Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Racial Tension

We've seen it before - housing prices in major metropolitan areas climb to the point where the average young professional can't afford to buy where they want. Being young, driven and optimistic, they decide to look "outside then norm." Areas that were once undesirable become "doable."

The typical real-estate questions that these yuppies begin to ask themselves are no longer "Is this place big enough to start a family?", "Am I going to be happy here?", or "How are the neighbors?" They become "would I feel safe walking home at night?", "Would my significant other actually spend the night here with me?", "Could I bring my parents here?" or "How long until this neighborhood fully transitions?"

And so it starts... "Progress" begins moving to neighborhoods that were once untouchable. The young optimists become "urban pioneers;" cleaning up neighborhoods and making areas safer to live. The truly disillusioned feel that they are bettering the lives of those around them. Where they may be helping to increase property values, what they don't realize is that their true intentions (hidden deep in their souls) have less to do with co-habitating with the individuals that made that area what it was to begin with, but rather change that area so that their friends can move in next door. This is where the problems start...

Our young yuppies become targets and they don't understand why. Vandalism and harassment ensue, forcing the optimists into action. They need to decide whether they a) stand for the harassment as the neighborhood "changes" or b) stand up for themselves. A) makes them look like weaklings, b) opens them up for further harassment and there are no guarantees that either is going to solve the issue.

It's a shame that more can't be done to ease relations and help both the new-comers and the incumbents live in peace, but could that really be a reality? Are either sets of groups ready to make the concessions necessary to ensure that both sets are happy?

We've seen it before, and this most definitely won't be the last time, but when does it end?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Missing the man I wish he was

This morning, I found myself writing a message to someone that shocked me. I was asked “how are you? You doing OK?” Simple questions, but in this case they were loaded. My response was equally as simple, “Yeah, I’m doing alright. I just miss the man I wish he was.”

I suppose to truly understand, there has to be some background. It’s been years since I’ve seriously dated anyone. Hell, it’s been years since I have even met anyone that I wanted to seriously date. That all changed on the weekend on June 20th; the weekend of the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics Championships. With my team hosting* I had no expectations of doing anything but swimming and volunteering when possible. That all changed…

An adorable 5’5” blonde haired, blue-eyed boy, rocked my world. Sweet, simple, innocent and affectionate, this boy literally swept me off my feet and melted my frozen heart. After a fantastic night and day together touring the city, we each took flights to our respective lives; him back to Utah and me back to work in Arkansas.

My love affair continued via email and phone conversations for a week until I decided I needed to see him. Three weeks after our meeting, I flew out to Salt Lake City (SLC) for the first time and spent another fantastic weekend sleeping in his arms and getting to know him better. Although there were apparent differences between us, it didn’t matter. I ignored the yellow and red flags that were being raised and allowed myself to sink into my image of what we could be for each other. The weekend ended and once again I returned to Arkansas, unintentionally leaving a piece of myself behind.

Almost immediately, I decided we needed to see each other again. I booked another ticket to SLC and counted the 11 days until I could once again be wrapped in those arms and look into those blue eyes. This past trip, the flags were harder to ignore. The obvious differences became more obvious and the disparities in what we wanted became impossible to ignore. I realized that who I thought I was falling for was my imagination of who he was. The reality was very different. At no fault of his own, the boy who swept me off my feet quickly put me back down.
Strangely enough, I am not that hurt… at least not by him. I did this one to myself, but I also rescued myself. I caught myself before I got too lost in my fantasy to see the reality and recognized that, somewhere out there, someone exists who will match with me without either of us having to change our wants or desires “too” drastically.

All that said, I am OK, I just “miss the man I wish he was.”
*meaning we were all running around with chickens without heads

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Everyone has these moments… times when our attention gets dragged away from what we are supposed to be doing and placed on to an event that consumes our consciousness.

There we were sitting in a meeting. Seven of us around a table in a cafeteria talking about the work on each of plates, discussing issues and working through dilemmas when it just happened. I looked up and for a few moments, I was lost… gone…..

It all started with a piece of chocolate and a boy. A boy whose face (and body) are perfectly formed; lips that couldn’t have been more full, more ideal even if they were created by the best plastic surgeon in LA or Rio. It was an innocent gesture that turned hypnotic.

He reached out and grabbed a piece of chocolate and the unwrapping distracted me from the meeting. I watched him eat it. Watched as it crossed his perfect lips and he gently moved it around his mouth; allowing it to slowly melt. Sucking gently, I watched as he moved that single piece around with his tongue. Stared as his eyes slightly dilated and he was no more in that meeting than I was. For the life of me I couldn’t stop watching; I couldn’t bring myself back from the captivation. In those few moments I, mentally, crossed any HR border that exists. I put myself in the place of that piece of chocolate and dreamt away. The reality couldn’t have been better than what I imagined.

A moments vacation at the most boring of times… all from a piece of chocolate that I didn’t even eat…Someone remind me to write a thank you note to Cadbury one day.

No excuses

I’ve sat down a hundred times to write again. I’ve tried to allow my thoughts to flow from my head through my hands and onto the screen, but each time something doesn’t work. The thoughts get stuck, the feelings interrupted and my desire to speak out goes un-acted upon. It seems to be a trend. My actions don’t always live up to the expectations of my desires.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Voices in my Head

I feel myself teetering on the edge of schizophrenia. The voices in my head conflict; requests, questions, comments, ideas… They're a never ending flow of information bouncing from one wall to the other forbidding me from focusing on anything that I actually need to accomplish. At every hour of the day they pull me in different directions hoping that I will see things as they see them; pleading for me to pick-them up and embrace their ideas, their tasks, their desires and run with them. When I do attach myself to one idea, the others rebel.

