Friday, August 29, 2003

This is an extraordinary piece of writing. My heart goes out to him and may the spirits lead him someday to peace.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Odds and ends.....

I'm not sure yet how to self reference my own blog (yes I do) but if you go back to my "hilarious" bathroom story you will learn all you need to know about my relationship with the "Super". Well, he's gone back to Ireland. It's supposedly temporary. In his absence my next door neighbor has apparently been selected as the new super. (So that's what that white smoke coming out of the chimney meant.) What his qualifications are I don't know. Although he's Irish. As was the "Super" before the previous "Super". And he's willing to relocate to the basement. That's where they go. Which means new next door neighbors eventually. I'm hoping for a gay masseur. That would be convenient.

I don't believe I related the story of how I almost caused myself to be decapitated in the spring. The cause of which was a loose pane of glass that fell from my own bedroom window five stories down to the street below where I happened to be reading a newspaper. Fortunately I was only showered in shattered glass and not killed. The result of this was I had to cover the now open window with a sheet of plastic to keep the heat, bugs and rain out and the cool, air conditioned air in. That was in March. Today, the plastic sheet remains. 5 months. I finally included a note with my habitually late rent check last week to the landlord basically saying...."um......what the...." He called today to explain the changing of the Irish Guard (see above) and that my window replacement got lost in the shuffle but it had indeed been down in the basement for the last month. He assured me I'm #1 on the repair list. This oughta be good.

I worked last Friday night on the late shift even though I was early. It was so Jabba The Drunk could get his drinking in and get to bed at a decent hour to start his vacation. I was happy to enable. I left my bike at home as they forecasted rain. Since I didn't need to navigate the mean streets beyond hailing a cab I decided to have a few cocktails at the end of the night myself. Now, ever since I reformed my wicked (drunken) ways it doesn't take much to get me totally buzzed. Three drinks will do it. Five and I'm usually drunk. This night I was particularly liteweight. Two drinks and I was totally gassed. I couldn't do the cash out or resolve a discrepancy in the paperwork. I finally decided to bag the whole thing till my next shift. Who's gonna yell at me, me? I set off for home and clambered into a taxi. As I did, I whacked my foot on something inside the car. It hurt but I thought little of it. As my ride progressed I noticed my foot felt kind of warm......and wet....sort of ...gushy. It wasn't till I got home and got up the stairs that I bothered to look at my foot. Fully 1/4 of the nail on my big toe had been torn off. That wet gushy feeling? Blood. Now you know how when you get hurt and you're drunk it doesn't hurt much? That was me. I'm all "look at that! A hunk of my toenail is missing! (everything is an exclamation when you're drunk) No wonder it hurt! I wonder if I can bandage it up!" sigh. I at least had the good sense to put a bandage on it so I didn't bleed all over my sheets. Now my big toe nail has this jagged drop on one end and I estimate it will take about six months of growth before it appears even again. Don't drink and wear sandals!

Speaking of akkahol. I met with the distributor of a new vodka that's been popping up around town lately. It's called Zyr. And aside from some very pretty packaging (gorgeous, sleek bottle) we chilled some up over ice cubes and hooo-ya! Let me tell ya babies that was some mighty fine tasting hootch! Smooth as a freshly shaved Puerto Rican ass and almost as refreshing. This is not a vodka you waste in a cosmo or some other nonsense. This is martini making vodka. Dry, dry and cold cold straight up. A ringing endorsement from me and bitch, *snap* she knows her vodkas.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

It hasn't really been since Aug 16 that I posted. It was a rather long entry and it took me a few days to complete it but I wanted to include my take on the blackout so I just kept at it till it was done. Oddly, a quick spin around the bookmarked blogs I read regularly reveals that almost everyone has been at it infrequently or not at all of late. A Blogworld group respite, a collective Blognap? Whatever, it appears I'm up first so I'll start the coffee...

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Where was I when....?

Not on the subway praise the spirits!

