Matt came over tonight. We had a nice long talk and a few cocktails. I'll be damned if that boy doesn't make me all goo-goo eyed. I'll sleep well tonight, I'm sure.
Matt came over tonight. We had a nice long talk and a few cocktails. I'll be damned if that boy doesn't make me all goo-goo eyed. I'll sleep well tonight, I'm sure.
Judy was my landlord in college. She and her husband and two kids lived in a middle-class but handsomely maintained three-story home on Brookside Place in New Rochelle, NY. For two and a half years, various roommates (first Jake, then Ned, then Mike) and I lived in their tiny basement apartment for the paltry sum of $200/month. It was a perfect location, equidistant from the Hagan School of Business and the numerous bars located on North Ave.
I've got many fond memories of Brookside Place (as we called it). Watching MTV for hours a day while trading endless bong hits with guests. Watching the snow pile up in the tiny windows for the first time each season. Making grill cheese sandwiches with a toaster and a microwave, and feeling rich that we had tomato soup to go with it. Watching Ned walk around naked. Writing papers on my first computer with a 40Meg hard drive (and feeling lucky to have that much). Doing secret loads of laundry in Judy's washer and dryer while she was away. Having Judy bring us down hot food when there were leftovers.
My roommate Jake had a theory that Judy had a crush on me. Many times in the morning she'd be down on "her" side of the basement doing laundry when we'd leave for class. She always insisted on giving me a big wet kiss on the lips almost every time she saw me. Being from Texas, I found this a little strange (we don't do that there--we hug), so I wrote it off to yet another New York custom with which I wasn't familiar but obliged nonetheless. I never noticed, but Jake apparently never got a kiss. Not one. He also suspected this was why we got away with many of the things we did, as well as never having had our rent raised.
One night Jake and I were coming home from having a few beers at one of the bars up the street. As we approached the house, Judy was sitting out on the porch having a cigarette. It was obvious she wasn't a smoker by the way she held it awkwardly in her hand. We knew she had been drinking from the first word that left her mouth.
Judy: [Slurring] Well it's about time you boysh got home. A lil late, isn't it?
Me: Yes, mother, we're sorry.
Judy: Well, don'tletithappenagain, ok?
Me: Yes, mother.
Judy: Well come up here and give yer mother a kissh before bed, then.
Me: I think I'd better just...
Judy: NOW goddamnit!
Jake, always the quiet one, looked at me and knew her persistence was meant for me. He paused and gave me the "Go do your duty so we can continue to live comfortably near campus while smoking pot in the house and illegally using her washer and dryer" look. I obliged. Not 30 seconds later, at the top of stairs, Judy's tongue shot straight into my mouth like a warm, fleshy dagger. I sat straight up, completely shocked. My only hope was that Jake didn't see.
Judy: Atta boy. Now get your ass in bed.
Me: OK, um, goodnight, Judy.
As we entered the basement apartment I headed over to my side of the room and crashed on my bed, stunned. Jake stood in the middle of the room and took a hit off the bong. After a long period of silence, he set the bong down on the TV tray and looks me straight in the eye. With both fists clinched and arms bent, he thrusts his elbows back and pelvis forward to each syllable and screams:
"Judy Pooty Wham Bam BaHooty!"
From that moment on, Judy had a new name.
10 minutes of writing without stopping.
My co-worker was on vacation last week and he took his juvenile deliquent, pot-smoking unemployed 24-year-old son on a fishing trip. I can't imagine a worse torture for that poor kid, but it probably did him good in a spend-time-with-yer-ol-Dad kinda way. I used to fish a lot when I was a kid, mostly fresh-water stuff from a pier or a boat. I wonder how many fish I've caught in my lifetime. I'd guess around a thousand or more, which is probably right around the number of people I've slept with. Just kidding, I've slept with WAY more than that. I'm glad I didn't have to take a hook out of any of their mouths or keep them in a cooler until I ate them (except for that one kid--turns out, chicken tastes like chicken).
Speaking of chicken, don't EVER eat friend chicken fingers from Wendy's. They're absolutely disgusting, even with BBQ sauce. And generally, I think that if you cover something in enough BBQ sauce, you can just about eat anything. I thought about going online to submit a complaint about the food at Wendys' Customer Service site, but I was too full from my Large Frosty to get up. And holy chocolate cow, Batman, those damn Frosty's are my downfall. I could eat those all day long. Seriously. All day. Without stopping.
Speaking of stopping, my first-floor A/C unit has decided to help deplete the ozone layer by leaking Freon (a registered trademark of the DuPont company) into the atmosphere. This has caused me to hit up my friend Mark to swing by with his ill-gotten tank of the chilly juice and use his unlicensed skills to gas me back up to frigid. That sounded sexy, didn't it? Mark, btw, is the ex-boyfriend of my former temporary roommate, Kurt, who fled sans Husky to Dallas after leaving all his stuff at another friend's house (without paying her any rent). Ain't that lovely.
