the.applied.process.

wit. honesty. everyday ramblings.

Category: Travel

You Da One

“Cause you know how to give me that, you know how to pull me back when I go runnin, runnin tryin’ to get away from loving ya. You know how to love me hard. I won’t lie, I’m falling hard. Yep, I’m falling for ya but there’s nothin wrong with that.”

“I am thankful for Penis” were the words I uttered right before I proceeded to spit on the table the shell of the almond I had just cracked with my teeth. That should give you a preview of the shenanigans that ensued after the exhausting 13 hour overnight drive to Chicago, but I’m getting ahead of myself, first things first.

Wednesday I got up with ‘Nickle’ earlier than usual because we had a very busy and very long day ahead of us. I ate breakfast, showered, made my duffle bag, packed my pooch in his carrier, and called a cab to take me to the west side to drop him off at a pet hotel on Spring and Greenwhich. I then asked the cabbie to wait for me so he could drop me off at work instead of lugging my luggage all the way across town. Half way down the road, I realized I had forgotten my pup’s food.

I didn’t stay too long at work, I had errands to run at British Airways so I left earlyish. I was also in charge of getting to Jersey City before 4pm to pick up the rental car we reserved for the road trip. I got to the Budget offices at around 3pm and dealt with New Jersey incompetence at it’s finest. After about 45 minutes, I had the car and I started my drive back across the Holland tunnel and into the city. I tackled the horrendous commuter clusterfuck that was downtown Manhattan and some how managed to get back to the gallery a couple of hours after I said I’d be back. I googled places to buy the apparently very specific kibble my picky canine eats as I waited for ‘The Wife’ to come meet me since she had asked us for a drive to Ohio. The task proved to be harder than expected and, after a few frustrating phone calls, I finally located the food at a pet store near where ‘Nickle’ works.

We picked up the car from the garage and drove south in the slightly less trafficy sea of cabs and cars. I purchased the food, picked up ‘Nickle’ and ‘Judy’, redeemed my canine mistake, and finally started driving west to our Thanksgiving extravaganza.

Although the drive there and back is probably one of the most significant parts of the trip, it was also one of the most exhausting. Thus, it is kind of hard to describe it because it all just seems to melt into one blurry lapse of no sleep, stress, lots of junk food, shitting in gross toilets, and uncomfortable seating positions.

The first trek was from New York to Jersey to somewhere in the middle of Pensilvania where, after 4 hours of stopping a few times at gas stations and rest stops, ‘Judy’ paid her dues and I took over the wheel. I drove for the next five. A couple of hours into my turn, I dropped off ‘The Wife’ at a bus stop in Cleveland, refilled the gas tank, and drove another for a bit more as ‘Nickle’ performed some illegal acts on me to try and keep me awake and focused. I stopped him somewhere on the Ohio portion of I-90 right as a cop car was shinning its headlights on us. Thankfully there were no arrests.

My boyfriend became the driver right before the sun was about to come out. He drove us through the rest of Ohio and into Indiana where we stopped in Gary for some much needed coffee and breakfast food. By this point, we were all very delirious. ‘Judy’, who’d been sleeping the whole time we were driving, valiantly offered to play chauffeur the rest of the way. She drove us into Chicago as ‘Nickle’ napped in the back, and I continued plucking my nose hairs to stay up and keep her company.

Upon arriving to our destination, I was a bit terrified that our hosts, ‘Seek’ and his family, who had most likely gotten more sleep than us, were going to be ready to start partying because they were excited to see us. For a second, ‘Nickle’ joked about having shots ready for the moment we stepped in, I told him I needed to sleep. Thankfully, everyone was still tired because, even though they had slept more than us, they hadn’t slept enough due to the obvious celebratory air we were all breathing.

After kissing and hugging everyone, I strategically positioned myself on the couch and held my baby’s head next to my chest to lull him to sleep. My plan worked and we napped for a couple of hours.

We woke up in time to freshen up, tag the shower floor with our genetic signature, and go on a booze run. I still needed more sleep, but I figured I’d just start drinking and forget about banal human needs. Indeed the shots and the beers came. Within an hour I had a comfortable buzz. ‘Sarah’, ‘Seek’s’ business partner, was hosting dinner at her place. As instructed, we left for her apartment at around 5pm only to realize that food wouldn’t be ready for another couple of hours. Instead of waiting for solids, we continued drinking our calories at our host’s, and later at a bar around the corner.

After a few more shots, beer, wine, and whatever else we could find, we made it back to dinner just in time for me to be thankful for Penis, and my man to slur how grateful he is to have me in his life. The rest gets blurry.

Some time between the turkey (or tofurkey in my case) and dessert, I tried to help fluff some whip cream only to spill it all over the kitchen floor. I took this as my cue to call it a night and, after talking to ‘Nickle’ about it, we decided to head back to our Chicago home. We didn’t even leave the couch when ‘Judy’ cleverly suggested we take a nap in the coat closet, and wake up a couple of hours later in time for us to join the rest of the crew who were planning on returning to the bar we previously visited. At 2:30 pm, I rose from my slumber in a freak out because I was did not instantly recognize where exactly I was. I got up and went to the shower where I ran into ‘Sarah’ who informed me that everyone had been gone for a few hours already.

Ironically, we fooled around in the closet, had a slice of chocolate pumpkin pie, and passed out again for another much needed few hours.

Friday morning, after a long 12 hour nap, we woke up refreshed and ready for what ever mayhem would ensue. We ate more pie and chit chatted a bit till ‘Judy’ picked us up to go to ‘Hunt’s’ apartment to shower before partaking in some post-Thanksgiving brunch. Another session of stroking each other’s genitals under the shower head, and we were out in the car on our way to a restaurant on West Chicago Avenue who’s name escapes me now. We ate a hearty Midwest meal which we downed with beers and bloody marys, and then we made a quick pit stop at ‘Hunt’s’ vintage store a couple of blocks away before heading North West to the second leg of our holiday road trip: Milwaukee.

Since the reason for us going to Brew City was to visit ‘Judy’s’ family, she offered to drive. The hour and a half trip was nothing compared to the gargantuan overnight cruise we’d taken 36 hours earlier, but I still wasn’t feeling like driving, and I wanted to write on the blog so I didn’t complain. We made a couple mandatory pit stops at gas stations to get more gum, snacks, and junk food, before finally arriving to her parents’ house just in time for dinner.

My favorite part of this part of the trip was the contrast between the more “friend vibe” we had experienced the night before, and the more “family aura” we felt at that time. It was just the break I needed since I am beginning to realize that my anxiety gets worse when I overwork myself.

We devoured some lasagna (or fish, in my case, since I don’t eat warm blooded animals), salad, and whiskey, and then we decided to check if the city lived up to its nickname by going to a few dive bars near the river, but not before trying the staple frozen custard dessert at one of the three different Kopp’s in Milwaukee. Normally this is not something I would crave and, although I didn’t finish it, I do have to admit that the treat was pretty tasty.

The bars in Beertown were just what I would’ve expected. They had a more collegey vibe than our usual watering holes in New York. In true chameleon form, I adapted and partook in a game of darts which, as much as I can adapt it does not mean I’m competent, I lost. We left downtown to head to a party that I don’t remember because I was already wasted. We didn’t stay long either. We ended up back at ‘Judy’s’ in her hot tub for a full 15 minutes before crashing on a futon in the basement.

Saturday morning we left more of our life juice at ‘Judy’s’ parents’ before coming up for some breakfast with the whole family. Our friend ran some errands with her mom, but we stayed behind to take a shower. Instead, we just ended up kissing and taking a quick nap. She came back to pick us up and we went to explore the city during the day. Despite having eaten food a few hours earlier, ‘Nickle’ demanded a hot dog and we obliged. To my utmost surprise, the Midwest establishment was so good I can almost say it was better than our very own Criff Dogs and, yes, they even featured veggie sausages.

We finished our second meal and walked around the local thrift stores as we digested our gluttonous transgression. I am not necessarily the biggest fan of thrifting but, again, this man is making me evolve, I enjoyed it and even purchased a couple of things. We headed back to ‘Judy’s’ to pack our bags and start our drive back to the Windy City.

Before getting back on the freeway, we stopped at Kopp’s yet again to have a fish sandwich and more frozen custard. Yes, that is also something that’s different about me: I now eat like a swine. This time around, we tamed our overstuffed stomachs by walking around the atrium of the Santiago Calatrava designed Milwaukee Art Museum.

After taking the mandatory pictures, ‘Nickle’ finally drove us back to Chicago.

We got back to the city in time for another shower and dinner. My one request during this trip was for some classic Chicago deep dish slices. I was still terribly stuffed from the three meals I’d already consumed but somehow I managed to fit in a slice and some beer. The night, as expected, was going to be a long one and I wanted to make sure I had something to soak up the copious amounts of whiskey and fermented hops I was sure to consume.

The party continued at a bar somewhere in the Ukranian Village called the Innertown Pub. For some reason (I think it was exhaustion) I was a bit antsy, but I decided to just relax, and have a good time with my boy’s friends. The night was really fun. ‘Sarah’ had asked ‘Nickle’ for his cell phone and was looking at our history through text messages which was cute, both ‘Seek’ and his sister, ‘Mrs. O’, kept telling me how happy they were that he was happy with me and, somehow, everything just felt alright with the universe. The anxiety went away.

