Sunday, November 22, 2015

Breakfast in the Castro: Another Loss and Another Gain

Mibes: Good morning, wow you look great. How are you?

Me: Good morning, Mibes. Thanks. I don't feel great, but it is good to see you. How are you?

Mibes: Always, always better when I'm with you. You're not feeling well?

Me: Aw, you're kind to say that. I'm OK, still a bit discouraged that my church has... well you know.

Mibes: If it helps to talk about it, let's talk. If not, there's plenty of time to discuss it later.

Me: You remind me of a counselor just trying to make me feel at ease. No pressure.

Mibes: We'll I do hope you'll always feel we can talk about anything, but I don't want to make you feel anything. I'm happy to sit here in silence. Just being with you in total silence, that's OK by me.

Me: Really? I don't think we've ever done that. I think we've always talked about something over breakfast.

Mibes: That's mostly true. Unless you count the long silences. But I'm not counting. I'm good with a lot of talk, or some, or long silences or silence only. It's not like someone's listening in on us, taking down every word.

Me: How can you say that? When you know it's exactly like that?

Mibes: hahaha! A reference to you and your blog, no doubt.

Me: Yes.

Mibes: Yes and no. Your blog has focused on our breakfasts but not exclusively. Of nearly 300 posts, you've only written 30 about breakfast with me, if you count this one.

Me: That's the largest single category. Our breakfasts are significant.

Mibes: Yeah, I guess so. Sort of like tithing. One tenth. It adds up.

Me: When we met it was like I met someone who's known me all my life and still likes me.

Mibes: You're sweet. But you're just projecting what you want on to me. I'm such an empty canvas you can see just about anything you want to see.

Me: Don't go all psycho-babble on me.

Mibes: Ahem. You're the one with his hands on they keyboard. I'm only saying what you're writing.

Me: I sometimes forget for a moment. That's another one of your qualities, though. You help with perspective. I can show up for breakfast here hungry and depressed, and I somehow leave with more than food in my stomach. I leave feeling more optimistic, more loved, less depressed.

Mibes: It works that way for me too. I'm somehow able to put losses and gains into context.

Me: So what do you make of the new policies?

Mibes: Hey I live in the Castro for several reasons. One of them is a sense of community.

Me: Ok, now we're getting somewhere. That's the one of the losses I feel. I've lost of my sense of community. I used to imagine that the brethren not only knew people like me, but they also loved us. That they wanted us and our children to soar.

Mibes: They still say they love you. And you're OK. You're married to a woman. Your children aren't being denied anything.

Me: Oh but they are. No one benefits from this. I don't see any upside, but maybe it's survivor's guilt. My Kinsey scale was once in a place that made my path possible. But that's not possible for so many. And my wife, my children, it's like we all got unusual blessings that are now denied to others through no fault of their own.

Mibes: You've had your blessings and your challenges.

Me: But I feel this loss now. I feel this sadness. A loss of hope. Summer turned to winter. Slap.

Mibes: Well it is late November. Time to look forward to Thanksgiving. It is on Thursday, you know.

Me: (sigh) Yes, and I am thankful for lots of things, just not this. Why do we have to- -

Mibes: - -deal with losses, disappointment?

Me: betrayal

Mibes: I don't have answers.

Me: I know.

Mibes: But I love you. And this too shall pass.

Me: You love me now, but it's going away?

Mibes: No. I love you now and always. Politics, that's what we're dealing with here and it won't always be like this.

Me: Maybe it's going to get worse.

Mibes: Maybe.

Me: But maybe there are gains, even now.

Mibes: Like what?

Me: Maybe there's awareness that this is a game-changer. Maybe more stories will be told.

Mibes: That's already happened. And my sense is that there's more to come.

Me: This ain't over.

Mibes: Not for you and not for thousands of others. Stadiums full of them.

Me: But what about the guys at 47 East South Temple?

Mibes: What about 'em?

Me: Don't they see all the trouble they've caused?

Mibes: They see what they want to see. They may see it as an affirmation that they can do hard things. That when God tells them to do something they do it.

Me: But I don't think this came from God.

Mibes: You have your experiences in life. They have theirs. But here's the deal. They are seeing things they didn't see before. We all are. They want to do the right thing.

Me: How do you know that?

Mibes:  I don't know that. But I want to believe it. I want to think that there are a lot of elements in play right now and they know it.

Me: So I should be grateful for that, eh? That there's this siege of ideas? This siege mentality?

Mibes: It's part of picture. Give or take a few billion pixels.

Me: Mibes, I'm glad you're so calm.

Mibes: I'm glad you're glad. We made a lot of progress from typos and Twinkies, don't you think?

Me: I guess.

Mibes: You've made my day. You know that don't you?

Me: How so?

Mibes: Because we talked. It reminded me of those other 29 conversations and gave me hope for maybe another couple of dozen.

Me: You and your numbers. Of course there will be more.

