Thursday, February 27, 2014

Yuri & Friends with Casey Ley

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Vegetarians and Gluten allergy BS

     Todays started shitty... First off I wake up early at noon.  My friend Lisa invites me to lunch.  She says, "hey lets get barbecue."  When we get to the place I find out that it is vegetarian barbecue.  That doesn't even make sense!  It is at this moment I realize that going to a vegetarian barbecue is like going to a prostitute that just wants to hold your hand... You leave very hungry.

     What a lot of people don't know about me is that I was a vegetarian for 2 years.  I didn't do it for any moral or ethical reason.  I just looked in the mirror, realized that I had larger breasts than most women.  I figured with all the hormones in today's meat supply going meat free was the way to be.  Then there was a trip to Virginia.  Don't ask why I was there.  I just was.  I'm with some friends at the Wendy's drive-through because it was either that or go hungry for another hour.  I ate a fry with a tiny morsel of chicken stuck to it.  I'm was so hungry I didn't notice.  This was when the blood-lust kicked in and I was hooked.  I ate enough chicken tenders, shakes and fries to kill someone.  It was as though I had never seen food before.

      As an ex-vegetarian I can comfortably say that unlike homosexuality it's lifestyle choice and manageable.  What I do not understand is why vegetarian restaurants keep trying to push shit like fake Chic-en.  If you are against eating something that had a face, then why the fuck would you make your food look like something that once had a face?  To-furkey?  More like wet cardboard.  "Riblets" taste like feet smell! Stop it!  Making your vegetarian food look like meat is like saying 'I don't do heroin anymore so I shoot up insulin.  No saturated fats!"

       What I am saying is vegetarians need to stop pushing rank shit like fake-sausage and focus on the good stuff like...  Actually I am having a hard time remembering what that is but eventually I'll remember.

      After vegetarians the next actually more annoying group are the people who lie and say they are allergic to gluten.  Can people stop lying about that shit?  I am sure a small percent of them legitimately have issues with that stuff and I get it.  I don't get though why they have to make crap like "gluten-free cookies."  Isn't that a bit extreme?  Why not just eat a piece of plastic?  If you are changing your diet to be healthy, here is an idea: STOP eating shit like cookies!  Gluten-free beer?  Really?  Why not just hit yourself in the head and skip the crap beer?  At least your taste buds will be intact.  To be clear I am not saying people with real gluten issues shouldn't get to enjoy being a lush just as much as I do.  What I am saying is why make lame crap like gluten-free bagels when you can just skip the bagel and have something else?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The END OF DAYs...

            Today I get to the office after a long night at the Lab.  I am super tired and envious of all the San Francisco people I pass on my way to the office.  I am late to work and cranky.  Walk around San Francisco during any weekday and there are people everywhere, the park, cafes, it’s like they don’t work or all lie and say they telecommute.  Right before I get to work I pop by a coffee shop on a blog down from the office.  There are people of all sorts, typing on their laptops, sipping their lattes and laughing their heads off while having their conversations presumably about soy products or crap that annoys me.  A part of me is envious, wishing I could be like them sitting there on my laptop, sipping a coffee and working on my blog, writing jokes just for fun.  Instead I have to be an adult, go to my career-job writing boring ads for things I don’t care about.
            I roll into the office at a quarter past 10 in sunglasses hoping no one notices my bloodshot eyes from lack of sleep.  All 20 of my officemates are silently working on their projects at their computers typing away.  One is clearly pretending to work while watching a movie or something funny on his screen because he keeps laughing so loud the noise is just grading on my tired ears.  I get to my desk, unpack and check my email.  Usually I have at least 7 emails from my boss and his bosses asking me to do random updates to my accounts.  Today there are no emails.  I actually have nothing to do.  Besides the jackass laughing in the corner, the silence in the office is piercing.  I spend the next 2 hours updating my blog with various stupid jokes in my head completely ignoring what is going on around me.  
At noon my boss messages me on my computer’s messenger (even though he is just sitting 25 feet away at his desk).  It’s strange how passive-aggressive offices are these days with computers being the way you talk to your co-workers even if they are in the same room.  He asks me to meet him in the CEO’s office.  I assume they are going to give me a promotion or something along those lines because I’m an idiot.  I get laid off.  This is the second time in my life I have been laid off and I am 24 years old.  The only thing I say to them is “again?”  Both Director of my department and the CEO look confused and try to coddle and console me telling me that the lay off has nothing to do with me personally just the economy.  I have no emotion on my face at all at this moment.  I think it scares them.  I don’t look happy or sad.  I look like I’m in a comma.  After they hand me my check, I feel numbed.  I go pack up my desk and walk out.  As I get into the elevator heading out of the building I suddenly have tears streaming down my face.  They are the “I’m going to Disneyland” tears.  I am happy.  I am unexplainably ecstatic to be done with the office.  I am so happy that I am upset that I am not shattered by this lay off and make an appointment to see Dr. John.  Since he is booked up for the next 2 days, I go home and write.  I don’t know how or why but some stories just flow from me.  I write three about my years at the bar on the blog and proceed to pass out for several hours until my bar shift that night.

The night it all happened!

The night it all happened.
            Working at the Lab is fun but not what it looks like.  That’s what I explain in my last blog entry.  My mom reads it and instantly calls me.  She wants me to stop talking about pot in my entries because then people will think I do drugs.  I tell her, “If you call pot a drug then yes I do.  If you live in San Francisco, it’s considered fresh air.”            
            After the lovely pot argument with my mother, dad calls me.  He is clearly smoking a cigarette and starts choking on his own cough before I get the chance to say hello.  This makes me want to roll a joint but I don’t because I’m out.  Dad asks me when I’m coming to visit.  He hasn’t had a job in several years at this point.  I have no idea how he gets by.  I ask him why he can’t drive up to visit me.  He tells me it’s too far for him to drive.  I offer to pay for Amtrak and he then says he’ll get sick on there.  I get annoyed and he changes the topic and asks me if I have seen the latest Pay-Per-View fight.  I say know and even though it’s on the phone I can hear him shaking his head.
            Something that has always bothered me is that I have lived in San Francisco for around six years.  My father has never tried to come and visit me.  On occasion I have made pilgrimages to visit him by driving the six hours to Northridge and hanging out with him.  This act consists of watching a twenty-year old Tyson/Forman fight on a loop for at least an hour, stuffing our faces with enough Chinese food /MSG to bloat and awkwardness.  There are a lot of weird silences that we cover up with the sound of the television.  After the fights, we switch an old Columbo rerun for my grandmother.  She lives with dad then comes by with bowl of grapes to make sure we are fully nourished.  She makes light conversation about her daily struggles, current ailments and then my dad goes to the bathroom to suck down 1-3 cigarettes.  
            My dad makes it very clear to me that he loves me but not that he’s dependable.  I remember as a kid my father was supposed to visit San Diego, and take me to the zoo while introducing me to his girlfriend at the time.  He never came.  This was the third or fourth time this happened.  That night I found out that it was because of the Northridge earthquake.  He lived around the corner from the apartment building that fell over. 
            From fifteen year-old and on I always worked.  I would take time off of work to meet up with my dad in San Clemente, our agreed upon halfway point between his home in Northridge and mine in San Diego.  Two out of five times he would have to cancel the day of which would anger me.  After a while I stopped making those plans with him.
            I tell Dr. John about how it upsets me that dad hasn’t ever made an effort to visit me.  Dr. John asks me to measure my stress-level.  Right now I am at an 8.  This is on a scale from 1-10.  I don’t really have a reason for this.  I just know it’s there.   He then tells me to just focus on myself for a while.  Write out my feelings maybe on the blog and keep my dad at bay for a little bit while I compose myself.  I hear what he says but of course don’t listen.  That night, while working on a new blog story I purchase tickets from my dad to fly up to see me.  I call to tell him about this and he is super excited.  The tickets are for the following weekend.  It’s a Friday-Monday sort of thing.  That Thursday my dad calls to tell me that he isn’t feeling very good and can’t come.  It’s like being 14 all over again.

