It’s Just Sex, Right?

I never knew how much fun blogs could be.  There are a lot of different types of blogs out there and I admit that many of them do not hold any interest for me.  I’ve happened across a lot of blogs where people take pictures of the food they have in restaurants and write a journal entry about it.  I have only one thing to say about that.  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

I have read a lot of blogs where people take trips and write about what they did.  Often those are the same blogs as the ones mentioned above.  I guess the difference between good ones, and bad ones of these blogs is whether the author is really a writer.  If you can write something with a lot of artistry and beauty in your use of words, it barely matters what it is you write about.  On the other hand if you write like you’re writing a Dick and Jane book (See Dick’s lunch.  Dick had good lunch.  Dick cleaned Plate.  Jane had good lunch too.  Jane not cleaned plate.)  (I guess that sounds more like a Tarzan and Jane book, but you get the idea) then your blog isn’t going to be interesting to read.

Some people write their blog entries as a blow by blow report of what they do.  I usually skip over those pretty quickly.  It’s like reading my own writing…  From the 7th grade.  A good blog will recount a tale, or an event, or an experience, but in a way that is interesting and attention grabbing.  It’ll provide all the pertinent facts without boring you with unnecessary details and time tables.

Here’s an example of what I mean.  Back in April I went with a Green to Las Vegas.  Now I could recount the trip thusly:

Our flight was scheduled to depart Oakland International Airport at 9:36 a.m. but didn’t actually leave until 9:50.  We landed in Las Vegas at 10:47.  After we got off the plane we went straight to the bathrooms.  After we finished using the bathrooms we went to the luggage claims and found our carousel.  At 11:37 the luggage started coming out and after a few minutes my suit case came down the shoot.  I grabbed my suit case and we waited for her suit case to come down the shoot.  We waited and waited but it never came out.  Then we went to the baggage office to find out what happened.  They checked the computers and the piles of luggage outside the office, and called the baggage handling area to find out if anyone had the suit case but they didn’t find it.

So Green was pretty unhappy about her suit case not showing up and was worried that they wouldn’t find it.  We gave the lady in the office a description of the suit case and told her we where we were staying and gave them Green‘s Cell Phone Number.

Then, we walked outside to where the shuttles were, found the ticket office and bought our tickets and found our shuttle.  We had to wait in the shuttle for about 20 minutes before the shuttle driver decided their were enough passengers to make the trip.

We were the first stop on the trip and we got to our hotel around 1:00.  Then we walked inside.  Then we went to the front desk.  It didn’t make any sense because they did not have a clearly marked line.  We didn’t know where to go and we though we were in line.  Then an employee came over to us and offered to help us find a line and we got in line.  Then we got to the counter and then we checked in.  We asked if they had any upgrades available.  Then they showed us the options and we chose a room with a “strip view”.  We were excited because we always wanted a room with a strip view and we never get one.  After we checked in we went to our room, but we were disappointed because the view was not of the strip.

Boring, right?  I felt like a little kid while I was typing it to the point that my rhythm of my typing even became very staccato.  Dah dah dah dah DAH.  Dah dah dah dah DAH.  Dah dah dah dah DAH.  Boring!

I could however have told the same story thusly:

Green and I absolutely love Las Vegas.  We are always looking for an excuse– er, opportunity to go.  This year we decided to go in April as a joint birthday celebration having chosen this time because it falls rough in the middle of her mid-March birthday and my mid-June birthday.  Right between our birthdays, but better yet, before the weather there turns to full blown summer and the sun feels as though it will incinerate you where you stand.

We were expecting a great trip, staying in a new (to us) hotel, the MGM Grand, and tickets to Zumanity, the Circ du Soleil show we’d been itching to see for several visits.  After our first visit to Las Vegas, a New Years trip that had a departure time scheduled for 6 something in the morning which we missed resulting in a six hour lay over in Fresno International Airport (and if you’ve ever been there, you know what a joke that is) we learned our lesson and booked our departure for a more reasonable hour.  Our flight was delayed taking off by about 10 minutes but fortunately, as they so often do, the pilots made up the difference in the air.  But the “adventure” was not to end there.

Upon deplaning in Las Vegas we made a b-line for the restrooms because sadly, the very public restrooms in a busy airport are favorable to a cramped, Southwest Airlines jet bathroom, and then headed on down to Baggage claim.  This is always a dicey time because you never know if your luggage is going to make it or not.  Fortunately for me, after just a few revolutions of the carousel, my suitcase came down the shoot just fine.  But as the crowd was thinning and the frequency of the bags passing by slowed, it became apparent that there was a problem.  Green‘s bag was nowhere to be found.

Green immediately began to worry about not having her suit case and not having any of her clothes or toiletries and whether she’d be reimbursed if her suit case never showed up and the $100+ flat iron she had inside was lost to her forever.  We went to the baggage office where we looked at all the unclaimed luggage sitting around but none of it was her’s so we went in to file our claim.  The attendant did her due diligence and searched the computer, the unclaimed bags and called the baggage handlers, but sure enough, Green‘s suitcase did not appear to be in Las Vegas.

