Wednesday, March 30, 2005
But it will all have to wait because I've arrived back to the castle and The Duchess is in her cups. It's miraculous I've managed a post of this length that's coherent.
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Friday, March 25, 2005
I had an extraordinarily difficult (to me) weekend. My home, any of my homes, have never been vandalized. Things have been broken, dropped inadvertently. Sometimes something snapped off in my or another persons hand. Wear and tear. It's normal. But this was different. Someone either from within my home or an opportunist from without actually took the moment to willfully and with malice cause destruction in my house. I expect I will never know the real story as to what happened, but it sent me into a rage. The lioness inside went into full-protect mode. Protect myself and protect what's mine. If I had to cut a swath through friends and roommates to achieve it, I would.
I felt vulnerable and not in control, and I knew I needed to act quickly to regain it. Hence the high drama of taking a hotel room for two days. Unbeknownst to them, the hotel was around the corner from the castle lest I needed to act quickly to prevent whole scale theivery. The combination lock I placed on my bedroom was mostly for show as well, The way it's installed, if anyone bothers to inspect it, you can remove the screws and the whole latch can be removed. Still, I'll be using the padlock for at least another week, just to drive the point home.
I needed to stage a throwdown with The Hellcat because I wanted to gauge his reactions. To see what would happen if I stripped off the veneer of my trying to be supportive of this, his 4th repeat at "assembling a support team" and "seeking therapy" and "going to meetings all the time" and not drinking anymore which was qualified in the next breath with a "probably not". I told him he hasn't gotten better because he doesn't want to get better. Getting better would force him to be out of bed before 5:00 every afternoon. Getting better would mean he could take (horrors!) a job. I told him his excuses for why he gets high are downright lame. "I'm depressed." Who the fuck isn't it's New York. Take the anti-depressants they give you and if that doesn't work take something different, or more. It's New York City. We exist on pills. Depression isn't an illness, it's a badge of honor. Go outside and curse at assholes. That's coping. I'm grieving. Blah, blah, blah. I take drugs 'cause my boyfriend died. Reality check, you were a meth head before your boyfriend was your boyfriend. The truth is, you're using his death as an excuse to continue. That was the shot that made him snap. When he accused me of not understanding death and positively screeching about "14 people! 14 people have died on me in the last few years! You don't know what that's like." I didn't answer, but I had obviously struck a nerve.
Here's what I didn't say: On June 11 in 2000 my sister died suddenly while I was on vacation in Las Vegas. In truth, I did get back here to New York before I got the message, and arrived back home before she died, but she never woke up and died the afternoon I got there. She left behind my five year old niece. I was heartbroken. But somehow managed to write and deliver the eulogy at her funeral.
In the early 90's I was working in the South Street Seaport and met a guy at a bar. He was extraordinarily cute and (the true deal-sealer for me) he made me laugh so damn hard. We dated several times and had great great sex. I was aware that there was a boyfriend in the picture from a relationship that was ending badly. Early the following week, I was informed that his soon to be ex-boyfriend hacked him to pieces in every room of their house. He severed both his hands completely. I spent an entire night on my living room couch, wailing at the horror.
That same year, I spent a night with a co-worker I had hit it off with, He was a cool black dude who worked in the kitchen and I thought he was funny and smart with an interesting take on life. We hung around a bar all night shooting pool and playing video trivia. We had a couple burgers and some pizza later. We said our goodbyes about 1 am. At 1:30 he was found shot dead at the foot of the stairs of a subway station. He was killed by a single bullet to the brain. The police theorized robbery, although what a line cook coming home from work had on him to rob I'll never know. I don't believe the killers were ever caught.
There were others. Some acquaintances who succumbed to AIDS so quickly. Other family members, including the suicide of my cousin last year. Also struggling with depression.
I didn't say any of this to The Hellcat the other day. He was far too gone and far too dedicated to justifying his self-destructive behavior if not to me, then at least to himself, to understand my point that using the death of a loved one, of a friend, of a sister as an excuse for why your life has spiraled out of control, does a horrible disservice to the very people you claim to be anguished by their absence. How is it that you honor their memory by destroying brain cells, or lapsing into a depression of apathy. If you truly want their life and death to have value and meaning, you'll use it to fight for your own.
