Why are single stall restrooms designated men and women?

I’ve always thought this was stupid. In Minneapolis there is a building code that requires bars and restaurants to have two separate bathrooms for men and women regardless of their size . There is always talk of changing this to allow for uni-sex single stall bathrooms but so far nothing has been done about it. Apparently people feel pretty strongly about this. I don’t know, it seems silly to me. Then again, I spend a lot of time with trans-people and gendered bathrooms can be a major concern for this community.

I was at a restaurant for dinner last night and I went to use the bathroom. There were three guys waiting to use the men’s room. One of the guys commented about how strange it was for their to be a line for the men’s room. Another mentioned that the women’s was available so the first guy used it. I see this happen all the time and I never have an issue with using the women’s room. We all pee so what’s the big deal?

The only thing I have to say is to the guys. If your going to pee standing up, please lift the lid. And if you miss a litte, clean it up. Then put the seat down. It’s pretty simple. Just leave things the way you found it. Is that so hard?

So not all of my posts will be about the biggest issues of the day but I hope you will still let me know what you think.

Advertisements

Everybody loves bacon

I’m in Superior, WI after playing a show last night with Venus de Mars and All The Pretty Horses at R. T. Quinlan’s in Duluth, MN, Venus’ home town. We spent the night at her sisters house. I thought I would take a minute to try and write something while the homeowners are off checking out an estate sale and my band mates are still sleeping.

While Duluth is only a few hours from Minneapolis and even though it’s just one overnight gig, it still feels great to be on the road with the band. There is something very liberating about getting out of your element. There is also something exciting about being the foreign element injected into another community. It doesn’t much matter where we go, when the band shows up, it’s pretty obvious that we are not from around here.

RTQuinlans-by-PaulWhite

As soon as we arrived at the club we were greated by a friendly and rather drunk couple who had no problem expressing their interest and fascination with Venus.

And then comes the question, “Are you a boy or a girl?”

To which Venus replies, “I’m transgender. I’m both.”

For some reason this doesn’t seem to satisfy a lot of people. We talked with them again after we got all our gear loaded in and set up. The guy actually seemed to be quite into the whole idea but Melissa was still confused. I told her that Venus was born male but always felt female so she has been taking hormones to be her true self.

Melissa seemed to find peace in that explanation as she exclaimed, “Oh, so you’re a girl!” In Venus I sensed both reluctance and relief as she accepted this label.

We don’t all fit into the neat little boxes we are given or even the ones we have adopted for ourselves. That’s one of the reasons I love Halloween. It gives people a chance to tryout being someone else or to express their true self. I guess that’s why I decided to order bacon at the diner after the show. I just wanted to do something different.

As I said to the guy in the hunting jacket outside Perkin’s, “The one thing we all have in common is that we are all different.”

“I can’t argue with that”, he replied.

By the way, I still don’t get the big deal about bacon.

The bitter red pill

Saturday saw the end of whatever manic phase I was going through, or at last the end of whatever benefit I was receiving from going through a manic phase. Morning was not fun. Mornings are hardly ever fun but I felt hungover which is not typical for me.

I managed to pull myself together enough to squeak out 600 words or so. As I was making my way through my third proofread my son arrived home from college. I hadn’t seen him since January and should have been overwhelmed with joy. I was excited to see him but I didn’t feel like I could fully connect with the emotions appropriate for the situation.

I stopped what I was doing so that I could focus on him. I wanted to hear about school, his girlfriend, his theater projects and his music. He was eager to share his new EP with me. It’s really good stuff. These are some amazing kids, amazing musicians, amazing songwriters and it’s impressive what they can achieve with such limited resources. I listened intently as we discussed music and more.

———————–

Then I was eager to get back to writing. My son was eager to get to writing as well. Unfortunately, blog writing and song writing do not go well together. I couldn’t concentrate. I found myself surrounded by music and getting frustrated. I was getting frustrated with my son. This was not his fault.

