Justin's Life...

~ March 2000 ~
~ March 21st - 27th ~

March 21, 2000 - Tuesday

Friday afternoon, Andrew headed back to Washington and Larry, the kids, and I headed on to the ranch. We hadn't been there in over a month, and I was really just ready to get there and relax. No house guests, no work worries, nothing.

And life went like that until Saturday afternoon when Larry, the kids, and I headed to Bakersfield to see the dog breeder who sold Eugene to Larry. Long story short, Larry asked if the little girl of the house would like to go with us to John's Incredible Pizza Company, a buffet version of Chuck E. Cheese. I was uncomfortable taking someone else's kid, especially considering that they didn't know that Larry and I were husbands, but I kept quiet and off to the restaurant we went while Eugene stayed at the breeder's house for some adoration.

Before long, we were sitting at the table when the little girl of five years asked Katie if her daddy didn't eat the crust (of his pizza). Katie explained that he was probably saving it for Eugene while I was panicking. Indubitably, the question would come: "Who's he?" with he being me.

But it didn't. The girls ate their fare and proceeded to the arcade area where they played various games, winning tickets which would later be redeemed for cheesy prizes.

Yet somewhere along that redeeming of tickets, the little girl lost Larry and Katie. I could see her searching for a familiar face, so I made sure she saw me and she ran over. The only thing her frightened self said was, "Where's the daddy?" Where's the daddy. Not where's Katie's daddy or where's Katie. Where's "the daddy." And as soon as I pointed out Larry, she darted over to where he and Katie were standing. It was obvious that I brought her no comfort whatsoever.

I'd been there with them, even helping she and Katie get pizza, but I was nobody's daddy... even though I held Spencer and paid more attention to him than anyone else. Using merit as the basis for qualification, I would have certainly been Spencer's daddy, if not Katie's, but the little girl, the most honest perceiver, didn't see it like that. I was that other guy who happened to be there. Maybe a brother, maybe some random guy, but not "the daddy."

Five seconds out of my presence, I wouldn't even be remembered at all. And not that I really wanted to be remembered by a little five year old girl, but will I always be not "the daddy"? I mean, I'm sure that with Spencer, I'll be perceived by him and others as more of the daddy, and perhaps it's too much to ask of the five year old girl that she contemplate such things as two daddies, but damnit, being not "the daddy" sure doesn't win any awards for warm-fuzzy feelings.

When we got back to the car, I told Larry what had happened. He said it was up to me to change that perception, but I said I wasn't going to mess with a five year old girl's reality. She didn't necessarily need to know that two guys lived together in the way that her father and mother do. Indeed, when we got back to the house and Larry was busy doing dog stuff, the father asked if Katie was my little sister. Normally, I would have corrected him with the truthful, forthright answer, but instead I said, "No, not really." I don't know what he could have thought that meant, but I didn't want his mind to be racing about how he just let his daughter go with two virtually unknown gay guys for an hour or so.

So, anyway, before we left, Larry told the family that we'd be happy to take the little girl to John's Pizza Co. again sometime and the mom said that would be great. As we were driving back to the house, I told Larry that that would only happen if he told the mom that he and I were married. I'm not into programming other people's kids, but I think it's important that everyone know everything.


March 27, 2000 - Monday

All work and no play makes Justin a dull boy. Well, ok, not really, but it sure does make the chronicles of his life less interesting.

Actually, I've been spending most of my weektime working and the time spent otherwise has, for the most part, been unnoteworthy.

I did have some diatribe about privacy and about how everyone was tabulating data on you, from your grocery store "club card" to your MasterCard purchases to the web sites you visit. Everyone seems concerned about it, but besides the creepy "big brother" initial feelings, do you really care that some computer knows that you buy Pepsi or Baked BBQ Lay's potato chips? If someone came up to you on the street and asked, "What beverage would you prefer? About how much of it do you consume in a month? What size do you usually purchase? Etc." You'd answer them or you wouldn't, but you wouldn't think that what they wanted to know was within the realm of what you wanted to keep private.

People are all worried about website tracking, but whoop-dee-doo. If you've visited the bulletin board portion of this web site, you most likely now have a cookie on your browser that reads something like this:
www.justinslife.com FALSE /cgi-bin/ubb FALSE 985477743 LastLoginDT 03-27-2000%2002%3A37%20PM

With that cookie, the software can determine which articles are new to you and create the page appropriately. Big deal!

There's a difference in being able to collect the data and actually caring about it. Sure, there are some unscrupulous companies out there online, but they exist in real life as well. It's a "danger" you undertake by going online. Even the TiVo (personal video recorder) monitors which shows get recorded and sends that info back to the home base. Busted! I watch Sex In The City, a girl's show, and OZ, a definitively male prison drama. I tend to watch HBO more than most channels and I like the Simpsons and Bewitched. I fast forward through the commercials (a real piece of unique user data if ever there was one) and I guess it figures how much time a day I spend watching TV as well. Oh, and I almost forgot, I set it to record Judge Judy. That's all being tabulated somewhere. Well, whoop-dee-doo. I guess I just took the wind out of their sail by telling it here to you for free.

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© 2000 Justin Clouse
Justin's Life...Justin's