When none of his screaming and refusals to take ownership that he himself is the source of his troubles worked, that his lack of self control and a basic knowledge of what is right and wrong in maintaining friendships and doing your job and keeping your promises are the root causes and failures from within that need to be fixed, well that's when he called me a friendless alcoholic. Even better a "nasty alcoholic" recovering from a night of drinking "right now". So conveniently, me throwing him out of the house, the mess he's made of things regarding laying around the house like a wasted bag of skin, failing to have a single attempt at rehab take, failing to secure any on-going therapy for his mental problems, failing to secure extra income from a job, beating up his boyfriend, bringing strangers to the house to do drugs when he was told to never ever do it, not finding enough time in his busy, busy day to get his laundry done, all of that, all of it, is because I'm an alcoholic. With a full time job. And several major credit cards. And a roof over my head. And money in my pocket. And a pretty nice looking stock portfolio. OK, my bad.
But back to the apology, Upon re-reading the histrionics of the last few days and then receiving the nice, and encouraging comment from RJ I'm also taken aback by the comment left by Alec. I feel like a total dumb-ass. 31 years in a relationship with a man who's now terminal. 12 years battling a pain condition and diagnosed with skin cancer. And you admire my ability to cope? I am truly humbled, sir. I wish all the best for you and yours, may the spirits watch over you. Please feel free to keep in touch. I'm just a guy with plenty of blessings and a couple of sucky roommates.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
I've calmed down. I spoke to The Hellcat tonight when I got home. I let him know that I'm still very very upset that my home was vandalized. I talked to him again about doing drugs in the house. I was as honest as I could be and let him know that for now, I really don't trust him. I also explained that with my new job, I'm feeling a lot of stress and need things at home to be peaceful.
Also, I need to talk to you as I've been feeling very under-appreciated regarding taking care of the apartment. My job is a lot of work and I'm feeling very resentful that it seems to be up to me to scrub the toilet, and sweep and mop the kitchen floor and clean out the dirty and greasy microwave and carry down the recycling and move and dust all the furniture out of the living room and clean that floor as well. Also, I'm expected to pay the bills and take care of The Hellcat's welfare checks and deal with the landlord.
I'm spending 50+ hours a week running a busy nightclub only to come home and have to manage an apartment. It's not fair and I'm exhausted. The Hellcat suggested we set up a chore schedule and while at first I tought it was stupid, maybe seeing in writing all the things I have been doing to maintain an orderly, clean apartment will help you both to appreciate how hard I've been working.
At any rate, we've managed to say we're both sorry. Truthfully, I don't think this attempt at getting his life together will work any better than the last three attempts. But I'm at least willing to give it a shot.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
In other news
We mourn the closing of the classic gay go-go palace The Gaiety. -via towleroad
I'm too lazy to find it myself, Mr. Hell's Kitchen has reprinted a letter to the The New York Times re: the non-story story about The Cock
Sunday, March 20, 2005
Seriously people I officially do not feel safe in my own home. He fucking kicked my door in! Tomorrow should be interesting. As well as all of next week I expect. Stay tuned! (If I get my skull crushed with a hammer, there are pictures of The Hellcat on my blog.)
Update: (In case I end up dead)
Based on the evidence available to me, I can only imagine one of two scenarios: Either you came home and carelessly left the front door unlocked and open. Some random stranger came in to the apartment and upon seeing my unlocked but shut bedroom door, decided to kick it open. After which, he stole not one thing and calmly left. Or, you came home drunk and in some sort of mood (which I’ve personally witnessed before) and acting out, kicked my bedroom door open.
Either way, the result is I no longer feel safe in my own home. That is unacceptable. In light of this, I need to ask you to leave. Unfortunately, I am very busy working and since our schedules are completely opposite lately I can’t do this in person. Because of the issue of my personal well being I have made other living arrangements for myself for the next two days. My next day off is this Tuesday. I expect you to have new living arrangements of your own by then. If you fail to move out by Tuesday I will have no choice but to call the police and have you removed. You have some aid coming from the city next week. If you need me to, I will cash it for you and give you the full amount. I will cover your bills due for this month.
I’m sorry it has come to this, but I honestly feel you’ve left me no choice. When you are sober, you are such a wonderful man. You are smart and funny and great to be around. When you’re not sober you are thoughtless and uncaring. You are unable to control your impulses, and tend to do whatever you please as if there are no consequences. In the real world there are.
In my world, when you leave me and my property vulnerable to violence, or get violent yourself, it’s time for you to go. I will be around during the next couple of days to pick up clothes and whatever I need. I suppose if you want to talk about this I will, but I really have made up my mind. I can't ignore this. And I won't live this way.
Saturday, March 19, 2005
I don't want these people living in my house anymore. I don't want anybody living in my house anymore. I want to come home from work and not have the garbage overflowing. I had to leave tonight because The Ex selected Legally Blonde as tonight's television entertainment. The movie sucked. The sequel double-sucked. Nobody ever needs to watch Legally Blonde ever again. Ever. I feel like the guest/maid/intruder whenever I'm home.