In fact what he was doing was brilliant. It just wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted him to stop. I wanted complete quite. Well guess what? What I want doesn’t fucking matter. I don’t get to order the world to meet my needs even if I have the power to do it. I could have told him to stop playing and he would have, but that would have been fucked up!

I was frustrated and annoyed but I kept it to myself. I wish that I could have felt the joy I know I have when I hear my son playing music but in that moment, it was no where to be found. Despite all the ways that I wanted the world to be there was no escaping reality.

Embracing, accepting and whenever possible, rejoicing in reality has been the theme of this past weekend. In a way, it’s the theme of my life.

—————–

My friends, my close friends, those that hold a truly special place in my heart, we often talk about “real” people. I love evaluated, delineating and categorizing things. I don’t like doing this with people. People are far to complicated to be placed in boxes. The fact that we do; I believe to be at the core of many of our social problems.

My therapist says that there are two kinds of people: those who believe there are two kinds of people and those who don’t. I kind of like that but my favorite is; there are 10 kinds of people: those who understand binary and those who don’t.

So who are these “real” people. I mean all people are real, right? We all do things that are fake. We all lie. We all lie to ourselves. We all have blind spots and aspects of life we choose to overlook.

But how many of us really want the truth. How many of us would really prefer the truth to what we have convinced ourselves is real. I have my own take on reality but I’m not prepared to get into that right now. In place of my own thoughts I want to present this:

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in itdoesn’t go away.” ― Philip K. Dick

Who is really willing to give up belief to live in reality. Who is so willing to embrace their doubt so completely as to give up their faith. Who is willing to take faith in the unknown and trust that reality it is better than the lie. Who, if standing before Morpheus, would take the red pill.

These are the noble souls we call real people, not because they would be the ones to take the red pill, but because they already have. Most were never given a choice. Most were slapped upside the head with such a heavy does of reality that they could never escape. I don’t know if this was the case for me. I feel like I was granted the opportunity for a mythical life of fantasy. I just never believed it. I kept trying to wake up. Now I am awake and it’s not pretty… but it is real. I’m not trying to escape, I’m just trying to survive.

Some of my friends are trying to get back in the Matrix through drugs, alcohol,  money, sex, violence, work, religion, self-righteousness, fantasy, denial… all  powerful forces, all things I participate in at times, all things that are no competition for reality. That is because they are all part of reality.

Okay, that is part of my take on reality. To say that reality is only what exists when we stop believing is to deny all that we believe in. Our beliefs, even if false or inaccurate are still real, they still exist and therefor cannot be separated from reality.  Sorry to get all existential but I am kind of an existentialist… just being real.

So I have a friend. One of those special friends, a real friend. Someone who is not trying to become part of the Matrix. Someone who is trying to become who they really are. Someone who by quirks of fate was not born who they really are, yet was born in a time of scientific and technological advances to allow them to alter themselves and become who they really are, as all of us have the choice to become who we really are or to alter ourselves to become who we wish we could be. I’m not saying which is right. Who I wish I could be, my ideal person, is probably a far better person than who I actually am, yet I believe that I am here for a purpose and whatever that purpose may be, I will be.

Saturday night this person wound up sleeping on the floor. Probably because of my shifting moods. As the night came to an end for me I was not cordial. I was demanding, insistent and done with being awake. I was done and the couch was mine. I didn’t like that I was being rude but I was done pushing myself beyond my limits. I knew the cost of doing that and I wasn’t willing to pay it again.

The following night I was able to convert the couch into a bed and found a hansom soul by my side. The gratitude of this occurrence did not escape me.    This too was a person I would conciser a real person yet the feelings were not the same. I believe that all souls have equal value. I wish that I could treat all the same. I wish that I could be the slut that I used to be but something was different.

As morning came I needed to tell this gorgeous creature, as beautiful as may be, we did not have the chemistry that I desired. But real and in my honesty there was no opposition, disappointment perhaps, but no denial. We were real.

Unforgettable days

Six days ago I finally wrote about my day which occurred twelve days ago. I still have not written about the day which followed, the Sunday, the day that is now eleven days history. I have not been putting it off because I am reluctant to write about that day. I have put it off because as time goes by I am worried more about losing the memories of the recent past. That day will forever be etched in my memory. It doesn’t matter when I write about it, it will feel as fresh as yesterday.

