Typically, I might go weeks and months with nary a word from anyone I don’t know.
But, when I wear my kilt, I always get at least one comment.
Two nights ago Lucie and I went on a date night to a local, downtown Phoenix, hipster bar. We’re no hipsters, but we had a lovely time. We gazed into each other’s eyes. We laughed and talked. We ate our food and drank our booze.
Only when the evening was over did I realize, not one person commented on my kilt.
I attribute it mostly to the fact we were surrounded by hipsters.
What do hipsters care about kilts?
What do hipsters care about an old guy in a kilt?
A kilt is neither awesomely epic nor #fml terrible, so…
Come to think of it, no one said anything about my kilt during our stay-cation a few months back in downtown Phoenix. It must be a downtown Phoenix thing.
But, I digress.
I also attribute the lack of remarks, in part, to the thing I’ve noticed, emm, you know, about people and my kilt.
The thing I’ve noticed is this: the more self-conscious I am in my kilt, the less comfortable I am, the more people talk to me about my kilt and kilts and all things Scottish. It’s as if they sense my mind is already on the topic so they feel freer to engage.
Now, I don’t wear my kilt all the time but I do wear it quite a bit. It seems to me, as I’ve grown less self-conscious and grown more comfortable, and really, these days, I’m fairly comfortable, the remarks and comments have diminished in frequency and duration.
Which is not to say they’ve stopped. Last night, Lucie and I went to a show with friends and I wore my kilt again. I got the following questions/remarks: 1)Scottish or Irish? My son-in-law is Scottish. 2)Nice kilt, my man. 3)What clan?
And that’s pretty typical of any kilted evening out, these days.
There you have it.
It’s just a little observation.
It’s just a little idle thinkery.
So, let me say something for the eternal, ephemeral, digital record; I don’t like terrorists.
Is that too much? Too political?
I do carry on.
Anyhow, 25 years ago, as a young Airman stationed in Greece, I lived, along with my fellow, young Airpeople, under a perpetual threat of terrorist attack. We weren’t allowed to wear our uniforms off base, except to travel to and from the base. We were trained to watch for suspicious activity. We were trained to be vigilant, vigilant, vigilant.
During the run up to first Gulf War, the threat in Greece was so high, Greek cab drivers, normally eager for our currency, wouldn’t stop for Americans. They wouldn’t even look our way.
During that time the squadron swapped our normal Dodge duty van for a nondescript Volvo van with bullet-proof glass and steel plating. The conventional wisdom was it’d stop small bullets, but be worthless against a grenade, worthless against a parked, car bomb.
And at one point, we were notified the Iraqi embassy had offered a $10,000 bounty for any American killed in Europe. It turned out there was no bounty, but…
Two days after I left Greece, a couple of months after the war, Greek terrorists killed an American GI outside his apartment. They’d planted a bomb in his water meter.
I heard he died in the ambulance, stuck in traffic, after about 40 minutes. I didn’t know him. I’d probably seen him around. There were only 1500 active duty Air Force at our base.
I don’t like terrorists.
And I understand the fear.
Nobody wants to be killed by an extremists terrorist.
I sure don’t want to be killed by an extremist terrorist.
I get it.
But, more than that, more than the fear, I don’t want to give any damn terrorist anything he/she wants.
They don’t have much in the way of real power, so they use fear to try to get me, and you, to change our behaviors to suit their needs.
Well, I’m not surrendering to their nonsense.
It’s bad enough we have to take our shoes off at the airport because one damned fool tried to blow his fool feet off, but now, our Governors and our members of Congress …..ugh, you know. It’s as if our politicians are using fear to try to get us to change our behaviors to suit their needs.
There’s no perspective, only hand wringing and fist shaking.
The odds of being killed by an extremist hiding amidst refugees is so small as to be ridiculous.
Most any American is so much, much, more likely to die of heart disease, or stroke, or diabetes. It’s a good bet everyone in America already knows of several people who have died or will die from the above mentioned ailments.
We’re more likely to be killed by a stranger texting while driving. We’re more likely to be killed by the flu. We’re more likely to be killed by someone we know. We’re more likely to be killed hitting our heads on in the shower stall.
Also, I own a gun. I’m therefore, much, much more likely to be killed with that specific gun than I am by any terrorist weapon.
There are so many, genuine threats, so many potential ways to die.
But the real, unavoidable, kick-in-the-pants reality is this:
Everyone will die.
You don’t like it. I don’t like it.
But there it its. Everybody dies. Nobody gets to not die.
So what do we do?
We press on.
People need our help. America prides itself on its ability to protect the helpless. It’s part of our culture. It’s part of why I served. We want to be the good guys.
Let’s be the good guys we want to be.
I’m not surrendering to fear.
I’m not surrendering to ISIS.
We’re the land of the free.
We’re the home of the brave.
When Siri first arrived on my iPhone, I really, really, really, wanted her to speak with a British accent.
Well, because then she’d sound like Ms. Moneypenny! How cool would that that be? It’s a gadget and you talk to it and it helps you find things and it organizes stuff and it sounds like Ms. Moneypenny!
Now, I’m no James Bond, mind you. And I don’t use Siri all that often. And it’s sort of a silly whim.
And there’s another thing.
In order to change Siri’s accent, you had to change her language. And I didn’t want to set my phone to British English and then have to spend who-knows-how-long training it to understand my midwestern, American drawl. So, I just set it and left it to American English.
There’s different settings for language and for voice. Which means, if I understand it correctly, I can leave my phone set to understand American English while Siri is set to speak British English.
And that’s what I’ve done!
I don’t know if it works how I think it does.
Wait. let me ask:
Well. She spelled all my words right, so…
Thank you, Siri.
Today, Lucie and I celebrate 21 years of marriage!
21 years! Think of it!
Our marriage is old enough to drink.
Which is kind of perfect, because one of my gifts was this:
Thanks Sweetie, for the gift, sure, but also for 21 wonderful, fun-filled, fabulous years. Thanks for sharing your life with me. You’re the best and I’m lucky to have you.
Let’s shoot for a marriage old enough to get the senior citizen’s discount at Luby’s!
I love you.
I’d write about
with your flushed
your flecked faces
lips so tight
I’d write about
© Steve Mitchell 2015