Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Aservant's article. Part 3 of 5.
I did not speak to John after this incident for several months, and honestly, I did not intend to speak with him again. I felt I had been betrayed and lied to. But as time passed, (and this is where my personal spiritual state relates to the story), loneliness set in and I was very much still in my “questioning” phase of life, so I finally went to see how he was doing.
I have come to realize that one can easily fall prey to negative situations if they aren't deeply committed to a standard, or a truth, or a morality, if you will. And this is so important to understand with this issue, for this is the vast majority of people today in society. Most are like me; raised from broken homes without a solid moral foundation, lonely, and desperately searching for a connection. And I am not speaking of sex here, but rather a sense of “community”. What society offers us may feel good for a time and the pain goes away.........but it never lasts, and then we are left alone again, searching, longing....... False idols are offered to fill the void.
John was very remorseful and apologized profusely about the whole prior situation. I didn't ask exactly what had happened and he didn't volunteer the information. He seemed genuinely embarrassed and as though he had learned a lesson. He had gone back to the hotel where we had met and was working a menial position. I felt bad for him and believed he had just made a big mistake in judgment, getting caught up in having too much of a “good time”.
So we began to converse again and I worked on a restaurant plan for this new private interest. John seemed to be genuinely different. He seemed to have taken on a much more humble persona and we conversed about matters of substance. This finally lead to me asking about his sexual orientation. He told me he was bi-sexual, but had always been in the closet. He said that only his family knew and he was terribly judged and criticized for this and it had caused him great pain. He revealed that part of the reason for him relocating to the area was to escape that situation. And he did seem to be a man in great pain....this did not look like an easy thing for him to confess as I sat there in front of him. Once again, I felt bad for him......and frankly, I admired his candor and honesty. It seemed he was turning over a new leaf.
So life continued...I worked on the opening of the new restaurant for almost a year, and upon opening, I decided to bring John into the fold again as a dining room manager at the new restaurant. The owners knew him from the previous restaurant and liked him, although they were oblivious to the scandal that had culminated in his resignation. He seemed to be a repented individual, and while I planned the restaurant, we talked much and really got to know each other. I grew to genuinely like John a lot and began to consider him a good friend, eventually the best friend I had at the time.
As our friendship grew, John confided in me more and more, and part of this was him being more open about his homosexuality. He eventually told me that he had never been directly asked about his sexual orientation like I had asked him, and at the time, he didn't have the courage to tell me the whole truth. He now told me that he wasn't bi-sexual, he was strictly gay. I didn't really feel I had been lied to at the time and didn't read too much into it. It did seem to be very hard for him when he had first told me, and this is a sensitive subject. I gave John the complete benefit of my doubt.
Once again, I will mention here that all becomes much clearer with hindsight. Now that I look back, this was the time of the “ramping up” of the gay agenda. This is around the time of the Matthew Shepard case, the raging popularity of shows like “Will and Grace” and the constant media attention about the “don't ask, don't tell” policy, just to name a few of the gay issues in the spot light at that time. I know without a doubt that this ubiquitous gay propaganda had a strong impact on my dealings with and perception of John, but I was completely unaware of it at the time. I say this because now as I look back, I was lied to repeatedly and grossly manipulated, and as you will read, these lies and manipulation became vicious and destructive. Under normal circumstances, I would have already ended this friendship after the initial “wine” episode, but I remember feeling so badly for this rejected, suffering individual, just like I did when I heard about the Matthew Shepard case and other propaganda like it. I now know that I was played, like we are all being played.
Another aspect that now came into play is that I was to meet several of John's gay acquaintances. If they were more than that, that is, if they were also lovers, I don't know. John never spoke to me about his sexual exploits and I never inquired. They were only introduced as friends. Sometimes in the evenings John and I would talk at his apartment or mine, and now and then one of this friends would drop by for a bit and we would talk. Well, it was more them talking about their “drama” and John and I listening. I began to hear some very outrageous things and I began to see a pattern. The pattern was one of people with lives out of control. One friend in particular would brag about his ability to steal.....and not just steal anything, but walk into a major department store and walk out the front door with furniture on a regular basis! He had an apartment completely decorated with all of the stolen merchandise and he enjoyed gloating over this fact. Other friends would give consistent accounts about their escapades with “straight guys” that either had girlfriends or were married and talk about how they were going to “turn them”. All of them seemed to be committed to gossip, drank in excess and/or used other substances, and were especially vindictive if someone crossed them. For example, the same friend that was the master thief was dismissed from a job once for suspicion of stealing while I knew him, but before he left he bragged to us as to how he had severely sabotaged company property. And they were all very materialistic.
