Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
You are not regular. I don't care if you shit every day at 8:45 AM, spend from 9-5 in a cubicle crunching numbers and drinking coffee. The fact that you like "24" and "Desperate Housewives" makes you average, but "average" and "regular" are not the same thing. Six inches hanging straight down may be average, but it ain't regular.
Three customers at work today asked for a "regular" coffee; one meant a medium black houseblend, one wanted a small houseblend with two creams and two sugars, and one wanted a shot of espresso. Words failed me, but not as much as the word "regular" failed them.
When a person writes a personal ad, and says he's a "regular guy", I picture an obese black underwear model with blonde hair, purple eyes, wearing only a sweater vest and six Swatch watches. His ass has a door over the hole that says "unleaded only". You know, regular.
I don't like regular people. My friends have style: Zuzu is adopting a dachshund (against my advice) and, because dachshunds are German, naming it Pup Ratzinger. Celeste uses a 1950's era medical kit as a purse, and even writes with pens shaped like syringes. Dmitri drinks ketchup straight from the bottle when he's nervous. My friends don't even have regular names.
Landlord woke me up at 5 AM to tell me my room was messy. I knew this already. "Why are you in my room anyway?"
"I'm looking for dishes." he said.
"Try the kitchen." I rolled over and fell back asleep. I dreamed I was on "American Idol", freestyling a Christian gospelesque song while Billy Joel played classical piano. I have this dream every Tuesday. It's a regular occurrence.
I rewoke up at 9:30, had eggs and toast with my new roommate, an Australian woman who tests the effects of psychotropic drugs on schizophrenics. I call her Dr. O.
"When I was sixteen," I told her, "my roommate, JBOB and I took mescaline for the first time. Just as the high started kicking in, we were given free tickets for a preview showing of Natural Born Killers. When it let out, we alternated between hiding in doorways and searching the city for Laura Palmer's remains. I haven't touched mescaline or NBK since."
At ten thirty, I caught a bus to work. A complete stranger with piercing green eyes said, as he stepped off the bus, "I love your haircut."
I stammered out a weak "Thanks?". He turned around and waved. His shirt said "Future Fry Cook". The film version of my life has run out of extras.
I was barely at work for a half hour when Clarissa called. Twice. Fuck Clarissa, I should refer to her as Needy Smurf. No, that's too harsh. Needy Bitch. She's been telling my coworkers she's my girlfriend, and she constantly "calls me back", which is remarkable only because I never call her first.
After an uneventful day of pouring coffee, I took the T to Quincy to mail books to prisoners. As I opened the door to the church I heard "Safey?" And across the street was my beautiful ex-not-quite-boyfriend, MAMIP. "It really is you."
I wondered if he was surprised at my haircut, the fact that I was wearing the shirt he bought me, or that I was entering a church. Turns out, one of my illustrious former coworkers told him I'd moved back to Arizona. "Right." I said. "Just after I had breast augmentation and took up drinking kerosene and lighting my belches on fire."
He stared blankly at me. I am on the receiving end of this look more than I care to admit.
We exchanged new phone numbers and soap opera stares until he had to go to work.
When I was finished with my volunteer work, I headed over to Zuzu's for dinner. Then I headed home and went to sleep. Alone.
I want the phone to ring. A trumpet flare or a sitar version of "Stay (Faraway, So Close!". I want the phone to ring, but only if there's a guy on the other end. I want the phone to crawl across the floor, lovingly nuzzle me, and say "It's for you." There's too many qualifications, but still I want the fucken phone to ring. It does. "Hello?" Please be Dmitri, please be Dmitri.
"Hey, it's Dmitri," He laughs. Lucky fucker is drunk. "Where do you live?" I give him directions for the cab ride back. An hour and a half later, he's sitting on the couch next to me. He tells me about $4 bottles of water, and finding "(his) people", hot guys who excitedly dance to Kelly Clarkson. I want His People in bed, but they must wear headphones in public. He heads to bed after "The Oblongs". I also decide to crash.
His whole visit has caused me to crash into contemplativityness reflection. After a delicious homecooked meal of fettuccine and Jiffy blueberry muffins, I stack the dishes on the table.
