What If…

A few days ago I was eating breakfast at my parents house in the 253 (Tacoma, WA area) before I got in my car and headed back to the Portland, Oregon. My dad, he is a republican and has this tendency to bring up conversations that you don’t want to really be part of. He also has an issue with people playing sports, in America, not standing for the national anthem so let me write a few things down, in no particular order, before I get onto the topic of way I started this post in the first place.

The first time the National Anthem was played at a public sports event was during the 1918 World Series held by the Major League Baseball. According to a quick Google search Major League Baseball was established in 1869. So not taking the mouths into account, just doing basic math, that’s 49 years without singing or even standing for the National Anthem. It was only sang by the military two years prior in 1916 under the order of President Woodrow Wilson.

Jackie Robinson, the first black athlete of the MLB didn’t play under the MLB until the year 1947. So doing basic math again, that’s 29 years that we sang the National Anthem before black dudes were able to play on the same field as white dudes. On a side note, the Negro National League was established in 1920, so that was 27 years before he was allowed to go over there.

By reading an article from ESPN, it sounds to me like the National Anthem stuck around because of the fact that it drew a larger crowd. So if you’re like me you’re asking yourself is it because people liked it, singing a song that made people feel unified; or is it because the MLB wanted more money due to ticket sales?

Since I’m doing this, the NFL was founded in 1920 in the state of Ohio.

Onto another point which will lead into my main point…

I’m part of a group on Facebook where all its members listen to the same podcast out of Seattle. Most of these members are from the Seattle area, and by the Seattle area I’m talking about a 50 mile radius around the city of. Some of the other members used to live Washington but since then moved away to other states such as Nebraska, like I used to; Iowa, Arkansas, Oregon, California, Arizona, Nevada, so on and so forth. The ongoing motto of the podcast is to ‘stay positive’ and we all seem to not only joke around and have fun, but show support for other members regardless of political or religious differences, and this environment creates very few arguments.

A few days ago, one of the most known members of this group shared an article from Sports Illustrated about how Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks did not stand for the National Anthem. This post has generated 67 comments over the span of 3 days, many of those comments having subcomments. I even have a few comments on said post, and even though I was not trying to fight with anyone; it just…there was a reason to even though I think I stayed pretty neutral.

So let’s jump back, or forward, to eating breakfast at my parents house, I got into a discussion with my dad; my family always yells at one another even if we are not fighting. From the conversation I found out that my parents also have arguments with my dad’s sister-in-law; the wife of one of his two brothers, or two of his three nephew’s; the three sons of one of my dads five sisters. I found this out just based on hearing my mom say, “Just shut up Bill, you’re talking to a brick wall; it’s just going to be like talking to Dan or Becky.”

These family members are from Nebraska and never lived outside of the Midwest, they never lived in parts of the country that tend to be more democratic based on population size and how different one person is than the other and the idea that you have to learn how to coexist on a rock that is floating, in a pattern, though space.

My dad thinks that our current President, Donald Trump, is a fucking idiot; well hey, I do too! Even though he is a republican he is more moderate than he may think, he is not one of those 33% that live in the Midwest and thinks everything Donald Trump does is a gift from God.

At one point during the fight I got my dad to say, even though he kinda disagreed with me, “Yes, he has that right, and I will fight for that right,” my dad used to be a Marine, “But I still think it is disrespectful. But you’re right Daniel, I would not want to live in a country that forced its citizen to sit or stand.”

My mom thought me and my dad were fighting, but no, we were just yelling at one another. We didn’t really start fighting until he asked me, “Why did he sit, what was his reasoning?”

I quickly, without a thought, replied by saying, “He sat due to something that he thinks is a injustice, the mistreatment of black people.”

From there the conversation kinda ended, I kept saying “Okay,” at one point just to avoid a fight.

I get my use of metaphors from my dad and for whatever fucking reason he was comparing black people to tigers saying, “You’re right, police need to be better but at the same time I can’t really blame them; when you deal with tigers attacking people everyday and then you find a tiger you’re going to be on edge expecting it to attack you.”

This is kinda where I zoned out and started saying, “Okay.”

My mom ended the conversation when I said, “God dammit dad, he didn’t approach a tiger, he approached a god damn domesticated house cat who told the officer that he was getting his wallet out of his back pocket; and he fucking got shot!”

So with the idea of this posting on Facebook and the conversation that I just had with my dad, on top of the conversation that I had last week I ended up with a thought in my head as I was driving south on I-5.

“What if I didn’t stand for the National Anthem? Would it be assumed that I can’t because I’m in a wheelchair? How would they know that I was choosing not to stand, is it just because they assume that I can’t? What if I wanted to raise awareness because people who are physically disabled have a extremely difficult time finding employment. What if? Would people even be talking about it?”

We have laws in place, I know this, a place of employment can not legally discriminate against me, but you know what? It happens! Do a large majority of people believe me when I tell them that finding a job when you’re physically disabled is extremely difficult? No.

All of the discrimination is unintentional, it’s not like the hiring manager is going around and telling me I’m less then a human because I’m in a wheelchair.

But guess what employers? We feel that way even though you don’t have any intention of doing so, and maybe you do, maybe you are an asshole; but there are ways around that law, some of you know this and you are an asshole, some of you just say no based on this or that but either way you still make handicapped people feel pretty god damn useless.

So because of the idea that I can’t speak on your perspective, lets throw myself under the buss.

In high school, even though I could walk at the time, I was still disabled; my disability is not going away. Unless they come out with a cure, which they were supposed to happen ten years ago. Regardless I was in a wheelchair at that time and my education was based on the field of science and technology, engineering to be more specific.

During my sophomore year of high school I took a drafting class, that as you would expect started out using things like pencils, paper, table, t-squares, triangles, scales, eraser shields, so on and so forth. That then moved into AutoCAD. In my junior year I moved high schools and more or less ended up taking the same class with a different name. For my senior year of high school I could not take the same class over again, so I more or less ended up being a teachers assistant in the same class that I took the year prior.

At one point I got yelled at by my teacher saying, “You’re supposed to be helping these kids, not doing their work for them.” I’m sorry, most of these kids were taking this class because, “It’s an easy A man,” and when you’re trying to explain to a kid to type ‘@34.25<270’ and they act like you’re talking a foreign language it’s easy to just be like “Here, I’ll show you,” but then you get trapped in a moment of, “I’ll just do it for you, because I don’t want to get pissed because you can’t.”

After graduation I went to college and obtained my Associates in Mechanical Engineering Design. I spent two and a half years in a land of…taking my son to daycare, going to school where I studied mechanical blueprints, trig, geometry, physics; for 8 hours a day, picking my kid up from daycare, and then being yelled at my his mom.

I have extensive knowledge in blueprint design, I can’t necessarily tell you how to build a bridge that is supposed to hold 100 tons, and I might have to brush up if you ask me, “If I have a truck that weights 2,000 pounds and is going 40 miles per hour up a hill with friction and a 35% incline and I’m towing a 2,000 pound boat how much will it slow me down and how long will it take for me to get to the top of the hill that is in another 50 feet.”