The attendant immediately began the process of opening a claim and tracking ticket and we provided her with the necessary information of how to contact us when the suitcase arrived, while answering all our questions and doing her best to reassure Green that they’d make it right with her if the bag didn’t turn up.

Once that was completed it was time for the jaunt to “the strip” where we were to check into our hotel.  We got out to the transportation section and found the booth to buy our fair on one of the many shuttles to the strip, but unfortunately we did have to wait about 20 minutes till the driver felt he had enough passengers to justify the trip.  And while we waited we were fortunate enough to get to listen to the drivers gangsta rap music he had playing over the speakers…  While he was no where around.  Thankfully, the MGM Grand is one of the first stops and we weren’t on the shuttle for long.

Walking into the lobby of the hotel we were immediately impressed with the grandeur and beauty of the place but as we approached the front desk we encountered our next obstacle.  There was a mass of hotel guests waiting to check in, and no clearly delineated line.  We must have looked pretty lost because pretty soon a woman wearing a blazer and a golden name tag came over and asked us to follow her while she lead us to what looked like the next most expeditious line.

When it was our turn to check in, which really did only take a few minutes, we asked the front desk clerk if they had any upgrades available.  They did and she showed us what our options were.  We chose a suite that was on the 18th floor – we prefer to be higher, but all the higher ones weren’t non-smoking – and that had a “strip view”, however when we got to the room we were sorely disappointed because what they consider a “strip view” is a sliver of the back of the next hotel over and a sprawling view of the rest of Las Vegas proper.

Now, I admit, the second version has more words, more paragraphs, but isn’t it more interesting to read too?

I read a lot of blogs, and I hope a lot of people will read mine.  I just hope that mine fits into the better written, more interesting to read, category.

“““““““

Now to the real point.

I do read a lot of blogs and I admit that I’m greatly interested in the blogs of people who write about sexual encounters, be they real or fiction.  They’re usually interesting to read and exciting and quite often get me going.  I believe another term for these entries is “stroke writing”.  But I also admit that I can only suspend my sense of reality so much and I’m often shocked and disturbed by some of the behaviors people write about.  Many accounts of random, anonymous sexual encounters, unprotected bareback sex (I do only read the gay ones) and other forms of complete irresponsibility and frankly, I don’t know what to think about them sometimes.  I wonder, “Do people really do these things?”  “Is this really a favorable way of getting what you need?”  “Do these people not regret or feel ashamed about their actions?”

But I’ll be honest.  They affect me.  And sometimes, when I’m feeling really lonely, and I’ve had a little too much to drink (read: an extra bottle) I think, maybe…  Maybe I could give it a try.

Such was the case this past Friday night.  Halfway through my second bottle of wine and leaning toward my third, I’d read all the “stroke posts” and looked at all the sexy pictures on my reader and I was horny, and feeling lonely, and not as inhibited as I normally am.  So I turned to Craigslist.  I knew I couldn’t be the predatory one, and I knew I couldn’t drive, or “travel” as the post authors always say.  So I posted my own ad, something I’ve never done before.  The post was something about being “newly gay” and needing a teacher, both of which is true.  I put down that I needed to be taught about gay lovin’ but that I would have to be convinced because I was frightened.  And I attached a grainy, unclear, cell phone picture of myself, naked and sprawled out on the floor that was taken some time ago while I was drunk and Green, my former room mate, was trying to get me to bed.  You couldn’t see my face, and I was not trying to hide my physical appearance.  I was saying “Boys, this is what I look like and if I actually see this thing through and you come over here, this is what you’re going to find.”

Almost instantly I got two e-mails from guys who had seen my post and suggested they might want to teach me.  I was emboldened by the vino and I thought, hey this is great.  I replied to the e-mails with answers to their questions and questions of my own.  Still figuring that there was no harm in pursuing this.

One of the guys dropped out after a couple e-mails but the other guy was serious about moving forward.  He was ready to take down my address and head on out and that’s when reality struck!  In an instant my head cleared and the fear took over.  My mind was racing!

Oh my God!  Is this serious?  Could I really do this?”

“Crap!  The house is a mess.  I need to clean the bathroom!  I haven’t changed my sheets in months!”

“I don’t know anything about this guy and while that may have sort of been the point, it’s really risky!  Plus as ‘anonymous’ as I’d like to believe it is, it’s not really ’cause if I do this he’ll know where I live.  He could very well be genuine and sincere, but he could just as easily be coming here to case the joint.  I don’t have a lot that’s worth stealing but I do have some.  For that matter, he could be a serial killer and I would have invited him in.”

“And it’s sex.  Really sex.  Not just I-contemplated-it-while-jerking-myself-off sex.  And that would change everything!  There’s no going back from that!”

And so, I contemplated it while jerking myself off.  And then the “need” had passed and I turned off my computer and went to bed.

The next day I felt like shit!  Two and a half bottles of wine will do that to you, but it wasn’t just the hangover and the headache and the diarrhea and the shakes.

