Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
1977-1981: I don't fucken remember.
1982-1990: My cousins and aunts and uncles on my mother's side of the family owned all of the property around a lake in Atamansit. Every year we would all gather at my great aunt's and tell stories, sing Christmas Carols, and record the event on VHS. There were a couple of years when my father's parents would come, too. I'm blinded by nostalgia, of course, but apart from my prick of an uncle who would berate his business-arrangement-wife and kid, I remember these being very happy Christmases. We didn't exchange many gifts at these events, mainly stocking stuffers, but even as a kid, I didn't care. I just lliked being around people who were happy.
1992-4: I had about two weeks of vacation from boarding school, and every year I would come home with another student, and my parents would tone down their arguing (they were going through a divorce, and then they were divorced) for the visitor. 1992 my guest was a Saudi Arabian prince who lived in the next room (there are billions of Saudi Arabian princes, I'm told). He bought my parents traditional Saudi Arabian garb, and my parents bought him tacky sweatshirts and jeans (traditional American garb). In 1993, my soon-to-be ex-girlfriend came by for a couple of days. It was ho ho hella awkward.
1995: I had just dropped out of college, which I spent all of Christmas hearing about. Most of my gifts were suited toward me living in Florida, which I no longer did. I also spent the vacation week running a holiday camp at they YMCA. The camgrounds I loved so much in the summer were pretty desolate in the arctic winter, so we ended up mostly watching movies, doing arts and crafts, and playing Capture the Flag.
1996-8: The more immediate part of my mother's side of the family (just her brothers, not any cousins) would get together in western MA to exchange gifts, and go to a restaurant with my nearly housebound uncle. There were always some pleasant times, and a lot of arguing. In 1998, I videotaped the event. Before recording, I checked the camera to see that I wasn't recording over anything important. What I found was my eighty-one year old grandfather and two eighteen year old escorts at an event called Fantasy Fest, where there were all kinds of kinky shit going on. There was a point where my grandfather was making out with someone who I'm near positive was a guy, but my grandfather didn't know that. I haven't picked up a video recording device since.
1999: Being completely in love with my oblivious, homophobic (didn't know that at the time) best friend, I spent much of the holiday with him and his family. We cleaned up his father's warehouse, made each other mix CDs, recorded an EP of songs with my lyrics and his music, had a long conversation about relationships. Seriously, the fact that it took him another seven months to realize I was in love with him makes him borderline comatose.
2000: Having just quit my job selling chocolates in Vermont, I made my first trip back to the Cape in months. My mom and her boyfriend spent the day arguing with each other, even throwing ornaments across the room, which triggered their singing fucken Christmas tree.
2001: I watched the snow from my new apartment with MelissafuckenPlummer. I also headed over to housesit for Zuzu.
2002: My last Christmas spent with my mother's side of the family. My mom's neurotic then-boyfriend, now-husband freaked out because my mom had moved his dining room table over six inches so that my grandfather could fit at the table. Every person in the house spent the day arguing with everyone else in the house, including my Alzheimer's infused grandfather.
2003: The end of my time in Arizona. All I wanted to do was get back to MA. I cooked some Ground Nut Stew for myself, and watched A Very Brady Christmas. I was so absorbed in the show (I was also downloading porn and music), that I forgot I was cooking until the smoke from the burning rice spread to the bedroom. I scraped most of the rice into the trash, but a small amount (cough) made it into the sink, blocking the pipes, causing rice to flow up through the shower when I turned the water on. Did I mention I was staying in a friend's apartment? I made it back to MA in time for New Year's.
2004: My father and I hung out at his house, watching TV and eating too much. There was no exchange of presents (my father is a post-Catholic non-celebratory agnostic), no family drama. I returned home to discover that not only was FOOD included in the RENT at my new apartment, but that my whack ass landlord was an opportunist. During my four day absence, he had let three Chinese teenagers (18/19 year olds) stay in my room, and sleep in my bed. He was befuddled when I seemed upset that I was paying for a room that I couldn't use until three people who were also paying for the room (a single bedroom) got their shit out of it.
2005: I was invited to spend the day with Baker, a guy who was infatuated with me. He cooked kangaroo, and a variety of other delicious foods. We did a Holiday Present swap with his assortment of roommates and friends, we played some games, and hung out for a while. We retired to his room, where he proceeded to do a lot of post-drink vomiting. I declined to make out with him (vomit breath, not sexy), but we made plans to hang out the next week. I never heard from him again.