I was deeply into an afternoon of beauty high atop Second Ave. I grew a goatee and grew back all my chest hair (I'm a daddy now) and it all requires maintenence. At least, if you're a grooming freak like I am. So there I was with magnifying mirror and tweezer and a paint brush (don't ask - OK I'm not a daddy) when the TV blinks off. I was a little surprised because while a power failure in your own apartment is de rigeur for every New Yorker you usually know which appliances have to be running for a circuit to trip. It's sort of like that old Green Acres bit. The coffee maker's a 4, the microwave is a 5...and so on. A TV, a fan and a couple lights shouldn't have caused it. Still, I had plenty of light left in the apartment so I calmly finished my work and put everything away intending to contact the "Super" to see if he could flip the circuit. It was only when I went in the bathroom and noticed the lights were dimmed not out did I think "brownout". A quick check of the street confirmed it, or so I thought.

Eventually I made my way downstairs with backpack and camera in tow. By that time many people from the building had already gathered on the front porch huddled around somebody's shower radio. I decided at first I was going to ride around and get some pictures of the streets to document what happened. Right before I left something occurred to me. The bar....My Wife. I had a vague sense that the power went out around 4pm. So at this point it's debatable where in her commute Jabba The Drunk was. She's been so squirrely lately it wouldn't surprise me if she hadn't even left Jersey yet. I had to get to the bar. If she hasn't/ can't get in I'll have to pick up the banner and lead My Girls. Shades of The World Trade Center destruction. So I hop on my bike and set out uptown. I stupidly tried to make it up through Park Ave. and run into hell on earth. 9 million people all trying to get somewhere. And not the same somewhere just somewhere. Pande-fucking-monium despite what anyone else says on TV. I got some pictures but finally decided to get over to the East side and then uptown thinking I'd have an easier time of it. Hah! If anything it was worse. People in cars and on foot and in buses all trying to make their way through tunnels and over bridges and always, always, always.....some jackass in a gypsy cab trying to improve his position by all of 2 feet fucking up three lanes of traffic and accomplishing nothing. It may work in Bangladesh fuckhead but this is New York. I came upon these people at a highway entrance around 48th St with their handmade paper signs with the name of the town they were trying to get to.
I bet it worked. We're good like that. I saw people pile into cars hitching rides with strangers all night. I finally popped out of the giant butthole crowd like the little turd I am at around 57th st. Just in time to see a sea of humans swarming up the ramps of the 59th St. bridge to get the hell out of Dodge.
This exodus went on for hours and hours and hours. I finally arrived at The Wife. She was well managed and in good hands but I had had such an ordeal getting there that a return trip was out of the question. So I hung out till my shift started trying to get news reports on my radio and being of general good cheer. I could have changed clothes if I was willing to take a flashlight down to my storage area, but it was stiflingly hot and I thought, "Buffalo Snow Rules clearly state that during a crisis either man-made or natural, dress codes officially go out the winda." So I managed the bar in shorts and a tank top and was able to accomplish most of it from the slightly (but not much)cooler sidewalk.
I spent the entire night half expecting the power to be restored at some point. We finally closed up shop for good around 1am as I started to feel that the people left on the street were getting a tad young and a tad boisterous. No sense asking for trouble. It finds you.

The ride home was about the coolest thing ever. When all was said and done it was around 3am and I just needed to escort J--- home to 53rd/Lex cause he was really scerrred to go alone...pussy. I slapped a blinkng red light on my backpack ( now rendered incredibly bright with no lights whatsoever anywhere else) and confidently set off back downtown. If 10 cars passed me that was a lot and occasionally I would pass an open deli with two little men of various ethnicities (but always curiously tiny) huddled in front of a candle selling, (I expected) at ridiculously inflated prices, various things people feel they can't do without during a blackout. There were traffic cops at some intersections that would just wave me through seeing as how often I was the traffic. I think I did the 40 blocks in 10 minutes. After arriving home and doing the penlight climb up the stairs I scoped my place out. It was hot, but not horribly so. We only air condition the bedrooms anyway. I don't like A/C as a rule but in my advancing years I've come to use it for sleeping. The Ex was sacked out on the living room couch (drunk, I guessed. I probably would have been/should be) Candles burning but thankfully not near anything flammable, even accidently. I taught her well. I blew em out and then went about my bedtime washup. Instead of hitting the sack though I gathered some supplies. A lemon scented candle, my radio Walkman and two delighful cocktails. I went back down the five flights and plopped myself on the front stoop (not porch, in NYC it's a stoop). I lit the candle, tuned into Lite FM and quietly sipped my cocktails. It....was....bliss. Pitch dark, nary a soul walking by, it was like the city belonged to me and the possibilities were endless. In fact, the whole scenario reminded me that they are.

