Something I’m not proud of, but am in a way…

I wrote this to a private group on Facebook.  After posting it, I felt maybe a wider audience could learn from my mistakes here, and use my story here to better themselves.   Within the group, we refer to ourselves as Savage Gentleman.  It’s a group to help guide each other to be the best men we can be, from shaving advice to fatherhood to, well, things like you’re about to read.

I will start by describing what I believe to be a Savage Gentleman. I’ll break that down to Gentleman, Savage and then what it means to be such together. I’d like some input from everyone on my take on this.

Then, I’m going to get into describing a situation I was in, from this morning’s visit to Walmart. This isn’t rant about walmart. If anything, it could be mistaken as a rant on the degradation of society, proving why we need more SG’s in this world. No, it won’t be that either though – this will be about me, as a person, as a Savage Gent.

I will also cover some more important factors in my life which has helped, guided and been a stable foundation for my growth as a person, emotionally, spiritually, and as a Gentleman. This is relevant to the situation I experienced today, and my actions and attitude towards handling it. Spoiler: I could have done a whole lot better, but hey, no one is in the hospital and no cops were called.

At this point, I haven’t even started and you’re wondering if you should continue reading. It’s going to be a long one. It’ll probably push some peoples buttons too, but that’s not the intention here. So, I do hope you enjoy!

For me, a Savage Gentleman is a balance game, without our minds, bodies and souls. It’s a state of being, an attitude towards life, love, society & civilization, and the world in general. Most importantly, it’s a description of a man’s sense of being, how they attack life each and every day, how he overcomes life’s… issues. At least, this is how I view, and live as a Savage Gentleman.

To be a Gentleman, is to be a man with high morals and ethics. To be a man who takes personal as well as societal responsibility. To have adherence to the law of the land for which he stands upon. To hold himself to a higher standard, accountable to more than himself. A Gentleman shows respect, when it isn’t specifically undue; holds dear to his heart his principle and values, and does not let anyone tarnish these. A Gentleman is a pillar of encouragement for the betterment of himself, his loved ones, and every aspect of life, society and the world around him which he has influence over. (Take a look at your life, and you will surely realize, you have much more influence than you might suspect)

To be Savage, however, is another point. There is savage, for the sake of being savage. Then, there is being savage for the sake of protecting oneself, family and way of life, one’s values and all that makes up those values. Put bluntly, “not taking shit from anyone” To be purely savage would be to unduly offend, to be mean for no reason, to act irrational, uncivilized, anti-social. Even then, there are reasons to dip into these depths. There are times in life when releasing that brutally honest, fierce savage within each of us may be warranted. When a man must take a stand, no matter how small or how big, to defend his morals, ethics, princples, values. When a man sees wrong in society and has no choice but to correct it, or at least make the attempt. This level of savagery is our last ditch effort to make things right in the world. It is this savagery with meaning which we may use as a tool. We should shy away from that beast within each of us, but draw from it only when needed. It is a tool we should weild with high regard, and use only for those situations which have not been corrected with other efforts.

To be a Savage Gentleman, we take the best of both. We bolster our defense with our savagery, we use our intellect and wisdom for our offense, when absolutely needed. Every situation in life can boil down to something we need to attack, defend against, embrace with our hearts and minds, or has no bearing on us what so ever. This is true just as much for choosing our physical tools – from wrenches to pedicure files and beard balms – as well our metal tools: knowledge, wisdom, behavior, values and principles. From situations as choosing what vehicle to procure, to dealing with unjust actions taken against our loved ones. To be a Savage Gentleman is to use both sides, to balance ourselves and dip into each side more and more as necessary, to stand for what we believe in and ensure no one scrapes that away from us. To be a man who can sit in a bar and have some laughs with strangers and friends alike. To be a man who can stand up for what he believes in and do the best he can to protect and correct whenever possible. To live his life and not let others negatively affect it.

We make decisions every moment of every day. Every situation we are presented with, we have the option to attack it, defend against it, let it alone, or embrace it. This, to me, can be seen as Most sage to Most Gentlemanly in behavior. A good mark of a man is for him to know when to attack and when to embrace. Society is getting to the point where we, as Savage Gentleman, should be standing up to attack those things which are contradictory to our way of life. To attack with personal, social and political responses. To attack by voting out those leaders whom would see harm done to us. And, if it were ever to come to it, to attack in a more physical means. We are well past “letting it be” and our defenses, though strong, are often not enough to prevent the degredation of our way of life. No, I’m not issuing a call to arms. I’m issue a call of personal responsibility, if anything. We need to live our lives as shining examples of what we believe, and not let anyone take that away from us.