After that I started a job that was not an engineering type job, but was related in the field of such and gave me experience in the manufacturing/production environment. I held onto that job for 5 years before I was transferred to Seattle and realized that the drive was too much and I could not do it anymore.

While I was employed at that job I went to school…again, got my second Associates in Machining and Manufacturing Technologies, my main goal of getting that degree was to become a CNC Programmer, but then you got the idea that the vast majority of employers will not hire a CNC programmer if said person was not a CNC operator beforehand. That was the beginning of my downfall with that company, I more or less started a job that I could not physically do at the speed that they were asking, and they kept asking me to speed up so much that I got into this mode of doing stupid shit, scraping parts, and asking a ton of questions that I already knew.

And my walking has became worse since that point in time, so while I may not be able to run the machine I can tell you how to setup the machine, load the program, set the Z, set the offset, how to takedown, and I can even tell you what N76G01Z-0.625F1 means.

But does that matter to employers? No. Because my job as a CNC operator was a failure, why? I don’t know if they care. On paper they see this, they don’t care if I know how to program the part being made, the history tells them differently. And I don’t want a job in CNC anything, I’ve done that before, don’t want to do it again.

I’d rather produce a 3D model based on a customers 2D blueprint and hand it to the machinist and say, “Make this shit.”

Then you got the idea that people make assumptions. And that is the downside of being in a wheelchair. You don’t know what I can or can not do, and it’s illegal for you to even ask.

Part of me blames America too, where the fuck do you get the idea that I’m going to sue your company because I fell down or whatever? Oh yea, people do that; but I’m not an asshole. Do you know that? If you give me a job and I stand up with the idea that I might fall over and I do fall over, that is on me, it’s my fault. Now, I’ll sue you if you made me stand up, but if I could do the job without standing up, and I make the personal decision to stand up; I’m not going to sue you because I made the choice to and fell down.

But does it happen? Yes, people sue people over stupid shit all the time. Look at out president, cough cough.

The thing that pisses me off about that is…the negative stereotype plays a lot into your assumption. And while you sit there making assumptions about things that you don’t know or even understand; I’m sitting here being depressed day in and day out because you’re not the only one making those assumptions, everyone else is too. While you sit there I’m taking money out of your pocket, and sure you could sit there and say, “You fucking lazy bastard, stop taking my tax money,” but that’s your fault, it’s your fault that your paying me just to live.

It’s not like I’m not trying to find a job, it’s that all you fuckers make assumption that…you can’t legally make, but can you? And do you? You can make up reasons not to hire someone, sometimes you don’t even need to make shit up. There are a lot, a lot of jobs that I can’t physically do, I get that, but I’m not trying to apply as a patrol officer either.

You’re legally supposed to provide accommodations, but that is a slippery slope and I don’t think people understand that. A chair, fine, if you have to spend $20 on a chair so I can sit, fine you figure I can make that money back within X amount of time. But if you assume, and what happens when you assume? You make an ass out of you and me. When you assume that you need to spend more then it costs to employ me, you wont employ me. And we come back to the negative stereotype that surrounds people in wheelchairs.

Do you know me? Do you know what I can do? Oh that’s right, you can’t ask.

After that job I was giving an under the job table helping my dad. At that time my father was the senior design engineer at a company in Nebraska, and that is why I moved back to Nebraska in the first place. My dad did not know how to use Solidworks, but he knew that I did, he also knew my educational background; based upon that he gave me a job that I could do from home, a job that I could start at three in the afternoon and do until four in the morning if I wanted to.

I talked about this in a previous post, but to summarize it I moved back to Nebraska to take a job at said company. My dad only took the job because they promised to give me a job. By the time I moved back the government shutdown was in high gear, the job never happened, and every time my dad mentioned my name to his boss, he boss would straight up walk away and act like I didn’t exist.

And that is why my dad quit his job and moved back to Washington State to take his old job.

But when he moved we had reason to stay, so we more or less end up staying in Nebraska for another three years. During that time I was lucky and found a job, that hired me after saying that they wouldn’t.

When I started working there I’ve heard a few times that I did a good job and they were happy that they gave me a job, which to be honest only made me feel like I was negatively stereotyped during my initial interview.

I kept that job for a year and a half before I was laid off due to a loss in customer base. During my employment there I ended up turning 2D blueprints into 3D models and then doing the reverse.

I spent my life focused on this, mainly because I knew I had to get a job that I could do from a desk. But the vast majority of the time, these people have worked on the floor for several years. Can I work on the production floor? Then we get back to my first job. Can I work on the floor? Yea, depending on the job. Do you assume that I can work on the floor? Most manufacturing jobs would make you assume that I can’t. Sadly, a lot of them are set up that way and they don’t even bother to ask if they could provide reasonable accommodations unless I have a golden penis that cums one hundred dollar bills.

After I got laid off from my last job…we were planning on moving to Oregon the year before, and due to her job and my job, the decision to stay in Nebraska was made about two weeks prior to me finding out that I was laid off.

So I found myself staying in Nebraska for another year without a job. At this point, I knew from previous occasions how hard it was to find a job. What do I do? I call social security to go back onto disability, and that, that was the most stressful month of my life. I didn’t know if I was going to receive money again by the time my rent was due. I didn’t get any word from anyone about anything. I just sat there worried until money popped into my account without any notification.

I was trying to find a job. Under the rules of Social Security I can work part time for under X amount of money per month, in gross pay, and Social Security still gives me something.

But are you aware how hard it is to find a job, yet alone a part time job when people assume you can’t physically do the job that you’re applying for?

I lived in Lincoln, NE at the time so let assume that there are 250,000 jobs and at the time the unemployment rate was 4.8%, so by doing simple math 12,000 jobs. If you figure that half of those jobs are part-time that take your 12,000 down to 6,000. Then you take into account that I can’t work fast food, I can’t stock shelf’s, I have no customer experience experience, what can I do? That takes the number 6,000 down to about 600. Then you got to account for all the people that can either physically do shit or have better qualifications.

Do you know how much Social Security Disability pays? Do you even care? I assume it’s different for everyone. Let’s assume that you have a full time job that pays you $11.87 an hour, sounds good right, a gross pay of $1,900 a mouth; not great, but that is livable for most poor people; and fuck, there are a lot of poor people in this country. If your monthly gross is $1,900 your take home pay is roughly $1,463; that goes to say that every other Friday you’re taking home $731.50.

Now take that number and instead of getting it every 15 days, you get it every 30 days. How the fuck are you supposed to live on that? Now of days a good 95% of the apartments charge rent over $731.50, so I can’t even pay rent; much less car insurance, car payment, gas for said car, cell phone; what do you expect me to do, get a land line…it’s 2017 people.

So, I need a job, I want a job, do you know how depressing it is to sit here and eat food, go to the store, play Fallout 4, or write a 3,365+ word blog post? I want to feel like I’m contributing to society somehow. Not only that, but fuck, I don’t want to live with my fiances parents either.

That’s easy Dan, change career paths. It’s not that easy! What the hell do I do? My life is surrounded around the idea of engineering, and yes; there are more things I can learn, but still. It’s not like I’m going to take a job that I can’t even do.