I want to cook pasta naked and have sex on the coffee table. That won't happen as long as I live with my ex-lover and a drug addict. It's that simple.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
The Ex returned from a weekend back home in Buffalo. Truth to tell, on Saturday when I left for work and didn't see him I just figured he was sleeping unusually long. God forbid he ever ups and dies in that bedroom. I won't know until the stink starts to seep under the door. Anyhow, he toured various gay haunts of our precious gay youth. Yes, even little dingy Buffalo has a gay ghetto of sorts. In fact, the gay bar count seems to remain at around five at any one time. It seems that a sixth bar causes some kind of saturation chain reaction to take place. Either the new bar closes pretty quickly or one of the older bars that was just hangin' on finally gasps it's last. "Welcome to Buffalo, 5 gay bars is our maximum capacity".
It was on his nostalgia tour he snapped this picture. This was the second apartment I ever lived in. The first place I ever lived alone. It was on Mariner street. A little side street just off the gay ghetto of the time. My apartment was a tiny little one bedroom in the back. You didn't even use the front door. My entrance was through a two foot wide walkway on the building's left side. That led to a back doorway and staircase to other apartments. I remember moving in on a winter night. If I had to guess the year I'd say 1984 or '85. I don't remember the circumstances of why I left my first apartment, it seems to me it had something to do with one of my roommate's relatives taking the place back. I was 21 and gay, drinking vodka and ice teas and experimenting with sex and drugs. Shit happened.
So that's how I found myself one cold winter night moving my clothes and whatever borrowed plates, cookware, furniture and linens I could scrounge from my Mom. A feat made more difficult as my alley walkway was covered in ice. It was my Mom and my younger sister who helped me move. At this point in a sometimes contentious relationship, I wasn't speaking to my Dad. My relationship to my Mom was severely curtailed as well, but we all seemed to recognize that we needed to create some sort of an information conduit. So bi-weekly and terse conversations with Mom were the only connection to my family then. The place was drafty, dark and potentially depressing. But it was all I could afford, and I was secretly thrilled and a little bit scared to be totally on my own.
One night, I was startled by a knock on the door. Nobody visited me here, unless it was an inebriated boy I managed to drag home to have equally inebriated sex with. Much to my surprise, it was one of the neighbors from one of the upstairs apartments. They were Indian. By my guess, there was five or six of them sharing an apartment of an undetermined size, but it would be fair to guess no bigger than a two bedroom. I didn't know them at all except by sight. And how they would noisily clomp up and down the stairs at all hours. I've never been the "hi neighbor" type. If anything I was more standoff-ish then than I am now. What can I say, The Duchess has mellowed. In any case, I hadn't met very many Indian people at the time. I have a facility for language and accents. Given enough time, I can understand virtually anyone's English no matter what their native language. That skill has served me well over the years here in New York. But I was raised in the whitest of white suburbs of Buffalo. At the time, I had enormous difficulty with the New Delhi to English translation. I got there was a problem. I got there was a baby. I got an ambulance was called. It wasn't until an obviously in distress, in labor Indian woman came waddling through my doorway did I realize the problem with the baby was it was coming! I immediately thought about the fact that I barely had enough extra linen to change the bed once. Will placenta come out of a twin sheet set?
Apparently, the problem was that the 911 operator had similar difficulty with her Universal Translator, and had no idea where to send the ambulance. I know this because once I realized they wanted me to call 911 and I explained the problem, I either got the operator or this operator knew what was going on. It seems an ambulance was dispatched, to an address, but not the address. I was able to give them the correct street and address. All the while, I'm nervously eyeing the Indian woman sitting uncomfortably at my (borrowed) kitchen table. I'm positively willing her not to have a contraction. A few minutes later, an ambulance pulled up to the building and off she waddled. I guess in India, if you can walk to the vehicle a gurney isn't necessary. I never did find out if it was a boy or girl.
Monday, March 14, 2005
From The Dept. Of Maybe I Have Finally Seen It All:
We did another room rental tonight for an outside promoter. Two words: Israeli Hip-Hop. In Hebrew! I swear I'm not kidding. (Go Shlomo, It's yer birthday, Go Shlomo ...)
Yeah, it's all fun and games, until A Zombie Eats Your Brain! Seriously, it's fiction people. Zombies aren't real. Anymore.
The new digital camera arrived last week. The damn thing does everything but my laundry. It's taken me a week of subway trips just to finish reading the manual. If you need some (cough) naked (cough) pictures, I'm looking for willing subjects.