And speaking of lovely, I have a nice golden bronze tan goin' on right now except for my inner-thigh, which looks a lot more like a racing stripe thanks to the crappy, CVS-brand self-tanning spray I bought in a pinch when I was in North Carolina. Seriously, don't buy off-brand tanning spray because you'll be looking like a baby without a diaper for about 2 weeks. Luckily, that was the look I was going for. And now that I think about it, I honestly have no memory of ever wearing diapers, except that I'm pretty sure I used the cloth kind when I did. Which, sadly, makes me want to cry. No wonder I'm so fucked up. I never had big boy Pullups.
Not saying any of these things are wrong, it's just that I can't seem to get my arms around why they're popular. I must be missing something...
2. The Bear/Daddy scene.
3. NASCAR Racing.
4. Blackberries and Cream Diet Dr. Pepper.
5. Maria Carey.
6. Crooked baseball hats.
7. Anything gold.
8. The World Series of Poker.
9. Car air fresheners.
10. The Max Weinberg 7.
--I honestly think I would've rather swallowed a live snake this morning than get up and go into the office. I might've even chased it with a live rat if I could've stayed in bed for the swallowing.
--Speaking of swallowing, I ate A LOT of food this weekend. I went to Wendy's THREE times, shared a pizza one night with friends, and even bought some Krispy Kreme doughnuts to have with Monday morning coffee. I won't tell you how many I bought, but I can truthfully confirm that I ate ALL of them.
--My ankle continues to hurt. I admit to having slacked off somewhat on my icing/compression routine; however, I don't think it was doing any good anyway. I'm going to Home Depot at lunch for a hack saw and get it over with once and for all.
--Next weekend is Kansas City Gay Pride and always a reasonably fun time. I've got a couple of friends coming into town for the weekend and will probably have some people over to the house on Sunday to celebrate my 29th birthday (again).
--Have any of you seen the Discovery Channel show Deadliest Catch? It's about the daily life of an Alaskan King Crab fisherman. I got hooked on a DC marathon last night and watched it for about three straight hours. I think I may have a new favorite show. Or, well, at least until the other ones return from summer break.
--I don't know about you, but I've been getting SO much spam lately. I really wish that all the computer morons out there would quit clicking on them and buying things from them so the demand for spam would go down. Kind of like panhandlers. If you'd stop GIVING them change, eventually they'd stop ASKING for change.
--When did advertisers start using the phrase "BOGO" for "Buy One Get One?" I think that's incredibly stupid.
Continued from Part I.
12:03pm - We arrive in the lobby at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center where we have a sandwich and a Diet Coke and meet up with Sales Guy Jeff. I review my presentation with them. They both glaze over and nod. "Sounds great, Dave. You just do your thing and we'll take lots of notes."
12:23pm - We show ID and are escorted to the Ray and Elizabeth Shoal Executive Conference Floor and are whisked into a large conference room. There are about 25 representatives from local hospital and medical groups there to listen to my presentation. I plug my laptop into the Ray and Elizabeth Shoal video cable and project my presentation onto the extra large Ray and Elizabeth Shoal screen. Not surprisingly, I open with a joke about Ray and Elizabeth Shoal.
3:32pm - My presentation ends. It went just fine. You can always tell how well they go by how big Sales Guy Jeff is smiling. Something tells me this sale will result in either a new swimming pool or a fabulous Cabo vacation for him, I couldn't really tell.
3:46pm - Back in the lobby, Jeff, Lori and I talk contracting strategy and potential close date. I glaze over and nod.
4:12pm - Lori and I cab it back to Logan. The cabby takes every back alley and side street in Boston, but I really don't notice because Lori is bitching about how high her quotas are this year and that she's taking a big pay cut. I banter with her with faux-sympathy while eyeballing her Prada shoes and matching Kate Spade bag. Gimme a break.
4:46pm - Check in, give more blood for No Fly List DNA test, perform fellatio on ticket counter supervisor to get me on the 5:30 flight (rather than 7:15).
4:58pm - Security dance. No issues.
5:02pm - My gate, C26, is directly adjacent to the Security Screening Area. I temporarily indulge my foot fetish by watching a gaggle of college boys pass through in their socks and bare feet. I pretend they're Harvard boys, which forces me to button my jacket and walk around a bit.
5:16pm - Sitting comfortably aboard Flight 212 to Milwaukee in a big fat leather Ricaro seat: 4C. Aisle. Flight time today is approximately 2 hours and 6 minutes. For the first time this day, I feel tired. I pop in a pair of earplugs and doze off.
5:39pm - Wheels up.
5:58pm - Transcribe notes from daily activities from Treo notes into this blog post. Make edits. Embellish. Skip parts that are embarrassing (like the hot dog I ate). Proofread.
6:14pm - Dine on Sauteed Chicken Breast simmered in a sauce of shiitake mushrooms, ginger, garlic and sherry with a touch of cream. Served with herb Parmesan orzo and julienne vegetables and a wheat dinner roll. I eat this in approximately 3 minutes. Flight attendant jokes if I want another one. She shouldn't joke about food with me.
7:04 pm (Central Time). Land in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
7:06pm - See that Flight 9 to Kansas City is delayed until 7:35pm. Which, oddly still isn't much of a lay-over. Luckily, the Milwaukee airport only has about 10 gates, so I walk about 10 feet ahead and I'm at my connecting gate.
