Ah, what a sweet, errand-running Saturday morning, from dropping off dry-cleaning to picking up kitchen floor tile samples at Carpet One in San Ramon! Then a visit to the Target off Bollinger Canyon Road in San Ramon -- which is not just your ordinary Target. It's a Super Target! It's very very big! Super-sized! Such a selection of low-priced Target shoes!
However, I wasn't shoe shopping, just picking up printer cartridges. But, my, what a selection of printer cartridges.
I know, my life is so exciting, but, you know, life's simple pleasures and all that!
At the end of the morning, we queued up in the car for burgers at In-N-Out. How American is that? Oh, but on the way we pass some high school boys volleyball team holding a car wash at a corner Chevron. The boys are fresh-faced and happy, scrubbing down cars, shooting each other with squirt guns. Similar smiling and fresh-faced young men politely and efficiently take our In-N-Out order, our payment and then, in the glorious, clock-work assembly line that is In-N-Out (Henry Ford, the inventor of the assembly line would be so proud), the young men deliver up our burgers and drinks.
Mmm. I pull out of the In-N-Out, heading up San Ramon Valley Boulevard, drive past those imposing I-680 sound walls and new a new housing development, and I think, wow, this is America, and sometimes it can be kind of great in this strange, even banal way -- when tasks on a to-do list get checked off, products are displayed with all that clean Target sparkle, and the reward are burgers from In-N-Out.
But then I come home from my excursion, pick up the newspaper and encounter the latest incarnation of America's dark side.
This time it's in the form local Boy Scout leaders, including a father from my neighborhood, who are grasping at outmoded ideas about how to drum gay members out of the organization. These local leaders and parents, according to the Contra Costa Times today, are urging their national organization, voting in Texas on Thursday, to continue the ban on openly gay members. (The above AP photo shows Scout members carrying boxes filled with petitions to end the ban on gay scouts.)
Bruce McIntosh, Scoutmaster of Walnut Creek Troop No. 818, tells the Times he supports maintaining the ban on gay members. For one thing, he said, the Scouts' current membership policy is akin to military's former "don't ask, don't tell" approach to gay service members.
Bruce, the operative words here are "former approach." Even the military doesn't go along with this backward thinking crap anymore. Oh, but Bruce -- you always seemed like such a nice, reasonable guy -- says more, enough to make me think, I am so glad my son never did Scouts, at least with people hold such bigoted and paranoid viewpoints.
Yes, that's right, we need to ward off all that campfire sex talk and middle-of-the-night tent buggery.
Oh, I hope that others in the Scouts, like those pictured above -- and it seems the numbers are growing -- have a much more enlightened take on all this.