history

We Will Forget

911WWNF

Photo Credit: CyclonesHockey.com

For many years here in the United States, post 9/11 remembrances have been the norm. Moments of silence, people talking about ‘where they were when the towers fell‘ and so on. Over the last couple of years I’ve noticed a trend however. Fewer and fewer people (and even fewer businesses) are spending any time talking about it, much less causing others to remember and recall. It’s about the almighty dollar again, sentiment be damned.

I remember 2002, I was working at the company that’s now defunct before the one I’m currently working at. Corporate sent down copy that they wanted read over the intercom, they passed around a note that said (paraphrasing) “at 8:46 am, when the first WTC tower was hit by a jetliner, we wish to have a minute of silence in the store. All work will cease and please be respectful of the lives lost at that time one year ago.” The note went on to say that they wished the same to occur at 9:03 am, and then again at 10:30 to commemorate/remember when the North Tower collapsed. (Considering the timeline of events, they completely skipped over the times of the planes hitting the Pentagon and Shanksville, I think they wanted to get the point across without being too disruptive)

In the years that followed, the ritual continued, virtually identical. Then as the years passed, it went from 3 separate moments of silence to one, then finally none, as it was determined to be disruptive to the work day. Time marched on.

In my current job, there’s typically been no mention of a remembrance of the incident, as the time approached yesterday morning nothing unusual occurred to indicate this day was different from any other, no moment of silence, no mention of what happened, really no nothing.  When I mentioned the significance of the day to a guy that had come in to fix a piece of equipment in my department, he paused and said ‘Oh yeah‘, and then told me where he was on that day.  He was flying home from Las Vegas, and his plane was diverted to Texas. He didn’t get to where he was going until several days later.

Similarly, on television, one would see documentaries made about the attacks, timelines created, discussed, argued, conspiracy theories posited, debunked, argued and debated. These would be scheduled in the week prior to 9/11 and on some channels run near non-stop on the day.  News reports would have video shot at what was universally called ‘Ground Zero’ where the new 1 WTC building (the so-called Freedom Tower) now stands.

This year, paging through the channels, I was hard pressed to find one 9/11 documentary.  One.  Where in years past there were dozens, it seems time has dulled the memory of the event.  Certainly someone who was in high school when this happened is not encroaching on middle age.  Myself?  I was 36.  I recall the same thing happening with the Space Shuttle Challenger accident in 1986.  Time moves on, memories dull, priorities change and people find they have more important things to do.

I’m not advocating going back to overdoing the remembrances and spending thousands of hours commemorating and memorializing the event.  But watching the President of the United States (among others) being unable to afford the day the proper respect galls me.  I guess it mostly is an effect of me being a student of history.  I remember.  I recall.  I commemorate.  I guess I have the time.

My two cents.

What’s in a name? (with backstory)

With the scene at large, many of us use names that aren’t our own.  I’m not talking about titles like Master, slave, Sir, Ma’am, Mistress and so on.  I’m referring to our other names, like the one I’ve been using since I first broke into the scene around 1982-83.

At that time, there was no Internet the way that we know and take for granted today.  The best there was at that time was a small cobbled together intranet of corporations and colleges, and fledgling companies with names like Compuserve, America Online, GEnie, Prodigy and so on.  In order to connect to these latter places, you had to have a physical piece of hardware called a ‘modem’, that hooked into your telephone line and the telephone dialed a number to connect.  It was a long, laborious process, but it worked.  Well most of the time.  Speeds were incredibly slow, but still, it worked.

Once you connected, like websites today, you had to create an account.  Account, password and then you were assigned a username.  Compuserve assigned numbers. (So far as I know they were the only system that used that method.)  Once you’d gotten past the sign up process, that username (or number) was the way that people identified you from then on.  Except in places like chat portals, where like today on IRC, you were able to choose a ‘handle’, a name that was unique to you and you could then interact somewhat anonymously.  Compuserve’s chat forum was called ‘CB’, a throwback to Citizen’s Band radio, which at the time was still being used in people’s vehicles as well as commercial trucking because cellphones (or car phones) by and large were nothing like they are today.