I rolled over to check the clock and d'oh!..... the clock's not on. No power yet. Not really a surprise as I figured that I would hear the apartment "power up" if it happened. I had the presence of mind to wear my watch to bed It's 9:40. No reason to get up yet and while it's hot, I know it will get stupid hot later so.....*roll* back to sleep for an hour or so. I finally get up aroung 11 a.m. The Ex is up trying to get the 411 from the radio and my good mood from my Zen moment on the front stoop has stayed with me. I boil some water to get some emergency tea (!) in me...the caffeine ya know. And The Ex and I decide to set out into the East Village to see what's what, search for coffee and food. It strikes me funny that we're (relatively) young, white and with cash in our pockets and we're actually going out searching for food. "Will blow you for donuts" We got all the way down to 2nd/2nd checked in on Dennis at Urge and headed back up. Managed to score some lukewarm coffee from a cafe with a generator and bought a big container of Poland Spring just in case.....well....just in case. Came home to a stiflingly hot apartment and proceeded to eat whatever we had. Lunch was hot dogs, baked beans and fettucine alfredo. I swear! We started hearing that different neighborhoods were starting to get power and indeed, the UWS apparently was back as of 6 a.m. (big surprise - not!). So it seemed a bike tour was in order so I could get a read on who had what, where we might score food if needed and also, I needed to head up and check on The Wife. I needed to see where we stood in terms of A/C and ice, not that I could do anything about it really, I was just trying to prepare in advance for when I went in. She doesn't like surprises if they are avoidable. So I set out around 3 p.m. headed directly uptown. I reached the Modern Age (electricity) at 39th st. and pressed on up to 58th to The Wife. Power on. Although I was informed by the opening bartender that it just came on and there came Jabba the Drunk from the opposite direction so....power (check)..... management (check) I'm out. Biked through the park and then popped out at 72nd. Accross to the Hudson River and then back down. Oops! No power in Chelsea but yes in the Village. Back across town and a big "No" to electricity in the East Village and beloved Gramercy. I couldn't wait any longer and took a pretty cold shower (kind of refreshing) and decided to head out to the west Village in search of an ATM (for The Ex) and a decent dinner. It was a mismosh as to who/what was open with the majority of bars opening up figuring, (wisely) that people were off from work they'd want liquor. Some groceries and some restaurants but very few retail stores. We settled on Sushi Samba down on 7th Ave figuring, in my mind at least, that the sushi can't go bad if it's served raw....I know...but it made sense then. we managed to fill up without poisoning ourselves and after finding the only working ATM in lower Manhattan, headed back East. Around Broadway we noticed that the lights were still out east of there. As we got closer the coolest effect was happening. The East Village was now so dark compared to the rest of the neighborhood that it took on a kind of Badlands, dark territory kind of feel. You would be peering into the darkness when a bike tire would appear and then a sneaker and then three people walking towards you. I checked to make sure thay didn't have white afros and white eyes, just as a precaution. Soylent Green is People! It wasn't till we got to 14th st that we realized the north side (our side) was lit. Sucks to be you East Village! Headed home and turned on all the appliances ( fuck you Con Ed) even though we didn't need them. I wisely unplugged my computer during the blackout and fired the old girl back up without incident. (As it turns out, many people and businesses are still having problems a week later because they left their boxes plugged in and got a juice jolt that scrambled their innards. You've been warned.) From that point on life slowly returned to normal. I took a delightfully air conditioned bus ride up to work. The bar was open but not too busy as the subways hadn't come back yet. The weekend was upon us and New York seemed to take a collective shrug and move on.

