I stared at that comment for quite a while before asking her what, precisely, was so California about that. I mean - these are normal magazines! Right? And after she wiped away the tears of laughter, she said, basically, that everything was. Apparently the free magazines out in her neck of the woods are on - the woods or something. I don't know. What do you write a free magazine about if it's not semi-hysterical political ranting, cocksucking, semi-legal drugs, or the way your consciousness is currently in orbit around Saturn? (Without the benefit of the cocksucking or the semi-legal drugs, I mean.)
Since then, I have spent a certain amount of time analyzing my experiences in that diner, asking myself if something that seems normal to me is actually normal, or just very California. (Always keeping in mind that there are very conservative areas of CA, too. I just don't live in one. Nor do I live in the most liberal area, I might just mention.) I mean, the free magazines within reach of a small child that feature Adam Lambert and mostly naked men in bondage gear pretending to go down on each other - normal? Or California normal? I don't know. I've lived here too long. I mean, obviously I find it normal - I let my kid carry around those magazines, and everyone in the diner, including the old people, thinks it's cute. (We go there not just because we like the food but because everyone likes the earthling.) No one has suggested he's going to be warped, not even by the one that simultaneously showcased men in bondage gear (bondage gear is something of a feature of this particular magazine) and Disney characters. But maybe that would be weird somewhere else. Hard to say.
Recently, at another visit to this diner (where I picked up a catalog of this year's Conscious Life Expo, and I tell you what: I yearn to attend this thing, because I want to know if these people make any more sense when they're speaking as opposed to writing), I overheard a conversation between four guys at a nearby table. These were middle-aged guys, maybe in their forties, of various races, and at least one of them was a blue collar worker (judging by an earlier conversation). It's always nice to hear what the other half thinks, hence the shameless eavesdropping. Their conversation turned, in short order, to two major news stories of the day. The first was gays in the military, and keep in mind as you read this that the guys were fairly obviously censoring their speech because of the presence of a small earthling who kept looking over to see what food they had. (If they had heard how one of his mothers talks, they might have been less concerned.)
Guy 1: You know, it's the emotional intimacy I worry about.
Guy 2: Hmmm?
Guy 1: In the Navy. You're out there on those boats for a long time. All packed in close together, doing stuff together. You can't tell me they won't get attached to each other. Involved.
Guy 3: Yeah. I see that.
Guy 4: Now, in combat.
Guy 1: Can't really see any problem there.
Guy 4: It's all crazy. They do it anyway.
Guy 1, nodding vigorously: It's really just the Navy I think is gonna have a problem. With the romance and so on. The rest of it, that's just normal.
Guy 4: Exactly. I mean, if you're gonna go to Afghanistan or Iraq, well...
(When I related this conversation to BB later on, she said, "So they're fine with blowjobs. They just don't want the people involved to like each other?" I was more interested in the part of the sentence Guy 4 elided. Is there any way to interpret that other than, "If you're going to Afghanistan or Iraq, you might as well suck some cock while you're there?")
A few minutes of fascinated listening later, the conversation moved on to some propositions on our latest ballot, one of which involves legalizing marijuana.
Guy 2: I've gotta vote to legalize.
Guy 3: They've done studies. You know, which is the most harmful: alcohol, pot, tobacco. And it's not pot, let me tell you.
Guy 1: If tobacco's legal, marijuana's gotta be.
Guy 4: Yeah. Can't really see it's an issue, there.
So I pondered this on the way home. Is it normal - like, everywhere normal - to have middle-aged men talking about what amounts to military slash (because they aren't really talking about the gay sex - they're talking about the emotional connection involved in the gay sex) and advocating the legalization of pot? Or is that just where I live?
What do you think about those conversations, between those guys?
Normal for California.
Normal for the entire US.
Normal for Canada.
Normal for Mexico.
Normal for South America.
Normal for Africa.
Normal for Europe.
Normal for Asia.
Normal for Australia and NZ.
Normal for Antarctica.
Normal for somewhere not covered by these categories. Mars, for example.
Not normal for anywhere. Those were just some weird dudes.
If you overheard similar men having a discussion of gays in the military and the legalization of marijuana in the town where you live, you'd expect them to say:
ROCK ON with the gays in the military and the legalization of marijuana!
These are relatively acceptable things, with reservations.
God damn those liberal pink-ass commies, ruining our fine nation.
I cannot imagine people who live here having a conversation like that.
Locals are more nuanced than your restrictive poll options. To the comments!
While we're on the topic, what are the free magazines in your area like?
We Love Buttfucking Monthly
Stoned off Our Asses and Lovin' It!
GOD DAMN THE MOTHERFUCKING GOVERNMENT
I Can Remotely Adjust Your Hypothalamus. Because the Aliens Showed Me How.
Actual Real Reportage and Stuff, Just Like a Magazine You'd Pay Money For
90% Classifieds and Personals
We have other free magazines in my area. I will educate you in the comments.
We don't have free print magazines where I am. You PAY for your dead trees in these parts.