05 May 2010

Where've I Been?

Andy and others have wondered why there suddenly seems to be a dearth of blog posts. I can't speak for others, but I've had a flurry of other activities that have simply taken up all the time and mindshare. Plus, think about it. On the news, if it bleeds it leads. Everybody loves drama as long as it's not their own. And gay guys' lives often seem set permanently on Drama: High. We say we hate it but we seem to thrive on it too. Go figure.

And I just haven't had much high drama lately that's worth talking about. The extended family have all hit the mute button, as have I, and the peace & quiet have been very nice. They got the message they needed to hear, now we're at the stage where they have to digest and decide what they're going to do going forward. It's been nearly two months since I talked to any of them (except younger brother) and I gotta tell ya, it's been very relaxing after that rising torrent of resistance and invective.

So what have I been doing? Well, unbelievably, I'm still on the heavy travel schedule with that quirky company that makes all those uber-cool can't-live-without-'em electronic devices named after a fruit. Including the latest one which we've already sold over a million of. Pretty amazing.

What else? Well, spending time with the kids of course. And time with friends old and new. I'm so blessed in this regard I can hardly believe it. Near or far, wry or serious, trendy or rustic, you know who you are, and I love you all. I'm not just saying that, I really mean it. We have had delightful times together. You are proof to me that there's more than one kind of family, because some of you have been there for me when even my own bio-family wasn't. Surely God takes note of that.

Last Friday I went to the annual banquet of the Southern California chapter of the Association for Corporate Counsel, and ran into two friends with whom I'd worked closely at another company and whom I hadn't seen for a little while. We laughed and embraced and reminisced and shared updates and all agreed how lucky we'd been to work together as part of such a great team. It was more evidence that what goes around comes around, that if you do your best to help your friends when you can, they'll do the same for you.

At the same time, it was kinda weird being in that setting. It made me acutely aware of how lucky I've been in my life, how blessed. And how egalitarian I've become. Being fawned over by the wait staff really bothered me. I'm no better than them, no more valuable as a person. Yet I was the one seated with the badge on, being catered to, served, deferred to, surrounded by hundreds of high-priced lawyers in expensive suits and all the glitz and glamour and style of a major hotel's ballroom and the best its five-star chefs could offer. Except for the keynote speech by former Secretary of State Condi Rice and seeing my friends, I didn't like the rest of the event much at all. It just seemed so pretentious and artificial.

I had a much better time hanging out Monday night at Velma's, a working class bar in an industrial section of San Francisco, talking with Velma herself, a sixty-something African-American woman of serious street smarts and riotous sense of humor. A friend of mine is running for Supervisor in that district of San Francisco, and we met at Velma's after a campaign event which I'd also attended at St. James of the Shipwreck Catholic Church. The female Webmaster for Velma's Web site is named Missionary Pepper. How cool is that!

Walking through the halls of the school there, in a very ethnically mixed neighborhood, I saw a row of lockers, and it reminded me of the lockers at my 8th grade school. You know how lockers often have a little metal faceplate on them with the number and sometimes the name of the locker manufacturer? Well, when I was in 8th grade there was one locker--just one--that for some reason had a name on that faceplate--Worley--that was different than all the rest--Hallowell. It was #81. And guess who got it. That's right, my locker was unique in the whole school. To this day I don't know how to explain that name difference. Over the years I've come to think of it as a metaphor for how my life's turned out. Completely unique and almost unclassifiable in many ways. And I'm really glad. I was on the road to complete and utter boring a few years ago. Then events took a different turn, and a very good thing too.

If they hadn't, if I hadn't had the courage to come out, I would have stayed locked in the old complacency, outwardly compliant but inwardly more and more miserable. I never would have met my new virtual family of bloggers and bloggers' friends. I wouldn't have had the amazing professional adventures of the last few years. I certainly wouldn't have ended up at Velma's or met her friends and had an eye-opening look at their lives which are completely absolutely utterly foreign to those comfortably nestled in The Mormon Cultural Cocoon. Yet they too are children of God whom He loves and cares for just as much.

Life lesson: disasters can turn into unimagined blessings. Embrace new adventures. Question authority repeatedly. Examine your own life all the time. Don't live in fear, it's a life half-lived (says one of my favorite movies). Be confident and sure of yourself. Don't let others dissuade you from becoming what you need to be. Don't waste time dithering; decide what you want, what will help you grow and make you happy, and chase it. Like Steve Jobs said, listen to your heart, not other people's dogma, because your heart already knows what you want to become. The world is a wide and wonderful place with amazing possibilities and new adventures. I've been so entranced with it all lately that I haven't stopped much to blog about it. But even boring time on a plane can be valuable if you use it well. And so home I go to put on the Dad hat, enjoy the Mahler 2nd this weekend, and then it all starts again!


Bravone said...

Glad things are going well for you Rob (still hard to get used to.) I love your last paragraph!

Horizon said...

I agree with Bravone and I smiled at your assessment of the MoHosphere and drama: "We say we hate it but we seem to thrive on it too. Go figure."

As a verifiable news junkie, I can relate. We hope for the best, but pay attention to the worst. It is like praying. When things are good, people forget to, and when things are going wrong, they shout at the heavens.

Let's celebrate more of the good!

Good to be Free said...

My favorite quote is from 30 Rock, "drama, it's the gay man's Gatorade."

We do miss your insights Rob.