Tuesday, June 2, 2009

An Atheist on Fire

It wasn’t the normal type of thing one would find in their dresser. All of my clothes were cleaned and folded. They were in neat piles! Why? Why would someone do that?

I am not the messiest person on earth, but I don’t keep my dresser as organized as I found it a few days ago. Someone had washed my clothes, folded them AND put them away. I thought this was awkward. To do this they had to go into my dresser. I looked inside the 3rd drawer down from the top, and my zip lock bag full of condoms and lubrication was still there, in tact. I didn’t know how many I had before, but the size of the bag looked about right. 

As an atheist, any intrusion into my privacy must be investigated. It may have been that my clothes were washed and whoever put them away was doing me a favor, but I knew better. My clothes, after being washed, are normally placed neatly on my bed. This type of treatment, placing them in my dresser, was done with an ulterior motive. I recently came out to my mom, as an atheist. She took it harshly but has begun treating me as a person again. As a matter of fact, on Sunday, May 30th, she invited me to go to Church with her! I was shocked that she would even ask, but as she is a Christian, it is her duty to try to spread her religion to as many non-believers as possible, even those who may be living right under her nose. It’s a meme thing.

In The God Delusion, Dawkins speaks about religion as a meme. And as a meme it needs to spread itself and culturally evolve to survive. I am not willing to become infected with this meme again. It took me long enough to get rid of it in the first place!

So I confronted her. As her son, I thought there was an explanation that I could handle, one that involved me simply telling her that I preferred to put my clothes away myself. However I was just fooling myself. If there are constants in my household, they are this:
1. My mother is an unreasonable woman
2. My mother thinks she is always right.

I asked, “Did you go through my dresser?” I expected her to deny the claim outright, but she didn’t!

“Yes.” Such a simple reply! What was she hiding? I asked her what she was looking for, to bypass her excuse (which was that she was putting my clothes away).

“Drugs. You graduated from college, and I know college students do drugs.”

I didn’t know how to respond. Other than the fact that I do not do drugs, nor have I shown a tendency to act like a drug addict does, I had nothing to say. I could try to tell her to respect my privacy, but this would only incite unnecessary arguments. I could tell her I am not a drug addict, but her preconceived notions need more than a statement from me to disprove them. I can tell her that not all college student’s do drugs, but when the majority of the student body at UVM has at least tried marijuana, this would of course be a lie, and an unwinnable argument with my mother. I could have reminded her that I already graduated and thus no longer fall under the category of “college student”, but this would only lead her to believe that I was a full on pot head at UVM. There was nothing to say, or do.

Let’s suppose I do drugs. So what? Alcohol puts people in more danger than marijuana does, and more people die from smoking Nicotine cigarettes every year than from smoking marijuana. I am all for legalizing marijuana not only for medicinal use, but also for recreational use. If it is legalized, it could be taxed! Then the government could make money off of it, like alcohol and cigarettes. Plus, many people who smoke marijuana, and are in need of jobs, might be willing to actually go out and get a job farming the stuff. Along with marijuana, hemp can be grown to create clothing and other products. Hemp should be grown to replace the disease ridden and labor intensive cotton anyway. And lastly, if the government legalized marijuana, they would have every right to dictate quality standards, like they do with food and alcohol. In this case the marijuana that will be produced would be much safer. Along with emptying some of the prisons (people that had cases of possession of large amounts of marijuana) and decriminalizing the sale and possession of marijuana (except against minors), law enforcement will be improved by putting the focus back on violent crimes! These are my views on marijuana, but I cannot stress enough, I DO NOT SMOKE WEED!

But what evidence brought her to the conclusion that I did drugs? I thought about it for a few hours (not about doing drugs, but about her conclusion), while I was pacing in my room, upset. It suddenly came to me. Her boyfriend Eddie smokes cigarettes. That is something I have never done, not only because it is addicting, but because it could kill you! Why don’t people who smoke cigarettes get the same rep as people who smoke weed? I am not advocating that people who smoke cigarettes are bad people, but in my mothers eyes people who smoke weed are low-lives. I disagree with her assessment. Many famous stars do drugs (and we often see them in the news when they overdose). I am not saying doing hardcore drugs is a good thing, but I do believe that everyone, no matter what type of lifestyle they live, can fall into addictive habits with drugs.
Anyway, back to mom’s boyfriend, Eddie. Earlier in the week, he pulled one out (a cigarette), but needed a lighter. I pulled out my lighter for him. This was probably the moment mom suspected me of doing drugs.

That only leaves one question. What is a recent college graduate like me doing with a lighter in my pocket, if I don’t smoke? The answer lies in the oil (and in the fact that I just came back from Vermont).

I love fragrance oils. You can ask my roommate from UVM, Jonathan Castillo. I have a fragrance oil burner in my room, and I purchased the lighters because I was always using it (and tired of asking my neighbors for a light). That is the only reason. I know, it sounds fishy, but if you can have a look at how many tea lights I have, or at my apparatus for burning the oil, then you will know I am being honest.

1.Candle Goes Here
2.Oil Goes Here

I actually ran out of oil recently, and need to go to one of those female hygiene stores, like bed bath and beyond, or Bath and Body Works, to buy more. I do not like buying the plug in oils because I find them difficult to clean, and they are not as effective. Plus they use electricity and take up the socket in the wall, which can be used for any one of my many electronic devices. I also have two bags of tea lights, which I still need to use, plus the porcelain oil burner, which will go to waste if I don’t use it!

1.Tea Lights
2. Oil Burning Apparatus

As for my candles and my lighter, I am putting them to good use. Have you ever read by the candlelight before? Currently I am reading the Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean.

But my honest answer to her would have taken to long to explain. She would have yelled at me somewhere along the line. She probably would have changed the argument on me, saying: as my mother she had a right to do it. Or stating that because I was living under her roof, she had the right to investigate if she thought I was doing drugs. Of course, I am not hiding anything; I just didn’t want my mom to see my stash of condoms and lubricant. It is a matter of privacy. In all honesty she probably only saw the condoms, but if she did see the lubricant, then she probably thinks I am gay. It is okay, this is what I have come to expect from religious people: a tendency to change the argument to one they can win, or to speak louder than the person they are arguing against to claim later that they won the argument. I just stood quiet. I let her win. She can have this one. I still don’t have a place to stay besides her house.

Which reminds me, I am a recent college graduate in NYC looking for a job. Click here for my resume!

1 comment:

  1. That sucks - good luck finding an apartment, btw.