New York City kicked my ass.
But it was a good day.
We got on the bus at 3:30 Saturday morning. We were all half-asleep and somewhat cranky. Poor Mom didn’t sleep at all before we left. She got off work at midnight and just stayed up all day. At six, we stopped for a less-than-satisfactory breakfast at Cracker Barrel, then headed once more towards the city. Andrea and I slept most of the way, I think.
We got into the city around 9:30 I think, and were dropped at Battery Park. We stayed there for a few minutes to see the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Governor’s Island (all closed due to repairs) then headed off for Albany Street to see the 9/11 Memorial, which was the most emotional part of the day for me. That was the number one thing on my list that I wanted to do while in the city, but I didn’t think I’d get so emotional about it. While we were waiting in line, all I kept thinking was, “This is where people died. Someone met their death right here. Someone thought that jumping out of this building was far better than staying inside,” and all I could see and hear was what I saw and heard on September 11, 2001. I kept holding my breath so I wouldn’t cry. Once we got inside, it hit me harder, and I kept holding my breath. The memorial is beautiful, but all I could see were reminders of what was lost. Those names, thousands of them, punched me right in the gut every time I looked at them. Those aren’t just names. Those are people. Brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, grandmothers, grandfathers, most of them never found. Those are the only things left of them for their families. That’s the only thing they have left to hold onto because, once those names were etched into those slabs, all hope was forever lost. There was no longer any question about their survival. They were only memories now.
I was also emotional because, finally, after eleven years, I made it to the World Trade Center. I took a picture and sent it to my father and said, “I finally made it to the World Trade Center, Dad,” because, eleven years ago, he promised I’d go, and that he’d take me. He didn’t take me, but I finally made it. I’m sorry that it was a memorial I visited instead.
From there, we spent a little over an hour (but it felt like six) looking for the subway to get to Times Square, our next stop. At this point, I started to die. My legs ached already, and I could feel a blister forming on my toes. But I soldiered on (albeit not very quietly) until we finally made it to the subway. At which point I was also now terrified. I wanted nothing to do with the subway. Andrea kept insisting that it was fine, we were gonna be okay, but I would have rather taken a taxi. I’ve watched too many movies where bad, bad things happen on the subway. NO.
Surprisingly (to me) we made it safely to Times Square. By this time, I was pretty sure the blister that had been forming had now exploded, and everything south of my neck was hurting. Our first stop in Times Square (other than the Square itself) was Toys “R” Us.
IT HAS A FERRIS WHEEL INSIDE.
We looked around and took a bathroom break, then headed to…uh…it was such a long walk that I can’t remember now. OH! St. Patrick’s Cathedral! Yes. We went to the Cathedral and lit candles for my Papa and Uncle Ben. It was under construction so we couldn’t see everything, but we saw quite a bit. From there, we continued down Fifth Avenue to FAO Schwarz and saw the BIG Piano. Sadly, Tom Hanks was not there, and I was disappointed. We also got Dippin’ Dots. Yay!
After FAO, we walked cattycorner into Central Park, where we found a bench as quickly as we could and sat our asses down for about twenty minutes. I was positive I was dead. I was also feeling bad because, one, we had skipped a lot of the stuff we had originally wanted to do because of time constraints, two, because Andrea and her mother were paying my way through everything, and three, because I was in so much pain and was holding things up and complaining a lot. I was trying not to whine, but I remember saying that I hurt and was dying a lot, and I’m sure that was getting on someone’s, if not everyone’s, nerves. After our rest, we went into the Chess and Checkers house. Andrea and I played chess, and Mom and Little Sister played checkers. At this point, it was 4:30 and, according to our schedule, we needed to go in search of dinner. We had planned to eat at Ellen’s Stardust Diner, so we tried finding a cab.
For fifteen minutes.
NONE OF THEM WERE AVAILABLE. Every single cab that passed us by was occupied. Plus, none of us had the balls to step out and try to flag one down. We’re not city people. And we didn’t want to get flattened by oncoming traffic.
Finally, a blue car pulled up in front of us and asked where we were going. We wanted to take a yellow medallion cab as we knew those were legit, but we were having no luck. I was adamantly hesitant about getting in this blue car, but he offered to take us where we needed to go for twenty dollars, so Andrea said okay.
I thought that the subway ride was the scariest experience in my life.
I was dead wrong.
While thankful to be sitting down and in a moving vehicle, I was terrified. Now, I try to avoid racial stereotypes as much as possible, but in the cab, I was so not able to. This man was clearly Middle Eastern. He said he worked for a limousine service at the airport, and explained that we would have continued to have a difficult time hailing a yellow cab because shift change was a five. First thing: he was a New York City cab driver. NYC cab drivers don’t give a flying, flaming shit what anyone else on the road is doing. They go wherever the hell they want. Near misses and close calls don’t mean shit. Secondly, we were in the cab for maybe a minute and he starts speaking in his native tongue. He apparently was on the phone–something I was not aware of until we got out of the cab. In an NYC native’s mind, he’s just having a normal conversation. In my mind, he’s saying his last rites. I thought, “This is how I die.”
I could not get out of that cab fast enough.
I’m still surprised I didn’t shit myself.
Nobody else seemed fazed by it. I moved faster getting out of the car than I had all day. Nothing hurts when you’re scared shitless and thankful to be on solid ground.
We got to the diner and were informed that there was a 40 to 50 minute wait. We didn’t have that much time, so we opted for Emmet O’Lunney’s pub. The food was good. Our waitress was…Lucy. She, honest to God, looked like a typical 50-something artsy New Yorker who had possibly been buddies with Andy Warhol. She had jet black hair that was cut in a bob, bright red lipstick that was the wrong shade, and thick-rimmed, oddly shaped glasses. And I’m pretty sure she was Spanish and had trouble, still, understanding some English. Andrea asked for a SoCo and Coke, and Lucy responded with, “Sauvignon blanc, okay!” She wasn’t the greatest waitress ever, but the food made up for that. It was so good. SO GOOD. Andrea and I got the pasta special. Penne pasta with a lot of stuff in it. Shrimp, bacon, tomatoes, onions, and sauce. I ate only the pasta, but that sauce was incredible. INCREDIBLE. Mom got a steak sandwich, and Little Sister got chicken fingers and fries.
As good as the food was, I was certain I was going to throw it up when I saw the bill.
For just Andrea’s and mine, it was $72.79. I know. I shouldn’t have been surprised. It’s New York City. Everything’s expensive. But still, coming from a town where that same check would have come to around $30, it was a shock. I wouldn’t let Andrea pay for it, because she was going to. I couldn’t let her dole out eighty bucks in good conscience. I had taken $40 with me, and that’s what I paid for my dinner. Our pasta was $19.95 each, her drink was $8, my drink was $12, her soup was $6.95. It added up, but neither of us were prepared for it. Mostly because the cost of our drinks weren’t listed.
After eating, we headed for the bus.
In the wrong direction.
The restaurant was on 7th Avenue, the bus was picking us up on 8th. We went to 6th. I wanted to cry.
We hiked back two blocks and the bus showed up shortly after we did.
I have never been so relieved and excited to get on a bus ever in my life. Every inch of my body was screaming bloody murder. My thighs were so weak I didn’t think I’d be able to make it up the steps onto the bus. My feet, mainly my toes, had that pinching, raw pain that you get when something rubs on your skin repeatedly. I knew I had blisters, and that they had most likely popped, and my left shoe had rubbed against my ankle all day, no matter how many times I pulled my sock up. My shoulders were sore from carrying my bag all day, my chest ached from breathing so hard when trying to keep up with everyone when all I wanted to do was collapse, my calves (which had Charlie Horsed for hours) felt like they were ready to explode, and my lower back was on fire. I fell into that chair and just gasped. I was so grateful to know that I did not need to move for the next six hours.