You see, that was the day I saved a best friend’s life.

The day before had been spent helping her move into her boyfriends house. It was a big day, an emotional day, an exhausting day. At the end she went to bed but the rest of us stayed up partying. At six or so in the morning she woke up to find us all still awake and hanging out in the kitchen.

She was understandably pretty annoyed with this. I can’t speak to her exact state of mind but I have a feeling she was upset with her boyfriend for inviting people back to his parent’s house and for not going to bed with her.

I wasn’t paying much attention to her arrival at the party but then she collapsed  She has epilepsy and was having a seizure. Her boyfriend and I rushed in to help her safely to the ground where she lay motionless in his lap.  A couple minutes past and she was not showing any signs of coming out of it. I have probably seen her have more seizures than anyone and I could tell this one was different.

I asked someone to call 911, someone who knew where the home phone was, or at least someone with a local number. The ambulance arrived in fairly short order and I met them at the door. I explained the situation and they went to work. The standard protocol is to administer a heavy dose of diazepam. I assume that they did that but it wasn’t working. I heard them say, “We are loosing her”. They cleared everyone out of the kitchen and I broke into tears.

People die from seizures.  In fact, as many people die each year from seizure disorders as from breast cancer. We had already lost one friend with epilepsy in the past year, I could not bare losing another, especially not one of my very best friends.

They loaded her into the ambulance to get her to the hospital. My adrenaline was racing. One of the party guests was pregnant and wasn’t drinking. We made plans to drive her boyfriend and me to the hospital.

—-

They next thing I knew I was waking up on the couch in the living room. My energy had finally given out and I had collapsed.  I had no recollection of falling asleep and now I was alone in this huge house out in the woods. I was alone, trying to get a hold of anyone I could but to no avail. I was alone in a state of panic for two hours before the boyfriend and his mother returned.

The boyfriend had not slept at all and was wiped out. I helped him move my friend’s couch into the basement and then his mother drove me back to my van. I got in my van and headed to the hospital to see my friend, but realizing that this would take me past my friend Scott Harold’s house, I gave him a call.

Scott Harold is the founder and CEO of the non-profit I will forever be tied to called, Rock The Cause. For the longest time I was considered the “moral compass” of the organization. I saw my role as that of preventing the organization from “selling out” to corporate interests. As the organization grew, their need for corporate collaboration became inevitable. I saw my role as an anchor turn into just a drag. I still have my doubts about some of the partnerships that have been made but I have no doubts about the good work they are doing.

For the past many months, Rock The Cause have been working with Zach Sobiech, a 17 year old singer/songwriter who is dying of osteosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that is expected to take his life within months. His story and his music are so incredibly; it moved me to tears to hear Scott tell me about him. I’m in tears now as I am writing about this. If his life does not embody the meaning of “Life Sucks, So What?” then I don’t know what does.

And then on to the hospital to see my friend who nearly died from epilepsy. I was grateful to find her no longer nearly dying. In fact, she was bitching about the food and how this hospital sucked compared to her last one. This may not have been any comfort to her in the moment but it was of great comfort to me. She was actually a pretty difficult patient but I wanted her to know that I still loved her. After spending a good hour or so with her I offered to buy her a coffee and told her that I would check in with her the next day.

Then I needed to get a drink. I had potential plans with this guy but he was not available so I called the woman I had not bought a drink for earlier in the week. She met me at the 19 bar. I explained how not buying her a drink went against my core values. We talked about honesty. We talked about lying. We talked about sex. We talked about all sorts of things until my bff showed up.

After bar close we went back to my bff’s place. We all got comfortable and after some heated discussions about poverty my bff passed out in her bed. My other friend and I were left alone on her couch. We began exploring each other’s bodies. There is much excitement to be found in another person’s body. That is something I haven’t had enough of lately. I just can’t tell you how much I missed feeling a cock in my mouth.

%d bloggers like this: