Tuesday, December 19, 2017

New Friends

Mike and Bob, new friends


Regular readers of this blog will know that I have often mentioned my disappointment in making friends in the large gay community here in Rehoboth Beach area of southern Delaware.

One of the reasons I moved to Delaware for my retirement in addition to escaping the high taxes of my former home state of Pennsylvania was the large gay community.  When Bill and I lived in Pennsylvania, we were often ostracized by some neighbors just because we were gay. I have blogged about those experiences in previous postings and won't rehash those terrible times where we were discriminated against just because we were two gay men living together in a suburban home some thought belonged only to straight couples. That was a sad and depressing time of our lives which I do not wish to revisit.

Bill and I have been living here since 2006. In that time we have made five (Wayne, Bob, David, Ted and  gay friends, one of which has already died. Ironically, our best friends are out neighbors Bob and Barb, who are straight and conservative Republicans. We have also made other straight friends. We didn't seek them, it just turned out that way. 

For a few years I used to attend a weekly dine out with fifteen to twenty gay members of the local community. I gave up on that social function several years ago. 

I even joined the local organization (Camp Rehoboth) thinking I would make gay friends.  Didn't happen.  That organization's focus is on raising money and not welcoming other gays to their community unless they're in their clique (mostly Washington D.C. gays).  That's another whole story that I'm not going into at this time other to say that I have made several good faith efforts to be a nice guy and offer my friendship only to be rebuffed and ignored. Hey, I don't beg for friendships. The only interaction I had with them was when that came to be to give them money for their organization. If that's the only time they feel fit to talk to me, then I don't need them.  I left.

Then this weekend I had a pleasant surprise . I placed a request in our local NextDoor app for someone to help a "76 year old man who has average knowledge of Apple computers and who makes house call is patient."  I've engaged with computer guys before but the ones I have dealt with are smart asses, charge a lot and don't tell me anything lest I learn something and don't need them in the future. 

I had several responses to my request.  The first gentleman I talked to sounded pleasant. Because he sounded young I was suspicious he was one of those wise guys I dealt with before. I asked him how old he was.  He said he was 67 years old. Good sign. Maybe he wouldn't take advantage of my ignorance of computers and actually help me, which I am willing to pay for, and also at the same time help me learn.  Coincidentally while he was talking to my two airport utility backup towers. They were flashing amber and I didn't know why. He told me bring up utilities on my computer where I saw updates.  He advised me that the blinking amber lights was only an update which I did. The blinking amber lights went off.  Wow!  Someone helped me and didn't take advantage of me.  I offered to pay him but he refused. Wow! What a pleasant surprise, someone who isn't taking advantage of my ignorance of computers and being nice to me.

Well, this blog is going on long so let me wrap this up.  The next day this gentleman came over. His name is Mike. He and his partner have been together forty-one years. I visited Mike and his partner the next day. I visited Mike and his spouse Bob the next day. They live nearby. I found them to be a very pleasant couple. I have new friends. 

You will hear more about them in future posts. 








16 comments:

Practical Parsimony said...

Good for you! I guess you were looking for friends in all the wrong places. I wish I had gay friends! I do have them in B'ham, but never go there. I want gay friends here.

Ron said...

A nice pleasant surprise.

WARPed said...

Good for you, Ron!

:-)

-Andy

Mike said...

A pleasant surprise for me too, Ron! We've been here in a gay resort 13 years, most of our good friends are straight. I'm not complaining, a good friend is hard to find. We talked about this issue last night -- we had an early Christmas dinner with Bob's brother and sister in law. We all agreed, the older you get the harder it is to meet people and make friends. I look forward to getting to know you better!

Ron said...

Mike,
I'm not complaining either about my lack of gay friends, just surprised that it didn't happen. I guess I assumed too much. We even had gay folks move into our neighborhood here which I initiated friendships. Friendship with one couple didn't work out because one of them was a virulent racists and Bill and I don't abide that. The other two couples were lesbians and they, as many lesbians I have known, keep their distance from gay men. Right now Bill and I are the only gay couple in our neighborhood and we get along find with everybody except that one neighbor who wants to park his pontoon boat in his driveway.
Friendships just happen, like love, you can't look for it but let it find you. I too hope to get to know you and "Buffalo" Bob better.
Ron

Ron said...

And they're nice guys Andy!
Ron

Anonymous said...

Off subject, but what can you tell me about the art piece behind the couch. I want it.

Jon said...

I'm glad that you found some new, decent, honest friends. It is difficult to do, but fortunately people like that do exist. Many new friendships develop when you least expect it. Things seldom seem to work out when you purposefully go looking for companionship.
I've always hated social functions and "cliques" like the ones you described.

Bea said...

Super! Your new pals have nice digs as well. --not knowing much about the rest of the country, to be honest, I didn't realize that your community had a large gay population. I've interacted with young, gay men here who tell me that they 'can't leave' SF because it's seemingly hostile everywhere else. I always thought that to be a bit of an exaggeration. I say, by all means, stay here, but it must in some small part also be about the weather & liberal politics.

Mike said...

Wise words, my friend. I suppose I expect too much. I was surprised too. We came here from rural NC (you can imagine what that was like) expecting Nirvana. I remember going to Home Depot and seeing several gay men and thinking how wonderful it was. But it didn't go further. And, like you said above, the gay community splits off into groups. Where we were in NC Lesbians, gay men, leather, etc. all mixed together, you had to for solidarity.

Ron said...

Anonymous,
The man on the right made that art piece. I'll tell him you want it.
Ron

Ron said...

You are so right Jon! Things seldom work out when you purposely look for it. You have to just let it happen. That's the way it happened with Pat, my best friend now after a life long search for him. And we're alike in that we both don't like social functions and cliques. We may have differing political opinions but we're on the same page in so many other ways. Maybe that's why I like you so much! That and your honesty. It's refreshing!
Ron

Ron said...

Bea,
Oh no, most of the rest of the country is hostile to gay folks, especially gay men. I never really noticed it until the first time I visited Provincetown, Mass back in 1974. For the first time in my life I felt totally free. The analogy I think of is like spending your whole life banging your head against the wall and you think that's normal until you stop banging your head and you say "Hey! That feels good!" When I visit certain parts of the country like West Hollywood and Palm Springs I have that feeling of freedom. Even though there is a large gay population here on the east coast of southern Delaware there is still a lot of redneck in the air. For instance, they'll never have a gay pride parade in Rehoboth, would offend too many straights. They just sort of tolerate us now. It's better than it was back in the 70's when I first started to visit (they would burn down gay bars and single wide trailers that gays lived in) but still has a long way to go. My dream is to maybe retired to Palm Springs, California. Maybe I can bring that off. I would like to spend my final days without the yoke of disapproval always hanging on me.
Ron

Mike said...

Ron, I tell people Red Delaware begins at Plantation Rd.

Ron said...

You're on to something there Mike.
Ron

Ron said...

Anonymous,
I conveyed your message to the gentleman who made that art piece. He said you could have it for $1,200. And yes, there is a story behind it which they said they would tell me. I don't know what that story is now though.
Ron