But that blessing turned into a bit of a burden.
Bus seats are not really built for larger people. And, that wouldn’t have been a problem, except for the certain group of people we were traveling with, who felt it prudent to occupy two rows of seats (four seats total) with not only themselves, but all their crap, on the way to and from. These snooty, hoity-toity, middle aged women who brought pillows, blankets, and four to six bags each for a six hour bus ride. So, Andrea and I were squished together in a single row of seats, basically sitting on top of one another. And that didn’t help my pain at all. Andrea fell asleep pretty quickly, and I didn’t want to move and risk waking her up, which only made me feel worse. My back pain went from a 3 to a 75 in about fifteen minutes. At the rest stop in Jersey, I asked our escort if there was a row available somewhere in the front of the bus, and she cleared one off for me, after making sure I was okay and not going to puke everywhere. ”I’m not car-sick,” I said, “but me and Andrea are squished together and very uncomfortable. We both need to just be able to stretch out a little.” I got back on the bus and collapsed into my seat and passed out.
We got back into town a little after midnight and headed home.
It took ten minutes for me to get up my stairs, and another ten to get into bed. And when I woke up, it took fifteen to roll over, and another twenty to get up and out of bed. My legs were so weak, I was afraid I was going to fall down the stairs. I took some back and body pain pills Mom had given me, and they eased the pain, but they didn’t increase strength. I was confined to my chair for most of the day. By eight last night, I was able to move somewhat freely and without much pain, so I was able to take the garbage out and head back up to bed.
But you know what?
It was all worth it. I got to spend a day in the city with my second family, and, I only spent forty bucks.
Long Live New York City.
(And my legs.)
I am no longer a hotelier.
And I’m not too sad about it. Maybe a little. But not for the reason’s you’d think.
Well, I have no idea what reasons you’d come up with, but anyway.
I quit my job on Tuesday. Well, Tuesday was my last day. I gave my resignation letter on Saturday.
But first, the why.
I have worked at the Hotel since August of 2011. At first, I thought it was great. I had a lot of hours, I liked most of the people that worked there, and formed fast friendships with a good deal of them. And my manager was fantastic. She was nice, and would bend over backwards for me. She was very understanding and patient with me, which was something I was not used to from a manager.
I started this post on April 14, so I’m a little behind. And now I can’t remember what I was going to write about here, but I’m gonna try.
She’s the kind of person who makes pretty good first impressions, and will make you think, “This is awesome, she is awesome.” But, as with most jobs and/or managers, I quickly found out that it wasn’t all sunshine and roses.
First of all, that woman, I’ll call her Mary, ugh. She’s thirty something years old, and is stuck in a thirteen-year-old’s mentality. Good Lord. The first thing anyone notices about her is her voice. It’s incredibly annoying. On a scale from one to ten, it’s a fifty eight. She speaks so slowly. She uses that teenage “up speak.” Think Legally Blonde or Clueless. She draws words out, ends every sentence on an up note, and is overly enthusiastic about everything. Granted, working in a hotel, or any customer service job, you need to be overly pleasant and cheerful. But she took it way over the top. And her laugh is enough to drive you up the wall. It’s beyond loud, and beyond fake. It is a full fledged, “HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.” There’s no emotion in it. It’s not a real laugh. I don’t think the woman knows how to laugh. Ugh.
The next thing is her wardrobe and “style.” It’s awful. She insists it’s “high fashion,” I say it’s a closet that’s thrown up. Her favorite pattern is zebra, and her favorite color is purple. Not horrendous, right? Until she starts wearing neons with her zebra pattern and purple. She’s also obsessed with designer and label everything. Each item of her clothing has to be designer, along with her shoes, tights, bags, and accessories. She favors short, black dresses, with any number of obnoxious colors and patterns on them, and matches them with things that don’t actually match. She would wear this black dress that had a neon green stripe down the front left side, with a gray hat, purple Calvin Klein scarf, gray and black patterned knee-high socks, and bright blue shoes. And there was always her jewelry. She always wore her watch, which had a black band, and the face was, of course, purple and black zebra print. She had this gaudy ass charm bracelet that she always wore, and the charms on that thing were massive. She had a sapphire ring on one hand, and any number of other rings on her other hand. She wore this huge scarab beetle necklace that matched nothing, and her earrings were equally as awful. They were like these big, metal tribal tattoos. That’s the only way I can describe them. Ugh. She always wore high heels, and she had no clue how to walk in them. She stomped around all day in these things, making as much noise as she could. Big old platform heels. She didn’t have much luck with the stilettos, either. Stomp, stomp, stomp. There were several times when I got caught up in a conversation with her that was all about her wardrobe and sense of style. She would go on about it for hours. At work. She’d get a new bag and have to show it off to all of her employees, none of whom gave a flaming shit about her purse. We had bigger, better things to be worried about. Like the fact that her hour long show and tell was preventing us from getting our work done, which would result in her getting pissed at us. She loved to brag about every item of clothing she owned, and how she didn’t have to pay for it because, and she actually says this regularly, “My parents give me everything I want.” She said to another employee one time, “I was one of the lucky ones who didn’t have to work for anything in life. My parents spoiled me.” She actually says this shit. And thinks it makes her look awesome. Well, Mary, you don’t look awesome. You look like a spoiled, entitled, selfish, idiotic brat. We’re not jealous of you. We’re disgusted by you.
She recently started using a Bluetooth ear piece. Let me tell you how awesome that was. She spent 90% of her workday on the phone with a former employee. I’m not even kidding. She usually goes into work around 10 or 11 and leaves at 6 or 7. When she walks in, she’s already on the phone with him, and it’s five or six before she gets off the phone with him. And then, two hours later, they’re back on the phone again. And while she’s on the phone with him, she’s usually outside smoking or just walking around looking busy. And then, at the end of the day/week/month, she complains that she hasn’t been able to get any of her work done. She hardly spends any time in her office, and when she does, she’s online looking at shoes.
The last few months I was there, the Friday and Saturday 3-11 spot was vacant, so she had to work it, and she always told me that if I wanted to come in early, I was more than welcome. Most times I did, because, hey, more money for me. But I hated it. Why? Because, firstly, the first thing she’d say to me when I walked in was, “I feel like death,” and, secondly, none of the laundry was done. So I was always left with sixteen hours’ worth of laundry to try and get done in twelve hours or less. She’d always say that the desk was so busy and she hadn’t had any time to get back there to do anything, which I knew was complete bullshit because there were only ten people checked in when I got there. Ten people aren’t going to take up four or five hours of your time, unless you’re keeping them at the desk for an hour each to talk about your new Betsey bag. Buh. And sometimes, I sneak in quietly, and catch her restarting the driers to make it look like she was actually keeping up with the laundry. I’m not an idiot. I know when the laundry’s been kept up with. There’s no reason for me to come in at any time after seven and there still be the majority of the day’s laundry that needs to be washed yet. Especially if we had less than fifty rooms occupied the previous night. And, on top of that, she’d complain about how she wasn’t able to get her own work done and that she was so behind on everything and she’d bitch about this person or that, and then she’d get into some random ass topic about her personal life or she’d start lying out the ass to make her appear more interesting.
