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One of the weirdest things I’ve seen here is how people are so very religious. Like, it’s a brand or something. If you are rich or upperclass you belong to one of the .tv churches and you wear all kinds of hoodies with their name on it. You put it on your car and talk about it. A lot. Just like people in my hometown talked about Lululemon or The Giants. It’s SO WEIRD. It bugs me out!

It’s like they don’t even know what they are on about, but if you are one of the cool kids, you belong to this church.

They also spout religious stuff everywhere. I finally went to Wal-Mart for the first time not long after I moved here and there were people, in the parking lot, praising Jesus. Talking about, being covered in the blood of Jesus and asking for people to give them an amen. Literally, wandering around in the parking lot, preaching. Back home, or in the city, dudes like that would have been arrested or beaten up. It was seriously one of the craziest things.

People were cheering them on and slapping his hand. Nobody told him to shut up or fuck off or anything. They’d just praise Jesus and move on. Then, once I got inside, people were literally talking about the bible and bible lessons. Spouting some crazy gibberish. I’ve never seen anything like it. I mean, we have church back home and a lot of people are Catholic but we also have a lot of pagans and new age folk running around too and this wouldn’t have ever been cool, ever, anywhere. Not even in the church parking lot. Religion is a personal thing, not a brand name there.

I don’t know how much longer I can stay here. I have another year left of school before I can go to vet school. I have to graduate with my BS first. Once I have finished undergrad I can apply elswhere. I’ve already applied to OU and been accepted, but I don’t know that I am going to stick around here. I mean, it’s just too different.

Cats and Dogs

One of the things I have learned about Okies since I came here is that almost everyone hates cats. Literally hates. They seem to hate cats, atheists and any kind of food that doesn’t have a drive thru. Seems to be the going thing here. It’s kind of insane, really. I miss being able to go down to the diner and get a veggie burger. Here, finding a veggie burger is almost impossible. If you don’t eat meat, you aren’t a real man. Right?

I stopped eating meat six years ago, just after I met Porthos. I couldn’t bring myself to eat anything that had a face after getting to know him. It’s a personal thing and I really hate eating meat. I hate the way it smells, the way it looks. All of it. I used to love getting a philly or eating a cart dog when my friends and I visited the city. But, after becoming an animal lover, I realized I couldn’t eat anything that used to have feelings, especially if I am going to be a vet. How can I care for and heal animals if I am going to eat them?

There is a lot of flak here about people who don’t eat meat being some sort of crazy assholes. People take one look at me, and how big I am and assume that I like football, eat red meat five times a day and all the other stereotypes of big men. Truth is, I am reader and a thinker. I love animals, especially cats. I drink tea over coffee. I am covered in ink and it’s… everything that is not the idea of masculine here. Which is really, really weird to me.

I tried to date for a while when I first got here, but the girls were different than what I was looking for. Midwest girls are nice and everything, but a lot of them seem to not be able to think for themselves. They’re focused on weight and being pretty, finding a nice husband and having babies. I want someone who thinks for herself and is gentle. It’s weird, but I am having a hard time finding that here.

Weather, etc.

Living in Oklahoma is nothing at all like living in New York, where I am from. I grew up outside of the city, near the mountains. Yes, New York State has a lot more going on than just New York City. It’s beautiful there. Lots of trees and rivers.

One of the major (and I do mean major) differences here is the weather. There are a lot of differences, but this is like, MAJOR. First of all, we had seasons. Distinct, complete seasons. Winter acted like winter and was cold and had snow. Summer was hot and muggy. In fall the leaves turned colors in a long, slow month of autumn. Spring was stunning with flowers and birds.

In Oklahoma, there seems to be two main seasons. Tornado and Fuck This. It’s hotter than the Sudan in summer and there is no such thing as “a nice, soft rain”. If it is raining, there will be floods, or ice, or a deluge or some other random, crazy thing. Once it rains, there is mold and nastiness. There are also bugs. A billion bugs. A trillion, billion nasty flying bugs. Very noisy bugs. They also have a wide variety of dangerous, venomous bugs, plants and snakes here. So, you know. I basically just love it. Wicked awesome.

Tornado season lasts about 9 months. It’s every bit as dramatic as you’d think. People here ignore the sirens for the most part and yes, the stereotype of standing in your yard looking to see where it’s coming from is TRUE. People do stand in their yards here. I’ve seen people sitting on their porches in the rain, drinking beer and watching the storm. It is the craziest, crazy thing I have ever seen. Seriously.

You’d think, what with all the crazy weather they have here that there would be more storm shelters. There aren’t. People don’t install them just to install them. No, you have to have a contractor come out and install them. I had someone come out from Storm Shelters OKC to install mine. Seriously, I was having panic attacks every single time the weather was getting rough and Porthos was not having that shit at all. He’s a New Yorker and don’t like this random, weird shit going on outside.

I had mine put into the garage so that we could just chill in there. I put a comfy bed and a cat stand down there for my buddy. We’ve got food and water and even TV. It’s cozy and comfy, actually. And it beats getting sucked up in a tornado while drinking beer on the porch.

Today in the life of Ben

Porthos and I have had a lovely adventure this weekend. We went camping at Lake Eufaula. Yes, I go camping with my cat and he loves it! We spent the weekend hanging out in a cabin in the woods. I’d love to take him camping in a tent, but quite frankly, neither of us are really outdoorsy, we just like being in the trees. Porthos spent the majority of his time watching birds and chittering with squirrels, while I spent time writing and painting. He likes to help me paint, but he’s not very good. Don’t tell him I said that. He’s emotionally fragile and fancies himself to be one hell of an artist. To be honest ,though, he’s probably a better artist than I am. I enjoy doing it and find it soothing so I do it.

It was great to get away from everything for a weekend. I’ve recently broken up with my longterm girlfriend. Between that and school, I needed some solitude and relaxation. I wish that the cabin had a little spa, but I doubt Porthos would have gotten in the tub with me. He’s funny about water, you know.

I’d like to go do this again as soon as possible. Hell, I’d like to *LIVE* there. It’s beautiful and tranquil. Spiritually soothing. I need to part of nature on a regular basis. Humans bother me and I can’t quite get my head wrapped around living in the city. Even though where I live is somewhat away from people (I am lucky enough to own my own home north of Edmond, near Guthrie.) I still need to get away completely now and then. Since I prefer the company of animals, it’s only reasonable that I like spending time alone, with my cat. Don’t you think?

Anyway, it was a great weekend. Worth repeating.

Blah, blah, blah

My name is Ben. Most people call me Big Ben as I am 6’6″. I live in Oklahoma, going to school at UCO, (University of Central Oklahoma) for veterinary pre-med. It’s intense!

Even though I have tattoos and a man bun, I love cats. Dogs rank a close second, but me and my buddy Porthos are the best of friends. He came to me, injured, at six weeks. I brought him back to health and we’ve been together ever since. It was because of him that I decided to go into vet-med.

You’l find all kinds of things on this blog-mostly animals and Oklahoma stuff. Hope you enjoy! Please feel free to email me at bigbenheartscats@yahoo.com if you have any questions.