I guess I left everyone hanging. Sorry about that! I caught a nasty cold Monday, and, strangely, M got sick too around the same time though he had something different (very sore throat and fever), so instead of that steak dinner I made a big pot of chicken soup and we've been convalescing together. We finished the last season of Mad Men, and watched a movie last night.
My food stamps kicked in while I was in the study -- it's actually now called SNAP, for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, because it's not stamps any more, it's a debit card. I used the card to buy the stuff for chicken soup at Wheatsville, our local food co-op, which I've always loved but love even more now since it expanded and has more stuff. I think I've mostly gotten over the unexpected shame I felt about public assistance, but still, as I was shopping I had an internal monologue running about what I was buying. It was mostly about whether I deserve organic chicken which costs 3 or 4 times as much as factory chicken. I think, even though I spend more on produce and meat than the average shopper, I think I must still spend less overall because I make everything from scratch. With that $18 chicken, a few carrots and onions, some celery, and a bag of egg noodles, I made a pot of soup that has lasted for several meals and there's enough chicken left for chicken salad. I'm guessing most people would have bought cans of chicken noodle soup, which can get expensive when they add up.
When I was checking out, I swiped the card like a debit card -- they say "Use it like a debit card" -- and it didn't work. The cashier asked me what kind of card it was, and (I guess I haven't totally gotten over the shame) I said, "it's a debit card." She tried it again and still no luck. She said, "Is it a Lone Star Card?" I told her yes. She said, "You have to tell me ahead of time, because it's a different button I have to push." I told her it my first time using it, and she said very sweetly, "I think most places, you'll have to tell them ahead." But I used it last night at HEB and told the cashier, but she didn't need to know. When I swiped it, a menu came up asking me to select "Lone Star Card."
Oh, two other things. When we were checking out of the study, and everyone was hugging and making plans to meet at Kerbey Lane for breakfast -- I couldn't wait to get away from these people, and they were making plans to meet for breakfast -- the Jesus Guy (the one I had the little confrontation with early on) asked if everyone would like a prayer, and a few people said yes and nobody said no. He turned to me and said, "Steven would you like a prayer?"
I said, "No, thank you." He said, "Oh, c'mon." I said, "Really, no. You go ahead and pray, I don't mind, I'm used to it." So everyone bowed their heads and he asked the Lord's blessing for everyone's safe journeys home. It struck me how sad it is that we're so bullied by a certain kind of Christianity in this place that I can't be open to a simple and heartfelt travelers blessing.
The other thing I wanted to mention is that M and I watched The Boys in the Band last night. I hadn't seen it in many years and, after reading The Celluloid Closet, I want to see some of these landmark films again. It's a wild movie, full of stuff to chew on, much more complex and nuanced than its reputation, I think. Maybe some day soon I'll write more of my thoughts about it. I expected to scoff, but found it really thought-provoking and moving at times. And surprisingly relevant to "gay culture" still. Tonight is The Killing of Sister George. Equal time for the ladies.