I’m on fire every day. It’s just that you live far away, and some times I only burn blue.
Yet another school is several months delinquent in paying me for a gig. Ugh. Zuzu is still dealing with the divorce from hell. Ugh. Two out of my three new roommates are fighting so fiercely, they can't be in the same room with each other. Ugh. I had to interview for a room I'm already living in. That's not so much of an ugh as a huh.
This month has been ughly. The first weekend I lived in the new house, I lived here alone, terrified that all of the other roommates had been killed in some sort of Satanic ritual, and that their ghosts would soon be back to begin haunting me. A few days later, I came home drunk after a night of poetry and Bikey and her boyfriend were in the kitchen. They both appeared to be alive.
"Yea, we were in VT for the weekend. I rode my bike up there to play recorder in an early music festival."
She rode her bike from Boston to Vermont?
I was about to ask her more intriguing questions when The Sole Remaining Gay Roommate, Dale, and The Other Girl, Chippy, entered the room. Upon their arrival, Bikey and her boyfriend vacated the room. "I fucken hate her." Dale said. "Dirty ass bike dyke with her ugly ass hobbit boyfriend."
"It's a good thing you're not judgmental." Chippy said to Dale.
"I'm not judgmental. I just don't like people who are ugly. Or fat."
I went upstairs to my room, trying to guage if a jump from my window would kill me. I decided it would only bruise my shins, and there's little as embarrassing as a botched suicide attempt during your first week in a new apartment.
By the end of the first week, Chippy had moved out, replaced by her friend, Allison, who was subletting. The two of us enjoyed watching Dale and Bikey not interact with each other. One of us would talk with one of them, the other would talk to the other, and we'd try and see how close we could get them before Bikey (clearly not the alpha in the situation) scurried into her room. We couldn't even get them on the same floor.
On the rare occasions that I've left the house, I've either been hanging with Celeste, or dropping off mail at the Post Office. Apparently there is a LARGE PACKAGE waiting for me in Quincy, where I haven't lived in over four years. But if there's a good reason to go to Quincy, it's to get my hands on a large package.
I was discussing the mail situation with Chippy, who was moving some of her stuff out, when I mentioned how the last night I went to pick up stuff at Landlord's, I found that he had unpacked MY belongings from MY suitcase, and hidden it, claiming MY suitcase, which had MY name written all over it, wasn't mine. This inspired me to make several other Landlord rants prompting Chippy, who I'd only spoken to once before, to say "These stories sound familiar. I think Feral (the roommate I had replaced) told them to me. He got them from some guy's Livejournal. Oh my God, you're that guy!"
"Really?" Dale asked.
I am that guy. So I told them how I met Feral via Livejournal, and how we'd had dinner a couple of times, how I'd met his boyfriend, yadda yadda.
"So what's your journal about?" Dale asked.
"Embarrassing stories mostly. It started off as anonymous gay confessions, but it's sort of expanded into embarrassing everythings."
"Wow. There's this guy who lives down the street that Feral knows who writes a journal filled with awkward stories. You should meet him."
Chippy and I stared at him for a full minute and a half of awkward silence.
"I am that guy who lived down the street."
I really hope he was drunk.
Personally, I've been finding myself getting drunker than usual lately. After several months of not really drinking so much, many people and bartenders are determined to dehydrate me via alcohol. Jim Beam's been winking at me, and Captain Morgan has officially appointed me as first mate. I was relieved to discover that Midori is actually a man. No reverse Crying Game incidents for me.
At some point this week, I really have to stop putting off going back to my old jobs. There's only so much ramen noodles my digestive system can take. Ugh.
When I was living in Burlington, Vermont, a few of my friends were discussing how often they masturbated. I was distracting myself by imagining what our waiter would sound like with my dick in his mouth.
"And I bet Adam masturbates at least a dozen times a week." Dagster said.
"Probably more like twenty." said The Soggy Blind Lesbian.
They'd have been pleased to know that my actual masturbation per week average was comfortably between their guesses. But I wasn't going to tell them that.
I'm an incredibly sexual person. Deviant some might say. Still others would shout "Whore!". One of the things I'm proud of, though, is I have (or had until this journal) a low sexual profile, and I'd never been caught masturbating. I've walked in on friends, roommates, the Brazilian water polo team...wait, no that last one was a fantasy. The point is, while I've walked in on easily dozens of people masturbating (though not at the same time, that would have been awkward), I have never been caught with my pants down.