During my time there, I had many, many people, guests, other employees, and people like the plow guy or FedEx guy, tell me that she was a bad manager and needed to be replaced. In fact, on my last day, the woman from the plow service came in and dropped on an envelope for Mary. She told me that it was all the past due bills for this year. She told me that Mary had not paid a single bill all year. ”We won’t be back next year,” she said. ”I’ve called her, I’ve mailed them to her, I’ve faxed and emailed them to her, I’ve given her eight months to pay these, and she hasn’t. She’s got a week to pay me, or I’m taking her to court. You guys need a new manager. She’s a horrible GM. She needs fired. Like, yesterday.” And this is a constant thing with Mary. There are always faxes coming through from different companies that say Past Due, and dozens of phone calls regarding unsettled debts for services rendered. The plow service, the exterminator service, the electricians, a slew of businesses that she owes money to. And she’d get pissed when these faxes or phone calls would come through and say, “It’s not even late yet!” to insinuate that the companies are making it up that she’s late on payments. And, of course, I would stand there and think, “So you wait until it’s late before you pay it? No wonder no one wants to do business with you.” It was ridiculous.
She had a nasty habit of immediately blaming people, too. In my last two weeks there, I was told by another employee that Mary had blamed me for things that I had no way of being responsible for, and a bunch of other bullshit. For example, our one housekeeper’s name is Rita. I was making up the housekeeping papers one morning, and on her paper, I wrote, “Lovely Rita Meter Maid,” like the song. Mary saw that and said to Rita, “Is she implying that you’re a meter maid? Does that offend you? If so, I’ll say something to her about it.” Rita said, “No. It’s a song, for chrissakes.” And Mary said, “Well, I guess I shouldn’t say anything. She’s been helping me out a lot with covering hours.” And the next week, Rita said that she had gotten mismatched sheets in her buggy, and Mary’s instant reaction was, “That was probably Cassandra.” Fuck you. She took no responsibility for her own actions, because she had people beneath her who could take her falls for her. She blamed me once for costing her a big account because I apparently hadn’t given her a message. On a day that 1) the phone didn’t ring and no one came in, and 2) she wasn’t even there for me to give this supposed message to. She claimed that the man had called her and was pissed because he hadn’t heard back and she said he gave her my name as the person he’d talked to. I asked her who it was and what day he’d called on the first time, and it turned out to be a day that I hadn’t even worked. It was during my week of vacation.
Here’s the kicker. Ready? This is a good one. Back in November, she suddenly got very cold toward me. She’s the kind of person who, even if she doesn’t like you at all, still treats you like you’re BFFs, because she’s fake with everyone. But, back in November, she just turned stone-cold bitch on me. When she’d come in, she’d say hello to whoever I was talking to, and ignore me. She’d stand in the lobby for 45 minutes, talking to the breakfast lady about her shoes, or she’d go talk to one of the housekeepers, but if I asked her a question, she’d look at me like, “Are you fucking retarded?” and then answer me in an equally frustrating tone like, “You really don’t know the answer? Are you stupid?” with half-assed answers that didn’t ever actually answer my question. When I talked to her, she never looked at me and she always mumbled her answers. I heard her talking about me to one of the housekeepers one afternoon, and I was pissed. And, coupled with the way she’d been treating me, I was sure she was going to fire me. I asked a few people if they knew anything about it or if she had mentioned anything to them, and they said no. This continued until January. One morning, I showed up for work at 7, and her car was in the parking lot, and I thought, “This is it. I’m getting fired,” because she had told me numerous times that the only time she’s there at or before seven is when she’s going to fire someone. So, I walked in, and the weekday night auditor told me that Mary wanted me in the meeting room. I walked down there and sat. For half an hour. HALF AN HOUR. Before she graced me with her presence. She came in and sat down and said, “We need to have a little chat.” And I thought, “Yes, we do,” considering two days before that, I had asked her if we could talk and she blew me off. She opened with, “First of all, these childish games need to stop. All the going around behind my back asking everyone if I’m mad at you or if I’m going to fire you is ridiculous. I’ve given you no reason to think either of those things. I’m sorry if I can’t go out and smoke all the time, or stand around and talk. I have my own work to do. I don’t have time to just stand around and talk.”
I stopped her right there. All professionalism flew out the window.
“Mary,” I said, “you absolutely have given me reason to think you were pissed at me and were going to fire me. For the last two months, you’ve treated me like shit. You’ve been blatantly ignoring me, making a point to acknowledge everyone in the room but me. The other day when you came in, Rita and I were standing at the desk, and you said hello to her, and nothing to me. You’ve been talking to me like I’m an idiot and, every time I ask a question, you look at me like, ‘Are you fucking retarded?’ And I don’t expect you to stand around and talk to me or go out and smoke with me all day. But I do get a little upset when you tell me you’ve got too much work to do to go outside for ten minutes, and then you go out and talk to George for forty-five minutes about your shoes. I don’t expect preferential treatment by any means, but I’d appreciate it if I was treated the same as everyone else, especially if you’re going to insist that nothing’s wrong. And as far as asking people if you were mad at me, how else was I supposed to get the information? You weren’t speaking to me. I know you were talking to Erma about me last week. I heard the conversation. So it’s a little bit ridiculous that you can tell anyone else that you’re mad at me, but you can’t walk up to me and address the issue and instead have to call me to a meeting about it. You don’t want me to ask people if you’re mad at me? Then don’t tell anyone but me that you’re mad at me, and don’t give me reason, for two months, to think that you are. You have been completely unapproachable for two months, Mary. That’s going to make anyone think something’s wrong.”
She went on about how I wasn’t doing my job to the best of my ability (which was bullshit–I was going above and beyond) and then she got down to the heart of the matter. In November, her favorite employee quit and moved South. This is the one she spends all day on the phone with. Last February (2012) Mary and I were concerned that he had a drug problem. He was constantly popping pain pills and seemed very on edge. He was shaky, he was a little moody, he was always tired. He was having me come in at seven every weekend so he could leave. He usually went out drinking, so we were told, and I usually got a phone call from him around three or four in the morning and he would tell me he was in some kind of situation. Generally, they weren’t dangerous, just little things caused by his own stupidity. See, this kid was gay, and he’d usually leave work to meet up with a new fuck-buddy. I didn’t have a problem with it. I didn’t care. At the time, he and I were close. He’d called me his best friend. I tried to help him as best I could from work. One time, when the two of us went for a drink, he told me that he was scared for his health. He said his body ached all over, all time, and his stomach was always upset, and that his pain meds weren’t working anymore. He was afraid he had HIV or AIDS or something big, and was scared he was going to die, and die alone. I talked to him about the possibilities of what it might be, and I asked him if he had slept with any random people lately and stuff like that, and he said that he had, but he was almost positive they’d used protection. I asked him all sorts of questions, until a light bulb went off and I thought it was probably dehydration. All the kid drank was Mountain Dew and booze. That’s it. And that’s what I told him. ”Your body aches because it’s dehydrated,” I said. ”Stop drinking solely Mountain Dew and alcohol, and instead drink as much water as you can, and you’ll probably feel better.” He seemed shocked that the answer could be so simple. He was the dramatic type, so he was probably disappointed that this wasn’t as life threatening as he’d anticipated. The week after that, I’d raised my concerns to Mary. She said she had been thinking the same thing. She had noticed his pill popping and moods and all that, and she had been recognizing the same signs she’d seen in her pill-popping brother. She told me that, if he ever came flat out and said that he had a problem, to subtly direct him to her, as she had gone through the same thing with her brother. ”But,” she added, “do not mention any of this conversation. Ever. Just tell him to come to me if he admits he has a problem.” And a few weeks later, he did. He flat out said, “I think I have a problem,” while we were folding laundry one night. So, I said, “Maybe you should talk to Mary. She told me once that her brother had a problem with pills. She would probably be able to help you.” He wasn’t too keen on the idea of talking about his drug problem with his manager because he was afraid she’d fire him or some nonsense. And that was the end of it. He never again spoke about it, and neither did Mary and I.