You DO PORN???

You do PORN?
            Dr. John asks me about work.  I tell him about this week’s shit.  I get to work at the lab and there are a whole bunch of short muscle dudes there.  Nothing unusual.  Then one of the guys, a tall blonde guy that from far away looks hot and up close looks like he’s had some work done comes up to me.  I think he wants a drink so I start to fill a glass up with ice and ask him what his poison is.  He then asks if he knows me.  I say no but then get cocky thinking he may be reading the blog and saw me on there.  I ask if he read the blog, smile and talk out of my ass saying that it seems to be getting some buzz.  He says that he doesn’t read.  The guy walks away drinkless.  After about twenty minutes he comes back to me.  This time he is shirtless and has this waxed chest shining in my face.  I think he is shirtless to keep people from noticing how much Botox and fillers he’s had put into his face to fight his natural aging face.  He then leans in and ask if we had sex together.  I say no.  This guy doesn’t give up though.  He asks if we’ve filmed any scenes together and says, “You know the one with the latex, rope and honey?”  I then say unless there was someone crying in the corner of that scene I was not in any porn.  I got out of TV stuff at 19 so I don’t think so.  When he walks away I find out that he is a big porn-star.  That term is such a joke.  Why is it that everyone that does porn calls themselves a “porn star” and not a porn character actor or porn background actor?  That’s beside the point.  Only after he leaves I realize that he thinks I did porn with him because I am that slow.  How many people do you have to sleep with not to even remember if you have or have not done them?
            Dr. John says hmmm but I bet is suppressing a huge laugh.  I bet the second I leave after this story he will laugh so loud that people will hear it in space.
            I can’t believe he confused me for a porno person.  It happens a lot.  I don’t care about that.  I do though hate that people often assume that I as a bartender at the type of bar that I work am in that category.  It’s almost like they are saying, you must be too dumb for anything else.  I hate when my intelligence is underestimated.
            Dr. John says hmmm and then tells me that my time is up.  As I’m leaving the office my mom calls me asking if I am doing anything for Shabbat, which is interesting.  She is the same mother who sent me to Hebrew school but also took me to Indian Casinos on Yom Kippur and has never met a shrimp she didn’t like.  Needless to say we weren’t very religious and I liked that.  She also asks if I’m going to hang with my Jewish neighbor from across the hall that is “nice, Jewish and single!”
            My neighbor Nick he is a nice enough guy but I feel like it’s often a battle of who is a better Jew.  He won’t use electricity on Shabbat, which is a bullshit thing I can’t stand right off the bat.  This one Shabbat, Friday evening he invited me over to light candles and I was off so figured why not?  After the candles are lit he then asks me to light the bong he has on the floor for him because he can’t since its Shabbat.  I get annoyed; smoke the rest of his weed and leave.

