When I Need A Pick Me Up, by my friend Ryan King

Thursday, May 31, 2007

My Psychotic Break, And Other Tales

Many, many things happened over my vacation that made it a real report worthy event, and I am loathe to type it all out in prose form. Almost as though the magic would leech out of my mind if I were to type it all out.

But speaking of "out of my mind" I still will share it. Because I appreciate that there are eyes reading these words of mine at this very moment. Especially those of the Irish--(Scott, Steve, I'm sure you understand).

1. I rode on four planes and none of them crashed, even though as far as I'm concerned any one of them could have at any conceivable moment. Because I'm just saying. Six thousand pounds of steel jetting through the air thanks to the two explosive blenders nailed onto the shreddable, actually-shaking-when-there's-turbulence wings. I'm JUST saying.

2. The Star Wars Convention filled with my generation and down. Costumed, outfitted, brave community standing up in their element, ashamed of nothing and no one. I will have pictures and comment more when I post them. There were whole families of Jedi, which second to My Hero's (which is one-of-a-kind) is my favorite costume in the world. And so it makes sense that my favorite Convention event was the Jedi Academy where a curly-headed balding man and his lovely, red-headed assistant tutored kids from maybe 3 years old to probably 11 or 12, and most notably a lad in a wheelchair who appeared to have MS, in seven moves with their plastic lightsabres, and then they faced Darth Vader one by one. The Jedi Master had his hand on each of their shoulders and coached them through the moves, effectively fighting Darth like a true Jedi. Those who know me know what captured my heart and brought the tears to my eyes here; the guidance of a strong father-figure helping them each fight the battle against darkness. (That the Jedi Master had a slight Scottish brogue and enunciated like a Shakespearian didn't hurt either.)

3. Bonding more with My Friend The Doctor, and learning how to dislike him at times without hating him or wanting to flee forever away from him. Because despite all his qualities, he's got a pretty sour attitude about life. This is one of the reasons he doesn't appreciate my hero-worship. He seems to hate people. He has a bad temper and little to no patience. And here he is with a doctorate in psychology and is about to become a licensed psychologist. Yes, the stories you've heard about us are true. We're as crazy, if not moreso, than our clients. More's the miracle when we manage to actually do someone some good, which he and I have also done. So go figure.

Hanging out with My Hero. He let me into his life. I entered his beautiful home, I played with his dogs, and I rode in his economically friendly car. We walked and we talked and we walked and talked some more. Then we rejoined his wife and her family and I lived a new reality. One that didn't involve costumes. One where the superpowers consisted of Interesting Conversation, Appropriately Engaging Strangers, and Fitting In. I then used these powers again as he took me into the inner circle of his friends. The people in his life that did not live thousands of miles away and type their love to him through the internet. The people who "knew him when" and made fun of him as only real friends can. He brought me into his circle. He made me special because he trusted me with this secret life. In other words Jimmy Olsen got to hang out in the Fortress of Solitude while Clark hung up his cape, peeled off his boots, and had a nice cuppa joe.

California became solid in my mind. I will from henceforth understand most, if not all, of the vehicles in which California is the setting. I know what its' sky is now. I know what its' beaches are. Its' flat-topped, pastel-colored commercial buildings. Its' towering palm trees. The smog that makes every morning a day threatened with drizzle until it burns off near to noon. Its' internally lit street signs. Its' poverty. Its' immigrant population. Its' economic disparity. Its' breezy golden air. I understand it now and I like it.

6. I had a brush with real schizophrenia. I woke up one night with my palms afire. There were no real flames, and I didn't actually see any, but they burned. Like there were a billion bugs crawling over them, they burned. I rubbed my hands together so hard I thought they would combust. That scratched the itch viscerally, causing my heart to pound and my breath to ooze up from my lungs like the wax in a lava lamp. And then the itching would come back again, worst. I woke up MFTD with this and had to turn on the light. I enlisted his help by asking him to get on the computer and find out why it might be happening, all the while realizing that I already thought I knew why. It was all over. I had finally lost my mind. There was very apparently nothing on my hands, but they would not stop itching. I gripped handtowels and wrung them, pacing back and forth like Lady MacBeth cursing at her "damned spot." The coarse terrycloth scoured my flesh until the skin peeled. Meanwhile, I'm verbally diarrhetic with freeform prose, tracing my psychotic break back to my mother who was mentally ill. MFTD is trying to field my questions and reassure me that I'm not going crazy, but the more I think about it, the more my palms itch. Finally he calmed me enough to read his internet findings. I'm having an allergic reaction to something. Was it the shellfish I ate earlier that day at Rendondo Beach? Or was it the sand I scooped in my palms as I knelt under a hazy Pacific Coast sky? Or maybe my sheets were infested with the infamous bedbugs we've all heard about. Whatever it was, listening to the reassurances of MFTD calmed me down long enough for him to take me to the Rite Aid on Wilshire Blvd. at 2:00am for Benadryl. By the time we returned to the hotel, the pill was swallowed and the itching stopped. I put myself back to the same possibly lice-ridden bed, exhausted and embarassed. In the morning, I woke up bespotted in a rash. Whichever the cause, I was relieved to see it was indeed physical and not mental. As much. Benadryl is now my new best friend. The itching is gone and the rash is faded to just a stipling up my forearms. And I don't cough as much as I used to, as an added bonus. Well, in fact, I don't cough at all anymore--as long as I'm on the Benadryl.

But now I know what it feels like to have a psychotic break. And I'm glad I'm in the business of helping the others who suffer from it. If for no other reason, I want to stay alive for them, if not myself.

7. I reconnected with my friend who moved out to the coast last year. By accident. He was lost at the convention and walked right by me as I sat on a chair feeling vaguely lonely. At that point MFTD was on a distant line in a galaxy far, far away getting autographs, and My Hero hadn't been available yet to meet me. I had been wondering if he ever really would (and I should've trusted him, but because sometimes disappointments happen, especially in This Redeemable Life of mine, I was gearing myself for it) and so I called Grim Reaper while sitting and watching people, but he wasn't home so I had to leave a message, and just as I closed my phone, this friend walks by me. I cried out his name and scooped him up in a huge embrace. (He is smaller than me). Coincidence? I think not. He at first could not believe it was me. Then he was mad it was me. Because I hadn't told him I'd be there. And I hadn't communicated with him much since his move. And out of the group of us (Grim Jester and my other D&D buddies) he and I hung out before when he lived in New York City. But when he left to pursue and achieve his dreams, I guess my jealousy made me leave him to it. He and Grim Jester kept conversation, but he was out of my sight, and so, out of my mind. We've made up now. I met his California friends and then we had dinner and pie the next night on a very Greenwich Village-type street in Northern LA.

8. On the plane ride home, I made Ali Larter smile as she boarded with us. YUP. Ali Larter, who played Nikki/Jessica on Heroes, the best show on television, was a passenger on our plane. And not in first class either. And that made two stars from the TV show that I've made smile. Both blonde. Both pretty. And before our plane took off, I called My Hero to let him know that I had gotten home safe the night before and that Ali Larter, a "Hero," was on my plane--and that I appreciated him more than I could actually, literally (and so didn't) say for the time he had spent with me. But he was the grateful one, he said, that I drove out to meet him since he had so much to do and couldn't really afford to spend travel time to hang out with me like I wanted. And I was just senseless with misunderstanding. He was grateful that I went to see him? HE was grateful?? And then he called me again today to make sure I was back in New Jersey safely. And I finally felt the wall come down. See #4 above.

So that's all right then.

9. My manuscript was waiting for me, returned unread, from the publisher. Seems they changed the policy I found on the internet. Either that or the nice secretary who I though had my back gave it to the wrong imprint. I thought I was submitting it to Patrick Nielsen-Hayden at TOR books, but the rejection form letter came from St. Martin's Press. So either that or Patrick found it so beneath contempt that he just slapped a generic "we don't read unagented materials" letter in my SASE. Even though his wife was nice enough to stop by my blog back in the day. So I guess I'd better start sending the manuscript to agents now instead of publishers. At least I have more "published work" under my belt now as I approach these landsharks.

So anyway I'm back. Let's talk!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Just In Case

Tomorrow, I'm getting on a plane and heading to California. My Friend The Doctor is sponsoring my part of the trip because he wanted to go here, but not alone. Originally I was to pony up my slice of the trip in cash, which would have gone towards what I owe him in the overall scheme of all the money I already owe him. This was how he enticed me to go. But then I had the car accident and I had to pony my money to the dealership. But he still wanted me to go. So I'm going on his dime, and what I'm supposed to give himfor money is beyond me. Payday is tomorrow, but so is my second payment for the car. And my school loan payment. Which leaves a few hundred for food for the next two weeks, plus scrimpy savings.