“Hal told me that you told him that I said to you that he was a drug addict,” she said. I had to take a minute to catch up with the he-said-she-said crap, but I got the jist of it, and my jaw dropped. ”He said that you were telling him that I was going around telling everyone he was an addict and had a big problem with pills and coke and all this other stuff. And all I could think was, ‘What have I ever done to her to make her say that?’ What’s your goal?”
“That,” I said, “is complete bullshit. I never told him you accused him of having a drug problem.”
“Well, he repeated the conversation you and I had verbatim. I told you not to say anything to him about that, ever. What did I ever do to you?”
“Mary, I never, not once, ever told him about the conversation we had. I had no reason to. And I definitely am not out to get back at you for anything.”
“That’s what I’m trying to figure out. What’s the endgame? Why would you throw me under the bus like that?”
“There is no endgame, because that didn’t happen. I never mentioned the conversation. When he came out and told me, flat out, that he thought he had a problem, I told him to talk to you because you could help him. That’s all. That’s the ‘endgame.’ “
“Well, I just found out about it a few days ago, and it seemed a little weird that he could recite our conversation word for word. I could fire you for that, you know. That’s malicious false statements. That’s grounds for termination.”
I’m thinking, “Threaten me all you want, bitch, but you’d better be ready to pay unemployment if that’s the road you want to take.”
“I understand that. But why would I put my job in jeopardy for the sake of gossip? This is ridiculous. I didn’t say anything about it to him. I’ve worked far too hard here for this shit. I don’t think I’m the one with an ‘endgame,’ Mary. You know how manipulative Hal can be. Look at everything we’ve found out about him since he left. Who’s to say he didn’t just guess about what conversation we had? He’s a smart guy. He probably figured it out the minute I told him to talk to you. And I highly doubt you remember our conversation verbatim from a year ago.”
“Well, I just don’t understand why you would do that to someone.”
“I didn’t. But let me ask you a question. Now that you think I sold you out, do you trust me?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know if I can.”
“Well, then let’s end this. We’ll just say that I quit. I am not going to continue working in a place where I’m not trusted because my manager is too easily swayed by gossip. I don’t deserve to work in a place where that goes on.”
“If that’s true, I’m sorry to hear that. That was not my intention, to fire you or have you quit. I just wanted to resolve this. I was only going to suspend you until I could figure out whether or not this is true.”
“So, based on what you just said, my job is in the hands of someone who doesn’t work here or live here anymore. Correct?”
“Yes, no, and not necessarily.”
“There is no middle ground on this. And if there was, you have no grounds to suspend me. This has no bearing on my ability to do my job. This has nothing to do with my job, period. This is entirely personal. Plus, it happened over a year ago,” I said. ”You just sat here and told me that the fate of my employment here is in the hands of someone who no longer has any association with this place, or me, and who is your best friend. If he’s able to convince you that he’s telling the truth, I’m gone. And I’m not about to sit around and wait for that to happen. He’s got more of an advantage because he is your best friend, and you already said that you can’t trust me. So what’s the point? I’m not going to let myself get fired over something that didn’t happen just because he’s got more pull with you than I do. So I’m done.”
She started back pedaling immediately. ”I don’t want you to leave,” she started.
“But you were going to fire me?”
“Not necessarily. I just wanted to know if this was actually true.”
“Mary, there’s no way to prove or disprove this. You’ve got two sources, and they’re both people who worked for you. All this is turning into is he said, she said. There’s no way to find out the truth. You’ve got to believe one of us, and my chances aren’t looking great considering you’re going to fire me if he can convince you, which I don’t think will be that hard for him, otherwise we wouldn’t be here right now. And I don’t think this is something you just found out a few days ago, considering how you’ve been treating me for two months. I’m not going to keep doing this. I quit.”
“Do you want to take some time to think about it?”
“You know what? Yes. I’ll call you later this week.”
The only reason I did that was because I didn’t have another job to fall back on if I quit. I don’t like to just walk away from one job without having another. And, unfortunately, I didn’t find a job while I was off, either. So I had to go back.
But now I’m out of there, and I am so relieved. That’s the main reason why I left. I hate that it took me four months to find another job, but that was mostly my fault–I wasn’t looking too hard.
But when I turned in my resignation letter, she feigned disappointment. She started complimenting me and telling me how well I was doing and that I was one of the best employees she’d ever had, and wanted to know if I could stay on as a fill-in. I told her I’d think about it. I’m not going back to that shit. And on top of all that, my last two weeks there, she was two to three hours late coming in, so I had to stay those extra two to three hours because she doesn’t care enough to come in on time. My last day, I told her I needed to be out of there by three. At three thirty, no one had shown up. So I called her, and she said she was on her way. Then she had the balls to ask if, after she got there, I could stay a little while longer so she could go to the bank. I said no. I was already half an hour late for my new job. She waltzed in at four fucking thirty and didn’t understand why I was so mad. Really?
So anyway. I’m out of there. And I love my new job. And I have zero anxiety about it. At the hotel, I got horrible stress headaches when I had to go to work. They would start the minute I woke up on Fridays and Saturdays, when I worked the overnights, and they would last all day. I haven’t gotten a stress headache in two weeks. And it’s awesome. I have to work today, and I don’t even care. Well, a little, but I’m not dreading it like I did at the hotel. My goal was to be out of the hotel by summer, and I am. Go me.
And as far as Hal goes, I’m so fucking done being his friend. I haven’t heard from him since before he left, and I don’t even care. I found out all this shit about him from a mutual friend, and that kid is a fucking liar. Plain and simple. Fuck him.
It’s true. Andrea’s mother won a trip for 2 to NYC on April 20th, and they’re taking me. There are four of us going, Mom, Andrea, Little Sister, and me. I’m frickin’ excited as shit. I haven’t been to NYC for almost ten years. It’s just a day trip, but still, it’s NYC.
A few hours ago, Andrea sent me a text that said, “Is there anything you want to do in NYC? I’m trying to make an itinerary.”
Of course, I blanked. For the last ten years, when I’ve talked about going to NYC, I’ve been able to list all these things I wanted to do while in the city. And now, NOTHING IS COMING TO MIND. I actually had to Google shit to do in NYC before I could come up with anything. And I still am not sure what I want to do. I need to learn to write these things down.
I know I want to go to FAO Schwarz and play on the Big Piano. Will I have the balls to actually play the Big Piano? Doubt it. Will I stand there and gawk and wish I had the balls to do it? Hell yes. But really, I just want to go to the biggest toy store on the planet and bask in the ambiance and glory of being in the biggest toy store on the planet.
I’m not too nuts about going to Times Square, cause I don’t think there’s really anything there that calls out to me. But then again, I’ve never been to Times Square, so I don’t know.
I want to go to Central Park (I LOVE CENTRAL PARK) and possibly take a carriage ride. The last time I was in the city, we went to Central Park and took a carriage ride and our driver was from Ireland.
I’d like to go to a museum. Preferably the Natural History Museum. But Andrea and her family are not big on museums. So I don’t know if we’ll make it.
Grand Central Station I think is a must.
NYPL would be nice.
Brooklyn’s Botanical Gardens would be awesome. But I don’t think they’d be too into it.
Plus, this is just a day trip, and there are three other people going who are going to want to do their things, too.
But, honestly, my biggest dilemma with this trip is how I’ll get through six hours on a bus without smoking.
I know. Such a big problem.
That, and what I’ll do to try and occupy myself for those six hours to keep my mind off the fact that I’m not allowed to smoke on the bus. I thought about just loading my phone with music, but my phone for whatever reason won’t connect to my laptop in order for me to put the music on there, and also my phone sucks for battery life, so if I did that, my phone would likely die before we got out of (or into) Jersey and I’d have no way to charge it. I thought about taking a book, but I wouldn’t be able to read until it got light out. I know I’ll be sleeping the first few hours anyway (we’re leaving at 3:30 am) but we’re probably not going to make any stops before we hit the city. Maybe I’ll just take a coloring book and deal with it.
