Mental Health Break: Yesterday Tina and I went to the Texas State Fair
Tina and I have been together for almost 10 years now. We met on line. We were on some of the same mailing lists (Trans-Gen and Trans-Theory to be exact). I was still binge drinking then and struggling with alcoholism.
There is a lot of pain and subsequent substance abuse among LGBT/TQ folks. It happens as a result of too much abuse and bullying as both a child and as an adult. The systematic supporting and rewarding bullies and abusers while systematically punishing and denying human rights, equality and dignity to those that they victimize takes a toll.
Self-medication becomes a way of dealing with the pain. I was never really into the downers that so many of my sisters got from their doctors and the streets.
When pot was cheap and virtually legal during the era of freedom that ended with the rise of Reagan and the ultra right wing along with the rise of Christo-fascism, I smoke cheap pot. Then in the 1980s during a period of time when I was having to deal with so many of my friends dying of AIDS they ratcheted up the penalties for pot to the point where they could use simple possession as reason to turn people into profits for the police-prison industrial complex created by the “War on Drugs”.
So I drank instead. It was legal and if one avoided public intoxication and driving, the police left you alone.
I was seriously messed up. I was alive largely through the support of friends. Ron, Ruth, Carol, Lori and Trish. The LA Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center helped me come out of my self imposed shell as did getting on line.
Tina and I talked constantly during the first year we got together. I was still in Los Angeles and yet we talked for hours on the phone. I got my first cell phone so I could talk with her while I was out and about. She had been clean and sober for many years and provided the constant support I needed with my early sobriety.
She also got me out of the house and back into doing things I loved, my photography, going to museums etc. We coined the meme “WBT” and started a Yahoo mailing list that still exists even though it is comatose much of the time.
When Tina and I got together in 2002 she was still living on Long Island caring for her elderly mother. I accomplished the move back to the East Coast via the postal system. I gave away or sold most of what I owned and shipped the rest.
Tina’s mom passed away that summer. Her last words to me were “Take care of Tina.”
We couldn’t afford to stay in New York. We loved the museums, just as I loved the art museums of LA and San Francisco. We had things we thought were vital assets that make places livable. An International Airport, good museums, a great music scene, good restaurants etc.
When Tina put the question to me as to where I thought I might want to live if we couldn’t afford to live in the New York City area or Los Angeles? San Francisco/Berkeley like Manhattan never entered the equation. Ididn’t hesitate in saying “Dallas”.
I knew some Texans who lived here from my interest in CGI and Maya. they lived here and commuted to LA to work on contracts. Housing was far less expensive here and the Metroplex had all the cultural features required to rank as really cool place for a person with a variety of interests to live.
So we went on line and started doing some research about Dallas and Texas in general. We learned that the Metroplex had many advantages over other popular relocation area. Housing was cheap. The weather good. It had a good economy. Dallas has a great music scene, a gay/lesbian weekly newspaper. Its own little gay ghetto and an anti-discrimination law that includes TS/TG folks.
Our Realtor was a nice gay man, Mark who assured us that he wouldn’t put us in an unsafe community, because as he put it, “You don’t want to live around a bunch of goat ropers.”
The first year here Mark and his lover helped us find our way around including going with us to Pride Day and Introducing us to the State Fair.
Like many things that Texas takes pride in the Fair is huge with everything from stock shows and crafts exhibitions to what turns in to the annual fall car show.
There are some of the slickest product demonstrators since Vince and the late Billy Mayes. They make it look like the product practically do all the work themselves.
First year there I bought a mat cutter thinking I would be able to crank out the beautifully cut mats just like the guy doing the demonstration.
Maybe if I spent several months and bought several hundred dollars worth of mats to practice on.
We’ve gone several time since and have focused on different aspects every time. Gradually we have found features that have become favorites. Last year we took Ron and discovered the 4 H/FFA auctions where teenage boys and girls sell prize winning animals they raised as a either a 4H or Future Farmers project. The money the animals earn these kids is a sort of scholarship program that they can use to further their educations.
This year the barns next to the auction area were filled with sheep that were being sheared as part of a demonstration. As we looked at the different breeds there was one very large male sheep that came to the edge of the pen looking to be scratched behind the ears and petted. Sort of a petting zoo for grown up senior citizen kids like Tina and me.
In another barn there was a demonstration of milking with a very pretty, well cared for and much love cow. I lived next to a farm when I was growing up and some of the animals are the sweetest living creatures.
I get very upset by factory farming and industrial meat and milk production. It is abuse of animals pure and simple. Even though I eat meat I would rather pay more for it and eat less of it just to know the animals didn’t have to suffer abuse. When I started saying this, Tina asked does this mean you are only going to cook vegetarian for a while.
One of the real pleasures we get living here in Texas is seeing the wide variety of farm animal out grazing in pastures rather than in the factory pens eating corn while standing in their own piss and shit.
They didn’t have the herding dogs performing yesterday and we missed the performing piglets.
We spent quite a bit of time at the car show. Tina used to sell cars and as someone who once owned a 1972 Datsun 1200 with 1172 thumping, throbbing pulsing cc’s of engine that got 45 miles per gallon I’m interested in the progress being made in getting us cars that will get at least 40MPG highway.
Cool as the Prius is the one they were showing cost in the mid 30K range. It is space age slick and I love the idea of buying less gas… But that is a lot of money on the front end.
There really wasn’t all that much in the foreign car building that was really the Japanese and Korean car building that was all that interesting.
On the other hand there are a lot of new American cars that are getting 38-40MPG highway. I got to sit in the Ford Fiesta I fell in love with at Auto Show this last spring, looked at the Ford Focus hybrid.
Then we looked at the new Chevy Cruise, a very comfortable smaller car that has an optional smaller engine that again approaches the magic 40MPG.
But the coolest car of all, the one I’ve been reading about in Wired and in other articles about cars and ecology is the Chevy Volt. 85MPG with about 40 miles on just the batteries. The problem with Nissan’s all electric Leaf is range. The volt is serious competition for the plug in Prius that will be a 2012 model.
It was way cool to see the engine and chassis without the body. I looked more closely at it than I did at the no touch display model.
I looked at Tina and said, “We win the Lotto, this is my car. I’d rather have this than an expensive Benz. It would be like constantly giving the thieves at the oil companies the finger.”
I recently reread “Ecotopia” and they describe and all electric powered car that has a chassis that can be adapted to a number of different bodies, which is exactly what I thought when I saw this display.
A cool unsigned artist, Jolie Holliday was performing on the Chevy sponsored stage.