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honey and vinegar

“you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”

or do you? most times you do, but sometimes the vinegar is necessary. but when?

over the weekend i left a scorching voice mail in the general mailbox of the alliance française. i’d asked to delay my enrollment in french classes until next semester. their policy is to charge you for a week’s worth of classes, which in this case is two.

which would be fine if i had two productive classes. problem is, the first one was marginally but acceptably effective, but the second one was awful. we had a sub who showed up late, who was unprepared and from whom we learned nothing. so i had twice on successive days left pleasant messages asking for someone to call me back, and no one ever did.

so my weekend message was scorching but rational. i’ve learned through dealing with various types of customer service that you have to be firm, fair, relentless and eerily calm. you can’t give them a reason to not deal with you. i usually just adopt a position that will resolve the problem to my satisfaction, and i nicely but firmly repeat that until i get what i want. and that was the gist of my message…that i had a problem, had left unreturned messages, and was perplexed as to why my calls had not been returned as all my previous dealings had been so professional.

sure enough, this morning i was called back. i explained my position–that i should pay for one class, not two–and the woman promised to check with her superior and get back with me. she did, and i have my refunds.

honey, then vinegar, then honey.

i’m wondering what the progression for gay marriage is, and should be. it seems to me that it’s largely been honey up until now. gays and lesbians, by and large, have not been extremely uppity about this. we’ve pursued our legal options, as is our right, and have gotten married when given the opportunity in canada or san francisco or massachusetts or wherever. we haven’t been angels, but neither have we torn down buildings or rioted in the streets or whatnot.

now i’m being told that we as a community need to tone down our rhetoric. we must stop calling the bigots bigots. we need to promote a dialogue.

excuse me. why exactly do i need to be the one to reach out, when it is perfectly clear that we are, from a historical, common-sense, and emotional standpoint, so correct? and when they are so wrong?

they need to be told they are wrong. they need to be told in a firm, fair, relentless and eerily calm way, but still, told.

what i want is the most conservative thing imaginable…the right to love and have that love recognized as equal. i want the right to be boring and suburban. i want the right to possibly do less damage to the institution of marriage than the heterosexuals already have.

in the cycle of honey, vinegar, and honey, we should be in the vinegar phase.

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