So of course, the reader is probably asking themselves at this point..... “If this was the company this man kept, and after our prior experience, why did I continue the friendship?” Well, I did not see John to be a party to any kind of this behavior, and we spent a lot of time together and actually lived in the same apartment complex now. These were acquaintances dropping by, and, to my knowledge, not all that frequently, and I accepted the narrative of the time.
The narrative was, and still is, that these were poor suffering souls that only acted this way because the world made them act this way. If we were only to show them some understanding, they would be OK. And look at what had just happened between myself and John.....this is exactly what I had done with him, and as a result he confided in me, and now I felt I was watching him become a new person. And remember my own spiritual condition as well as I have mentioned, which really blinded me to what was really important in my life. Superficially I appeared “fine”, but in reality I was drifting and alone, having abandoned much of my commitment to the discipline of my youth in the name of “fitting in”.
So I began to see a pattern already amongst this gay crowd that I was acquainted with, but as I just said, I didn't link their homosexuality to their other destructive behavior. What I linked the destructive behavior to was the effects of discrimination, and my perceived transformation of John gave testament to this....or so I thought. The propaganda was deep within me.
I mentioned in the beginning of this article that a major change for me between then and now is that I have become a Christian. Christianity has much to say about the company one keeps and how that reflects on and affects one's character. Although I thought John was different now, it wasn't to be.....I finally realized that he was just using me for the opportunity to run his next racket. But I didn't come to this conclusion just yet, for I was becoming somewhat self destructive myself and couldn't see the forest for the trees.
I will cut out many details for the sake of brevity, but we were to work on two more projects over the next two years. I had set, as a condition of our relationship, a zero tolerance policy for improprieties on John’s behalf, and I had clearly vocalized this to him. I had a solemn promise from him that those days were over. Even still, in the first project, there came to light management indiscretions on John's behalf once again, and although it wasn't outright theft, I was furious, based upon the agreement we had, but I let it blow over. Shortly after I left that project for personal reasons, but my friendship with John continued. As such, I began to notice a lot of contradictions in things he told me, especially about his past. Things that had nothing to do with the gay issue, but eluded more to an almost criminal inclination that he was, maybe, trying to hide.....or maybe trying to overcome or out run....I didn't know for sure. But the short lived confidence I had placed in John's “new found character” began to erode.
A short time later, another project came up that would involve John again. Yes, I know the reader is asking, “What in the name of God was I thinking?”, but I did believe this one to be different. I knew the owner of the business personally and he was the one that had brought John into the fold, not I. This owner had great respect for me and my ability, so it was really for him that I took on this endeavor, it just so happened that I would be working with John again. I shared my reservations about John with the owner, but he assured me that all would be fine. He was dead wrong.
It was only a matter of months before I caught John completely red handed embezzling the business. This was the final straw. I confronted him and presented the owner with the evidence. I then came under the impression that the owner had been manipulated as well, for although he could not deny the preponderance of evidence, he was trying to find a way to salvage the working relationship. This was amazing to me, because there was no doubt now as to how deceitful John had been with this proprietor. At the same time, I also confronted John about many of the contradictions he had told me about over the time of our friendship. I went as far as telling him that I was now pretty well convinced that he was a complete fraud and probably even a career criminal, and I needed some hard, straight answers not to come to this conclusion. He could say nothing of value whatsoever in his defense. The only thing he tried to offer up was how terrible it was to be a hated homosexual and that it basically drove him to do these things! In that moment, it all came crashing in. This had all been a fraud from the start. It was a masterful playing of the “victim card” to get people off guard so they could be taken advantage of.
