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2:26 pm EDT 51°F (11°C) in Dexter, MI
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The other night, I finally got around to doing something I had promised for a month here. The last time I was home, I found two Virginia license plates that I had ordered from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles among my stack of mail. I finally figured out how to get decent photographs of those plates the other night — it wasn't easy to figure out the right lighting and camera settings, but I think I did a halfway-decent job. Take a look:
The top one, especially, reveals a fundamental truth about the Commonwealth of Virginia. I wrote at length about this last July 3, so I'm not going to re-state a whole lot of what I said there; but I (and all fair-minded people, for that matter) need to keep hammering home the truth, so that young, impressionable minds do not fall into the trap laid for them by predatory "fundamentalist 'Christians'" and other extreme right-wing whack-jobs. At some point, I will forward these along to the fine people at VirginiaIsForHaters.org, and also clog up the e-mail inboxes of some of the more idiotic members of Virginia's General Assembly.
I came to a very truthful, yet still jarring, realization last night. My friend Marc called me after he got out of work last night, and eventually he mentioned a conversation he had with another one of his fellow University of Michigan campus bus drivers while sitting around on a "standby" shift during the just-completed final exam week. At one point, the topic of their conversation turned to me; this other driver knew me quite well from my bus-driving days five years ago. Marc didn't tell me exactly how this came up, but they got around to talking about my termination there on October 9, 2000, and the other driver advanced a very interesting (and honestly, all too sadly, mostly true) theory about what led to my being fired. (For a bit more background, this other driver is a gay man in his late 50s, and I remember him as being the type of person who seems to have uncanny insight into human behavior.)
Basically, this other driver said that he could tell, from my actions at the time, that it was pretty obvious I lacked a decent male role model (or to use his wording, "mentor") that could show me how to take negative energies that were building up within me and direct them in more positive ways. Though I don't recall the then-department head being one of the primary targets of said negative energy, this driver also said that he believed that was the main trigger for my termination. Certainly, in looking back on it, I can see that I did not handle the problems I was having with certain individuals in a mature way, and I am obviously fully responsible for the actions I took at the time, but this driver still makes a very salient point — namely, that my relationship with my father, over the entire course of my life, has been sufficiently destructive to my child-to-adult maturation process that it has caused me to (unconsciously or perhaps subconsciously) follow the most angry, negative path possible when dealing with things I don't like.
Though I don't know how much I buy this theory, the "developmental" theory of homosexuality holds that homosexuality is caused (to oversimplify things) by the lack of a decent, properly nurturing relationship with (in particular) the same-sex parent. This theory claims that if the same-sex parent/child relationship remains sufficiently distant and cold until puberty, the child's natural desire for affection from the same gender will become sexualized (as everything else does at puberty) and result in feelings of attraction to the same sex. Again, I am not really sure about how right or wrong this theory may be — honestly, I think the only people who really want to know the "cause" of homosexuality are the "fundamentalists" who want to figure out how to stop heteros from breeding any more of us — but I also don't think I can write it off as completely off-base. There is at least some plausibility to it, even though I am well aware of many cases in which people with very close relationships with their same-gender parent still turned out gay.
I don't mean to totally condemn my father for everything bad that has ever happened to me — certainly, I've made many choices over time that have backfired spectacularly, too — but it should be clear that he and I are none too compatible in terms of personality and temperament. If nothing else, it is a parent's job to tailor him/herself to the child's unique personality, and not the other way around — and if he has failed in any one area, I think it is this. Instead of letting me figure out what I want to do and providing encouragement, along with a dose of his own past experiences, he has demanded that I conform to what he expects of me and has been sharply critical when I have not done so.
Shortly, I am going to meet up with my friend Marc. His mother is moving out of an apartment in the metro Detroit area to return to the west side of Michigan; she left him a few items, including a king-size bed, a couch, and a couple lamps, that she decided she would no longer need. We will be renting a U-Haul truck, and using that to make the move. After that, my sister will be graduating from the University of Michigan tomorrow, so I'm going to attend that ceremony.