From Dr. John's lips to some queen's ears

It’s interesting how Dr. John’s idea of starting a blog really is giving me a voice I didn’t know I had.  I have been blogging the past few months about different things.  In the past few weeks I’ve started to write about my experiences at the Lab.  I answer questions people ask me about bartending, the lifestyle and all that comes with it.  I’ve had a few co-workers at the day job get wind my stories posted on my blog.   By co-workers I mean one girl that loves reading romance novels and Okay magazine.  She comments on every blog post.  There are a few people from the Lab who have also been reading apparently.  Mind you, all of these stories I’m writing just as a release not really thinking anybody is reading.  Why would they?  Today Gina texts me a cryptic message, “love the blog, liked working with you.”  I don’t understand what she means and ask her what she’s getting at.  She says, “Charlie won’t like it.”  I’m thinking, Charlie isn’t spending his day browsing my blog; he has more important things to do like spy on his employees while they do their jobs and work on his alcoholism.
            I’ve put up a total of like three stories about the bartending based on my experience at the Lab in the past 3 weeks on the blog.  I don’t think much of it until I get a random comment on one post saying, “You’ve always been my favorite bartender, what are the real names of the people in these stories? “  I can’t tell if it’s a real reader or someone from the bar just trying to get into my head.
            I tell Dr. John about how people at the Lab are starting to get wind of my blog and that I am worried it may hurt me.  He frankly doesn’t seem concerned about this concept as long as he’s getting paid.  He just says, “hmmm and getting your voice isn’t priceless?”
            I don’t really understand what Dr. John is getting at but I do have this unusual sense of urgency with the blog.  These are stories I feel I must write because I don’t know who will.  The questions I ask myself every moment of my life at the Lab is, what am I doing here?  I just got a job at the Lab to pay rent literally with no plans of becoming a lifetime bartender but can understand why one wouldn’t leave.  Right now I am making $2,000 a week in cash and another grand or 2 a week from various contract day jobs, why should I leave the bar?  The next question is what will these experiences add up to?  Will I just end up another lifetime bartender as my youth fades into the sunset? 
            My mom is upset with me because she too apparently reads the blog.  She says she read that I smoked pot and doesn’t like me joking about that in a public forum because then people will think I smoke, which I do.  She says, “stop with the jokes!  I’m going to create a Jdate profile for you, how tall are you?  Are you more the man in the relationship?”
            “Mom, we’re both men, that’s why we’re gay.  I don’t like dating Jewish guys generally, it’s not my jam!”
            “That’s what you think.  That will change.”
            Dr. John is concerned because he says my mother and I are too much of friends and don’t have a healthy mother-son relationship.  When I was a kid we told each other everything.  It was hard to hide stuff from her or rebel because I liked her.  At one point we shared a room.  In high school there was a point where I helped pay our mortgage because I could even though she had never asked.  Dr. John seemed to make that sound like burden.  He says I need to create boundaries.  This is how I know he’s a gentile because he thinks that’s possible.
            Dr. John then asks me about my dad whom I rarely mention.  I tell him how most of my friends have never met my father.  He is a bit of a loner.  As a child there were a lot of times where he wasn’t there.  It’s a story that I’m sure a lot of other kids raised by single-mothers have.  Often he would say he was coming to visit me in San Diego from LA and at the last minute not come.  Even as an adult, I take time off of work to meet him at a halfway point in San Clemente and he would have an “emergency.”  In the 5 years I have lived in San Francisco he has not once come to visit.  Don’t get it twisted; I talk to him every day.  I know my father loves the older and me I get, the more I understand he is a grown teenager who did what he could.  I still hold a grudge for certain things that can’t be changed.  From a young age I learned of my father’s drinking problem mostly by his voice when he calls me.  He starts to apologize for stuff which tells me that he doesn’t get me he gets the situation.   You can learn a lot about a man by the way they handle their booze.  I have never had a problem saying no to drinks, drugs or anything else.  My dad goes for months and years sober and then will fall off the wagon just for a weekend and call me nearly in tears.  There is nothing worse than hearing your father cry.  There is one thing worse seeing yourself in the mirror when you’ve been crying.  My main issue is I don’t know how to handle my dad.  I simply don’t engage sometimes because I don’t want to deal with him.
            Dr. John listens to this and jots notes rapidly.  He asks me what my father has taught me.  It takes me a long time to answer.  I can’t figure out what he has showed me.  I learned to shave from my the only grandfather I’ve ever known who showed me love but then started to yell mid-way through the shave because I took too long putting the foam on my face.  He is a Holocaust survivor, after 6 concentration camps you’d be ape-shit crazy too.  My dad taught me that if anyone tries to hit me, I should hit him or her back fifty times harder.  He always would ask if I was in any fights.  I would always say no.  I had never seen him happier then the one time I told him I was in a fight.  I was eleven.  A counselor at camp asked me to tell another kid, D.J. that it was time to take his riddalen.  He got angry stabbed me in the leg with a pen.  I responded by pushing him onto the cement and running away and crying behind a bush because of the pain.  In the version I told my dad, I punched him in the face and walked away unscathed.
            Dr. John asks why I care what my father thinks of me? The truth is I don’t think I do.  I do though have compassion for him but knew from a young age I wanted to do more, be responsible and come through on my responsibilities.  This is probably why most people call me intense.  I just have always thought I could do better than what people expected of me.
            Dr. John asks if I could imagine having kids now.  I tell him that babies don’t come out of there.  I then realized that I am the age my mom was when she had me and that if I had kids now I don’t know I could handle it.
            I have these weird dreams sometimes that my dad will call me really drunk the way he has in the past and I’ll just be out of compassion for him and he’ll do something drastic.  I’ll never forgive myself.  In the dream I am serving a regular who is so drunk I have to cut them off and eventually kick them out.  Because I am the only bartender working, I have to kick the guy out.  As I am moving the guy out of the bar he takes a swing at me.  He misses.  Then I take a swing at him and he falls to the ground.  He stays down for a few seconds and as he gets up, brushes himself off he smiles.  As the light hits his face he looks an awful lot like my dad and says, “that’s my boy.  Hitting like a fucking man.”  Then the guy walks outside to fall on is ass.  Those dreams always happen on the few nights (once ever few months) that I get drunken phone calls.  I always wake up to his drunken call after these dreams.  What could that mean though?

            Dr. John asks me why I would hit someone like my dad?  I tell him about how my dad would make me spar with him.  Most kids dads played catch.  Mine would have a cigarette in one hand and the other hand out and yell “spar.”  He would always tell me to work on that left-hook.  We then would complete that quality time with ice cream or a burger.  I don’t know the answer to Dr. John’s question. 

the Day job....

Day Job
            I am writing this story because I feel that it’s important for one to get the full picture that is my life.  While working at the Lab the past few years I have also had other things going on.  If it wasn’t college, I was at an internship doing publicity for random clients.  After that I was working as a sales man selling online ad space.  I was laid off from that job.  More recently my current day job working as a paper pusher, I mean Account Coordinator for a Search Engine Management company.  If you fell asleep reading that or don’t know what that is, it’s easy.  I write ads for various online Search Campaigns.  Say you go on to your favorite search site and search “India” and “Vacation” I create the ad that pops up and reads “India come check us out for just $60.”  Then you get confused and click.  While writing ads sounded great in college, in the office it’s something else. 
            At night I sling drinks in a hot gay bar and in the day I write ads all day.  One-line advertisements.  Even though I always thought I would quit the Lab once I finished college, now I am not sure.  That would be like leaving family that pays you for hanging out which is way better than any actual family.
            My daily schedule is as follows, get to work at 8 or 9am after fighting every asshole in San Francisco to get on a packed subway that smell like urine and pot.  I read my George Carlin book while on there just to avoid eye-contact with co-subway-riders.  Once at the office, I check out what’s happening on various gossip blogs, “news” sites and pretend to be reading stats on my campaigns.  Once noon rolls around I sit at my desk eating salad watching old Joan Rivers' clips followed by updating my blog with the day’s new joke or story I make up.  Then I go back to sort of working by sipping on my third coffee of the day and typing really loud on my computer so my bosses think I’m being productive.  Then I spend the last hour of the day updating all my campaigns writing over 250 search ads that are similar but with one word difference like these:
“Like travel for cheap? Get a flight here for just $10.”
“Like traveling for cheap? Get a flight here for just $10.”
“Like traveling for cheap? Get a flight now for only $10.”
I am always tempted to make one of the ads funny  like, “Fly your mistress over for cheap. Get a flight now just $10.”

After updating all my ads I get back on the subway reading my book, head straight to the Lab to work until 11pm or sometimes 2am and repeat all week long.  I took this job because at least I get to be sort of creative-ish.