2006: I did nothing.
2007: The first year where I set out to be alone, to no avail. Zuzu needed help fixing her toilet seat, so I spent an hour or so on Christmas Eve in a position most people reserve for New Year's Day. Of course, I wasn't vomiting, so, point me. When we were done in the bathroom, Zuzu offered to drop me off at Racist Grandma's on her way to Virginia. We left at 11pm, spent the entire time failing to find any decent songs on the radio while Pup Ratzinger sat in the back, alternating between whining and farting.
Christmas was brimming with stank dogs. We got to CT around 1am, where I was assaulted by Frisky, my grandmother's ADD mutt. Once Zuzu took Ratzinger, and headed out, my grandmother filled me in on how my mother keeps hysterically calling her, asking how I'm doing. We haven't spoken in three months, as I told her I wouldn't talk to her on the phone if she insisted on calling me while her deaf, nosy husband was in the room. I don't like listening to people argue over the phone.
On Christmas Day, my grandmother and I watched a Crossing Jordan marathon, ate some great steak, and talked. Everything was low-key until my she looked out her window and saw a bunch of cars across the street. "What are all those people doing over there?" she asked.
"It's Christmas, they're probably having a party or something."
She sucked on her false teeth. "No. I don't like it. They're up to no good."
A few minute pass, and then she inhales deeply, "Safey! Look! There are colored people coming out of that house! I knew it, they're dealing drugs."
"Grandma, keep your voice down." I said, trying not to laugh. "You know those people always carry guns. Do you want to get us shot?"
I figure, since I can't get her to stop being a racist lout, I can at least entertain myself by upping the stereotype ante.
On my way home, the next day, new laptop in hand, I receive the greatest Christmas present I can think of. In the middle of South Station is a gaggle of attractive people, among them, Mr. HotPositive, the man who gave me a rousing round of Applause for Thanksgiving.
Mr. HotPositive and I haven't really spoken since I informed him that he gave me The Applause. In fact, he deleted his Myspace Profile, and changed his e-mail address within a week or so of my notifying him. Needless to say, he didn't look too excited to see me, particularly as he appeared to be surrounded by people he was trying to impress. "Hi?"
"How have you been?" I asked, positively nauseous with champagne voice (sweet and bubbly, with a hint of dryness).
"Uh. I've been okay."
He didn't ask how I've been.
"I'm sorry," one of the obvious fag hags around him said, "I don't think I know you."
"Safey Mode." I said. "Mr. HotPositive and I are" PAUSE OF DOOM "friends. We met" PAUSE OF DOOM "at a poetry event I work at."
"Ooooh." She said. And we small talked about nothing, while Mr. Hot Positive (who has never been to a poetry event in his life) tried to stay away from my eye contact.
After a minute or so of chatter I said, "Well, I really have to get going. It was great catching up with you, though. This was loads of fun." PAUSE OF DOOM. "Hot, positive loads of fun." Then I kissed him on the cheek (I assume his mouth is full of herpes), and walked away.
The last couple of Thanksgivings, a bunch of my poet friends and I have gotten together to have a family-free holiday. We have lots of alcohol, tell lots of raunchy stories, and eat a lot of amazing food. This year, my former roommate, and former romantic foil, Ben joined in. The favorite story of the day was about the Mr. Hot Positive Load. We, in fact, referred to Thanksgiving as Hot Positive Loads Of Food Day. I was almost thankful that I had fucked Mr. Hot Positive, as he'd given me a great story. He had also, however, bruised my ribs while riding me. I thought that was his final gift to me. I was wrong.
The day after Thanksgiving, I was preparing to take a piss when I saw a thick yellowish liquid on the head of my cock. Now, after nearly a decade of very carefully protected sex with many, many people, I've never had an STD, but I knew immediately that I had one then. So I entered my symptom online and took an educated guess that I had gonorrhea. I made an appointment at an STD clinic, and sent off an e-mail to Mr. Hot Positive's Myspace Profile. It said "Hey. You should e-mail me. There's something we need to talk about before you sleep with anyone else."
He responded by defriending me. So I left a comment for him. "Thanks for the STD, jerkface. Get tested before you give it to someone else."
How was I supposed to know his mom and his sister read his MySpace page?
Oh, right, he'd told me before we met.
He replied with "I don't have any STDs. Why are you being such an asshole?"
