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Sex in the small town (A year or so later)

Dear Editors,

Once convinced that sex in a small town was so much better than in the city, I wrote a SoapBox letter about it. Oh yes, I was sooooooo smart with all my invented terms, like “hanging out” and “The R3 factor.” To recap: “hanging out” is the Durango equivalent of “dating” and “The R3 Factor” stands for Relationships + Rumors = Reputation.

Over the last year or so, I have “hung out” (dated), “hung out exclusively” (had a couple half-assed relationships) and proudly developed my very own, well-earned “reputation.” I now have a brand, spanking new perspective on the small town scene and yet another witty term, “The Circle of Friends.”

It all began last ski season. As a nonskier, I had too much time on my hands. I began hanging out, platonically mind you, with two men ...one to fill the space when the other was skiing. Still being a newbie in Durango, I did NOT know these two men ran in the same close circle. They were often on the slopes, but never at the same time, so I ask you: “How the hell was I supposed to know they were part of the same posse?”  

I found out, let me tell you, in the most bizarre and uncomfortable way. Turns out men actually do talk to each other. Forgive me, but I thought when they went skiing there was just a lot of grunting and piss initials in the snow. If had realized they were gossiping about each other and worse, ME, I would have taken up the sport.

However, the realization came this spring at the first BBQ of the year. One of my boys’ friends put two and two together and invited all three of us for dinner. (I have to admit that this could have been more of an oversight on the part of the host, instead of a mean-spirited attempt to entertain himself.) I show up with boy No. 1, then boy No. 2 walks in unsuspectingly.

There were flushed faces, incomplete introductions and limp fish handshakes as we all stood in astonishment. Later, at the dinner table, I couldn’t bear the sideways glances, veiled flirtations and hushed snickering any longer. By this time, I was stewing, and after recognizing the host’s date, I began to brew my own little concoction of discomfort for the evil person responsible for my pain.

Never one to hold my tongue, I asked our host “Do you realize that according to some medical journals you and I have actually had sex?” Then pointedly added actually you’ve had sex with me, but I haven’t with you (long pause) … yet.”  The silence was palpable as I took out a pen and paper and starting drawing this equation.

Let’s call the host “A,” his date “B,” boy No. 2 “C,” my absent, ex-boyfriend “D” and me “E.” So here is the illustrated version: E+D, D+B, B+C, A+B = “A,” our host, has had sex with me, my ex-boyfriend and Boy No. 2 (at least).

Things were really getting uncomfortable, and these people were shifting around in their chairs. I realized I had just made “B,” the host’s date, look like a total sleaze, which I assure you is far from the truth, really.

So, I tried to remove my foot from my mouth and diffuse the situation by pointing out that this was probably an incomplete equation, and it’s possible, if not likely, that we have ALL had sex with each other. This didn’t help much either. So I added: If I were to later have sex with Boy No. 2, I would have at least slept with all of them, too. In true Durango fashion, there was finally riotous laughter and back slapping. To my relief, I was now a part of the “Circle of Friends.” When all was said and done, Boys No.1 and No. 2 scurried to their cars as I hugged and kissed the host and his date goodnight. I took a deep breath of the night air and made my lonely way home, promising myself: “If this ever happens again, I am throwing my emotional baggage over my shoulder and moving to Bayfield.”

– Once Again Anonymously

Heightening awareness

Dear Will and Missy,

In your July 14 issue you mistakenly stated in the caption under the picture of my painting and poem that it was “protest work.” To me, creating this work and showing it to the public is not about protest. Protest polarizes. I brought this painting to the public to heighten awareness of the loss and suffering caused by this war. We are all responsible and a part of this loss and suffering.

I read almost daily, it seems, reports of the death of our soldiers. Before creating this painting I felt like I had lost track of the casualties. I needed to try somehow to grasp the magnitude of this number 1,618. Through art, I found a vehicle to give me some perspective. By the act of creating this art, I was given the opportunity to mourn and meditate on this war.

I believe in this time of war, it is important as a community to remember compassion for those who have died and from those who are currently suffering from war. Today, July 14, 1,758 U.S. soldiers have died in the Iraq War and the minimum number of reported civilian Iraqi deaths equal 22,838.

Ten stores/restaurants in our downtown have agreed to distribute cards showing on one side the painting and poem and the other side referring to internet sites that provide war statistics and information regarding a traveling cross museum. These stores also refer to where the original art piece is located. Again, the purpose of this effort is to heighten awareness.

The Iraqi War is a preemptive war; a war that our elected officials are choosing to fight. My hope is that my art will remind you of at least a portion of the cost of this war, to assist in providing perspective and to bring it to the forefront of your mind.

–Ricardo Moreno, Durango

The God of our founders

Dear Editors,

It was wonderful to read America’s Declaration of Independence reprinted on the front page of the July 4 issue of the Durango Herald. The first paragraph says: “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

In these days, when there is an agenda-driven movement to transfer the evangelical Christian creed onto our Founding Father’s assumed tenets, it was refreshing to read an actual document. Please reread and consider: “... to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them ...” There it is: “of Nature’s God!” This is not the jealous Lord of the evangelical. It is the God of Creation ... of light, substance and time. The God of love and life, and yes – the cascade of creation (read evolution). The God that can only be touched through the privacy of one’s own heart and soul. Yet, the God who’s substance can be studied and partially appreciated by the sincere, ingenious inquiry of thoughtful human beings throughout the ages.

It feels good to be reminded that our Founding Father’s God, the God referred to in our United States’ birth document, belongs to all the people and not the chosen few as the self-serving evangelical would want us believing.

– Sincerely, Peter Miesler

P.S. Regarding Pastor Arensman’s letter in the 7-14-5 Telegraph. Actually, I use evangelical to label people who thunder: “One way only to the gates of heaven, all others go to hell.” On the political side, I’m amazed by people who proclaim: “love all people,” and “every human life is sacred,” yet go rah-rah to our own acts of terror. Why is it so easy for most Americans to turn a blind heart to the massive killing, destruction and misery we have inflicted on the “innocent” civilians of Iraq? To say nothing of the horrid future this mutual reactionary dance guarantees. Wish someone could explain to us where the substantive difference is between how the Bush Administration has reacted to Bin Laden and how Bin Laden reacted to America¹s escalating presence on “holy” Islamic soil? Fighting terror with terror begets more terror! Tragically, Bush’s Neocons display neither wisdom nor interest – accumulating power and control seem their only priority. In the end, humanity is the loser, as every fresh morning’s news reminds us.