So much nothing has happened I don’t know where to begin.
Beer beer beer beer beer beer beer. All I have wanted to do since I was 22(a full decade ago) was brew beer. So a major relocation, two semesters of collage, an incredibly cliche threesome, subsequent divorce, an intense cohabitation, another major relocation, three jobs, a breakup, one more relocation, a reconciliation, an intense cohabitation, a new job and finally it seems I may be able to brew beer on a professional, albeit tiny scale.
My boss’s husband is like me, a home brewer with aspirations of a professional future. We have recently acquired a rental space in downtown Knoxville and have begun construction of a flood proof platform to elevate our equipment above the shitty concrete floor. Hopefully before the end of September our first batch of my own formulation will be bubbling away in a second hand refrigerator and before Samhain we should be drinking pints of a black and blessed brew.
In all likely hood it will be an ale, but I may seek to bite off more than I can chew and cold ferment a lager version of a robust porter. Either way it will not be an IPA version of anything, lacking any finishing hops. Yes a big (6.5% abv) malty, roasty, black beer to ring in the darkening of our hemisphere and the cold pain in all our hearts.
Photos and tasting notes to eventually follow.
My subconscious mind murdered my identity. It came up from behind and put two bullets in my head and three in my heart. It felt like the first time I laughed at an SNL skit. The way it’ll sneek up on you. So hear I am. Standing over the corps of my old identity, not really knowing what to make of the situation. Am I a different person now? Is a man a collection of actions or a collection of thoughts? What is the importance of a being’s self perception?
The nice thing about being me is that no matter where I go I make friends. I’ve lived in Knoxville Tennessee since 07′. My lover lives in Chattanooga. I lived with her there for about six months. Now I live in Knoxville again. (Relationships can be tricky.) While living with her I worked at a local tex-mex joint called Mojo Burrito. It was far and away the most fun job I’ve ever had. I love to cook, I don’t mind cleaning, and my coworkers were really fun and easy going. Well tomorrow is my lover’s birthday and tonight while waiting for her to get off work I found myself at Mojo, getting one rolled up for me. Fire chicken with black beans, sour cream, pineapple salsa and BBQ sauce. The burrito was off the chain. Even better was the reconnect with friends. I love how deep a connection I can build with folks I know for such a short time. It seems like that happens with coworkers more so than anyone else. I guess it has something to do with being in the trenches together. We’re slammed and the dish guy can’t bus the dinning room, so I do it. My shift manager is running the register and obviously won’t be able to take a dinner break, so none of us do. It’s been a long busy shift and we nobody can start cleaning until an hour after we were supposed to be closed, but instead of finishing your own area and leaving you stay and help until everyone can leave. Somebody’s girlfriend just dumped them so you give them a hug and buy them a beer. This is community. And we don’t need religion, or any ideology for that matter, to compel us to care about one another. We’re in the shit. And when you’re in the shit you’re either friends or your fucked.
I got kind of teary having dinner there. Two really good guys came around the counter and hugged me. They said they wish I’d come back. They said they could use me. I’m sure they could. They were in the shit tonight, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t miss it. Be damned if I don’t miss them. Someday guys. I really hope so.
I turn 32 in eight days. I was raised a christian. Not like loony evangelical Christian. Just like little country church, comb your hair, be nice, bring a covered dish to the potluck methodist church kinda situation. I mean my parents believed in it. Believed in the Bible and all, but they believed in real life more. They both worked hard their whole lives. They didn’t take handouts but they gave plenty. Looking back it seems like they believed in hard work and community more than miracles and superstition.
When i was fifteen I fell in with a different crowd. I met a group of people who really did believe in miracles. Some of them even claimed to have seen a few. Things like healings and demonic possession. Even exorcisms. I got caught of with these folks in a real bad way. I was very gullible. And why shouldn’t I have been? I was a kid and grown ups were claiming to know absolute truth. They told me that every word of the Bible was true and that if I believed in it, I’d see miracles too. Not only that but that GOD had a plan for me. That he wanted to use me to save other people from HELL.
Well long story short that went on for about fifteen more years. I started having doubts, not fearful or dreadful doubts but bitter, disolusioned doubts. When I went to my most trusted elders with questions I was met with tired rhetoric and weak excuses. They would often shrug. I grew tired of shrugs. Some time after a fairly catastrophic event came to pass I was ready to say peace. And after having several tiny epiphanies, here I am. A divorced, thirty one year old, agnostic father of two. I came to realize the same thing that so many former cult members do. We don’t really know anything. And what we do know is that all of the Abrahamic religions (ie Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Mormonism, Jehovah’s witness, and so forth) have a rampant number of contradictions in their religious texts, promote an exclusive “us vs them” mentality, exercise a tremendous amount of oppression on the gay, immigrant, intellectual, and impoverished communities, and are responsible for almost every war in human history. And I for one have not met a single member of any of these religions who will admit that these clear historical facts are true, much less apologize for them.
Okay, I’m bitter. I am however much less bitter than I was say, a year ago. Do I regret the 14-15 years I spent as an evangelical? Sure, sometimes. But you know, everything we experience makes up who we are. If I had grown up an atheist in Berlin, or a Yogi in Portland, I wouldn’t have the perspective that I have now. And I’m grateful for that. I have the unique position of a man who escaped from the P.O.W. camp of western conservatism. And hopefully I can help others escape as well.