So if I was in the situation where millions of people could witness me sit down for the national anthem is it okay just because you assume that I can’t stand? If I made the choice to sit would you know that I’m sitting based on the fact that I’m already sitting and you assume that I can’t stand?

If I wanted to use that as a vehicle to raise awareness to an issue that I deem is an injustice would people even be talking about it?

I used this metaphor once, and I’m going to use it again. That’s the problem Colin Kaepernick is dealing with; it’s like he used a 1998 Toyota Super as a vehicle to raise awareness about how cars don’t get enough gas mileage, and the vehicle worked; it made people all around the country talk. But a year later people are still fighting over the type of vehicle that he used and instead of getting engineers involved to figure out how to reduce gas mileage you got a bunch of people arguing about muscle cars, SUVs, trucks, vans; and why that vehicle is better. Everyone, or most, forgot what the fucking issue was about.

So if I sit during the National Anthem would people care? Would they make an issue about it?

Disabled people, in 1990 the A.D.A. was formed and did a lot to protect us, but does it do enough? There are ways to get around it, and employers use them all the time rather they intend to or not. Discrimination against disabled people happens everyday, might even happen right in front of your face; and you don’t even know.

Perspective; when is the last time you saw someone and thought, “I wonder what their life is like, and if I was faced with the same issues could I overcome it?”

I’ll end this post by asking a very basic question. In this country we have the 1st amendment; that being said we have the freedom to sit or stand for the flag and that same freedom grantees that no one is going to force you do to what they think you should do. Some people might say, “Yea, well standing for the flag is a sign of respect.” You know what, you’re right; but at the same time exercising your right to make a choice on the matter, is also a sign of respect.

Sit or stand, I don’t care, do whatever makes you happy; but think about what you’re saying before you say, “That’s disrespectful.” Is it?

You have that freedom, is it not respect to choose either of the two based on the fact that “they” gave you the freedom do make that choice?

 

 

 

 

 

Proud of Thy Self.

Okay, so before I get into this let me give you a little background. I used to have a job located in Auburn, WA. During my employment there I had a coworker who became someone who I had to train, this individual frustrated the fuck out of me.

To this day I remember the day he tried to take a pad off of a die grinder without holding the shaft stationary. It was like he was trying to unscrew a nut from a bolt without holding the bolt, so all he was doing was turning a object in circles and not making any progress other than looking like an idiot who probably shouldn’t have that job in the first place.

I also had another coworker, who I talked to, but didn’t really care to hang out with.

Throughout the years the second coworker, who no longer lived in the same state as me found me on Facebook just based on the fact that he and I liked the same radio station/Facebook page. He commented on one of my posts on their page, it caught me off guard but was cool nonetheless.

Getting back to the first employee I mentioned, on the day I said, “If he doesn’t want to pay attention and at least pretend that he is learning something, I’m not going to try to teach him anything.” I said it in anger, and I probably shouldn’t have, he was a nice kid who was more than willing to do his job, but didn’t seem to grasp at the most basic idea.

This guy is Facebook friends with the other guy. After I stopped caring to try to teach him and just told him shit without any explanation they moved him to the other side of the shop; same department, different area. So guy 2 ended up training guy 1 and therefore ended up as friends on Facebook.

I typically never add coworkers to Facebook until I don’t work with them, I don’t want them to know too much about me.

As soon as guy 2 found me on Facebook, I get a friend request from guy 1. Whatever, I don’t care, it’s not like I’m trying to avoid him. And I come to find out that he now lives in Oregon, and at that time I was about 1 year away from moving to Oregon.

Fast forward to August 5th, 2017; I share something on Facebook about how it’s cool if you rape someone, kill someone, get in a fight the requires police action, hit your wife, or do copious amounts of drugs when you’re in the NFL  but if you sit down you’re the worst player in the history of the NFL.

So…A conversation with guy 1 came out of the woodwork, we will call guy 1 ‘Steve.’ While it was a fairly short conversation, I was proud of myself for being so clear and concise with my way of thinking. I will refer to myself in the third person, kind of. I will even edit his comments to appear as is he knows how to use words properly.

Steve: This post is so stupid. So you’re okay with people in America not standing for our flag that your founding fathers fought for?

If you’re a fan of the NFL, you know what I’m talking about so I’m not even going to share the picture. But if for some reason you have no idea what I’m talking about, I’ll let you know if you ask.

Daniel:Yes.

Like…really, you’re going to ask me that? After the initial “what the fuck” moment I added onto it by saying…

Daniel: Since when did they not have the right to choose not to stand?

Which sounds kinda weird because, I feel like, the word ‘not’ creates a double negative.

Steve: If they are living in the U.S.A., playing an American sport, they should show their respect to our country and its military.

Okay, so I wasn’t really going to fight him there, that…while related that was not my focus, but I was getting ready to go this road if that is where he wanted to go.

So I asked a basic question.

Daniel: Do they have to?

I figured, if you’re going to go down the route let’s try to figure out why you’re not okay with it.

I leaned that when you talk to someone who has an opposing view to yours it’s a good thing to find out where they are coming from. Hopefully force them to look at themselves instead of just telling them why they are wrong.

Steve:No body has to do anything but people have the right to lose respect for that person who won’t even show respect to their country

He more or less said what I was hoping he would, but man…a right and a freedom are two different things. While I can see a connection between to two it’s not like they stood up in 1776 and say, “Now hear this, it is your right as an American citizen to loose respect for people.”

But that did make me take the question to its next logical point.

Daniel: And the other crimes are okay?

To which he responded just as I hoped.

Steve: No they are not okay, look at O.J. and Arron Hernandez; they are in prison and because of it don’t have fans anymore.

At this point I asked myself if he knew what was going on it the world but that is beside the point.

I go onto say…

Daniel:Okay, so yes, while people have the freedom to dislike whoever, for whatever; it is massively skewed. He has the freedom to not stand because of what he deems to be an injustice. It just bothers me when all these people loose their shit because he remained within the guidelines of the law without being violent or hostel while trying to shine light on an issue that needed more exposure.

Before he could reply to that I said… But in terms of keeping the conversation in-line he said…

Steve: There are other ways to shine light. I just think it’s very disrespectful to our country and our men, they fought for our country so he can play football and he won’t even stand and show respect.

But before I replied to that I said…

Daniel: Now, if you stand for a country who is doing something that you don’t agree with, is that freedom of speech or expression? Who is the fucked up person in that situation?

I was not expecting a response from that, I just left it as something he can ponder. But I did reply to his last statement by saying…

Daniel: They fought for you to have freedom, the freedom not to.

He ended up liking that comment. I could tell he wasn’t trying to fight, neither was I.

Steve: That’s true. I just feel it’s a matter of respect.

Okay, so I took that, his definition of respect a little bit further. It was also my last comment.

Daniel: Okay, so…choosing to act in a non-violent manner about something that you disagree with is a sign of respect. Choosing to not stand is a sign of respect. They, if you want to call it that, they fought for…I could totally do a research paper on why we separated from Britain. Regardless, not standing; which is your freedom based upon a right that all American citizens have, is…showing respect. 