More therapy and a Guatemalan

A few months into Therapy
            My sessions with Dr. John soon became my favorite time of the week.  He seems to have a genuine interest in my well-being.  He doesn’t need much from me besides my $65 dollars I hand him for each session and conversation.
            “Yuri tell me about your childhood.  You make reference to it but don’t talk about it much.”
            “What’s there to talk about?”
            “Where did you grow up?  Tell me about the house.”
            “It’s kind of a boring story but first off I have never lived in a house.  I lived in an apartment with my mom and dad in Los Angeles.  Once they divorced, my mother and I moved into a tiny 1-bedroom apartment where we shared a room until I was 8 years old.  I took care of myself pretty much from that point on.  My mom worked sometimes seven days a week and I watched a lot of cooking shows.  As a result I would often cook dinner.  I am not saying my mom wasn’t there; she just worked because she had to take care of herself and a child.  She didn’t get alimony at all and never made a legal fight for it because she didn’t want to kill my relationship with my dad.  While my dad sent child support, there were times where that would disappear for months too because he had his own problems.  I would do what I could to help mom out by making us dinner and stuff in second grade.  That should have been the first homo clue. 
Our house was always messy but never dirty.  It was never a hoarders-status home.  There were no dead cats under piles of garbage.  We were never that cool.  It was just piles of old bills shoved in corners, jackets and stuff strewn about a bit.  I never had friends over mostly because I didn’t have any.  The few friends I did have on occasion I wouldn’t invite over because our place was messy and small.  At 9 or so we moved into a 2-bedroom condo.  For some reason we rarely had visitors.  Our home was always messy but never dirty.  Even our family, my grandma and mom’s sister rarely visited.  When my grandma did visit she would often remind my mother that she had helped my mother in purchasing the condo.  Even though my mother had paid off the money by doing my grandma’s hair every Sunday for 12 years (she used to be a hair stylist), and with money my grandma always would remind us that we owed her for this.  He visits would often end in loud arguments about grudges past. My mom was their version of Aunt Jackie from Roseanne.  They always treated her as a failure, which wasn’t fair cause the concept is relative.  I think that’s why my mom kept the mess sometimes so she wouldn’t have to deal with them.  They seemed to care but keep us at an arms length in that way.  Maybe that’s why my apartment is nearly spotless now that I live on my own?”
“Yuri, do you have friends over now?”
“Actually, when I moved to San Francisco, I made a conscious decision to make friends.  I told myself to say hi to every single person I would encounter even in passing who I felt intriguing.  I build up a large amount of various friends.  As a result, these days I love to be the host.  Now that I live alone, in my own studio, I love having people over. I’ll let them even smoke in my apartment not because I like having ashy walls, but because I don’t have any roommates saying no.”
“What type of people?”
“Friends from work, college girl friends.”
“What about men?”
“What about them?”
            “So what about dating?  Why don’t you talk about it much?”
            “In my late teens I was pretty much a-sexual.  In the past 2 and half years since I came out, I have dated some but not much.  After the Elijah thing I have found it hard to trust guys.  I always assume they are lying or looking past me for someone they really want.  I had a year where I assumed that all gay men had HIV which I now know is not true but that fear is often in the back of my head”
            “I have this guy I’m kind of seeing.  If by seeing you mean sleeping with occasionally because he is an amazing hair stylist.”
            “Hmmm. So you admire his job choice?”
            “No.  I like getting free haircuts.”
            “What are you looking for in a man?”
            “I can barely focus on what I want for lunch let alone that.  I want a man with a job who isn’t jealous and well a man.  I’m not very picky.  Every guy I meet at the bar can’t handle it.  I was seeing this Latin guy for a few months on and off and he kept on asking which of my co-workers I was hooking up with which drove me crazy.  I didn’t hook up with any of my co-workers ever.  Okay I did once, during the first month at the Lab but that’s no one’s business and it was months before Latin dude.”
            “Why are you still single?”
            “I fucking hate that question.  What is this a date?  I’m single because as my mom puts it, I have standards that are either way too high or too low?  I don’t know.  I just lost a good 30 pounds.  No one gave me the time of day before.  The guys who interested me looked right past me as though I wasn’t there.  Like this once guy, Giovanni.  Italian name, but he’s Guatemalan.  This guy was super hot, pre-med and very fit.  His abs looked so good they looked airbrushed at all times.  He had everything that would make my Jew-senses go ape shit.  He never gave me the time of day when I met him in my clubbier state.  It was during the first few days I worked at the bar that I met him.   I thought he was a dick but he was so hot that I didn’t care.”
            “Tell me about it.”
            “Well I met him a few times when I was the wallflower, chubby boy of the past and frankly he was rude to me.  He acted like one of those guys who was overly confident in his looks that seemed to assume he could get a free ride in life as a result.  In my eyes he could too!  Then about 6 months ago I saw him again.  He couldn’t stop staring at me.  It’s like I lost the weight and gained a vindictive side.  Before I was invisible and all of a sudden I mattered.  Now that I had lost weight it was like I gained some new super power and people began listening to me kind of.  I noticed his eyes burning a hole on me.  It’s kind of hot.  I asked him to join me for drinks after my shift.  I told my mom about it right before and was like, mom he’s PRE-MED and Guatemalan.  She said that was nice but to call her when he’s Jewish and an actual doctor, then hung up on me.  I ignored her, went out with Giovanni.  As it turned out he was also a goo dancer at a bar in the gayborhood and used that to pay for school.  It was the story I should have expected.  He was 6 foot, abs of steel, biceps and a chiseled jaw that could make anyone want to try men.  I figured that since he was also working at the bars that he would get it and there wouldn’t be jealousy.  Drinks were fun.  He was actually really great at conversation and less egotistical than I originally thought.  He was just out of a long relationship, so he said.  I ignored that because I was too into the physical to care about red flags like that.  I just worked on enticing him because I could.  After a few days of texting we hung out at my studio apartment.  I made him dinner and we watch 300.  Which may well have been porn.  A bottle of wine, and 20 minutes of the movie later we were boning like rabbits.  Between the fake abs on the screen, his and the wine I was in for it.  The second he left my apartment, my crappy bed broke and my mattress fell to the ground.  After he left I figured I would drop him because of the way he ignored me in my previous state.  I tried to do that.  After two hours of ignoring him I initiated text messages to him.  I decided he was really into me too.  A few weeks went by and he asked me to come out to a club with him.  I assumed it was as his date.  We held hands, kissed a little and I really knew he was into me.  I felt bad for judging him and creating his pervious view of me in my head.  A few drinks in, I had to pee like a racehorse.  When I get back from the urine-trough gay bars call the bathroom, Giovanni had his tongue down some strangers throat.  I walked right up to him and his new concubine.  They barely came up for air, let alone noticed me being dramatic.  I left hoping that he would run after me in the rain.  The way it happens in the movies.  Instead it just started to rain.  I walked home drunk, alone and confused.  It would be hours before Giovanni would text asking where I went.”
            “How did you feel after that?”
            “I didn’t.  I moved on because what other choices could I have?”

Therapy Chance number 2.5...

