay. This statement pops up in my mind from time to time. It haunts me to a certain extent.

Now please realize that when this was said I was much younger and of the mindset that homosexuality was immoral and the like; basically followed the conservative Christian party line on homosexuality. I would like to think that I have grown. I have people I consider my friends who are gay and their sexuality is a non-issue for me whereas before I would have been uncomfortable around them. I no longer see homosexuality as a sin or immoral and I feel that they should be allowed to marry and adopt just like everyone else. Clearly there is more growing for me to do here as the suggestion that I might be gay had me thinking for most of the day on Monday. I should be comfortable enough in my own sexuality where this suggestion wouldn’t bother me and it actually bothers me that it bothered me. I am not certain what to do with this thing that has now devoured my funny post. Perhaps I am making a mountain out of a molehill and over analyzing myself and my reactions. Who knows.


Abram said...

I think a lot of people, especially in cities, assume single guys are gay if they aren't constantly proving they're not by telling stories about getting picked up at a bar, or whatever. It's not fair, but there it is.

Personally, I'm not a snazzy dresser. I went through a phase where I tried to be, when I had a steep discount on clothing at outlet malls. But it never really stuck. Anyway, I mostly wear T-shirts and cargo shorts. I keep my hair cut short enough I don't have to put anything in it. And somehow, everyone still thinks I'm gay... though I suppose that could have something to with the fact that I'm married to another guy...

Look, people have stereotypes. They're just a way to guess about someone's personality before really getting to know them. People are usually wrong when they rely on stereotypes, but there's nothing you can do about it. Just be patient with others, be yourself, and don't worry about it.

Congrats to your brother and sister and their fiances, by the way!

James said...

Thanks for your thoughts Abram. I am always a bit flattered when you opine on here.

I will pass along your congratulations to my soon to be wed siblings.

nikki said...

it was still a funny story. ;)