I was ashamed.  Still am a little bit.  I’m relieved ’cause I didn’t follow through. I know I’m still safe.  I know I still don’t have any diseases.  I know that I haven’t opened myself up to be a victim of a crime.  Yes I could still get robbed.  It’s part of life.  Yes I could still be attacked on the street.  That too, is a part of life.  But I didn’t invite a complete stranger into my house and tell him to take a look around and see if there’s anything he’d like to come back for, uninvited.  And I didn’t open myself up, figuratively and literally, and make myself as vulnerable as a human being can be and risk a life changing result from an “anonymous donor”.

Yet, I can’t help being ashamed of myself for having gone there in the first place.  Sex should be a wonderful thing between two people who care for each other.  Right?  That’s certainly a lovely sentiment and I’d like to feel like I can apply it.  But let’s call a spade a spade.  I’m not a social person.  I don’t meet new people and I haven’t got anyone in my life so the likelihood of meeting someone I can feel a connection with and start a relationship with is next to impossible.  Meanwhile, I’m still human.  I’m still male.  I still have needs that need to be fulfilled.  And it is just sex, right?

This isn’t the first time I’ve found myself in some semblance of this situation.  I’ve been on Gay.com many times.  I’ve had on-line chats with local guys while looking for a little “inspiration”.  But inevitably, it always goes the same way.  They don’t want to just talk about what they’d do.  They want to come over and do it.  And it’s always the same thing with me.  I’m horny.  I’m probably inebriated (only time I have the nerve to do anything sexual.)  I’m naked, with my cock in one hand and the computer mouse in the other and I just want to get off.  And then I start to wonder whether I should take it a step farther.  And then they say it!

“Can I come over?”  Cue the thunder clap and the lightening bolt.  The scratching record.  The sudden silence of the crowd.  The dramatic “plot thickens” organ music.  And suddenly it’s not a game anymore.  It’s not just fantasy, or what ifs.  it’s not just masturbation.  It’s an opportunity.  An opportunity for something, I actually really do want…  sort of.

And in an instant, I’m overcome.  I’m sick to my stomach.  I’m shaking.  I instantly go from the “could I?”s to the “how could I?”s.  All the blood drains from my body.  Where I was hot and bothered, now I’m frozen and terrified.  I’m weak and shaking and, eh’hem, everything goes limp, to jelly, turns soft.  And I chicken out.

And in spite of all this, I can’t really decide if I think that following through would be a bad thing, and make me an amoral person, or if I think it would be a perfectly natural thing to do and I’m way over-thinking?  And it doesn’t really matter because like it or not, my sub-conscious won’t let it happen.

Yes, I’m relieved, because I didn’t follow through.

But I’m also kind of pissed.

‘Cause I didn’t follow through.

It’s All About Eve

My retarded clever gene has struck again.

I’ve tried three times to start this post in a clever way and nothing seems quite right, so I’m just going to be straight… eh’hem.  So to speak.

The love of my life is coming to town.  I’m totally stoked!  She’s bringing her boyfriend.  I could do without that.  Not that there’s anything wrong with him, he’s actually a really nice guy, but her having a boyfriend means she’s not pining away for me and I’m not loving that.  Her name is “Eve” (as in “All About… “).  OK, it’s not really, but I call her that here because she will be the first person to tell you that “it’s all about me”, and she won’t be kidding.  It would be annoying and a real turn-off except that part of what is all about her, is her genuine interest and care for the people in her life.  She has an amazing ability to turn that “it’s all about me” selfishness right on upside down into a selflessness that is completely unparalleled.  I also call her “Eve” here because, well, even though it is an actual real name (the only one you’ll find in my cast of characters, thus far) it is absolutely nothing like her real name which makes it sufficiently anonymous while still being slightly clever.  (Seriously folks, I need someone besides me to validate my cleverness.)

Now, if you’re a regular reader (and if you’re not, you should be!), I’m sure I can imagine what you’re probably saying to yourself right now.  “This dude is gay.  Why is he talking about a woman as the love of his life?”  And you’re probably right.  It’s a little bit odd.  But I guess you’d have to know us.

Eve has a far clearer picture of the real me, than anyone else in the world, I think.  I shudder at the thought that maybe she doesn’t know it all, and if she did, I’d finally succeed in driving her away.  Lord knows I’ve worked pretty damn hard at it over the years.  But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

I met Eve around the middle of 1995, I think (may have been 96, I’m bad with this stuff.  But she’s not.)  I was working as an Assistant Manager at the Men’s Clothing Store that happened to carry a moniker deceptively similar to but has no affiliation with that of a former NFL Running Back but which has since gone out of business, when Eve transferred in from the Salt Lake City store.  She was a year younger than I which is to say, she moved to Tulsa, because she still lived with her mother and her mother moved to Tulsa for work so therefore Eve moved to Tulsa as well.  Eve was essentially placed in our store by the District Manager who didn’t ask the Store Manager for her opinion or an interview and therefor Eve was starting out on the losing end.

The fact is Eve had everything you want in a “sales girl” in a men’s clothing store you want to be viewed as “young and hip.”  (Just to remind you that I am gay, and just how much, it popped into my head and I started to type, “now Eve Peron, had every disadvantage, you’ll need if you’re gonna succeed.”) (and that’s an Evita reference for those who don’t know.) She was young (19), beautiful and very flirtatious.  Before her mother’s job brought them to Tulsa, Eve was the strongest seller in her store.  This is the reason there was no question whether she’d be brought onto our staff when the call came in.

