At the last minute tonight, I decided to go The Standard for dinner. I worked in the garage on the camp trailer until 7:00 and was hot and super hungry since I only had an apple for lunch. Besides, it was 80 degrees and it’s damn near criminal to not ride the motorcycle on a day like this.
I was planning to make mushroom and shrimp risotto because I have mushrooms and vegetable stock that needs to get used–but risotto requires constant attention over the hot stove and, well, with the bike calling, off I went to see Said and Dani.
Now at home on the patio with a nice Oliva and Scotch and all is well. A superb meal at The Standard. Calamari was light and delicate and the duck was perfect with side vegetables. Best meal I’ve had in some time actually.
The road in front of the Standard is closed due to construction. I joked with Said–if you can make a business work during a pandemic, daily rioting, and the street you are on shut down from construction, you are definitely going to make it long term.
I passed 5 or 6 motorcyclists going to and from the restaurant. All were black. I live in a very diverse neighborhood, but mostly don’t see many white bikers around here. Tonight, when we passed each other, we all dropped our hands in a low wave–as bikers do. It struck me as so odd that black and white strangers, connected only by a love of motorcycles, have enough mutual respect to wave and be kind, while a few miles away the dynamics are so different. Of course it is instructive to remember that 99% of people protesting are getting along just fine and aligned–it’s a very small faction that are causing a bit of trouble.
I traded some good words with a friend in Chicago today. We were both expressing our unfettered respect for the Black Lives Matter movement with zero reservations. I care not about the looting and do not disparage the very small percentage of protestors who push over a limit. But, and this was mostly what we spoke about, the verbiage around this issue is enormously complicated at the moment. This guy is CEO of a company and his building was damaged in the fracas the past few days. He doesn’t yet know the extent, but believes their suite (8th floor) was most likely not affected.
But,the point is, that he also understands the very deep anger and frustration and the realization that to compare a few stolen goods and broken windows to the brutality and murder of blacks by white cops for decades, is a deeply flawed logic.
I’ve tried to put myself behind the viewpoint of a black man in modern day America. I know it’s impossible, but I think it’s instructive to try. Being a pretty reflective person, I am aware of my flaws, which are many. I have never learned to graciously accept ignominy or injustice. I have gotten much better at forgiving people who wrong me–it’s happened a bit. But if I imagine a cop, or anyone, doing to my sisters or brothers or cousins or parents or children what happened to George Floyd–I’d burn the fucking country down. No question.
Add to that the scenario that cops are routinely defended in court by our tax dollars and nearly always escape any kind of justice, and that they are so confident they will not be held accountable that they are smug, and that the cycle is heart-breakingly routine, and it gets crueler.
I absolutely do not believe that all police are bad. I believe most are likely sincere and caring and to do their jobs professionally. But there are enough bad ones, and enough systemic complicity in police organizations that enables the bad cops to continue to act with impunity, that many police organizations are at best inept and at worst corrupted by these few bad cops. We often hear the excuse that ‘being a cop is hard’ and ‘being a cop is dangerous’. Sure, well if you are not up to it, go get a different job. We should hold police to high standards of conduct. That is what being a professional means. And we as a society significantly increase the danger to police (and ourselves), with our foolish notion that guns should be freely and easily available to anyone. That’s a choice we make that adds massive risk and danger to police work and society in general.
From my point of view, if the protests and occasional looting go on for a year, it will be well worth it if we come away with true reform in our institutions and hopefully some measure of progress in social equality. I have no illusion that the hard-core dicks that are Trump supporters will change their views, but I believe they are still a minority and if we start now, maybe in a few generations we can wash out some of their downstream progeny.
I met a dog at the restaurant. Flanagan. Only 10 weeks old and already a mature and gracious young male pup. 1/2 boxer and 1/2 beagle. What a great mix. He was beautiful. I did not get a picture unfortunately but wish I had.
The camper, RV, and camp trailer industry is evolving very quickly. I troll 25 or 30 websites dedicated to this industry and I see start-ups and evolution from established companies that are creeping closer to my design. To me it is so obvious, which means I am either missing something or we will kill it.
But making the leap from a garage-built personal version to a truly fully functional and professionally built commercial version is not easy. We are getting closer. Brian is hitting his stride in the manufacturing planning. I am 75% design and marketing and 25% useful in construction and he is about exactly opposite. So I think we will be a good team if we can just get this product right.
I finally got around to signing up for volunteering with Cleveland Food Bank. I’ve been wanting to for awhile, but kept making the same excuses I berate others for (secretly). But then I also secretly berate them when I hear their excuses for not donating money.
Each month, when I make my various payments to the children and organizations I support, it makes me feel really fucking great. Like I am human and alive and helping the world become a better place in my tiny little way. There are some well documented studies that people who give generously to charity are all around happier than people who lock their money away for a rainy day or just make some token contribution on April 14 because their tax people tell them they should.
Since this technically a public blog, but with only a few readers, I feel okay talking about these things. This medium is for me a way to think out loud, which is cathartic. I think my charitable contributions are roughly in line with what Mormons are expected to give to their church–more or less. Of course building bigger churches never helped anyone, so I prefer my way.
I know we are not supposed to talk about such things, but fuck it.
I got tired of waiting for my ventilator mask to sand the epoxy on the canoe. So I put a normal sanding mask over my handkerchief and hoped for the best. Sanded for 4 hours with heavy grit. Still have another 3-4 hours with increasingly finer paper and then 4 coats of clear varnish. Then, I will be 1/2 done and can flip her over and start on the inside. Definitely a labor of love. At my rate of progress, if I built boats for a living, I would need to get $150,000 for this canoe.
No other news of note on this lovely Spring evening in Northern Ohio, North America.