We finished the night back at the bar where we’d been on Thanksgiving night. More shots, more beers, and at around 3:30 am I passed out.

On our last day in the Midwest, I woke up next to ‘Nickle’ and laid in bed for a bit as we talked about the previous night. He mentioned how he had to pee sometime in the early morning and got up to do so only to see ‘Seek’ still up and drinking. He smoked a hit with him, took a shot, and then went back to bed with me. This was important because part of my worry about the trip was our quitting smoking and if we were going to be able to stay strong amidst all the temptation, and also because he’s usually the one who needs me to help him with the cravings when we’re drunk. He told me this with the biggest smile of accomplishment mentioning how he was happy he did it alone. I was happy for him as well.

We got off bed, took showers, went to ‘Seek’s’ store, then to brunch next door, and then back to the shop to thrift some more. The farewell was a bit emotional, but not as emotional as it’s been in previous instances.

This time, I volunteered to drive us out of Chicago and towards Indianapolis, our next and almost last stop of the trip. There was a steady amount of annoying traffic the whole way and, while we were expecting to make it there by 7 pm at the latest, we didn’t get to my sister-in-law’s till well past that.

To be honest, this was what I was looking forward to the most about the whole experience. I wanted to see ‘Nickle’ with his family and it meant something to me that he so adamantly wanted me to meet her. We wanted to spend the night but, because of issues with returning the rental car, all we could afford to do is go to the neighborhood Applebee’s and have a quick dinner before starting yet another monstrous overnight 13 hour drive.

I offered again to drive for the first part. ‘Judy’ slept in the back and I took us 4 hours into Columbus where we were going to pick up ‘The Wife’. The anxiety had been present for most of that and I felt like I needed the rest so I asked ‘Judy’, who’d been sleeping the whole time, to take charge as I laid in the backseat on my lover. This time, we slept a bit more.

After four hours, she asked for a relay and ‘Nickle’ obliged. He put a very valiant two and a half hour effort before I made him switch with me again because he seemed like he was going to pass out and kill us all. We exchanged places at a rest stop and I asked him to just keep me company because I was also feeling drained.

Towards the last hour of our last pit stop, we hit a bit of traffic. By this point everyone in the car was awake and we were all deliriously trying to keep me awake. Somehow, someway, we made it to Philadelphia where ‘Nickle’ and I made the executive decision of taking a nap at ‘The Wife’s’ apartment before attempting to finish the drive and potentially die in the process.

The couple of hours of eyes shut were just what we needed and, although my anxiety was at full speed, I felt significantly better. We decided to go to brunch before finally getting back to the city so we drove to Honey’s somewhere on 3rd street. The food was surprisingly delicious. Philly tends to have a fame for having subpar restaurants. We stopped by a plant store, the girls purchased some leafy decorations, and we dropped off ‘The Wife’ back at her place on the way out.

‘Judy’ drove the rest of the way as I laid in the back seat freaking out here and there, and secretly wishing that ‘Nickle’ would just touch me to remind me I’m still here. My mind reader appropriately did so a few times.

The first borough we stepped foot in was Staten Island, we drove by it and over the Verrazano bridge and into Brooklyn. We dropped ‘Judy’ off at her place, dropped off our stuff at mine’s, and picked up ‘Toto’ back in Manhattan before finally leaving the state again to go to New Jersey to return the rental. It felt great to be back in the city four a couple of hours.

Finally, the true end of our trip begun with taking the PATH train back to 14th street to then take the L to Brooklyn. We stopped for some groceries, and then headed to my apartment to make some dinner. We got side tracked by some much needed de-stressing sexy time. We took a shower to wash away our sin, enjoyed a home cooked meal, talked about the trip, and repeated our transgressions by having a second round of blow jobs. After climaxing we instantly passed out on the couch.

I woke up a few hours later to ask my babe to come join me in our actual bed.

The Midwest was not what I expected. It was less crazy that I thought, yet my anxiety was significantly worse than what I had hoped it would be. The drive went smoother than I had foreseen, yet I was more exhausted than I had imagined. And just when I thought the worst in terms of anxiety was over… the rest of my week was about to start.

“And Yes I’m kinda crazy, that’s what happens baby, when you put it down you should’ve give it to me. Good like that, should’ve hit it like that, had me yellin’ like that. Didn’t know you would’ve had me coming back.”

 

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Montauk.

“I thought I’d know the consequence, sweetness, can you believe this? Mess we’ve made of it, this mess we’ve made of it. In years to come it might make sense, sweetness, can you believe this? What’s become of it? what’s become of it?”

It was in 2008 that I first heard of the Montauk Monster. A raccoon-like fur-less corpse had washed ashore in the beaches of Montauk, New York. I had no idea of the existence of such town prior to reading about this anomaly (or hoax) on a random internet website but it did, however, start yet another spark. What is it with me and disasters/catastrophes and my love for New York? Just like 9/11 ignited my desire to move to the city, this monster now ignited my desire to go to the eastern most part of the state.

Unbeknownst to ‘Nickle’, I’d been wanting to go to Montauk for a while now. The day he suggested we take a weekend trip together (and with Fire Island being out of the question because, other than the summer, it’s a homosexual zombie town) I was on board. I didn’t say how excited I was, but I was. We set the date to the weekend of November 12, and the he dealt with the rest. It feels nice to be taken care of sometimes.

And so Saturday started with waking up early and not giving in to our hangover. We didn’t shower, just finished packing, grabbed our bikes and headed to Penn station. We picked up some juice, coffee, and a couple of sandwiches, and waited till they called the platform for our LIRR train to depart. At around 12:30 pm we were on board. For the first part of the train, we didn’t seat, we just stood by the handicap section holding our bikes and trying to fully wake up. The ride didn’t take long before we needed to change. At Babylon we boarded the next and last leg of our 3 hour long trip. Breakfast, kisses, a nap, and some you tube videos later we were in our home away from home.

We rode our bikes from the station to the Montauk Surf Club, a series of townhouses nested right off the Atlantic beach. The town, due to the season, was pretty desolate, but this just added to the magic. I was extremely happy to be away from the city and all that it entails, and have the next 48 hours just for the two of us.

After dropping our bags, we went for a walk to the nearest grocery store to get some snacks and essentials (alcohol). I’d been wanting this to be an almost sober weekend, but of course that was almost out of the question. We both drink and what’s better than having a nice beer or some wine with your man while laying on a bed and hearing the ocean sounds from less than a block away? I had a mini tiff with myself about letting go and relaxing, but I don’t think I was very successful so I planned on drinking myself numb. (Today, I read a lot about how to manage anxiety. I wish I had done that a few weeks ago).

We got back to the room and opened a beer. We talked about us and how we were finally going to have sex. I’m not sure if I’ve talked about this, but to that day we hadn’t had proper intercourse for various different reasons. We both decided to wait and, after a somewhat planned deliberation, we opted to finally do it in Montauk. Cue the fire works. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that level of connection with any of the previous 7 or 8 fuckees. It was magic.

After laying in bed for a few minutes looking like a Pollock from the neck down and sporting an R. Patz set of hair from the neck up (apparently, if you google “sex hair”, Robert Patinsson’s picture comes up a lot), we took another shower and headed to dinner at ENE, an asiany inspired nicer looking sea food place right off the lake.

Whilst waiting for a table, we ordered two drinks by the bar and started what would be a very long, very nice, very pivotal conversation. The more I read about my anxiety, the more I understand it, and the more I find ways of coping with it. That being said, one of the ways is being reassured somewhat constantly that most my fears and doubts are completely irrational. During the conversation, and without me asking, ‘Nickle’ did just that, by saying things like how much he loves me, how happy I make him, how different he feels about me from how he’s felt with others in the past, and how he does see us living together. Again, all these things seem sort of cliche, but when said at the right moment, they hold enough power to subdue whatever anxiety I was going through.

We left the restaurant and, although I was tired and wanted to go home with him, he suggested we go for a nightcap. I reluctantly obliged but later I was happy I did. We had a couple of drinks at The Shagwong Tavern, a super kitschy local dive bar. We continued our conversation because God knows I love to talk and I never shut up. Again, anxiety and all I was happy to be in Montauk. Three whiskeys later, we were on our way home to have one last shag before finally shutting our eyes. Day one: success.

Sunday morning we laid in bed watching episodes of How I Met Your Mother. We tried doing the dirty again but, since we’ve both pretty much honorably regained our virginity, our bodies were not ready for round two. Instead we reverted to familiar behavior and sucked each other’s dick dry.  A shower followed, and then a bike ride around town looking for a place to brunch only to end at a little diner off the main road. The plan for the day included a five mile bike ride east to the lighthouse, but before doing so, we went souvenir shopping at an overpriced convenience store. Not much to say about that other than I spent 10 dollars on a deck of UNO.