*cue ominous music*
While I may have masturbated between fourteen and twenty times a week back in the good old days of 2001, lately I've been in a serious rut. My libido isn't shrinking, it's just that I live with two roommates, one of whom has a six year old child. There is nearly always someone awake at my house. Usually working on the computer which is within close visual/audial range of my bedroom.
This morning marked...entirely too many...days/weeks since the last time I had an orgasm. At around four-thirty my mentally six year old, physically thirty-something year old roommate finally stopped playing "City of Heroes" and went to bed. I made myself some apples and peanut butter to celebrate my domination of the room, and appease my inner-kindergartner.
At six, the child/monster roommate went off to school, and the other adult roommate headed for work. I decided to literally seize My Opportunity (that's what I call him).
I opened up a dozen or so various porn sites. Remembered that pictures on The Internet just aren't doing it for me these days, and opened up my Porn Playlist on Media Player. I clicked on "random" and hit the forward button. The first movie was twenty minutes long. I decided that would be the duration I'd, pardon the pun, shoot for.
About fifteen minutes into the session, the phone rings. I'm waiting to find out if my book about bad gay sex experiences is coming out, Luckily, caller ID is in sight. It's not my publisher. If it had been her, I still wouldn't have interrupted my special time with my long neglected right hand. After all, I could legitimately claim I was doing research for the sequel. While I lean back from looking at the phone, I accidentally squish my left hand into the plop of peanut butter that I had yet to eat. I go to shake the peanut butter off my hand (yes, I know that doesn't work, but my brain was lacking proper blood flow at the time), and knock the dish on to the floor. For whatever reason, my dick decides this would be a great time to come. So I do, loudly and messily. There is now a broken dish, come and peanut butter all over the floor. And I hear footsteps.
I'm not sure whether the footsteps are my roommate coming upstairs, or one of the people from another apartment going down the stairs into the lobby. Just in case it's my roommate, I leap up to get paper towels, only to discover my feet have fallen asleep. I have just enough time to yell out "Fucker of God!" before I fall, pants around my ankles, on to the peanut butter, come, and dish covered floor.
My shouting attracts the attention of the neighbor who was coming down the stairs. I am briefly thankful that there is a door between us. "Are you okay in there?" Then I remember the door is not locked.
"Fine. Just dropped a dish. No need to come in."
I realize that, as I made to brace my fall, I cut my right palm on one of the broken dish pieces. So now there's blood in the mix. Our floor looks like a discount tie-dyed t-shirt. God, what if my neighbor, whose name I don't even know, came in and saw me like this? Would he laugh? Dial 911? Be aroused?
I imagine my book being released posthumously. "It was the greatest marketing gimmick you could ask for." My publisher would say. "A guy writes a collection of awkward sex stories and is found dead of embarrassment after a stranger walked in on a bizarre auto-erotic ritual involving blood and peanut butter. It's like John Waters meets Mel Brooks in a dark alley and rapes him."
Luckily, my neighbor believes that I'm ok, and leaves. I fail to pass out or die. Instead, I hobble over to the kitchen and realize that we're all out of paper towels.
I'm working on a novel which is, essentially, a fictionalization of this journal. If I'd met Ethan in the book, I'd have the benefit of being able to tell you why he chose to first invite me over for sex, then reject me, then show up on my doorstep looking for sex. I could relate it to how his parents abandoned him or how he has a fetish for making people uncomfortable. Maybe I could invent an ex who was a writer who was hung like a an elephant with elephantitis and shot strawberry flavored semen out of his cock. Semen that not only tasted great, and cleared up your skin, but also built up your self-confidence, and shampooed your hair.
But I'm not an omniscient narrator of my life. I asked Ethan what was going on, and he left. Sure, I know where he lives. I know his phone number, I even know that he reads this LJ (do you have anything to say for yourself Mr. Stalker?). That's all I know. And while I do have some degree of fatalism and curiosity, I can't bring myself to knock on his door, or give him a call. Then I, too, would be a passenger on The Psycho Train.
This whole incident has me thinking of sitcoms. How much easier it would be if my life was confined to a cast of revolving characters. I could have run into Elvis at the gay marriage ceremony. He would have been marrying Tommy. I could have stepped in and stopped the whole thing. Presented the list of Rex crimes, confessed how much I missed Tommy and his tongue. We would have dated until the cliffhanger season finale when Liam would have shown up on my doorstep. Why? You'd have to tune in next season to find out.