Eve was instantly disliked by the Store Manager, Jodi (I’ll use her real name because we aren’t friends, I don’t know where she lives and I doubt she’ll ever see this) because Eve was “forced” upon us, and by the First Assistant Manager, Paul (I’ll use his real name for all the same reasons) because of no reason that I can identify.  It’s possible that Paul was just loyal to Jodi and that was all it took.  I don’t know.

Eve has an amazing memory.  Stunning even.  She remembers specific events, and specific things that were said that I have no recollection of whatsoever.  She consistently blows me away with the things she pulls out.  I on the other hand, can’t seem to remember jack shit!  I don’t really remember how I came to be friends with her.  In fact, I thought things were somewhat tense between us.  I remember more than one occasion when Eve drove me to my car at the end of our shifts.  It was the holidays and the lowly mall employees were relegated to parking in the middle of BFE so that the precious patrons wouldn’t have to walk very far.  On more than one occasion we had conversations about why she was having trouble with Jodi, and what Eve could do differently to win her over.  Eve tells me, however, that there was rumor and speculation about me having had feelings for her.  Looking back, I realize that’s probably true.

Jodi quit soon after Eve joined us and we got a new Manager named Becky (Oh. My. God.)  I remember that Becky and Eve usually worked the day shift together which did not make Eve very happy because there was far less business in the day time than there was any other time, but that’s how the schedule usually came together.  I remember walking into the store one late November afternoon and finding Eve standing in the front window, waste deep in a gold leme faux gift box.  Becky felt that Eve would be fairly artistic and that she should do the holiday window display.  I have two specific memories from this day and no idea what order they come in.

Memory #1:  I’m somewhere in the store, doing something store-like, and I hear a yelp.  I look toward the front of the store as Eve slowly turns around to face me, biting her bottom lip and a glisten of fought back tears in her eyes.  When she could speak again, after the bleeding had stopped she revealed to me that she had been holding a piece of our semi-industrial strength packing tape in between her lovely lips while arranging the tissue paper she was about to tape in place and when she literally yanked the tape out of her mouth, some of the flesh from her lip came with it.  It was one of those things that we knew we’d laugh at some day, but you should have seen her face in the moment.

Memory #2:  (I’m guessing this one comes first.)  Eve is in the window up to her eyeballs in paper and gift wrap and clothes and mannequins and I hear her say, “Oh sure!  Make the Jewish girl do the Christmas display!”

That year we decided to have a “Secret Santa” gift exchange in our store.  The rule was that we would not spend more than $10.00 and there was a sheet behind the register where we were supposed to put down ideas about what our Secret Santa could get us.  I remember very little about how the whole exchange went down but I remember that I had picked Eve‘s name.  Most of the staff went into the thing with limited (read: negative amounts of) gusto and most of the gifts amounted to $10.00 gift certificates (yes!  Certificates, not cards!) to Blockbuster, or a music store, or McDonald’s (actually some of those college kids really appreciated the McD’s certs) or a $10.00 bill stuck into an envelope.

By this time Eve and I had become friends and there was no tension that I can recall, so I really wanted to give her a good gift.  I didn’t care about the Secret Santa.  I didn’t care about the $10.00 limit.  I wanted to give my friend a good Christmas gift.  You see, gift giving is a major weak point of mine and I’m always disappointed by my own poor gift giving acumen.  But Eve had let something slip.  “James and the Giant Peach” was coming out in the movie theaters and she wanted to see it.  She mentioned one day that “James and the Giant Peach” had been her favorite book growing up.

It was one of my good days and I was paying attention.  I made a mental note and when I got the chance I went and found a pristine, hard cover copy of “James and the Giant Peach.”  Now, as I’m writing this I’m realizing, I may even have special ordered it.  You know, it’s funny!  To me, giving a book as a Christmas gift isn’t a big deal.  That has a lot to do with the fact that Dead Beat Dad‘s parents used to send us books from foreign countries, travel guides I think they were, all the time.  Every Birthday and every Christmas we could count on getting a book from the grand peeps.  And to tell the truth, it sucked!  So big deal, I thought, so I got you a book.  It’s only special ’cause it’s your favorite and I thought it’d be nice for you to have a pristine copy. But to hear Eve tell it, it was a big deal.  It seems like she’s told me it had to have been expensive.  Whatever was so special about it, it was certainly grist for the rumor mill.  I didn’t care.  I’d done something nice for my friend and she was grateful.

And then tragedy struck.  Eve decided to take up her Dead Beat Dad on an offer to come to Idaho where he lived and work in his office.  Two years earlier I had taken up my own Dead Beat Dad on a similar offer for many reasons. I couldn’t blame her for going.  I had already done the same thing.  But as I recall it (which is admittedly probably faulty) this is the moment that it hit me.  This woman matters to me. And I was about to lose her.  I was terribly sad she was going and didn’t really know how to tell her.  I wanted to ask her not to go, but I had nothing to offer her to make her stay.  So I said nothing.  And she went.  And we lost touch.  I was never very good at long distance relationships.  Even my relationships with my various family members have suffered from distance.  With one notable exception, I’m not convinced that’s a bad thing.  But I digress.