They speak louder, stamp their feet, talk faster and attempt to prevent me from achieving anything. The sad thing is, they win. I end up staring at the blank walls of my cube allowing them to fight amongst themselves and hope that one voice emerges clearly from the masses as a leader. In most cases, I weed through the confusion to find something concrete to grasp hold of and rescue me from the daze of the un-orchestrated voices. Day-in and day-out they argue amongst themselves and demand my attention; they're relentless. I flirt with rescue in the forms of Lithium, Clozapine or another psychotropic drug only to be distracted by the voices pulling my attention back to their agendas.

Where do I turn? Where is the reprieve? How do I make them stop?

Wait, that's not schizophrenia, they're conference calls; day-long, constant conference calls. Now I know the solution… HANG-UP

Friday, February 23, 2007

Simple words that just…. Work

While waiting for my flight from Toronto (after one of the longest weeks I have ever worked), I sat at the gate behind a mother and son traveling to DC. At first I ignored their childish interactions and tried to just gather my thoughts. I stared out the window to the runway and watched planes pass, allowing my thoughts to wander from one topic to the next; digging through layers of unfinished tasks cluttering my brain and all to soon found myself lost and a bit overwhelmed.

Almost as though for my benefit, the child ran around the row of seats and paused right in front of me, laughing a bit too loud, and dragging me from my reverie. The mother was not far behind and the following exchange occurred:

Mother, “I’m gonna get that hug whether you want to give it to me or not.”

Son, giggling again and running as if trying to escape, “uh uh, I’m too fast for you.”

“Oh yeah?”

They ran around repeating similar exchanges (and entertaining me) until the mother caught up to him (or he let her catch him), again right in front of me. She picked him up and folded him in her arms and said, “The best thing about giving hugs is that you get one in return at the same time."

For some reason it just hit me… It was brilliantly simple and right in line with what I was feeling… I needed to give a hug, because I wanted one. Simple, honest and it saved me from loosing myself to my unfinished tasks and doubts.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Nine hour trip to Toronto

Consider this the beginning of an adventure…

From cancelled flights, mechanical delays, freakish whiteouts and two rounds of de-icing to extend what should have been an hour and a half journey into a nine hour journey.

I’ll set the stage: Terminal B at DCA (Washington’s National Airport) gate 16.

The cast of characters; now this is where the entertainment begins:

Characters 1 and 2: a mother-daughter combo with enough drama to rival Judy and Liza. The 10-year-old little girl, at first, appears to be adorable and easy going. However, after her mother begins a yelling spree with every Air Canada employee she can find, the little girl begins to enter ‘drama mode’ as well; mimicking her mother’s actions and throwing a temper tantrum about having to sit in the airport all afternoon. The mother (the real gem in the couple) is in her mid-forties and eager to let everyone who will listen, know that her son lives in DC, she sees him only three or four times a year and these inconsiderate Air Canada employees are “robbing her of precious time with her son.”

Character 3 – the light skinned black women (please note, she is Canadian, so I don’t know if “African-American” is the right term here) who has passed the many hours with me at the airport and has filled me in on her career (bus driver), her health issues (colitis) and her extended family (all living about an hour north of Toronto). In the end she sits halfway up the plane from me and tortures/talks at character 4 – a flamboyant, long-haired drag-queen out of drag (who provides his own entertainment with the antics of positioning his oversized body in the incredibly small aircraft and seats.)

Character 5 – the American shrink living in Ontario who is returning from the American Psychological Association’s governance meeting and who joins me in finding humor observing the other passengers. She is (most likely) a Jewish woman who exudes class and whose intelligence is apparent. She is the kind of therapist I would love to have.

Character 6 – the redheaded 20-something girl who attempted to flirt with me until I began reading my “Out” Magazine, proceeded to sigh loudly and turned to the slightly older, chubbier young man on her other side (they stayed united throughout the ordeal and were seen together at baggage claim… one can wonder where that might lead…)

Character 7 – the model-like dark-haired/blue-eyed Adonis sitting two rows ahead of me. The removal of his sweater revealed just enough of his six-pack abs and “treasure trail” to make my heart beat once so hard that I felt it in both of my heads. I’m surprised his head didn’t explode from the amount and intensity with which I stared at it and fantasized about him through the cracks in the seats.

Character 8 – the artsy girl dressed in all black (with a t-shirt that read “find your center”) sitting across the aisle and one row behind me. She comfortably curled up and read a novel thick enough to be the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Character 9 – My Trinidadian seatmate whose eyes twinkle when she laughs and whose voice lulls me into a sense of comfort and full disclosure. Returning from four weeks in DC taking care of her depressed brother; she is the widowed wife, mother and sister of professors from around the world. A calmness and serenity emanates from her in a way that puts the mind and soul at ease.

And of course – character 10 the casually dressed, unshaven gay boy, observing the world and engaging my fellow passengers with just enough witty banter to extract the pertinent information from them and retreat into my fantasies and pass the time.

All in all, not a bad way to pass the day and begin my northern adventure.