When I first located CB and signed up for it, I chose ‘Leathers’ as my handle, because someone else already had chosen ‘Leather’.  Even then I had a very prominent leather fetish, so for me it seemed appropriate.  Over the years I’ve owned several domain names with ‘leathers’ in the name (leathers.org, dungeonleathers.com, leatherspride.com) as well as being the one on Fetlife with that nickname, so for me it continues and will continue in the future.  By contrast, my wife has always used the handle/nickname ‘Christabel’, there are people that we’ve known in the scene for the last 25 years that still call her by that name, because really, that’s the name that they know her by.  (As an aside, when we were both on Compuserve in a certain forum, while she was eternally called Christabel, my nickname at the time was YM.  It doesn’t really fit nowadays as I’ve gotten considerably older….)

Nicknames by and large are something that we’ve come to know and expect in the BDSM scene, but it’s a double-edged sword.  When you use a nickname, there’s initially no baggage attached to it.  Essentially you’re creating a whole new person, because people who you meet aren’t aware of any history that you’ve had prior to creating the new persona.  So people can take advantage of that, like in the case of ‘Michael Makai’ for instance.  He’s someone who was in the news a couple of years ago, a respected and admired scene educator, but he had some outlandish ideas that for the most part should have stayed in the books he had written.  Instead he attempted to bring them out into reality and caused more than a few problems, for others as well as himself.

A story like that is always something I keep in the back of my mind when I talk to people in the scene.  Yes, many know me by my given name, but many others only know me by the name ‘Leathers’.  I try to make sure the knowledge they have of me is always truthful, accurate and doesn’t deviate from what my ‘vanilla’ friends know of me, but there’s always things that don’t translate, that you don’t want one or the other to know and so on.

Just have to keep your personas straight!

Tales from LiveJournal: Who do you open the door for?

This isn’t the only blog I’ve ever had.  In my time I’ve had a few.  One, on LiveJournal I started back before the turn of the milennium.  When LJ was bought out by Russian venture capitalists and started to turn the place into some byzantine nightmare, I, and a lot of people that blogged like me, thought like me, decided it was time to leave.  Of course, the year before I had purchased a ‘permanent’ account when the previous management offered them.  So, as long as the site stays active, I have an account there.  Can’t bear to delete it.  Even so, in the interests of protecting what I have, I moved the entire content of the blog over to another server, called Dreamwidth.  And there it sits.  I thought though, since I have that repository, I’d every now and again repost something.  So here’s one from 2015.

[C stands for Christabel, my wife.  It’s a nom de plume, she started using it when we were both on Compuserve, way back in the 1990s when we first met. Pre-Internet.  Yes, there was such a time.]

Who do you open the door for?

C was upstairs this afternoon when the doorbell rang. Since I normally work days (and have for the last 18 months) I’m usually not home when this happens. I answered the door after peeking from the nearby window and was greeted by 2 people on the doorstep. 1 man, 1 woman. They were representatives of C’s insurance company and they wished to come in and go over some ‘exciting options‘ that she was apparently unaware of. It just so happened that C was in the shower so I wasn’t dishonest when I said that she was unavailable. But they persisted, and I agreed that it would be best if they returned tomorrow, around noon.

About 10 minutes later, C came downstairs and I informed her of our visitors. She wasn’t pleased that I had opened the door. Apparently I’m ‘too nice’ and shouldn’t be opening the door to strangers..of any ilk. The front door is for people that we know and expect. No one else! So tomorrow, when the insurance people return..no one’s going to be opening the door. Least of all me. If they’re upset, then they’re just going to have to live with it.

Yep, I married her folks. Hands off.

Fore! (or not)

GolfWhen I got home from work this evening, before enconscing myself in the kitchen to make lasagna (I’ve been meaning to for more than 10 days and dammit, today’s the day!) the wife dropped off at my computer desk a post card offer from one of the local golf clubs.  When I was younger, I was pretty good at golf.  My parents had a membership at the local golf club, and taught both my brother and myself how to play.  In the summertime, I spent a good deal of time there, playing when it was sunny, and on rainy days speluking through the course with one of my friends’ from school, looking for lost golf balls.  Even back then, balls were fairly pricey. But we didn’t sell them, we just re-used the ones we found, and shared them with other members.  It just was easier all the way around.