Eve left me and I was devastated.  But two years in Idaho was enough for her and she moved back to be with her mother, and Eve and I were back on…  So to speak.  There was no aspect of our relationship that pointed at romance.  Eve never expressed that kind of interest in me and I certainly didn’t have the cajones to try and make something happen, so there we were, smack dab in the middle of friend central.  A few years ago I asked her in an instant message conversation if there was any chance we would have ended up  together if I had not moved to California.  She told me “I don’t know.  It’s possible.  But I’ll tell you this much.  You wouldn’t have stayed a virgin for so long.”  (You should have seen the looks on my co-workers faces when the realized that boom they heard was me falling out of my chair.)

Something unusual happens when Eve drinks alcohol.  She gets very drunk, very fast, on very little.  And then a half hour or so later she’s perfectly sober.  No doubt a breathalyzer would disagree, but for all intents and purposes she’s good.  After she moved back to Oklahoma Eve met a guy and despite his name, he did not live in a giant peach, and despite his not living in a giant peach, I’m still going to call him “the Pitts”.  (Hey my clever gene is waking up.)  The Pitts was an ex-husband and a father of two children, and a carrier of a nasty little venereal disease, none of which did he bother to mention to Eve.  So on one particular evening when they were together and Eve‘s odd metabolism had done its worst, she convinced him they should have sex.  The Pitts, apparently resisted (only a little I’m sure) but she told him, “C’mon.  You know we’re gonna do it eventually, why wait?”  So they did.  Under protected.  If ya know what I mean.

The Pitts left her with two “gifts” that night.  Not long after that, he just left her.  When Eve knew she was pregnant, she told me about it.  I was a terrible friend, for I was still under the influence of Vengeful Mother and had not yet learned to form my own ideals and principles (yes, even in my early 20s).  Eve told me, “I don’t know if I can do this.  I’m not sure I can keep it.  I’m thinking of having an abortion.”  I don’t know what I said, or how I reacted, but I know something in me changed that night, at least for a time.  Abortion, I thought, how can she consider an abortion?  Abortion is wrong.  If she does that, she’ll be wrong.  I can’t be friends with someone who has an abortion! Far be it from me to just support my friend through whatever she may be going through without judging her actions.

We drifted again.  At the time that she told me this I was contemplating a change of my own.  I soon made my move to California, and while we talked some after that, we lost touch again.  The few times that we did talk after that I never asked, and she never said, what she’d decided about the baby.  It wasn’t until the following October that she made contact with me again and told me that she and her parents… and her son were coming to California the week of Thanksgiving to visit her grandparents and that if I wanted to we could get together while she was here.  It was at that moment that I realized just how much I missed her, how much she had meant to me and how I had just walked away from it. I’d like to think that I’d have felt this way regardless, but I admit that when I heard her say “my son” and I knew she had not had the abortion, my heart skipped with joy and relief.  I guess somehow that made her acceptable again.  I’m a terrible friend.

There is more to this story I haven’t the time to tell now, but suffice it to say, Eve is my dearest friend!  She means the world to me, and we have a relationship that defies explanation.  We hardly ever talk to each other, probably more my fault than hers, but when we do see each other, every year, the day after Thanksgiving, like clockwork, set your watch by it, for ten years running?  It’s like we never missed a day.  It’s awesome and I wouldn’t give it up for the world!  Vengeful Mother asked me to come “home” for Thanksgiving, the other day.  I told her, “No.  I have a prior engagement.”

The love of my life is coming to town, in 16 days.  I’m totally stoked.

A Lighter Note

On a lighter note, today is Precious Niece #1‘s sixth birthday.  Too bad I can’t be there to celebrate.

I hope she had a wonderful birthday, got some great gifts and is allowed to maintain her childhood innocence for a while longer.

I love you, Precious girl!

The Entry it Took Two Weeks to Write

I have fallen into almost every job I’ve ever had.  The first job I had was working in the gift shop of the hotel where my mother worked as the hotel managers secretary.  Sure, in high school, I worked at a Hardee’s fast food restaurant for about a year, and then worked as a cashier in a local grocery store, but first of all those are not particularly ambitious jobs, and secondly, they hire any warm body that will apply for those positions.

When I was 19 years old I was engaged to a woman.  We were to marry two weeks before my 20th birthday.  Problem was I did not own a vehicle and was relegated to jobs I could walk to.  The jobs I could walk to couldn’t pay for a car, let alone a life with a wife and child (She had a two year old son.)  We agreed that I’d go to live with my father in Cincinnati, Ohio for six months.  He had a car I could drive (It was my father’s Oldsmobile, despite what the commercials always said.)  With my father’s Oldsmobile, I could drive anywhere and get a job anywhere.  So I went to the mall.  It seemed like a logical next step after the grocery store.

I went into a Men’s Clothing store in the mall that I’d never heard of called Webster Menswear and applied for a job.  I apparently made a good impression on the manager and he wanted to hire me to be his Assistant Manager right then and there, but I was honest with him and told him I was only planning to be in town for six months and that I would be quitting to move back to Oklahoma when the six months were up.  He hired me as a sales clerk and then two weeks later he promoted me to Assistant Manager.

