Down to Earth Dave’s Post for Today–December 11

Salutations, Gentle Reader!

This morning, I’m grateful for a bit of down time.  I sit at my dining room table, my breakfast having filled me, and two burning candles of the Advent Wreath standing like shining sentinels keeping watch nearby.  My day will become busy enough soon enough.  This morning is for me.  advent

I miss my old subway commute.  I used that time to compose many of these blog posts or text messages to friends that I could send when emerging back onto the streets of New York.  As crowded as NYC subways are, it’s very easy to be completely alone on them.  Allowing one’s mind to meditate, taking the time to read, writing, etc.–these are things that are possible on a subway that aren’t available to one who is driving a vehicle.  Then again, the vehicle does afford control over the temperature and the absence of the noise and odors that accompany the subway.  The wise one finds the goodness in whatever situation she/he is included.

So many of these blogs that I have written shared my loved of NYC–and I do love The City.  Time has given me the chance to more warmly embrace being back in North Carolina, and on those occasions that I get to indulge in writing, I will share some of the positive that is here as well.  Ayden and Greenville are not glitzy.  They’re not glamorous.  They are good places, though, with a lot of genuine people.  Granted, I’m not saying genuine what!

When I returned to NC, I thought I was going to work a hybrid involving both non-profit and real estate.  Sadly, that didn’t happen.  I have a heart for non-profit, and I do like real estate, but the opportunity just wasn’t there.  For almost a month, I have worked as a sales associate at Greenville Toyota-Scion.  It’s a tough business.  most marketing surveys reveal that car salesman still rate very poorly in being trusted.  We typically only surpass members of Congress, and many of the surveys put the trust rate in the single digits.  As a group, registered nurses are the most trusted.  Well, I bring my same philosophy to selling cars that I did to working in real estate:

  • Listen to clients
  • Hear the wants
  • Lead them to distinguish want from need
  • Ascertain the real budget
  • Connect them with all the needs and as many of the wants as possible
  • Be transparent
  • Treat them the way I’d like to be treated

If you look at my sales/successful rental applications in real estate, you’ll see that I wasn’t the “star agent” in real estate.  I was an asset, though.  I garnered client trust.  I earned glowing reviews.  I brought a professionalism to Sommerlyn Associates that added benefit.  I’m doing the same thing at Greenville Toyota-Scion.

Yesterday was a first for me.  I sold two cars on the same day.  It feels good to know that there’s some commission on the way, but I’m equally glad to know that I’m making connections by being myself.  My first customer yesterday has owned Toyotas for decades.  He and his wife love the service department at Greenville Toyota.  They had never bought a car there before.  (I love writing that in the past tense!)  They left with a Camry.  Late yesterday, another customer came in to lease a car.  While leases tend to favor dealerships, after we discussed his situation and his needs, we came to realize that a purchase was in his best interest.  He left in his new Camry and a big smile! CarSale2 Dec10 On Monday, a customer hugged me and kissed my cheek because she was so grateful of being treated well.  Don’t misunderstand.  I’m being the man I strive to be, the man I want my daughter to be able to look at and proudly say, “That’s my Dad!”

Years ago, I was moved by Michael Jackson’s song, “Man in the Mirror”.  If memory serves correctly, if was released while the struggle to end apartheid gripped the people of South Africa.  Recent events here in Ferguson, Cleveland, NYC, and beyond painfully make us aware that change is still needed.  I suppose it always will be.  Maybe, just maybe, the light of these Advent candles are one way to keep that in mind.  Change is needed, but it’s still possible–and it occurs when we love our neighbor, that person whose path connects with yours on any given day, as ourself.

Christmas is on the way–but Advent is here right now. Christmas is coming

Be kind to yourself.  Be kind to the planet and the future.  Cause no suffering.  Go Vegan!

David!

