Thursday, June 16, 2011

Something should be said...

I enjoy dining out.

Within the last month or so, I've gone out for dinner twice. Both times with people I love very much. Each time, I've enjoyed engaging, stimulating conversation, witty exchanges, much laughter and connection. We sat close, leaned in closer, when something was said that required more concentrated attention. The food was excellent, the company even more so.

Each time (and there have been numerous other times this has occurred; I am choosing these two occasions because they were recent), there has been a table in very close proximity, where one or two individuals, seated with one or two or more, felt it necessary to speak at a much louder volume than anyone else present. The individuals were, without fail, male. One incident actually involved a cell phone ringing, and the male who had been speaking loudly, proceeded to answer his phone even louder, but kindly (I use the term loosely) left the table to continue the call.

(Please note: I am not singling out men here. It's just that, while I have noticed women being loud and obnoxious, it's usually in a social, group outing session, never in a dining situation.)

I am an outspoken individual, when I feel a situation warrants it. During both these dinners, I tensed, when the too loud vocalizations of the other person intruded on the conversation that was being carried on at my table. I get a certain expression, that is easily interpreted, and that I know for a fact causes anyone with me, and certainly did cause those who were with me on these occasions, to think Oh shit, and then say out loud, "It's okay, Rebecca. Just let it go. Restrain yourself (or something to that effect)." I am respectful of the wishes of those I am with; I understand the desire to avoid confrontation. I dislike confrontation myself. And so, in these situations, I restrain myself admirably.

But here's the thing: If no one takes the initiative, to inform these individuals that they are disruptive, that they are loud, and over-bearing, and self-indulgent, and overall annoying, such behaviour will continue. No one has the right to orchestrate my dining experience, simply because they have low self-esteem and a big mouth. No one has the right to intrude on what is a pleasant time spent with someone I care deeply for, simply because they harbour feelings of self-importance, are obviously narcissistic, and haven't the wit to realize how truly deplorable their behaviour is.

I have, on these occasions, uttered words that have been considered confrontational (please note I did not say muttered). The difference between my voice and theirs, however, is pitch. I am very, very self-aware. And I know how to pitch my voice so only the subject I am addressing hears what I say. It's called "directing". I've trained dogs, successfully and for many years. Dogs are very keen to a person's pitch. It's something I've tried to teach, but it's not easy to do so. It's a very important skill to learn, directing your voice, keeping it at just the right pitch, so it's heard by those who need to hear it, and no one else. Not everyone realizes I can do this, and I find I have to reassure them, when they caution me. I take their cautions seriously, and I do not do what I sorely wish I could, because their comfort matters more to me than mine.

But again I ask: If no one says anything, does the other person learn anything? Do they learn to modify themselves, their behaviour, or do they just continue to be boorish, irritating, and over-bearing, because those who are annoyed wish to avoid confrontation?

I know the answer. You do too. And I will, with each situation, govern my own behaviour accordingly.

Maybe those I am speaking of could do the same.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


So lately, I've been blogging on about this wonderful woman I'm in love with.

I think it's important to share what you love with others. I have done this with my art, with my dogs, with books I love; with music, and movies, and, obviously, depending on the individual, women.

I love many things, in many ways.

But let me introduce you to one other love of mine:

This is Shane.

Shane is a 1998 Chevy Malibu LS. I bought Shane in April of 2004. A birthday gift to myself. Shane is the finest car I have ever owned. I love this car. She is sleek, roomy, easy on the eyes, she handles so very well, and is the smoothest ride I've ever experienced. And yes, I named her (if you love something, it deserves a name).

Shane had the unfortunate experience (which I unwittingly subjected her to) of having to spend time with someone who did not care for her as she should have been cared for. Basically, Shane got trashed. She spent almost a year with someone whom, out of the goodness of my heart, I'd lent her to. And she got trashed. Once I got her back, it took me some time, and a lot of money, to get her closer (there's still some work left to do) to her original condition.

Today, I had her seatbelts restored. A certain neurotic Labrador (not mine) ate the originals. This was a costly endeavor, though you might not think so. Trust me, I tried to do it myself. It would have cost substantially less had I been able to do the work. She has beautiful new seat covers now, as well. The detailing of her interior is not something I can afford just yet (if you saw it, you'd know what I mean), which leads me to mention that some people are unmentionable (and disrespectful) slobs.