I’ve talked about the website Topix before, in regards to a teacher’s post about babysitting those mouthy little teenage brats. Topix is still going strong in my area (my town has more threads than any other city in the state–shocker) and it’s a perpetual source of entertainment for me when I get bored. Going on there and just seeing all the stupid, dramatic bullshit that goes on in those forums just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But, the other day, I stumbled upon a thread titled, “Smokers At The Fair,” and it was half people bitching about smokers smoking in public, and the other half was smokers defending their right to smoke in public. Of course, it didn’t come without the required bashing, insulting, and name-calling, and, naturally, there were trolls. But, the more I read, the more pissed off I found myself getting.
It seems people are just as ignorant and entitled as ever.
The first post was from someone who was just completely annoyed and disgusted by the people who had the audacity to smoke at our county fair. It read, “The people smoking at the fair have to be the most ignorant, self-centered assholes I have seen in my entire life. They do not care who they are around, they just do as they please with no regard for others. I especially enjoyed the women who were pregnant and smoking. How selfish can a mother be when she doesn’t care about her unborn child? Of course, these are the types of women who have no clue which bar pick-up is the father of said child. This town continues on its downward spiral.”
I went through and read most of the comments, just to get a feel for what smokers versus non-smokers had to say about all this. There were far more non-smokers commenting, and about two of them had anything non-snarky, spiteful, or mean to say. They were polite and tactful, stated their opinions in a matter-of-fact way, without getting nasty. The rest of them were just blatantly uneducated, rude, and self-righteous.
The most common responses from the non-smokers were as follows, and this is just paraphrasing.
“Smokers are asshole, pricks, inconsiderate. Smokers should get up and walk away from a crowd when they need to smoke, or just walk away from all non-smokers in general. Put up designated smoking areas. Smokers are rude. Smokers have no consideration for other people’s feelings. Smokers can’t expect to be the least bit inconvenienced. They don’t care about their children. They smell. You’d think they’d be able to go a couple hours without lighting up. All smokers are dumb. I’m a non-smoker and I have health problems that are aggravated by smokers blowing smoke all over the place. The fair board needs to do something about this.”
Oddly enough, not one person who complained about smoking volunteered to go to the Fair Board and bring the issue to their attention. Not one non-smoker said, “I just ask them to move or put it out.” Most non-smokers stuck to bitching about smokers, and calling them names, the most common name being, “Asshole.”
The smokers’ responses were just as brash, but there was no name-calling or grouping all non-smokers into one category. Most smokers (and a good deal of non-smokers) had this to say:
“Why not just ask a smoker to move or put it out?”
That’s it, in a nutshell. Seems the like simplest solution, don’t you think? In a perfect world. But that simple statement was countered by the non-smokers with:
“Why should I have to ask you to move or put it out? Why should I have to inconvenienced by your stupid choice to smoke? Why should I have to move away from you? Why can’t you get up and walk away? Why do you make our lives so miserable just to feed your habit? You’re putting everyone else’s lives at risk, so you should be the one to suffer the penalty.”
The more I read through all this, the more I thought that the real “assholes” were the non-smokers, who were extremely liberal in their complaining and name-calling, rather than the smokers, who gave a simple, no-effort-required solution, and were bashed repeatedly for it.
Do non-smokers think that designated smoking areas are really an effective solution? Most likely, the designated smoking area would just be a random tent somewhere on the fair grounds. And that tent would most likely be open, so that smoke is still gonna go everywhere. It’s not going to stay confined under that open tent. And not all smokers are going to go to that tent. There will be some who say, “Who gives a shit?” and will light up wherever they please. Not because they’re assholes, but because them smoking in the open would be the same as going to the tent. Plus, that tent would put all the smokers in one spot, and create a huge cloud of smoke and odor, which, again, would not stay in the tent. So the designated area wouldn’t really be all that effective. No matter where you put that area, it’s still going to bother people.
Basically, it’s a lose-lose situation. Non-smokers aren’t going to be happy until smokers are thrown in prison for daring to light up in the great outdoors, and smokers aren’t going to be happy until non-smokers either accept that there are smokers on this planet, or they get up the nerve to just ask us to put it out.
My aunt summed it up perfectly this morning: When did we become a country full of whining, crying sissies who are offended because the rest of the world didn’t take each person’s personal circumstances into account before doing something? If you’re offended by a TV show, turn the channel. Don’t like the color of your neighbor’s house, quit looking at it. Don’t like the name of a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, don’t buy it. Sure, let’s not forget basic common courtesy, but I wish the whiners would quit expecting the rest of us to wallow in all their tragedies forever.
I think that’s what this smoking war comes down to. Smokers didn’t ask the non-smokers their permission to smoke, and that just kills the non-smokers because they “have to suffer” from the smoke. Not necessarily. No one’s making you stay in that spot. We’re not indebted to one another as much as people like to claim. We owe each other respect and help, but that’s all. Is it common courtesy for a smoker to move to a secluded area in a crowd when they need to smoke? Yes. But, non-smokers also have the responsibility to say something to the smoker if they’re bothered, instead of just bitching about it. You don’t like it, say something. Nicely. You don’t like being barked at or told what to do. It instantly puts someone on the defensive, so if you rudely tell a smoker to put it out or move, they’re gonna be nasty right back and stay put. But, if you nicely say, “I’m sorry, would you mind taking a few steps away?” or, “Would you please put your cigarette out?” nine times out of ten, guess what? They will, without a word. Hell, they might even apologize for the inconvenience.
And, just to clarify, smokers are not assholes. That really bothers me that all smokers are thrown into the same category. Smoking is just like any other addiction–you have little control over it. So if someone is mindlessly smoking around you, it’s not because they are an asshole, it’s because the addiction is controlling them. We have little choice as to when we want a cigarette. We don’t decide when the cravings come and go. We don’t decide when or where.
Am I justifying smoking? No. All smokers know it’s a bad habit that’s life-threatening. It’s a stupid choice that a lot of people make. But I think non-smokers have to be a little more tolerant and respectful of us, as well. Non-smokers seems to be demanding a lot of us smokers in saying that we should be the ones confined to one area or we’re the ones that need to move, or by telling us we’re assholes and stupid, and giving us lectures about how we’re killing ourselves. Whereas the smokers are just asking you to simply stand up and say something, politely. We’re human. We have feelings. We appreciate the rudeness and lectures about as much as you enjoy having smoke all up in your grill. It’s tit for tat, here, people. You gotta give a little. It’s not hard.
What are your thoughts? Please keep it respectful. I will not tolerate name-calling or bashing.
My entire year might even be ruined. Or my life.
A few years ago, I had a different blog that I kept up. During the summer of 2010, I was working at a bank, and an old friend of mine from high school (who I’d had a MAJOR crush on) got back in touch with each other. It all came about because we ran into each other at WalMart the week before Easter, and he told me that he’d enlisted in the army and was leaving for Germany on Easter Sunday. How prophetic.
During high school, he and I were friends. We had some classes together, and spent a lot of time just talking about random things. After high school, I didn’t hear from him much. Well, more like at all. There was one week where he messaged me on MySpace (back in the day) and we talked for a few days, then communication dropped off again for another few years until we saw each other at the store. I had been reading all these body language books at the time, and, while we were standing there talking to “Sam,” I noticed that he was exhibiting behaviors indicative of romantic feelings. Basically, he was sending me vibes. And I was excited as shit.