Down to Earth Dave’s Post for Today–October 10

Salutations, Gentle Reader,

Usually, I write my blogs in the morning; it’s just after 5 pm, I’m sipping cold green tea on the patio, and the Pomeranians are meandering about, pleased to enjoy some time outside on a pleasant fall afternoon.  Monday’s decision by the Supreme Court against hearing appeals of Circuit Court decisions declaring the anti-same sex marriage laws of various states to be unconstitutional has caused quite the buzz.  North Carolina is poised to join the ranks of the majority of states and honor the wishes of loving couples regardless of the gender of each who wish to be married.  And what is NC’s Speaker of the House (and Republican candidate for US Senate) doing?  Spending public funds in a desperate effort to prevent the inevitable.

wrongwaytillis  Sometimes, a picture really is worth a thousand words.

Tomorrow is the annual national Coming Out Day.  I have been fairly open about my sexuality since 2004, but I guess I blew the door off the hinges back in 2012.  I was enduring a lot of personal challenges and decided that I just wasn’t going to deal with anything else.  If people rejected me because of my orientation, then it was their loss.  I had downloaded a copy of the soundtrack from La Cage Aux Folles and kept playing “I Am What I Am” over and over while on the subway.  I can’t help it–I have it playing as I type this, and while I hope to be around for many years to come, when my time arrives to move on to the next existence, I hope a gay chorale will sing this at my memorial.

A delightful couple in Manhattan, Michael and Ethan, compose a blog called Vegan Mos.  I was particularly moved by their latest entry–Coming Out Gay, Coming Out Vegan.  I believe I shared with you earlier that one of my pleasant surprises about being back in Ayden, NC is that there is more acceptance of being gay than before.  It ain’t NYC, but it’s better.  What does draw blank or befuddled expressions is telling people I’m vegan.  Most folks here just don’t understand adopting a compassionate lifestyle that respects the rights of all sentient beings and thereby not eating other animals or their secretions.  I can’t wait until next Saturday when I encourage people to eat with compassion as they’re en route to the St. Timothy’s Lobster Fair.  Talk about your misnomers.  There’s not a damned thing fair about it to the lobsters.  I received excellent advice from fellow vegan Matthew Sikora, who suggests to all that if they distinguish the rights of some animals to live free from worry of pain and suffering for the sake of the human palate, then they’ve already begun the journey to being vegan.  Matthew is the one who suggested I read Eat Like You Care–excellent advice which I share with you as well.

Well, on to check to see if any rulings have been made for marriage equality in the Old North State and then to make a simple Tuscan white bean and kale soup.  Peace.  Namaste, Kumbaya!

Be kind to yourself.  Be kind to the planet and the future.  Cause no suffering.  Go Vegan!

David!

Gentle Reader:  Literally, within minutes of publishing this blog, the news came in.  Marriage Equality has arrived in NC!  Huzzah!!!!

Down to Earth Dave’s Post of the Day–October 3

Salutations, Gentle Reader,

Some of you are aware that each Friday, I send out a joke to almost 300 people.  The jokes are often corny, sometimes a little bawdy, but never unsuitable for work.  I do occasionally send out some not suitable for work, but those go to the “Special Reserve List”.  Here’s today’s joke:

When everybody on earth was dead and waiting to enter Heaven, God appeared and said, “I want the men to make two lines. One line for the men who were true heads of their household, and the other line for the men who were dominated by their women. I want all the women to report to St. Peter.”
Soon, the women were gone to St. Peter, and there were two lines of men. The line of the men who were dominated by their wives was 100 miles long, but in the line for those who truly were heads of their household, there was only one man.
God said to the long line, “You men should be ashamed of yourselves; I created you to be the head of your household! You have been disobedient and have not fulfilled your purpose! Of all of you, only one obeyed. Learn from him.”
God turned to the one man, “How did you manage to be the only one in this line?”
The man replied, “My wife told me to stand here.”