My engagement ended shortly thereafter and I end up staying in Cincinnati for nine months instead of six.  I moved back to Tulsa, Oklahoma on Father’s day, 1995.  Before I left I made contact with the Regional Manager of a different clothing store – owned by the same parent company – called J. Riggings, advised him that I was moving to town and would like to see about interviewing with him if he had any open positions.  As luck would have it, there was a Second Assistant Manager position open at the store in Tulsa and he hired me for it.  I worked for another roughly nine months in Tulsa at Woodland Hills Mall before being promoted to Store Manager at a store at Quail Springs Mall in Oklahoma City.  Three months after that I moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas where I spent the longest nine months of my life managing the store at the Northwest Arkansas Mall.

I hated it there and I felt trapped in that job, like there was no where else for me to go.  So I decided that it was time to go back to school.  I was 22 years old and had no idea what I was going to do with my life but I had to take action.  I quit my job, moved back to Tulsa and into Vengeful Mother’s house.  I applied for a job at one of our favorite restaurants as a waiter.  I figured that would be easy enough money and good flexible hours for a college student.  WRONG!!!  I was the worst waiter you’ll ever encounter in your life!  I forgot things constantly, I was slow getting the orders in and the food out, and I was perpetually sweaty!  Who wants their food served to them by a fat, sweaty guy?  I averaged $2.00 tips on every table and lasted about three months.  Somehow during this time, school never seemed to come to pass.

It was during this time that I decided I wanted to reconnect with my best friend from High School, “Batman”…  Batman was a huge fan of the superhero, stating that he liked him so much because he was just a man and all his “abilities” came from his gadgets and not because of some superhuman trait.  Batman was an artist and he sketched bat signals on his book covers and notebooks on a regular basis.  When his parents bought him a Ford Ranger Splash pick-up truck, he had a Batman symbol custom painted on the tailgate.  I could probably write a whole post about Batman and not scratch the surface, but the bottom line is, I was very attached to him.  I realize now that I was probably in love, but I was in no position to acknowledge or profess that at the time.  Batman was a year younger than I, and when I graduated from high school we lost touch.

So it was when I returned to Tulsa after my stint in Arkansas that I decided to try and locate him.  Turned out to be pretty easy.  I opened up the phone book and there it was.  His distinctive, three-worded, German last name right in the beginning of the Vs.  I wasn’t positive that it was him so I sent him a letter.  A few days later the phone rang and it was his voice on the line.  We made plans to meet for lunch by his work a few days later.

Batman worked for what was then LDDS WorldCom.  We talked about his job and he told me that I could easily get in with the next training class and that he’d put in a good word for me.  A few weeks later I was training in the telecommunications industry to work in the customer service call center.  Much to my dismay, Batman informed me that he and his wife were moving to California a few weeks later.  His wife grew up in Turlock and they were going to move there to be closer to family since his family had moved away from Tulsa already.

Batman had already lined up a job with what was locally known as MFS WorldCom.  He’d pretty well settled in by the time I was nearing the end of my training.  With Batman’s recommendation and assistance, I too got in to MFS WorldCom and moved to California in March, 1998.

When I left MCI WorldCom in March of 2000, I expected to have no problem finding a new job in the telecommunications industry.  How could I?  The whole world runs on phone lines and data connections.  In October of 2000 I started a new job with a small hole in the wall Telecom company in San Carlos, California.  That job lasted 10 months.  The owner was a psycho and he didn’t like me because I didn’t cower before him and jump at his every whim.

On September 15, 2001 I moved in with Green M&M and started looking for a job.  When my unemployment benefits had run out and I still hadn’t found a job I signed up with a local staffing agency.  A week or so after I signed up with them I got a rather excited call from the rep telling me they had a great job for me, working in the Facility Management office of a high rise office building in Downtown Oakland, with a great company and a great manager.  It was a temp job, but I was desperate for full time work and the job was easy so I applied to be the new Administrative Assistant.  Nearly six and a half years later, I still work for The Company that Created the HMO, and still report to Douche Bag.  I’ve been promoted three times now, and I’m not an Administrative Assistant anymore, but the last promotion came when I was ordered to take on an entirely new set of responsibilities, despite the fact that I’d been very vocal about the fact that I did not want to do that work.  I wasn’t asked, or offered.  I was ordered and if I wasn’t happy about it I could quit.  I had every intention of it…  If I could just find something new.  It’s been three years.  I hate my job and I really want out.  But I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know how to proactively get myself a job and I don’t know what I would want to do if I did.

What, you might ask, is the point of all this?  Well, more than once it has been the topic of my therapy sessions: “I hate my job.”  “I want a new job.”  “I don’t know what I want to do with my life.”  “I don’t know the right steps to take to find a new job that I’ll be happy with.”  This is all very true, but the biggest issue has always been finding something that I’d be happy to make a career out of.  I have fears and insecurities about all the things I’ve ever considered and most of it requires educational experiences I do not have.