For the next five months, Sam and I kept in pretty constant contact, and a bit of a romantic thing blossomed between us. We weren’t together or an item or anything, there was no commitment made, but still, we were flirty and romantic and mushy and cute and all that crap. Granted, this was only over Skype video calls, texts, and Facebook messages, but it was enough. I actually had a friend tell me during this period that I was beaming, and I think I was. I was happy. I had waited over six years for Sam to do anything but consider me a friend, and it was finally happening. I was beaming.
Right around July of that summer, Sam began to get seriously depressed. He hated being in the army, he hated being in Germany, he hated the weather, he hated rain, he hated his hair, he hated everything. And no matter what I did, I couldn’t help him. All this added to the fact that he was going to be deployed to Afghanistan in November didn’t help anything. After Sam became depressed, communication started to wean. He wasn’t online as much, which, really wasn’t a bad thing; at least he was getting out and doing something productive rather than sitting in his bunk all night watching movies. Hell, I didn’t even care that his “productive” activity was going to the strip club with his buddies. Anyway, he wasn’t online as much, and therefore, we weren’t talking as much. I started to have nightmares involving him, and kind of became a nervous wreck because I didn’t know what was going on with him. And when we did talk, he was very distant and shut off and kind of nasty in a way. One day when I got seriously fed up with his complaining about how much he hated everything, I said, “Now, stop it. It’s not as bad as you think it is. Just stop focusing on the bad things and focus instead on the good.” To which he replied, “No.” And that was the last time we talked.
After that, he deleted me from his Facebook, his phone, his Skype contacts, everything, which hurt like a sonofabitch. I was miserable. I was hurt, I was a tad humiliated, I was confused. I reached out to a member of his family that I worked with, explaining the situation and asking if she knew anything about where he might be or had she heard from him, and she said no, but told me to keep my spirits up. ”He’s just not adjusting very well right now. He’ll be back to the old Sam before you know it.” I tried to believe her, but there was just something about the situation that made me think it wasn’t going to be okay; the “old Sam” wasn’t coming back.
A few months later, after the hurt and humiliation subsided, I looked him up, just to make sure he was still alive. I sent him a message and asked how he was, if he felt any better, if things were going well. He messaged me back (much to my surprise) and said he was doing fine, he wasn’t as depressed as he was, and then he told me that he had met a Brazilian girl. He phrased it as though they were just friends and she was helping him cope, but the undertone was one of almost warning. Basically, he was telling me that he now had a girlfriend.
And, oddly enough, I wasn’t hurt.
I was pissed. And I began wondering if he hadn’t had this girl the whole time. During the first few months of him being in Germany, his only friends on MySpace were girls, who he would, in essence, flirt with from time to time. It didn’t bother me, because, like I said, there was no commitment made between the two of us. I didn’t feel I had a right to be mad at him when we weren’t in an exclusive relationship. Hell, we weren’t in any kind of relationship. So, if he wanted to flirt with a girl from time to time, whatever. I didn’t care. So, I guess I shouldn’t say I was pissed. I was more jealous. And a little hurt, I will admit. But not as hurt as I was when he cut himself off from me. I had decided one day that, since there was no real relationship or commitment between us, I shouldn’t be feeling as hurt as I did. So, the emotional connection almost disappeared. I still held out hope that he would come around, and that didn’t happen. That’s what I was upset about.
After that conversation (and, of course I tried to be supportive and congratulated him) we didn’t talk again, and haven’t talked since. It’s been about three years since I’ve heard anything from or about him. And, a few months ago, I randomly had a thought. He could be dead. And it sucked having that thought. Because that was a very real possibility. He could have been killed in Afghanistan, or he could have committed suicide, and I never would have heard anything about it, and would not have had any way of knowing. Anytime I tried to find him online only lead to other people with the same name. I didn’t feel comfortable reaching out to his relative who was now an ex-coworker and someone I hadn’t spoken to for years, and I didn’t know any of his siblings or either of his parents. He had deleted all people from his hometown, so none of our classmates had any contact with him. He just disappeared, which only furthered my fear that he was dead. Of course, after a few weeks, the thoughts left my mind again. Until today. I was sitting in my grandmother’s living room pondering the mysteries of the universe and had the thought, “I wonder if I can find Sam.” So, I made my way to the computer, where I searched his name. Nothing. Then I thought, “Maybe if I search his name in the photo section, a picture might come up which might lead to a profile page.” And sure enough, it did. It took me to his old, abandoned MySpace page, which hasn’t been touched in two years. From there, I went back to Facebook, just to see. Can’t hurt to look.
After about fifteen minutes, I found one profile page called “Sam Daniela Lastname.” The picture had a man and a woman in it, and the guy looked to be Sam’s build, so I clicked on it. Bingo. There he was, blonde hair, freckles, and all. With a beautiful Latina-looking woman clinging to him. Neither were smiling. They both looked miserable. I tried to look at the profile, but it was set to private, so I couldn’t see shit. But then I saw his step-mother’s profile, which was public. (Yes, I know–this is serious Creeper status shit.) So I began looking through her pictures. The first one that I saw made me sick to my stomach.
He and the Latina lady were married. The day after my birthday. Of 2012. Now, I’m pretty sure this is the Brazilian girl he had told me about, because I recall her name being Daniela, but I can’t be sure, because the conversation was deleted in a fit of rage.
The second thing that ruined today? They have a baby. They are parents. Sam is a father. Ugh. It makes me sick just thinking about it. This kid looks to be about five months old. His step-mother has posted a ton of pictures from the fifth of this month with Sam, the wife, the baby, and the wife’s family, when they had all come up to visit. Which leads me to believe that he probably lives in Brazil, which is hilarious because he doesn’t speak a word of Spanish or Portuguese. Anyway, I digress.
My only consolation from discovering this information is that, in every single picture, both Sam and his wife look absolutely miserable. They look like they hate each other. They look like it’s torture being in the same room with one another. They look like they regret every getting involved with each other.
And that kinda makes me happy.
I’m kinda thinking that his marriage will end (I know it’s awful to say that). I’m not hoping it will, but I have a feeling that this is not meant to be, especially after seeing how gloriously happy they are with each other. And if it does, I hope that, perhaps, for whatever reason, I might have a chance. But even that little smidgen of hope is overshadowed by the fact that, 1) I’ll be a second choice, 2) he’ll always have ties to Brazil lady, and 3) he still threw me to the back burner when something more accessible came along the first time.
Even though there’s some pretty clear indicators of a loveless marriage going on, I have no way of knowing what kind of person Brazil lady is, or what kind of marriage they have, or what kind of life they have in general. All I know is who Sam used to be before the army and before Brazil lady came along, and he’s an entirely different person. Granted, the “old Sam” will never again walk this Earth. There’s no way for Sam to become the person he used to be. He’ll always be different, he’ll always be changed. And that’s okay, as long as he tries to be a good person. I have no doubts that he is and will be an excellent dad; he’s always wanted kids. And I have no doubts that he will be an excellent husband to the right woman. I just hope that he didn’t jump into that relationship and marriage for the wrong reasons. He’s always been a flirt, he’s always been chasing women, and a lot of the time he was turned down and rejected. So I’m wondering if this is one of those shallow marriages.
I’m getting way off track here.
The fact of the matter is, I’m now questioning my feelings for Sam. Even though there was no commitment between us, I feel like I invested a lot into whatever it was, and I’m questioning if I actually loved him. When we would talk over Skype, before we’d hang up, we’d always say, “Miss you, love you, bye.” At the time, I didn’t think anything of it, because I said that to pretty much everyone. But now I’m wondering if I didn’t actually love him. Like, love him love him. You know? And the fact of knowing that he’s married and has a baby made me sick to my stomach, it only makes sense that I did.