The “Friday nyuk, nyuk” began in August 2004 and has run since then.  Oh, there have been a few missed weeks, and I had decided to stop it a few years ago, but after receiving several inquiries about why I had stopped, I resumed.  Why do I do it?  I don’t know.  Maybe it’s because I’m a ham.  Maybe it’s because I see a weekly joke as a means of letting a lot of people know that I think of them.  Perhaps it’s a way to fulfill one of my basic credos:  Live in such a way help at least one person smile and/or laugh each day.”

Recently I met someone at Cindirene’s of Ayden.  It’s really a cool place.  Chuck Dunn, the proprietor, has established a very nice wine and beer shop that has both on and off site licensing.  I told a joke to the person who laughed and replied, “I know it’s horrible, but I still love Helen Keller jokes.”  Naturally, we proceeded to tell some.  The winner:

Q: Why doesn’t Helen Keller drive?

A: Because she’s dead.

I know.  It’s horrible.  Admit it, though, you smiled.  And if you smiled, I’ve met my quota for today. HK Dog

Be kind to yourself.  Be kind to the planet and the future. Cause no suffering.  Go Vegan!

David!

Down To Earth Dave’s Post of the Day–September 29

Salutations, Gentle Reader,

I suppose I should be fair to the gods of accuracy and find a new moniker for this blog.  I haven’t posted with a frequency anywhere close to “daily” in months.  I’d consider that, perhaps, time and circumstance have diminished my pomp and circumstance.  Consideration over.  Not for a New York minute is that the case–even a New York minute here in Ayden, NC.

The adjustment from life in The City to life in The Town continues–sometimes smoothly, sometimes not so much.  Part of that is that my employment situation hasn’t panned out the way I anticipated.  I’ve recently begun searching the various sources of employment opportunities to see what might be available.  It’s simultaneously thrilling, daunting, and frustrating.  One thing is certain:  a sense of tenacity is critical for success in most aspects of living.  I was asked by one potential employer what I could bring to his company.  My answer:  follow through, follow through, follow through.  I left the series of interviews feeling upbeat, and I followed through with the thank you note.  So far, I haven’t heard anything back, so the search continues.

To complicate the situation, I know that Black Dog of Depression keeps wanting to trot alongside Heidi and JonJon on our walks.  I’ve sent Black Dog away, but she keeps returning, begging for attention and a biscuit.  Service to others has been my best defense against Black Dog.  He hates it when I focus on others and not myself.  All I know is this: my life is shaped in service to others and has been for a long time.  Don’t mistake me: I have my flaws, plenty of them, and I’m aware of them.  I try to diminish them by turning them over to a power higher than myself and by helping others.  From the time I first read the Prayer of St. Francis, I sensed a power that can only be found in selflessness.

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
 
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.

“Be the person I want to see in the world beside me” is my motivation.  It is hardly surprising, that of the passages of the Bible, which I read figuratively, not literally, there’s one passage that I take as absolute:  “The first is this:  love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.  The second is likewise:  love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two hang all the laws and the prophets.”

I read in an article this morning that the Southern Baptist Convention has expelled from its body New Heart Community Church of McKinleyville, CA.  Why?  Because the congregation has elected to welcome LGBT members into its midst and leave the theology of same sex relations to individuals.  In a blistering blog criticizing New Heart, noted Southern Baptist theologian Albert Mohler wrote: “Several years ago, I made that argument and was assailed by many on the left as being ‘reductionistically binary.’ But, the issue is binary. A church will recognize same-sex relationships, or it will not. A congregation will teach a biblical position on the sinfulness of same-sex acts, or it will affirm same-sex behaviors as morally acceptable. Ministers will perform same-sex ceremonies, or they will not.”  Actually, I agree with Mohler on this.  We just disagree on the “sanctity” of same-sex relationships.  In my opinion, it’s not a question of gender, it’s a question of respect and love.  That’s right–that second commandment about loving your neighbor…

Why can’t I just be a guru? guru

David!

Be kind to yourself.  Be kind to the planet and the future.  Cause no suffering.  Go Vegan!

