Tag Archives: on my mind

Why I Will Always Support The LGBT Community

 

When I was a high school student I had a penchant for falling in love with gay men. Nobody was really “out’ when I was a student so in all fairness I didn’t know they were gay. I don’t even know if they knew they were gay (they probably knew, but just didn’t want to talk about it and I can’t blame them one bit. Things were different back then). I only know they are gay now because as adults they have come out.

 

1989

I’m telling you this so you will understand that I had pretty low self-esteem in the dating department as a high school student. Falling for gay men as a heterosexual woman means you get turned down a lot. That’s why when one of my old high school buddies, one of those gay men I had a crush on, recently told me he thought I looked beautiful in one of my Facebook pictures I was really happy. It was kind of validating that he thought I was attractive for a couple of reasons. It redeemed my inner high school student’s self worth. It seemed really honest because it was spontaneous and I knew he wasn’t hitting on me. Also, it reminded me of why I had a crush on him so many, many, many years ago. He’s an amazing human being. He is kind, funny, generous and smart. He’s the kind of person you instantly adore. He smiles more than anyone I have ever met and he gives the best compliments. When we were in Jr. high school and I asked him to dance with me at the 8th grade dance he said yes. It was towards the end of the night and I was sweaty from dancing for three hours straight and my curly (frizzy) hair was sticking out in every direction. He smiled and said, “Your hair is very big tonight.” I know, it sounds goofy, but he was always looking for the good in things and big hair was “in” back then so I was really happy with the compliment. He never mentioned that I was sweating all over the place and I will be forever grateful to him for that.

1993

I think of all of the people I have loved or do love now that are members of the LGBT community and I know in my heart that I will do everything in my power to make sure they are treated fairly and with respect. I will do anything I can to make sure they are given the same rights, choices and options that everyone else has. I will combat ignorance and hatred with my words, my pen, my vote and even with a few rocks if need be. I’m protective of the people I love.  Friends stick up for each other. It’s about equality and human decency. It’s about love and friendship. It’s about being a good person.

1990

It is comforting to know that my problems with “getting the guy” back in high school had little to do with my personality, frizzy hair, or lack of stylish clothes. I just fell in love with people because they were awesome. They didn’t want to date me, but they loved me back just the same. We were friends who laughed, told each other secrets and had our practical jokes.  In the end, that is all that really mattered. Love really does win every time. That is why I will always support the LGBT community.

 

 

Please Stop Trying To Convert Me To Your Religion

I’ve lived in New Mexico for almost a decade now and I have had people trying to convert me to their personal religion or to attend their favorite church from the moment my feet touched down on the sandy, desert terrain. I haven’t minded so much until now. I’ve been tolerant, empathic, respectful and good natured, until now.

I was polite when people came to the door hoping to be invited inside to talk about their faith. I was patient with the man that literally put his foot in the door as I tried to say goodbye with a smile on my face. I was gracious to the man and woman that had my dog backed into a corner as they tried to open my front door and let themselves in (I was amazed at their courage as they stood defiantly in front of a snarling, scared golden retriever determined not to let strangers into his home).

I went along with the prayers that were performed before meetings at work even though in the back of my mind I didn’t think such overt religious practices should be part of the work day. I listened as my boss told me she annointed the doors and windows of our office building with special oils to keep the devil out. I accepted prayer cards, pins, and other religious gifts from a coworker who thought I was a witch because I didn’t share her exact religious beliefs.

I comforted my husband who was told by one coworker that his religion wasn’t a “real” religion and offered him support when he described the daily behavior of this women as she tried to convince him to attend her church. This all took place in a school and in front of the children he worked with. At the same time another co-worker wanted my husband to attend his church  (a different church than the woman I just mentioned wanted my husband to attend) and would often pray for my husband’s soul. My husband was called a heathen, a fornicator, and a sinner (he was told he had the devil in his soul) by this man on an almost weekly basis simply because he did not attend this man’s church. My husband was raised a Catholic, but he isn’t a practicing one. All he wanted to do was go to work and help children with their speech problems.