I’ve always held out hope that Sam and I might become something. I guess that’s what makes this so hard to stomach. I hoped that he would come home from Afghanistan and we’d be together. And now that hope is gone, for the most part. He’s married. There’s no room for another woman. There is no flirting with cute girls. There’s no going to the strip club to kill time. There’s probably no talking to other women at all. But, I still kind of hold out hope that something will happen. Without wishing evil on their marriage.
Also, they named their son Channing.
I had the privilege of being able to interview a friend of mine who is openly gay, and has been voicing his opinions on same-sex marriage and the Boy Scouts of America situation for the past few months, to get his views on the current proceedings in the Supreme Court on the issue of legalizing same-sex marriage. I hope to shed light on the LGBT community’s views on this subject, and perhaps lessen the discrimination being thrown around by the opposition.
- How long have you been out?
I’ve been openly gay since this past January.
- How did you friends and family react?
Well, my parents…it’s kind of a complicated thing with my parents. One was more open than the other. My parents, from a religious viewpoint, are opposed to homosexual marriage and homosexuality in general. They follow the traditional Catholic belief that homosexual tendencies themselves are not inherently sinful, but the applications and practices are. So I wouldn’t necessarily say they support me in it, but, they’re just as loving and caring as they were, and I’m able to talk to them about it. So in a way, they support me, but they don’t agree with it from a religious standpoint. Many of my friends had already known, and some I just told along the way. I’ve never really announced it to everyone, but it’s known just by the way I live my life. I’m not closed up about it. If I’m talking to someone that I like, I’ll tell my friends about it in the same way they’d tell me. I try to live my life as normally as possible. I’ve never really made an announcement or told people in general. It’s all been as I go along, people either find out, or I tell them and confide in them. About a week after I came out I was talking to one of my friends about the reason I came out in the first place. In one class, I heard a friend mutter to another friend, “Oh, he’s gay, that’s no surprise.” And while that really wasn’t negative, it was still kind of new and it rubbed me the wrong way. And so I called him on it, but later that evening, I got a text from him saying, “I apologize. I’m not the kind of person to discriminate. I apologize if I offended you in any way. I’ve always respected you and you’ve always been a good friend to me.” And that’s really the only negativity I’ve gotten from it, and I’m really blessed with that.
- Did you face any sort of discrimination because of your sexuality in any facet of your life?
I can’t say that I’ve faced open discrimination towards me, other than my friends, who, like my parents, religiously opposed to it, and, interestingly enough, even my friends who are religiously opposed to it still respect me and love me and cherish me enough to be able to look past that and just take me for me, for who I am.
- What is your stance on same-sex marriage? Why are you for or against it?
Obviously, I am for it. And honestly, I can say, that there was a time in my life where I was so confused and conflicted, that I was vehemently opposed to it, but that was because I had grown up being taught that it was wrong and sinful, it was not a choice, so when I started having these feelings, I thought there was something wrong with me. i convinced myself that it was a phase. It was a bad thing, it was not something that should be accepted. So, in my youth when I started having these feelings, up until I was 13 I was vehemently opposed, that was only because I was in such conflict with myself. But now, I’m very much for, not only for my own interest, but for the interest of others. I have a cousin that is gay and he helped me through a lot of stuff when I was closeted. Honestly, it all comes down to equality. Who is anyone to define something that someone else is feeling and say it’s wrong, or bad, or not equal to what they feel?
- Do you believe it should be called a marriage, or a civil union, and why?
I believe it should be called a marriage, and the reasoning goes back to the Civil Rights, where they said, “Why not have separate but equal?” Nothing separate is equal. You have to have it equal the whole way across the board. It should be called a marriage, and come with all the benefits under the law. Equality across the board: Marriage.
- What is your opinion on the church’s views on same-sex marriage and lifestyle?
My church holds to the issue that the practice and application of homosexuality is what is sinful, and not inherent tendency. I think they preach against what they don’t understand. I think there is not only a lack of empathy, but a lack of even trying to empathize with those who are gay. A lot of that is rooted in old Biblical teachings, that, first of all, shouldn’t be Scripture in the first place. I believe the entire book of Leviticus were laws made for the Jews, by the Jews, and were not God-sent, and were not divinely inspired. And not only that, but I think a lot of these doctrines were made when women didn’t even have rights. They were treated as property, and look how all that changed and how the church has come to accept it. People fear what they don’t understand. And in a hundred years, I think the church will embrace same-sex relationships. I think the doctrines should be viewed as they were written in a different time, and they no longer apply to modern society.
- Do you believe that homosexuality is a choice?
No, plain and simple. My reasoning is, why would I choose to be so unhappy for so much of my childhood, secretly, with no one to reach out to? Who would choose to live a harder life? You’re given what you’re given, and you gotta roll with it. I was, quite frankly, born this way. In whatever way, genetics, or something else. The fact of the matter is, you’re born this way, and I hope others can realize that.
- What are your hopes for the Supreme Court’s rulings and the future of this country in regards to legalizing and accepting same-sex marriage?
In the long run, we’re hoping for federal recognition for same-sex marriage, and all the benefits that fall under heterosexual marriage.
- What would you say to the citizens who oppose the legalization and acceptance of same-sex marriage in hopes to perhaps change their views?
I truly believe diversity of opinion is what makes the world go round. I respect other people’s positions, for the fact that it is their position. I don’t necessarily respect the decision they’ve made, but I respect that it is their viewpoint. I guess what I’d say is the whole, “Walk a mile in my shoes.” I didn’t choose to be this way, I didn’t choose to struggle. But, all I know is that what I feel is real, and I just don’t see why this is an issue. Love is love. Largely, homophobic sentiments are based in religion. I’d say to them, “Even though I am a Christian, America is not, never was, and never will be a Christian country.” We are a country where we not only have freedom of religion, but freedom from religion, and I believe in complete and total separation of church and state. I don’t think any decision the Supreme Court would makes should be based on non-sec reasoning, but secular, rather. Walk in my shoes, try to understand, try to be empathetic, try to understand that this in no way will affect you. All this will do is make the world happier for those who have been sad for so many years.
Lately, the entire planet it seems has been buzzing with news about the Steubenville rape case. I, along with thousands of other people, were abhorred by the amount of horridly disgusting negative reactions from people around the world. But before we get to all that wonderfulness, let’s start with the facts.
In August 2012, a 16-year-old girl who was drunk was taken advantage of by two of her fellow schoolgoers, a quarterback and a wide receiver from her school’s football team. They abused her for six hours by undressing her, carting her to various parties, photographing her while nude and semi-nude, assaulting her in a car, one of the boys then tried to make her perform oral sex on him, and one (or both) of them vaginally penetrated her with their fingers, all while she was completely unconscious. Many of the other party-goers took photographs of this girl while she was being abused, and most of them laughed hysterically at her expense, and no one tried to stop it. Many (if not all) of the photos and videos of these events were put on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter, and were sent through text messages by the witnesses and third parties.
These two boys were recently tried in court on charges of rape, and both were convicted, after the judge found that they had vaginally penetrated her.
Those are the facts. Plain and simple: this girl was completely and disgustingly taken advantage of, she was abused, she was derided, she was assaulted, she was raped. There is no other way to put it.
The public reaction to this verdict was outrageous. Completely abhorring. As a woman, I am offended, stunned, and just plain pissed at the public outcry that resulted from the judge’s findings. This furthers my lack of hope for this and future generations. The reaction I’ve heard more than any other goes something like this: Those poor boys.
What. The. Fuck.