            Now it’s my second stab at therapy.  I’m meeting with Dr. John cause in San Francisco they all seem to use their first name after the word doctor.  This time I am paying for the visits because now that I work at the bar I can afford it.  I also have a day job right now working for an online startup as a publicist.  Between that job, the bar and my drinking schedule I’m working 80 hours a week.  In terms of money I am making it rain.  In terms of life I am more lost than ever.  I have always tried to plan out my life and my path to success but my concept of that changes every 6-months.  Overwhelmed is the correct description.  I don’t have time really to date or socialize outside of the occasional cocktail after, at work and the random fling.  I say fling because I am too busy to focus on any one man.  I have had trust issues with the world since I was born.  As a kid at camp, everyone would line up for snacks and I would just sit putting cookie dough flavored chap-stick on my hand and licking it off.  I assumed that if I lined up, by the time it was my turn to get a snack the camp would be out.  Maybe the distrust was from all the stories my family told me about the old country and relatives disappearing because friends turned them in for stupid things or abandonment crap from my dad moving out when I was 6.  Who knows?  The point is that I am overwhelmed with life.  I feel like I have no voice in the world, no control of my life and can’t trust anyone completely as a result.  I figure that if I trust anyone too much, lean on them emotionally, then I will get hurt and more so disappointed.  On the upside I somehow have become everyone’s confidant.  The guy people just spill their guts to for some reason because I just listen.  My whole life I was everyone’s buddy who they loved to talk to but no romantic feelings for.  For this reason, on the outside I look very “together.”  I feel that with therapy I can become a real person or at least better at playing one.
Dr. John asks me to explain why I’ve decided to see him?  Why now?  I told him I don’t know.  Then he said “Hmm,” for like 30 seconds and I tell him, a few days before this appointment I just lost it.  What else can I say?  I went full on loony.  I was walking home with several paper bags filled with groceries.  I have one bag in one hand and 2 in the other.  I slept a mere few hours the night before and am tired.  I get a text message asking me to go to the bar because someone called in sick.  This all happens one block before I get home.  I all of a sudden loose control.  I feel like screaming.  While I try to nothing comes out.  I then drop both of my bags.  Eggs are all over the sidewalk; I have tears racing down my face because it’s just too much.  I have to go to work in the morning at 8am; don’t really feel like working tonight until 3am.  I’m physically so exhausted from everything that I am energetic.  I need a break.  I start having that flop-sweat where my pit-stains instantly look like I’ve just come from a wet T-shirt contest.  In the middle full-on break down, a homeless person walks up and asks me for a dollar.  I politely tell him to go fuck himself because I am a gentleman.  As I am telling Dr. John this story he just jots notes on his pad and says “hmmm.”

            He asks, “Have you thought of cutting the stress in your life?”
            “Yeah but then I couldn’t do what I do.  I strive on stress and anxiety.  It makes me get things done.”
            “What is that?”
            “I take care.”
            “I grew up on food stamps and self-loathing.  I can’t go back there.”
            “Hmmm.  Why is that?”
            “I grew up knowing how much everything in our apartment cost.  My mom told me everything and spoke to me as an adult.  As a result I was like a 45-year old in a 5-year old’s body.  For the most part it was just my mom and me.  Both my parents had awful financial problems which changed the tone of their personal lives as well.  My dad once bought me a stuffed dog I called my $12 doggie.  I grew up mostly with my mom in San Diego.  As a result of a shitty situation, divorce and stuff I learned not to answer the phone when bill collectors rang.  I have it different.  At 21 I’ve made more money than my mother did in the past 2 years and in cash!  I actually have savings and like being able to do nice things when I visit my mom because frankly she deserves it.  No one else will do those nice things for her either.  Like when we’re in public places I’ll give her a roll of a few hundred-dollar bills when her husband isn’t looking.  Then she grumbles at me in Russian to take it back because her husband doesn’t speak it.  Then I ask her if she wants to make a scene and embarrass her husband?  Her eyes tear up and we move on.”
            “So she’s married?”
            “I’m 22 now.  She got married when I was 20.  Very quickly after I moved out to a nice guy she met on after at least 10 years of being single.”
            “Why do you take on so much?  You seem to be addicted to stress.”
            “I guess.  It’s not like I’m freebasing stress.   I just don’t want to be stuck.  I want to be a success and have meaning in this life.  I want to do something bigger with my life but don’t know how or what.  I want to be remembered.”
            “Remembered?  Are you easily forgotten?”
            “For most of my life, I’ve just been that guy a lot of people had seen around but couldn’t remember much about.”
            “In an ideal world what do you see yourself doing?”
            “Traveling the world on someone else’s dime with an endless supply of reefer and a handsome man in every town.”
            “Hmmm… Let me rephrase that.  What career choice would you pick?”
            “I don’t know.  I like writing.  I like stand up comedy.  I always got great reviews for my writing in school.  I used to want to be a famous writer but I could never have that career cause the odds are not in my favor.  With comedy, well, I don’t have a shtick and am not funny.  What would my act be?  Besides, comedy isn’t a real job that people like me get.”
            “Have you ever thought of a blog?”
            “No, my life is as interesting as watching paint dry.  Why would I subject others to my boring life?  Besides, I always got horrible marks for my grammar because I’m dyslexic.  No one will read that shit.”
            “Hamm.  You never know.  I think it will be a great exercise for you, your anxiety and wanting to make a mark on the world.  Every time you feel overwhelmed, just write without a goal other than to clear your head.”
            Right after the appointment I called my mom and told her about Dr. John.  She is shocked I am seeing a therapist.  “Did he ask you about me?”
            “No but I promise when he does I will describe you as 50 pounds lighter.”
            She then tells me that the blog idea is great.  I could be a famous Jewish writer like Shell Silverstein, Dr. Seuss or one of the 10 other people she rattles off.  My mom likes to give what I call her weekly Jew Report conversations.  This is where she lists famous Jews in given topics.  “Did you know Robin Williams isn’t Jewish?”
            “Yes. I got to go.”
            The following day I am laid off from that day job.  It’s nine-months since the day I started that job.  I should be upset.  I start crying as I am leaving the office with my “Mr. T” Chiai Pet and box of pen I have stolen from my desk.  It’s the type of crying that looks painful but feels relieving, like that pee after 4 beers soothing.  I get home with this sense of urgency; it’s my night off from the Lab.  I look up how blogs work and words just flow out of me.  I type of a story about how my dad thinks he’s black, then an entry a night for the next week until I see Dr. John.  I write random stories about my daily life like how coffee is my favorite drug.  I post comments for pop-culture articles I read and lots of random stuff.
            I get to my next appointment with Dr. John to tell him that I had blogged all week and while writing feels great but no one read my blog.  I’m a nobody.  He tells me to keep up the work for the next month and just let out my energy in a healthy way by writing.  I tell him that I should focus on getting another job that leads somewhere.  He tells me that my time is up.  That’s therapy.  Every time you get to a point where you’re making progress, your session is over.  It’s like watching a soap opera.  Every time you think something is going to happen, little does.  As I leave Dr. John’s office I get coffee from the shop on his block.  The barista then offers me a free drink.  I have never met him before.  He then says, “I loved the part when you talk about how your father was the only 5’7’’ Jew that was in the middle of the LA-riots for no reason! It cracked my shit up!”  I am sipping my coffee and for the first time in my life, like on a sitcom, I do a spit-take.