You have the freedom to, therefore exercising that freedom is showing respect for your country. A country and “the men” who gave you that freedom, the freedom to make a choice without being killed and vilified for doing so.

Now, blindly standing because it was beaten into your head as a kid… does that show me that you fully understand the freedom that you and all Americans have?

Are they standing because they choose to or because they were told to? And is that freedom?

And that’s that, I was actually proud that I was able to speak my point of view without sounding like an idiot who was just shouting meaningless words. And…now I’m going to go get out of my wheelchair and play Fallout 4.

Maybe I’ll get a little “some some” if I go hang out with my fiance for a few minutes.

Moving to Oregon!!!

(I’m writing this a few days after I posted this. There are a lot of grammar, spelling or incorrect words in this post; I do not feel like editing it right now…so just know, if you don’t, that I’m not that stupid, I just suck at editing my self before I hit post)

A few days ago I remembered doing something and a few minutes later I attempted to make a funny post about said memory. At the beginning of my relationship with my now fiance I took her on a last minute date to Mt. Rainier. While that was running thought my head I had a thought that hopefully would seem funny to those outside of The Midwest, or Nebraska.

I more or less posted:

Hey, Shannon remember that time I took you on a last minute date/adventure to Mt. Rainier? It was fun wasn’t it? Mr. Fox hanging out next to the car, the bathrooms were berried under snow (in the summer) and then after we got home I realized I could of got in for free.

We had lunch in the paradise parking lot and the entire time there was a gray fox sitting right next to my car starring at us. We didn’t feed it, but we wanted to; he or she was kinda cute just sitting ten feet away from my front door watching us eat in a non-violent manner.

And there is the issue that I can get into a national park for free based on the fact that I’m disabled.

What am I supposed to do in this state? Take you somewhere and be like, “This hill is the largest hill in this state and its peak is 20 feet high.” Or take you to a body of water and be like, “Hey look, it’s a body of water, I’m pretty sure its deepest point is less than 100 feet; and look, you can even see land on every side”.

So that was my attempt to make fun of my own state, the state I was born in but was away for for 15 years.

On another topic I went to go get gas today and had another thought which I will talk about more below, but based on that I had the idea to write top top reasons I’m excited to move to Oregon.

These are not in any particular order, but I tried to put the most important shit upfront, however they are all important to me and towards to end of the list I found myself asking if this was more important then that.

1. I’ll be closer to my kid

As some of you might know; my kid was born in 2003, around the summer of 2005 I was booted out of the house and moved back in with my parents. After that I got to see my kid every other weekend.

Shortly after I moved out, like right after…and I have a post called Restless Night if you care to read more about that.

Now…if you read that post you might already know. She spent no time jumping from boy to boy. Nine mouths later they were married. He was in the military; and if you know anything about Washington State…Ft. Lewis.

Anyhow because of said marriage my son spent the last ten years, starting at the age of 3, maybe 4 moving all over the country. Then his step-father got a job in Seattle, out of the military.

So now my kid is back in the state where he was born and when I move to the northern edge of Oregon I’ll be a 21 hour drive closer. So I’m looking forward to that, my son says he is too. We both suck at coming up with things to say, so our phone conversations are very little. Not because I don’t care about my kid, but due to awkward silence. And if I ask him questions or say something I still get “Okay,” “No,” “Yea,” “Cool,” so on and so forth, like where do I go from there

But being with him in person is different, he will talk your ear off…which I did at that age too.

I’m just hoping that his mom will let him come live me Shannon and I for 30 days during his summer break.

2. I’ll be closer to my friends.

This…I might not need to explain this either. If you dig into my blog there is plenty of information to tell you what I’m about to summarize.

When I was a kid in Nebraska, I was picked on…more so than most kids, yes we were kids, yes that what kids do…but 30 people every day. Then I moved to Washington State and that pretty much stopped.

I became more popular that I could have ever imagined. My soon to be best man at my wedding…I’ve known him since 1998, the year I moved there; granted he only hung out with me because he thought my sister was hot, but after he got to know me he stuck to me like adhesive.

My other friend, he sucks at giving speeches; he will not be making any speeches at my wedding. I’ve known him since 1998 too.

My friends in Washington…what else can I say.

3.  I’ll be closer to my family

Now, my dad has five sisters and had 2 brothers, 1 remaining; regardless of that it has spawned a huge family who mostly reside in Nebraska, a few in Iowa. But I don’t think of them as…people who are close to me, mainly due to religious and political difference which I might mention later on it this post.

I moved back to Nebraska a year after my father moved back to Nebraska. He offered me a job in Nebraska a year prior. If you know anything about my blog, you know my stance on how difficult it is for people with disabilities to find a job.

As much as I didn’t want to leave the state of Washington, I saw it as a foot in the door to the engineering field. In which I have two college degrees that focus of the line of work. After talking to my now fiance, she moved to Nebraska with me in the same hopes that I would walk into that door.

Which never happened. At that time the government had a shut down of manufacturing, and the company my dad worked for got all to most of its contracts though the U.S. government. And his boss, whenever you mentioned something to him that he didn’t want to talk about he would just act like the situation was not there.

So I lived in Nebraska hoping for a job that I never got. On a positive note I found a job similar to that and was employed for 19 months until I was laid off due to a loss in customers base.

Around that time my father received a call from his old boss (they really liked my dad and were sad to see him go). After a, “You sure you don’t want your job back,” conversation on the phone; he quit his job in Nebraska based on several factors, one of them being that his boss promised to hire me but acted like I didn’t exist, and moved back to Washington to take his old job.

So being able to drive up to the Tacoma area for holidays or just because would be awesome.

This last Christmas I stayed in Nebraska, mainly because neither I nor my parents could afford to fly me out. I was sitting at a dinner table with my fiance, 3 of my dad’s sisters, my closet cousin, and a few other family members. The men were in the family room watching a Seahawks game, which was great for me; and the women were all hanging out in the kitchen talking about whatever.

As I’m sitting there talking to my Aunt Sandy and Aunt Diana I hear them say, “Oh my God Daniel, you look, act, and talk just like Billy (my dad). That makes me feel good.

There are things me and my dad disagree on, him being a republican and me being a democrat; which I’ll speak about later, but I have always been closer to my father than my mother. Mainly because my dad, as much as he doesn’t want me to fuck up, realizes that sometimes I won’t learn if I don’t. As my mom…she tries to stop me from doing anything that she deems dangerous, like you know, driving to Taco Bell or going outside when she thinks I will fall.

4.  Mountains, ocean, and trees.

Before I knew that I was going to move back to Nebraska I had a coworker, who I ate lunch with and also knew that I was from Nebraska. He would ask me some of the dumbest shit ever, which was funny as hell and stupid as fuck, but he is still a friend, not a close friend, but someone I still talk to and would hang out with.

“Do black people live in Nebraska?” May I mention that he was black. To which my smartass response was, “Do white people live in Baltimore?” which is uneducated on my part, I never been to Maryland other then a field trip in middle school. But…I think you can understand what I was trying to get at.