That financial aspect is 1 out of 3 things that are in the way of full enjoyment of this vacation.

#2 is that My Hero seems busy at the moment.

Of course I lobbied for face time with My Hero. He lives about an hour from L.A. So I'm more excited about that part of the trip than what MFTD wants to go for.

But My Hero is juggling a lot of things, and I'm ready to make any excuse for a reason that he might cancel out on me. Ultimately, I know he wouldn't want to be unavailable when he said he would see me, so he'd squeeze me in somehow, but that only seems to illustrate how sad it is that I need his company so much. The Jimmy Olsen Syndrome.

In fact, I'm not sure if anyone, anywhere, needs me as much as I've come to need them.

#3 is that I have to fly on planes to get to California. I hate planes. And we have to fly two of them there, and two of them back. Now here's what Worst-Case Scenario Man says, "Isn't it about due for a plane to crash in the US?"

Nice, right? This guy lives inside my head and it's not pretty.

So, this is my schedule;

Flight: NW 0537
From: New York-La Guardia, NY
To: Detroit-Wayne County Int'l, MI
Departure Time: May 25, 9:03 am
Arrival Time: May 25, 11:09 am

Flight: NW 0327
From: Detroit-Wayne County Int'l, MI
To: Los Angeles Int'l, CA
Departure Time: May 25, 12:05 pm
Arrival Time: May 25, 1:57 pm

Flight: NW 0770
From: Los Angeles Int'l, CA
To: Indianapolis-Int'l, IN
Departure Time: May 30, 9:45 am
Arrival Time: May 30, 4:49 pm

Flight: NW 4779
From: Indianapolis-Int'l, IN
To: New York-La Guardia, NY
Departure Time: May 30, 6:25 pm
Arrival Time: May 30, 8:36 pm

If any planes crash within this time frame, and it was one of these, then really, listen--it was for the best. If I went down and died, it's because I wasn't really going to win all these battles I'm fighting. And I would rather die now than linger in loneliness and misery and confusion and depression for another twenty years.

I go to see my shrink today, by the way. She cancelled on Tuesday so I'm seeing her today. Maybe later I'll feel "better" about death. (Which translates into not wanting the plane to go down in flames, and so will want you to be outraged for me and will also want you to carry my memory and the meager imprint I may have left on the world).

Do I have anything to uplift you with as I sign off for now? Well, I still think you all are pretty wonderful. Thanks for caring enough to read these words of mine.

See you when I see you!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Some Of Us Are Here ... None Of Us Are Here!

This is dedicated to Scott! The first random fact about himself sent me on a whirlwind of YouTubeAge.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm getting my Phoebe-dancing ON!!!!

Edit Add; after the 245th time watching it, I think what I love The Most is how they all freeze-glomp at the camera on the downbeat, right after the keywords. Guy Smiley and Cookie Monster not being the least of them. TREASURE!!!!!!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sometimes, I Swear ...

...that I am losing my mind.

It seems that Sundays are the worst days for me. Probably because I should be going to church. But instead I went back to Spring Valley yesterday and creeped myself the hell out.

I grew up in Spring Valley. I met Childhood Bud and his sister (Friday Night Date) in Spring Valley. We grew up together, if you will, in the same apartment 'complex'. So yesterday I went back to the 'complex' as well as drove through familiar streets and parked the car in some choice locations;

1) I went to my old elementary school. I walked around the building and looked into windows. I remembered teachers and events. Mr. Silverberg. Ms. Dubin, who later became Mrs. Factor. Mrs. Rucker. I wanted to go inside so badly. There's still an unuttered sob lodged inside my chest from walking on that ground.

2) I went to my old high school. I was shocked to realize that it is possibly a fifteen minute walk from my elementary school. Back when I lived in Spring Valley, everything seemed miles away from everything else. But I was reminded yesterday that Spring Valley is a small, unkempt little town. My high school is as big as I remember it, but forgotten was the fact that it had two baseball fields and a track behind it. I went up onto the bleachers and called Friday Night Date for remembrance sake. She texted me back that she was working. I don't know how to text in return, so we didn't connect. Good thing we didn't. I think if we did, I'd have bawled like a lunatic. I looked into the highschool windows too. I remembered a school play that Friday Night Date convinced me to join with her, to star opposite her, in the production of Neil Simon's "Plaza Suite". She was Muriel and I was Jesse Kiplinger. The part called for me to kiss her passionately. We were in high school. I wonder what the audience, and more notably, the parents, got out of it.

3) I went to Memorial Park across the brook from our apartments. Again, I actually parked the car and got out. There were HUNDREDS of people there! Apparently the Haitian population had a parade/festival yesterday, and still I left my car and walked in and among them. They all seemed born within only the last 25 years, so there was no danger running into anyone I knew, but I am suprised in hindsight that I had the courage to leave my car and plunge in. I overheard a ghetto-fabulous girl arguing with a playa the difference between "havin' A.D.D. and A.D.H.D." I swear to God. She told homeboy to get his facts straight. I could have fell OUT.

I had Tamia's new album "Between Friends" playing while I drove. She has one song called "Almost" which is a ballad about how crazy it is to miss the love you never had, and to reminisce about kisses you never gave. I played this on steady repeat.

There are so very many points of divergence that I recalled yesterday. What if I had done this, what if I had done that. I stood in spots that I had done 35 years ago. And from head to toe, I feel crammed with regrets and fear and hopelessness. It just seems hard to accept how much time and opportunities I've lost, never to recover.

But there still is the future. From where I am backwards, I am discouraged. But from where I am forward, there still is hope. I can't see it, but I just choose to believe it. I choose to believe it because without hope, I will well and truly lose my mind. Without hope, I might as well drive my car off the George Washington Bridge.

sung by Tamia
On the album "Between Friends"

(Someone's homemade video of past Tamia vids, put to the song "Almost")

[Verse 1]
Can you tell me
How can one miss what she's never had
How could I reminisce when there is no past
How could I have memories of being happy
with you boy
Could someone tell me how can this be
How could my mind pull up incidents
Recall dates and times that never happened
How could we celebrate a love that's too late
how could I really mean the words I'm 'bout to say

I missed the times that we almost shared
I miss the love that was almost there
I miss the times that we used to kiss
At least in my dreams
Just let me take my time and reminisce
I miss the times that we never had
What happened to us we were almost there
Whoever said it's impossible to miss
What you never had
Never almost had you

I cannot believe I let you go
Or what I should say I should've grabbed you up and never let you go
I should've went out with you
I should've made you my boo boy
Yes that's one time I should've broke the rules
I should've went on a date
Should've found a way to escape
Should've turned a almost into
If it happened now its too late
How could I celebrate a love that wasn't real
And if it didn't happen
why does my heart feel


And you seem to be the perfect one for me
You're all that I ever wanted
And you're my everything yes its true
Boy its hard to be close to you
My love
I know it may sound crazy
But I'm in love with you

I missed the times that we almost shared
I miss the love that was almost there
I miss the times that we use to kiss
At least in my dreams
Just let me take my time and reminisce
I miss the times that we never had
What happened to us we were almost there
Whoever said it's impossible to miss
What you never had
Never almost had you

I missed the times that we almost shared
I miss the love that was almost there
I miss the times that we use to kiss
At least in my dreams
Just let me take the time and reminisce
I miss the times that we never had
What happened to us we were almost there
Whoever said its impossible to miss
What you never had
Never almost had you

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Coming And Going

The Adult Hero, who I mentioned before, has signed off from his blog and bid everyone goodbye. He stated that he had finished his divorce and was helped mightily by all the commentors, so he thanked everyone and said he was moving on into dating, and he didn't want to blog about it.

So that's that with him and I wish him a happy life.

Then I realized that I had followed a link from his place to a blog from a 29 yr-old woman of color who lives in NYC. I had bopped by her place in February and was immediately chased away by her frank language and explicit lifestyle details. Yet, this was one of the exact things that made me want to stay at The Adult Hero's blog--the frank language and explicit details. Coming from a guy must have made it palatable to me. Coming from a female, a black one no less, made it seem scary.

That's totally my own baggage. What I want in a guy I totally freak out from in a woman. Guys, masculine and raw. Gals, demure, shy, kind. Viva la difference!

Having said that, I went on a full immersion into her blog. A disclaimer here and now; I have not fallen in love with said blogger, nor do I pine for her. Attracted, heck yes, but I know enough about me to know that I'd not last for a solid half hour with her. Not only would I be too unnerved to be my usual cool and witty self, but I wouldn't be enough of a man for her in the longterm. In fact, the kind of men she is attracted to (and currently in a four month relationship with, meeting his parents and whatnot) are the same type of men that I'M attracted to. And when I say "I'm attracted" to them, I mean what I always mean--I want to BE this type of man, I'm sexually inspired by this type of man, I idolize this type of man.

