Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Changing times

If you read yesterday's ramblings, specifically the part about the BLT memory, I want to give you a little backup story that hones in on some personal soul-searching and yes, overthinking, that entry required.  Maybe someone can relate to this, in an ever-changing world.  And as usual, I'll probably do a bit of rambling here, too.

Back before civil rights really gained a foothold, a huge percentage of this country's population never rubbed shoulders with African-Americans.  Up until I was twelve years old, we lived in rural Iowa and north Missouri where everybody was white as could be.  Even after we moved to the city, there were, in the early sixties, no black students or teachers at North Kansas City High School.  I believe there weren't even any black people living in "the Northland" at that time.  I had to get my first job before I actually had any association with African-Americans.  I remember once in awhile you'd hear someone throw in this phrase:  "Some of my best friends are colored."

Somehow the fact that it was necessary to even make such a statement shows what kind of times we lived in, because why should it be necessary to even say such a thing?  We don't say things like "Some of my best friends are blond", or "Some of my best friends are short."  

Now.  In the story I related about my daughter and I going to meet two guys in a bar, I didn't mention that the two men were gay.  Since I knew that Sim, with whom I'm still in contact, would be reading the entry, I wondered if I should mention that.  Would he think I was ashamed to tell people I have a gay friend?  But that detail really had nothing to do with the story.  Common sense told me to leave it out, and of course, that WAS the right decision.  However, I checked with Sim and told him what went through my mind.  He agreed, saying,   "I didn't even think about the gay part, Donna -- like you say, it has nothing to do with the story!"

But in an era of change, you just never quite know exactly how to handle things.  

I do remember a couple of things Sim and Russ joked about that day.  First of all, when we walked into the bar and found them waiting for us, the bartender said something to the effect that my daughter and I were meeting up with the wrong guys if we were looking for some action (as if I wasn't already uncomfortable enough just being in a bar).  I also recall Sim and Russ (who weren't a couple, by the way, just friends who had met on the Internet) assuring us that the month when gays "recruit" straight people had already passed, so we were safe.  

Rachel and her husband, I believe, met up with Russ once after that.

We all continued to converse in the comment section of Russ's blog after the meet-up until Russ faded away into the sunset.  Sim and I are in contact on Facebook.  

Meanwhile, for several years after my meeting these guys, whenever I'd mention any local male blogger, Cliff would say, "Is that the gay one?"

I hope this entry makes sense to anybody.  At least I know what I'm talking about.

As Bob Dylan wrote, "The times, they are (still) a-changin'.


Jon said...

Always go with your instincts, because it's certain that they will be right. Too much emphasis nowadays is focused on labeling people and putting everyone into categories.

Mary Degli Esposti said...

I overthink so often that I overthink about trying not to overthink as well. At least your ramblings are interesting & informative. You seem progressive, & very inclusive. Are you generally more so than the locals in your age-group/area?

Russ was good to me & I miss him.