But Shane is once more (almost) back to her complete self...and her ride is as smooth as ever. And when I mention I'm driving with the windows down, the stereo blasting, singing at the top of my lungs? That's cuz Shane has a fine sound system.

You gotta love a fine car. And sometimes that car is not the latest model. Sometimes that car is one of the finest models.

I love my car.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Politics be damned

I am not a political person. I do not engage in political discussions, I do not pretend to understand politics, I pay the barest attention to politics, period.

Having said that, I do actually pay attention. I am certainly aware of the political disparity between my country and the country right next door. Living in Canada, I am aware of how fortunate I am. Being a lesbian, and being in love with a woman who lives in a state that does not recognize same sex marriage, the disparity between my country and her state becomes glaringly obvious.

It seems very unfair to me that I, a responsible, thoughtful, loyal and compassionate citizen of my country, who just happens to have fallen in love with someone, who just happens to be a woman, and is also a responsible, thoughtful, loyal and compassionate citizen of her country, are denied, simply because of our sexual orientation, the opportunity, the promise, of being able to share our lives simply because some close-minded individuals have decided that what is not right in their eyes (read: mind) should extend to the entirety of a populace.

Now, granted, I get that, in some countries, I could be put to death for even admitting that I felt this way about another woman. Were I heterosexual, there would be no problem whatsoever. Death for loving whom I'm "supposed" to love? God forbid!

But I'm not talking about those countries. I'm talking about mine and hers.

It seems so very wrong to me that I can spend my entire life waiting for someone like her (and I really have), and that were she male, this would not be an issue. It seems so very wrong to me that what I want, to marry someone whom I love, whom I've found to be completely compatible, who suits me in all the ways that anyone would say makes a perfect match, is denied this, simply because there are close-minded individuals, in some small part of a vast country, who can't see beyond their own prejudices, and are allowed a voice; a voice that speaks of that blatant prejudice and carries enough weight that I am not allowed a form of happiness that they take for granted.

Now, please understand, I will do whatever it takes to guarantee my happiness. I know that she will do likewise. Walking away is not an option. Abandoning her is not an option. She is a living, breathing, feeling human being, and so am I. And if any of those close-minded individuals were in our place, they would think twice, or not think at all, before changing their viewpoints. I'm not really clear on the "well, that's you, this is me" mindset, when it comes to basic rights. I only know that, in this case, if I wanted to marry her, or she, me, we could, and it would be recognized here, but not there.

There are times when I wish I was straight, or I wish I understood the attraction to males. Because it would be so much easier, and that is something I think that many of the heterosexual populace just don't get. They are privileged. We are not.

In some countries, I could be killed for loving her. In some countries, loving her does not mean I can legally marry her, or be attributed any benefits for being in a relationship with her. In some countries, I can be denied access to her in a hospital, were she dying or not.

It appalls me that this is so blatantly wrong, and yet it continues.

But I love her. Make no mistake. I do love her.

Your politics cannot change that.

Monday, June 6, 2011

It pays to pay close attention

Today was a hugely emotional day.

I was wired from the get-go. My voice, as it does when I'm excited, was several octaves above my normal low key pitch. I felt energized, I wanted to dance, to throw my arms wide and toss my head back and sing (I did these things later on, trust me).

The crowds and crowds of people only added to my feverish intensity. I wanted to engage all of them, and I wanted to engage none of them. This is who I am. A contradiction. I do not want you, yet I love all of you. I compose myself, yet feel the desire to lose my inhibitions and expose all that I feel. It's exhausting and exhilarating...and sometimes so confusing.

Later, I try to convey this to her, and I make a bad mess of it. Words elude me, the ability to tell her, to share what I have experienced, is beyond me, and I end up doing the exact opposite of what I mean to. When all I want is to let her know that all I wanted was for her to be there with me, becomes something that comes across as me challenging her, and defying that what she speaks is the truth. I am definitive, and harsh, and almost without mercy.

