Stranger Danger

“Stranger Danger, or, The one where I’m not the only alarmist currently employed at the Museum.”

A co-worker came up to me today, wearing her patented “I’m concerned” face, and asked me if I had access to the security camera feed at the front desk. She then said she needed to show me a man who was acting in a suspicious manner. I was a little stunned because everyone who had come in to the museum in the past few hours was a member and so I at least somewhat knew all of them.

We pull up the cameras and the man in question had just walked over to the art room and was standing almost directly under the camera. It was one of our regulars, we’ll call him John Doe. I told her that we see the Does at least once a week. They are loyal members, their twin girls did the fall session of our dance class. Never once have I seen him do anything suspicious or gotten any bad vibes from him. From all of our interactions, I knew John as a nerdy, doting father. He even patiently indulges my need for small talk as I check them in when they come.

So my co-worker then explains why she was worried. Apparently he had been wandering around on the other side of the museum, away from his family, and had his phone out. Now, as much as I’d like to ban parents from using their phones when they should be playing with their children, there is no rule that says “You MUST put your phone away in the Children’s Museum.”

But here’s where it gets strange:

From my co-worker’s point of view it looked as if he was taking pictures of children that he didn’t know, and when he noticed her looking at him he shoved his phone into his pocket and acted really guilty. That, of course, set off the alarm bells in my head. She could see it on my face just as I could see it on hers, spelled out in big letters. P-E-D-O-P-H-I-L-E. Working with kids, this kind of behaviour is a big problem and we’re all trained to look for the signs –I have the Darkness to Light certificate to prove it. And as my mind is spiraling down the rabbit hole, wondering how I could have been so wrong about this man, I notice on the monitor that he has pulled out his cell phone.

And then I see it. Those familiar shades of blue and green. A small spot of red near the bottom center of the screen.

Then finally, perfectly positioned under the camera for me to see, he swipes the screen with his finger, tossing out the pokeball and making a perfect catch. He was playing Pokemon Go. That was the moment I remembered that there are 5 pokestops  available through out the museum. It was also the moment my co-worker learned that people are still playing that game.

Needless to say, we felt pretty stupid after all that. At least I can say with confindence that my initial opinion of John Doe was correct. He’s definitely a nerd. (But who am I to judge!)

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Home Again

What is home? Some people say it is a place. That one place in the world where everything felt like it could be okay. It could be the place you grew up. Or the cabin where your family spent every summer. It could be a specific house or just a specific town. The place you go to find your roots. Others say it is a person. The one person who comes to mind every time that song comes on the radio. It could be your mother as she hugs you tight. Or the calming embrace of a lover. It could be that moment when all of your siblings are together in one room like when you were all little. The person who grounds you through the storm.

But what if home is none of those things? Houses are not indestructible. They bend and break, falling into ruins before our eyes as the years pass. Houses can be bought and sold, repainted and transformed to the point where you try to go home one day and it has disappeared. And as the town you knew and loved grows the character changes. Sometimes the town shrinks in your absence. Weeds grow up around buildings and it slowly becomes a ghost town, only a glimmer of its former self remaining. And eventually you look around and it doesn’t feel the same any more. The feeling of security you had there is gone.

People are not indestructible either. Some die, some leave, and some have to be left behind. One moment your world is tied to a person and the next you’re a drifting balloon. The hardest part is when you have to consciously untie yourself from that mooring because even though it feels like home, that home has become toxic and unlivable. Home is supposed to be a comfort, not a constant source of pain. The decision to leave such a relationship is heartbreaking, but in the end liberating as it leads you to your true home.

Home, to me, is within yourself. It is mustering all you have in you and knowing that it will be enough to get you through the night. Because even if you’re alone you will have yourself to rely on. In this way, home is wherever you are and whatever you do. Like a turtle, you take your home with you, but rather than being a shell it is carried in your heart. Just because you may feel at home with another does not mean that person is your home.

So when you feel adrift and uncertain, look towards yourself and know that you are home.

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July 2016 Carnival of Aces Round-Up: Make ’em Laugh

First off, I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to this month’s carnival. As a first-time host it was an amazing experience!

We’ve got some really good stuff going on this month. The topic was humor, for those who don’t remember. The featured topic next month is Naming It and is being hosted by Valprehension. Make sure to check it out and post a submission!