Well, the proprietor of the business arranged a meeting between all parties and gave John the chance to explain himself. There were two reasons that I tolerated this. First, I had put myself in the very poor situation of not having a lot of other immediate, quality employment options at the time, and I had put a lot of work into this project that I hoped I could salvage. Second, I thought John's ass was going to be nailed to the wall, and frankly, I was going to enjoy it.
What I heard from John astounded me. He dropped the “Homosexual Card” again....and then went on to say that he was deathly afraid of me, so much so that he had filed a police report saying that I had threatened his life! I refused to compromise under any circumstance. This time, I informed the business owner, John's boss and mine, in detail of all of the past indiscretions on the part of John and that we had been through this song-and-dance several times already. I also told him that if John was not removed from the business immediately, I would resign and call the police myself. That's all it took. John was gone and our relationship was over.
Now, I'm sure that there are readers who will say..... “So you write an article about the dangers of the homosexual lifestyle based upon one corrupt individual? That is ignorant and not reflective of the homosexual community as a whole, no more than criminal activity by non-gays reflects on their behavior as a whole”, and that is true. But this was just the beginning........
Now that John was expelled from the business and our friendship permanently over, I began to hear many disturbing things. This was a small community and there were many that knew both John and me. Several came forward to tell me that they had been told by him that we were a couple! They had even been told that I had married in order to disguise my closet homosexuality, for during the years that I knew John, I had indeed married. They were also informed that I had had several gay rendezvous with friends of John's. It also seemed to be widely thought that I was of the same character as John and we were sort of a “team” that ran rackets on business owners. I thought to myself, “So this is what tolerance and forgiveness gets you.” I came to realize that without knowing it, my association with John was quickly ruining my personal and professional reputation, and, in fact, had already largely ruined it in that community. I now became convinced, and still am, that John may have had tendencies actually quite sinister and a long list of victims. In hindsight, I believe this actually could have developed into a dangerous situation, and in fact already was, by the time it was resolved.
During my final months of working with John, I had learned much more about his past as I have stated already. I had learned that he had done time in jail. I had also learned of other very shady associates of his during that time, and from the time before I had met him. I began to question if everything I had ever been told had been a lie. This is what prompted me to begin the investigation that resulted in the discovery of the embezzlement of the business. I ended up wondering, and still do to this day, if this man was a sort of a sociopath that was able to lie without remorse. I couldn't help but think of how he had told me about being persecuted by his own family for being gay. Now I was thinking that this probably wasn't the case at all. His strained family relationship probably had much more to do with his manipulation, lying and outright criminality.
Once again, I am omitting many, many details here for the sake of brevity, but this experience shook me to the core. But even still, I didn't associate almost all of John’s poor character traits to his sexual orientation in any way. That wouldn't come until a few years later.
Central to this story is my own spiritual turmoil at this time of my life. The chapter with John had definitely taught me some hard lessons, but I still was too blind to see my underlying character issues that attracted me to that situation in the first place. This resulted in a couple more years of “wandering”, so to speak, that landed me eventually in Ft. Lauderdale, only because I had a friend there that could offer me a place to stay and a job. Now, I will say I wasn't so oblivious that I got myself into another situation as poor as the one that I had developed with John, but everything didn't go from bad to great overnight, converting me into the man that writes this today. This was a step by step process over time.
But although I was still “getting it together” during this time, I had very profound spiritual experience that lead me to study the bible. This experience had nothing to do with John or the gay issue, it is another story. But I mention here because it was the key to finally and truly opening my eyes about our society in general for good. And of course, part of the truth about our society includes the homosexual issue.
All I had known of Ft. Lauderdale until this point in my life, was that it was the spring break capital of the US, so imagine my surprise upon arrival of being immersed in a gay community 70,000 strong. I knew absolutely nothing of this before my arrival. Being that I did not have a lot of money and the area is very expensive, I found an affordable place close to my place of work that had been arranged for me by the friend I previously mentioned. My residence was in the black community that borders the gay community of Wilton Manors. Every day I had to commute through the gay area to arrive at work and I rode a mountain bike. My workplace, a beach front hotel, had a large percentage of homosexuals as employees, including the general manager and human resources manager, among others.