Get Therapy!!!

            Get some therapy!
            As a kid I always wanted to do two things go to a therapist and confession.  Both sounded equally fun.  On TV, whenever a kid had to go to a therapist’s office there would be cool toys and if you were lucky they would give you this silly doll with fur in strange places.  What’s not to like?  All the rich kids I knew went to therapy.  In my head it was a status symbol like getting an actual Ninja Turtle action-figure, instead of the off-brand Ninja Turdal I got, which was an action figure made of chocolate who was delicious but often melted in the sun.  The rich kids made it sound like having a good friend (in my head similar to an older sibling) to talk to.  As an only child, that sounded amazing.  Poor kids, we didn’t have therapy we had denial.  Besides therapy, I was always memorized by the idea of confession.  Therapy interested me because I have always been fascinated with how the it works and confession because as a Jew it always interested me.   Go into a booth tell a man all of your problems, say a couple hail-marries and call it a day.  I love that idea!  Jews, our guilt is a different kind.  We carry a sack of problems or guilt until it gets so heavy that we explode on someone cause it’s the Jewish way.  It’s an art really.  My grandmother once yelled at our server for making the food too spicy at the buffet even though the item he was referring to was “Cajun shrimp.”  There was a label above the shrimp with three little red chilies but that didn’t matter to grandma.  While server took the time to explain that Cajun meant spicy to my Russian grandmother she proceeded to lose her shit.  My grandfather joined in on the shouting and instantly turned the Sizzler into World War II.  He made the server, her manager and busses all cry for doing him wrong and then sold them copies of his book about his life as a Holocaust survivor.

            The one time I was in therapy as a kid was a free one at my public school in the 2nd grade.  My parents had officially divorced and I was seven.  For an hour a day, twice a week for a few months kids from newly divorced families would meet with the public school therapist-lady and talk about divorce.  The therapist had frizzy-dyed blonde hair and would constantly remind us that our parents divorces weren’t our faults.  I didn’t get it at all.  Some of the kids would cry.  I would spend an inordinant amount of time just staring at her dark roots.  I also daydreamed thinking about how I would figure out a way call-in sick the next day and watch “I Love Lucy”.  She would make us draw pictures of our families and say our parents loved us.  Most of the kids drew their mom, dad, sister, dog and other boring stuff.  I would draw my TV, and sometimes melted ice cream.  I would just stare at the kids waiting for these sessions to end.  After a few months of it, I asked my mom to pull me out of the school therapy.  I didn’t understand why anyone could think their parent’s divorce had anything to do with them.  At the time I thought of my parent’s divorce as a good thing.  I was happy they handled their shit cause their arguing was getting in the way of my Golden Girls watching.  My main worry as a child was being unnoticed, ignored or blending into the wall, not if my parents loved me.

It was during the beginning of my senior years of college, around the time that I was just friends with Elijah but post our year of on-off again dating.  This was then I took a second aim at therapy.  I found out that there was a therapist I could see for free for up to 6 sessions on campus.  Being the poor college student I was sold at FREE.  There was a period of time for about five months where Elijah confided in me about his HIV status mostly because I was one of his only friends in San Francisco.  This was also because I was there when he got really sick with flu-like symptoms while no one else was.  He made me keep his situation a secret from everyone.  I would leave the job at the café early all the time to take him to his doctor visits.  Sometimes ditch class so Elijah wouldn’t have to deal with his life change alone, at least that’s how I viewed it.  At first it seemed easy.  He also mentioned that since we have fooled around a few times over the previous year, that I should also get tested.  While I had already found out that I was HIV negative within 2 days of his diagnoses (I took a blood test faster than you could say “make it a double”), he swore me to secrecy about his status.  Friends would ask me why Elijah was out of school.  I would say it was because he found a sugar daddy that forbade him to complete college.  Truthfully Elijah was learning how to become a walking medical lab with as many prescriptions drugs he could get his big hands on.  After my test, the nurse said that even though I was negative that it could take months to show in my system if I in fact had contracted HIV.  While I knew deep down in the place where my soul should be that I was negative it was still a hard thing to carry silently.  It was the secrecy of the whole thing that really got to me.   I remember my mom calling me around this time, asking how things were and I told her that Elijah was great and that I was okay.  Being the Jewish mother she is, her spidey senses went up and she told me to tell her what was wrong.  I lied and kept lying about the situation for months because that’s what Elijah asked me to do.  I got to the point where I didn’t know what to do with my angst a keeping all my emotions on the HIV front quiet so I figured therapy may be a good thing to try.  Once I started my therapy session it soon became apparent why they were free.

            I got to her cubicle and she asked me to call her Dr. Lailani.  She was wearing a Phish t-shirt, had long black hair and smelled of patchouli.  She also had a touch of black armpit hair that I could see leaking out of her short sleeves.  This aspect put me on edge.  That should have been the first red flag.  She seemed nice enough.  Very much the San Francisco person we have all seen on TV.  I think it weird that she went by her first name.  Anyone that goes by doctor and then their first name is too hippy dippy for my taste but may be therapy will change that. I’m too cynical to take her seriously.  My first issue is that she seems very happy and chipper.  Let me rephrase that.  She seemed TOO happy and chipper, like a Starbucks barista.  I hadn’t even had coffee yet and there was Lailani being that.  I don’t trust anyone who is happy all the time because as my LA has-been actress teacher once said, I could “smell the acting.”  First thing she asks me is if I was named after Dr. Zhevago.  I quickly get defensive and explain that Yuri is a very common Russian name and was not invented by that movie.  I tell her that if I could get a penny for every time get asked that question, I’d be rich enough not to need free therapy.  She then gives me a pity laugh and then asks me about coming out.  She kept asking about how my parent’s divorce sculpted my coming out process when I couldn’t understand the relevance.  For the next 4 sessions she focuses on the topic of coming out even though I didn’t feel the need.  I got annoyed because for me coming out wasn’t that big of a deal.  I told my mom I was gay at twenty years old.  She cried onto my shoulder mumbling about grandchildren, dried her tears and then asked me if I was seeing anyone Jewish.  She then asked me to fix her hair a bit and we went to dinner.  That’s it.  I live in San Francisco.  My family did not disown me or anything like that.  It would take my parents years to understand my gayness but they tried to be supportive with the tools they had.  I told Lailani this and she stuck to the topic way longer than needed.  It was like watching the movie Titanic, at least two-hours too long (our sessions were 45 minutes).  Since it was November, at this point, she asked me if I was sad not going home for the holidays for “CHHHHannukaaaah.”  She spent like 30 seconds doing the hmmmm noise when I told her that it wasn’t a major Jewish holiday and I didn’t really care.  She looked at me as though I had single-handedly killed baby Jesus or something.  It was the same look many teen girls must have had when they realized George Michael was as gay as the day is something.  I then explained to her that while Chanukah is a Jewish holiday, it is a minor one that does not have the importance that Christmas does to Christians and those who have a tree just because it’s pretty.  She then asked me about the 8 days of gifts.  I then told her that I didn’t get that; it was an exaggerated thing to compete with Christmas.  She then asked me why I couldn’t have the holiday spirit and always have to be a bummer.  I then asked her realize that natural deodorant has never worked, to purchase anti-perspiring, to stop talking and left.