Lately I’ve really been thinking more about creative things.  You see, when I was young I wanted to be an actor.  If you’ve read this blog before you know this already.  The problem is, I have no confidence in my abilities anymore.  I took some drama classes in high school and I really enjoyed it, but I stopped and I’ve regretted it ever since.

Eight or nine years ago, I took an acting class from a man named Ed Hooks.  Ed was an actor in his earlier days, but hadn’t worked in years.  I now know that he didn’t have a terribly illustrious career (although I did see him on an episode of Quantum Leap on DVD the other day.)  Anyway, Ed was moving to Chicago and I knew going into it that my time in his class was short term.  During those few months I attended this man’s acting classes, I lost all of my remaining confidence in my ability to act.  I know I had a lot of growing to do and I wanted to do it but it’s hard, and Ed’s criticism always made me feel like I didn’t have the ability.  I’d like to think that my time in therapy has helped but I’m not sure that I’m any more able to be comfortable making a fool of myself than I was then…

Most of my formative years I was a singer.  I was in choir most of my school years and at church.  I love to sing.  And before my balls dropped– er puberty hit, my voice was pretty good.  I had solos regularly.  But something happened as the bottom started dropping out of my vocal chords and my voice became weaker, and my range far more limited.  I still sing all the time (in the shower, in the car, in places where no one can hear me, usually.)  Yeah, I have an OK enough voice that most people aren’t bothered by my singing, but I’m not any kind of performer.

I don’t have any dancing experience, and though I do have rhythm I’m not particularly confident on that front either.

All that is to say that I have been thinking a lot lately that I’d really like to get involved in musical theater or television and movies, but I don’t have the skills or the confidence to go for it.  I’m aware that there are classes I can take, but they cost money and I don’t have it.  Plus I spent my entire childhood living in poverty, and in the last few months things have been really, really tight.  I just can’t imagine how I could possibly take any cut in pay, financially, or emotionally.

So that’s my dilemma.  The only thing my entire life I’ve ever imagined I could be happy doing, is the one thing that I’m afraid to go for.  So I stay in my lousy job, with my decent, but not great, salary, and horrible working conditions, because I don’t know how I could possibly go for the one thing I want, and I don’t know what job to fall into next!

Life, Lunacy and the Pursuit of Financial Happiness; or The General State of Affairs

There’s a tickle at the back of my brain. A wee, small voice is calling out for freedom. There is a compulsion making its way to the surface. I feel like I have something to write. I’m just not sure yet what it is.

Saturday was Vengeful Mother’s 64th birthday. I played the dutiful son and called to wish her Happy Birthday and to inform her that a gift was not to follow. Things have been really tight for me lately. True to form, she took advantage of a moment of vulnerability on my part in which I told her of the financial difficulty I’ve been experiencing, to tell me that I wouldn’t be in this situation if I would just pay my tithes. Because after all, when I’m having trouble making ends meet to begin with the smartest thing I could do is write a $250.00 check, twice a month, for which I’ll receive no goods or services in return. Why wouldn’t I want to be $250.00 shorter per paycheck than I am now?

She tells me things would have been worse if she hadn’t done it, but I remember watching her write her tithe checks regularly, spending her last $50.00, and then having to scrape the cupboards to try to find something to feed her three hungry children. I guess she was “leading by example” by writing the checks, but what she was trying to instill in her children, that God will bless your finances if you tithe, didn’t come through. As far as I can tell, she’s still waiting for the blessing.

I suppose I was meant to accept not suffering homelessness, not having to go to school in rags and not starving to be a blessing. Now, I know I’m a bitter old dolt who has a fucked up sense of obligation but as far as I’m concerned, if Vengeful Mother and Dead Beat Dad weren’t prepared to guarantee those minimums, they should never have procreated in the first place. They probably shouldn’t have anyway. No, to me, being blessed is having all your needs met and having ample opportunities to make the most of your life. Those are the things I most certainly did not see happening when Vengeful Mother put her last few tuppence in the offering plates. Those are the things I didn’t have, period.

Tithes are supposed to be the “first fruits” of your “harvest” or the first 10% of your income. In other words, pre-tax. So my take home pay may be $1500.00 every two weeks, but I earn closer to $2500.00. Uncle SAM (as in Stole All my Money) takes the first nearly $1000.00 and then I’m supposed to hand over $250.00 more than that, before I do anything else? It’s impossible!

We had a luncheon at work today. I work in a small office of about five people. If you’ve read my blog, you’ve already been “introduced” to that group. We have a counter part group who works in another building. We don’t like them. They don’t like us. We have a mutual don’t like for each other and it’s a permanent condition.

Since my manager, Douche bag, is on vacation, the diminutive manager for the other group has been in charge. He decided to buy lunch for everyone today. So we gathered for sandwiches in a conference room. Midway through the lunch, he decided to announce that he was going to make this a monthly thing and that we’d meet for lunch monthly.

Every couple of months this comes up. Douche bag and his fun sized counterpart talk about how we should work together and have team building orgie— er, exercises and be BFFs, like that’s all it takes. Personalities and hard feelings be damned. I’m not sure why they can’t get it through their impenetrable skulls that we do not enjoy each others company and no amount of forcing the issue will change that. In fact forcing it on us will just make it harder to change things.