Trying and failing to get in to my edit page all day, and I got scooped. As a ton of people have already commented, The New York Times ran the most bizzare non-story story about the East Village drunk-dive The Cock. Amazingly, while interviewing patrons on a wide range of subjects from HIV/AIDS to $250 jeans, the folks at the Old Gray Lady never actually print the word "cock".
Text message from Neo to me:
Neo: Townhouse needs a new manager, Frank quit.
Me: Not available.
Me: (no answer)
Neo: I'll treat you like a whore.
Me: If you had done that before I'd still be there.
Sunday, March 13, 2005
The upshot of it is the man snapped like a dry twig, like a ripe green bean, like a faggot without Xanax, like a ... well, she snapped. So he was given a time out until he could decide what he wanted to do. He decided to quit. Like I decided to quit. But now I'm not so sure.
I had the chance to get a look at the bigger picture. On the one hand, I am acutely aware that I am in a battle for my life. It's imperative that I stay as healthy as I can for as long as I can. Because eventually my health will fail. Eventually, I will lose this battle and will be forced to address it with medication. And then I will be facing a life dealing with various possible side effects. Forever. How important is that stacked against running some hetero nightclub in Manhattan where I have no health insurance, where my chances for major advancement are nil, where I sacrifice my free time and my desire to create? Answer: Not very.
So the stress I was feeling is pretty irrelevant ain't it? When I do a job, I like to do a good job. It's important to me. But driving myself nuts over it is a lot of wasted energy. I will do the best job that I can for as long as I can. I will take control of my work. I will not allow it to get the best of me, because I am stronger and more powerful than what I do for a paycheck. I will absolutely keep my options open as it would be wonderful to find a new job that would combine my work ethic with some good money with a shout out to my creative streak. In the meantime, it appears The Warrior in me has returned.
Friday, March 11, 2005
As an aside, there were some genuine celebrities on hand. Russel Simmons dropped by. The Game (who?) put in an appearance. As did Sean Combs. (I refuse to call him P. Diddy, once and for all that's fuckin' stupid. Period.) At one point, I was guarding a doorway between the nightclub (No Lucy, you can't be in the show) and the restaurant. I was supposed to prevent people from using it, as they clomped through the kitchen which is a safety issue and damned annoying. When I tried to stop a production wench from going through she informed me that she was taking Sean Combs through. Now, I was totally through at this point and feisty as hell. I had multiple instances of "don't you know who I am's" (sorry, DJ Hollywood, that name means absolutely not a fucking thing to me). But I have in fact heard of Sean Combs. So I let them through. And then 20, 30 (holy shit!) 50 no, make that 70 people marched through. I'm not kidding. Who the fuck travels with an entourage of 70+ people? I ran it down today and sure enough, he walked in with 70+ friends and was traveling with a party of over 70 people. The bodyguards I could see. The group of 10 or 15 "peeps" I could sorta see. The extra 55 people? That's retarded.
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
I guess I can tell you that basically, not much has changed, while everything changed. I was already on a journey when my diagnosis came in. The news just pushed me further along the road. Which I guess is preferable to sitting along the roadside watching the other travelers go by. And I have been at that point before. I have a sense of urgency I never had before. A feeling that I need to say, live, do, learn before it's too late. Before I run out of time. Before I'm not here anymore. Even though medically, I'm absolutely fine. I'm not running scared I'm just running. I called The Hellcat today at around 3. I was heading to the gym and then out for some shopping (imagine!). I urged him to get up out of bed and enjoy a balmy 60+ degree day in NYC. He did eventually get up and move from the bed to the couch. Where he promptly fell back asleep. The rest of the day (Ha!) was spent snacking and watching reality (Ha!) TV programs and periodically nodding off. Until around 2 am when he went to bed. I found it sad and horrifying. I could never, ever sleep away the day and then spend eight hours couch surfing. In fact, I frequently get frustrated about how much time I have in a given day versus what I hope to accomplish.
I've talked about what happens after your HIV diagnosis, and I believe I've touched on my sero-conversion. I have absolutely no idea who infected me and I never ever will. I'm glad of that. It's not that I was being a total cum-pig, but in my 15 years (!) living and connecting as a gay man in NYC I was as safe as I could be, while dealing with my emotional problems. I sometimes didn't protect myself. I sometimes didn't care. I sometimes was scared and lonely and feeling that any connection, even an unsafe one, was preferable to being alone. I have a huge reckless streak when it comes to myself. I take chances. I gamble. In this case I lost. I have never once asked anyone to feel sorry for me. I did what I did and I'm living with the consequences.