The ride east was hillier than we had thought. There were moments were I cursed the day we decided it’d be a good idea to bring our bicycles, yet at the same time, I see no other more convenient way of getting to that point on Long Island. After about a half hour ride, we were there, smack in the middle of nothing was a cylindrical tower of sandstone and a few other smaller buildings, and a steep grass hill in which we rolled down. We paid the fee to walk up the stairs to the room harboring the fresnel lens. The place was beyond magical. Here I was 100+ feet above ground in the eastern most part of my favorite state in America with the man I love being blown by 50mph winds… if it doesn’t sound like a pretty picture trust me, it was!

It was getting somewhat late (because the sun sets so early these days), that we decided to go buy more unnecessarily overpriced unnecessary souvenirs (although I did get some super cute x-mas cards), and ride back to a different part of Montauk for some much needed lobster bake.

Our trek proved pointless as we ended up biking north through more hills only to find out that the two places we were looking to dine in were closed for the season. Yes, Montauk is magical in the fall, but no, it’s not super convenient to find places around town that are not “closed for the season”. We sucked up our frustration, mustered up our second wind, and biked back to downtown. This time, ‘Nickle’ walked part of the hills, I might as well should’ve done the same because, although I was on my bike, he was probably walking faster than I was pedaling. Just as the sun was setting, we picked up some dumplings to snack on before dinner from a hole-in-the-wall chinese establishment, a bottle of coke to make some Kalimoxto, and got back to our little love nest.

Later that night, we finally got our wish granted when we took a somewhat uncomfortable cab ride (the driver asked us for donations for his son’s surgery) to the west side of Montauk to Gurney’s Inn for a delicious two pound lobster dinner. I have never had as much crustacean goodness as I had that night and, despite it being all messy, it was one of the most romantic experiences I’ve ever had.

More stuffed than a turkey on Thanksgiving, we called another cab to head back. I don’t think we were conscious enough to fool around. The food coma sent us directly to bed.

On the last day of our romantic getaway, I woke up at 3 in the morning freaking out a bit. Yes, if it’s not clear by now, the anxiety happens often. The boyfriend, unknowingly again, reassured me that everything was good and I went back to bed. A few hours later I was back up. This time for good. We got ready and went for some short stacks at Anthony’s Pancake and Waffle House. Having still a few hours to kill, we went back to the room for round three. Again, not very successful, so we took a shower, and headed for a drink while we waited for the train to depart. The Shagwong Tavern became our Montauk Abbey.

Finally, at around 3 pm, we biked back to the station and hopped on the LIRR back to Manhattan. I napped part of the way there and read a fifth of “The Devil in the White City”. We were home in Brooklyn at around 7 pm.

For this being our first getaway together, I’d like to say that I was extremely pleased. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I certainly had my fair share of anxiety attacks, but then again how is that different from my everyday? In a way, it solidified our relationship. It drew us closer and more scared, at the same time, as the stakes had never been higher. I was glad to hear I was not alone in feeling this way, and I was also glad to hear that my boyfriend is opening up more than I’ve ever seen him do… I wonder what will happen when we go upstate this winter.

“If you hear this and you think you’re ready, then meet me in Montauk where we’ll write out in the sand: ‘Here lies the destiny of 2 hurt souls afraid to be cured again.’ That could be our epitaph.”

Home

“Well, hot & heavy, pumpkin pie, chocolate candy, Jesus Christ! There ain’t nothin’ please me more than you”

On my first day as a coupled man, I was beaming and happy and somehow got to work in time. It was gonna be a long day and I was anxious (in a good way) to get it done or at least get it started. Upon arriving at the office, I told ‘The Cock of the North’ I now had a boyfriend. His first response was asking me “who?” and “why?” since I’ve been so adamant about staying single. After I mentioned it was ‘Nickle’, who he’s met, he said: “Congratulations!”. It felt good to hear he approved. I also called ‘Jose Maria’ who gave me an “I know”.

Wednesday night my friend ‘Geordie-Mo’ was coming to town from London and staying with me. Sadly, I also had the work anniversary dinner to attend and I was leaving to film a documentary in Texas the next morning, so I wasn’t going to spend much time with him, but I told him after dinner I’d meet for drinks at “the church” and also introduce him to my new man, who I wanted him to meet, but also I was just looking for excuses to see ‘Nickle’ again.

And thus the plans happened as planned. The coworkers and I met at the office, toasted to some champagne, and headed to dinner at Norwood Club. It was a nice soiree. It went on for slightly longer that I would’ve wanted to, but only because I had other engagements to attend. ‘Nickle’ kept texting me constantly, I believe he was a bit drunk, and at some point he texted me the three little words a lot of people dread: “I Love You”. I excused myself from the dinner table, went to have a cigarette and called him. I told him not to say such things.

*side note: here’s my thing about the “I love you”. I do not mind it at all. I believe that especially in America, it has a stronger meaning than what it should have which was my main reason why I wanted to talk to ‘Nickle’. I have said “I love you” pretty early in a relationship, and although we’ve only been officially dating for a day, we’ve been hanging out for 7 weeks now, so I can understand why he could potentially go there but, like I said, I just want him to be sure he’s saying it because he does, and not because he’s idolizing me or something of the sort, after all, I do have my flaws. The way I see it, I do reciprocate, but the fact that I love him does not mean “I LOVE HIM” in the sense most people tend to think. I love him and I will continue to do so and that love will continue to grow, which I feel is healthier than a loaded “I love you” which has been held back for a while for fear of releasing the meaning we’ve attached to it.*

Back to the story. So yes, I told him not to say that, but I told him I wanted to see him in person later to talk about it. I went back downstairs, had another drink, split the bill with my coworkers, and cabbed it to “the church” where ‘Jose Maria’ and ‘Geordie-Mo’ were waiting. I greeted my brit with a huge hug and a kiss. We hung out and caught up over about three drinks, and a few more cigarettes. Even though he was here, the night was pretty standard. We left because I mentioned I wanted to go see ‘Nickle’ so he could meet ‘Geordie-Mo’.

We cabbed it to, where else, The Abbey, where I also greeted my new boyfriend with a huge hug and a wetter kiss. I introduced the respective parties and continued drinking. Anxiety decided to knock on my right temporal lobe’s door. I went into panic mode over the fact that I was now dating someone. I won’t delve into this right now, I want to write an entry about it, but at some point ‘Nickle’ mentioned he could see I was really scared, and I think I shed a couple of tears. We all went home. I went to bed with my man (it feels good to say that), and ‘Jose Maria’ and ‘Geordie-Mo’ slept together on the couch.

Thursday my handsome boyfriend left early for work. ‘Jose Maria’ left shortly after. I woke up, finished packing, and headed to Union Square to drop off my dog at a pet hotel and then grabbed a bite at Fatty Snack, the Fatty Crab owned food stand on Madison Square Park. We then walked over to ‘The Lady of Derbyshire’s’ apartment to catch a cab to the airport and head to Marfa, Texas. God was I not ready for this.

The Marfa experience was a cluster fuck of desolate West Texas ghost towns, constant fear of desert critters, interesting (and I cannot stress that enough) insane characters, no first world commodities,  run-ins with the border patrol, and one of the most amazing experiences ever all rolled up into one with a scary Texas Chainsaw Massacre-esque vibe.

Let me begin by mentioning how excited I was about this. ‘The Lady of Derbyshire’ had mentioned she had a documentary to film as part of her graduating project and had asked if I wanted to join. The subject would be Dragset and Elmgreen’s Prada Marfa installation in the Chihuahua desert, as well as a story on the site representative and artist, Boyd Elder. I’d been obsessed with said installation for a few years now and, realizing it was in the middle of nowhere, figured I wouldn’t make the trip solely to see it unless an opportunity like this presented itself, so I agreed. We’d planned the trip for a while and that Thursday we started the 12 hour long journey that turned into 15 because of all the flight delays.

We got to El Paso quite late. We quickly headed to Walmart, picked up a few indispensable items (wine and cigarettes in my case, food in hers), and started the 3 hour drive to Marfa. It was scary. I’m talking about driving in the middle of a two lane highway with no lights other than the car’s with the occasional eerie sighting of things you can’t quite seem to describe what they are.

Sometime after driving for 2 and a bit hours we saw it. RIght there, in the middle of the road, a bright chartreuse rectangular beacon illuminating the barren landscape. We passed it and stopped, then reversed towards it. It was magical. My first impression tho, I was expecting something bigger, but there’s definitely no denying its striking presence. Obviously, we took a few pictures until we got approached by border patrol (for the second time so far) who asked for our ID’s and after proving our legal right to be in this country, wished us luck on our project.

We drove for another half hour to the town of Marfa where we were to spend the night. The apartment we rented was nice, except for its name and what it entailed: the yellow door. It was aptly decorated by hues of the aforementioned. I hate the color yellow. I drank a bottle of wine and dozed off.

