"Town Without Pity" is an old song by Gene Pitney. It talks about small towns and the gossiping that goes on. I thought when I moved from Wright to Laramie that I was leaving behind the vicious grapevine for more enlightened pastures. Or at least a place where people had the common sense and intelligence to research for passing on wild speculation. Sadly, this is not the case.
Last Friday night I learned what rumors have been traveling around town regarding Scotty's stay in the hospital. Some of the rumors simply said that a gay guy was in the hospital. Some were more detailed, and included claims of drug overdose or complications related to HIV/AIDS. Some specifically said he's positive or took some "bad stuff." Neither of these are correct, of course, but why would something so trivial as the truth matter?
Needless to say, I was PISSED. I was pissed because the assumption was that because someone's gay, they must be on drugs or sick with AIDS. (Or both.) I had hoped we were beyond that era, especially within the freaking GLBTQ community itself, where the worst rumors were floating. I was pissed because I wondered how such a nasty story could get started. I was pissed because I could think of a few people in town who would do it just to be mean, because Scotty made the "horrific" choice of becoming my friend and becoming more involved. A "rainbow fag," as we're labeled. A dirty "activist." I was most pissed because someone I care about was being slandered after spending 8 of the most difficult, painful, and vulnerable days of his life. Shouldn't the focus be on "someone's in the hospital, I hope he's okay," not "what did he do to 'deserve' being there?" So I told Scotty and his boyfriend C about it, figuring that it was best if they heard it from me and not someone being petty or nosy.
And the teacher became the student. Scotty and C laughed. "Who cares what they're saying? They're just jealous like always." I REALLY wanted to be the protective mama grizzly bear. I wanted to find out who started the rumors, and to correct all the misinformation floating out there. When I first wrote this blog post in my head, that was a primary purpose. But it's not worth it. I could expend a lot of time and energy frothing at the mouth about this. If they were saying things about me, I wouldn't think twice about it and would laugh it off as I have the nasty things they HAVE said about me before. I'm just being over-protective of those I care about. Not a bad thing to do, mind you, but still wasteful of time and energy.
Scotty pointed out that he's just going to come back from all of this better and stronger than before. With a different perspective. A stronger determination to LIVE. A commitment to spending more time with family and friends. To not sweat the small stuff, or waste his time on things that DON'T matter. Like gossip. Rude people. We're going to spend time together improving our poi and flagging skills. Working out. Watching TV together, which is really an excuse to hang out and simple be together. Taking time to stop and smell the flowers.