Nov 152017
 

I was thinking on the drive home tonight about an old friend. (Well, maybe she’s “someone I used to know” now. We haven’t had any contact in 12 or so years.) She and her husband moved to Colorado a few years ago. I don’t know whether it was for a job, or for the excitement of it, or some other reason. She’s got roots here, though, including family—so it wasn’t without trade-offs.

I thought about the adventures to be had in both urban and rural Colorado. Then I considered for a moment how blessed I feel to be in northern Alabama—to have a career here, to be raising a family here.

I arrived at age 15, with my father, in August 1986. The population of Huntsville has grown a good bit since then, but the population of the metropolitan area has doubled. We are rapidly closing on half a million people. It’s a significantly larger city than the one I moved to. Yet I’ve grown with it. I’ve called myself a native for 20 years or so now, and it still feels like my home.

A lot of the blessings are easy-to-measure metrics. The crime rate is low. The cost of living is low. The job market is excellent. I have a choice of good Vietnamese and Thai restaurants. A big one for me, though, is more abstract:

There are several things I still want to do in my life, and I can effectively do them here.

I haven’t exactly considered them dreams, or wishes, or anything else—they’ve just been things I think I’d like to do. Well, it’s time to call them goals. It’s time to codify them. It’s time for me to identify manageable chunks that I can check off. It’s time for me to clear obstacles (some of which have been obvious to me for some time yet I dared not call them by name).

I’ve made racket like this to myself before. I know it’s different this time because I’m much more excited than I’ve ever been.

I’ll keep you posted.

 Posted by at 12:33 am
Oct 172017
 

Me too. Really.

I actually have been sexually harassed, twice that I can remember. However, neither time caused me particular angst. I think that’s because when you’re a man, it’s entirely reasonable to believe it’s an isolated incident. I said “yeah, whatever” and that was it.

Mostly, women don’t have that luxury. Women can reasonably expect a periodic leer, catcall, or “compliment” that falls on the creepy/predatory side of the line, just for being women. Perceived provocative behavior, clothing, or such has nothing to do with it, nor does the fact that you may not see it day to day.

(For several good reasons, I’m not going to publicly get into how I reached the conclusion of the previous paragraph. You’re going to have to take my word for it.)

To be sure, there is still misinformation out there. One in five women are sexually assaulted on college campuses is a favorite chestnut of highly questionable provenance, for example. And there’s a certain sort of assumptive person I still find intolerable—a person who “knows” a great deal about me because I’m a white male, and who therefore imagines me presumptively guilty of a litany of sins.

The existence of these sorts (whom I generally don’t engage anymore, by the way) does not change the fact that the problem of sexual harassment is non-trivial, and there are two simple things men can do about it.

First, don’t sexually harass women. Slam-dunk, right? However, if you do need any help determining what that means, the Wikipedia article is a pretty good primer. It’s not difficult. The lines are solid, and for the most part, there aren’t women lurking about looking to “trap” hapless men into violations. The difference between screwing up and not screwing up is pretty clear.

Second, call it out when you see it. Make a scene. “Hey! Leave her alone. That’s not how men treat women in a civilized society.” You jump in not because you think she can’t take care of herself, but to accelerate the change in dynamic we need on this, which is that real men respect women, and men who don’t can expect shame from their peers.

A favorite acquaintance of mine moved to Atlanta a few years ago. She wrote a poignant blog post about sexual harassment—sharing first a dream about it, and then the real-life experience from which it had come. I commented that I couldn’t believe catcalls were a thing anymore.

Well, they are. So are men talking to women’s chests; men “accidentally” trapping women in tight spaces; and so forth. Wouldn’t dream of such behavior? Great. Me either.

But help me watch for it, won’t you?

 Posted by at 12:42 pm
Apr 242017
 

Here is a much better look at what we’re getting for our trade-in of Madison Square Mall to the universe. (If I figure out whether the video can be embedded later, I will.) No doubt this looks very appealing, and it’s amazing how well they can bring it to life with current technology, isn’t it? […]

 Posted by at 10:31 am
Apr 042017
 

When I was 12 years old, I don’t remember what I said I wanted to be when I grew up. I remember what my classmate Shannon said, though. He wanted to be a bulldozer owner/operator. He had it all worked out. He was going to get a secondhand dozer, live in a trailer, and work […]

 Posted by at 2:45 pm

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