Friday we woke up early and drove to the sight to begin shooting. I was in charge of the more “creative” shots. I had never handled a semi-professional video camera in my life, but somehow, I was surprised how natural it felt. Then I remembered how nifty I am and the surprise fade away. After about an hour of filming, Boyd Elder, the man of the hour, joined us with his mother. First impression: the guy looked insane but right off the bat I liked him. He was very nice and quite the character. His mother, a 90+ year old woman, was the same: incredibly nice and keen, yet she looked scarily aged. He invited us over to their place in the town of Valentine just a couple miles south of Prada Marfa. Again, his house was just like a set of a slasher movie: old, run down, and in the middle of nowhere. I have to make it clear that I am not trying to be demeaning here, to say they were incredibly hospitable is an understatement. I’m just pointing out the shock I experienced due to the contrast of what I’m used to.

We talked for a bit as he gave us a tour of his property. His studio was insane, but the stories were even crazier. This man has had such an amazing life, and the list of names he mentioned as close friends are enough to make any dumb big city socialite stick their head in the ground. The Eagles, Joni Mitchel, Ed Ruscha, Donald Judd, Razorlight, you name it. Old and new. Music and art. Hollywood. New York. Europe. He has it covered, and yet you’d never expect it from looking at him. Never judge a book by its cover has never been more true.

After a few hours we headed back to Marfa to get ready for an art opening at Ballroom Marfa, the nonprofit local art space. One of the things that struck me the most about this town was how even with its population of two thousand, it feels very international. People from all over fly to either of the two closest airports and drive for a couple hours to come to the different events that happen throughout the year. I met a lot of people from New York, and the east coast. I saw a few more that dressed the part so I assumed were also from out of town. We stayed till close and went back to our apartment. Boyd called us and invited us to the after party. We obliged and walked to Capri Lounge, another great old adobe building converted into a spectacular space that marries traditional with modern so seamlessly it almost feels indigenous.

We mingled a bit more, met a few key pieces of the Marfa community, and watched an all girl mariachi band perform. Still tired from the trip we called it an early night. I drank another bottle, ‘The Lady of Derbyshire’ conversed with the pillow. I briefly talked to ‘Nickle’ who’d been texting me like crazy all day. He’d been professing all these things to me that to be honest made me more anxious. I don’t know where he’s getting all these strong emotions from, but they’re scary. It feels nice, but almost too nice to where I want to run away. I had anxiety all day, but somehow, the thought of that nightcap made me somewhat hold it together. I talked to ‘Jose Maria’ as well and passed out.

Saturday we had plans for more shooting and at some point in the evening head 2 hours south west to some hot springs. I am not the biggest nature fan, and after hearing from the locals that these hot springs had no phone reception at all, I was a bit more apprehensive about going. Nevertheless, I always give things a shot. We spent the day with Boyd at his studio taking some more video, and driving around his town to other parts of this decaying community of less than 50 people. He took us to an abandoned theatre he plans on restoring and making his new studio. Again, it was very different from what I’m used to so I gladly welcomed the experience. At around 4 pm and after receiving lots of food from his garden, we took off and headed back to Marfa. We interviewed some of the people behind the Ballroom who sponsored the Prada Marfa project. Their house, again, was an amazing restored army barrack who’s original structure was left intact, and was just restored to rival any fancy apartment in New York. It was stunning.

The interview went on for a bit longer than expected, but by around 6:30 pm we were on our way south to Chinati to disconnect from the world even more.

The trip was a pain in the ass. The sun was slowly but surely setting, and we had limited amount of time to get there before we were left again in the dark, except this time it was off road. Unfortunately, the sun beat us and we ended up driving in a very scary dark dirt road for about 45 minutes till we finally found our destination. Naturally, we didn’t go in the hot springs. It was already dark, we were terrified of desert creatures, and there were lots of children around. We just drank wine, chatted a bit and passed out. I tried contacting ‘Nickle’ who was being a bit crazy (by my weird bias I have) but not as much, but was quite unsuccessful because of the lack of signal.

The next morning we woke up and went to the springs for 45 minutes. We had an interview to shoot at around 1pm so we left the “resort” and headed back home. Another run-in with border patrol.

We got back to the apartment and freshened up and headed back out to record the ex-mayor of Marfa talk about the piece. The man was also very nice. It seems like everybody who’s there is there because they truly love the town, and they all seem quite happy. I’m baffled because I think I’d go crazy… then again, they all are significantly older than me.

After the interview he took us to another house he owned that was, just like the house we’d seen the night before, amazingly restored and enviable. I’m beginning to notice a trend here, and maybe a reason why these people love this little shit town so much. Funny thing: you will find a yarn store, but a decent place to eat food in the morning or night? No sir, no way.

We went to the neighbor town of Alpine to buy some DVD’s to burn and dump some of the vast files we’ve amounted, and after doing so, we headed back to Prada. This time we planned on actually interviewing Boyd, but despite being an angel, the man is not the easiest person to work with. That, on top of the fact that we weren’t properly prepared with charged batteries or free memory cards, prevented the interview from actually happening. Instead, we went to the installation site and filmed a time lapse of the sunset. It turned out nice.

At around 8:30 pm, we drove back to Marfa in the pitch of darkness. We cooked the food we planned on grilling the night before at the springs, I drank another bottle of wine, and talked to both ‘Jose Maria’ and ‘Nickle’. The former helped me relax a bit, the latter wasn’t being as crazy, which I attribute to him not being as drunk as he sometimes is. I feel like I should talk to him about it, and I probably will. I’m just not sure when because I feel it’d be hypocritical, but I do worry sometimes. Regardless, always happy to talk to him, and despite the massive anxiety I’m getting about him and the trip, I wouldn’t change it. I went to bed with yet another smiley face.

Monday was a long day. We woke up early and, as promised to ‘The Lady of Derbyshire’, I made a soyrizo scramble for breakfast. It wasn’t as good as usual, but still better than most the food we’ve been having. We started the day by interviewing the architect of the installation, and then the head of the local newspaper. Nothing really stood out about either, except for maybe the kindness of the first, the nervousness of the second, and the trio of turkeys crossing the road in between both interviews.

As expected, we rushed back to Valentine and the Prada Marfa site. We met up with Boyd and finally got some kind of interview. We then went with him to the theatre he’s restoring to meet with a group of Architecture students from some University in the north of Texas who were doing a project helping restore the site. Me and ‘The Lady of Derbyshire’ started joking about deciphering the boys’ sexuality. We headed back to Prada, did some more sunset shots, and another interview with Boyd, and then drove him back to where the students were camping. We had a delicious dinner with them. Probably the best food I had the whole time I was in Texas, which is disappointing considering I was expecting gaining a few pounds of amazing Tex-Mex morsels. We drank a couple of beers, saw a baby tarantula, and drove back home. Another bottle of wine, a few episodes of TV shows I’ve been meaning to catch up on, another lovely call to my boyfriend who was sober and going to bed surprisingly early, and I called it a night.

Tuesday all I could think of was going home! Like I said, I had my ups and my downs, definitely an experience I was glad to have had, but not sure it’s necessarily my cup of tea for more than 3 days. This city mouse is ready to leave the country vermin to their own environment and head back to rummaging the New York City Subway tunnels. We did a couple of last minute shots in the morning, one of Boyd’s art at some rich lady’s expectedly beautiful house, and another one of the Chinati foundation and Donald Judd’s sculptures. We stopped by a gift shop, bought a couple of souvenirs, and headed to Valentine to bid adieu to our West Texas friends.

It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. No waterworks despite the fact that I got surprisingly attached to some of the characters in the documentary.

We drove back to El Paso, had lunch at some awful pseudo-Mexican restaurant, and boarded a flight back to Dallas, and then New York. I am typing this on the latter. It’s almost time to land and I cannot be more excited. I get to see my boyfriend. I get to see my dog. I get to see a decent bar. But above all, I get to come to my own personal haven. I believe that the recent changes in my relationship status have a lot to do with how bad my anxiety has been, but also, the trip drained me. I love traveling and I enjoy my friends but every now and then I like to know I can just go and lock myself in my room if I need a moment to breath. Again, where were my ruby slippers?

“Ahh, Home! Let me come Home! Home is wherever I’m with you.”

Get Myself Together

“It’s all over like steps in the first snow. Something’s been building up and it’s gonna blow.”

Anxiety.

Friday morning ‘Nickle’ had left before I woke up. He wrote me a note saying he was sorry but he had to go to work. It’s all good, I had to do the same. I got to work a bit late on purpose because I didn’t want to deal with the clean up from the event the night before. The day was uneventful.

I left work at around 7 to go meet ‘The Lady of Derbishire’ for yet another art opening. This time: Andy Warhol at Gagosian on 21st. The show was amazing, to say the least. It was only about his screen prints of Liz Taylor, and ‘The Lady of Derbishire’ and I got inspired for our Halloween costumes. Without giving much away, they are going to be amazing. We ran into ‘Afterline’ who, in his usual way, suggested we go to some “hip” party at the hideous Dream Hotel in Chelsea where James Murphy, of LCD Sound System fame, was DJing. I was hungry and so was she so we told him we’d go eat and meet up later. We left promptly and walked to Blossom on 9th and 21st for some upscale delicious vegan yumminess and to talk about our future trip to Texas.

After dinner we went to Dream hotel for a drink and to wait for ‘Afterline’ and co. I was texting with both ‘Nickle’ and ‘Jose Maria’ to potentially meet either of them if I didn’t end up staying for James Murphy. Three drinks and an amazing conversation later, we decided to leave and I decided to go home. I was tired and I wanted my time alone.

