Sorry these blog posts have become so out of order and random. Chronological would be nice, but I guess my mind doesn’t process things chronologically. Or maybe if I actually wrote every day, I could simply say what happened that day and automatically it would be in order. But I don’t write every day. And sometimes I have to go back and fill in the holes.
My ex-stepfather Steve just got remarried on the 9th. I’ve written about him before. He’s a good guy. I had really wanted to go to his wedding reception, but unfortunately it didn’t work out for me.
Well, first I was torn between attending or not attending. It was here in Utah, and he really wanted me to come… so I figured “Why not?” But on the flip side, I knew his extended family would be there, and immediately I began to fear that it would be awkward seeing all of them. Sure, his parents write me letters regularly, but what about his brothers? Would they feel comfortable around me now that they know I’m gay?
In a phone call, Steve quickly shot that idea down. “You’ve gotta’ stop thinking that everyone hates you now that you’re gay. You need to quit making it a big deal.” He was absolutely right. I remember a long time ago my dad had told me why he never dated Hispanic women. Why every woman he had ever married had been white. “They always have a chip on their shoulder. They always think the world is out to get them because they are brown. If they get fired, or someone treats them poorly, or whatever might happen it’s always because of their skin color. It’s never because of them.”
I have become that person with a chip on their shoulder. In fact, just recently I met a coworker’s husband for the first time, and he barely nodded in my direction. No “nice to meet you” or a handshake or anything. I immediately thought,”It’s because I’m gay. He can’t handle it.” And I began to think negatively about him. I completely forgot a previous conversation where my coworker had lamented over her husband’s lack of social skills. How he was always so shy and quiet around people he didn’t know.
I decided to go. I had already requested the day off (just in case) and I let Steve know that Brian and I would be coming. Brian didn’t get the day off like I had, but on Wednesdays he usually just has a 6 o’clock meeting to go to. The reception was scheduled for 1:30. It should be perfect.
The morning of the big event, I looked up driving directions to Smithfield, Utah using Google maps. I had never been to Smithfield, just knew it was a little north of us, but I never realized just how north of us it was. It would take two hours just to get there.
“We’ll only be at the reception for two hours before we’ll have to head home for your meeting,” I said. Then Brian looked at his schedule a little more closely, “Actually, I don’t just have the meeting, I have an actual shift. I’m scheduled 5 to close.”
Five? That means we would get there at 1:30 and then have to leave by 2:30 to drive and get back to Salt Lake City around 4:30 so he could change and be at work by 5:00. One hour hardly justified the 4-hour round trip.
“Maybe I can take my car and go by myself. That way I can stay as long as I like, with no rush.”
“But Jack, your car doesn’t run very well, and you’re going somewhere you’ve never been before. Do you want to chance it?”
I was defiant. “Yeah, it’ll be okay. I’ll have my phone on me in case something happens.”
“But Jack, it’s really hot outside. Your car doesn’t even have AC.”
Ooh, he got me there. Driving around for four hours in an oven of a car that shakes and lurches as if it’s about to explode at any given moment did not sound like a very good idea.
“I guess I’m not going then.” And that was that. I sent a text to Steve’s bride’s phone saying that I couldn’t make it, but if they were in Salt Lake anytime they should let me know. I had remembered him saying something about spending a day in Salt Lake before heading home.
Days later he called and left a voicemail. He was sorry that I wasn’t there, and more sorry that they never got my message in time. They had already left Utah before they even looked at Amy’s phone.
I haven’t spoken to him since he left that voicemail, and I’ve yet to tell him the reasons behind my staying home that day. I've just been to busy to call, I guess. He probably assumes that I chickened out because of the whole gay thing…which would be pretty gay if that were the reason.