*note: Round-Up is ordered via submission date

Here we go:

 (kitwillliams19) writes about the power of humor in times of trouble as well as shares a few favorite jokes.

thenoteswhichdonotfit (Sara K.) writes about the odd tendency for aces and aros to become the go-to person for sex/relationship advice in their friend group and provides a mini-linkspam

thistooshalleventuallypass (Mara Jane, aka your Carnival Host) shares a time when friends’ dirty jokes went too far for comfort

aceyinspace (Emilia) shares some personal experiences where jokes have been hurtful or confusing as well as how ace-community jokes can make one feel normal

dollopheadedmerlin (Dollop) explains an Ace Greeting from a friend

luvtheheaven  provides this carnival with the requisite amount of serious/educational material in a two part series titled “How to Positively Represent Asexuality within Humorous Fiction.”

Thanks again for participating this month. If you are interested in hosting or learning more about the Carnival make sure to check out the Masterpost over at The Asexual Agenda!

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REMINDER—CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS STILL OPEN

With one week left in the month of July, submissions are still open for the Carnival of Aces: Make ’em Laugh!

Comment on the post with a link to your humor related post or email me at thistooshalleventuallypass@gmail.com to create a guest post on this blog! You can also submit a link or blog post to my tumblr, a-reluctant-witch.

I look forward to reading them all!

 

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Make ’em Laugh: Where funny meets “Please kill me now.”

July 2016 Carnival of Aces, Make ’em Laugh: Where funny meets “Please kill me now.”

Or

“I Don’t Always Feel Sex Repulsed, But When I Do It’s Probably Ed’s Fault.”

I’m not going to lie to you: I have a terrible sense of humor.

I laugh at the absolute lamest puns. Bad jokes make me cackle like a witch. When I’m sad I play with the shitpost generator  and laugh so hard I cry. In school I would laugh whenever a specific friend said the word “spatula.” Everything makes me laugh because I am just so easy to please. In fact, I often randomly think of the nacho cheese joke from Hannah Montana all the time and start laughing. (“You know back when I was in a band – we didn’t have cheese near this tasty. We had nacho cheese. That’s the cheese that we’d steal from ZZ Top’s dressing room. A guy came up to me and said, hey, that’s not yo-cheese.”)

It’s pretty hard to find a joke I won’t laugh at. As long as it is not something with the intention of being hurtful, like a racist joke, I’ll usually laugh. But, sometimes a joke can go to far, and usually it’s a sex joke.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good “that’s what she said”joke and have been known to laugh at some particularly crude remarks (i.e.: the majority of the movie Deadpool). There are two guys I know from my master’s program, however, that really set themselves apart with how far they take their jokes.

Ed and Jamie are our Brits. They formed an incredibly quick bond due to their shared heritage and particularly English tea-drinking habits.  With this bond randomly came this inside joke about them being a middle-aged married couple. I’m not sure where that one started, but I can tell you that by week two it was deeply entrenched. It’s like watching a comedy show where the two performers are presenting a seamless string of barbs to each other, never once taking a breath until the bit is over.

Their well-oiled act starts with the usual “Whatever you say, dear,” and the “That’s not what you were saying last night.” From there it usually progresses into a debate over which one of them is the wife in the scenario (they both describe themselves as heterosexual males, and like all such men feel the need to remind us of that in this way), followed by torturously specific–yet hilarious–rants on the state of their married love life.

They can go at it like that for hours, really. And it starts off hilarious. Myself and others can’t help but shriek with laughter as Ed describes how hard he was “giving it to Jamie” the night before and when Jamie shoots back with how it clearly wasn’t hard enough as he didn’t feel a thing. This all happens with a wink and a nudge (and a few glasses of beer). After a while, when they’ve both gotten thoroughly sauced usually, the jokes turn a little less wink-nudge and a little more bashed-over-the-head-with-a-giant-rubber-dildo.

And this is the point where I want to die.

Oh boy do they get graphic. With each luridly fabricated detail my face goes pinker and my eyes wider. And, not ones to miss and opportunity, one will usually point this out, saying to the other, “That’s the face you made when I [insert icky comment here].” I’ll sit through it as long as I can but holy hell. Finally I can’t take it anymore and make up a good reason to change the subject. But seeing as these two live with their heads in the gutter, changing the subject doesn’t always work. That’s when I flee.