Anyway, what am I saying?

At the gym today, I saw for the second day in a row, a woman who looks very much like my ex-girlfriend. She is as short and as solid and athletic as my ex. And her face looks like my ex's face. This girl at the gym seems to have my personality too. She doesn't talk to anyone while she's about her business. Not being a chatty attention-sponge actually winds up getting my attention. That and she's one of about three black women I've ever seen in that gym since I joined last year, a distinction that she and I share. I wonder if she notices me?

But about 69% of my brain asks me what does it matter that I'm noticing her, and blogging about her? Blogging about the Gym Girl is like blogging about the Adult Blog Girl. I know I'll never communicate in a meaningful way to either. I'll never open up and invite them into my own life, and if I did, I know I wouldn't be enough for them to stay with me.

Poor pitiful widdle me. :D

But it's on my mind, and I blog, and so here it lies.

My opening line, "Why do I notice you lately?"

In my dreams.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A Very Honorable Mention

Escape Pod!!

I left a heartfelt comment here, and in the latest episode here, after the new story is read, at the 36:20 mark, Stephen Eley made my response the Comment Of The Week! He read a little bit of it, and now it'll be a part of Escape Pod history forever!

How cool is that? Especially when, at first shopping around with what to do with My Hero's fictional adventures, I asked Stephen if he'd consider fan-fiction for his show. He was very encouraging in his e-mail response, but told me 'no'. Then he invited me to write something that was sellable. Since then the fan-fiction has gone on into audio adventures, and I went on to write a novel in November (still out at Tor Books, sitting in the lap, I hope, of my favorite editor couple, one-half of which I discovered is up for a Hugo award as "Best Professional Editor - Long Form").

And while we're at it, here's a reference to the story that My Other Hero read for Escape Pod, which also made me cry. The fact that Alex lent his voice and his talent to it didn't hurt any. (Alex is another of those Real Men I spoke of earlier).

Friday, May 18, 2007

Real Men

I'm just feeling really inspired by them at the moment. Scott's post has left me abuzz with male bonding, 35 years ago and two states away from the fact.

He tells of a childhood experience that I've imagined about, not overly so, but enough to know those opportunities are precious and the lessons learned are eternal.

The crux (worth reading for yourself, and remember, I knew him before he was published! Sort of!); a team of young boys are told by an adult male that he is proud of each and every one of them. In my mind and heart, I believe this male imprint on a boys' life is what makes a man.

My cynical eye seems to only notice the opposite. The blustering stud at the gym whose every other word starts with 'f' and rhymes with duckin'. The pencil-thin emo kid in the city wearing black eyeliner. The Jersey City gangbanger marking his territory with bullets and babies' mamas. And yes, we roleplaying savants, rolling our polyhedral dice and pretending for months' worth of hours that we are brave and strong and true. WHERE WERE THE MEN IN THESE BOYS' LIVES?

Scott is bringing me into a new world. His, and those who read him regularly. Fathers and husbands who are articulate and sensitive and attentive. I may never have seen the following, but it needs to be seen. What would a poker table filled with those kind of men be like? What kind of jokes would those kind of men tell? How much better would communities and nations be if those kind of men formed the power communities? Men not ashamed to say they cried. Men who like love songs. Men who love their children and are proud of them, and show affection to them. Men who value their wives. Men who pass on tales to empower, encourage, uplift, express.

Real men.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

He Had To Beat Her Off With A Stick!!

Check this out.

That's My Hero, who I don't name here in this blog, but in my other, more fan-friendly and less my-gritty-details one.

What I loved was the way the reporter nearly couldn't resist flirting with my dude! There were a few ways they could have gone with the interview to get a plug on the second season of the show, but the reporter seemed really *attracted*, and My Hero was the soul of modesty and even a little blushy.

It's that gorgeous-woman-with-a-handsome-man that sends me over the moon. And then take it to the Lois Lane/Superman arena, and I'm a goner. That to me is the crux of the sexy in a male/female relationship.

"He Is Her Hero", (starring me in the "He" role). That's who I want to be.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

And One More Other Thing.

Following up this post, I find that blogger has added me to his blogroll. In honor, I shall return the compliment. I urge people to check him out. He went through a real rough patch and now he's getting back into the dating scene, and can use all the thoughtful encouragement that you can spare. Personally, I think he's doing better than I ever would. I might have to start considering him as My Adult Hero.

And An Other Thing ...

I'm not going to actually go to this blog, but you can if you want through this article here. Because 1) I'm a little jealous of his fame, 2) I'm not eager to dogpile him for his "stupidity".

But the article has taught me something-- "He estimates he was making up to $1,000 a month through Google ads and believes he's on track to make even more through Yahoo's ad network." !!!!!

Please don't hate me for it, but I'm getting Google ads!!

Let's Not Leave It On That Note

Doing a search for my new address/blog led me to find a post I made two years ago, along with some additional info. So I give you, Toto!!

Jam ON!!

Incorrectly, I also posted that Bobby Kimball did "I'll Be Over You," but according to all the videos of that song that I've found, I see it was Steve Lukather. Bobby's voice is the famous high-HIGH one that, if you're familiar with Toto songs, you'll hear in "Rosanna" and "Africa". ("It's gonna take a lot to drag me aWAYYYYYY form YOOUUUUUU". That's Bobby.) But as it turns out, Steve is the lead for my three favorites, "...Over You," "Georgy ...", and "I Won't Hold You Back." So here is a more recent one, rather than the 80's version because it's so much cooler live (it's minus the 80's hair and Flashdance clothes), and I like seeing a 40-something year old man killing the song! GO my generation!!

Plus, I think Steve got better-looking with age, even if his voice got grittier. Compare;

Well, Crap.

Dr. King's daughter died. Thanks to my Friday Night Date, I not only knew who she was, I got to meet her. And now she's gone away. At only 51!!

And this I find on the heels of getting an explanation about a co-worker's continuing struggle with cancer. I blogged about this co-worker before, and now I've learned she's back in chemotherapy 3x's a week.

The woman's going to die. I believe she's said enough to me to indicate that she knows it, and now her co-worker is confidentially spilling the details that she herself won't speak about (I guess he sees me as her boss, since she's in my dept. and I'm the Asst. Director).

And we just keep going through these things in life. We broaden our social circles and reach out for the friendship love of good people, in an effort to grow our humanity, and something like this happens.

I don't want this woman to die. She has highschool-aged children, and a husband. She's being strong for everybody, but what happens in her home when she's gone? What happens at this job?

I saw "The Family Stone" over the Christmas holiday when George put me up in his timeshare in NYC. SPOILER. The audience is told the about the mother's illness in one powerful scene as she confronts her adult son on the choice he's making to marry an unliked girl. She says, "What are you doing?" Tears fill the son's eyes. Then she says, "Are you marrying this girl for me?" The son's mouth gapes with grief. "Getting married is not going to change my illness. You have to stop this and get a girl you actually love." By this time the son is wracked and shaking with wordless sobs.

I paraphrased the mother (played by Diane Keaton)'s words, but that was the jist. I don't know why I didn't blog about it then. I'll never forget it. The actor was the same guy who played Julia Roberts' best friend in "My Best Friend's Wedding." How that actor was able to break down like that was heart-numbing. Oh, and don't think I didn't have a good sob right along with.

So what's going to happen now? And where's my guarantee that this won't happen again? How do I know that Scott, or Alex, or Steve, or Eliel, or My Friend The Doctor, or (oh God please forbid) My Hero won't someday come home with "dreadful news"? How are we expected to survive in the screaming absence of people we love?

It's not fair damn it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


"So ... do you hold yourself up to ... perfectionist standards, do you think?"

You have to love therapists. Please?

That was her way of telling me that I'm a perfectionist bastard. lol

Minus the bastard. I threw in the "bastard" obviously because I'm hard on myself. And I'm hard on myself because I'm a perfectionist. And being one means that I'm not perfect. Because if I were perfect, I wouldn't be worrying about getting there. I'd already be there.

Fun Times On Planet Earth!

This is good. A lot of things I do, and don't do, are because I'm a perfectionist. And I like a majority of myself for it. I've gotten a lot of things done, and expended a lot of useful, creative energy because I'm a perfectionist. (I developed the audio drama because I'm a perfectionist. I didn't think anything anyone else was going to do for My Hero would be good enough. I'm happy to say I was wrong.) And I've made some outstanding friends because The Perfectionist in others have attracted me to them. And keeps me enamored of them. And of all the faults in the human race, I think perfectionism is tolerable. And out of all my own faults, perfectionism is the one that I can accept and even embrace.