“Do people in Nebraska listen to anything besides country music?” Another smartass reply came from such, “I don’t know man, do people in Seattle listen to anything other than Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden?”

“Are there any trees in Nebraska?” This honestly made me look at him and think, “What the fuck man.” “Yes, there are.” But after being back here for about 4 years now…I can understand when you take The Evergreen State and try to compare it to Nebraska, that’s like trying to compare me to a seven foot tall NBA player. Yes, we are both human beings, but there are very distinct difference the two.

I don’t know if I need to say anymore. Oregon has mountains, Nebraska does not. Oregon in on a the coast of the Pacific Ocean, Nebraska is not anywhere close to either ocean. And trees…Oregon is a giant ass forest with cities built in the middle, I’m so used to the Pacific Northwest type forest that when you take me to a plot of land in Nebraska and say, “This is a forest,” I can’t help but laugh at you.

5.  Different climate

Keep in mind when I reference Oregon I’m talking about the low land portion of Portland, not the eastern side or up in the mountains.

So in Nebraska, there are actually four seasons; Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. In western Oregon there are only two; Rain and Summer.

In Nebraska it easier to distinguish the four season than it is in Oregon.

As far as Nebraska goes the winters average a temperature from 10-25, and it can get as low as -10. It’s common to see 6 to 12 inches of snow more then two times in a three month period. Spring starts to get warmer, all the trees that have no leaves start to grow leave again, the grass starts to turn back into a green from a brown. The average temperature can be anywhere for 30 to 70, and I love When it’s hot in the spring, reminds me of Washington summers.

Summer here, the average temperature is anywhere for 80-110, and there is no ocean, so there is so much humidity it the air that it feels like you’re in a 90 degree sauna with a 120 degree heat lamp that you can’t escape from. Then you get into the fall which is more or less the reverse of spring. Leaves die, your grass turns brown, its starting to get colder outside.

Oregon has four seasons too, but they are “closer together” than what you would experience in the Midwest. Winter might be anywhere from 15-30 degrees, but it’s raining. Spring might be anywhere form 40-70, and it might be raining then too. Summer is the best, and I think I’ve explained that already, it might rain; but for those 90 days, I love that, when it’s not raining the weather is fantastic. Then you get back into the fall which again is the same as spring, for the most part.

And let me say one thing about the rain: The rain in Oregon ain’t that bad. People associate it with Seattle, but it ain’t as bad as you might think. When someone says,” Oh yea, it will start raining on Monday and won’t stop until Saturday.” That sounds bad, but it’s not. Rain here is like standing under high pressure shower head for an hour compared to standing under a low pressure sprinkler for a week.

Rain might sprinkle on us for a week, but it dumps on you for an hour.

And humidity…come on man. If you’re in the Midwest picture a 90 degree day in the spring, take out the gusts of wind you get and then imagine that in August.

6.  Jack in the Box.

Some people hate the food at Jack in the Box, which I don’t understand, but whatever, people are allowed to feel anyway they want.

But…Breakfast at 6pm or dinner at 5am, need I say more? And a large menu with a lot of options.

Nebraska does not have a Jack in the Box, and it makes me sad. I have to drive 110 miles over to Kansas City, Kansas just to have Jack in the Box. Every time I’m up in that area one of the things I make a point to do, which might be more than once, is eat at Jack in the Box.

7.  Weed is legal

I could talk for hours about the legalization of marijuana, but I won’t…if you agree with me you know everything I’m going to say; and if you don’t you won’t care anyways. Both times in college I has to take an English class, both of them had the topic of a persuasive essay either 5,000 words or a 15 minute speech, both of those time I wrote about exactly that: The legalization of Marijuana.

Now, I’ve been away for so long that I’m not keeping up with the laws in said state. And when I left I didn’t live in Oregon anyhow.

Do you know how good it feels to say, “I was one of the many who voted to legalize relational marijuana in Washington,” when you live in one of the few states that does not even allow medicinal marijuana.

Say what you what, but Washington as well as Colorado showed a decease in violence, and traffic fatalities with a large, and I mean large, increase in state revenue that goes back to the states infrastructure.

And I’m pretty sure Oregon, all all the other state that passed it since 2012 will follow suit.

8.  I don’t have to pump my gas.

So my fiance’s my was out here to visit and while my fiance was at work I was driving around town from place to place to do some stuff with her mom, who is 50 something… I’m guessing, when we pulled up to a gas pump to get gas I asked, “Do you mind pumping the gas?” And She said, “I don’t know how to.”

After thinking about it for a few seconds it made sense to me, and I’m not trying to say she is less of a person because of it.

Do you know how many jobs are created in Oregon because of that? It’s against the law to pump your own gas. So that’s cool, but good luck getting gas at two in the morning. You might just have to cross the river and go to Vancouver, WA if you need gas at 2am.

As far as I go, I just got a new car, a car with the gas tank on the passenger side. And as time goes on its getting more difficult for me to walk. Yea, I know, there is a disabled button on gas pumps, but not many people use them and that being said the employees inside of the store are not used to it; every time I pushed it, nothing happened.

When I had a car with the gas pump on the drivers side, it was much easier for me to pump my own gas, but now I got to add the task of walking around the vehicle just to do it, then I got to walk back afterwards.

It’ll just be great to roll up to a gas station, I might have to wait in line, but I don’t have to get out of my car; I can either say “Fill it up,” or “Twenty bucks,” and it will be done for me.

9.  More democratic.

A few days ago I caught myself thinking, “Do republicans view Washington and Oregon the same way democrats view Texas?”

On a separate occasion I went to the movies with my fiance and one of the characters said, something along the lines of, “This is a small village, people don’t have that many issues do deal with.” And in the middle of the movie that got me to thinking about how smaller towns tend to be republican while larger ones tend to be more democratic.

And yes, there are republicans in Oregon; there are democrats in Nebraska. Lincoln and Omaha are the two largest cities in Nebraska, and that being said there are more democrats and more moderate republicans who understand that there are a lot of people here that deserve the same rights as everyone else, they all have different religions and backgrounds.

But you get outside of Lincoln or Omaha into smaller towns you tend to find people who think it’s okay to force people to be a certain religion, it’s okay to force kids to say the Pledge of Allegiance at school, it’s okay to deny a couple the right to marriage because of a religion that is not supposed to hold any legality and that everyone who doesn’t speak English should fucking get the fuck out; all of these make you think, “What the fuck is your problem.”

Now Oregon, specifically the Portland area is the same as Western Washington; as far as cities go. A bunch of cities all jam packed next to one another with very large and very diverse groups of people. And the republicans there, are surprisingly moderate. They might consider themselves to be financially republican but socially democratic.

I’ve heard a quote from a comedy special on Netflix where Trevor Noah said something along the lines of, “There are so many people in this world, once you start to travel from state to state, even country to country you start to understand how insignificant you are.”

I don’t know about you but I’d rather live somewhere where people allow you to live your life how you deem fit as long as you’re not being violent versus someone who is close minded and thinks everyone should be just like him or her.