When she starts to cry, because I have pushed her beyond her limits, because I have challenged something that should not be challenged, and then she gets angry, I beg off. I end the conversation. If it can even be called a conversation. Which it can't, really. It's just words being tossed back and forth, that make no sense, and accomplish nothing. So I end it, and hang up.

This learning curve, while not steep, is harsh. I do call her back, twenty minutes later. Our voices are hushed, soft, careful. I take the time to explain that what I said is not what I meant. I then go on to explain what I meant. She listens, accepts my apologies, offers her own. We reach an understanding, that could not have been met had we both not been open to the possibility in the first place. I tell her I am grateful she takes the time to listen and appreciate. She tells me I should be more careful with what I say. She's right, but I explain my defense mechanisms. She says she understands.

I apologize for making her cry. She says she wouldn't cry if she didn't care. She just wants to understand. Alright. Well. It's up to me to do a better job. I choose my words carefully, and tell her, without the confrontational tone, that I have to unlearn what I have learned. And if she could just be patient, I will do just that.

We reach that understanding, admit that today was emotionally difficult, that missing each other intensely is not conducive to proper conversation, and then we say goodnight.

Goodnight, as in, I'll talk to you first thing in the morning. Goodnight, as in, I love you, only you. Goodnight, as in, soon.

Very soon.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Picture perfect

"So what were you thinking, when you decided to send that picture to me?" I ask.

We've been on the phone for an hour, before I finally ask this question. But it's a question that's been on my mind since she sent it.

It was for my birthday, part of a package she'd sent that arrived right on the day. When I opened it, and saw the 3x5 silver and black frame, holding the photo of her I'd first seen on the dating site, the one I'd raved (in my quiet way) about, I was deeply touched.

She's quiet for a moment or two, and then she says, carefully, "Well, I knew you liked books. Actual books. I knew that you appreciated tangible things. Things you can see, and hold, and have before you. And I knew you liked that photo, so I thought if I gave you something tangible, you would appreciate that. I just thought that was something you would appreciate."

This is a thoughtful woman, this woman who hears what I say, who pays close attention to who and what I am, to the things that make me, me. She pays closer attention to these things than anyone I have known, closer attention than I (sometimes) think I do myself. And that's saying something.

That framed photo sits on my desk now, just to my right, at the base of my lamp. I couldn't tell you how many times through the course of a day I look at it. How, when I do look at it, I am reminded of how fortunate I am, to have stumbled upon someone who not only has my best interests at heart, but who has me, just me, at heart.

It's a new thing, a novel thing. Which sounds almost sad.

But isn't sad at all.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lilac bliss

Lilac bushes line one full side of the yard where I now live. Lilac bushes, some of which are now in full bloom, some of which still have to bloom.

The scent of them, when I step into either the front or back yard, is overwhelmingly pleasant. It washes over me, drifts upon the air, as I stand on the deck. It's a timeless scent. It speaks of Spring, of Youth, of Promise, of...Potential.

I doubt there is any other scent that I can attribute so much to. And it's so fleeting. For approximately one month, lilacs flood the senses with a heady scent you simply can't recreate, no matter the bottled, fabricated products available. The real thing is impossible to duplicate completely.

When I was younger, I did what many others did, and do: I removed branches bearing these lovely flowers, and placed them in vases, so I could enjoy them within my own home. But they don't last long. And there's nothing sadder than the sight of lilac flowers wilting, or wilted, in a jar of water, sitting on a table top, that you thoughtlessly removed for your own private enjoyment.

I get things now, that I didn't when I was younger. I get that enjoyment of a thing should be something that is enjoyed where, and when, and while it is. I get that life is short, and this world and life is changeable, and that the enjoyment of both should occur without removing something, but rather, by adding to it. You get out of life what you put into it. If you put nothing into your life, or your world, your enjoyment of it is exactly that. Nothing.

I am in a position currently where even the smallest things grant me huge enjoyment. I am in a position to understand that what I put into this life, this world, garners me huge rewards. I do not take these rewards lightly. I treasure them, and view them with awe and the utmost respect.

I am in a position to be rewarded for all I have done, for all I have paid attention to, for all that I cared enough about to make an effort to ensure it's continuity.

This I have done.

Try to do the same.