7:10pm - Follow nose to food. Fight the [very strong] urge to have a Cinnabon.
7:11pm - Have a low-fat yogurt swirl instead. Curse every bite that it's not a Cinnabon.
7:20pm - Repeat boarding procedure. Seat 5C.
7:23pm - Sprint Employee Girl next to me makes chit chat. "Are you from Kansas City." "Do you like your Treo 650?" "Why do you have Verizon?" "So what do you do?" "I think I have a friend that works there." Ugh.
7:24pm - I carefully remove my contraband fingernail clippers from my bag and make threatening poking gestures with the hidden metal nail file at chatty seat-mate. I tell her that if she doesn't shut up I will be forced to break the skin, and that there's a really good likelihood that she'll get a nasty infection. She eventually gets the hint without any unnecessary violence.
7:39pm - Wheels up.
8:00pm - Laptop comes out. Writing ensues. I clean up my cluttered desktop (a cute picture of Casey Bear).
8:03pm - Ogle cute hairy-armed guy with shoes off reading the Financial Times. Sexy.
8:10pm - Reread this post. Wonder if it's excessively long. Decide that I don't care based on the fact that if I had to DO it, you could take 5 minutes to read about it. Besides, it's been a while since we've spent the day together like this. I'm rather enjoying it.
9:04pm - Land in Kansas City.
9:06pm - Call Doug to see when/if he checked on Casey. He was actually on his way home after work. I convince him to drop by and have a cocktail with me. He agrees.
9:14pm - In car. Drive home.
9:16pm - Call parents. Chit chat about my day and how they're feeling (Dad's got a fever, Mom is well).
9:43pm - Stop at QuickTrip for gas. $49.72.
9:56pm - Drop bag and coat onto kitchen table. Hug/greet Doug. Pet/greet Casey. Pour an extra large shot of tequila into a glass of orange juice. Top with Grenadine. Sit on patio and sip while chatting.
10:34pm - Lights out.
10:35pm - Sound asleep.
A play-by-play of my day yesterday. A guy can get bored on a plane, ya know.
3:45am - Alarm sounds. Oh my lord Jesus, it feels like I didn't even go to sleep. Casey is clearly irritated that I disrupted his perfect slumber against the warmth of my chest.
3:48am - Coffee, auto-brewed at 3:40am, is poured and guzzled. Lactose free milk and two Splendas (in case you ever have to make it for me). I try to find something on TV, but all I get is infomercials and a Kelly Clarkson video. I reluctantly choose the video, but find myself humming along as my coffee kicks in.
3:50am - Two pieces of wheat toast with sugar-free strawberry jelly. Dogfood for the boy.
4:05am - Shower and dress.
4:21am - Post a short message about not posting much today.
4:47am - Leave for airport. It's raining, thundering and lightning.
4:56am - Stop, and then proceed through not one, but TWO red lights. I'm in a hurry and there's no one sane awake at this time of the day. And no cop's going to stop me in the pouring rain.
5:25am - I check in at the ticket counter and have to wait an extra 10 minutes while the gate agent draws a blood sample to confirm that my DNA is, in fact, not a reasonable match to the infamous aircraft hijacker that bears my name (and birthdate, except for a 2-year difference).
5:31am - I methodically take off my shoes, jacket, and belt, then place my cell phone, keys and bluetooth headset into my bag. I remove the laptop, walk through security. No beeps, bells or whistles. I walk directly to the gate and get in line to board.
5:45am - Seat 2C. Aisle. Directly across the aisle from me is a guy with whom I am undoubtedly sharing a parallel existence. We're both in dark blue suits with our ties shoved in our bags. He's got an overstuffed Tumi bag; I'm a slim, black, all-weather Coach. He's in a neatly pressed yellow shirt, I'm in Indigo blue. He's TAG Heuer, I'm Movado. He's in Kenneth Cole square-toe lace ups, I'm in Johnston and Murphy captoe loafers. He's got better sales hair than I do, but I'm a good six inches taller. We're clearly both on our way to a sales meeting where we'll flash our crowd-winning smiles and speak eloquently and expertly about our respective topics. We both have an air of confidence about us, but deep inside we both know we're just cogs in the daily corporate grind. It doesn't bother either of us, we've been assimilated. We nod to each other knowingly.
5:50am - Wheels up.
6:10am - Open laptop. Read through my notes on the clients I'm about to meet. I modify my standard PowerPoint presentation template for today's meeting.
6:45am - Create blog post.
6:55am - Arrival checks. May I take that from you sir? Please fasten your seatbelts while the sign is illuminated, sir. Please stow your tray tables and bring your seat to its upright position, sir. Please turn off all portable electronic devices, sir. Sir? Sir, turn that goddamn laptop off. I'm not telling you again.
7:04am - Land in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
7:12am - I use the restroom in a stall because all the urinals are taken. I have to hold my breath due to Explosive Diarrhea Boy in the stall next to me. I wash my hands vigorously (with soap) for fear that a strange Mormon kid is crouched in the corner taking notes.
7:21am - Board Flight 204 to Boston, Seat 4B. One hour and 51 minutes. Again, my twin is aboard. This time two rows in front of me.
