Thursday, June 28, 2012

And On a Completely Unrelated Topic

Ever since the mid to late 60's the media, intelligentsia, and pop culture zeitgeist has ever increasingly painted men as overbearing, loutish, and threatening to women. As a group we've been described as stalkers, abusers, or just plain predators (and if you think I'm using hyperbole it may be because that's what Gloria Steinem et al. have used to describe us). While some men certainly deserve the rap, most of us don't.

If you wonder why we're less inclined to throw caution to the wind and boldly chase after you, it may be because we never know if we'll be seen in the above described terms when we do. In the real world alcohol often serves to lower those walls by releasing inhibitions and allowing both men and women to revert comfortably to their natural roles of pursuer and pursued. In Mormonland we don't have that luxury (or curse if the beer goggles are in effect) and all guys are left with is talks and articles telling us what louts and wusses we are for not stepping up. But until we get to know you we don't know whether you're the kind of woman who likes the chase or one that will be insulted by it. And some of us are tired of being burned.

So women, if you meet someone in whom you might have an interest you might consider being a little more bold in letting him know it. If he feels the same he'll probably appreciate the heads up and feel more comfortable about initiating his end in the game.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I Fought The Law (well, my attorney did) And I Won

This post is literally two years in the making, but like many stories it wasn't ever going to be worth telling until it was over. And today it ended. What makes this story worthwhile to me is that it entails the dumbest thing I did throughout my divorce, and in the end I was lucky enough to dodge a bullet. I'm right chuffed about that.

If you've ever been divorced or know someone who has, you know that they are nothing if not the ultimate in he said/she said productions. Depending on who you talk to or whose "side" you're on, you might possibly hear a completely different tale than those listening in on the other side. It's not that big of a deal, except that sometimes a person in that circumstance can get a little desperate if they feel like they're about to get crushed by the narrative.

Two years ago in August I was in that exact predicament. My divorce was a longer time coming than I understood at the time. My ex was unhappy for a lot more reasons than she ever let on at the time, but either way let's say some of the ways in which she chose to make her exit weren't exactly above board. For legitimate reasons I don't really care to go into I was aware of a multitude of PM's, emails, and Facebook posts she made at the time (even after being blocked from her feed), and it's fair to say her version of events wasn't quite the way I saw it. I'm fairly sure I do not have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I know I didn't "torture" her for nine years. I know I was never violent toward her or our kids, nor did I ever threaten her with violence. I wasn't a doormat but I wasn't an ogre either. Suffice it to say anyone who'd ever known me through her might not have believed that based on the multiple tailored versions of "what happened" that she was sharing. And while I wasn't too bothered about what her high school friends from 1987 thought of me, I took offense at her siblings and extended family being led to think that way.

In our July divorce mediation I'd asked for sole legal and physical custody, basing that request on many factors including behaviors, activities, and trajectories that I didn't want displayed for our children. After protesting for about five minutes she agreed, to the literal shock and disbelief of our unsuspecting mediator (who tried to talk her out of it - kind of a no-no in mediation situations). But her communications with me and her correspondence with others gave me the impression that she was considering disregarding our signed agreement and "lawyering up" for a fight (one I was not in a position to afford). With most of her family and many of her friends being primed to describe my shortcomings, I started obsessing about how I might get her hidden "rest of the story" out there. After about two weeks of worrying about it and picturing what would happen in court with her story being spun, I ended up logging (at midnight) into a blog she'd abandoned without bothering to change its login credentials. Years earlier she'd invited me to post what and whenever I wanted, so I wrote four or five posts in which I pasted her own writing describing the various events, opinions, and activities she'd neglected to share with her cohorts. And yes, I gave them the full compliment of my own sarcastic introductions, posting as the "new and improved (ex who won't be named)." It's not like she had more that ten or fifteen people following that blog, but they were the right ones, if you get my drift. And of course, after the glow of having hit enter wore off I thought better of the wisdom I'd displayed in posting such nonsense.

Now remember, this was the middle of the night. I figured OK, I need to delete this crap and get it together... And as I sat down to do so an email from a mutual friend of the ex popped up. It said, "Dude, did she really write all this?" I was mortified. I deleted it all and wrote back with a mea culpa, explaining myself. But in that few minutes my ex had seen it too (it seems she had her blog set up to send an email announcement to her followers whenever she posted a new piece). Oops. I emailed her the next day and apologized, but I guess the damage was done.

And out of the many police reports my ex filed over the seven or eight months following our separation, that one ended up in charges being filed.