Because when all is said and done, its the pursuit of perfection that leads us to the better angels of our nature. And I LOVE the better angels of our nature. I adore and idolize the better angels. So did Gene Roddenberry, which is why there's a Star Trek. So does Russell T. Davies, which is why there's a new production of Doctor Who. It's the stuff of legend and fantasy. The hero striving to triumph over evil.

Love it. Devoting my life to it.

The downside is when I punish myself too harshly for failing Perfection. And when I judge others too harshly for also falling short. When I let my disappointment in myself and others cause me to isolate from them. When I see imperfection as so distasteful that I verbally abuse people or cut them out of my life--that's unacceptable.

So this is good. I came away with something that makes me feel good about me, and something to work on without making me want to throw myself under a bus.

That was worth the co-pay! :-)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Sensitive, Part II

And now I learn that I can forgive.

Being sensitive also means that I want to restore the relationship. I want to feel good again, and I want the other person to feel good again too.

I've learned that I can trust again.

I've learned that being hurt doesn't destroy me.

This is good. So, so very good.

Because that woman in my future is not going to be perfect. She will slip up and hurt me, at times. And I will do the same to her. And I've been running away from that thought. It's been terrifying.

But I now have been shown a glimpse of how it's really supposed to work. You work through it. You don't give up. You bear the pain. You hash it out. You be honest. You stay open.

You reach an understanding.

You forgive each other.

You forgive yourself.

You keep loving.

I can do that.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Yes I am and I make no apologies for it.. For better and for worse.

My sensitivity makes me a good writer. It makes me a good therapist. It makes me perceptive and it makes me a good supportive friend. I've learned this.

But today I realized that it makes me very open to hurt feelings, and I've learned what triggers it.

If I let you in, and I've trusted you for support, and you abuse that trust by choosing harmful words, then you will hurt me. This is what I've discovered as I made answer today to someone who I found had done this exact thing.

I make no apologies, but it doesn't mean I do not wish I were different. If my skin were thicker, I could take some carelessly thrown barbs.

But actually it isn't the barbs that hurt ... it's how carelessly they might have been thrown. It's the fact that I let myself be vulnerable to someone who doesn't get that.

Sensitive. Again, I wish I could be different in some aspects, but this is me. And what I would like is to have a circle of friends who recognize that and respect that. Friends that will help me form defenses where I need them, or act as defenses where I'm weak.

And most importantly, I need a woman who understands everything I just typed, and loves me enough to ... I don't even know the word for it. But I need her to do it.

Because my reaction to this kind of pain is to reject the source. My trust evaporates. I'm consumed with the task of protecting myself once again. I don't know what to expect from others, but I do know what I just got from the source, so why would I let it happen again?

This is me. This is me.

Whoops. Okay, Now Your Comments Are Welcomed

I just realized the default setting was on "Paranoia" for those who wished to leave comments. Problem has been corrected. :-)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

One Dragon, Slain. Sideways-Eight To Go...

I had another all-day training to give today, and with a training partner this time. And I only stressed about it this morning, instead of all last week. So that dragon is slain.

Arriving "home" today, I was glad to see George's car gone, because for the entirety of yesterday, he was loud sloppy drunk. When I walked into the house yesterday, he was screaming raging at something/someone in his room upstairs. He was alone and sports radio was playing. Last year, George had gone to rehab because the Mets had not won the world series and he crashed his car with alcohol-poisoned grief. So I assume that yesterday the Mets had not done well again, and he finally stopped the charade of sobriety so he could mourn Spartan-style. This lasted all through the night, and all through the morning when I was leaving for work. Sloppy, slurry, mumbly drunk. Just like he was before the rehab and flying the flag high for AA.

But what I did see today was the handyman's truck in the driveway, as I pulled up. The handyman is an hispanic fellow whom George's father uses around this house to repair, remodel, and renovate. He's a nice enough fellow whom George seems to hate. Can't say a single kind word about him. So as I'm putting my car in park on the street (since this honkin' big truck is in the driveway), I see a plastic, white ball come rolling out of the open garage and down the driveway. Out dashes the handyman chasing after it as I'm walking up the sidewalk. I figure that he's getting his leisure on--until suddenly there is George's father holding a wiffle-ball bat in his hand in the garage doorway.

George's father looks at me rather woodenly (one of his only expressions I've observed to date) then calls to the handyman, "Okay I think that's enough baseball for now." Only the quaver in his voice gave away the old man's embarassment. I was so surprised that I laughed, and then turned the laugh into encouragement. "No go right ahead and have fun!" I said, dashing past him into the house and making a beeline through the garage to my room.

What the hell..?

For a few hours while I manipulated my blog, my mind kept saying, "That old man is using that handyman for some nasty hijinks!" But then it occured to me. That old man is using the handyman to recapture the times he never had with his son. George is autistic. It's obvious to me now. And his father missed out on raising him because he has never figured him out. And of course, George hates the handyman for being handy, and being able to fix houses, replace skylights, and playing ball with his Dad. And I suppose I would hate the handyman too, if I were George.

But as long as I'm living in this house, I can't be what George needs. If I ever lend myself to him for friendship, I'll need a place to escape to when I've exhausted my daily allotment of goodwill.

I'm sorry, George.

PS; George's father is a millionaire. The Handyman is in for quite a nice payday one day.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

All Caught Up Now!

Now I will reverse engineer the old blog, deleting the copied entries and pasting the relevent Comments under the appropriate messages. (Listener feedback (teehee) is very important to me and I don't want to lose any of your precious words). So the former blog will be about my hobbies, including my writing, e.g. the novel, future short stories, the audio drama. I will post a link here whenever I update the former blog with creative stuff, so that you, my friends in the blogosphere, can browse only this one source instead of checking back there for nothing.

But this here. This is about Me.

Strolling through memory lane was bittersweet. I see the obstacles and I see where I cleared some. There's both hope and grim determination in these pages.

Today was my first session with my therapist. She's a Dr. And she's attractive! And she's a little bit skittish, it appeared. Kind of brittle, with a tremulous voice. But I did all the talking today, catching her up to speed on Me. These blogging pages helped trememndously. I knew my whole story quite concisely. No wasted sessions digging and rooting around to find my hidden nuggets.

I hope she was able to follow me. She took three pages of notes.

Next week, it'll be her turn to talk. Her task, rescue me from This Alone Life.

I hope she can.

Onward ...

(Originally 4/30/07)

... I scheduled my therapist sessions to begin next week. Funny, but since I made the appointment, I've been feeling a little better. And I haven't even started yet. I picked a female therapist for the specific purpose of preventing an attachment problem from developing. That is, I don't want to crush on the therapist if it's a man who falls into a specific category. Because that's going to be one of the problems I'm going to discuss. I need to get another opinion on me and mancrushes. I keep making deductions based on other people's writings, and I keep thinking I have come up with an answer for myself, but then a weekend might pass and I find myself back at default.

For me right now, the worst case scenario is that I'm gay and I won't admit it. That's unacceptable. I'm not brave enough to be gay. The society still has not accepted homosexuality as a standard alternative, and if there's one thing I need to survive, is to be accepted. Also aesthetically, it does not satisfy my mind. Nothing looks better to me than a man and a woman. Not even a woman with another woman. Also also, there's that whole disease thing which Wendy Williams calls The Monster. How many gay men have been destroyed by AIDS? I don't even like to touch public restroom doorhandles on my way out of them--so how could I navigate through a society where a prospective partner could be a viral timebomb? And then again also also, there's Sade in the Kiss of Life video I posted. I stare at her when the thing plays. Her hips and belly sway and I just want to wrap my arms around them and press the side of my face against her navel. I want to kiss her skin from her belly up the middle to her throat and her chin and land on her full, dark lips.

And lastly, there is of course, the molestation. If I didn't know I had been violated before I was ten by a male, I could entertain the possibility that there's a genetic code hidden in me somewhere that allows for same-sex attraction. But no. I was molested. Sex was introduced to me far too early, by another male. I'm not going to ignore that fact. So, therapist, here I come. Let's work out some stuff. I look forward to it, in fact.

Let's Get Adult

(Originally 4/27/07)

A ways back I was led to a blog about a guy going through a divorce. His pain was raw and his language frank. He has since completed the divorce and moved out on his own. He shares two sons with his now-ex and is branching out into the dating world. Believe me, it has only been a matter of months since I started going over there, and he has already juggled two women. Naked.

For me, his blog was/is both an exercise in voyeurism and humanity. I was drawn to his pain and reached out a few times to give him what I thought would be good advice about mourning the loss of his marriage. Then I began to feed on the content for my own needs. He sometimes posted pretty explicit details about his sexual attempts and habits. He sometimes posted drunk. He mostly posted his pain and his dreams for his future. I enjoy it all. I went from the teacher to the student.