7:24am - I pass the time by staring at a cute college boy with a straw cowboy hat, camouflaged shorts and bright-white sneakers sitting 2 seats to my right. I pretend to be staring out the window but I'm not.
7:30am - Wheels up.
7:33am - Nap time.
7:58am - Write more in blog post.
8:36am - Continental breakfast is served: Strawberry shortbread muffin, with crystallized lemon sugar served with peach yogurt and semi-fresh fruit. Two bread sticks and a cream-cheese spread. Tomato juice as a beverage.
10:34am - Land.
10:40am - Check voicemail. 2 messages. Return one call. Call Boston-based colleague, confirm directions. Harvard Medical School. La-ti-da.
11:00am - Have a plain bagel with strawberry cream cheese in the restaurant area while I wait for my colleague to arrive on US Air. I can't help but to overhear a teenaged kid with a Boston accent talk about how much he loved the Seventh Heaven finale. He was shockingly descriptive with quotes from Simon and Ruthie (whoever the hell they are). I start to wonder if he's
retarded mentally challenged.
11:25am - Rendezvous with Lori, cab ride to Haavaad Yaad.
More later today...
My alarm went off at 3:45am. It's now 4:35am and I'm about to walk out the door for the airport. I have a 1:00-3:30pm meeting in Boston, then turn around and head back home. I should be back in around 9:30pm, good lord willin'. Hopefully the inspiration for a longer post will hit me while I'm on the plane or sitting at the aiport, but don't hold your breath.
--Age 11. I played on a Little League team called the "A's." I remember being so excited to have finally made it on the "good" team, except that I very quickly figured out that I was the worst player out of everyone (except a pudgy kid named Travis). Travis and I sat the bench a lot, and when we did get to play, it was deep in right field. Sometimes I rubbed dirt on my bright-white pants to make it look like I saw some action.
--Age 14. There was a really cool area near my house called the "Honda Hills." It had dirt trails and mounds of dirt used for jumps so that the local kids could play Evil Knievel on their motorcycles and bikes. My Dad had expressly forbidden me to ever go there. The one time I did (on an especially muddy day), he happened to be coming home from work early and saw me coming in the back gate covered head-to-toe in mud. I was busted. And so was my ass.
--Age 9. I once found a tape recorder stuck underneath the driver's seat of my Mom's car. When I played it, it had been recording conversations between my Mom and the church Choir Director with whom she occasionally carpooled. I was too young to realize it, but I later learned my father had suspected my Mom of cheating on him and placed it there to gather proof.
--Age 12. Once a week, my Dad would accompany my Mom to the "bad side of town" where she taught an evening English class for adults. It was only an hour, so they left me at home alone. As soon as they pulled out of the driveway, I would break the security code on our satellite dish and move it to Satcom-4 to watch a full hour of porn. I had it timed perfectly so when I saw their headlights coming up our street, I could move it back to the regular position without ever getting caught.
--Age 8. When all the neighborhood kids got together and played Star Wars, I was always Chewbaca. Always. Deep inside I felt like I had the brains and the looks to be Han Solo, but my height and near-perfect rendition of the Wookiee growl got me typecast.
Today, while I wasn't looking, I tripped the 10,000 unique visitors mark. WOW. You people really ARE bored!
Thanks for visiting!
--Last night I watched a new show on HGTV called "Dream Cars 2006." I guess they're extending their domain into the garage now--it just feels a little outside the "Home and Garden" theme to me. Of course, I DID watch it, so maybe they know something I don't.
--I was a little under the weather this weekend. After last weekend's sleepless fun and this past week's travel and all-night proposal writing sessions, I think I wore myself down a bit. Even though I felt like ass, it was really nice to just lay around and do nothing. And Casey was an excellent babysitter. He barely left my side the whole weekend.
--I went to see "The DaVinci Code" Saturday night with Doug, Lucas and Jason. After watching the reviews carefully, I confess to not going in with very high expectations, but I guess I enjoyed it. It stuck to the book, and handled the relatively complex topics well. I'd characterize it as "blandiose."
--Once again, I've met a very nice young man who is good-looking, employed, sensitive, funny, etc. etc. and I can't seem to muster even an ounce of interest in him. What the hell is wrong with me? I'm seriously thinking of giving up on the boyfriend thing. It's depressing.
--Another trip this week. This time a one-day turn to Boston. I leave the house at 4:50am and don't get home until 10:00pm. This really has to stop. Really.
Today is the day we're reviewing all of the individual components of our proposal for services and products to a state government. I've been serving as the primary architect of the whole project so I'm helping make decisions about how things will work, what we're charging, etc. I just had a conference call with our finance people and I made a funny joke that noone probably got, so I'm going to share it with each of you to appreciate subtle perversion in the workplace.
CFO: Well, we've got to figure out a way to load balance these costs so the costs get allocated to the right cost center.
VP: Well, we'll have to let the individual business units hash that out.
CFO: But this thing is due today. We need to make a decision. Dave, do you have any thought on how we should allocate this?
Me: Yeah, I'd be willing to consider whatever you propose.
CFO: How about we put a 25% load on the front end, and 75% load on the back end.
Me: I think that's perfectly reasonable. Since this is a team effort, I'm willing to take any load you give us.