A few months after the incident I got a call from a cop who, unlike all the others I spoke to, seemed to be intent on intimidating me (rather than asking to hear my side of the story). After his threatening to arrest me and on the advice of an attorney I was using as a result of other shenanigans my ex had pulled, I declined his invitation to "come in and talk about it." And a year after the incident I found that I had been charged with a class B misdemeanor, "Computer Crimes." Of course the court and/or prosecuting attorney never contacted me. I found out because I started receiving junk mail from criminal defense attorneys and I knew from the ex's previous DUI that that meant I was in the system somewhere, so eventually I got online and looked it up. But you know what? The court never did contact me, serve me, or subpoena me. They just filed a $1000 warrant for my arrest and waited to see if I'd get popped at some point... It's a good thing I don't drive my old Camaro anymore...

Anyway, a month ago I started wondering what had ever happened with that charge (because again, they never told me I was charged) and I sent a note to an attorney friend to ask what I should do. He sent me a note five minutes later saying, "Call Me. Now." That's how I found out about the warrant (six months after it had been filed). So after plopping down a discounted but still substantial (to this poor student) retainer, my friend the attorney became my attorney attorney and he got to work getting the warrant dropped and a court date set, which finally came today.

Long and short of it: He informed the prosecutor that my actions, while technically not nice, didn't really violate the statute under which I was charged. He also told him my ex wasn't at all interested in testifying or pursuing the case (which was true, we're in a workable truce these days), but he thought I might be willing to plead to an infraction level disorderly conduct charge (I think that's what it was... similar in seriousness to a parking ticket). The judge seemed amenable and after informing me of my rights she pronounced sentence, I went downstairs to pay my $90 fine, and went to pick up my boys with no more legal threats hanging over my head.

And while I didn't really enjoy the stress of this stupid episode, and while I know I really shouldn't have posted that stuff, at the end of the day $90 is not a bad price to pay for yet one more ridiculous story about my adventures in the land of crazy which was my marriage and its assorted cast of characters.

The End.

Monday, June 18, 2012

An Unsolicited Piece of Advice

You know those things in life that you just figure most people should instinctively know?  Yeah, that's not always the case.

If you've had certain views your whole life; political, philosophical, religious... whatever. If you've espoused a certain ethic, and if you've built a life with others using that ethic as its foundation, but then come to a point where you decide it's not for you, then cool. I get it. Happens to the worst of us. (Oops, did I just write that out loud? To be honest it happens to the best of us too but I was feeling mean.) Anyway, here's the thing: your new found enlightenment doesn't give you license to ridicule your previously held beliefs or those who still espouse them. Because when you do, you just come across as an even bigger ignoramus than when you were still pretending to live your old beliefs (but were actually sneaking around, doing otherwise).

Your new beliefs don't make you any more clued in than the rest of us, my friend. We're all just trying to get by...

And here's the thing. One of my closest friends in this world went through a realignment of his beliefs a while back and we've spent hours over the last few years talking about it (and even more years discussing our views both positive and questioning of our own religion and a million other things) and we've never done it with contention, a lack of respect, or condescension from either side. It's perfectly acceptable for friends to have differing points of view, even where they once had full agreement. But that's not good enough for some people...

So here's a dollar. Go buy some candy and complain to the bum out in front of 7-11 about how your old religion ruined your life. He might actually be interested in hearing what you have to say.

And yes, I feel better now. :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Another Day, Another Candle

So I turned 47 last week. My boys woke me with a home made card from the older one (awesome) and lamentations from the younger one, "I can't make you a card because I have a broken arm!" (Equally awesome in its strange humor.) It's amazing how quickly he adapted to playing the sympathy card after he broke his arm falling off the monkey bars last week. We were on our way to have dinner with relatives on Sunday and he said with utter nonchalance, "They're going to feel real sorry for me because I have a broken arm." That one already keeps me on my toes. He'll be five next month.

I can't believe it's been another year. They really are speeding up. The boys and I started our awesome summer a few weeks ago and are gearing up for a trip to Houston soon to see GrandJack and GrandJo, the kids grandparents. We're in for a fireworks show and sailing in Galveston Bay... it's the highlight of the boys' summer every year. The cast comes off two days before we leave. Thank the Lord for tender mercies, 50% of our Texas trip every year involves swimming or water; hard to do with a cast and your arm in a sling.

I'm trying to find a new bass. My band lost its drummer and we're doing a stripped down trio at the moment. Still plugged in but with the emphasis on vocals, harmonies, etc. I may break down and finally buy that Hofner Beatle Bass I always wanted...

And yes, my mind is jumping around like that all the time lately. Things are in flux. Like they haven't been in the past three years? Yeah... I've got my boys and I've got food in the fridge. Not much more but I can't really complain. I could use some more work though. If you know anyone doing a film I know a colorist that can help them out. Just send 'em my way.