The most remarkable things I came away with from this experience? How the entire city now seems to easily fall into this crisis mode. It's the second time in 2 years (!) where the city had to basically evacuate and people just do. They leave their buildings and abandon their cars and just slowly, methodically walk to where thay need to go. What other city in the entire world is that adaptable? They just figure out what's required and do it. The other thing is a personal revelation. After the blackout, reading other accounts of where were you when, I was struck by how many people assumed or feared or concluded that this was a terrorist attack. And I never did. Not once. Not even a little. I was, in fact, surprised to read it at first. What I find amazing about that fact is that apparently, living in fear of a terrorist attack has become a part of the makeup of regular people in this country. But not me. Am I just that at peace with the world that I don't default to fear automatically? Or am I just stupid?

Monday, August 11, 2003

Oh happy day....

Was it a Blogger thing? I know I didn't fix it. Whatever the cause/reason my archive links be fixed and I'm doing a l'il happy dance. Not really, actually I'm stark naked getting ready to get dressed and hit the gym. In my efforts to fix my blog I downloaded a new template for it and I really like the new one so much better. It's easier on the eyes than my previous darker version. I'm 1/4 of the way through my website design book so I'm sure I'll be fiddling with things very soon. For now, we'll keep things as they are and enjoy the way the universe "pushed" me here.

Saturday, August 09, 2003

damn! damn! damn!

just when I invite people in to see the house the lights go out. Or more specifically the archives section of my blog done disappeared. I managed to pop a new template up that restored my archive listing but not the actual archives. I'm sure it's something I've done wrong in my settings but I can't figure it out. AND I ended up 86ing my sitemeter as well. AND I no longer have an e-mail link so if anyone is going to help me fix this all I'll slob your knob as a reward but it means posting my e-mail addy for all to see. I know, I could use my Yahoo mail or set up a ficticious account to handle my blog mail but let's face it, no one e-mails me anyway. HELP!:
Reach out and touch.....

I just sent you a little e-mail fan letter

I'm a little afraid of a good way

You I'm totally intruiged by.... and I want to hug you

I recently joined your legion of fans

I just absolutely know you're good in the sack....aren't you? AREN'T YOU?

I'm too old to do filthy things with you so would you just describe a few for me? Oh, and pictures would be nice

Thursday, August 07, 2003

I need to get this out of me. Hopefully, it will be the last words on this subject

But you never know.

It started with the hair. I freely admit it. You had that gorgeous long hair back then and I remember one night, not sure which night I just remember it, you pulled out whatever you were using to tie it back and flipped your hair from one side to the other. I distinctly remember making you go all Clairol Herbal Essence on me as I saw you move into slow motion and that….beautiful…..brown… …bounced around your shoulders and I was all “whoa, that’s hot”. My heart skipped a beat and I was startled by it (what the fuck?....). My heart hadn’t skipped a beat in a very long time. I think I got a little dizzy. I noticed you. At first, all I wanted was for you to notice me too.

Back then, I was still seriously damaged. Will I ever know if it was the alcohol, or some fucked up brain chemistry, or simply me going too deep in my own head? I suspect some wicked combination of all three. Whatever it was I was barely treading water when we met. I was able to hold down a job, just. And when I looked at you, I didn’t see perfection at all. I saw you struggling. I saw how hard it was to work full time and go to school full time. At first, I just appreciated and admired the struggle. I could relate. And then one day, tellingly a day I totally don’t remember, I came to find out you were HIV+. I wanted to cry. For you. I didn’t want it to be true not because it had anything to do with how I felt about you. By then we had started to be friends. This would have nothing to do with that. I wanted it to not be true because my god, how many burdens can one person carry? Because against this problem, I had no power at all. I couldn’t help. I could only listen. And not pull away. And show you that it didn’t matter to me. I guess that was helping.

September 11, 2001

Over 3,000 people in my city die in one morning. At the time, we thought it was over 5,000. And they didn’t die over the course of many days or weeks. Or a total figure you get after weeks and months of war. Over 3,000 people just winked out of existence *snap* just like that. Children were orphaned, husbands never came home. Families and a city ripped open. I had a job to do. A bar to keep open. People really needed drinks in the days that followed and I was glad to be busy. But still, even if you don’t believe I may have some empathic skills, you know all about how spirits are all connected and at the very least the loss of 3,000 people all at once will cause a ripple in the collective unconscious. For me it was a wave. Or a series of waves. I felt the loss. I felt it. I remember very distinctly talking on the phone with my Dad and feeling a palpable wound in my very soul. Oh and I didn’t know it at the time, but the very thing that sent most of NYC into a funereal dirge was the thing that would start the slow push for me back to sanity. That, and a guy I wanted to know better.