And then I secretly wished there was another gay man in the room who looked at me knowingly so we could chuckle together. Oh well. Could someone please chuckle with me since I got to say I'd be willing to take a load in front of my Vice President? Where's my audience when I need one? :)
The shower facilities at the state park were exposed to the outdoors through open-air ventilation and a simple screen door. Bugs and spiders flocked to the lights and abundant moisture, and I always wondered what other type of ambitious creature might make its way inside. It was a lot like a insect nightclub--a symphony of chirps and buzzes as moths and other light-loving creatures made the florescents shimmer like disco balls.
I would often venture out into the night under the guise of good hygiene habits to marvel at these shower facilities. As a young boy who was not so sure of his sexuality, I couldn't help but be strangely intrigued by the over-abundance of gay-themed graffiti on the dark green wooden walls. It was clear that hundreds of men and teenaged boys had once sought a connection here by writing down dates, times, places and descriptions--a low-tech version of gay.com. On occasion, I would stand in the dressing area and read the walls like novels. Marveling at the graphic descriptions of things I might actually consider fun, and titillated by its candor.
One night I was standing at the sink brushing my teeth in flip flops and a towel when I heard the screen door crack open. As I glanced into the door's direction, I saw his reflection in the mirror. He was tall and thin with emerging muscularity. No more than 16 or 17, just a few years older than I was at the time. He was carrying a towel and a basket of products his family no doubt shared as they took turns in the showers.
There were two shower stalls in this particular building. They were built side-by-side much like long, extra-wide bathroom stalls--one part a dry area for dressing and another part the wet area where the actual shower took place. There was no door on the shower, only on the front of the dressing area.
I "happened" to turn my head in his direction as he was entering the stall and he gave me what I'd know today as a "tad-too-long-for-a-straight-boy" glance. At that time, it didn't register as such, but it still sent enough of a rush of gay chemicals flooding into my brain that I decided to take a shower right next to him. In spite of the fact that I'd already taken one.
Although I couldn't see his body, I could see his feet. And for those of you with foot fetishes, this is just as good. From under the stall, I watched his shirt fall to the ground. Then his shorts. Then his underwear. I had never seen a guy step out of his underwear from underneath a stall before. It felt a little dirty, but was a highly stimulating experience. As he turned the water on and stepped into the shower, I dropped my towel and did the same. I repeated my previous shower routine as if I had somehow gotten dirty from the stall to the sink.
After several minutes into the shower, my imagination was running wild. I knew that another beautiful, naked body was standing not even a foot away from me, albeit through a thick stone wall. But aside from the obvious sexual overtones, something else struck me as I stood there so close to my object of desire.
That day, inside an austere stone shower in the middle of a Texas forest, I realized this would be my destiny. I was a gay man--someone that would never be able to shrug off the excitement brought on by the proximity of the beautiful male form. Especially the young, naked and wet variety. I suspect my shower partner never knew this was happening, but I've never forgotten the moment. Showers for me in a state park have never been the same.
I've NOT been a slacker, if that's what you're thinking. I've been unbelievably swamped the last few days and just haven't had time to put fingers to keys. Here's what I've been doing:
--16 hour days working on a big government proposal for work.
--Taking care of Casey (I found out he has a congenital hip problem on Monday). More on that later.
--Traveling (I'm somewhere in Raleigh, NC right now).
--Sleeping (still recovering from the birthday weekend).
I'll be back at full strength soon. And I KNOW I still owe you a story about a hot boy in the shower!!
My installment of Chad Darnell's ongoing series...
Since I purchased my new Bluetooth wireless headset for my phone, I've had nothing but hang ups and miscommunication with my callers, both for work and socially. This has nothing to do with the earpiece, and everything to do with my complete inability to use it properly. Here's what happened this morning--a near disaster.
I was on a conference call at work at about 9:45 a.m. and my cell phone rang. It was an 816 area code and I thought it was that of my new pal Jason (with whom I have
a hot date plans on Saturday). Since I was on another call, I intended to hit "Ignore" to send him to voicemail. Instead, I hit "Answer." When I did, it automatically engaged the wireless headset, which was inconveniently in my backpack. So I scrambled--all while being completely silent so as to not disrupt my other call--to get to it in time to say hello.
Me: Hello... hello? Sorry, I'm having problems with my phone. Hang on a sec. [Puts earpiece on ear].
Caller: ...so I just need some time to think things through. I'll get back to you when I can. Sorry.
Me: Wait, wait. I'm sorry, I missed that. What were you saying?
So, thinking it was Jason, I put two and two together and thought I had just been dumped. Well, not dumped, but canceled on. I continued on my call for another 45 minutes thinking how much of a bummer it was. Jason is really nice and
totally hot definitely my type. When the conference call was over, I was a little sad that we weren't going to meet again. So in my own little "why wouldn't you like ME??" fantasy world, I began to question whether or not I'd gotten the message right. So, I sucked it up and called to tell him the circumstances and get clarity on his message. Just in case. Thank God I did.