Now, I had only had sex with two people during a two week stretch. Mr. Breedme and Mr. HotPositiveLoad. I had inserted my penis (fully condomed) into Mr. Breedme for a couple of minutes, and then made him leave. Also, Mr. Breedme said he hadn't gotten laid in years, and given his appearance and self-esteem, I believe him. Mr. HotPositiveLoad is a big slut (I realize this is the proverbial pot calling the proverbial kettle Cookware American) who likes to have men pee in him. We had fucked and whatnot for hours, and while I had been very careful with condoms, there had been some non-latexed oral that would lead me to believe he, and not Mr. Breedme was the one that gave me The Applause. But if I'm wrong, then Mr. Breedme gave me The Applause, and I probably passed it along to Mr. HotPositiveLoad. Either way, he had gonorrhea.
By the time I write out my kindlier than it should be e-mail, I discovered he had me blocked, changed his MySpace profile to private, changed his name, gotten rid of his picture, and changed his age and location.
I'm pretty sure that doesn't change the fact that he had The Applause.
Around about this time, my penis started to hurt. I already had an appointment at the clinic for the next day, so I resigned myself to the fact that there was nothing I could do. I made it a point to not pee very much, as the idea of having hot lava shoot out of my cock has never been very appealing to me.
Ben called. He was running a show at his college, and his host had bailed. He wondered if I could come host the event. Seeing as I had a show there myself the next week, I agreed. I wrapped some Kleenex around my cock, and shuffled off to the train. An hour and a half later, I reached my destination (late), and Ben picked me up. We drove about 100 MPH all the way to the show (about another hour of travel), where I waddled into the lecture room. In order to host, I had to walk up and down the stairs of the lecture hall every five minutes or so. My ribs were bruised. My cock was ON FIRE. The Kleenex had shifted to somewhere around my kneecaps, and my penis, dripping hot lava out of it, was now scraping against my jeans.
The show lasted about two hours. So I missed the last train home. Meaning, I would not be able to make it back to the city in time for my appointment.
I was not very happy.
Ben got on the phone to his sister, who is a doctor. The conversation that I heard went something like, "Well, it's my friend Safey. He's got The Applause. Uh huh. Well, he's not going to make it in for his appointment at the clinic, which means he's not going to get any medication for at least another couple of days, and I was wondering if you could prescribe me the drugs, and I could pick them up first thing tomorrow, and give them to him. Well, it's kind of my fault he isn't going to make it to the clinic. I know I'm not supposed to ask you about drugs, and I normally wouldn't, but do they really think someone is going to recreationally take antibiotics? Thanks. Thanks. No, really. I'm sure he appreciates it."
Ben went to sleep a bit later, while I kept waddling back and forth to the bathroom to survey the damage. I may
First thing the next morning, we took a trip to the pharmacy, where Ben picked up the prescription, while I waited in the car. "You know that the lady inside totally thinks I'm the one with The Applause." He said, fluffing his hair at me.
I did. And it amused me.
I took the pills immediately, thanking any deity in the vicinity that, if I had to have an STD, it, at least, was one that you can knock out with one dose of pills, and not have any sort of recurring rash or quickened death.
Ben then drove me, and a few of his friends to the restaurant/poetry venue where I work. I was dreading going up and down the stairs all night, carrying plates of food; and was overjoyed to discover that the kitchen was closed, and I would still get paid, even though all I would have to do was deliver the occasional drink from the bar to one of the nearby tables.
I still decided that this was a sign that I shouldn't be meeting strangers for sex via The Internet anymore. So I was pleased to receive an e-mail from Duke, a couple of days after a doctor confirmed I was "cleared up". After all, I'd fucked Duke once already, so he was hardly a stranger. Also, I hadn't even been able to masturbate while I had The Applause, as even brushing the tip of my ON FIRE cock against a sheet caused incredible pain. I could tell by the way he kissed me when I got to his house that we were going to have loads of sex to make up for the last couple of weeks. But while they would certainly be hot loads, and I hoped they'd be positive loads, I was hoping they wouldn't be hot positive loads. Near as I can tell, they weren't.
Also, the next week I had my show at the college, and it went very well. My ribs felt a lot better, and I was definitely Applause free (though many people clapped during my show). I had Ben call his sister and let her know how much I appreciated what she did, and that I think of her every time I pee, and it doesn't hurt. I hope she understands that's supposed to be a compliment. also have put a voodoo hex or two on Mr. HotPositiveLoad. I barely got any sleep, as the pain was...and the gross was...and ewww.