This, to me, is what it means to be a Savage Gentleman.

Today, I was feeling much more Gentlanmanly than savage. I’ve nothing pressing which has to be done today. I work for myself, and I’m more or less taking a day off. My wife and I are planning to go shopping this weekend, and neither of us like to shop at Walmart on the weekend. So, being in a good mood, I decided I would go to walmart and get the few things we can’t get at other stores. That’ll make this weekend much more enjoyable. Or, so the day began with such thoughts and wished.

I’m not here to rant against walmart, but to explain what happened, how it could have happened, and what I could have done better. I’ve had anger issues since I was 11. I’m nearly 40. Every day, I wake up and have to work to keep myself composed. Some days it’s much easier. Other days, though much easier now than previously in my life, is still challenging to me. Today quickly turned into one of /those/ days.

I spent about 45 minutes in the store. Nearly every other product I went to collect was out of stock. By about the third item, I started to get annoyed. I would have to come back tomorrow, or try to find the items at the other stores we shop at. Regardless, my like of 15 or so items was not going to be completed this morning. Twice, I attempted to get an employee’s attention, because often there are products on pallets in the back which havn’t been stocked. Twice I was promptly ignored. Now, I’m starting to get a bit upset. But, I say to myself “it’s walmart, this isn’t unusual for these people. Chill”

Soon I realize there’s no one stocking anything but 2 employees. One of which is stocking an already fully stocked produce department. Ok, I get it, that’s where she works. But, no other employee is working to stock the bare shelves. Maybe the truck hasn’t come in. Maybe the employees aren’t on duty yet. But no amount of justifying the situation made me less upset, in fact it served only to make me more upset. All that kept going through my mind is “$15 an hour and these people can’t keep product on the shelves” Yes, this was pretty petty of me. The savage, for which we should dip into only when needed, had taken it upon himself to poke his head out and grumble.

Then it happened. The woman stocking produce looked right at me. There was no way should could had missed me walking into the department. Instead of waiting for me to pass through, she, from a full stop, pulled her stock cart right in my way, cutting me off. “Really!?” I muttered aloud, but quietly. I was maybe 8 feet away. If she were quick, she could do it and get out of my way. She didn’t. She stopped the cart again in the isle. I’m on the verge of being pissed off. I’m not thinking clearly. I’m moving along, wanting to get out of this incarnation of Hell upon Earth. I attempt to go around the cart, but there is no room. My cart hits the stock cart. Not hard though, I wasn’t walking that fast or hard. I stop, exclaim “Fuck!” – but the stock cart is now out of my way. So I walk briskly away, pushing my cart.

She did it. And frankly, I’m proud of myself for not reacting. As I’m walking away, I hear her cussing me. Yes, maybe I was a bit of an ass for hitting her cart. I honestly didn’t mean to do such – at least not consciously. Maybe I could had apologized, but I didn’t. To me, at that moment, I had done nothing wrong. I had not caused the situation. But I had done something wrong. I escalated the situation. I didn’t stop before hitting the cart. That moment nearly broke me. Because of that, I had now afforded her the self entitlement she so wanted to cuss a customer. My blood is now boiling. Such a piece of work. To cut me off and then cuss me!? The balls on this woman. Suddenly, I realized I needed to just let it be, to move along. A single feeling started to come over me. I did not want to go to jail. And I knew, had I turned around, had I screamed at that woman like my heart was yearning for, has I made that scene – the cops would be called, and I would be going to jail. Thankfully, I did just move along.

The camel’s back, now fully loaded. Oh, look! One more straw! There are two registers open. And each line has several fully loaded cart. Oh! Look at that, the one cashier is talking to her friend instead of scanning their items. I’d had it. I’m done. I’m not going to jail over these idiots. But they sure as hell aren’t getting my money either. Considerably loudly, as if I were talking to a friend 5 feet away, I exclaim as such. “Fuck it! I’m done. Going home, this place is fucking retarded!” as I pushed my cart deep into women’s clothing, between racks of cloths. I’m sure at least 3 employees heard, and seen me. I felt no remorse, no regret, no shame in these actions and words. These people need a wake up call. They can put away the $100 or so worth of merchandise which I’ve abandoned. I’m not doing it. As I’m walking towards the door, a manager, could do nothing but stand there with her jaw wide open just staring at me. Not a single attempt to ask me what the issue was, to try to correct anything – nothing. Just stood there like an imbecile.

