Are you Gay?
By Fred Owens
I was thinking of questions you're not supposed to ask, so I came up with this list, not in order of importance.
Are you gay? I was talking with a new friend and asking about his life, where he lived, what he did, and I was getting to relations, and I thought maybe he's gay. I mean, he did not mention girlfriend or wife, and some gay radar thing was buzzing, but I didn't ask.
Are you planning to have children? You don't ask people of child-bearing age this question, but you think it.
Are you planning to have more children? You thought to ask, but did not.
Congratulations, you got the job. How much are they going to pay you? How come you can't ask this question? Everyone wants to know.
How much did you pay for your house? Curiously you can ask this question. Or at least people do ask it often enough.
Where are you from? Or, to get right to the point, Are you here legally?
Asked by a white person to an African-American, may I touch your hair?
How come you're in a wheelchair?
This is not a complete list, of course. And if you were only five years old, you could get away with asking these questions. Maybe we could have an All Questions Asked and Answered Day once a year, because you really want to know. You don't have a right to know, not in the least, but you want to ask, don't you.
Variety and Diversity.
I prefer saying variety because it pleases my ear. Diversity is the common phrase, but it sounds like division and divorce and it does not please my ear. So let me tell you of this small illustration of variety at the Wednesday lunch meeting of the Santa Barbara Kiwanis Club.
I come early and sit at one of the long tables. This allows later-arriving members to choose to sit with me. Bruce comes in. He limps and walks with a cane. His appetite is often quite poor. Three times a week he goes in for kidney dialysis and will continue doing that until he gets a new kidney -- a long story here, but I will get to the point -- he is a Baptist preacher and a retired Navy chaplain. That's a lot different than my life. And, I suspect, but I only suspect because I have not asked, he is a conservative Republican Trump supporter. Well, we don't argue politics at Kiwanis lunch and there are many other things to talk about.
Joining me on the other side is Matt, a lawyer and former manager of the Santa Barbara Roasting Company, which serves the best coffee in town. Matt is the father of Joshua, by way of a sperm donation to a Lesbian couple. The three of them are co-parenting Joshua. It seems very complicated, but it isn't. You just love the child and you change him when his di-dies are damp.
Anyhow, that's a variety of experience, Bruce, Matt and me. I mention this because our country is not splitting apart at the seams unlike what some people say. That's variety, although you can call it diversity.
Parkinson's Disease or PD
My neurologist went to medical school in Bangkok. Her name is Dr. Mananya Satayaprasert. She's about 30, but she looks like she's 12. She is new at the Sansum Clinic where I go and nobody seems to know how to pronounce her name. I myself have been practicing the spelling and pronunciation of her name as the right thing to do. And for a practical reason, since I have PD and she is the captain of my PD Defense Squad we could be working together for many years, we hope.
PD is random. Nobody knows who is going to catch it. It's just that one day you have it and it doesn't go away, but it usually gets worse over time. The best Dr. Satayaprasert could tell me is that when it comes to an older person -- I'm 72 -- it progresses very slowly and you can live long enough for something else to kill you -- which is not how she said it of course. What she did say is that PD can be quite manageable. So take these pills three times a day and get plenty of exercise, which I have done.Then I called my sister Katy in Denver who is surviving breast cancer. She said don't think about what might happen, just think about today. So there it is.
Nurses playing cards. I worked three years on the med-surg unit of Skagit Valley Hospital on the evening shift. I never saw any nurses playing cards. Mostly they were too busy to even visit the break room. They walked miles on their feet and they only sat down to chart and they hated charting. So it was a tough eight hours, or longer. Except, maybe once a month, maybe around 10 or 11 in the evening, all the patients would be quiet and sleeping, and then the whole staff sat down almost in a group, in great big sigh of relief, and caught a twenty minute break. Well deserved too...... but no cards.
Family party. My sister Carolyn lives in Venice Beach in Los Angeles. She will be 75 on May 2 and she is throwing a big party at her house. All her family is coming, siblings, nieces, nephews --- only one nephew, actually. Not too many children are coming. Aisha is leaving her two kids behind and Rosie is leaving her three and LIza is leaving one behind but bringing the other one. Also my daughter and her wife are bringing my grandson. Lots of fun, My sister Katy said she plans to sit, talk, eat and stroll. I like that idea.