What if, instead of a sitcom, I hired Chris Carter or M Knight Shyamalan to write this journal? Would Ryan come back from the dead? Maybe Elvis, Byron and Rex would actually be three different people. Clones, perhaps. Maybe Ethan would turn out to be a brother from the family that gave me up for adoption. Hmmm...these ideas seem a bit more like "Dark Shadows" or "Baywatch Nights."
I guess I have to settle for taking what I get. Living what I'm given.
What I got from Ethan was a sense that I need to slow down before I end up a character in the next SLC Punk. Big City Fags? Sodom 90666?
Maybe the next book will focus on my religious conversion. How I became a Mormon minister. Or better yet, a Republican fund raiser. I'll call it "The Way Things Ought to Be Part 2: The Right Way." My book will be sponsored by Wal-Mart and MobilExxon. I'll move back to Pieceofshitdeserttown and sell coffee while I listen to really crappy poetry about how Dick Cheney is baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad.
Maybe not. What's most likely is that I'll stay reclusive until the book is done. When it's over, I'll --- ok I don't have a clue what I'll do. Anyone have any ideas?
Earlier this month, for the first time, I met someone as Insafemode. It wasn't a date, or a hook-up, or anything remotely scandalous. I was meeting another writer for a drink (Cola, for those keeping track of my alcoholism). I was curious how I would come across to someone who only knew me through this blog. The few people who know me in person, and who read this can probably vouch that I don't come across as...well, slutty in real life. Maybe if I wrote moreentries about my music obsessions or my recipe for Ground Nut Stew, Insafemode would be a more balanced me, instead of a cariacture. But who wants to read about how I couldn't sleep this morning because a pack of cute Latinos are scraping paint off the house?
Put your hands down, there's no nudity involved in the story.
Before I agreed to meet said writer for drinks, I tried to evaluate whether I should "Insafe it up." Should I be as catty and queercentric as I am in this LJ? Hell, no. I can't stand being around catty guys for more than a few minutes at a time, I certainly wouldn't be able to be one.
So I went as me. Straight seeming gay guy. Good listener. Inquisitive soul. Forever in blue jeans. I showered the "unemployed poet" stench off me before I left. I would have been early to the meeting had not my roommate said "What's wrong with your hair? Are you trying to look gay?" which meant I had to towel my hair drier so as not to have the "slick emo kid look." (I prefer having the scruffy emo guy look)
As a regular reader of this LJ, the other writer remarked that I don't come across Insafemodish in person. I'll take that as a compliment.
In addition to learning that I'm not Insafemodish, I also learned that I have a number of readers not brave enough to put me on their friends lists (pussy pervs!) for various reasons. Some don't want their friends page covered in gay porn, some don't have LJs, others are just afraid I'm contagious (they're just fucken freckles).
What I didn't realize is that there was at least one person not on my friends list who wascyberstalking me.
"Did you just call me Safey?"
I pushed his ass of my crotch. "Why?"
"I thought that's what some of your exes called you."
What would Clark Kent say if, one day, Jimmy Olsen was bouncing on his cock and said "Go ahead, call me Lois if it turns you on, Superman?" Fuck if I know. (author's note: I'm using fuck as an interjection, not a verb in that last sentence)
"Look." he said, as I pulled up my boxers. "I have a Livejournal. I've been reading your stories for a couple of months now. I kept answering Craigslist ads that I thought might be yours."
"How did you know when you found me?"
"Your e-mail address has Insafemode in it." Ok, it was my turn to be the moron asking about cancerous freckles.
I tried to rectify things in my mind. A cute guy had been searching me out because of my LJ. He'd found me because I, apparently, have no secret agent skillz whatsoever He'd invited me over to his house so that I could fuck him, and then he threw me the fuck out before I could even take off my shoes. Then, for whatever reason he'd gone to my house (since I'd foolishly given him my address & phone number). There, he threw me on the couch, took off his clothes and proceeded to address me by a fictional alias.
"Um." was really the best thing I could come up with.
"I should go." Yes, you should go. But now you know who I am, where I live, what I look like. Fuck, I need a hypnotist or the MIB memory eraser.