I called him and he answered on the first ring, whereby I launched directly into a lengthy diatribe about how I missed what he was telling me due to my headset. Patiently, he waited and then said, "Um, Dave, I haven't called you this morning. It must've been the other guy you're talking to." Good lord. It wasn't even HIM. How embarrassing. After further investigation, the first three digits of his number is just one digit off from the mystery callers (and now programmed into my phone, btw). We're still on for Saturday (yay!).
But wait... I'm still not 100% sure who the hell called me, or what they were telling me. I don't recognize the number or the voice. Curious, I called the number back. Mystery-man/boy answers.
Me: Hey, I got a call from you earlier on this number. May I ask who this is?
Caller: This is Jason.
Me: Um, Jason WHO? Do I know you?
Now how friggin' weird is THAT? I do know two other Jasons beyond the above-mentioned hot Jason. But I surely don't know them in they way that they might need some time to think about me. Or at least I hope not. Maybe I should call a private detective. Or maybe just publish his telephone number so that everyone can call him and ask why he's bugging me. I think I need some time to think about that. I'll get back to you.
My father owned a fast food restaurant throughout my childhood, and he was never very comfortable leaving the business in others' responsibility for very long stretches. Instead of long, extensively planned vacations to fabulous destinations abroad, we stayed exclusively in Texas. Mostly behind the wheel of a Ford F-150 extended-cab pick-up with a cab-over camper permanently attached. Like every other Texan, the obligatory 18-foot army-green aluminum john boat with an 20-horsepower Mercury outboard was also in tow.
Our favorite destination was Lake Livingston State Park in the gorgeous but rural piney woods of East Texas. It was generally a short, two hour drive North of Houston, but our trips were frequently extended to four or more hours due to flat tires, over-heated engines or the occasional runaway cane-pole or bright-orange lifejacket that took flight from the boat. Hindsight tells us that these types of things are prone to happen when you only use your recreational vehicles one or twice a year. I guess you really can't blame them. I'm surprised they held up as well as they did.
I have many fond memories of those camping trips: sleeping in the sarcophagus-like upper bunk above the kitchen table; grilling hamburgers on an open pit; and catching fish after fish in the secluded, stump ridden coves of the lake. It was nice to be in the midst of the great outdoors, even inside the comfort of a camper with air conditioning and a television, and a general store within walking distance.
But there were trying times as well on these trips. Like my Dad spending two hours moving the camper from spot to spot to get it perfectly on level ground. Or the sewer tank spewing forth our collective filth onto the ground during the middle of the night. Or the mosquito bites, and snakes, and loud, unruly neighbors swilling beer and singing ridiculous camp songs that would invariably get stuck in your head. There was also the time the boat left its trailer and slid 30 feet down the boat ramp into the water, or the time I crashed my bike over a mile away from the campsite and got lost walking back (a ranger found me). All interesting experiences to say the least.
My most interesting experience, however, didn't occur in the camper or woods or on the lake. It happened in the public shower facility. And he was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
[To be continued.]
An interesting commentary/summary from Malcolm Gladwell of a recent JAMA article regarding the difference between health and health care costs. Worth a quick look.
5:45am: Leave the house for Atlanta
yada, yada, yada
Have a meeting
blah blah blah
10:15pm: Arrive home.
Ugh. I wrote a story on the plane, but frankly, I'm too tired and too into my new book to get it copied over and posted tonight. Tomorrow shall bring fruits, and a story about my emerging sexuality via a public shower.
Just in case you need a hilarious visual image: I have been unsuccessfully chasing a large horse fly around my upstairs living area with a flyswatter for the last 20 minutes. In my underwear. All, while watching made-for-TV kiddie porn on Law & Order SVU.
THIS, my friends, is living.
--Tomorrow I'm doing one of my least favorite meetings for work. That is, the "6am flight to somewhere (this time Atlanta), a two hour presentation/discussion with clients, then a 7pm flight back home, arriving home at about 9pm" meeting. I'll pass the time with a newly-started book about Sir Isaac Newton. I love historical fiction.
--Yesterday on the way home from work I was listening to NPR and they had a spot on doctors joining a union. For whatever reason I was a little distracted and thought that the background noises in the spot (a union picket line--whistling, yelling, loud noises) was actually coming from behind me through a rolled-down window. I jumped--a lot. Then I just laughed at myself. But I still rolled up the window.
--I've been noticing a lot of commercials lately where companies tout "examples" of their excellent customer service. For example, the car insurance agent that drives a lady's proof of insurance to her when she gets pulled over, or the realtor that picks a single blade of yellow grass from the lawn before taking a picture of the house. I mean seriously. Next time you're pulled over, give your agent a call and see what he says. And these days, you're lucky to find a realtor that even HAS a camera.
--I got a nice little note from Jason last night, and we chatted briefly via Yahoo Messenger. He's a nice young lad. We've agreed to hang out sometime this week again, which pleases me.
--Words I am currently working into my day-to-day speech: bamboozle, molly bolt, odiferous, snarky, pronto, jury-rigged, haggard, snippety
--A few of my colleagues and I do this stupid thing where we call each other Dr. ____ when we pass each other in the hall. We do it in a very serious, terse tone: "Dr. Howard," I say. "Dr. Hill," he says. That's all we say. It's completely stupid, but we've been doing it for a couple of years now. For some reason, it still makes me giggle. I mean, it's not as fun as a Slip-n-Slide, but it passes the time.