Yes, those poor boys. Those poor boys who committed acts of sexual violence for six hours. Those poor boys who took advantage of an unconscious girl for their own entertainment. Those poor boys who assaulted a girl because they could. Those poor boys whose futures are now “ruined.” Those poor boys.
Those poor fucking boys who committed a crime and are now facing the consequences for their disgusting actions.
As they fucking should.
The response was heart-wrenching. I got a headache from reading all of the posts on Facebook and Twitter because I was clenching my teeth so hard. Millions of people saying that the girl was “asking for it,” that it was all her fault, she should have known better. People saying that she is a slut, a whore. That the boys hold zero accountability for their actions because it was a false accusation. The boys are the victims.
Are you fucking kidding me?
I’m sure we’ve all heard the term “rape culture” in the last week. It’s being perpetuated by thousands who don’t know what it means, thinking that it’s helping their campaign for this “false accusation” theory. Rape culture is defined as this: A concept used to describe a culture in which rape and sexual violence are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media normalize, excuse, tolerate, or even condone rape. Examples of behaviors commonly associated with rape culture include victim blaming, sexual objectification, and trivializing rape. Rape culture is not women using rape as a means of revenge. Rape culture is not women blaming men for every bad thing that has ever happened to them. Rape culture is not women falsely accusing men of sexual violence in order to further their own ambitions. And rape culture certainly is not “made up.”
In response to the negative comments and accusations being made, there have been thousands of posts focusing on the fact that we are neglecting the heart of the issue: that poor girl and her horrible experience. Because, really, that’s all that matters. How is this girl dealing with this? Not only the fact that she was sexually assaulted, but the fact that she is being blamed for all of this, that millions of people believe the blame lies in her hands. She was the one that got so drunk that she passed out, how is it not her fault?
Because she’s not the one who took advantage of another human being for entertainment without remorse.
She did not make those boys do anything. Those boys were in a situation that had a variety of options. They could have easily picked the girl up and taken her home, or to a friend’s house. Hell, anything to get her somewhere safe so that what happened didn’t happen. But, no. Two teenage boys felt that it was perfectly acceptable to abuse this girl and then laugh about it like it was no big deal. And I’m sure they enjoyed every minute of it. That seems pretty evident in all the videos and pictures that they posted. They must have felt so powerful. Not feeling so powerful now, are we, boys? Now that you’ve had to face the not-so-fun consequences for your deplorable “fun” night with a helpless girl. Now that you’re going to be spending some time in jail, where your friends and parents can’t protect you and try to justify your actions for you.
I have no sympathy at all for those two boys. None, whatsoever. They are not the victims. They never were. And the fact that this generation, my generation, is claiming that they are, is so incredibly disappointing and upsetting that I cannot find the words for it. It pisses me off beyond belief.
There’s nothing more that I want to do right now than rant and rip those boys (and their supporters) apart, but that will do no good. That will not change the fact that they committed this horrible crime, and that that poor girl will have to live with this, and experience this hatred and blame, and the scars and damage inflicted upon her by her perpetrators, and the general public, for the rest of her life. Nothing I can do will change anything about what happened.
But perhaps I can change what will happen in the future.
We all have a responsibility to help one another. I don’t care what your race, creed, gender, sexual orientation, or abilities are. None of that matters. We, as human beings, have a responsibility to help each other, to further the good of mankind, and prevent these things from happening. If this girl was someone else, someone you were close to–your sister, mother, best friend–I’m sure you’d all be singing a very different tune. If it was your best friend who this had happened to, I’d bet my life savings that you wouldn’t be blaming her for all this. No. You’d be demanding justice. You’d be demanding apologies. You’d be screaming at the top of your lungs for people to shut up and see the truth. Just because you don’t personally know this girl, you think it’s totally fine to lay the blame on her. Why? Because it’s easy. The next thing you know, rape and all forms of sexual violence will be shrugged off, because we just don’t care anymore. It’s easier to turn a blind eye to what’s happening in the world, as long as it’s not happening to you. Well, wake up, fuckers. This happened because of you. This is your fault. You let this happen. You decided that, as long as no one was physically hurt, then it was perfectly acceptable for this to happen. As long as you didn’t get in trouble, or arrested, or put in jail, that it was fine.
Well, it’s not.
It is our responsibility to prevent things like this from happening not only to ourselves, but to each other. You wouldn’t stand by and laugh if your best friend was being sexually assaulted, even if she wasn’t being hurt. You wouldn’t let someone take complete advantage of your sister while she was unconscious just because it provided a small piece of entertainment to some dumbass, fucked up boys. You wouldn’t let any of your friends or family go into a potentially dangerous situation completely unprepared. You wouldn’t stand idly by if you saw rape happening in front of your face. You’d get the hell up and do something.
Part of the problem here is the fact that rape is being decriminalized. Our definitions of rape vary so drastically that hardly anyone knows what “legitimate rape” is. Our politicians are doing a very good job at clouding our vision of what it is and what it’s supposed to be, that no one knows when to say stop. Before all this rape culture talk began, the definition of rape was very clear. Rape is defined as sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse which is initiated by one or more persons without consent. BAM. Simple. Clear. Concise. Rape is forcing someone to perform a sexual act against their will. Rape is taking advantage of an unconscious girl by sticking your fingers in her vagina and making her suck your dick.
And then some say, “But how is that rape? She didn’t exactly get up and say no.”
That’s rape because she was physically unable to say no. She was unable to defend herself. She was unable to stop them. She was unable to remove herself from the situation. She wasn’t given a choice.
This country needs to sit down and seriously reevaluate its stance on rape and rape culture. The more events like this happen, the more acceptable rape is going to be. We need to really look at this from a different perspective. Right now, we’re looking at it as a woman’s responsibility. As women, we are the ones expected to take precautions against rape. We’re expected to be able to defend ourselves. We’re expected to know exactly what to do if we’re ever in a situation where rape is not only a possibility, but a guarantee. We’re the ones who have to hold all the responsibility. But where, then, does the blame lie?
The women are responsible for protecting themselves. And so, when a rape occurs, it’s then the woman’s fault for not being able to defend herself?
Are you kidding me?
Let’s look at the definition of rape again. Sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse which is initiated by one or more persons without consent. Without consent. Guys, seriously. If she doesn’t say yes, it means no. If she doesn’t say anything, it means no. If she screams, “Rape!” or, “Help!”, it means no. If she says no, it means no. Unless she says, “Yes, rape me,” she’s not giving consent. This isn’t rocket science.
Now, I’m not saying that women aren’t guilty of rape as well as men, but, in most cases, it’s the men who are the perpetrators.
But, really. No doesn’t mean yes, and I’m going to kick the shit out of whoever said that first, “No means yes.” Fuck you. Fuck you and your self-righteous, entitled fuckbag self. Who the fuck do you think you are? Honest to fucking God.
Rape and rape culture is not okay. Acceptance of violence is not okay. Blaming the victim is not okay. Defending the criminals is not okay. Standing by and doing nothing is not okay. This needs to stop. We need to get it through these men’s thick skulls that women are not on this earth solely for their pleasure. We were not created just so you’d have somewhere to put your dicks. This sense of entitlement that’s going on needs to stop. Really fucking quick. There is a solution, believe it or not. It’s called will power. It’s called self-restraint. It’s called fucking respect. We’re so wrapped up in ourselves that all of those things are flying out the window. We don’t care what we do, who it hurts, as long as, in some way, we benefit from it, even if only for a moment. We need to stop focusing on ourselves and our wants and focus on the big picture. We owe it to one another to prevent these things from happening. If you were the girl who’d been sexually assaulted by these boys, you’d be begging for justice, too. We need to stop with these double standards and get our heads out of our asses and realize that, when something like this happens, we are all at fault, because we can’t take the time to focus on anyone other than ourselves.