Last time that happened was at History MA Happy Hour, where the department buys food and we all drink more than one should on a school night. When one of the girls decided they needed to leave for home if they wanted to get back at a semi-reasonable hour I shot from my seat like I’d been burned and practically shouted “I’ll walk with you!” at her.

As we walked down King towards her car and the turn for my street she asked if I was all right. My response was that I was fine, just feeling a bit more ace than normal.

 

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CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS! July Carnival of Aces, 2016: Make ’em Laugh

Hello! This is the call for submissions for this month’s (July ’16) Carnival of Aces, a blogging carnival focusing on those inhabiting the asexual spectrum and asexual issues. It revolves around a different theme each month and seeks respondents who have something to say about the topic and how it relates to asexuality as a whole, or their own personal experiences. The masterpost can be found here in the caring hands of The Asexual Agenda.

Last month’s topic was “Resiliancy,” hosted by tumblr user Rock of Aces . Be sure to check out some of the submissions!

This month’s topic is humor

Carnival topics often lend themselves to being incredibly serious and personal, so I thought it would be good to open the floor up to light-hearted possibilities, especially in light of the aphobia rearing its head again on tumblr. We could use a little humor right about now.

As always, there are many ways this topic can be approached–ways both serious and light-hearted. A few ideas of things to write include:

  • Tell us your favorite ace joke, or assemble a list of your favorite ace-related puns.
  • Does your orientation affect your sense of humor?
    • i.e., do you prefer ‘clean’ jokes over dirty ones?
  • Has something amusing happened to you because of your asexuality?
  • Has humor been used against you as a response to coming out, etc.?
  • Describe something ace-related about yourself that amuses you (or amuses your partner/close friend).

Submissions can be done in a number of ways! Reply to this post with a link to your response, or use the submit function on my tumblr blog (a-reluctant-witch).

If you would like to make a guest post (anonymous or not) on this blog please feel free to email it to me at thistooshalleventuallypass@gmail.com.

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Remembering the Emanuel Nine

As some of you may know, I live in Charleston, SC. And as more of you may know, today is the one year anniversary of the massacre at Emanuel AME, colloquially known around here as Mother Emanuel.

One year ago today, at 9:05pm–it’s currently 8:20pm as I’m typing this and with every second ticking by my heart grows heavier–a young man from the midlands area of South Carolina open fired during a bible study session. I’m not going to use his name. I know it. It is permanently etched into my brain beside the fear of that night. When he opened fire nine were killed. One woman was spared during the attack and was allegedly told by the shooter that it was so she could tell the world what happened. He intended at that moment to kill himself, but when he held the gun to his head it was out of bullets. After that he fled into the night.

I spoke to one of the women who stood watch over the flowers and stuffed bears left outside the church in memoriam a few months afterwards, and she told me that she believes he wasn’t able to kill himself that day because God wanted to give him the chance to understand what he’d done and have the opportunity to apologize. She told me that if he decided to do so that the congregation was ready to forgive him. What really struck me though was that this woman, a relative of one of the nine, held my hand in hers and declared that she already had forgiven him. That the only one who would be hurt by carrying that blame and anger around would be herself. She firmly told me that God doesn’t want her or anyone else to hold on to the hate acts like these come from, that the truly godly thing to do is forgive with no reservations.

And so, one year later, I am going to truly forgive. I am going to forgive him as a South Carolinian, as a Charleston native, and as a neighbor who lives only two blocks from Emanuel and walks by her every day.

But while I forgive the shooter for the lives he ended and the pain he caused, I will not forget. 

I will not forget the Emanuel Nine: Rev. Clementa Pickney, Rev. Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Tywanza Sanders, Rev. Daniel Simmons, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson.

I will not forget the way Rev. Pickney, who was also a prominent and loved state senator, cried out for justice for Walter Scott who was brutally gunned down by the North Charleston Police.

And I will not forget the work they did to make this town a better, freer place.

This town that was the gateway to slavery for roughly half of the African people brought to America. This town that is still proud of starting the Civil War. This town that still believes that whites and blacks keeping separate and only interacting in employer/employee relationships is a sign of having “healthy race relations.” I won’t forget.

But I will act,

(The time is now 9:05pm and my will and my love for my fellow man is so much stronger than the hate that seeks to divide us.)

because BLACK LIVES MATTER.

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