Chapter 15  Elijah
The first infatuation of my life was this guy named Elijah.  He was my first gay friend in the San Francisco.  The truth was that until then, all I knew about gay people was that they were supposed to be loud, flamboyant and wear little hats.  I got all my facts off of  ‘In Living Color.’  I met Elijah before I knew that I too was a gay.  There have always been people who said that they “always knew” when talking about their own gayness.  I was not one of those people. 
I may have been gay my entire life, but it wasn’t until I met Elijah that I knew I it.  The worst part was when I did the whole coming out thing.  Which people ask me about all the time.  It was no big deal.  I made out with Elijah one Halloween and told my friends/family soon after that I was gay.  The most annoying part was the very few people were surprised.  Often the response was like, “It would be another couple years, a flower march, several ton of vodka and 3 seasons of the ‘Real Housewives’ shows before I would become good at it too.  I hope that this story doesn’t sound like a bad after school special and if it does, I would like someone super hot to play me.
It was my second week of my junior year of college.  I transferred from a community college in San Diego to San Francisco State.  I decided to live on campus that year.  I had no idea that essentially meant that I planned on drinking all year, ignoring my studies and learning how to drunken surf San Francisco busses like a champ.  When most people have heard this story, they have generally been shocked that I went to college at all.   I digress.  It was during an impromptu egger that my roommates had facilitated, in my apartment, I went outside to see what the rest of the world was doing.  More so, I was looking to grab a free beer from someone.
There he was on the patio next to our apartment.  It was a shared courtyard/patio area where students would hang, smoke, sneak booze and just be kids.  He was just an average looking kid, skinny, with buzzed light hair, complimented by a fair complexion, blue eyes that seemed to glimmer of their own story and angst, while at the same time an they gave off the essence of innocence.  Sitting there by himself with a can in one hand and a box the “Champagne of beers,” Miller “highlife.”  He was studying everyone around him.  He was very different from everyone around us.  What magnate me to him, I don’t know.  Maybe it was kismet, fate or down right bad luck?  He was 19.  I was 20.  He was about my height, actually a little taller, but I digress.  He was scrawny, in a plaid black and white shirt, a cigarette behind one ear, and an essence that reeked of apple pie.  He looked like the type of kid that grew up in a household that drank milk with their meals.  Growing up with Russian/Jewish parents, from the Soviet Union, I had never seen that until I was a teenager.  I introduced myself, and invited him to our party.  As he smiled, he revealed his slightly buck-toothed smile, while accepting my offer.  I knew that this moment would change my life forever.
Elijah and I were inseparable from then on.  He was the first gay I had ever met that didn’t act, well, gay.  His taste in music didn’t consist of the usual classics like Kylie Minogue, Madonna, Mariah or Brittany.  His eyebrows weren’t even plucked.  He didn’t even have a feminine voice.  He was just a “normal” guy, so I thought then.  Until him, I didn’t even know gays had an option to be like everyone else.  I assumed there was some disco-balled legacy of flaming that we had to reach in order to be gay. 
My relationship with Elijah, become a yearlong infatuation rollercoaster ride.  I would feel the whiplash for years to come, but that’s another story.  He became my best friend.  Until him, I never had a real male best friend.  Most of my close friends until college were girls.  I was always that little boy playing with girls that everyone was speculating could have been “playing” with the girls, but obviously wasn’t.  We would always start off playing house and end in me braiding one of the little girl’s hairs.
I learned from Elijah how to let go and worked to be much less uptight.  Prior to him I was much more conservative and less free, so I later realized then.  I was also a virgin to most definitions of sex. Being a virgin half way through college was not cool.  It deemed me as “uptight” by some I think.  Being a virgin at that age seemed to be as cool as cancer.  Maybe cancer wasn’t the best choice of that example, but you get it.
We also experimented with various drugs together.  I would never suggest this to anyone because the idea that one would need drugs to become inspired has never been one that I have wanted to prescribe to or advertise.  I would though admit it was not an experience I would later regret, nor ever want to repeat.  He would stay over pretty often even though we lived on the same block.  Through our mutual loneliness it seemed that we connected.  It would take me years to realize that even in loneliness one could still feel happiness. 
He was little rich kid, the baby of the family.  When he came out of the closet, he burned it down, as he had been openly gay to since he was 16-years old.  He was one of those that had a same-sex prom date.  I was convinced that he would be the love of my life.  I felt for him in a way that I still couldn’t put into words.  It was love the way I knew it then, young, pure and stupid. 
We never did consummate our relationship, although we had gotten close to it a few times.  Although we never really talked about it, I actually, was secretly crushed by the fact that we never had.  Oh how young love could be.  We never called each other boyfriends or held hands in public.  Something that was shockingly accepted in San Francisco in a way I had never in my life seen before.  It was an unsaid thing that everyone else saw and knew better than we did at the time.  He truly was my first love, when I thought that I knew what love was.
After that year of college, Elijah and I moved into an apartment together.  This, of course was dumbest idea ever.  This was after we had broken up for the third or fourth time ironically, even though we never really dated.  For some reason he kept crawling back into my life for one reason or another.  After 3 months, and about 15 major arguments, we parted ways after I found chemicals and methamphetamines under our sink for the third time.  I yelled at him as I threw them out.  It had been a while since I had been that kid who experimented with hallucinogenic and whatever else we did at the time.  Now I had a job and was working to build a productive life in the city, aside from the occasional bowl now and again, I was moving on.  Besides, In San Francisco, smoking pot seemed like it was equivalent to having a drink there.  I was a new man who was responsible. 
I was still living with him when I first started working at the bar.  I would come home often at around 3 am and get to sleep around 4am.  One morning, around 8 am, Elijah came home and woke me up.  He was sweaty, frantic and talking faster than the micro-machines guy.  I couldn’t understand him at first.  He told me that “people” were after him and trying to kill him.  He told a long, farfetched story to me that I couldn’t grasp and then told me about how he had some big drug dealer in our apartment the night before.  I freaking out on many accounts.  I called the cops as Elijah spaced back and forth.  They came in minutes.  Within one minute of talking to Elijah, they asked him what he was on.  After he admitted to GHB and METH the night before, they turned away from him and talked to me.  They told me that they couldn’t take anything he was saying into account or as record since he was “under the influence” and they left.  I didn’t know what to do.
The next day I found some chemicals under the sink.  I didn’t know what they were for, but knew that they didn’t belong there.  I later found out that they were chemicals to make various drugs.  It was like living in an episode of “intervention,” less fun when you’re in it.
The new me realized that Elijah both had a problem and I couldn’t deal with anymore.  My love for him couldn’t handle being a parent to him anymore.  Eventually, I severed all ties and called his father.  He was on Elijah’s portion of the lease.  I told him that his son needed help, had a drug problem, was making drugs in out apartment, and couldn’t live with him anymore. 
I always presumed his parents sent him immediately to rehab as a result.  I don’t know really what happened after.  I heard that years later he had been in and out of rehab several times. . Not sure really not sure if that made any major progress though.  I heard that he had been caught with alcohol at the first one, but after 3 times friends said that they heard he was doing much better.  I moved out of our apartment within 2 days, like a criminal breaking out of prison.  I left him to clean up his own messes, while he left me shattered.  I spent the next month listening to Fiona Apple and TLC “Red Light Special” on repeat.
Ideally, I wanted to think that time healed wounds.  After 9 months of not talking to Elijah, I had been at the bar nearly a year then.  In my mind, he was dead.  I assumed that if he wasn’t, it was about time.  This made it easier for me to not miss the person I loved and who helped me understand myself.  I went to get tested as every responsible adult should.  Having never had unprotected sex, I was sure that I would pass with flying colors.  I took this HIV test, where they swabbed the back of my throat and within minutes the volunteer nurse came back and told me that I was preliminary positive.  This meant that I would have to come back in two weeks to find out what that meant. 
I forgot to mention that Elijah had gotten very sick with what we had thought to be the flu.  This was right before we had moved in together.  It turned out that this flu was actually the beginning of acute HIV, he then told me that I should get tested a little more regularly as a result, just in case.  As he put it, since he would regularly black out and we had experimented with drinking and other substances together, there could have been something we had forgotten.
            For the next two weeks I lived life like a zombie, thinking that I was probably HIV positive and would have to begin planning to live my life as another happy, healthy HIV positive, gay man.  All I could think of was Magic Johnson for some reason.  I had remembered as a kid when he was diagnosed, how that sounded then and how much better science had become since then.
At work, while I would try to look happy, I was horrified on the inside, and a ticking time bomb with every step.  All I wanted to do was smoke pot until and be doped up so I wouldn’t have to think about life and its many problems.  Nick, the “chocolate doctor in training,” as he so poignantly nicknamed himself, patted my shoulder to say hi about twenty minutes into that shift.  I had a handful of glass beer bottles in my hands that I was putting into a drop-in cooler.  Being in a daydream-moment I dropped the beers all over the ground.  I guess he startled me.  I kept dropping beers, and did little talking, because I didn’t want anyone to know.  I tried to hide my hurt and uncertain nervousness from those around me.  After 2 days in, I had chattered a pint glass in my hand, in turn cutting my ring finger right on the bend and deep enough to almost see the bone.  All I could think of was how I would never be able to wear a wedding ring.  Silly right? Gays couldn’t get married anyways.  At that second, I realized that if could still feel.  I was still alive.  While I was in the emergency room getting my finder stitched up, I realized that this was not the end of the world.
            Seven days after my finger was stitched up, I went to get the results of my second blood test.  They asked me what I would do if this second test too came out positive.  I smiled and said, I would live and still plan on a future.  This all may sound silly now because in the end, that test and the one after would in fact come out negative.  At the time it blew harder than Jenna Jameson (I assume).  After though, I realized that I was letting Elijah hold me back from meeting new people and really growing up.  I loved him for who he was to me and even how he hurt me.  He showed me that being gay didn’t have to fit any one stereotype.  Until him, I had never been that close to another guy.  He introduced me to a world that I had never known, including the one that every gay man becomes acquainted with in their lives, either first hand or via their found family, HIV.