I got home and drank all the open bottles of alcohol I could find. Wine and vodka mostly. I had been getting overwhelmed with the whole ‘Nickle’ situation feeling like I was losing myself and my independence so I wanted to find someone on Grindr, go meet them at Metro, and have a random make out session with a complete stranger to prove to myself that I’m still my own person. Stupid perhaps, but I thought it therapeutic. Sadly, the Grindr boys did not deliver.

Once I had a decent buzz, I took ‘Toto’ for a walk and stupidly strolled in front of The Abbey. I ran into ‘Nickle’ who greeted me with much excitement (as usual). He asked me to stay but I mentioned I was tired and would go to bed soon. He asked if he could come over later, and I, being the nice idiot who never says no, told him to text me when he was going to leave and if I was still up he could. I thought that was a nice compromise although to be honest, I shouldn’t have compromised my night at all. I was a bit annoyed at myself and anxious.

I went back home and continued my quest for some fresh lips to kiss. It was still very unsuccessful. I decided it was time for bed when destiny slapped me in the face and just as I had turned off the lights and plugged my phone to charge, he texted me saying he was coming over if I was still awake. I should’ve not replied, but for some bizarre reason I did. What’s wrong with me!? I turned the lights back on, went on facebook and firmly convinces myself that I was only going to wait ten minutes or two songs’ time, whichever came first, and then I’d really go to bed. Again, just as the second song was about to finish I heard the bell ring. The handsome Floridian had arrived.

I’m not sure if he was expecting more but I told him I was still very tired and would just go to bed. We kissed for a second and cuddled the night away.

Saturday morning we got smoothies and he took a cab with me to work. The trains weren’t running and he needed to get back in the city to pick up his bike. ‘The Cock of the North’ was outside smoking a cigarette when we walked by. We all had a brief conversation and then I went to work and ‘Nickle’ went for his green vehicle. At work I was interrogated whether this man and I were boyfriends. I said no, not me, no way, no sir. I only stayed for a couple hours because I had made plans with ‘The Wife’ to go to Philly so we could then go to Camden, NJ and see our favorite band in the whole world Blink 182. Don’t laugh. I made it to my train just in time and I slept the whole ride west.

While in Philly, we quickly grabbed a bite to eat at some tapas restaurant that was actually surprisingly good, bought a bottle of whiskey, turned it into road sodas, and cabbed it to the venue. We got just in time to see My Chemical Romance open for the boys. I wanted to puke, not because I was drunk, but because of the music and the crowd, so I decided that if I was indeed going to vomit it would be out of too much drinking and went to get another unnecessary drink. We then finagled our way to better seats and waited for our teen idols to perform. I was more drunk than I thought I was and a bit sad because I really wanted to remember the show so I started texting myself the names of the songs so I’d at least know the set list. Somehow, we got even more drunk and did something quite embarrassing that we managed to block out of our memories for the time being. We peed on the bleachers not once but twice!

The show ended and we uselessly tried to get a cab. There were nowhere to be found. Then we tried hitchhiking but I don’t think Jersey people are very fond of New Yorkers or Philadelphians so that proved futile as well. We eventually just went to a bar to let everything die down and wait, but after some quasi sobering food we decided maybe we’d try and walk the bridge. Luckily, we found a cab around the corner, pretended to be whoever the cab driver was supposed to pick up, and stole it. ‘The Wife’ passed out on the way and my pigeon-like sense of direction kicked in so somehow I lead us home. Our plan was to stay up for a while, but again, we were more drunk than we’d like to admit it and by half past midnight we were already in bed.

Sunday we woke up and went for bagels and juice. I was supposed to catch my train at noon, or so I thought. Again, I didn’t have the best luck with cabs because I forget we’re not in New York and we actually have to plan ahead, so I ended up getting to the train station fifteen minutes past my alleged departure. When I tried to change my ticket, the lady pointed out that I was actually 12 hours and 15 minutes late as I was supposed to have left the night before. Silly me. I paid the extra twenty bucks for the next train and left 13 hours afters I was originally supposed to leave.

When I got back to the city, ‘Nickle’ had texted me that he wanted to see me. I reluctantly agreed I would. He suggested we meet by the ferry, take the boat to the city, and bike to the West Village to meet his friend who was about to finish an HIV/AIDS charity bike ride from Boston. Although I still wanted my alone time, this sounded fun so I accepted his invitation. When he rode in to the dock he was looking extremely handsome in his gold bike helmet (which he recently spray painted), aviators, a blue sweater, jeans, and chucks. How can I resist this man?! To add insult to injury, the boat ride was too damn romantic. Again, how can I?

We rode for half hour till we got to 13th and 7th. His friend was just coming in. I started getting really bad anxiety for some reason. I did not feel comfortable. ‘Nickle’ knew a lot of the gays present, which is fine, and is why I like him, because he’s so different from all of them, but there was something about the whole thing that just rubbed me the wrong way. I felt odd and was ready to make an excuse to leave till the damn mind reader suggested we go eat and then meet his friends for drinks. I reluctantly accepted. Again.

Off we went further into the West Village. We ended up at Tortilla Flats for some very mediocre Mexican food. Another one of his friends joined us, this one I really like. We then went next door to some bar for the post race celebration. Again, my anxiety started fucking with me. I was briefly introduced to some of the older more “established” gay men I often try to avoid. There was something going on because I felt so out of my element, I couldn’t socialize with any of these people so I told ‘Nickle’ I would go because I had to meet a friend for some birthday drinks. The friend in question? ‘Latin T’. He offered to come with. I wanted to run away and scream but whatever, the bike ride over the bridge helped calm me down. We dropped our stuff off at my place and meet some of his friends, the ones I actually like, at some bar near my yoga studio. I didn’t stay long, they invited me to karaoke but I said I was going to meet my friend as promised and I’d catch up with them after.

I biked to Union Pool to a ‘Latin T’ surrounded by all female hair stylists. It was a nice time. I had a couple drinks, ate some tacos, bought him a shot, and then tried to stop him from getting into a fight. The man gets crazy when he drinks and has been banned from many a establishments. The altercation as well as some very personal revelations he was making were my cue to leave so I said my goodbyes and biked back to ‘Nickle’ and co. They were at some karaoke bar two blocks away from where I’d left them. I got drunk and sang Miley Cyrus – See You Again. They loved it. We dance and chanted and acted retarded amidst a rain of glitter that ‘Nickle’ had purchased for his biking buddy but had forgotten to give to. Me and ‘Nickle’ stepped outside and had yet another heart to heart. What can I say, he knows what buttons to push. Keep on digging that damn dagger into my chest, handsome, one day you might actually penetrate the concrete cardiac walls and get somewhere. We spent the night ensemble.

“I got, got to get, get my head back on. I got, got to get myself together.”

 

I Love New York

“I don’t like cities. But I like New York. Other places make me feel like a dork. Los Angeles is for people who sleep.”

On the day of my usual bimonthly trip back to the west coast I decided to hit the Barney’s warehouse sale with ‘Freckles’. It was disappointingly bad.

Not having tamed our insatiable need to swipe some plastic and purchase unnecessary garb, we headed uptown to the flagship so we could pay full price and feel somewhat accomplished. I had a flight later that evening and I didn’t have much time to browse properly so after a somewhat unsuccessful shopping experience at Barney’s, and still with a lingering desire for more overpriced goods, we ventured into Bergdorf’s. Jackpot. I left with two Thom Browne shirts and a slight boner. The sales associate, a B-list actor in a few of Van Sant’s movies, was cute and flirty.

We took the train back home, I finished packing, grabbed my dog, and to JFK I went sans cellphone (which I’d lost the night before). The flight was standard.

I landed at SFO at around 10:30 pm. I messaged my friends through facebook because I had managed to find a replacement phone but had no one’s numbers. They contacted me and I took a cab to the Mission to my friend ‘Chogi’s’ place. She had just moved back to the west coast from Ohio, of all places. Upon arrival, three quarters of the party (the ones with vagina and a vast knowledge of fashion) greeted me with open arms and big screams, the other quarter (the one with a dick and the palate of a chef) was already in an alcohol induced coma. Then slowly, one by one started laying down and giving in to the same fate. I was getting a bit annoyed as I had just flown in and was expecting to make the best of the briefs number of nights we would get to spend together. Somehow, someway, and with the help of ‘Reindeer’ who showed up a bit after I got there, we got them up and ready to leave the apartment at the almost useless hour of 1 am (bars in California close at 2).

