Location: Round Rock, Texas, United States

I maintain: a good sense of humor; a belief in hard work; and eclectic tastes in food, art, and politics.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Last Friday, a drag show was held at a local coffee shop in Round rock. The coffee shop, Saradora, has been frequented by a diverse clientiele ranging from local pastors to wannabe or former 60s hip people. Apparently few people in the community knew about the event, with the exception of a small group of very hip and cool persons. Then the Austin newspaper published a story (on Saturday) describing the event and wondering how it would play in the "conservative community of Round rock." For Austin, this would have been no big deal, but for RR, well that would be another matter. The reactions were quick and predicatable. The local TV stations found it necessary to send out crews to fim the outside of the coffee shop and find pictures of some participants (photos or amateur film?). More newspaper stories were printed about the event, this time coming from the columnists who write in the manner of local wits, humorists, or lighthearted commentators. The predictable finally happened when a local pastor of a large Baptist church said that he had enjoyed the coffee shop previous, but neither he nor any of his church members could patronize a business that would cater to the gay community, especially when the event was a drag show. Leave those in Austin seemed to be the official sentiment. So now what will happen? The owner of Saradora says she has not plans to have another show, but she wondered why there was a big fuss anyway.
This type of event brings up the question of whether the gay community truly does try to stick it to the straights or whether the religious right goes out of its way to amplify any acitvity's importance by overreacting such as was done (apparently) in this case. While most religious leaders still condemn gay lifestyles, unofficially, most church members seem to be willing to permit a kind of live and let live attitude exist. Most citizens seem to want gays to enjoy equal rights in some kind of small d sense, while being ambivalent as to whether gays or gay marriage represent a real threat to the social fabric. Gays say they want equal rights and protection under the law, especially with respect to property laws and protection for their preferred partners in medical, legal, and social contexts. Yet, gay activities such as drag shows have been permitted for many years in major cities in the U. S. Not only San Francisco, but New Orleans (of which little can be said at present) has probably been the capital of female impersonators as entertainers for many, many years. Most citizens of the U. S. were unaware of such events, but also mostly did not care so long as it was restricted to a few areas of a few cities. This brings us to the current question. That is, do gays deliberately push their beliefs in the face of their most serious antagonists? Anti-gay activitists are not merely right wing conservatives, and while most citizens would prefer that the issues either go away or recede from the front lines of the news, even the most level-headed fair-minded individual will ultimately resist being pushed into a corner by his opponents. Where are we in that continuum? It is not easy to say, but at least we now have more than one area in Texas to look for female impersonators aka entertainers, albeit a good deal of chutzpah might be required to join in the festivities. While we have gone beyond La vie'n rose, we should remember that the French have lived with these themes for many years and look how they have progressed. Oops, with the current and recent antiFrancophile attitudes, this analogy comes to a dead end. C'est la vie and c'est la guerre.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Moving Pains or Moving Gains

Moving involves such great sorrow, hard work, and unpleasant events. Most of us have moved many times during our professional lives, but for those of us who have not done so recently, a move from one residence in one state to one in another state seems so much more like torture than it did during all the previous moves. One could always use the old cliche about being older, but that seems so hackneyed itself and seems so inadequate to create the true level of discomfort that has been encountered by the mover. Why do people move other than for a change in careers or positions? Recently, a new category of mover has been created--an evacuatee, meaning a person or family forced to move when their entire city or community has been devastated by an act of nature such as a hurricane (e. g. Katrina). Others move for reasons ranging from retiring to a more desirable location to locating in a less expensive area to living near other family members. Of course, several myths must exist to permit the movers to present a favorable picture to their friends and colleagues at the old location.
One of the myths is that by leaving the old location, old baggage will be left behind and a fresh start will be made in the new location. Perhaps this myth has some truth, but the mover usually carries some baggage with himself/herself and the new start will be influenced by the old baggage despite one's best efforts. Another myth is that it is possible to move to a less expensive area. The truth here is that costs are reallocated among the various household categories. For example, income taxes may be less but property taxes will be more. Sales taxes may be lower, but utilities and local fees will be higher. Another myth is that in the new location there will be so many new and interesting activities and events that all of the old activities will be forgotten. Again, there may be some element of truth in this assertion, but what usually happens is that many people seek out the same types of activities as before. If one enjoyed going to theater performances (local or professional shows), then that will be a desired activity in the new location. If one enjoyed golf, that will be desired in the new location. If one enjoyed swimming, walking, or tennis, that means the same choices will be made in the new location. This could continue for some time with a listing and partial debunking of myths, but has the answer yet been obvious as to why people move? I think not, and the real reasons are not the same as the formally stated ones.
Do people have a desire for new challanges? Do people actually desire the opportunity to meet new people? Do people actually desire the need to learn the local "ropes" in a new city or community? Do people actually need the stimulation of being forced to confront new rules, routes, and customs? Many people making purely domestic, as opposed to an international move, would not want to admit to these given motives. Perhaps there is some generalization here that would not always hold up to scrutiny. Yet, upon careful examination of the moving situation it seems that some of these unstated (often) motives may be stronger than usually recognized, and may be more important than those given earlier. The evidence, indirect though it may be, seems fairly strong. Why would people subject themselves to the torture of moving from friends, subject themselves to the hard, hard work of packing and moving, and why would people pay the extra money involved in a move (not those caused by company transfers or moves)? It seems clear that some strong desires for new challenges must exist within some people's psyches. Only some illogical reasons and rationalizations could explain the moving activity based on the myths mentioned above, despite their obvious appeal and widespread usage by the modern movers. Or is it all a dream, played out on a stage by some poor players, hoping to wake up and still be in their own old comfortable bed?