Monday, April 05, 2004

I'm back(eth)

Good Morrow, Gentle Readers (and not-so-gentle readers too)! As the sun dawned lightly (and way too fucking early) over yon horizon, I thought (no, really!) to myself a touch of humour was needed this fine day. And behold! What should waiteth in mine Inbox but a bit of whit (and horror). I shall henceforth commence to share it, and there shall be much revelry!:

"The Washington Post Style Invitational contest asked readers to submit "instructions" for something (anything), written in the style of a famous person. The winning entry, by Jeff Brechlin of Potomac Falls, Maryland, was The Hokey Pokey as written by W. Shakespeare:"

O proud left foot, that ventures quick within
Then soon upon a backward journey lithe.
Anon, once more the gesture, then begin:
Command sinistral pedestal to writhe.
Commence thou then the fervid Hokey-Poke,
A mad gyration, hips in wanton swirl.
To spin! A wilde release from Heaven's yoke.
Blessed dervish! Surely canst go, girl.
The Hoke, the Poke --- banish now thy doubt
Verily, I say, 'tis what it's all about.

Now, wasn't that worth the pain and suffering of me over-inflating my language above? I knew you'd see it my way. So...another interesting weekend to deconstruct. Oh sit down and relax. Yes, I know it's hard to contain your glee. So let the commence.

As most of you know, I was in Pocatello, ID this weekend, helping them establish a SafeZone program at Idaho State University. First there was the trip into ID. The flight into Salt Lake was interesting. I'd never been to SLC before, and landing there in the dark was a bit sad to me, as I wanted to see the center of the LDS universe. I'd been told it was a very beautiful place, but sunset meant I wouldn't know yet. The flight was rough and short. We had 10 minute beverage service after the captain finally decided the air was smooth enough for the flight attendants to push a cart down the aisle without killing someone. The irony: they were about 5 minutes into the 10 minute process when the co-pilot came over the speakers to announce we were beginning our initial descent. I've never seen flight attendants move so quickly and efficiently. It was impressive and comical all at once.

As I walked from one concourse to another in SLC, I was feeling very out of place. LOTS of frumpy women. LOTS of missionaries. And LOTS of children running around harried parents. Now I have a number of LDS friends, many of whom don't fit the traditional "Mormon mold." This was spooky. Children-of-the-corn, Stepford-wife, We-are-the-borg-You-will-be-assimilated, they're-coming-to-take-me-away spooky. The upside? Lots of cute, clean-cut, strapping young lads running about. Yum. I wanted to find my gate before eating, and ended up not having time to actually find food, though I did text a few friends "I'm having Missionary for dinner...all you can eat buffet." What?! They looked tasty! And it reminded me of an episode of the Simpsons. "Mmm.....sacrilicious." Heh. Then they called my flight, and I made my way to the puddle jumper.

Let me say that I've flown in and out of Laramie once or twice in my day, and I no longer fear the often-turbulent, ever-noisy joy of small planes. I'm used to it and somewhat desensitized, I supposed. We took off almost on time, as a maintenance guy was repairing a few arm rests (after we were all boarded and seated, mind you) and delayed us about 5 minutes. We were in the air about 3 minutes when the pilot came on over the speakers and announced we had to return to SLC for a few "routine maintenance checks." The take off had been pretty bumpy, even by my standards, but it was night and we were flying out over the Great Salt Lake, so I figured weird thermals were possible and responsible. Ah, but no. We landed. We landed fast and hard. And there was a fire truck not too far off. When we pulled up to the gate and they shut the engines off (rather hastily, I might add), they confessed they'd been getting abnormal readings from the engines and that they turned us around because they were concerned. They quickly decided the problem wasn't a simple one, and that the plane would NOT be in the air that night. Bear in mind that we were supposed to land in ID at 10pm. So at 10:30 they finally decided they would pull a plane out of a hanger, fuel it, and run the maintenance checks. A happy thing, considering the alternative was for Scott to drive to SLC from Poicatello (2 hrs), pick me up, and drive me back. Getting in at 2am and then setting up for a training at 8am didn't sound happy. Midnight was bad enough, which is when I finally landed. The verdict on the plane: had we stayed in the air, we would have crashed. Nice, huh?

The session went very well. They had about 25 people show up to be trained as SZ facilitators, which is an impressive number. Most of them were straight, though there were a few gay guys and their lesbian (singular). Yes...they have one active, out lesbian student involved with any gay groups on campus. One. Yikes! From our conversations I gathered things at ISU are tense, especially where any form of diversity is concerned. I truly hope a SZ program will help create some dialogue. We had a great group of people there, and they were from all over the campus...and from a satellite campus 45 miles away too!

So now it's time for your favorite part: Lessons learned. 1) More songs should be written by William Shakespeare. 2) NO MORE songs should be written by Billy Boy. 3) Life is fragile and precious and we need to make the most of every single day. I know...duh. But once in a while the universe reaches out and gives you a gentle reminder (read: bitch slap) of such things. The trick is listening for the reminders and remember them after the lesson is done. School never lets out, we just change subjects. 4) As much as I sometimes grumble about the things we don't have here or the support I wish we had, it could be much worse. We do have a lot. Pocatello had some things I was truly jealous of. In the end, I was glad I am where I am, comparatively speaking. 5) I'm starting to feel like Doogie Howser, writing down what happened in my computer-based journal and then finishing with the moral of the story, closing out an episode neatly. The difference is that in life, there are episodes, and little is ever truly closed. It's more about balancing things out and finding truth and harmony in the darndest of places.

So there. Oh yeah...I'm waiting to hear more from a friend of mine. There could be a HUGE change in my life in the very near future. It developed over the weekend, and has my mind buzzing with hope, fear, and uncertainty. So if I'm a bit flaky in the immediate future, you'll know why. Well, sort of. I can't say more now, but suffice it to say that things are jumping and that I will blog about it exponentially when I can. "So tune back in later on the same 'mo-channel, same 'mo-time to see the exciting conclusion of today's episode!" (I love co-opting old TV shows!)