We took a cab to a place called The End Up. I had never been nor heard of it, and I’ve been in San Francisco many times, but I got quick good feedback as soon as I posted my plans for the night on facebook. Upon arrival, the place was annoyingly crowded by the wrong kind of crowd. That on top of the few minutes we had left to party, and the annoyingly overpriced cover, forced us to make the executive decision to walk back, pick up some booze at the store before they stop selling (2 am… again… ridiculous), and head back to ‘Chogi’s’ so I could catch up and they could kill their second wind. Being a New Yorker (yes, sometimes I do grant myself the right to claim that title), I was fine with walking the mile and a half journey. My fellow west coasters weren’t and, although they put up a good effort, after about two thirds of the way we ran into a limo parked at a gas station and, due to the lack of cabs, I asked the driver how much he’d charge us to take us home 7 blocks away. I was ready to pay whatever as long as the complaining stopped. Luckily, he said he’d take us for whatever we wanted to give him. We hopped on the stretched white car, opened our super classy bud light + clamato cans, and poured them in wine glasses.

The ride was ridiculously short. When it dawned on us that we could pop our head out the sunroof, we were already home. Despite the car being parked, we did so anyway. One by one we all passed out. I don’t recall in which order, all I remember is ‘Reindeer’ left and, sadly, that was all I saw of him that trip.

Saturday morning we had plans to go to Napa for some wine tasting good times. Surprisingly enough we were all up and ready by elevenish. Me, ‘Chogi’, ‘Dandayamana Janushirasana’, ‘Chet’, ‘Honey’, and ‘Toto’ rode the Volvo for an hour to wine country. First thing on the list was In-N-Out so me and ‘Chogi’ could indulge in the much missed West Coast fast food smorgasbord. We stayed at ‘Honey’s’s friends’ place, the same lezzy couple who’s wedding I’d crash back in July. The locals had another wedding to attend so the rest of us out of towners just drank and hung out around their apartment as they attended their previously scheduled festivities. After a few lazy hours we decided to explore the town. We called for a cab which proved out to be ridiculously inconvenient. Apparently, you have to wait anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour for a taxi. Eventually, we managed to get to the ghost town that was downtown Napa.

We walked and walked amidst closed businesses until we found a place we’d yelped about that had great reviews. We asked for a table and went across the street to have a drink as we waited for the estimated 45 minutes till our table was ready. In reality, it turned out to be more like an hour and a half. The food was good but not great, the service sub par but it got a bit better towards the end. With our bellies full and with hopes to party like only me and my Californians know, we tried walking back until we either found a cab, or a bar, but preferably both, neither of which were miles to be seen. Napa sucks.

Since all of our brilliant minds were together, we devised a plan to go to the grocery store, buy bottles of our favorite flavored drink (in my case ginger ale), and a bottle of vodka, make some road sodas and walk the 2.1 miles back to ‘Honey’s’ friends’ chateau. At first the Californians argued with me, God forbid they walk anywhere, but eventually they realized, like most of us New Yorkers do, that we don’t need no car or public transportation when we have a healthy pair of legs. Despite a couple detours and getting lost for a second, the walk home was fun.

That night I was really tired and somewhat drunk. I believe most of them stayed up chatting and drinking. I grabbed my cuddle buddy ‘Toto’ and dozed off on the couch.

Early Sunday morning I woke up and skyped with ‘Twentyeight’, one of my 50 Grind Dates. I’ve been keeping in touch with him because I want seconds, and because I find him very attractive. He definitely left a lasting impression. Then I skyped with ‘Jose Maria’ who was still in Greece on holiday but was about to come back to New York. Everybody started waking up. I said bye to my skypees and planned the rest of the day with my non virtual buddies. We went to Whole Foods to grab some pre-made goodies to eat and some vodka and 5 different kinds of olives to make our own bloody marys. Brunch at its best.

After showers and more laying around my best friend, appropriately nicknamed ‘The Wife’, showed up. Her parents, who live in the bay area, dropped her off very Middle School style. We all eventually left for Hess winery. Being one of the most sober ones (if not the most), I drove one car and ‘Honey’ drove the other one. The winery had an amazing art collection. I am not the biggest Rauschenberg fan, but there was one very colorful and very flat piece of him that I loved. Sadly, our day had started late so we only had half hour to walk around the gallery, and half hour to wine taste. Regardless, it was fun and relaxing, as I’d expect it to be.

We drove back home and finally agreed on what tattoo we’d all get. We’d been toying around with the idea to permanently mark our “friendship” on our bodies. The first thought was to get the word “Love” tattooed. I of course almost threw up. The idea evolved from “Love” to “Phylia” to “Love” in Braille. The efficient ‘Chogi’ found and contacted half of the only two studios that were open and available in that ghost town, and we walked right over. Coincidentally, it was a couple blocks away from the restaurant were we’d dined the night before. The “artist” wasn’t ready, so we went a couple of blocks more east to have a beer and some Mexican food. An hour later we returned. The first time under the needled gun was ‘The Wife’ who, in her very usual fashion, decided to fuck any plans we had and scribbled down the word “Love” with her own handwriting and got it tattooed near her wrist bone. After we all saw how pretty it looked we decided to get branded by her design. I, of course, still reluctant to have such word forever ingrained in my epidermis, came up with the brilliant idea of getting it etched on my ass. I figured it’d be funny and ironic. The rest of the tattooees got it either in the same spot as ‘The Wife’, or in the case of ‘Chogi’ and ‘Honey’, they reverted to the original Braille idea. All in all a fun experience. The tattooist, although a bit sketchy, was a really nice guy, who had now become part of the “pact” we had all partaken in.

We left the tattoo shop at around 11:30 pm, packed our bags back at the lezzys’ and drove home at midnight. It was a bitch of a ride. I drank some energy shot and drove for the first half of the trip with ‘Dandayamana Janushirasana’ keeping me company. We woke up ‘Chet’ and ‘Honey’ to pass the baton. She fell asleep, he drove the rest of the way down, I kept waking up every so often worried he might doze off and we might all end up sleeping with the fish (or in this case, since most of California is milk farms, cows).

Finally, after an exhausting seven hour drive, the sun had come up and we were back in LA. We all passed out almost instantaneously.

A few hours later, ‘Dandayamana Janushirasana’ woke up and went to work. Me and ‘Chet’ lingered around for a bit. He finally agreed to cater to most my needs and drove me to pick up ‘Talent Waster’ so we could all eat some delicious fish tacos at Rubio’s, one of the only reasons I really miss California. We then drove to buy some much needed and much cheaper cigarettes. We showed off our tattoos to ‘Talent Waster’ and she implored we get one with her as well. Despite the fact that I wanted to go to LACMA to see the Tim Burton exhibit, I gave in to my addiction and agreed to get inked for the 23rd time right before I had a dinner date with ‘T Rex’, an old teacher of mine who I briefly dated after I finished college. We googled and yelped our fingers away trying to find a spot that was both reputable and had a very low minimum because we didn’t want to pay 80+ bucks for such tiny tattoos. Our search ended when we discovered a place not too far from ‘Chet’s’ place. Being LA, we drove the less than a mile walk.

The place was empty, as expected on a Tuesday afternoon, but the staff seemed really nice and welcoming. I was the first to go. This time, the marking in question was the word “black” in Braille. I am not sure what the whole obsession with Braille is, but I liked how it looked. I got it injected on my chest. Up next ‘Talent Waster’ got “Love” in Braille on her arm, and ‘Chet’ got the same right under the handwritten version he’d just gotten done the day before. We dropped ‘Talent Waster’ off at her place and I said good bye for the last time in a while. My lovely friend had decided to leave everything behind and head to the land down under in search of new experiences. Although I’m a bit pissed at her for doing so instead of coming to New York, this is one of the reasons why I adore her and I wish her the best. Besides, I’m sure she’ll come around to her senses and move to the city I love.

On the way back, ‘Chet’ dropped me off at a random intersection where I met up with ‘T Rex’. He looked different. A bit more haggered, a bit more heavy, still somewhat attractive. I think that New York has raised my standard and given me a new appreciation of beauty because I used to find this man absolutely stunning. We went to dinner at a Mexican spot next to the bar we used to go to all the time. It was incredibly pleasant to see him and catch up. I could tell he still had a thing for me. In our usual manner, we drank and drank and drank. An hour and a half later, we went for one last round at the aforementioned bar, and then we walked back towards his car and ‘Chet’s’. I had to catch a plane in a couple of hours. On the corner where we logically had to part ways, we said goodbye, I gave him a peck, and walked buzzed back to my friends’.

My last few minutes in California outside LAX were sappy. The people I’ve met there are probably the hardest thing to leave every time I go back. Despite the fact we see each other regularly, it never gets old. I packed my bags, grabbed my dog, said good byes, and got driven by ‘Honey’ to the airport. I got there at the right time, unfortunately, my plane didn’t. My flight was delayed an hour and a half, and that was just the beginning of my 12 hour long return back home… completely worth it but so annoying that I don’t even want to write about it.

“Other cities always make me mad, other places always make me sad. No other city ever made me glad except New York. I love New York”

Let the good times roll!

When I arrived, ‘Siouxsie’ was standing by the curb outside the Delta Airlines Terminal 3 at JFK. She was looking tiny and cute as always wearing black, her color of choice, from head to toe. Her petite frame was looking all over the place for me until I informed her I was parked right behind an orange sports car. She thought I would come pick her up via subway. No. I don’t do subways to New York airports.