10. Less religious.

I don’t know what I can say about this. I’d rather live somewhere where people don’t think your a violent people who kills children and drinks their blood just because you’re an Atheist.

Due to previous research I can tell you that – these stats might have changed – Mississippi is 7% Atheist, Nebraska is 14%, while Oregon and Washington are up in the 24 to 25% range.

I don’t care what you believe, you can believe in a giant lumberjack who has a blue Ox for all I care, but the moment that you try to effect my life, the education in schools, or the freedom that is in the first amendment, that is when I have a problem.

11.  Ikea, Fred Meyer, and others.

Fred Meyer is great, I don’t really know what to say; I miss it. It’s like going to a smaller bet better version of Walmart.

12.  More handicapped accessibility.

People here think that shit is handicapped accessible; but it’s not. Yea sure, I can get from here to there, but it’s not as easy. I mean like I can get around in a wheelchair, but it’s like the Midwest has this idea of…

“If we have to legally do it, I guess we will; but that’s as far as it goes. If you can get in and out of the store we fulfilled our legal responsibility. If you can get out of the door on the side of the building because a fire is blocking the door that you can enter, that ain’t our fault. And well if you cant get down to the street via a curb-cut, well that’s not our fault either; go over there and then come back this way. We don’t care about how easy it is, all we need to check off of our list is rather it can be done.”

I don’t expect to climb Mt. Hood in my wheelchair, but Oregon has a better idea of, “You’re here and you need to get there; you can go this way or that way.”

And if you’re from the Midwest and think I’m talking out of my ass, go borrow a wheelchair and live in in for 30 days. I grantee you smaller towns are not as accessible as bigger cities. And I’m sorry but, Lincoln ain’t as big as you think it is.

And keep in mind I’m very active, which is a weird adverb to relate to someone in a wheelchair. But I’m not just some dude that lives at home and doesn’t go anywhere, just because we can go over there and do this does not mean we don’t what to go over there and do that.

I’m just saying, larger populated areas seem to have a better grasp of said topic.

13.  Thrift Shopping

A few days ago I was listening to Seattle Rock Day on KISW and Maclemore’s Thrift Shop started playing, which was odd for that station; but made sense in the context. And that got me to thinking about how happy I would be to go thrift shopping in the PNW.

Thrift shopping in Nebraska is like going into a hoarders house and finding nothing that you want and then when you do find something that you think would be $3.99 you find out that they want $19.99 for a crumbled up piece of paper.

Portland and Seattle area thrift shops just have a much better selection, you can actually find what you want, and they don’t charge a ungodly amount of money for something that should be half of that price.

Everyone out here sales their shit, they don’t donate it. And when the sale it they thing it’s perfectly okay to ask for 75 to 100% of the price that they bought it for five years ago.

Video Games with Donald Trump

One night I was playing Madden 17, again. And afterwards I was fucking pissed and wanted to thrown my controller against the wall and blow up my house. Because once again I was playing against some fucking lucky asshole who fucking won the game 25 to 24 by doing stupid shit, that a coach would never do, but fucking this kid was lucky as fuck.

Once again I was playing an idiot at checkers as he kept picking up his chips and fucking slamming the back onto the table in random ass locations while I sat there and yelled at my TV, “How the fuck do you get away with that shit? I’m playing all the right plays based on the fact that you don’t seem to know your ass from a hole in the ground and you just fucking get away with that shit like its the easiest thing you have ever done.”

Then later that night I was laying in bed staring at my phone, this was around the time our fucking dumbass of a fucktard president starting his happy ass executive order bullshit, which…I don’t think any of them have done any good.

It was when he signed his name on shit he didn’t fucking read in the first place, and put the construction of the Dakota Pipeline back into play. That night I was laying in bed on Facebook, I just got done reading “fake news” about how fucking dumb our president is, and I posted on Facebook:

“Donald Trump is like that fucking dude you play Madden 17 with, the kid who decides that going for it on 4th&24 is the smartest idea ever. You know what, you might complete it, but it’s such a risk that you’re most likely going to end up turning it over to me due to an incomplete pass, a sack, an interception, or even a complete pass that doesn’t make it 24 yards. Good job dude, it might work, but if it doesn’t you just contaminated land with oil just because you have fucking ties to a oil company. And no one fucking asked you to be there anyways.”

A few nights ago I was playing Grand Theft Auto Online with one of my friends from Washington State. When we play Grand Theft Auto Online we play with the two of us, no one else. Why? Because everyone else who plays doesn’t seem to do anything besides buy guns just to run around with no rhyme or reason but to kill each other for no fucking reason.

When we play Grand Theft Auto Online we actually like to play co-op missions, and if we go to Freemode to buy food, clothes, weapon, or whatever else; we don’t wan’t to feel like we are being hunted by someone with nothing better to do.

Grand Theft Auto Online is updated all the time, the game is still being played by a lot of people and they make a shit ton of money based on micro-transactions. I never understood that, why do you want to spend real money on fake money?

The new updates seem to be focused on public games, I remember telling Jay, “Grand Theft Auto is not the same as it used to be man, it pisses me off.” But that didn’t seem to have any soft of impact on him until he said…

“Why can’t you access your office in a close friend session?”

Not knowing that much about it I responded by saying, “All these new updates are focused on public games and it seems like you can no longer enjoy the game unless you put yourself in a digital city of serial killers.”

The next day I was in the kitchen doing dishes, we do not have a dishwasher, but we do have a house that is up to A.D.A. regulations. That being said I can sit in my wheelchair for hours and do the dishes. Part of me likes doing the dishes, sometimes I’ll be doing the dishes for 4 hours, and I’m okay with that; gives me a good opportunity to listen to podcasts.

Most of the podcasts I listen to are based in Seattle and are part of ‘99.9 FM KISW the rock of Seattle’. I do listen to others that are atheist based such as ‘Cognitive Dissonance.’ Outside of that I enjoy Joe Rogan’s Podcast from time to time.

I remember a previous episode was talking about the movie Matrix, and from there the topic moved to the fact that the world is 4.5 billion years old even though 40% of Americans think the Earth is 6,000 years old. From that came the idea that 100 years of technology is a very small slice of time when it comes to the history of humans, as we scientifically know it.

That then led into the possibility of a reality that is all digital but is so real that unless your name is Morpheus you would not know otherwise.

So…I came upon a theory that scares me. For the sake of argument let’s assume that the world becomes a giant virtual reality system that feels and looks so real that if you want to go on vacation in Amsterdam and have unprotected sex with a dozen people all you would have to do is sit on your couch in the middle of Oregon.

Now what if you were able to disconnect from the system and go on about your life as you do, but when you connect to it you get put into a would with everyone else that is also connected? Do you think people would do whatever the fuck they want because there was no consequence to their actions?

Like…that got me thinking about those people who commit murder. Like who the fuck does that? Why the fuck would you do that?

But when you’re playing a video game everyone becomes a serial killer. Why? Are people really that much of an asshole?

Like if a Matrix type of video game reality ever exists would you have to wear tactical gear and take a AK-47 and a Desert Eagle with you to the gas station just because someone might try to kill you?