So in his last post, he waxed about his fantasies. Quite tame, they are, and well written. Then he invited we readers to comment our own fantasies. And I was just in the right mood to do so. And so I will reprint it here, with a recaptured video for your viewing pleasure.

We've just come in from a late night formal event. Me still in my tux and she radiant in her evening gown. I've turned on Sade -- "Kiss of Life", set the CD player to repeat. We're still caught up in the mood and we slow-dance. Just wrapped up in each other. She takes my hand and leads me to the balcony. I'm behind her, my hands flat against her belly. Manhattan is sprawled out before us, traffic swimming in rivers of light. She's swaying her hips to the music, brushing the front of me with her pert bottom until she can feel what she's looking for.

And then, like a good little husband, I hike up her dress and give it to her under the city sky.

And re:Sade in the above video; She is why I want to stay hetereo. So. So beautiful.

The Yin And The Yang Of It All

(Originally 4/26/07)

After yesterday's post about My Other Hero's loss, I didn't exactly want to come here and gush about positive things. Yet My Other Hero seems to have coped with it better than I have, and I didn't even know Jamie Bishop.

For the past month and a half, my allergies have been fierce. A month ago I couldn't sleep a solid night for the coughing, and I resorted to a $9 pack of Alavert, which didn't seem to cure me. Well a month later, I'm sleeping through the night, but I'm still coughing all day--producing nice yummy little blobs of phlegm every time (where is all this fluid coming from?). So I went to the doctor for a checkup. I was prescribed antibiotics and a chest X-Ray, which I took yesterday. The results are not back yet.

This is going to sound maudlin and self-serving, but if the results come back showing something awful, like The Big C, I'm going to breathe a sigh of relief (and then probably cough). Because I'm ready to move on. This life is a failure and not just sometimes, I despair of it.

I move from one distraction to the next, trying to eek whatever joy I can get from my circumstances, but generally it's only the quality of my fantasies that determine how good my day is going to be. I live through virtuosity. Not only through fantasy per se, but through other people's lives. Through your families and loves and successes. Because it feels like the only success I'm going to personally experience in these areas can only be imagined. The chemical ingredient that transforms my deepest desires into reality is not present.

You understand, of course, that I'm not in any way, shape, or form contemplating suicide. There's still a glowing hoper inside of me that would like to see things get better, and I'm not going to cut off my chances of that happening. But if something else that I can't control comes along, like a fatal illness, -- the way that accident came along, despite my wrestling with the steering wheel like an action hero -- then so the hell be it. I'm ready to write my farewells, throw all my junk out, give my books away to charities and friends, and shed the effluvia of my transient life.

Am I having a bipolar shift into depression? Maybe so. Will succesfully courting a mate and marrying her (or him) solve this depression? Probably not. So what then? Get some medication? Get the hell over it? Get another comic book? Write another story? Dive back, and this time go deep, into the fantasy world?

I'm going to call my insurance carrier again, and this time instead of X-Rays, I'm going back to therapy.

Now, here's the craziness of it all. On that Friday Night a few weeks ago, between the Moon and New York City, along with the dancing I did, I sang. The mood was right, the live band was playing, and the people were encouraging. So when Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" started to play, I lifted my head and went "Mother, mother ...there's too many of you crying ... Brother brother brother ... there's far too many of you dying ..." My Friday Night Date made the same expression she made when she first saw me in my tux and said, "Sing it, Al!"

Oh, the encouragement of a good woman. No medicine like it.

So a few nights ago, I broke open my podcasting mic, plugged it into my laptop, and sang three songs. No, make that four. Then I listened to them, all the way through. And whereas I've tried this before, both privately and publicly, I have arrived to the place I wanted to be with this singing thing. I'm ready to put these renditions of mine online somewhere.

I know it now. I actually can sing.

So with that major goal in life met, why am I ready to accept cancer and shuffle off the mortal coil? That's why I'm going back to therapy. Unless you guys reading this can tell me if this is a normal state of The Human Condition? And that is, with all the ups in your lives, there is an equal amount of downs. That you can go along in a great mood, and suddenly something comes along and it all gets dark, like there was never a reason to feel good in the first place? And if not, then is it just me ... and the millions of others who suffer from mood disorders?

You'd think I should know, right? Being a therapist and all. (OO! Don't go to that guy!)

Talk to me, somebody.

While I Was Successfully Avoiding The News..

(Originally 4/25/07)

...My Other Hero, Alex Wilson, lost his friend at Virginia Tech.

Hate it hate it hate it hate it ...

I didn't want to think about it. I didn't want to personalize the horror and the fear and the panic and everything that must have happened in that nine minutes. It's foetal-position worthy and it hurts to really think about it and I just keep typing to avoid the real thoughts but I can't and shouldn't now because My Other Hero's friend died in this and it must hurt him to think about it, and if I care for My Other Hero then I should care for his friend.

I just can't do anything about it but be numb and feel furious. My force of will means nothing. I can't save them. I can't stop the killer. All the fantasy about superheroics and time-traveling Japanese office workers and flying politicians and healing cheerleaders are useless.

My Other Hero's friend, Christopher James Bishop, was killed by a violence that animals don't deserve.

It is not fair.


(Originally 4/24/07)

I believe I am struck by an ideal of "home", which is why the previous song, "Soon As I Get Home" is so touching to me. From the same musical is the showstopper "Home" which I've always thought of as a continuation of "Soon As I Get...", but it's the one that survived outside of the musical and crossed onto the R&B charts as a classic. The lyrics will speak to what I think a "home" should be, but they also cross over into my experience of living This Redeemable Life, so I inserted relevent links;

by Charlie Smalls

When I think of Home
I think of a place
Where there's
Love overflowing

I wish I was Home,
I wish I was back there

With the things,
I've been knowing;

Wind that makes the tall grass bend into leaning
Suddenly the raindrops that fall have a meaning
Sprinkling the scene
Makes it all

Maybe there's a chance for me to go back
Now that I
Some direction

It sure would be nice to be back Home
Where there's love
and affection

And just maybe I can convince time to slow up
Giving me enough time
In my life
To grow up

Time, be my friend?

Let me start

Suddenly my world's gone and changed it's face
But I still know where I'm going
I have had my mind spun around in space
Yet I've watched it growing

And oh, if your listening God,
Please don't make it hard
To know
If we should believe the things that we see.

Tell us
Should we try to stay
or should we run away
Or would it be
Better just to let things be?

Living here, in this brand new world
Might be a fantasy

But it's taught me to love

So its real
Real to me

And I've learned, we must look inside our hearts
To find

A world full of love

Like yours,

Like mine,

Like Home.

As Soon As I Get Home

(Originally 4/24/07)

As Soon As I Get Home
by Charlie Smalls

There’s a feeling here inside
That I cannot hide
And I know I’ve tried
But it’s turning me around

I’m not sure that I’m aware
If I’m up or down
If I’m here or there
I need both feet on the ground

Why do I feel like I’m drowning?
When there is plenty of air?
Why do I feel like frowning?
I think the feeling is fear.

Here I am in a different place
In a different time
In this time and space
And I don’t want to be here**

I was told I must see the Wiz*
But I don’t know what a wizard is
I just hope
the Wiz is there.*

Maybe I’m just going crazy
Letting myself get uptight.
I’m acting just like a baby
But I’m going to be alright ...

Soon as I get home
As soon as I get home

In a different place
In a different time
Different people ‘round me

I would like to know of their different world
And how different they find me

And just what’s a Wiz
Is it big
Will it scare me?**

If I ask to leave
Will the Wiz
Even hear me?**

How will I know then
If I'll ever get home again?

Here I am alone
And it feels the same
I don't know where I'm going

Right here on my own
And it's not a game
And a strange wind is blowing

I am so amazed by the things that I see here
Don't want to be afraid**
I just don't want to be here**

In my mind this is clear
What am I doing

I wish I were home.

(* - you can subsitute God for The Wiz in my internalization of this osng)
(** - These are the lines that seem to make me cry every time.)

This Mental Illness Among Us

(Originally 4/20/07)

My challenge is to face the world with mental illness. No, not just my own (which again, I'm relieved to note that I don't have a disorder which needs to be treated with medication, although sometimes I feel like I do, but I have some tendencies and hurdles which have adversely affected my development). I'm referring to all the mental illness everywhere.

This morning I got hit with a double-whammy. In my beloved fangroup, a member re-exposed her ugly side and wrecked my whole morning. She gave herself permission to turn the forum into a cesspool. She railed against another member who hadn't even been the object of her initial ire. She did this in the name of defending her actions against someone else whom she called immature, and with that action, she blew her own actions out of the water. She apologized before for rash and incindiary speech but she'd never done this before, which makes me think her apologies aren't worth the 1's and 0's that they're made out of.