Ethan. Ethan? On my front stairs? How...how should I approach this? Maybe start off smooth and snide. Pretend to ignore him and mutter "Man, I'd love to go home right now, but the vibe is all wrong." And then just walk on by the house. Then I would not answer his e-mails or phone calls (which I was certain there would be hundreds of) until that one day when I'd run into him at, of all places, Good Vibrations. I'd be by the vibrator wall. I'd slowly turn toward him, offer no proof that I recognized him, and say "Gosh. I want to get one of these vibes for my hot, eighteen year old poolboy/boyfriend, but I'm afraid I'll get the wrong type. You look like someone who knows his vibes, what would you get?" He would be not only crushed but rendered impotent by the exchange, and would spend the rest of his life breaking out into hives whenever someone discussed sex toys, acoustics, or that Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch video. One day, five years down the line, he'd be at a party, doing lines of Pixie Stix off some skank's diseased stomach when a certain Beach Boys song would catch his ear. At that moment he'd realize how empty his life was without me, and he would have no choice but to slit his wrists and throw himself into a vat of Hydrochloric Acid and lemon juice. His stomach skank would think it was a bad reaction to the nose candy, but, even though I would have so moved on by then, when word of Ethan's death reached me, I would know that I was the reason he pulled his fizzing body out of the acid vat and threw himself out the plate glass window and on to the salt-covered barbed-wire electric fence.
When I realized how that scenario was far too good for Ethan, I looked him almost dead in the eye and said "Hey."
"Why are you sitting on my doorstep?"
"I felt like an asshole."
If I had written the experience, instead of living it, I would have said "You were an asshole. I hope you didn't come here looking for forgiveness or sex, because you can forget about either." Instead, I said "Don't worry about it." I am a fucken pussy.
"Can I come in?"
No, you cockblocking, bad vibe having piece of spermicide, you can't. "Sure. You have to be quiet, though, my roommates are sleeping."
Let's pretend that we had some long conversation that completely vindicated why he essentially threw me out of his house. Maybe his Dad died, or his roommate urinated in his fish tank. The assumption that we'd reconciled our first encounter, makes us both sound a little less desperate than the truth: as soon as we were inside the door we began snogging.
"Before we go any further," he said with one hand down the front of my jeans, "I have to ask. Do you have AIDS?"
"No. I'm very much negative."
"So what's with all those spots?" I wondered if I'd had such a stressful night that I'd entered some sort of second puberty. Was my face a minefield of pustules? No.
"Spots. They're all over your arm."
"My freckles?" Was it possible he'd never seen a person with freckles before?
"Yea. Freckles. When I'm out in the sun, instead of getting a tan, I get freckles. It's like low carb skin cancer. I've had them since I was born."
"So, they're not like lesions or an STD or anything."
"Unless you consider life as an STD, no. They're just freckles. No more contagious than my hair color."
"Oh." He pushed me on the sofa, slid off his Umbros, and sat his ample ass on my exposed cock. "Ooooh. You like that don't you."
I suppressed a snicker (and perhaps a Twix or two). Talking dirty is a fine art. Ethan was stillfingerpainting.
"I know you love my ass. Don't you Safey?"
I froze. "What did you just call me?"
At some point in the past month, I've begun to schiz. Adam flops between leather computer chair and leather sofa, watching TV screen or computer monitor. He lives on Ramen noodles and Cherry Coke. Insafemode leaves the house at odd hours, whether it's to meet strangers for sex, or just to mill around Boston.
It was Insafemode who left the house at 3:45 on a Friday morning, after Adam had been rejected. While Adam had fretted about what would happen on his way to meet Ethan, Insafemode was writing a LJ entry in his head as he swaggered over to James's house.
Neither personality had walked in this direction before. I'm not talking metaphorically, I'd never had any particular reason to investigate the area Southwest of Chez Insafemode. After a couple of blocks, the familiar multi-family houses gave way to apartment/condo/dorm complexes; the sort of buildings with broom closet sized rooms, where people who wanted to live closer to their sub-living wage jobs.
I envisioned entering James's terrarium. He would be standing on the not-so-far side of the room, that "come hither, even though you're only standing three feet away" look in his eyes. He would coyly offer me a drink from the water bottle hanging from his wall. After a few sips, he would start playing hard-to-get, running laps on his metal wheel.
At roughly the point where I was mentally envisioning leaving his house in a plastic ball, the quality of the buildings started to improve. Parking lots were filled with Maseratis and other mid-life crisis mobiles instead of 1984 Ford Tauruses.