Chapter 16 Beautiful

As a small child I was very inquisitive and quiet.  This was during the days before the bar. Before I would become self-conscious about my weight, looks or what people thought of me.  It was before the days of Keeping up with the Kardashians, and the Jersey shore.  I was just a boy. 
My mother would always tell me stories about how I, much like Mc Guyver, would always try to figure out things very quickly.  The only difference between he and I was that I would get frustrated easily, quit when I got fed up and end up eating something sweet.  In reality I was never really like him, I mean I never had the attention-span to build anything and it would be years before I had a mullet.  My mother said that I always would create new ways climb out of my crib as an infant.  This was a difficult thing to accomplished be since I, also had to sleep with a brace which was a metal bar holding both of my feet outwards.  The brace was heavy gave me something to complain about from a young age.  This brace, was used to treat my severe pigeon-toe but really just worked as leverage to help me climb out of my crib or play-pen and to create a comedian.
I would keep calm while supervised, then during naps I would study the crib for new ways to escape and nearly give my mother a heart-attack every morning as a result.  Often these missions would lead to success in terms of surprising her, not the heart-attack part.  I would find a way to move my soccer-sized head with legs over the edge of the crib or playpen and somehow end up making my way safely to the ground.  As a child I looked much like Stewie from Family Guy, all head and a little body, a real caricature type of kid.  The climbing out of the pen, during the age of innocence, was before I learned what fear was, before courage had to be earned.  I just did what I felt like.  This, partially, is the mentality that has remained with me through my adult life.  Just as an adult I learned to drink and curse like a sailor.  As a child I worked with this mantra: do what you feel like, find out how things work, maybe taste them and that’s it.  When I was younger though, that concept was followed by, how can I get things to work and get people’s attention on me? 
Once, around 2-years old, my mother awoke to me looking like I had just came out of an alien movie.  This child-like creature who resembled her baby boy was standing near her bed.  As she wiped the sleep out of here eyes, she then realized that I was covered in what looked like blood.  I was like a baby swamp-thing, but red.  Her heart sank and she was ready to take charge, call an ambulance, lift a car from off of me, if she had to, all within a heart’s beat.  It would be any mother’s nightmare to see their child covered in blood.
After a second or two I whispered in Russian, the only language I knew at the time, “I am pretty.”  This, was before I knew how to sound jaded and roll my eyes after that sentence.  By this point I had already learned that the world had a concept of beautiful and that I wanted to be just that.  It was at this point that she began to smell fumes like formaldehyde.  She then realized that the blood-goo was actually globs of a dark red nail polish in my hand.  I had splatter-painted all over the small infant-size body I once possessed.  She immediately started a bath while she went for the nail polish remover before the nail polish stopped my skin from breathing.  I got a fever as a result of this whole ordeal.  All to be “pretty.” This would be just one of many missions during my childhood where I would aspire to be that one which one viewed as pretty or handsome.  It’s funny how then the concept was so simple. 


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