Then I leave my house (HAHA! "my" house.) get in my car (BWAHAHA! "MY" car) and turn on the radio to hear some guy calling in to cuss someone out, saying that he was going to catch up to someone and really give it to her good--threatening and extremely nasty. I though he was calling the radio station but they were just playing his recorded message. Turns out it was Alec Baldwin, cussing out his own daughter, who is no more than 11 or twelve. And it turns out that the recording was given by Kim Basinger, as a defense for her own side in their custody case.


I spend so much time in fantasy because it tears my heart out to have to face this miserable condition we suffer from. (Yes, "we". Like me in my car, for instance, when I can't say civil things to people just because they linguered at a traffic light for 6 picaseconds longer than I would have liked them to.) I'm taking responsibility for this tenderhearted weakness I feel like I have, but it does have a root cause. When I said in an earlier post that my mother treated her patients better than she treated me, I was totally not kidding. My mother would curse me out at the drop of a hat. She'd curse anyone out. Somehow, I developed a total fetish for a woman who cussed out their man, but at the same time, a phobia when I'm on the receiving end. No, a real I-can't-be-in-a-relationship phobia. I would walk on glass to prevent an argument. I had one girlfriend who never argued with me. Her I should have married. Yet I fear I probably would have been the abuser in the relationship, because again, I'm no saint.

I know I need to get over this. I can't be giving this much power to people's words. I've sold a good twenty-five years of my life away for a peace that doesn't really exist, and it hasn't improved my life at all, because I'm still vulnerable to negativity. I still crave, puppy-like, approval and acceptance. I can still be devastated by the harsh word from a loved one.

Heterosexuality Revisited

(Originally 4/19/07)

Is there such a thing as bi-sexuality? Can we be attracted to both sexes, make whoopie with both men and women with equality?

When I fail with women, I say more glibly now than I ever thought possible, that I'm going to switch my orientation. As if this were possible. And I say it because I know that I find men attractive as well as I do women.

The facts are that women do this all the time. All. The. Time. For them, it's nothing to compliment each other. "Cyute shoes! LOVE your hair! Your butt looks so good in those jeans!" If we were socialized differently, men would be saying the same. But even though we don't express it verbally, I see it at the gym expressed non-verbally. The guys with the best physiques attract a lot of man-nods, eye-contacts, and "What's up"s. There's even a new verbal technique guys use to pay each other compliments. "Yo, dude, no homo, but that shirt looks cool on you." I say all this to acknowledge that we recognize what looks good in people of own own genders.

Now, what we do with that is the question.

I mentioned a little bit ago about a co-worker at one of my sites who told me she once had a girlfriend whom she lived with. No, I mean a real "we kissed and slept in the same bed" girlfriend. Then she met a guy in college and married him and had a son. Now she divorced that guy, but has married another guy. When she started relating to me past the "Hello" stage, she first asked me if I was gay and then went into all that history about herself. So ... is she a lesbian? Was she ever really? Is she a hetereosexual who had a same-sex season? Or is sexuality interchangeable according to your own tolerance?

That particular woman has been paying me compliments lately (she's still married), now that the coats and sweaters are coming off. She notices my thirty-pound weight loss and she likes it.

And can I tell you, I love it that she notices. I want to flirt back with her. She is tall and shapely, and I purposely resist complimenting her in kind because she is sexy as hell to me and I'm trying to be appropriate at my workplace.

And currently, I'm at another worksite where there are women everywhere, pushing the envelope of the dress code. There's a perky little honey to my left, and a luscious full-figure mommy who runs this place with the most adorable personality and face with freckles sprinkled across her nose, and then there's a slinky boomer chick with painted-on jeans and a coke bottle figure that makes me mistype everytime she walks by.

And what I'm very happy to say is that these women find me attractive as well. The way they smile at me and change their voice tone when speaking to me, and even giggle. To them, I'm a man of authority and some position, and I know that's attractive to women. But of course, for my own needs, I want to think I look good to them too. I want what I think is physically appealing on a man. Friday night, my "date" (who still hasn't responded to anything I've sent her) said "Oo, you clean up nice," when she first saw me in my tux. That was nice. (And I returned the compliment, but hindsight tells me I could've done so much more.)

And this is the area in which I exist. Craving attention and attraction, and terrified to follow up on it. Trying to content myself with my choices, yet coming here to expel the energy that builds up from not following through.

And on we go.

Edit, April 21st: My Friday Night Date (formerly known as Childhood Bud II) has responded. Seems my dread of her lasting impressions of me was just another drive-by from Worst-Case Scenario Man. She was just swamped with work. She had a good time and we're still friends.

Sailing Over

(Originally 4/18/07)

When I open up my Yahoo page, or the automatic MSN browser that came with this work laptop, I can't help but see the Virginia Tech story. The same way I couldn't help see the Imus story. And all the other stories that raise my blood pressure and cause me throughout the day to shake my head and talk to myself and my God, and ask aloud just what the hell is really going on out here.

No, Imus does not equate with Virginia Tech. They are two distinctly different tragedies. But what they have in common is the fact that I keep trying to avoid them and I can't. I avoid writing about them, but in my head, they romp and roam.

So I've felt guilty for 'ignoring' current events, and here's my feeble attempt at addressing them.

Crazy people are like a force of nature. They're as a part of the world as tornadoes. Just as differing air pressures, air temperatures, and geography causes tornadoes, I think culture and biology causes crazy people. And of course, when I say crazy, I don't mean crazy-like-me, but DSM-IV-diagnosed crazy.

When I say biology, I mean people are born with different brain biology which spans from one spectrum to the other. An infant is born with a brain that may never develop the personality and emotions past the age of five. Or it might not allow the person to process anger successfully without a major blowup first to relieve the pressure. Or it may cause the person to experience a sense of pervasive dread all their lives. Or it might cause them to be sunny and optimistic through the worst times imaginable. Or it might cause them to cycle all of the above on a regular basis, improperly. Or properly. Or it might allow the person to operate normally in whatever society they were born in. Or. Or. Or.

It's a miracle that any planet with billions of these people last through any given day. This is why people believe in a God.

And now we see a young man who developed in a way, through how many ever cultures (Chinese national, American student), to think it was an acceptable alternative to get a weapon and murder a classroom full of people who was not even connected to the object of his obsession, and then kill himself. To you and me, this is crazy. To him, it was the way to negotiate through his problem.

I'm a mental health professional (go ahead, get the laugh out now) because of two primary reasons. One, my mother set out a good example for me to learn how to accept mentally ill people. Not because she herself was ill (this I didn't figure out until years after her death), but because she worked at a psychiatric hospital and she treated her patients like people. She treated them better than she treated me, in fact. The second reason is because I like to understand my world, and since it's comprised of people, learning what makes them tick brings order to my own mind. If someone wigs out on the grocery line, instead of the fear that I can imagine myself feeling, I can explain to myself why the person might be wigging, and if necessary, I can even control the situation with a few well-placed words. (This may be the motivation behind why people become police or firefighters too; but again, that's me explaining to myself why the world is the way it is).

So when I'm faced with something like a Columbine or now a "Virginia Tech" (welcome to the lexicon of tragedy, Virginia Tech. I'm sure that was never a goal of yours) I need to cut it up into bite-sized morsels of understanding; man's search to bring order to chaos.

Or do my best to avoid it.

Most times, I excel at the latter, and right now, that's I'm going with. Because ven the bite-sized chunks are too big to handle.

Between The Moon And New York City II

(Originally 4/17/07)

High. Life.

The beginning component was that I trusted what I'd heard from Childhood Bud II to believe that she wouldn't make the night difficult after reading what I'd written. I think she was flattered, actually. Plus, upon re-reading it, I didn't actually propose marriage, so I guess it was okay after all.

As for a narrative on the night in question, I'm actually at a loss for words. I might not be completely primed to give the telling yet, even though it's four days prior now. I guess it was all sweeping grandeur that kept me breathless for a little while. And then there are questions I have which I'm afraid of asking. They come under the heading of, What Do I Do Wrong?

Thing is, I haven't heard from Childhood Bud II since Saturday. That was the next day and I was supposed to reconnect with them and go see "The Color Purple" on Broadway, which was an invitation made by the trip originator --Childhood Bud II's boss. We were getting along pretty well and they all seemed to enjoy my company, and from that came the invitation. So I was feeling accepted and liked and thought I'd found a new social outlet. But when the next day came, and I was in NYC looking for parking, Childhood Bud II texts me and says, "I think my boss forgot to get you a ticket." This was about two hours before the show started. So yeah, I was not going to the play.