Which brings me to the latest news about the supposed HIV "Super Virus" coinciding with the New York Times article from supposed "representatives" from the gay community, as well as too numerous to list blog posts from holier-than-thou bloggers who basically took the position that HIV+ men get what they deserve, and instead of understanding or god forbid, sympathy, they should be actively derided and scorned.
It's a bug. It doesn't know or care who I am or what I was doing when I was exposed to it. It doesn't make judgments. I don't get why you do. The virus does what nature designed it to do. It's not mad at me for getting fucked. Exclusively top men get HIV. It's not ashamed of me for being gay. Bisexuals and straight women get HIV.
I disclose my status every time I think it should be done. When I'm with an HIV+ man I sometimes let him shoot his load in me. I sometimes suck a stranger off. Spare me the Super Virus analogy. There's plenty of evidence that certain people have been progressing from infection to dying at an abnormally accelerated rate for years and years. This is not new. There is absolutely no evidence medically that two HIV+ men can create some drug resistant Super Strain of HIV. It's just a combination of gossip and innuendo, coupled with a healthy dose of sex panic and shame.
To those gay bloggers who had the nerve to put up posts basically casting HIV+ sexually active men as public pariahs and murderers, I applaud the fact that you don't drink, you don't smoke, you don't have unsafe sex and you're not obese. Congratulations, you're absolutely perfect, and god willing you will always remain so. However if that doesn't happen and you don't remain perfect in every way, I will be there to point, laugh and judge you. After all, you're doing it to me.
Monday, March 07, 2005
Sunday, March 06, 2005
Waking up this afternoon, with barely enough time to have some coffee, grab a shower and a sandwich, and I had finally had enough. But as the day wore on I began to try to figure out how to make this an advantageous move for myself. I decided that giving my notice could result in my being let go on the spot and while I could deal, it would be a struggle financially. So by the time I arrived at work I had decided to put in two more weeks before giving two weeks. It was a done deal in my mind. I had carefully weighed the advantages to my job versus the disadvantages and decided the bad far outweighed the good.
Then tonight, my boss couldn't have been nicer and couldn't have been more complimentary. I believe she's a better judge of how far she can push a person than I thought. Of note tonight is that one of the other managers had a meltdown. I wasn't there but whatever happened resulted in him being sent home. Not in a negative way in a mental health way. They want him back, he just had "an episode". That's how intense a job I have, children. Grown men flip the fuck out. And you don't get fired you just get a time out.
But here's the thing. Between my boss crawling up my butt and telling me how happy she is that I'm around and what a great job I'm doing and one of my co-workers (who I really liked and considered a capable manager) snapping like a dry twig, I'm sort of responding to the challenge and the warrior in me is urging me to fight on. A part of me wants to wrestle this bitch to the ground.
I'm going in to work again tomorrow. We'll see ....
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
I really can't believe it, but it seems I was able to pay off another credit card. For those keeping score at home that's two down, and a few massive ones to go. And I'm managing to control myself and avoid using/pay off my Amex every month. I spent yesterday feeding my compulsive shopping habit but I managed to only actually purchase a deeply discounted ($10.00) shirt. I need to get my credit in order if I hope to buy a home. Baby steps, my friends.
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Speaking of bills, I was on-line paying some bills the other day. Halfway through it my internet connection just ... stopped. I observed a blinking ready light and an internet phone light showing a dropped connection. I'm pretty good at troubleshooting problems and set to cycling my modem. No luck. I pulled down the whole system and cycled my internet phone, DSL modem and router. Nothing. I did it again in another configuration. I checked the connections at the back of my system. Nothing again. I speculated that Verizon might be down and left the apartment, hoping I would return to the problem resolved. Not.
I finally broke down and called Tech Support. He walked me through some common fixes that I had already tried, but tried again because he was Tech Support. Finally, he claimed he was pinging my system and the resulting numbers showed that my modem was fragged and it wasn't coming back. I should call billing first thing Monday and get them to send me a replacement. I was distressed because: a) I'm assuming if I have to call billing to solve an issue it will cost me money. and b) if I have to wait to have them ship me a new modem it could be a week if not longer. The Duchess needs her Internets.
I stopped in to the gym and was ruminating on the problem on the way home. The modem going from fine and zippy to not at all functional made no sense. I decided to check the connections at the phone and the jack. As it turns out, when The Ex decided he was hot and opened the window, the window blind swung out and back in, not unhooking the DSL line, but knocking it loose enough to interrupt service. I clicked it back in and voila, The Internets are back up and running. Yet another reason why I wish I lived alone.