Yes, I was absolutely sick of being sick and I suppose you could make a case that my legendary instinct for survival would have eventually kicked in anyway. But it was after the World Trade Center was destroyed and because you were inspiring me that I finally found, if not the ability, at least the desire to heal. Don’t get me wrong. Everything I did, I did for me. I needed to get better. I needed to be better. I needed to stop wasting time on ingrained behavior and bad habits and fears and addictions and once and for all let it all…..fall….away. It was the only way to survive. But you were always there. Like a program running in the background urging me on by word and by example. Look at all you’re going through and I’m scared to ride an escalator? Are you serious? Suck it up and stop this nonsense. I quit smoking because of that hideous hacking cough, because my clothes and apartment reeked all the time and because I was a slave to the addiction and the pleasure had long since gone out of it. But also because I knew it would impress you a little. So no, I have no plans to start smoking “at” you in some twisted pay back.
I had no interest in draining ¾ of a bottle of vodka every night and waking up at 2:30 in the afternoon with just enough time to jump-start my heart with a pot of coffee and get back to work anymore. I wanted my free time to be about discovery not recovery. So much I wanted to do and still do. I want to re-learn French, learn martial arts, learn to sign at least the alphabet. I want to fix my house (check), write a book, churn out crappy poetry (check) and keep a web log (check). I want to create art (check) I want to be art (check) I want to make porn! Knowing you has re-awakened a creative side I allowed to grow dormant and it’s back with a vengeance and I celebrate this return on a daily basis. And you made me laugh! Do you have any idea how attractive a man who likes to laugh truly is?

I knew there was trouble the first time you got sick. You had that stomach thing that went on for months that sent you scrambling for the bathroom every couple of hours. And still you came to work every day. But there was something new. When you told me what was happening I was feeling bad for you and full of worry as well. I went home that night and bookmarked site after site about HIV/AIDS and drugs and side effects. I was determined to help you if I could if you needed it if you asked. I wanted to protect you. I wanted to save you. I want to save him. Oh god, this can’t be good news I want to protect him. What is he to me besides friend? There are real feelings there. I care for him. I care. That’s extraordinary in and of itself. I started to care again. About many things. About me. I was so far from where I wanted to be still, that I didn’t really sweat it, this crush, this infatuation. I liked it. It was harmless and you knew. A part of you knew. I sensed it. It was fun, wasn’t it? Did you know how many times I felt myself blush when we talked? Did you know you could get me hard just by whispering to me?

And so it goes for weeks and weeks trading e-mails and Thursday phone calls and Sundays at the bar and the weeks turn to months and my feelings don’t change they grow deeper and I grow stronger in body and mind and there are hiccups like when you finally start dating P---. Jealous? Yes. But it was obviously doomed so what was the point and it didn’t really seem to affect our friendship and was over in a blink so that was that. I had you back. Still, not the way I wanted and what the hell to do about it. I tried a couple of times to stay away but that just totally sucked as a solution I had grown to depend on you, to look forward to spending time with you. Not getting to talk with you felt like punishment for me and what the hell did I do wrong?

March 7, 2003

It seemed like a natural progression. I had taken charge of my life now it was time to take charge of my health. I felt better than I had in years but I had no idea how much damage a few years of crazy may have done. Again, I looked to you for inspiration. I knew what was possible, (to tell the truth, I know this body, I was never surprised, not really) seeing how you lived with such courage and spirit made me know that regardless I would not view this as some great tragedy. But on this day I was diagnosed HIV+. I thought of you first. I needed to be with you. Not because I thought you could do something or I looked to you for some “magic bean” that would make it all right. I just wanted to be with you. That was my comfort. Because I knew I wouldn’t have to say anything or explain myself, we already “got it” with each other. I knew you’d be upset. How funny was it on the day after my diagnosis my impulse was to try and comfort you about it. It’s what I do. I try to take care of people. Being HIV+ wasn’t going to make me selfish. And all it really became between us in my eyes was another thread. Another shared experience that joined us together. One more thing we really didn’t need to talk about because we both knew. Then you met someone.

