Sunday, August 9, 2009

Processing the Castro

My trip earlier this summer to San Francisco remains vivid in my mind. Perhaps because I've got photos like this one on my screen saver. It's taken me a while to sort through my feelings, and here's what it's sounded like:

It was just a business trip.
It was more than a business trip because I met with a former colleague and his partner and the three of us enjoyed a great dinner together in the Castro.
But it was just a business trip.
No, actually it was a bit like a family reunion. You enjoy being with folks like you that you don't normally see. You might not feel close to all your cousins, but still it's nice to be with your own people from time to time.
Fine. You saw some people you identified with. But that always happens on a business trip. You're with people in your business. It is like a family renion.
But I'm not talking about the business meetings. I'm talking about walking through these busy streets and somehow feeling more accepting of myself and others. I'm talking about walking through the one the gayest areas of the world with a friend and his lover and feeling OK about it. 
Ok. So you had a nice dinner and enjoyed it with a happy couple. But you were there for business. You had your meetings and got on the plane and came home. Nothing all that differernt from all your other business trips.
Look, this isn't a debate. Yes it was a business trip and a great dinner and an eye opening stroll through at part of the city I wouldn't have visited alone. And it was a chance to feel some brotherhood and acceptance.
So you came out to your friend?
No. I could be wrong, but I think it's just understood. We're both Mormon boys. He's been out most of his adult life. For more than 30 of my almost 60 years, I've been closeted and even now I'm only out to some family and some friends. 
And you're not out to him?
You know, I don't really think I have to be. He knows me well enough. He knows I'm a married father who is active in the church. But he also knows I'm comfortable with him. And now he knows I'm comfortable with him and his partner eating dinner in the Castro. That's enough for now. 
You talk a good game. But let's be honest now, if this were really as resolved as you say it is, would you be blogging about it?
Good point. I had to write--well I wanted to write about something and to be honest with you I thought I'd just choose a photo and then see what comes to mind. 
Maybe you were right the first time. Maybe you had to write. Just like you know you know whe you have to pray even when sometimes you don't. And speaking of being honest, it probably wouldn't have hurt if you'd been just a little more candid with your friend.
Question for readers: Do you ever have conversations like this with yourself? 


  1. Abelard has conversations like this all the time.

  2. So glad to hear it, Abe!

    p.s. I've been fascinated by the continuing discussion of the church and prop 8 on you blog. Thanks for providing a forum for diverse views.

  3. Bravone talks to himself as well.

  4. Absolutely... whether I talk to Beck or Beck talks to me, I'm not sure, but I constantly have these discussions in my head. Sometimes I prevail, other times he does... hopefully there is a mutual understanding. Does this make me neurotic or schizo?

  5. Thanks Beck! Glad to know I'm not the only one hearing voices. Ok, so not literally, hearing voices, but giving voice to thoughts. No wonder I liked A Beautiful Mind so much, well not the insulin shock therapy so much, but the film taken as a whole.