Like people can’t be that fucked up!

What separates real life from a video game? What if there was no separation between the two?

Do people understand that an asshole is an asshole regardless of the platform.

And this is what I was thinking when that guy picked up his checker chip, laughed at me, and then slammed it back to on the table in a random ass location; that just happened to be the right location based on mere luck.

Like…I fear that if that technology ever comes to be the digital world would be filled with people who take actions that don’t seem to make sense to anyone besides them, and will they feel bad because 40 people died in the process of them getting 50,000 dollars?

That’s why we need a president. But…he’s fucking dumb too. I think this is the first time that America has found itself as a CEO who hires a employee that can’t do his job even though he is a very good liar and just like a shady used car salesman he emotionally sold a 250,000 mile vehicle to people that thought they were buying a reliable mode of transportation.

There is No Picture

You know what? This is more or less a post where I can talk out loud. So here it goes…

So I grew up in Nebraska and many years before we moved to Washington State my sister and I would go to one of my aunt’s house. My Aunt Cathy who laid in bed all fucking day, and I do mean all day! She would sometimes eat dinner in there too.

At that time she was married to some guy named Pat. I don’t remember much about him but I do remember that he was a tall white dude with a full beard that was a grayish black. Many yeas later I came to find out that he was also an alcoholic.

For the most part when my sister and I went over there for unsupervised daycare I was usually stuck playing Lego’s and watching the old version of Scooby Doo. This pretty much went on until my dad’s sister’s kid’s would come home from school.

My dad has/had 2 brothers and 5 sisters. His sister Joyce has a son named John, John was always at Cathy’s house, so much so that I thought John was one of Cathy’s kids. When school got out I would expect Matt and John to come home, while they were both related they were not brothers. She also had two other sons and one daughter, they were older and must of lived elsewhere because I didn’t see them a lot.

Matt, John, and Jason were pretty much the ones who watched me while their mom/aunt stayed in bed all day.

Without going into more then I plan on, one of her kids is named Ed. And Many years later after being in another state for 15 years as well as forming my own opinions I came to the conclusion that some family members can be so stupid and judgmental that you grow to a point were you don’t want to be around them, and when you’re at the family BBQ at the cabin with 30 other family member’s…you see each other, but no one wants to talk to the other.

When we moved out to Washington State my sister was looking to fit in among her peers and that being so she turned to marijuana. I was still the kid who thought that marijuana would open the gates of hell.

Fast forward to the end of high school, like a year after I graduated (2003); I became a stoner who was slowly turning into an liberal atheist and she turned into the religious republican that still has some amount of Washington State progressiveness to her. For those of you who know Washington State, she now lives up where the Sandpeople do, Spokane. And we used to live 50 miles south of Seattle. Vast change in climate as well as religious and political outlook.

As religious as my sister is, and as religious as I’m not; we don’t seem to fight about it. She still has that idea that, someone can be who they are regardless, as long as you don’t try to force your lifestyle upon me…

My cousin Ed on the other hand, he turned into the stereotype of why I hate Nebraska. He is super religious and acts as if he hates everyone who doesn’t see things his way.

A few nights ago I’m laying in bed staring at my phone, looking at Facebook. As republican as she is, she shared a video that most democrats share. It was about ‘The Wall’ that fucking our dumdass of a fucktard president thinks is a great idea. The video went into several aspects of why a wall between borders would be a waste of money just for a sense of security that is more of less a feeling of false security.

I was shocked, happy, and curious that my sister shared this video so what do I do? I go deeper into that post to read the comments. Right away I see something that I don’t want to see but feel gravitated to look at.

There my cousin is saying, “Let’s protect our country first then reform our schools by putting God back where he belongs! Without a safe country, what good are schools?” The next comment is from my sister who has spent time in Mexico and as part of a church group built houses for those who could not afford to do so on their own accord. She said something that also caught me by surprise, “A wall is not the anwser.”

And me being me I focused on God, so I stick my head into a converstaion that I should not be part of and said, “Oh my… him…okay…” and in a sarcastic understanding behind it I continue with, “Because forcing religion upon an entire country of people is a great idea. Fascism never sounded so good.”

I more or less stayed out of the conversation that came afterwards, mainly because I left the comment at four in the morning and I was sleeping. More or less the conversation was: My cousin telling me that I was mad at God, my sister calling him out because he is an asshole even though he may not see it, my sister telling my cousin that she agreed with me, she loves illegal immigrants who work hard to get here, even thought they shouldn’t be, she loves both of us and doesn’t want family to fight, and then she called me out for stirring the pot and being just as bad but on the other end of the seesaw.

So what to I do? Comment with, “I‘m just saying that if you’re okay with the Bible being in school, you must be okay with the Quran, or the teachings of evolution…if you’re not, that my friend is not what religious freedom is. If you think it is you need to get a plane ticket to the Washington D.C. and go to the Capitol building, report back to me what the first amendment is.”

I don’t know if there is any point to this post. I just, every time I look at Facebook I just get really sad and makes me wonder, “When will these people wake the fuck up and say to themselves…who the fuck did I vote for?”

Even republicans can’t be this dumb. Like…what the fuck dude, you guys voted for someone who acts like a kid when someone on a TV show makes fun of him, and you thought that would have been an okay thing to do?

Let’s not mention the few things he did in the last few days that can or will have bad outcomes.

 

 

My Anger Turned Into An Addiction

So I got a problem, sometimes, actually every time I’m confronted with this issue I don’t know how to deal with it, but for some reason that anger has turned into an addiction that still causes me anger. I don’t know why I do this to myself.

I know not to get in that state of mind, but I keep doing it. Makes me wonder how others are able do it without being so angry for something so simple. I really do think I have a problem.

It’s not drugs, not alcohol, it’s a video game. Madden 16 to be more specific.

I started playing people online. In many ways it annoys me…but I keep doing it, over and over until I want to take my controller outside and pour lighter fluid on it just to watch it burn.

There are a few things that bother me about other people who play online. People who always go for it on 4th down, even 4th & 22…and they somehow get the first down every time. On one hand I’m saying, “If you win by playing that way, you win playing that way,” and the other part of me says, “What the fuck are you doing asshole.”

Then there are those people that go for a 2 point after every touchdown, that just pisses me off. And for those of you that can actually do it time after time…I just picture you sitting in front of your TV saying, “Ha ha, you fucking asshole, you suck at this game.” And all you do it shove it in my face.

I don’t even know what my record is…I think I got 22-35 or something like that. I’ve been going though streaks. I win a few in a row, then I lose a few in a row, then I win, then I lose.

I can’t really blame them, when I’m winning I just play, and I feel good at the same time. But I don’t do stupid shit like go for it on 4th & 5 or try a 2 point conversion when I don’t need to.

When I’m losing I turn into someone that I don’t like seeing. My heart beats really fast, my hands sweat, I actually feel like my life is part of that game for however long. Even if I’m winning.

Sometime I have room to chill out, like if it’s 21 to 3, then I can kinda stop trying to play and just keep running out the clock.