After I graduated high school, I didn’t play as much.  I wasn’t going to a college where there was a nearby course I could get to, so my skills suffered.  Too, I was skinny as a rail when I was in HS, but post graduation I started to gain weight.  I recall my freshman year having gained probably 50 lbs, and it just went on from there.  I still have the clubs that I played with 35 years ago, though as I’ve taken them out every now and again, I’ve discovered that they;re in dire need of some TLC.  At the very least the grips need to be replaced.  And I think my spikes (golf cleats) need to be replaced.

The few times that I’ve gone to the driving range nearby over the years, I’ve enjoyed myself.  Although I’ve long ago lost my ‘golf calluses’ so when I hit a bucket of balls, I tend to open up blisters where the calluses used to be.  They end up being painful (they’re blisters, they’re supposed to be painful!) and I get discouraged and stop at the one bucket, go home and put the clubs away.

Getting back to the post card.  It’s offering a 3 year membership for 87% off their normal single price.  That’s a pretty darn good deal.  I’m definitely tempted, but I have to weigh it against will I make use of it.  Granted, I’d only have to play 4 times a year to pay for the membership, and I’m sure I could do that.  A lot of ifs and maybes, and I asked both the wife and my pet for their respective opinions.

Both of them gave me good reasons for going for it, with my pet suggesting that I make a list of pros and cons, as well as sleeping on it before making that sort of decision.  I’m very much on the fence about this, because I’m not sure that I’m going to feel the same way about the game now, than I did way back when.

It may be a good bit of savings, but if I don’t make use of it, then I just wasted the money.  And I do that all too often now.

Update: After sleeping on it, I’ve decided to pass on the opportunity. I’m not feeling that good about it, I doubt right now that I’d be making use of the membership all that much, and honestly, I’m way out of shape to be playing. Too, I rarely have time for all the things I want to do now, so why would adding a recreation sport to the mix be a good thing? Besides, after doing a little digging, the course had posted a similar offer last year, so it seems like they’re having trouble with maintaining the course, so they need new blood in their membership roles. Which happens. Golf is an expensive sport, and it requires a constant money flow to keep it operating (I used to work at a golf course when I was younger…it can be hideously expensive).

Tacking into the wind

One would think with a title of a post like that I would be talking about sailing.  Now while I have done a bit of sailing in my youth, that’s not what I’m talking about here.  Just using a sailing term for another purpose.

I’ve been using my WP reader for many weeks now and have been following several bloggers.  One in particular posted today after a few weeks hiatus and the topic hit home for me in a rather large way.  I can easily relate with what she’s talking about, because nearly the same thing happened to me.

I don’t often speak about the lag time between subs/slaves that I’ve had.  Mostly because it’s not exactly something that’s worthy of talking about, the other part is because it’s mind numbingly boring (at least it is to me).  Even though I had a sub around 2016 for a few months, to me it was a ‘picking up where we left off‘ sort of situation, and in the end it failed for the same reason it failed the first time.  That being said, I start counting from the time my sub ‘leathers`treasure{L}’ asked for her release and went back to her vanilla life.  That was 2006.

In the intervening 10 years, I did my due diligence, I went to the occasional munch, though there weren’t any play parties in my area (that I was aware of).  I read, I worked, I lived, but I wasn’t finding anyone to interact with other than on IRC, but that was exclusively online, and people one found there tended to be in different countries, let alone not even close by, so meeting was unlikely at best, and impossible at worst.  Life went on.  I knew others were finding each other, having relationships and so on, but it ended up not being in the cards for me.  Even in that time, my wife had found several submissives of her own, but none seemed to be the right ‘fit’, so there weren’t any long-term relationships on her part either.

See what I mean?  Boring.  But even the many times I argued with myself, telling myself that it was time to quit screwing around, quit buying toys that were never going to be used on someone else, I still held out hope that someone would come along.  I firmly believe there’s someone for everyone (and even several someones) so I wasn’t quite at the point where my wife found herself.  She considers herself to be retired.  She’s broken her floggers and declared herself unable to find someone compatible.  Which I respect.  I just could never bring myself to say that.  I’ve had enough failures in my life, I really didn’t want this to be another one, or the last one.  I kept up my membership on Fetlife, again I went to munches, I even started another one, even though for whatever reason it never caught on and subsequently failed from lack of interest.  How does a munch fail in an urban area?  Search me….but it did.

And finally after all the angst, when I wasn’t expecting it, it happened.  It’s not completely idyllic, there are hurdles to cover, and problems to solve.  But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

See?  No talking about sailing.  Or drowning for that matter.