there is too much to say. too much, i tell you! for a simple-minded brewer who likes to think more than converse, it’s been a bit of a struggle to find a way to open my mental mouth and almost impossible to truly open my real one. this world feels more chaotic than i’ve ever experienced in my, gulp, 45+ years although it should be counted as closer to 35 because of my twinkling charm. just kidding! i really don’t remember much before the age of 10, especially not anything beyond my bike and 108th street and the tall, dark fir trees. and mollie beaudry. these days, it’s hard for me to see beyond my rolling sea of beer. it’s a shallow sea, but enough to float our boat. and when i get the opportunity to climb up to the crow’s nest and look out and away (which is really more like listening with a bit of looking) it’s feels better just to go back to what i’d been doing before i got the urge to care again. i want to shake sense like a coin purse, watch the boomerang of hypocrisy melt ignorance. something burning with real humanity, not the calculated swindling hungry cash register that is currently standing in for our country. this cash register does seem to be one of those that malfunctions unpredictably and often, doesn’t it? and we function as if it’s normal. or like we deserve it.
i have to write this. in some way. so, please bear with me. i stalled out months ago and months ago, i’ve been wary of engaging this way with people i care about, with people like you. this blog initially was a running storyline for the building of my brewery. along the way, the brewery was built and it became our brewery. many people i can name, but also many more than i cannot. dreams and ideals made real, and it’s incredibly easy to focus on the maintenance. i mean, it’s not a cash cow (yet, wink-wink) but it’s carrying 3 full-size families and a couple of dudes in addition to that. it’s real, and it would be really nice if it kept being real so we could keep this ride going. i do get concerned that bigger picture stuff may keep the ride from really getting up to speed. granted, i don’t think that we’ll be too affected. we’re privileged. at least compared to the woman pumping gas for me today. 51 years old, working at a gas station and not able to afford housing. in our town of transplants, she’s lived here her whole life and watched the sea of change transform her town in front of her eyes. but, she laughs and jokes about her stubbornness and shines brightly of the best of humanity. we can make up any number of stories about people. any number at all. there are people out there, terrible storytellers, mind you, that will see the negative in everything around them and tell stories that reflect this. there are others, even worse storytellers, who listen to these crappy storytellers and find themselves feeling terrible in the best possible way. or is it feeling their best in the most terrible way?
this is generally when i find something else to do. look the other way, focus on our fermentation, payroll, oh, my kids, my wife. our freaking house & brewery remodel (everything is completely torn up around us, so metaphorical). no shortage of distractions. wait, did i get that backwards! i am all torn up about this distraction. and it is a distraction to me, unlike the woman at the gas station. my life is busy, successful, full of rewards and challenges. it’s often hard to see the effort and sacrifice and sheer determination we’ve struggled with sometimes and, instead, simply feel guilt when confronted with folks who have every right to the opportunity i’ve had; to grapple with the challenges of turning dreams into reality. my mother wasn’t a martyr, and she did endow me with a healthy dose of believing in oneself, so I’ll just say that for clarification first. on one hand, feeling like ‘anything is possible’ is great when combined with naiveté, a 401k, and an aversion to where one has been working. time for a career change! take the leap, see if flight is possible. alas, when confronted with our disparate situation and the deep anger, resentment, and superficialness of our current time ‘anything is possible’ lurches into ‘what can i do’ which falls into ‘what could I do’ until I’m pushing a couple bucks into the gas station attendant’s hand, wishing her luck, and rolling up the window. guilt is in there somewhere, even if you don’t see it.
but, again, it’s a distraction. and this, my-friends-on-all-sides-of-this-story, this is where our problem is. this distraction is having a big impact on lots of people. i’m not talking about feelings, either. not fear, not jealousy, not indignation. not worry. please do me a favor and take your feelings out of it, because if they are just feelings, they won’t make you go hungry. they won’t take your house away or split up your family. they won’t incriminate you. they won’t kill you. they’re just feelings. and, yes, your feelings are important. all of our feelings are important; they are very good at describing the world around you. and for many of us, we have the power to not only change how we feel, but how others feel. simply by our actions and our words. for example: feelings.
in this day and age, it appears that our cultural (read white) male standard is finally being held up to see what it’s become. we are all looking straight into a mirror (i’m pretty sure we know what we’re looking at) but can we take accountability for what we see? i can tell you, with some grim satisfaction, that i am doing my absolute best to account for this. maybe not grim, maybe this is silly pride! i am proud of who i am and what i believe. i can know that i am free and i want others to be free as i am. shoot, i’m raising my kids to be freer. i am inspired by the idea that the simple concept of ‘America’ is progressive. i witness that we white males are basically in the position of granting freedoms on so many levels, so i’m doing my best to give as much as i can. i celebrate my freedom by listening. by asking questions and relating what i hear to my own experience. i enjoy saying ‘i don’t know’. i don’t feel typical when i am presented with our cultural male standard, and i’m incredibly proud of that fact. i’m a shitty fighter. i can create and hold the space for my family to be themselves, to trust in each other. and, as we keep going in this particular direction, you know that you can too. how do i know? because my Mom planted something really special in my chest. we all have one! and since my early days of apothecary naiveté, it’s proved to be the most astonishing compass; i’ve learned to trust it ahead of my logical melon. i wish i would have started earlier, truthfully. on certain occasions, when both heart and mind work together, it’s magic. not the figurative kind, either. real magic. it’s the only logical answer when you find yourself actually touching a dream that once resided only in your head. so, when confronted with this confusing, chaotic time, i will align myself with hearts first. i believe our minds are capable of figuring everything out later.