--At lunch I'm heading to the pet store for some dog food and a new water bowl for Casey's crate. The other day after he took a shit on my custom made, one-of-a-kind living room rug, I dragged him upstairs and made him get in his house. After I slammed the door, I gave the cage a little love tap with my foot. When I did, I broke his little plastic water bowl and now I have to replace it. I'd feel bad about this, but honestly, it's better than kicking him. Tiny and unpredictable doses of Daddy's wrath is an effective tool in deterring poor habits.
--I just had a chat with a co-worker in the bathroom about a client. I HATE talking in the bathroom. It's a completely inappropriate place to discuss work. First, there's no telling who could be in one of the stalls listening in, and second, I prefer not to talk to my co-workers while holding my penis. It's just not right.
Somewhere, somehow, I hurt my ankle. And no, it wasn't a ceiling fan accident after my last rowdy weekend. For the past couple of weeks I've had a nagging dull pain when I walk, and also the ocassional excrutiating, scream outloud pain when I land on it a certain way. I'm really over that. So today I bought the ankle brace pictured below (along with the potted plants pictured below, below).
First, I'm fully aware that the brace goes on UNDER the sock, I was just trying it on and showing it off to everyone in the office (I didn't want them to see my new french-tip pedicure with the diamond stones). And I'm glad my feet don't smell, because I'm sitting here in the office with my shoe and sock off trying to get this thing on. [Note: This ought to be heaven for the foot fetish crowd that keeps e-mailing me from YouTube. Enjoy!].
Surprisingly, it actually feels pretty good. Snug. Secure. According to my doctor, compression, along with 20 or less minutes of icing each night should speed the healing process. But I sure could use a nurse to make it feel better.
While I'm certain that none of you had sleepless nights this weekend wondering how I was getting along with my "funk," but I thought I'd update you anyway... Status: A little better.
I slept almost the entire weekend, including Friday. I just worked from home and took a couple of calls and slept most of the day. I doubt my boss even noticed I was gone. He doesn't care anyway, as long as the work gets done (and it always gets done). Casey really enjoyed having a warm body to cuddle next to (as did I) and we spent many an hour resting, eating, peeing and pooping together. Well, not together, together, but you get the idea.
I had fantastical dreams all weekend. I dreamt of playing water polo, getting lost in the mountains on a hiking trip, singing in a country/western band (but only in the studio), my sister picking at a huge and disgusting sore on my leg, and even a recurring dream about a guinea pig that wouldn't stay in his cage. Weird.
On Saturday my self-appointed task was to call my parents. I hadn't called them for almost two weeks and judging by their increasingly frantic messages, I was about 24 hours shy of them calling the police to try to locate me. They yelled at me, and rightly so. Saturday evening Doug and Lucas wrestled me up from the bed and took me to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen. It was good to get out; however, I must've eaten too fast or drank too much or something, because at the end of dinner my stomach hurt so bad I could hardly walk. When it rains it pours, I guess.
Then Sunday I forced myself to get up off my ass and mow the lawn, which invariably led to cleaning out the gutters on the front side of the house. Talk a bout a disgusting mess. Ugh. I was up on a 16' ladder with these huge red rubber gloves slopping wet, rancid leaves out of the gutter. It wasn't fun, and it smelled awful. But I did feel like I accomplished something, which invariably led to feeling OK about taking another nap.
Then Sunday afternoon I got an e-mail from a guy I've previously shown interest in, Jason. Completely out of the blue, he asks if I'd like to hang out sometime. I said "anytime," and he said "how about now?" and I thought "sure, why not?" And so he came over and we watched a movie and ate Chinese food and talked a lot. It was nice. Hear that sound? It's the sound of me not being very excited, with a dull, faint hum of optimism. You know the sound, I'm sure...
Several Peek Pics to follow today... I'm fully aware that I've been remiss.
--Age 10. I used to crawl up into my parents bed late at night and watch Johnny Carson's monologue. They had a huge king-size bed and I'd lay just close enough to be next to them, but far enough away to not feel like a baby in his parent's bed. I love to hear my Dad laugh.
--Age 17. At the state water polo tournament in San Antonio, TX, the referee blew the whistle and summoned me over to the edge of the pool. He motioned for a towel and asked me to get out. When I stood up out of the pool, the blood was pouring down my face and chest. Turns out, I had bitten clear through my lower lip. I still have a scar.
--Age 9. After a rainstorm, my friend Trevor and I would try to catch crawdads out of the ditch near our house. We'd tie pieces of bacon to string and lure them out of their shelters made of dirt. On a good day, we'd catch upwards of 50 of them. Once, my brother put one in the microwave. It took three steps backwards and exploded into a thousand pieces.
--Age 5. I took a black magic marker and practiced writing my name all over the laundry room, including the washer and dryer.
--Age 11. My family once had to evacuate our home on the Texas coast due to a pending hurricane. We drove our camper and pulled the boat behind us half way to Austin in the middle of the night. Until we ran out of gas. My Dad had to walk several miles to a phone and then wait for a gas station to open before my grandfather could come save us. How did we survive without cell phones and 24-hour gas stations?