Down to Earth Dave’s Post of the Day–September 9

Salutations, Gentle Reader,

Greetings from eastern NC–Ayden, NC, to be precise. Ayden is the town of my adolescence, teen years, and early adulthood. To borrow from Harper Lee, Ayden is rather like Macomb, Alabama in To Kill A Mockingbird, or at least among many of the long-term citizens here. There has been some influx of artists, and that’s a positive thing. Ayden’s downtown, while not dead, is in ICU–and perhaps that’s where this NYC-loving, out and proud vegan gay dad, might just be able to offer some service to this town. Maybe I can be a catalyst or spark to generate new life into downtown Ayden.

Maybe not. But I am trying.

Leaving New York was tough.  Very tough.

Leaving New York was tough. Very tough. If you’ve read this blog before, you know that Milton Glaser could easily have been writing for me when he came up with the “I (heart) NY” logo. The truth was, though, that I missed my daughter. She missed me. My visions of romance with the Captain went unfulfilled, and in all honesty–I stopped trying to truly succeed at real estate rentals. I was diving headfirst into the lake of self-pity and resentment. For someone who also has compulsive tendencies, self-pity and resentment are gigantic no-no’s.

Moving back hasn’t been easy. I’m in my childhood home, which has stood unoccupied for seven years. I just had to have the entire plumbing system replaced–the old galvanized pipes were 80 years old and too small to accommodate a new tankless water heater. Yes, the old water heater had gone kaput, and for about a month, I took cold showers unless I was visiting my sister or niece. (That wasn’t so bad–those cold showers–since there are no immediate prospects for platonic dates, much less romantic ones.) My mom is a collector. The problem is, she has few boundaries on what she collects but some serious boundaries on what she’ll release–even though she doesn’t live here. I have had to get behind the wheel again. Oh, I ride my bicycle as much as possible, but beyond that, I’m enslaved to driving. Give me the crowded, smelly subways of NYC any day.

But, Heidi and JonJon enjoy going outside in their own yard, not restricted to a leash.Poms Mom’s grapevines produced a bounty of Concord grapes this summer, and a good crop of Scuppernongs is ripening now. As I grew hot from work in the yard or inside, I could take a break, go pick a couple of handfuls of grapes, and savor that sweet gift that tasted so good and also restored my energy. I ride my bike a lot more here. I’m getting to have fun of scrambling the minds of people who have never even heard the word “vegan”, much less considered the possibility of not consuming animals or their secretions. I am reconnecting with friends. I’m making my way back into town–attending at least part of Ayden’s Small Town Main Street meeting tonight (a task force of the Chamber of Commerce that seeks to revitalize downtown) and audition for a part in an upcoming production of Proof, presented by the Ayden Community Theatre.

And I see Noelle often. Do I really need anything else?On top of Ayden

Down to Earth Dave’s Post of the Day–July 11

Salutations, Gentle Reader,

No, I haven’t been in a coma or worse.  I have been living mindfully and have truly been busy.  Still, I’ve said often that I would like to resume my blog.Today is one entry, completely whimsical, and offered for nothing more than the opportunity to offer you some humour.  I call it…

The NYC Gay Man’s Guide to the World Cup Finals

Don’t talk about statistics or the fact that Germany annihilated World Cup Host Brazil, while Argentina eliminated The Netherlands on penalty kicks.  If you want to know who to support for the World Cup finals, go to the three L’s:  lyrics, legs, and loftiness.

If you want to know who to support for the World Cup finals, go to the three L’s:  lyrics, legs, and loftiness.