"You're so NEAT." Dmitri says. "What would you do if I made a mess?" He grabs a pile of Landlord's papers and scatters them over the floor.
I shrug. "Wait for you to pick it up." I say, knowing his OCD will kick in, and he'll be compelled to unmessify the floor. A few minutes later, he does.
I really want to kiss him, and it's bugging the fuck out of me. I'm supposed to be a top, the control guy, but I find myself wanting to wait hand and foot on this nudge. He's adorable and everything, but he's not that hot. Am I becoming a Middle Man? A "top" guy who waits for a "bottom" to tell him how to do everything? Shoot me yesterday.
"I'm bored." He says.
We go to The Trident to meet Clarissa for lunch. I'm almost out of cash, so I have this long internal dialogue about cashing my check. I scan through some books while Dmitri paces. Like all of my other friends, Clarissa is late. I locate her via cell, and determine that Dmitri and I have enough time to shop on Newbury Street before Clarissa will show up. First stop, Diesel, where Dmitri spends over $100 on a t-shirt I could get at Garment District for $5. I taunt him for being a Fag. Then we go to the Hello Kitty Store. I no longer have the right to taunt anyone for being faggy.
Clarissa is waiting when we get back to the cafe. Our server is hot but completely incompetent. Clarissa and I are discussing whether I should cash my check when I hear Dmitri breathing heavily...into a straw...that's bent into his left ear. "It sounds like an airplane." So I'm in crush with a four year old.
I turn to Clarissa to mock him, but she has MY straw bent into HER ear and says, "This feels sooooo good." Clarissa needs to get laid.
In an effort to reclaim some semblance of normalcy, I start talking about asses. Clarissa asks to see Dmitri's (because she's so classy the entire word class is in her name, I mean she's not socially obtrusive at all). He would have turned red, if his skintone allowed. He stood up and walked away from us. Due to his baggy jeans, I couldn't yet comment on his ass.
After Dmitri charmingly overpays the bill, we head to Central Square to cash my check. It's snowing. On the bus, Clarissa and Dmitri serenade me with a Brittney Spears song. It's cute, weird, and incredibly out of tune.
The banks are closed, so we have to go to a Western Union to cash my meager checklet. Not having my ID, I sign the check over to Clarissa. The woman behind the bulletproof glass says she's not allowed to cash it because it's now 3rd party. She does anyway, so I go across the street to buy her a flower. Dmitri chastises me for jaywalking, and Clarissa finally realizes "You have red hair." This, after months of trying to tell me I don't have red hair. Chicks are dumb and colorblind.
After Western Union Lady has been flowered, and Clarissa has left for a haircut, Dmitri and I head back to my house for what may be the last time. Unless the snow gets so bad, his flight gets delayed. Please, let it snow harder.
If I were a gerbil, my water bottle would be filled with Cherry Coke. If Dmitri were a gerbil, he'd be doing commercial modeling for Habitrail. If I were a gerbil, and Dmitri were a gerbil, we could have the kind of hot, kinky gerbil sex that doesn't invoke the urban myth of Richard Gere and an Emergency Room visit.
I'm not a gerbil, and neither is Dmitri. We are two humans who met through Livejournal, decided to hang out in person, and decided that a trip to an art exhibit would be fun. we hadn't anticipated that said "art exhibit" would be inside a warehouse that gave off serious Freddy Kreuger vibes. But there we were, on the wrong side of a swinging door. On our side of the door: wood chips, a fake hanging water bottle, large fake gerbil turds, a bowl full of water, another bowl full of stale crullers that were supposed to look like gerbil food, no other door, and the windows were barred. On the other side of the door, ominously approaching footsteps. Footsteps that never materialized into another human being.
During our moment of fear, I should have wrapped my arms protectively around Dmitri and maybe kissed him. I didn't. The two of us just sort of wandered around the giant cage making jokes about how bizarre it was that this exhibit was held inside a seemingly abandoned warehouse.
While I kicked fake turds, Dmitri swung on the giant bird swing, the only part of the exhibit that was out of place with the whole Gerbil Cage Mystique. I've owned several gerbils in my day, and never bought a trapeze swing for any of them. Gerbils would make shitty acrobats.