All of this was annoying at times, but we understood that some people are compelled to convert others to their religion based on their religious beliefs or interpretations of biblical scripture. We tried to let it all go. We both believe in religious freedom and the right to go to work and to live without having to convert to another person’s belief system. We both grew up thinking religion was a private matter and that people of various faiths could live, work and play together. We both grew up with a healthy dose of respect for other people.

Here I am, searching for playmates for my toddler. I am reaching out to people with small children and asking for friendship and what do I encounter? I encounter more people trying to convert me and my family to their religion. I get people telling me if I want my daughter to be allowed to play with their child I should attend their bible study on Wednesday nights. I am told to go to their church on Sunday so I can meet other people with children my daughter’s age. The problem is I cannot convert to every religion in town just to find friends for my daughter to play with and nor would I want to. Why can’t our religious beliefs be respected? Why is religion used to exclude people? Why is the thinking so black and white on these matters? What happened to love, kindness, and respecting differences? When did religious affiliation become the only way to define a human being? As a child I don’t remember ever asking my friends what religion they were or what church they went to. We just played together. It was a pretty simple and inclusive method for forming friendships.

I am asking as politely as I can: Please stop trying to convert me to your religion. I am quite capable of choosing and practicing my own religious faith. I ask you to please respect me as much as I respect you and to allow me to choose my own path. Don’t use your religion to exclude people, especially children. Don’t make religion more about who you hate than about who you love.

The United States Postal Service: It Isn’t What It Used To Be

If the United States Postal Service (USPS) eventually gets the axe I’m pretty confident that my local post office will have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. The level of incompetence is incredibly above average, but the real spectacular problem with my post office is the horribly, dreadful customer service. I know I am throwing around some big, fancy adjectives and it sounds like I am exaggerating on a very grand scale, but I don’t think I am. Over the past few years, let’s say three, I have had some strange and also very frustrating encounters with my beloved post office. I say beloved because I spend an enormous amount of money, a very tiny fortune, on stamps and packages each month. In short, I am probably keeping them in business. I like to get and send mail, what can I say? Anyway, here is my list of horrendous service encounters. You be the judge!

1. The postal worker drives up to my mailbox. I am standing in my yard. She waves to me and puts my mail into the box and drives away. The mailbox is literally 15 ft from my front door (store this in your memory because at the end of this paragraph you will be nodding in disgust right along with me). So, I go get my mail. Inside I find a card from the post office saying I have a package. Checked off on the card is something like “Postal worker tried to deliver your package, but nobody was home.” I have to go to the post office to pick up my package. When I get there I ask why my package wasn’t delivered to me since I was standing in my driveway, waving to the postal worker as she drove by. She obviously didn’t “stop by” and find me not at home because I was home and I was waving to her and it’s not like she didn’t see me. The guy behind the counter looks at the card and says, “Well, your driveway was too far from the road. She couldn’t deliver it.” I counter with, “My driveway is right there next to my house, right on the side of the road, and I was standing in it …waving to the postal worker. She even waved back. How could it be too far from the road?” Then the guy says, “Ma’am it’s not our job to deliver your mail.” Seriously? Isn’t that your #1 job? Stop me if I’m wrong, but I thought the entire purpose of the USPS was to deliver mail. Do I live in an alternate universe? It sure feels like it sometimes. Plus, being called “Ma’am” always makes me feel old.

This is me waiting for the mail, if I were blond and made of plastic.

2. I started selling random junk on eBay. It was stuff I couldn’t bare to throw away even though I really should have, so I put it on eBay for a penny and then someone bought it. If you haven’t sold things on eBay before you probably don’t know it, but buyers are a little crazed and obsessed with delivery confirmation. They will email you on a daily basis until their package arrives if you don’t give them some tracking numbers to follow. So, I go down to the post office and they tell me I can only use deliver confirmation on priority mail. They tell me this even though the delivery confirmation sticker thingy says I can use it on any piece of mail I want to. Even after I show them the evidence they shrug and say: no can do. Even though every other post office in the country (including the one in the next town over) will let me put delivery confirmation on any package or letter I want to send, using any mail service the USPS has to offer, they act like I am just being difficult. This post office refuses to sell me my 80 cent delivery confirmation sticker so I have to drive 15 minutes to the post office in the next town and purchase delivery confirmation just so I can avoid eBay buyer harassment.