Lyrics:  Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita captured the hearts of a generation of theatre goers, and despite Madonna’s tragic film adaptation of it, every self-respecting patron of Marie’s Crisis Cafe can sing “Don’t Cry for me, Argentina” and “Rainbow Tour” in his or her sleep.  Germany fared okay in Cabaret, but for the most part, Germany just doesn’t fare too well in musicals, unless you’re watching Springtime for Hitler.  The true deciding factor, though, goes to Casablanca.  What NYC gay man will ever forget that scene when Paul Henreid as Viktor Laszlo marched down the stairs past the German soldiers singing “Die Wacht am Rhein” and called in the support of the band to drown them out with “La Marseillaise”?

Lyrics:  Advantage –  Argentina

Legs:  Let’s face it, soccer players have some of the best legs in the world.  While beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, my eye is beholding to “The Fatherland.”

https://i1.wp.com/www.dw.de/image/0,,2066546_4,00.jpgGermany

https://i0.wp.com/sportsjacks.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Top-best-argentina-soccer-players-now-featured-300x267.jpgArgentina

 

Hmmmm, too close to call.  Let’s check some more.ArgentinaGermany

 

This one is close, about as close as Argentina’s victory over The Netherlands.  I’m going on initial impression here.

Legs:  Advantage – Germany

Loftiness:  What the hell is “loftiness”, you ask?  Loftiness refers to culture.  Germany has unbeatable beer and crisp Rieslings.  Argentina has…What does Argentina have?  The German flag isn’t too grand…

https://i1.wp.com/www.german-flag.org/german-640.gif

But check out this festive flag from Argentina!

http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120819045232/conworld/images/e/e9/Flag_of_Argentina_(2).png

While neither teams uniforms would catch the eye of either of the Brooks Brothers, they’re pretty fair.  https://i0.wp.com/english.peopledaily.com.cn/mediafile/201103/04/P201103040927351355455843.jpg  https://i2.wp.com/farm4.staticflickr.com/3721/10821648765_5763ca354a_m.jpg

So Germany wins on beer and wine, Argentina wins on the flags, and the uniforms are a tie.

Loftininess:  EVEN

In the end, I think the Unofficial NYC Gay Man’s Guide to the World Cup Finals comes down to this:  Mercedes.  Let’s go, Germany!

 

Remain calm, and speak well.

Be kind to yourself.  Be kind to the planet and the future.  Cause no suffering.  Go Vegan!

David!

 

 

 

 

Down to Earth Dave’s Post of the Day–May 19

Salutations, Gentle Reader,

 I’ve shared with you before how much I admire those who recover from various addictions and compulsions through 12-Step Programs. While I don’t know this to be factual, I’m confident in saying that most, if not all, 12-Step meetings begin with the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

(Intrusion; my morning commute is making local stops instead of running express. Um, God, grant me the serenity to accept the MTA.)

Gentle Reader, I discovered long ago that truth and wisdom are often found in simplicity. I think the Serenity Prayer represents such an example. On the surface, this petition is simple. Let me accept serenely things I cannot change. Let me boldly change things I can. Let me know the difference. As my dad, a US Marine for over two decades, advised, “David!, choose your battles wisely.”

Please indulge me as I take this to a personal level. I’ve shared with you the challenge I face in trying to choose between remaining in this City I love so much and from which I draw strength and identity or returning to my family in NC, where I could enjoy a proximal closeness with my daughter as well as my aging mother. As I descended from my apartment this morning, I was saying the Serenity Prayer and pondered whether the courage to change meant that I should have the courage to change my residence or the courage to change aspects of living in NYC. Maybe I need to consider whether my personal skills are best aligned with my professional endeavours. Or maybe moving is inevitable and I just need the serenity to accept it.

Image

 

Today, I’m really concentrating on that third component: God, grant me the wisdom to know the difference.

 

Questions of the mind

Gallop as valiant steeds

Trampling serenity

 

Rising skyward, Ho!

Bustling sidewalks, crowded streets

My epitome.

 

Running, arms flung wide!

Daddy!!!! Lookers on smiling.

He blinks tears of joy.

 

Remain calm, and speak well.

Be kind to yourself. Be kind to the planet and the future. Cause no suffering. Go Vegan!

 David!