Mibes: You and your keyboard. It all depends on you. If you want more, I'm game. Now give me a hug and go do whatever you do with your Sundays these days.

Me: Thanks my friend. I will.

Mibes: In the midst of affliction your table is spread.

Me: I guess it is. You'll be in my prayers of thanksgiving, Mibes.

Mibes: Are you are in mine. As you are in mine.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Breakfast in the Castro: How Mormon leaders can save face

Mibes: Good morning, it's been forever.

Me: Good morning to you. Good to see you, too. Sorry it's been so long. I've been kind of a loner, kind of depressed.

Mibes: Me, too, but we'll survive. How bad has it been this time?

Me: To be honest, lousy, but here's something that's cheered me up a bit. I've been thinking about ways our esteemed leaders could get rid of this whole anti-gay policy and save face at the same time.

Mibes: Gallows humor. It is one way to cope. Go ahead.

Me: First there's The Typo Defense.

Mibes: They're going to claim all this trouble is because of a typographical error?

Me: Exactly. The church just says that the word the “immediate” as in “immediate implementation” was a typo. It should have been “possible”, that is “possible implementation” sometime in the future, or not at all.

Mibes: Sure. They wrote a policy they never intended to implement. Just for the fun of it. And you have other ideas like this?

Me: Yeah, I've also got The Twinkie Defense.

Mibes: You're dragging Harvey Milk and his assassin into this?

Me: I think the Mayor of Castro Street, God rest his soul, would actually agree. He'd laugh.

Mibes: I think he'd roll his eyes, but I have a feeling you're going to tell me about this whether or not I want to hear it.

Me: Yeah, the church can use The Twinkie Defense. Members of the the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve have been binging on the new variations of Twinkies. You could even call them restorationist Twinkies.

Mibes: Very funny. Notice how I'm convulsed with laughter. And?

Me: Well these new Twinkies are apparently even more potent than the originals. They're all the rage at 47 East South Temple and all that Twinkie binging caused temporary delusions. The policy changes are entirely invalid and the church leaders are not responsible.

Mibes: A typo or Twinkies?

Me: Oh I've got several more.

Mibes: I'm sure you do.

Me: The Computer Hacker Defense. Computer hackers who wished to attack the church leaked this counterfeit policy to the press, then intercepted subsequent inquires to the PR office and then simulated an interview with Elder Christopherson.

Mibes: Counterfeit. Great word.

Me: I thought you'd appreciate that.

Mibes: So all communications on this issue emanated from the hackers not the church? There were never any real changes to existing church policy? And the hackers are still in charge until the church boots them out and exposes them?

Me: Yes, yes, yes.

Mibes: You've been thinking way too much about this, haven't you?

Me: Much more than I ever wanted to.

Mibes: OK. OK. Now I've got one for you.

Me: I knew you would get into this.

Mibes: The Music Committee Defense. The policy is actually a church music committee proposal that only applies to guitar playing parents who are in same-Fender relationships.

Me: Same-Fender not same-gender. Beautiful. Music not morality.

Mibes: And given the reception and misperception, the policy will be returned to the church music committee for clarification by the electric guitar sub-committee.

Mibes: Yes! How about this one? The Pilot Program Defense.

Me: Airplanes?

Mibes: No pilot as in testing an idea. The policy was never intended to apply to the church at large. It was approved only as a pilot program to be implemented in Lark, Utah and Bradshaw City, Arizona and Grub Gultch, California. The pilot program stands and will be immediately implemented but only in those communities.

Me: And you think people will google those cities, do you?

Mibes: Some won't have to. They'll know. You got any more?

Me: Yeah, one more based again on a typo. The policy has nothing whatsoever to do with same-sex marriage, it's about same-sex carriage--when people of the same sex are in a horse-drawn vehicle.

Mibes: Are we done?

Me: Yes. For now.

Mibes: Thanks for breakfast.

Me: Thanks to you.

Mibes: Keep looking for typos.

Me: You, too!

Mibes: What about that depression you mentioned. How's that going? Are you getting getting help? Are you still on your meds? What about counseling? How's your exercise coming along?

Me: Stop with all the questions. I'm OK.

Mibes: That's what you said when you were- -

Me: - -when I was suicidal. Yes. But I'm not now. I'm taking my meds. I'm seeing a new counselor and he's quite good. I'm not as depressed. I can cope better with the anxiety. And yes, I'm exercising.

Mibes: And writing?

Me: And writing. Check my blog. There's a new entry.

Mibes: So how are you really doing?

Me: I'm really doing OK. It's kind of been like a flashback to 2008 or even 1978, but I'm OK. Really.

Mibes: And you'd tell me if you weren't.

Me: Yes. I'd tell you. And I am telling you that even attempted humor does help. And of course having breakfast with you.

Mibes: It cheered me up a bit too. Let's not wait so long next time.

Me: I like that idea.

Mibes: Like I said, the typos. Keep looking for them.

Me: I will. You can count on it.