You met someone. I’m not going to say anything about him cause I already have a little in this web log and it’s not important. The important part is it’s not me. And I don’t think it’s ever going to be me. And aside from the actual relationship ripping me up, it’s the ease with which it started. At least from my view it was practically “Oh, I’m ready for a boyfriend now how about……you?” and pow! You’re a couple. And I’m outside in the snow with my face pressed up against the window fogging it up. And I’ve tried to get my feelings under control I really have. I’ve meditated and breathed and exercised and screamed at the top of my lungs on a bike ride and I’m better. But it will never be good with me. I’ve even listed all the ways it would never work with us in my head. I’d have to marry your whole family and it took me twenty years to shake the dust off my own family I don’t want yours. But your life is totally entwined with them and I don’t see that changing. You are impossibly judgmental with people and you never seem willing to allow people their flaws even though you expect everyone to understand and accept yours. While I admire you spirit immensely, you do on occasion present a holier than thou attitude that just annoys the crap out of me. Call me crazy….but I don’t think one of the steps to spiritual enlightenment is smugness. You seem to have this need to be surrounded by people who practically worship you as you dole out little “treats” to your “pets” and you get visibly annoyed when they don’t behave like you want them to. Why do you think I never accept any food you offer me? I’m not one of your pets. You let your Mom do your laundry for god’s sake! See? I never thought you were perfect. I just didn’t care.

So I guess when it all comes down to it it’s all about survival again. I will survive this. But I’m going to have to let go. Of my needs, my desires. Of you. If I’m really going to soar now, I need to cut the last thing holding me down. My feelings for you. So I’m using this web log to say goodbye to you. One day, maybe soon, perhaps I’ll have the courage to point you here and things will be clearer. Or more fucked up. Life’s a crapshoot that way. And isn’t that wonderful? I just wanted to get this all down and have the chance, even if you never see it, to say thank you. For being my friend and my confidant. For showing me that an illness is certainly not a death sentence, if you’re smart enough, it can be an excuse to finally live. For the part you played in re-awakening my passion, my spirit my lust for life. For helping to quell my doubts and face my fears and quiet the demons. I wanted to put this here so that someday, when I stop to think about where I was in 2003 I remember. That was the year I finally took my life back. That was the year I was told I was HIV+. That was the year I fell in love.

Goodbye my love

(Ed note:)

My plan originally was to come back to this post. I had plans to work it and rework it adding extra thoughts and making changes until it was a soaring masterpiece of words and thoughts and declarations of how real and deep my feelings were/are. The idea was that one day I would point the way to this blog to my Neo/ my love (your kind of wierd obsession) Stop that! Did I ask for input from my inner voice? And someday, there'd be a knock at my door - in this fantasy I apparently have no locked lobby door - I'd open it to find Neo in the hallway, looking that sickly shade of green the paint job in my hallway makes everyone. "I'm sorry..." he whispers, "I didn't know..." at which point he rushes into my arms and I kiss him and even better, he kisses me back. I haven't worked out yet if we have sex right then and there or if it happens later.

Anyway, that was the plan. But I'm finding myself obsessing over this whole situation less and less. After rereading it and fixing a couple of grammatical errors I have decided against revisiting this post. I'm finding it a tad over the top in the melodrama department as well. it says what it says and it is what it is. And while I may never drop the feelings of regret over what might have been, I really do believe I'm ready to move on. In more ways than one. 8/16/2003

Sunday, August 03, 2003

I just saw a weather report for the next four days calling for showers/thunderstorms every day. This is unacceptable as I am currently enjoying a summer of long bike rides and trips to various gay beaches. As a result, I am forced to manipulate weather patterns on a global scale in order to insure at the very least a bright and sunny Wednesday day off. My tan demands it. I apologize in advance as this my cause severe weather to break out over New Zealand and floods in Germany. Also, it can give me a splitting headache. If rain still breaks out on Tuesday as forecast I will try to post a longer message. I've been on a strange little trip but I haven't been able to relate it yet cause I'm still in the middle of it. Starting to get a handle on it, though. Ya dig me? Yo, peace out my sistahs......