Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006
You can get fast food or good service but not both (*)

I got a free lunch at Arby’s today, courtesy of Steve Judge, V.P. of Training and Personnel at GZK, Inc., Dayton’s local Arby’s (and Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken) francise holder (apparently they ran the Dayton-area Burger Chef restaurants too).

Why the free lunch? Because I’d gone to Arby’s (#01194 at 160 S Patterson) a few weeks ago and they messed up an order, and after I e-mailed to complain, Mr. Judge kindly e-mailed back to apologize and then sent a coupon via snail mail.


I wanted curly fries, damn it!
The irony in the situation? They messed up today’s order too. I ordered a Chicken Bacon ’n Swiss (*) sandwich, a medium curly fries and a medium iced tea. They gave me the right drink and the right sandwich but gave me plain fries instead of curly fries. Now you’d think they’d have taken special care to get my order right since a manager had to put her key in the register to zero out the cost of the meal and looking at the coupon would know it came from GZK’s offices.

However, it’s not just the Arby’s staff that hasn’t learned a lesson; it’s me too, the lesson being, never get fast food to go without checking your order before leaving the restaurant. It’s a lesson I should have learned first over 20 years ago when as the lowest person on the office totem pole (working as a keypuncher at Mazer Corporation), I often had the fun chore of heading out to pick up everyone’s lunch (often at Arby’s on North Dixie). Fast food workers don’t care now about getting orders right, and they didn’t care then.

And the karma gods were probably trying to tell me that I shouldn’t be eating Chicken Bacon ’n Swiss sandwiches anyway. I don’t get lunch out every day, but when I do, a Chicken Bacon ’n Swiss sandwich is a poor choice because it has 690 calories, 298 of which come from fat. It takes an hour on the elliptical machine to burn off that many calories!

I didn’t e-mail Mr. Judge back to tell him of the latest snafu, but if you don’t get what you order at a local Arby’s (and forget to double-check before you drive away), fill out the feedback form on Arby’s site, and you might get a free lunch too.
Tuesday, May 16th, 2006
Today my friend Melissa wore the stylish sandals she chose to highlight her best feature, namely her big toe. If you have a big toe fetish, e-mail me, and I'll put you in touch.
Friday, May 19th, 2006
Observing the ballroom packed with the attendees, I noted that racial and ethnic minorities were in the minority, possibly reflecting the multiple layers of discrimination in the GLBT ethnic minority population, who are bombarded by so many possible points of entry into the democratic process in order to improve the enjoyment of civil rights and basic human rights.
What's this cumbersome sentence from? A 3385-word, 21-paragraph report written by a member of Diversity Dayton (and a faculty member of an institution of higher learning here in Dayton) who participated in Equality Ohio's first LGBTA Lobby Day last Wednesday in Columbus. And it makes me tired, on more than one level.

The superficial level is that this sentence offends the inner English major in me. "Racial and ethnic minorities were in the minority?" That's hardly surprising. Except for women, who though a protected class technically aren't a minority of the population, yes, minority groups do tend to be in the minority (although that is changing). Yes, I get that the author of this sentence meant something like, "Racial and ethnic minorities were underrepresented," but couldn't she have said that? What she meant by the rest of that long sentence, I don't even care to try to figure out.

Another level on which the sentence tires me is that it's yet another indication of how things don't change, also on multiple levels. The "LGBT community," at least in Ohio, is a predominantly white affair. There's lots of talk about why that is and little success in changing that. Certainly it's not something easily changed given the intense homophobia among African Americans (though, to be fair, there have been exceptions) especially in black churches.

Something else that's not changing in Ohio anytime soon is the political outlook for queers. Equality Ohio made a big deal about the introduction of a bill (HB 28/SB 331) that would ban discrimination in Ohio based on sexual orientation and encouraged people, including people at home, to campaign for it on Lobby Day. Well no Republicans (count them, zero) have signed up to co-sponsor this legislation, and it has a snowball's chance in hell of passing this session. Californians got their state legislature to pass a law (later vetoed by the Terminator) giving gay Californians the right to marry. In Ohio we're struggling to get our legislature to agree that maybe queers in school do deserve some protections against bullies.

Now I don't want to sound completely like a curmudgeon. It's (usually) better to do something than to do nothing. For a first attempt, Equality Ohio had some measure of success. Over 500 people lobbied their state representatives and senators for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Ohioans, and these people were fairly well received. Speaker of the House Jon Husted (in whose district I currently live and who I had the chance to meet earlier this year on another lobby day) attended Equality Ohio's reception the evening before. I heard from a friend about his visit with a Republican who represents the rural district in which he lives, and apparently he (and two of her aides who are Miami of Ohio alums) gave her quite an education on the environment gay students still face in schools. Other friends told me that they feel the anti-bullying bill (HB 276) stands a better chance of having the list of often-bullied groups put back into it.

So I guess when it comes to working for gay rights in Ohio, I'm ambivalent. I'm too tired to be an active participant of a group like Diversity Dayton (I've already done my share of sitting through long meetings), but I'm also glad that there's a new set of young, newly-out queers in their 20s excited about making a difference. I'm just not optimistic about what they'll accomplish.
 
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david@davidlauri.com