Now I’m certain this woman is going to be calling for security. I’m 40 feet from the doors. There’s plenty of time for them to catch up to me. I’m certain they’re now going to escalate this into an reported incident. Thankfully, I was wrong. Not a single employee or person attempted to approach me. The only wise thing walmart employees did today. I continue on to my truck, still weary that someone might be following me. I turn around and look, no one. I get in, turn the truck on and just sit there. I need to calm down. I’m mad. Seriously mad. I don’t drive when I’m mad, any more.

So, no cops, nothing. After all, the very worse I did was accidentally bump the stock cart. I hadn’t berated any employee. I hadn’t made any physically threatening gestures. I simply walked out of the store exclaiming my dis-satisfaction. I do some mental exercises to calm down some more. The last thing I need is for a speeding or reckless driving ticket. I know, however, in my heart as well as my mind, that those thoughts are a sign of guilt. I am guilty. I allowed myself to be non-proportionally savage and on the verge of out of control when I should not had allowed it to get as far as it did.

I am not alone in this, however. Those employees are just as guilty in the events which lead up to me leaving the store. But they will never understand that. They will never fully realize how much of an emotional and mental drain they are on their customers. These people demand to be paid more, to be treated better, to be entitled to work and pay. They put no effort into this, where it matters. Quality, service, personability, worth ethics, civility. They lack this. Maybe not completely, and maybe not every one. But this is where society has been led. On a golden leash of promises.

I hope my actions and words have served as a wake-up call to these people today. I hope that some good can and will come out of this situation. But, those employees will probably, if not already, forget about me existing at all.

For the better part of 30 years, I have fought every day to improve myself. I have fought to hold back the savage in me. I have fought to control my temper and anger. Maybe I’m just getting older, but the last 8 years, I have truly started to get a grip, a real control on that side of me. About 5 years ago, I met the woman who would become my wife (We’ve been married just over 2 years now). She has seen me at my absolute worse – punching holes in our bedroom door, throwing stuff across the garage. She bore those times with me. She helped me get through them. She has helped me every day to be less anger filled and to not have to fight to be in control. I have had the cops called on me because of my irrational responses to employees in walmart before. For much less than what happened today.

I owe a very large part of my self control to her. She truly loves me, and I her. It is that love that has kept us together, that has helped to shape me into a much more respectable man, that has given me the control to walk away from situations that could end up so much worse. She brings out the best of the Gentleman in me. She is my torch. Together, we stand on a pillar of morals and values. I might slip now and again, but even when we’re apart, she helps get me back on top.

I still have to work hard every day. But now, it is not to control myself, not to keep my temper and anger subdued. I work every day to better myself. To make that fight even less of an issue. To get to the point, where one day, I can wake up and not even think about my issues. I fight every day to grow to be the man my wife deserves. Today, I failed in that. She may never know, but I will. I have tarnished my own values, yet again. So, every moment, every day, every situation, I will work to make the best choices, the best decisions I can to lead to being the Savage Gentleman she deserves in her life.

I neither deserve nor want accolades. I have spent the last few hours beating myself up over this. I respect the situation in that I have an opportunity to learn, to grow and to be better for the next situation as such. I share my story in hope others can learn, and know they’re not alone For the mentors out there to better understand the struggles they themselves may not personally have.

I’d love to read your thoughts on this. I’d open to any legitimate advice that can help me make situations like this a thing of the past. Don’t feel obligated, but anything you share would be greatly appreciated – not just by me, but potentially hundreds of others. How can we fix our civilization if we can’t even admit to ourselves that we need to fix us? We learn from each other, but only if we share for others to learn from.

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve read about 3000 words, or roughly 16,000 characters.  (maybe a tad under that, but not much).

Warehouse concerns

Here’s my thoughts on this whole thing. It’s your choice to ignore what I say, or to read it. Completely up to you.

Holding back the ocean with a broom. It’s a silly, old saying. It’s quite apt as a parable here however. Your words are the broom, the ocean is change, and Amazon is just the current wave in front of us. Like a broom and the ocean, there’s nothing that can be said to prevent the project. At this stage, even a lawsuit will only work to hinder progress.

However, before ground breaking, there were words said. When it mattered. Those who spoke up had many changes made to the plans. Honestly, these changes should had been implemented from the beginning by the designers. Some of the notable changes made to the plans is the addition of a high living barrier (dirt wall with plants), trailer parking and warehouse docks on the interstate side of the warehouse, and traffic restrictions for trucks entering and leaving the warehouse.