James would answer the door in a cashmere bathrobe. In the middle of his room would be a water fountain shaped like an erect penis. His chihuahua, Gates, would be shivering in his lush doggy bed. "Insafemode," he'd say, "so glad you could make it. Your picture doesn't do you justice. Let's say we cut through the bullshit." At which point he'd, literally, disrobe, revealing his perfectly chiseled ass. We'd fuck until the Cubs won the world series. When we were both too spent to do more than twitch and moan, we'd fall asleep in each others' arms. The next day, my own private Dellionairre would take me out to brunch where we'd discuss those poor slobs running around the streets in plastic hamster balls.
As quickly as they'd popped up, the posh condorms disappeared. I arrived at the properly numbered house. Hamster cage it was.
I buzzed the button with "james's place" written in cursive letters on a post-it note, a big smiley face dotting the "j". Nothing about our encounter was what I imagined. His condorm was deceptively large. Two bedrooms, one kitchen, one bathroom, one den. His room was the swallowing image of Ethan's. Madonna poster? Check. Computer with pretty boys fucking screen saver? Check. Rainbow triangle adhered to window? Check.
James was...not the guy from his picture. Heavy-set, but not fat, he was majorly stubble-faced. I imagined he had a thick carpet of hair covering his body from Adam's apple to toe knuckle. A theory that was quickly proven accurate.
He pulled me toward him, and shut the door in one fluid motion. "So," he asked, "do you like what you see?"
Wake up at noon. Shower. Put appropriate books and work clothes in my backpack. Get dressed. Check e-mail. Eat bagel. Drive to college. Park car. Walk to class. Alternate between paying attention and doing homework. Check e-mail from computer lab. Drive to work. Eat dinner. Throw on uniform. Earn money. When the restaurant closes, drink heavily. Return home. This was the routine for the first forty-five days after I drove Seith out of my life.
On the forty-seventh day, I couldn’t sleep. I tossed, turned, masturbated. Nothing. When seven o’clock rolled around, I conceded defeat, and went into the kitchen to make a bagel. On the way in, I turned on the TV. “Mourners are gathering for Matthew Shepherd who died at 12:53 this morning, nearly a week after...”
Apart from hearing his name mentioned in psychology class, and hearing someone at work mention the tragedy in Wyoming, I had no concept of who Matthew Shepherd was. On October 12th, 1998 that all changed. I didn’t go to class that day. Like most of my "alternative lifestyle" (actor) friends I went about making the tragedy of Matthew Shepherd something tangible. Something we could squeeze in our fists until it bled.
My name is Adam Stone. You might know me as InSafeMode, an all-too openly gay writer/pseudo-political activist. You probably think I can't leave the house without a cock in my mouth. The truth is, until October 12th 1998, only a handful of people knew my sexuality. Ok, a few handfuls if you counted the people I'd hooked-up with over The Internet. Since then I've become outspoken in a way that annoys a number of my Gay colleagues. I do things like use labels like gay and Gay.
I see men who like to love/sleep with men, and women who like to love/sleep with women as being gay. We don't let our sexuality define us anymore than our politics, our diets, our favorite Smurf. On the other side of the equation are people I consider Gay. They wake up in the Gay morning, eat their Gay Cheerios, put on their Gay Diesel jeans, and go about their Gay day, informing everyone who thinks differently than them that they're homophobic. While Gay people annoy the hell out of me, I'm glad they're out their doing what they need to do. There are obviously people in the world who need to hear "We're here, we're queer, don't be a homophobe, buy me a beer." I'm just not one of them.
I saw Shepherd's death as a time for reflection, and horror. Some people saw his death as an opportunity for rebellion against homophobic archetypes. Still others, like that demon "reverend" Phelps, saw it as an opportunity to spread a hateful agenda. He was as entitled to picket Matthew Shepherd's funeral, as I am to picket his when Satan finally comes to collect the withered prune that was once his soul. I'm all about freedom of choice.
Every hack psychologist and creative writing teacher will tell you that writing is therapeutic. I feel it’s my job as an author to tell you they’re full of shit. Reliving Ryan’s death has never brought me an ounce of peace. I feel like I’m Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day. Only instead of aiming to seduce Andie MacDowell, I’m trying to kill Ryan in such a way that no one will know who he is. As his lover, his confidant, and his killer, it’s my duty to keep his secret.
So why am I telling it here? There’s no moral here, no healing, no zen realization about life’s suffering or love. I can’t offer any reason why I happened to Ryan or vice-versa. I offer it only as what it is, near truth. Which is all I have left.