She got in the hybrid car and gave me a huge hug. This girl is one of my oldest friends and whenever we see each other it’s like we saw each other a few hours ago. We drove back to my place through horrendous traffic (by my new New York standards, because in LA this would’ve been a breeze). She dropped her bags off at my place and we headed to Wild Ginger for some good ol’ cruelty free early dinner. The food was tasty, and the conversation even tastier. We finished and went back home to decompress before hitting the streets for her first night in the Big Apple (btw she told me why NYC is referred to as the Big Apple, turns out they used to have horse races here and the winner would get a big apple, thus it became known as the city of the Big Apple).

First stop: Drop Off Service in the East Village for drink with a friend of her ex. No, it wasn’t awkward at all. We didn’t stay long, I had been invited to a house party at the Frenchies’ place, so we left after two drinks. We met up with ‘Jose Maria’ and headed to their midtown apartment. Parties at their place are not very… typical. They usually involve a cosmopolitan punch bowl, and about a dozen French speakers doing just that: speaking in French. Regardless, it’s ok, I don’t mind starting the night there. ‘Sandpaper’ was there. He tried to talk to me but I casually ignored him the whole time. He texted me a picture of myself he took on one of our “dates”. I didn’t reply. I was done with him. When we left he said he’d never see me again, I said: have a safe trip.

We cabbed it back to Brooklyn. I met up with ‘Fixie’ and his friend at Metro for a quick drink. He was there with some really nice simian looking boy. I think ‘Jose Maria’ and ‘Siouxie’ were somewhat annoyed at me because I was paying so much attention to him, but my infatuated heart paid has stopped caring. We all left to Alligator Lounge for some free pizza but there was none left, so we ended up eating noodles down the street. ‘Fixie’ was drunk beyond bike riding capabilities so his simian friend and I dragged his tattooed ass and bike back to my place where he would unwillingly spend the night. ‘Jose Maria’ left without saying a proper goodbye. We all went to bed.

Saturday morning I woke up and got smoothies for me and ‘Fixie’, then I left him and ‘Siouxie’ and went to work. Apparently, he stayed quite late talking to her. Me and ‘The Lady of Derbyshire’ met ‘Siouxsie’ after work and we unsuccessfully tried to go see the Alexander McQueen exhibit. The waiting line was a ridiculous three hour long. I’d seen the show, they were hungry, we were impatient so we nixed the museum and went to dinner in the UES at some very tasty Mediterranean restaurant. We then cabbed it down to ‘The Lady of Derbyshire’s’ place for some rooftop cocktails but since it was raining, we just watched Ponyo, Party Monster, waited for ‘Jose Maria’ to meet up so we could head to Brooklyn. It was ‘Jose Maria’s’ last night in the city before our month long vacation. He was going to Greece.

Our first stop was Union Pool. We didn’t stay long, just a drink or two’s time. We left for Sugarland. We weren’t drunk enough to handle the crowd or the music so after less than half hour ‘Jose Maria’ went home to finish packing. We went to The Abbey for a night cap. I met a very handsome thirty-something with a very pecuniary last name. We made plans to meet for drinks in the following weeks. We left the bar and went to sleep.

Sunday I worked. I left somewhat early and went home. ‘Siouxsie’ had a list of bars she wanted to check out, most of which did not sound appealing to me, but I was willing to oblige. I took us to my obligatory pseudo conjugal visit at Gansevoort. I said hi to DJ, gave him a peck, and left promptly. He wanted me to come over later that night, but it didn’t end up happening. We walked to some other bar on ‘Siouxsie’s’ list off West 4th but somewhat thankfully, it was closed. I took her to Cubby Hole for some lezzy lovin’. Peculiarly enough, Jerry O’Connell and Andy Cohen were there. We didn’t stay long either. We finished the night at Hogs and Heffers.

Monday we had a day trip to Sleepy Hollow planned. Yes, it’s a real town, and no, I didn’t know it existed till ‘Siouxsie’ pointed it out. In the morning, I had a slight freak out when I convinced myself I had some sort of STD because it tingled down there. I quickly started taking antibiotics and the “symptoms” went away. On the train ride to Sleepy Hollow, I saw a picture of the girls at Hogs and Heffers doing their bar top dance. I apparently blacked out because I had no recollection of this. ‘Siouxsie’ pointed out that I passed out on the cab and somehow miraculously woke up just in time to give the driver the final directions to my place. I love my resilience.

Sleepy Hollow was interesting. It was very small and charming, in a very… creepy horror B-movie sort of way. We had a picnic at the cemetery and walked down the headless horseman bridge. We had some shockingly good food at a local restaurant off the river. We headed back home. We didn’t go out that night because we had big plans for Tuesday, so we opted to rest.

As planed, Tuesday we woke up, rented a bike for ‘Siouxsie’ and started our trip from Billyburg to the Upper East Side. The day consisted of The Met, picnic at Central Park, MOMA, and chinatown with a quick stop at my hairstylist’s to get a nice trim before Fire Island on Thursday. Sadly, New York chose to rain on our parade, and we found ourselves stuck inside The Met trying to wait out the crazy thunderstorm outside. Eventually, we decided to buy 10 dollar Met grey ponchos, and bike back. Twenty blocks later, we gave up on biking and caught a train home. I had to cancel my hair appt.

That night, we ventured to the tourist ridden Times Square to watch The Addams Family musical (starring Brooke Shields). The play was amazing. Way way better than what I had expected. We went to dinner at Fatty Crab (for the third week in a row!). I think ‘Siouxsie’ enjoyed it. Sometimes it’s hard to read her. Le Bain followed. Again, I was skeptical to whether or not she was having a good time, but a few cocktails later and once we were sitting by the hot tub I realized she was. Le Bain has a weird hypnotizing power over most people, whether it is the views or just the debauchery that goes inside, it always brings out the crazy in its attendees. I tried to convince ‘Siouxsie’ to get in the pool, but despite wanting to, she said she didn’t trust herself enough to go in and not get a little frisky. We left the club and went to sleep.

Throughout this whole week I’d been dealing with anxiety over my crazy sex night a few weeks ago, and the whole alleged STD I thought I had wasn’t helping so I decided to go to the Free Clinic that morning and get tested. I texted my coworker to let her know I was coming in a bit late. The clinic was, as usual, a bit weird. Everybody there is just silent and looking at each other wondering what the outcome of the visit will be for the others. Thankfully, I left with a negative smile. I then cabbed it to the Lower East Side and got my haircut before going to work. I made a sale that day, which only added to my long yet, as my friend described, “awesome” day.

Wednesday night me, ‘Siouxsie’, and two friends went to dinner at the magical Mesa Coyoacan. It is one of my favorite restaurants in New York. As expected, everybody was pleased with their food and their drinks. We walked off the food coma and ‘Siouxsie’ decided to stay in for the night. I went to Eastern Bloc by myself. I saw DJ and brought him some Peach Oh’s. I called ‘Dandayamana Janushirasana’ and talked to her briefly. I feel like it progressively takes longer and longer between our chats. I went back in and met some boy off Grindr. He was cute and Dutch (which, because of previous experiences, had me wanting to see more). I had a couple of uneventful drinks with him and headed home. Anxiety on the way back.

Thursday I took the day off. Me and ‘Siouxsie’ took a very long and exhausting, but incredibly fun and beautiful trip to Cherry Grove in Fire Island. Knowing it was a bit of a treck, we unrealistically had meant to leave by 10 am but we actually left more around noon. The trek, as I stated, was long. We took the subway to East New York, transferred to the LIRR to Jamaica, then to Babylon, then to Sayville, then a bus to the ferry, then a ferry to the island. On the last train there, I felt this very handsome older gentleman with a Louis Vuitton x Takashi Murakami Monogramouflage Keepall, and a white Rick Owens sleeveless tee staring at me. Yes, I notice these things, and no, it’s not for signs of money, it’s for signs of style. I was acting like I didn’t register his undressing gaze, but being 100% sure he’d be on Grindr, I logged on. I was right. His profile said: “Coming to an iPhone near you” to which I replied: “or an Android”. When we got to the ferry, he replied. He acted like he didn’t know who I was and said: “are you on the same itinerary as me? you look familiar”. I told him: “yes, you were staring at me the whole way”. We started talking and it turns out although he was going to Fire Island, he was going to the fancier, more Chelsea-esque side. We kept grindng back and forth from the top deck of his ferry to the top deck of mine. It was cute. I learned he was German and in town for pleasure, but he comes back often, so I gave him my email and we decided to keep in touch for future visits.

I had never been and had no idea what to expect. A part of me thought it was going to be a big gay smorgasbord of naked drug boys and girls. It turns out, Cherry Grove is not the Fire Island Pines. It is where the gays go to retire, so instead we found ourselves surrounded by people who could not only be out parents, they could be our grandparents. It was very cute.

We had some fried sea food at one of the maybe 5 restaurants there, then laid on the sand enjoying the mild sun rays (yes! I actually said “enjoying”). The weather was perfect. The view was interesting: lots of sagging skin and salt and pepper hair with the occasional gym going nudist. I am not trying to be mean here, I am just reporting what I saw. I did not mind the crowd, they were all nice. If anything, I felt like they minded me, but not because they weren’t nice (because, again, they were), but because I felt like I was invading their untainted virginal haven.