I joking commented earlier about wanting the area to be a pig farm. (I love bacon, ham, porkchops) The absolute stench a pig farm would produce would be terrible. However, until Amazon became interested in the area, there was a high potential for the land to be used for agricultural uses. Mind you, the city would not had allowed a pig farm there, I’m certain. But that being said, there are worse things which could exist there than a warehouse.

Yes, from my understanding, there was a sign placed on the property indicating the arrival of a Publix. However, I happen to know that Publix never had any solid plans of building at that location. Their interested waned greatly due to new housing “crash” – Their interest was based on the developing and growing area, which ceased for quite a while. Publix also has a long standing habit of pulling out of a project if their name is attached without their consent. This is doubly so if their interest in a parcel or building is not solid. The sign itself may have been enough for them to withdraw their considerations.

As far as traffic is concerned – there will be two types: commercial/delivery and employee. From my understanding, the commercial and truck traffic will be using an entrance much closer to interstate, but still on the main through-way. Employee traffic will be routed to the entrance at the end of the residential feeder. There may be the occasional vehicle at that intersection throughout the day, but most of the employee traffic will be during 3 or 4 times a day. Trucks will probably be leaving and entering at all hours. They’re actually not as loud as people think, and won’t be disturbing anyone’s sleep.

Consider for a moment that Publix had built a store and retail center at that area. This would cause a constant and continual flow of traffic for most of the day. Consumers entering and leaving at all hours of day. Trucks and delivery vehicles would still exist (albeit not at the same quantity) and there would be no traffic restrictions preventing residential roads from becoming a through-way for those shoppers. There’s the possibility of an alcohol serving restaurant, or even a bar existing at that strip mall. Now, there’s a high potential of drunk drivers on these roads, which lead to our communities. Roads where big trucks won’t be driving. Personally, I say that’s a win for the area. Employees won’t be driving inebriated.

Let’s talk about the economics real quick. The sale of the land, lots of taxes to the county and City. Yearly taxable income. 500 new jobs (say 10% are filled by transfers, that’s still 450) This has already resulted in another parcel being considered for commercial building – so yet more taxes, more employees. $15 per hour wages. Ok, so let’s consider the work those employees will be doing, and the conditions in which they’re doing it. Warehouse workers are the new coal miners, the new boilermakers, the new high-rise riveters and steel workers. It’s a job not for everyone. Extremely physically demanding. Very mentally draining. There’s going to be a lot of burn-outs who will look at less stressful positions, even if it means taking a pay cut. But in the mean time, those employees will be living and shopping in the area. They will be spending their money in our home. That’s more taxes, more little stores getting income. That’s the potential for /more/ little stores.

Housing and property valuations. This is a big concern for high end communities. I get that. It’s also quite true that the values of houses will drop slightly. With the amount of employees Amazon will have at this location, there are certain to be new homes in the area built. Older homes purchased. The area will grow. If these homes are high value family residences, that will ultimately bring the value of existing homes and neighborhoods up again. However, if these new constructions are allowed to be dozens upon dozens of low-end or starter homes – I can’t say the values will raise at all. Now, I’m not talking about new neighborhoods of high-end communities, but rather $250-$500k homes. So, it is with that concern that the residents in the area should concentrate. Ensuring that any new developments have stipulations of being mid-level communities. Not just for area housing valuations, but so they are actually affordable by those who will be working at Amazon, and thus will purchase them and live there.

If the area were to have been used for a retail center – Publix or not – it would drive a lower end push for housing in the area. Sub $200k homes. Starter homes. In a few years, they would be sold off to others. There’s no attachment, and thus those neighborhoods would quickly fall into less optimal aesthetics. With Amazon, there is a chance of new neighborhoods being valued higher – both financially and emotionally, and will be better taken care of… and add to the value of existing neighborhoods.

There will be new homes, new commercial, retail and industrial projects in the area. It’s not stoppable. Not unless someone purchases all of the surrounding land. It’s progress (like it or leave it) It is up to us, the stewards of our community, to help shape the direction this growth takes. There will always be things not in our control. There is still plenty which can be done however. We just need to pick the fights we have a chance to win. Having the new construction and businesses make concessions to ease the burden they will put on the area. To compromise on designs to increase the overall happiness of both parties. To help direct the City in area restrictions and code. But it must be done appropriately, at the times and places when it matters, and always with high moral, ethical and legal intentions.