But if I’m losing I automatically assume they are the worst person on the planet. I’m not a violent person but I wish I could mod the game so every time they score my defender in the field goal block would pull out a gun and shoot the kicker.

That sounds really bad now that I actually say it, I’m not a violent person, I don’t wish violence on anybody. Even if they say all Mexicans are drug dealers that somehow steal our jobs without a social security number or want to ban everyone in a religion from entering the country because of a few bad people.

Something about that game and losing turns me into the worst person ever, and it’s just a God damn video game, why do I allow myself to feel like I want to turn on my mic and start yelling at them to tell they how shitty of a human being they are?

I’m not like that, why do I do it?

Part of wonders if it’s because I can’t physically play football. Like Marshawn Lynch didn’t get this mad when he lost because it’s all about that action boss. But they get paid, a lot, a lot of fucking money…even if they lose.

I don’t know…I guess I’ll stop playing…but I don’t want to…but I should…but I don’t want to…but it makes me angry…but its fun…but…

 

Talking Out Loud…Again

FB_IMG_1433825255301I just don’t know man, I don’t know what to talk about, but I feel like writing something is something to do to keep me busy.

Part of me doesn’t even feel like typing, because…I don’t know, nothing I got to say is too interesting.

I thought about a short story, but of what? If it actually happened to me then it might be more interesting from an outside perspective, but I don’t even know what that is. Part of me talks to myself because my best ideas happen on tangents of other ideas and/or thoughts.

My family…my extended family, the vast majority of them; and that’s a lot of people, my dad has two brothers and five sisters, some of those kids are older than me, those kids have kids, and some of those kids even have kids. And let’s not forget that I have a kid too, he is in another state, and…he will most likely go onto blend into a new family while at some point having his own kids.

Shannon grew up as a single child with a dad, a uncle, an aunt, a mom who is no longer with her dad, and one grandparent on each side. Her family is really small compared to mine.

Soon after I got back to Nebraska my parents invited a lot of the family down to Lincoln to…do family things and stuff. I remember looking at Shannon and saying, “Don’t be surprised if 50 people show up.” To which she responded, “there is no way your family is that big!”

“Even if fifty of them show up, that’s not even half of them.” A few hours passed and we were in my house with a good amount of family there, most of them being on my dads side.

A few years later the job my dad moved back to Nebraska for was not working out, and they did not hire me like promised, so my dad said, “Fuck it,” and took my mom with him back to Washington State were he took his old job. They liked him there, he is one damn smart engineer, so he got his job back easier than a liberal and a conservative arguing over same sex marriages.

So, my uncle, my dad’s second oldest brother, owns a farm in the middle of nowhere…like that’s hard to find in Nebraska. Every year, I think this is the 20th year of doing it, they have a huge get together for the fourth of July.

Which must mean they started when I was eleven years old, three years before I moved to Washington State. As a kid, it was fun, I was a kid, I didn’t know anything about politics and the differences between the areas of the country. I knew there were 49 other states, but I didn’t really know. Being in my little bubble of childhood I assumed Nebraska was the best place to live, now that I’m back in this state, at a much older age, I understand how much this state sucks. And we are not the only ones either.

I technically grew up in Washington, those years when kids develop who they are. by the time I was a senior in high school I had more friends than I’ve had in any of my previous years spent in Nebraska. I started to develop who I was as a person and shifted into a democrat. I’m also a minority, it kind of feels weird to say that, but we as disabled people are a minority, we might not be referred to as one, but we are.

I grew up as a religious kid, around my late teen years I became an Agnostic, years later I stopped lying to myself-thinking one thing, but going back on it later-and became an Atheist who believes that we are a random act of science that evolved over the past four and a half billion years.

I don’t fit well in Nebraska, I do not call this my home anymore. And my girlfriend has very similar beliefs as me. We do not fit well in “conservative country.” That’s why our ultimate goal is to move back to Oregon, where she was born.

When I got back to Nebraska from my sister’s wedding in Idaho I was told that I had a job, “Call us when you get back into the state.” I did, ended up talking to this guy who was not the guy I needed to be talking to, he asked, “What is your phone number, I will have Eric call you back as soon as possible, he is out of the office today.”

In Nebraska most people, the majority of them, only give seven numbers because the area code is so big and the towns are so small that more often that not, Joe Blow lives in the same area code as John Smith.

Being in Washington, with all the cities jam packed next to one other like that of a suitcase that is overfilled you get used to spitting out ten digits, people expect it, they will be really fucking confused if you only give them seven numbers.

“Area code 253…blah blah blah,” After a short pause he goes onto say, “Okay, I’ll make sure he calls you tomorrow,” he goes onto continue with, “What part of Washington are you from?”

I was not expecting him to know where the area code 253 was, but he did, so I happily said, “Tacoma.” In my mind I figured he just knew it because he Googled it or something, I wasn’t going to say that I was from Puyallup, so I went with the city that was most known near-by.

On a side note, everyone at work says I’m from Seattle, and no matter how many times I try to explain it, it’s always Seattle, I just accept it now.

“Really? Because I graduated from Puyallup High School in 96,” the only thing I could think to do was say, “No shit! I’m from Puyallup too, graduated from such and such high school in 2002.”  From that point on we had a short conversation about were he lived, where I lived, I missed Jack in the Box, he missed Taco Time, so on and so forth.

It was weird to work with someone in Nebraska who lived in downtown Puyallup while I lived one the other side of town. We would often have conversations while at work, where I would say, “Yea man, you know that Jack in the Box that is on 160th and Meridian?” While that sounds totally foreign to everyone else he’d just be like, “Yea man, I used to go there all the time.”

One day he popped into my office and I said, “You know what I hate most about this state?” Which was most likely not the best conversation to be having at work, in Nebraska nonetheless.

To which he took a wild, but correct guess, “Too many republicans.”

I don’t know if I want to go to the get together this year, some of my family is cool and while they are republicans, and don’t necessarily agree with you, they don’t shove it in your face either. But I do have those that believe every word of the Bible and are so hard nosed republicans, the type that believe with every ounce of their heart that politics and religion belong in the same ball park, the ones that will not shut up until until you believe what they do.

I’m uncomfortable going there knowing that over half of my family knows that I do not believe in God, and totally support any man that wants to marry another man, or any women that wants to marry another women.

Ed, he is the worst too. He’ll sit there and tell me that it is an abomination to have homosexual relations, and then when I rebuttal with, “God also told you not to wear clothes made out of more than one kind of fabric, or even plant two different kind of seeds in the same garden,” I get the classic, “We all sin, that’s why we ask for forgiveness”.

While I can sit there and argue with him until my head blows off, Shannon just wants to avoid any conversation about politics or religion. I think if we go we will end up dipping out early.

I would not be surprised if I hear something along the lines of, “This country ain’t free anymore, them gays can marry,” from one of my family members. I wound’t even be surprised if they didn’t play the Star Spangled Banner because of it.

I don’t know man, once again we are back to me not knowing, I don’t know if we should go. I feel like the black sheep of the family.

I can’t wait until I move.