So the whole Friday seems lost in a bit of Saturday seaspray. The waves of doubt are lapping on the shore, repeating the susurrus of "What did I do wrong?" Should I have met up with them anyway, even though I wasn't going to the play? Should I have tried to kiss Childhood Bud II goodnight when we went back to the hotel? Should I have spent the night in her boss' nephew's room? Or Childhood Bud II's room? Should I have tried to kiss her when we danced?

Always the mystery of "What did I do wrong?" What misstep am I guilty of now? At what point did I fall short of the knight in armor, bright, faithful and true?

And in these foamy regrets come the time when I think I really should just switch orientation and take the passion of my hero-worshipping into that last forbidden arena. Because when I'm in the moment with a woman, I always seem to pull away. That last bit of energy that seems to propel others into those memorable embraces usually feels to me like fear, doubt, and faintheartedness. A gray miasma that enshrouds my heart and brings the corners of my face down.

But what would it be like with another man? How would it be any different? How would my admiration of masculinity translate any better into a physical relationship than what I've done with women? Am I proposing that the presence of breasts and the tucked-away promise of a vagina is what makes me lose heart? But the presence of chest hair, rock-hard abs and broad shoulders would be my impetus?

That doesn't seem to gel. The problem I have is with intimacy and trust, not body parts. There are guys who I could just as easily make a pass at, as I could have done with Childhood Bud II (to get my face nice and slapped), which I haven't done. Mostly because I don't want to be homosexual (not, though, because I'm disgusted by it--except for that whole anal aspect wherein doody lives, so maybe yeah, a little disgusted). But then again, also mostly (how can there be two "mostlies"?), I'm just as afraid of the rejection from a dude as I am from a gal.

That's what it is. The rejection. The several thousand different ways the other person will be able to wrinkle their noses at me and laugh. Why I didn't rate enough of a presence for Childhood Bud II's boss to have remembered me the next day and get a ticket for me to join them. Why Childhood Bud II has not responded to my e-mail, or stopped by here to read all this.

Bleagh. This was supposed to be about the good time I had Friday night. Ashford and Simpson sang. The Rev Al Sharpton spoke. When he arrived he took some attention away from Yolanda King, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter. Commissioner Ray Kelly came and spoke. Senator Chuck Schumer opened the night.

The honoree was Dr. Suzan Johnson-Cook, having her 50th birthday and they really rolled it out for her. Within limits. For instance, it was black-tie, but there was a buffet for food. In was in The Supper Club, but the building seemed old and coated in too many layers of bright gaudy paint. There was a live band, but we didn't escape the night without doing the Electric Slide, which transformed the dance floor into a choreographed marvel, I must say. And Dr. Sujay (as those in the know called her) came off her pink lounge chair to lead our table in the last dance. (Childhood Bud II's boss must have made a hefty contribution to own that table, and so the honoree honored her publicly).

To have all these people come to see her and speak for her tells of crazy mad influence. The woman, according to speakers, broke a lot of barriers and garnered a lot of admiration. First NYPD black female chaplain. Appointed by Clinton on a race relation White House committee. Etc, etc, etc. All before 50.

As for us, we arrived fashionably late in an Escalade. My "date" let me tempt her to the dance floor at least twice. She liked dancing and her biggest complaint were the shoes she'd bought the night before. She had pretty red toenails. We rode back to the hotel in a pedalcab, taking our lives literally into our own hands. It was like dashing into traffic blindfolded. We laughed and screamed and laughed some more. In the entourage was the author of two books--books about relationships! She's in her thirties and very pretty. Since my "date" wasn't having any of me, I considered this woman as a maybe.

Yet, without that Saturday follow-up, it's all gone in a haze. I'm now neither here nor there on the matter. Nothing lasting seems to have come out of it.

But it was nice while it lasted.

Someday We'll Sit Back And Have Such A LAUGH

(Originally 4/12/07)

Yes, I deleted my beautiful post, called The Moon And New York City. Because while speaking to the subject in question, she asked for the blog address and I scrambled to my blogger controls, stalling her, so I could erase it lest she read it.

It didn't work. The page stalled longer than I did, and I told her the address, fully believing that I'd have the chance to delete before I finished the syllables. I didn't. She read it. I only deleted the way a person would drop the last bottle of Pepsi onto the ground after the other 11 out the the dozen has already shattered. I could have kept it, but the crashing tragedy and loss of possession was already done.



So now that she knows what I was considering, how will it turn out for our hero?

Well, we spoke not too long ago and it's going to be okay. She just happens to be going through another, different phase than I am right now. We're not as in sync as I thought we might be.

But we're still going to have a good time tomorrow night. I marvel that people are so NOT me. My reactions, thankfully, are not the same as others' reactions. She even said it was a good post. And she was mad at me for deleting it!

So go figure.

So, Childhood Bud, you're off the hook. I narcced on my own self. No Harry. No Sally. No Worries.

Between The Moon And New York City

(Originally 4/11/07)

I have been invited by Childhood Bud's sister, who has also made guest appearances here as the other "Childhood Bud", to a black-tie affair this Friday in midtown Manhattan.


I believe that through my experiences with My Hero that I've become a lot more receptive to taking friends' invitations for social events. I've called my friends out of the blue, become more sociable when I get phone calls, and have bopped out of the house to go meet people just to say "Hi!". Big big plusses for me that make me very happy. Successes that I haven't enjoyed, or even saw the merit of enjoying, for years and years. Even when I lived in NYC, I would stroll up and down avenues by my lonesome and call that a social life.

So as soon as I got the invitation, I leapt at it.

Now, here's the rub. Childbud Bud, hold onto your seat. And do NOT tell your sister to come here and read this. She is infrequent here--needs reminds to come read this every 6 months or so. Which is FINE with me. Especially now.

You know those longterm sitcoms where a male and a female friend will say, "If when we're 40 yrs old we haven't found a husband or a wife, lets marry each other." (Smartass twenty-something TV writers think they'll have their crap together by 40, so they have their perky little twenty-something TV characters say some blase' crap like that as if it were no big thing)

Well, no, me and Childhood Bud II have not had this conversation, but somehow ... somehow it's in my mind. She's one of my heroes, for sure. I cited her as such in my Heroes post many months ago before I met the Superhero. Well, over the years I've been peripheral in her life. I've popped in and out during her life phases. I was there when she announced her pregnancy with her first child (now a twenty-something college graduate), and I was there at said daughter's graduation dinner celebration. Gave the evocation at the dinner, in fact. Surprised myself with my 1) willingness to be there, and 2) ability to pray and address all those fancy upperclass people with a degree of competency. She and I communicated when I had girlfriends and when she had boyfriends. She and I communicated when we were both out of relationships and like Lola and Shoeless Joe in Damn Yankees, commiserated together.

And now we're going to trip the light fantastic at a black tie affair, as we're in our forties, with no one especially available to us. And I've been very vulnerable to romance lately. And there will be dancing. And I think if "Kiss of Life" comes on or "After All", and we're on the dance floor, I might do something irresponsible and impulsive.

And I'm wondering if after all this time, if that's not just okay.

Childhood Bud, I will officially excommunicate you if you direct your sister to this blog. And you know I can do it--that antisocial little troll that I can be is always right under the surface, constantly craving to break the skin.

Because I'm just saying. After all the years and all the girls ... it might just be better for me to settle into what I already know. It just might be what real love actually is.

I. am. just. saying.

Scott, If You Would, For Me, Please ...

(Originally 4/10/07)

... go get your wife and bring her to the computer. Stand her right here, looking at the screen. Then stand behind her and enfold her with your arms. Rest your chin on her shoulder so that your breath tickles her ear. Then click on the following YouTube embed, then the both of you close your eyes as the music starts (because the voice sync stinks and the dancing is cheeeesy).

AFTER ALL (Al Jarreau)

there was a time I knew
That no matter, come what may,
love would prevail
And then
inside the dreams I knew
Came the question lovers fear
"Can true love fail?"

Then I would miss the childhood wish
And haven't I sung to you
Of the knight in armor, bright
Faithful and true
to you


After all
I will be the one to hold you in my arms
After all
I will be the one to hold you
I will be the one to hold you in my arms
In my arms

I know in my heart and mind
That no matter, come what may, love will survive
And Love,
the Author of space and time
Keeps the galaxies and each
sparrow alive
And the love that heals the wound
After the war is through
Is the knight in armor bright
Faithful and true
to you


After all
I will be the one to hold you in my arms
After all
I will be the one to hold you
I will be the one to hold you in my arms
In my arms

I need some vicarious romance, Scott, and you're my brother in mid-age-hood, successful in the pursuit of marriage and fatherdom. Plus you're going to be a published author soon, when you finish the novel about the football player, and I'd like to say I knew you when. And you'll look good on the back on the book.