I had a couple of very peculiar dreams the other night. The first had to do with a forced entry situation at Vengeful Mother’s house. CPA sister and I were both there and it was bed time. CPA Sis was getting into bed in the living room, and Vengeful Mother was in bed in her room. CPA sis came across some papers in the living room that had some significance to a former boyfriend of hers; we’ll call him Breastplate (Explanation to follow). Vengeful Mother and I were reviewing the papers and realized that they were incriminating for Breastplate and some other guys. Suddenly, we heard loud noises as the front door was being broken down. I grabbed the papers and stuffed them under Vengeful Mother’s headboard.

I don’t really remember what happened after that except that the guys were tearing the house apart trying to find the papers and there was threatening and violence going on.

The second dream had a similar theme. I dreamed that Vengeful Mother and I were in a drug/grocery store and we had separated. The store was taken hostage by a group of ne’er-do-wells. I do not remember what their motivations were, but I remember that they were very rough. They were armed, but they had some sort of poison darts that they used to kill some of the hostages.

Once again, I do not remember the details of the dream but I remember that Vengeful Mother was killed with one of those darts. The dream ended when the police broke into the store and took out the bad dudes. I had managed to kill one of them in the course of my dream so when it was clear that the evil doers were going to die, their leader shot me with one of the darts, a moment before a policeman shot and killed him. Then just as everything was going dark I felt a sharp prick and shortly after I recovered. The police had the antidote for the poison and were able to save me, but not Vengeful Mother.

My therapist had the audacity to go on vacation last week and so it’ll have been two weeks since I’ve seen her, when I get to my appointment tomorrow evening. It seems as though I may have a lot to talk about. I do not wish for Vengeful Mother’s demise, but I do know that many things would be a lot easier on me if she was no longer part of my life. As I mentioned, she just turned 64 and some of you might be saying I don’t have that much longer with her, but you’d be wrong. People in my family, on both sides actually, live very long lives. My Paternal Grandfather who just died was almost 92. My Paternal Grandmother was in her early 80s when she died of cancer. My Maternal Grandmother was 84 when she died. The only enigma, if you will, is my Maternal Grandfather. He was killed when a psychotic divorceé boarded his plane wearing a dynamite vest in 1962. Grandfather was in his late 30s. Who knows how old he would have lived to be?

I take comfort in the fact that I won’t have to face the death of my parents for many years, and yet, there would be some comfort to be taken if I didn’t have to deal with those troubled relationships any further.

After nearly a year of negotiation, my regrettably pink bathroom is finally going to be remodeled starting on Monday, August 25, 2008. I’m dreading it. It’s going to be a major hassle for me. Their will be detritus everywhere while the work is happening. For a few days, my shower will be unavailable to me. Scared kitty will have to be closed up in the kitchen for his own safety and sanity, and the house will have to be thoroughly cleaned this week before my landlord sets foot in the place to meet with the contractor. I’ll be thrilled when the work is done.

My house was built in the 1920s. And the bathroom may well be the original bathroom, save for a new-ish toilet that was put in fewer than 5 years ago. The floor, sink counter and backsplash, and two sided shower surround are all covered in 4″ x 4″ pastel pink tile. The counter has a beveled, raised, pastel pink tile boarder that is hard to keep clean, and the counter is only 22 inches deep while the sink is 26 inches deep, so there is an angled protrusion from the counter where the sink is. The tile is dirty with the kind of dirt that doesn’t come out. Decade upon decade of use has resulted in a hue of grey that covers the pink such that only a power sand scrub or perhaps a dose of hydrochloric acid would make it come off, and then the tile would come up too. There are also what my landlady calls spider vein cracks in the tile. But most importantly, IT’S PINK!

Apparently, in the 1920s people were a good foot and a half shorter than they are now. The shower head, were it not to have an aftermarket handheld shower wand added to it, would hit me mid tattoo

 

and require me to bend down significantly to use it, and the top of the tile shower surround hits my shoulder level. Here in Oakland, we have a lot of mold issues to deal with, and it’s been my concern all along that this is going to be an issue if left unchecked.  (By the way, no comments about my ogre head!)

When completed, my bathroom is going to have new shower head that is up about two feet from it’s current location, the shower surround will be two single slabs of granite that will go up to 18″ from the ceiling, their will be an entirely new sink console with a new sink with polished nickel fixtures including a goose neck faucet. A new wall mounted mirror will hang over the counter and the counter will be single slab marble. Their will be fresh paint, new light fixtures, new towel hooks and rods and a brand new pergo floor. When finished the bathroom will be modern and lovely and will match the rest of the renovated house. I can’t wait!

And then theirs work. Douche Bag returns from his three and a half week tour of China tomorrow. When that happens, the respite I have had from all the shit that comes with his presence will be over. I do not look forward to that. I so desperately want to change jobs. I want to find something to do that is fulfilling and gratifying. I want to make a living being creative and inspiring to people. I would like to be a writer, but I don’t know how to make a living that way.

What I need is a sugar daddy! I’m now taking applications! Serious inquiries only, please!