Snow, Feminism, and Fargo Chick Fil A

Today is Snow Day #2 for Georgia College, where I teach English. Even though there’s no snow on the ground. Maybe a dusting of powdered sugar hiding under a bush, or behind a shed. Is it culture shock that cancels school? Like does a weather experience of snow on Wednesday, regardless of how little, and regardless of how quickly it melts off, by definition necessitate at least two days off? I mean the students aren’t complaining. I talked to three sophomore girls last night after yoga; they were rosy-cheeked, warm and radiating inner bliss. Maybe the administrators just want to milk another day of January vacation? Day drink…stay in bed….I don’t know. Coming from Minnesota, the South is curious in this respect. 

An update on the semi-sober front. I enjoyed a beer with dinner last night. Leftover from a Ballast Point brewery 6-pack a few months ago. This brew is called “Pumpkin Down”—a Piper Down Scottish ale brewed with roasted pumpkin. Mmmmm. Even Kate had two sips. Also, this drink was accompanied by virtually no noticeable anxiety: no counting down in the days preceding, no pulse-ratcheting anticipation, no mid-brew regret, and I woke up this morning craving the usual 2/3 coffee, 1/3 almond milk and a tablespoon of coconut oil. My rendition of paleo’s heralded “bulletproof” coffee. 

Jesus Mary and Donald—I really slammed a hot red button yesterday with my “Why Feminist Isn't A Useful Word” morning FB Live conversation. I was inspired by a ten-minute interview of five young British men on the subject of masculinity. And one guy comments that he thinks the overarching label of “Equality” would be more politically useful than these individual equality projects like “Black Lives Matter” or “Feminism” or “Pride.” Interesting, I thought. Meta-question: is FB just amplifying low-value selfies and social noise? Or does have the uber valuable democratic function of facilitating conversations? Both are obviously true. And they’re demonstrated in yesterday’s feminism thread. If you’re curious, I’ll post the link in the comments. 

Mid afternoon, my sister from Fargo texted and said there’s been this big hoopla because a woman at their local Chick Fil A was breastfeeding her baby and the manager asked her to cover the baby, and the mother said the baby doesn’t eat when she’s covered, and then the Chick Fil A manager asked her to leave the store. What?!!! In 49 of 50 states (shame on South Dakota) women are exempted from nudity and public indecency laws when breastfeeding. Never mind the irony that the restaurant manager was a woman. My sister who lives in Colorado commented on the group message that this is why terms like feminism are so important. Because clearly the playing field is neither equal nor equitable for women. I agree that the Chick Fil breastfeeding thing is fucked up on several levels. I think absolutely women should be able to breastfeed—covered, half-covered, not-covered. Whatever. God bless them for breastfeeding their babies, period. The health and immunity benefits of breast milk over formula are staggering. My only question is about the usefulness (in terms of gathering the most possible political support) of hot button terms like Feminism. And really, I’m interested in this chiefly as a writer—someone who studies and obsesses over words and word choice. Branding is another lens to see the labelling issue through. Is the branding effectively converting the public into buyers? Would a different brand strategy be more effective? 

Moving on.

 A few quick thoughts because I have to go teach a 6:30 sunrise yoga class this morning and I slept till 5:30, which is late for me. 

During yesterday’s PM yoga class, at 5:30pm, when the teacher was saying ok, welcome to the 5:30 slow flow class, my name is yada yada, thank you so much for being here yada yada. I closed my eyes and fully lost all sensory contact with the present moment. I was pretty exhausted, admittedly. I sort of caught myself falling through this momentary moment of black inner mental hyperspace. And I thought one thing: everything I have ever done in my life, acts large and small, have been animated by fear. I felt the fear as the universal black space encompassing and defining my thoughts and actions. Writing The Alt Dad Diary? Fear of not being heard, not being a quote successful writer. Every relationship I’ve been in? Fear of ending up alone, suffering as a hermit. Having a kid? Not amounting to something significant without creating family as a check mark on the meaning box. And on and on. And before I came out of this psychological free fall, I felt some amount of compassion for this fear: like it’s a natural thing, and probably evolutionary driven. But there wasn’t time for me to construct a counter-narrative. Like the “love” side of the story. Instead, the teacher started talking, telling us to let our chin fall to our left shoulder, and I had moved on. But I’m going to come back. 

My college students told me they think there’s a difference between being an anti-social and just preferring the quiet and ease of solitude. We conflate the two, they said. But wrongly so. I think this is interesting, and we’re going to discuss today. 

Along with this: What words should a guy use to approach a girl whom he’s never met in a bar or similar venue? And vice versa with females. This is more than pick up artistry, it’s communication 101 and it’s confidence and it’s rejection training. Maybe that is pick up artistry. 

Namaste. 

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