After the beach, we explored a bit. I was curious to walk through “the woods” where, allegedly, men fuck in the bushes. The whole idea sounded interesting to watch, but not to participate. I got bug bitten so many times I can’t imagine being able to concentrate in the sexual tasks at hand. ‘Siouxsie’ was being antsy and restless (as usual), so we walked back to the dock to try and catch a ferry back. It turns out, ferrys come every 2 hours so we ended up going to the nearby bar to have drinks till it was time to board.

We met more nice homosexagenarians and some not so nice younger gays. We left the island at 9 pm and, after another long trek, got home at around midnight. For her last night, I took ‘Siouxsie’ to The Woods. Despite her not wanting to, I had to have her take a pickleback (for those of you who don’t live on the east coast, a pickleback is a shot of whiskey chased with a shot of pickle juice. Absolutely delicious!). Although she won’t admit it, I’m pretty sure she loved it. We had some tacos in the back and left the bar. We made a pit stop at my friend’s apartment who had invited us to Westway. We declined the invite because we were spent from our long beachy day.  We went to bed shortly after that.

Friday I worked, she packed. She met me at work around lunch time for her last pie of her trip at L’Asso, which I happen to consider the best, if not top 3, pizza in New York. We said our goodbyes and back to suburbia she went. I got back to work and made plans for my evening. Not having ‘Jose Maria’ around is somewhat of a task, because usually he’s my default alcoholic, but for the past week or so I’ve been having to get creative. It’s not that I don’t have more friends, it’s more that now I have to actually make “plans” and juggle them around to see what sounds more appealing that night. And juggling I did… without knowing that that night my perspective on life would be indirectly severely shaken. I’ve been quite sad all weekend.

weekend boyfriends!!

As I had mentioned, I went to work straight from DJ’s apartment, unshowered and smelling a bit like sweat and sex. The day went by quick. After work I rushed home thinking our bus for Atlantic City left at 5:45. I packed quickly, walked my baby, freshened up, and headed to some hardcore porn headquarters in the same building as DKNY and other fashion related companies somewhere near Times Square where I was to meet ‘Fixie’.

A bit of background on my future weekend boyfriend: I basically fell in love with him the first time I met him about a year ago. He is, physically, almost exactly what I look for, I don’t think there’s a creature in this planet who fits the bill 100% but he comes pretty damn close. At the time he had a boyfriend, but he seemed like a sweet guy that I’d like to know more and possibly wait for. We got to hang out a few more times and I got to hear the usual drama that comes with having a significant other. The more I saw him and the more I got to know him, the more I fell. We’d kissed a couple of times and discussed the possibility of sex. I am very into him, however, we live very distinct lifestyles and for me it’s just been a matter of “Can my horny penis finally deliver the coup de grâce to my over analytical anxiety ridden brain?”.

I was a bit hesitant over what the weekend might bring. I was anxious over drinking because I knew that that would most certainly help Mr. Winky dish his final blow, but in a way, I was somewhat ready for it. We walked across the street to Port Authority. He informed me the bus wouldn’t be leaving for another hour so we decided to grab a smoothie and wait in line. He is so damn dreamy.

Upon arriving at Atlantic City, our friends were nowhere to be found. ‘Fixie’ and I wandered around for an hour till they were courteous enough to show their presence and let us in the room to drop our bags. The weekend started on an off schedule. They had already eaten, we were starving, so we opted to go have dinner and meet them later for drinks. They kept texting us to hurry. I had a slight feeling they were trying to find out if we’d fuck already. The tension was there. Finally we met up with them at a club on the rooftop of our subpar “resort”. The moment we walked inside the club, we knew we were the two hottest guys in the room. Most eyes were on us. We developed a certain sense of entitlement, and I believe that was what started solidifying our ‘weekend boyfriends’ status. We had a few drinks, but they were ahead of us and left before we did. We were pretty tired from the long trip so we left the bar and headed to the room. No kissing. No sex.

The next morning again our friends wanted to eat a proper breakfast, we wanted smoothies, so we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. We walked along the boardwalk. We bought matching tees. I was feeling like a 12 yr old school girl hanging out with her crush. It was kind of cute to say the least. We ended up at a starbucks on a mall sipping on some subpar smoothies. Again, mom and dad kept texting to see where we were. A couple of friends of mine (including the love of my life/best friend a.k.a. ‘The Wife’) were driving from Philly to meet us for the day. We ended back at the room where we downed a couple vodka sodas and finally headed to the beach to meet the rest of the crew.

The beach was nice. I normally hate it, but me and ‘Fixie’ had decided to just have a crazy silly weekend and go in our speedos to try and ruffle up some guidos. Again, most eyes were on us (although for different reasons). ‘Fixie’s’ zebra print banana hammock out did my Euro sleek black Dior ensemble. He looked adorable. We splish splashed, smokey smoked, and tanny tanned. Very unlike me but, like I said at the end of the previous post, my  bastions were promptly crumbling.

After the beach most of us opted for buffet. I discussed with ‘The Wife’ my feelings and concerns at the moment over ‘Fixie’. As expected, she suggested I just go with it. We stopped by the room prior to getting food. My sober self for some reason agreed to take a shower with ‘Fixie’. This was not me. This was not me. We had our first full view of each others’ genitals. I’d heard about his, and they were certainly as beautiful as they’d been described/ I’d been expecting. My usual self consciousness wasn’t there.

We walked to the buffet and stuffed ourselves beyond our skinny (or not) capabilities. After food, ‘The Wife’ and her friends headed back home. The rest of the posse decided to give in to the already present food coma. That night we were gonna try and do a pool party, Jersey Shore style.

Prior to la piscine, we went to a drag show upstairs. It was pretty phenomenal to say the least. After the show, we bar hopped along the boardwalk a bit. Per a handsome bartender’s suggestion, we nixed the pool party and headed to a beach bar. It was empty but drinks were cheap. We then tried to hit the Chelsea Hotel but were denied entrance due to our outfits. I won’t even start on my feelings about subpar clubs telling me how to appropriately dress. The girls who were with us stayed there, us boys decided to walk back to the club we were at the night prior. We made a pit stop at the beach where I had a one to one with my friend ‘Mexican Paddington’, then he had a moment with his beau ‘Queen of the Dammed’, and I had my first kiss/junk fondling of the weekend.

‘Fixie’ and I decided to strip down to our European beach attire and walk back down the boardwalk to the hotel weekend boyfriends status. Black girls loved us, black boys did too (although shh!!! don’t tell because they’re on the DL). People took pictures with us, gave us free stuff, and complimented us left and right. Again, most eyes were on us.

Back at the hotel, we decided to do the club in our speedos to top off the already atypical (although not really) night. People stared twice as hard as the night before. We managed to give a show, dancing on the go-go boys stage, making out, grabbing each other’s semi erect crotches, and whatever else my blurry memory won’t let me recall. We let our roommates head back to the room for a bit and do their thing, after all, this was their quasi-pre-wedding vacation. Not being very aware of the time we went back to the room a few minutes later not honoring our promise to let them enjoy man on man sex. We took another shower together. Somewhere out there there’s a video of me eating ‘Fixie’s’ ass in a New Jersey hotel room bathroom. Chip chop the bastion was down. I pranced around the room in my new found comfortable nudity and gave my first live sex show (although there wasn’t any actual sex, it was still very dirty). ‘Fixie’ passed out and I went to bed.

Sunday was our last day. We all checked out and walked down the boardwalk to where we were the night before to a cute little restaurant where the food and the ambiance wasn’t subpar, for once. Sadly, can’t say the same about the service. Again, somehow we all did our own thing and ‘Fixie’ and I ended up alone gambling. We started pounding drinks. We gambled some more. I was not very lucky, him on the other hand, had the typical case of beginner’s luck. I was out 100 dollars, he made a last minute $400 with the 20 bucks I gave him thanks to Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte. We went back to the beach for a celebratory make out session.

We meet up with the rest of the group and waited for the bus back home. On the bus ride home we were cuddly for a second, but that’s not really him, and it’s not really me either, lately. I took a brief nap. The whole weekend ‘Fixie’, being the sexually liberated over-evolved gay man he is, was blatantly talking to other men for sex, although he made sure to always include me in the plans. It bothered me a bit, for some reason, although I’m not sure why, yet at the same time, it’s kind of comforting to watch him be so open about it. I woke up and blatantly asked him if we were having sex when we got back to Brooklyn. He said he was already talking to someone else, but he was free on Monday. I said I had a date. I guess there’s always next time.

We got back to New York. We all went our separate ways. I met up with my friend ‘Buck’ and co. for some night before night before last partying. Still being in my beachy pool mood, we ended up at the rooftop at the Gansevoort. Then Greenhouse. I was mighty wasted so I did my usual disappearing act and, unlike my usual self, proceeded to booty text both DJ and ‘Fixie’. Throughout the whole night, I could not shut up about ‘Fixie’. It felt nice. I don’t think I could date him, although I’ve been surprising myself left and right, but it was a great weekend. It felt great to have that sort of tender crush one has when naive, yet this time with the maturity to take it for what it is: just a crush.