This mail has been stamped.

3. Finally, I think I have outsmarted my post office and I buy postage online, print it out (including delivery confirmation) and slap it onto my package. I waltz into the post office and drop it off. It’s so easy I almost dance home. I’m on cloud nine! Then I start trying to track my packages through the USPS website and there is nothing. Nothing! It’s as if my packages never left the building. I start to worry that my packages are sitting on a shelf somewhere in a dark, damp back room. After a few days I march back into the post office with my little stubs and receipt in hand and ask, “Where are my packages?” The guy behind the counter shrugs and tells me when people buy their postage online the post office doesn’t have to scan the delivery confirmation until the package is delivered. Even though every other post office I have ever mailed my packages through (with online postage) has scanned my packages the second they come into the office, this guy gives me the blank stare like I am talking to him in jibberish or asking for something so ridiculous he can’t even fathom the idea. Scanning my prepaid package is just so far off his radar he’s considering committing me to the hospital for observation just because I brought it up. So I say to the guy, “You mean you could scan them, but you choose not to?” He looks right at me and says, “Yep, it’s not my job to scan those packages.” It’s just too hard for him to pick up the hand held scanner right next to his hand and zap my package. It would literally take 2 seconds, but that is just too much effort for him to exert. I contemplate picking up the scanner and just scanning my package myself, but worry I’ll be hauled off to jail on some federal offense if I do. I’m so frustrated I fantasize about using Fed Ex and UPS from now on. Do they even take birthday cards and electric bills? I can’t believe I am trying to buy products and services from the post office and they are refusing me at every turn. I start to realize why the USPS doesn’t have any money. I smile and ask the guy, “Heard anything about which offices are being closed and who might lose their jobs?” He says, “I’m close to retiring so it doesn’t matter to me.” Of course a few months later I overheard him complaining that they were trying to force him into an early retirement. I wanted to butt in and say, “Doesn’t matter to me!”  I’m not surprised that they want to get rid of  Mr. That’s Not My Job. I’ve always thought that was a lame thing for anyone to say while at work. It’s a simple sentence constructed just to make people blow their tops. It’s like the polite version of go you know what yourself. Nice way to treat your customers! As a customer I don’t really want to pay his salary anymore. I hope he retires and someone that can read the directions takes his place. Is that too much to ask?

This mail has gone through the mail, but was never stamped. Does the postage even count if it isn’t stamped?

4. This is my last and worst experience. We get together and decide to send a care package to our friend in the military who was stationed in Iraq. We got his favorite hot sauce, his favorite candy, some games, etc. Then, at his request, we pack his expensive digital camera. We mail it and it never arrives. Weeks go by and still we wait. Finally the post office is called and all of the tracking numbers are given. Then we find out the post office has the box. Apparently someone who worked at the post office opened the box, took it’s contents out and then took them home. The box was folded up and squished behind something. A postal worker recently found it while cleaning out some area of the building. Yep, our friend, stationed in Iraq, lost his care package and camera to a thief who probably still works at the post office. We were angry and wanted something to be done. All we got was a shrug, no apology even. The post office just didn’t care that they have a thief roaming around in their back rooms. They didn’t want to be bothered with our complaints.

Loco-Lou-Lou even delivers packages to your second story window.

So, that is my sad story. I have always loved the mail. We even had mail in elementary school where we could mail our friends in other classrooms little notes. I don’t want our postal system to fail, but from my experience it seems determined to. It seems to be on the road to sabotage kind of like when someone with low self-esteem gets into a really good relationship and then tries to ruin it so they can prove to the world just how unlovable they really are. Failure seems to be the only things my post office has any success with. I just keep hoping my post office is one bad seed and maybe eventually someone will come in and clean out the Riff-Raff. It’s a long shot, but I am keeping my fingers crossed!