For my birthday I went hiking up the Logan River Trail and then to Panda Express and then to Hyrum Reservoir, with guests rotating in and out as their schedules permitted and only a few stalwarts making it all the way through. This year, fed up with month after month of soul-crushing isolation, I took matters into my own hands like never before to make something happen and invite people to it instead of just hoping someone else would take care of everything - a couple of my graduate school friends helped, but I didn't ask them to or drop hints about my upcoming birthday. I had a rough plan in mind and invited them to it and then they offered their assistance. The last time I took this much initiative to plan basically anything was a surprise party for someone else years ago. I had also planned to watch the classic sci-fi "Metropolis", but we ran out of time at the beach and I decided to adapt rather than insist on a strict schedule to the point where it ceased being fun. That movie's kind of an acquired taste anyway.
I had reached out to this one guy years ago because he was also autistic and needed friends, and continued to invite him to things sometimes, but I rarely saw or talked to him. I knew he was gay, but that fact almost never crossed my mind because it simply wasn't relevant to anything. I had not the slightest clue why he asked to talk to me in private when we got to the beach. He began, "Remember when you asked if I'm interested in anyone?" No, I had no memory of asking him that or anything like it. I don't ask people about that kind of thing, mostly because I don't care. But he continued before I could say anything. He said, "Well, I'm interested in you."
He hastily went on, "I know I'm probably not your type," which was true enough, and not just for the obvious reason. And it should have been the simplest thing in the world to just say, in case there was any confusion, in case whatever mannerisms caused everyone on the school bus to call me "faggot" five times a day had also given him an erroneous impression at any time, "Sorry, I'm straight" - not a strictly accurate statement, but close enough for the present intents and purposes. Yet I couldn't bring myself to say it, because it felt in that moment like such a cruel and gratuitous thing to say, a bit of knife-twisting, and I thought back almost a decade to Kelsey's attempt to comfort me after I caught feelings for her.
If it helps, I've always had that problem. Straight girls.
It didn't help. It destroyed my faith that God loves His children, as I imagined how much it must suck to be gay because of that very problem, no matter how accepted by society or even religion one may eventually be. So now I didn't say anything.
We hugged, and I was very grateful that I'd kept my shirt on as I always do at the beach. He said, "I would have kissed you for your birthday." We let go. He said, "I'd still like to kiss you."
That didn't register, but after a moment he interpreted my blank stare as consent (it wasn't) and moved in. Oh well, I thought, it's only a kiss, and I'd kiss a guy if I were an actor playing a gay character, so it's not like it's the worst thing in the world that I'll never do under any circumstances, and anyway, the few kisses I've shared with women didn't mean anything either so the difference is kind of arbitrary. I stood stiff as a board and let him do it and then we rejoined the others. That's all he's going to get from me, so I'm not sure if it made him feel better or worse.
My neighbor Hailey got some pictures of me that I don't hate, that rarest of rarities. She saw me walking along the beach and made me go back and start over. I'm glad she did.
Later it transpired that Hailey and Mia had both observed my contentious comments on public Facebook posts without me being aware of it. Hailey found them alarming and Mia found them amusing. So I'm still not likely going to stop.
One of the greatest birthday presents I could ask for was delivered a couple days later in the form of a 22.5-year prison sentence for Derek Chauvin over his murder of George Floyd. Though far less than he deserves, it's about as much as one can expect under current laws. I think Peter Cahill is about as fair and impartial a judge as you can get, and I'm not surprised in the slightest that his sentence didn't give either the prosecutors or the defense what they really wanted. But the fun doesn't stop here. In a few days, Chauvin and his now ex-wife begin their trial for $21,853 worth of tax evasion - yes, 1092.65 times the amount he murdered George Floyd for - and this fall, he begins his federal trial for civil rights violations in both the George Floyd case and another one where he split a (black) teenager's head open with a flashlight and pinned him down for 17 minutes for no reason. If experiencing joy as I watch this fascist pig's life get ruined is wrong, I don't want to be right.
Of course, even a fascist pig has friends and family who love him. (The emotion bootlickers feel toward him isn't love - it's more akin to the mindless biological drive of a male preying mantis to let his mate tear his head off.) Chauvin's mother reminded us that he isn't Satan incarnate. She extolled his years of service as a police officer and his dedication to the job, conveniently neglecting to mention how many conduct complaints he accumulated during that time. She didn't want him to go to jail for a long time because she might be dead when he gets out. And she maintained that she believes in his innocence. Okay, so she isn't wrong to love her son or to be distraught over the situation, but I'm sorry to say that love has made her delusional. If I ever have a son who murders someone and everyone in the world sees the murder, I don't intend to show up in court to try and protect him from justice. Familial love and parental mortality are not arguments for letting people out of jail early.
Chauvin, we were told, has run through what if scenarios in his mind constantly since the day of the murder. What if I hadn't volunteered to work that day, what if I hadn't responded to the call, and so on. Notably absent were the questions he actually should be asking himself: What if I had taken my damn knee off his neck? What if I had moved him onto his side like Officer Lane suggested? What if I had offered medical assistance after his pulse disappeared? What if I hadn't completely disregarded my law enforcement training and ethics? Excuse me, but are we really supposed to sympathize with a 19-year police veteran for whom nine and a half minutes isn't enough time to make a split-second decision? Are we really supposed to feel bad that he feels bad - assuming he does, though we've seen zero evidence of that? Get out of here. He's had ample opportunity to apologize and/or show some degree of remorse. He never has. Not once. And the obvious reason is that he's a fascist pig who doesn't think he did anything wrong.
He did express his condolences - not an apology - to the Floyd family on this occasion. And all I could think of was a line from Kylo Ren (aka Matt the Radar Technician) on Saturday Night Live: "Hearing that Zack lost his son really struck a nerve with me. Especially since I'm the one that killed him."
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender male and a Latter-day Saint, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic, so you can't. Unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.