From the life-size gerbil cage, we made our way to The New England Aquarium. We were supposed to meet Zuzu there in the early afternoon, but like just about all my friends that I'd made plans with during Dmitri's visit, she failed to show. So we went in without her. On our way in, our photograph was taken. I would have liked a photograph of the time we spent together, but their photo looked like shit, I hated my hair, and they wanted like a bazillion bucks for a cheap ass picture that we hadn't been prepared for.
After making our way through the jellyfish exhibit, where Dmitri proved his skillz at video games by defeating a jellyfish game designed for six year olds, we arrived at The Giant Ocean Tank. As we circled the tank, Dmitri said some rather insightful things about sharks and giant turtles before jumping back about five feet and letting out a rather loud "Oh, gross!"
I imagined that if I looked hard enough, I'd see an amputated bloody hand floating in the tank. Then, I remembered how Dmitri felt about other human beings, and realized he'd be overjoyed to see that the Aquarium was feeding human beings to the fish. "What is it?" I asked.
"That fish. It's so huge and ugly. I hate giant things." I made a mental note not to show him my penis, then I made another mental note that I didn't have a giant penis, and we would both be safe should penis presentation time ever arrive.
At the top of the tank, an old lady was telling a young mom and her brood something interesting about sharks that I fully intended to remember and write about, but the goldfish part of my brain has since vanquished. Dmitri and I discussed how unhungry he was after the traumatizing giant fish situation, and headed back down around the tanks to check out The Penguin Pool.
For those of you just joining this journal, I love penguins so much, I am tempted to write I <3 Rockhoppers the most. Maybe it's the punk rock hair, maybe it's the way they honk for attention, I don't know. But it was at The Rockhopper exhibits that I had my first revelation concerning my feelings for Dmitri. Rockhoppers are incredibly territorial, and, while sociable, don't appear to be overly friendly. While we watched, one of the aquarium employees was moving around the pool doing something scientific. The Rockhoppers were taking turns honking at him. One would spend ten seconds "singing", then another would begin. There was never any overlap in the honking, and there as rarely a second between one penguin's honking and another. They were cute, obnoxious, and loud. Like Elvis. Like Alex. Like Dmitri. Nothing at all like MAMIP or Liam or Ryan; they were Magellanics.
I thought I'd passed through my Rockhopper phase, now preferring a less needy guy who loved me more than the attention I lavished on him.
Don't get me wrong, I am not and was not in love with Dmitri. I love his writing, the way he thinks, the way he blows into his own ear with a bendy straw when I accidentally stop paying attention to him for ten seconds while Clarissa asks me a question. I think he is mentally and physically amazingly beautiful, but I wasn't in love with him. I was just terrified by how easily I could have been in love with him if the scenario was a little different: say, we lived in the same city, or if I wasn't spending so much of his visit brooding over my irresponsible friends, or if he didn't have a boyfriend. I may be a naive, lust hungry, easy target for falling in love, but I have enough self-control to never allow myself to be in love with someone who is in a relationship already.
"He's not your type." Clarissa said well after Dmitri had left Boston.
"What is my type?" I asked in my vaguely annoyed tone of voice.
"I don't know. He's so Young. Don't get me wrong, he's adorable, and really sweet, but don't you think you'd be happier with someone older?" This from the thirty-eight year old, currently lusting after eighteen year old breakdancers.
"He doesn't write like he's Young. And, I mean, he does act Young, but he's so self-aware. I act Young all the time. It's what keeps me from being a depressed misanthrope like you."
Wisely, the topic of conversation changed at that point.
So what if he was is seven years and seventeen days younger than I am? He's...not available, so why bother finishing that particular line of logic?
"Do you want to go dancing?" He asked me, the night after our gerbil excursion.
The answer was Yes. I've never been a club kid, never spent much time at Manray or any of the clubs in Provincetown, but I've always secretly wanted to go, and now I had the opportunity to be guest listed at a club where I could dance with an insanely hot, nerdy, meglaphobic gay crush. So why didn't I go?