--Age 15. My history teacher, Ms. Moore, lived in nearby Clear Lake City (home of Johnson Space Center and NASA) and had recently become very friendly with her new neighbor, Mrs. Christa McAuliffe. She was so excited that day in late January, 1986 as we all gathered around the TV in her room to watch the Challenger lift off. We all cheered when it left the platform. 73 seconds later, the mood changed significantly.
I've struggled with chronic depression since high school, so I'm no stranger to the feelings that are currently overwhelming me. It's not to say I'm immune to them, just that I've learned to recognize them and ride them out. Here are the symptoms I have to deal with when I go through an "episode," and what I try to do to get through them:
Motivation. When a bout of depression hits me, I become almost completely comatose. Every little task becomes a monumental chore, and it's all I can do to fight curling into a fetal position in my bed. I let even the most routine tasks slip: taking the trash out, cleaning up the kitchen, brushing my teeth, answering the phone, mowing the lawn, etc. I generally try to find just ONE thing to accomplish per day, so that I feel like I've at least tackled something. This helps me.
Irritability. 99% of the time I am a docile teddy bear during a depressive episode. However, I am fully aware that I can snap at any second and unleash my inner psychopath. Yesterday, in fact, when Casey (once again) took a shit in the living room because he refused to go outside in the rain, I lost it. Thankfully, because I'm aware of this tendency, I made myself sit down on the couch and count to 50 before I did something I would later regret.
Self-abuse. This is my trademark. During a depressive episode, if it's bad for me, I'll do it. Smoking, binge drinking, over-eating, hyper-sexuality, etc. are all coping mechanisms for me. I wish I could say that I have a magic bullet that kept me away from these things, but I don't. I just try my best to recognize them for what they are and try to talk myself out of doing them. Most often it doesn't work, as evidenced by the 6-pack of powdered donuts I just ate out of the vending machine. Ugh.
Sleep. This is a symptom I don't try to fight. I feel like my body is telling me I need to rest, and I gladly listen. I've been known to sleep from the time I get in from work until the time I wake up for work the next day. In fact, I did that last night, and I will probably do it again today. Usually sleep will center me, and so I rely on its healing powers to put my brain chemicals back in the right place.
Bear with me. I'll be back to my old self soon. Just as soon as I eat this half-gallon of raspberry sorbet...
I'm not a religious or overly sentimental person, but like everyone, I've been known to rely upon the wisdom and thoughts of others to help me navigate through trouble waters. My favorite is a quote that Robert Kennedy used in a speech just before his assassination as a reference to his personal struggle with the untimely death of his brother.
Though my struggles are much different, I identify with the idea that it is possible to find wisdom through adversity. I just wish it came more easily...
--Today I'm posting from a tiny little desk at the Hampton Inn just North of Cincinnati, OH. I've got a meeting at a Vision Care plan here tomorrow and I'm staying the night. I'll be back home tomorrow.
--In keeping with my "close calls with the law" theme, I got nabbed doing 81mph on the way to the airport this afternoon. Cold busted. He was sitting just before a small bridge, so when I pulled over I was right in the middle of the bridge with very little shoulder. I decided it was probably better if I moved up where he had a little room. When he approached the car, he says, "Sir, since you had the courtesy to move your car up where it'd be safer for me to approach your vehicle, I'm going to let you off with just a warning." THANK YOU. Thank you. Thank you.
--It was a looooong weekend with the visiting friends. After a night out at our favorite hangout called "Grand Emporium," several of us went back to my house for a little after-bar party. About the time all my food and alcohol ran out, the sun came up. I'm still recovering from that. I'm SO out of practice.
--I have this cute Samsonite 1-nighter roller-bag that also holds my laptop. It fits all of my stuff perfectly without having to take a briefcase/backpack along with me. Except now it's not so cute, as the stupid Delta baggage fucktards knocked the small metal Samsonite label off. Now I have three tiny holes of ripped material. I'm hoping the ripped luggage look becomes chic soon.
--It really pisses me off that a cheap-ass Hampton Inn can provide complimentary internet access where the more upscale hotels (sometimes owned by the same parent company) charge me $9.99 a day. It's so obvious that they're taking advantage of people. I can't believe we let them get away with that.
--I watched Rent this weekend. I fully appreciate that it has a theme that should be close to my heart and that it has won lots of awards and the like, but honestly--I hated it. Not just an "Ah, it was OK" type of thing, but an "if this thing doesn't end soon, I'm gonna slit my wrists" reaction. I typically love musicals of all kinds, but I hated this. My mind completely shut down at the scene where the drag queen was dancing in his Santa outfit. It only went downhill from there.
--I just reached in the hotel drawer for a pen. Who the fuck are the Gideons? I went to their Web site and found that their mission is to "distribute the Bible in the human traffic lanes and streams of everyday life," and are supported by "local churches and their pastors." No mention of an association with a specific denomination, but they're pulling in over 100 million a year in revenue (with 94 going directly to the production and distributions of Bibles). Not too shabby. Someone should start a group like this for gay people. "Condoms, lube and porn in the human traffic lanes and streams of everyday life... Wouldn't you rather find THAT in your hotel drawer?