So do this one little favor for me? Enjoy the woman you love? Do it for all us misfitted pariahs of society, whose inner voice is deafening us with their cries of "Leper! Outcast! Unclean!"

This song made me stay in my car this morning and drive an extra hour around the lakes of West Milford and Ringwood. I hit the repeat and let Mr. Jarreau sing it with me. I envisioned the woman I need to someday sing those words to, when I become The Knight to her, faithful and true. Faithful and true to her. I will become that knight when I have slain the dragon of doubt and fear. The dragon who has haunted me with the question "Can true love fail?" for all of my life. The dragon who destroyed my parents and claws after My Friend The Doctor and My Hero and My Other Hero and Childhood Bud's relationships. After I have slain that dragon, I will then know in my heart and mind that no matter come what may, love will survive. That the Author of space and time, who keeps the galaxies and each sparrow alive, has given her and I the love that heals the wounds when the war is done. And after all that ... after all that ... I will be the one to hold her. I will be the one. In my arms.

But for now Scott, in the absence of my happily ever after, would you please do it for me?

5 Potential Victims

(Originally 3/30/07)

I've had 5 hits to the website from people searching for the phrase "www.60seconddecision.com". I wonder why. Are they responding to the same letter I got? From their jobs, so that their work computers won't have the web address in their address bars? And they have bad credit? Join the club! I hope I illustrated how terrible the "deal" is.

Now today, I recieved an offer from one of my banks for a credit card. I'm currently on the phone with them as I type, and I fully expect a rejection. Because the yearly fee is $59. And that's it.

Here's the other rub -- the letter is advertising for "The Irish Heritage Gold MasterCard -- Good news! You've been pre-selected** to receive the Gold MasterCard that says a lot about you." But, um, duh people? I'M NOT IRISH. The only thing this card will say about me is that my credit sucks. So what they trying to say about my Irish brethren? Oo, oo!! And what else? The envelope on the outside says "DO NOT BEND" because there's a card on the inside, right? BUT IT'S A MOCK CARDBOARD CARD. LOL!!! Well, at least if I get approved, I'll a pretty new plastic one, WITH A SHAMROCK ON IT!!!! Please, Lord, let me be approved just to get the chance to say in a store, "Yeah, I'm just celebrating my Irish heritage."

Heck, it's good enough for Superman to be Irish--why not me?

Minimum credit line is $300 measely little dollars, and only as high as $1,500. But again, it only costs $59 bucks a year to use and THAT is cheaper than two overdraft charges.

But this is what I love; "And because you're pre-selected, there's no application fee, no security deposit and no long wait for approval." Well, I just got off the phone with them, and they said I'd get my results in a week. So much for the "no long wait". I think that was their way of saying, "Not this time Charlie. Now take that hit to your credit score, sucka!"

Thanks to the car loan, I happen to know what my credit score is. It's LOW. In the 500's. (What does one of these 100's actally represent? Why is it better to have more of them than less? Just who the hell are making these judgments and classifications? Leave it to us to find ANOTHER way to seperate ourselves into yet another category by which we can discriminate.)

So let's just see what'll happen.

What a country!

Am I Crazy? Or Is America?

(Originally 3/26/07)

So I got the spam solicitation for a credit card that I knew would come eventually and I reviewed it, ready to apply. I decided to use the online application process. You know, instant grat and all that.

The web address; www.60seconddecision.com

The surprisingly plain English terms of aggreement;

Our card is designed and geared to help people who have had credit problems in the past.

In addition we offer you a low 9.9% APR on all of your purchases as long as your account remains current. This will save you money if you carry a balance as compared to carrying a balance on cards with a higher APR.

You will have an Annual Percentage Rate on purchases of 9.9%. The cash advance and penalty APR is 19.9%. The minimum finance charge on an account with a balance will be fifty cents."

In addition, you will have a grace period on purchases of 25 days. The method for computing the balance for purchases is the average daily balance, including new purchases."

You will have at least a minimum credit line of $250 and based upon our final decision that credit line could be higher.

If it applies there will be a $25 late fee and a $25 over the credit limit fee. Also if you choose today to add an additional user to your account, there will be an additional card fee of $20 billed annually.

First PREMIER Bank will bill the following fees to your first statement which will reduce your available credit until they are paid. There is a one-time program fee of $95 and a one-time set up fee of $29. There is an annual fee of $48, and it is not billed again until your anniversary date. There is also a monthly participation fee of $6.00. Keep in mind your minimum monthly payment is only $20 or 3% of the balance, whichever is greater.

If you are assigned the minimum credit limit of $250, your initial available credit will be $72.00 ($52 if you choose the additional card option). Do you understand and agree to these fees being billed to your first statement and what the minimum available credit will be?"

So if I have this right, this credit card will be given to me with an "initial" credit limit of $72.00? And for this privilege, they will charge me a $124 "one-time/set-up" fee, and then $48 a year thereafter, plus another $72 per year, billed as a $6 mothly "participation" fee (which is still $120 every subsequent year, no matter how you slice it)?

So its $244 for the first year and $120 every year after that, for $72 worth of credit?!!!!!

How does America let things like this legally exist within its' borders, and talk about how wrong other nations' politics are?

Meanwhile, I. Pass.

Physician, Heal Thyself.

(Originally 3/27/07)

So the sensitivity training was first supposed to be taught by my boss, then he gave it to another girl that he calls up in a pinch for stuff (they've worked together for a long time. She'd make a great Assistant Director, but I was the one with the degree.) Then he wanted me to train it with her. Then he pulled her somewhere else and believed I could do the training alone.

And he was right. I could and did. As soon as I connect to whoever I'm training, I'm fine. And this subject matter was actually just what I needed to hear. It was the goal of the training to make the staff more aware of the needs of our clients and how to avoid being insensitive to them. In rehearsing what our own needs are, I attempted to make them more empathetic to the clients by showing that they had the same needs.

And in rehearsing the needs, I found out that my own needs are not unusual. Why do I have to keep being reminded of that? You guys would have laughed, or at least smiled like a loon to watch me saying "We all need someone in our lives who appreciate us, right? Someone who encourages us and likes to be around us? It makes us feel good--like we're worth something. Wouldn't you agree?"

Heheh. Yeah, that was me saying that. And yup, that's me now agreeing with that.

And that's what I missed as I rode 6 hours away from my friends and towards George's basement.

So let me call my peeps and get me some love up in here.

Nothing wrong with it.

Still Adjusting

(Originally 3/27/07)

I SO have to get a girl.

Brenticus!! I published that picture of MFTD's wife and his baby so you could see it, you know. I was hoping one of the Texans frequenting the page was you. Can you e-mail me your phone number please? If you weren't both of them, then one of them is Bluezy Bunny.

Like I was saying, I have to get a girl. If I had come back to New Jersey with a loving relationship waiting for me, I'd be less lonely, I imagine. Although in my mind, I clearly remember one of my heroes asking me if I though being married always answered the problem of being lonely. I couldn't imagine what he meant at the time (this was back before cellphone dominance). But I kind of do. There's always some spot of unfulfillment inside us. You can have 1) the woman of your dreams, 2) the dream job, and 3) enough money in the bank to pay someone else a living wage salary from just your savings alone, and STILL yearn for "something more". Just ask Donald Trump.

So I don't guess I "have to" have a girl. She might not necessarily create a better homecoming, or homestaying. And I suppose it's normal to miss friends. Everyone does. I have a bunch to call up who are closer, if I so need to.

Doesn't stop what's going on inside here right now, though. It'll pass. Or improve. And even if it gets worse and I break down and have a good cry, it'll still get better once the emotion gets released. But I doubt it'll go there. I have a short "Sensitivity Training" to do in an hour and I'm sure some of the messy feelings inside are just mixed in with that nervousness.

But it sure would be nice to have Matt here for a few minutes. Or My Friend The Doctor. Or you, Brenticus. Or you, Steven. Or My Mentor. Or even Grim Jester.


Anyway, I just heard this joke;

Q: How are men and parking spots similar?
A: The good ones are all taken, and what's left are Handicapped.

So that answers that about me getting a girl anyway. If she doesn't already have a good man then she'd have to settle for me--and not being everything she was looking for would probably feel worse than being alone.

BLAAAAaahhh. Should I be posting when I feel low? Well, duh! This is one of my coping mechanisms!

Oh, I'll be alright. Let me get ready for the training ...

Not For The Lack Of Trying

(Originally 3/22/07)

George sneaks into the house at night. After my post, I purposed to say something when he returned home. It's a ranch style, so right inside the front door you can go upstairs to the kitchen, livingroom, or his three rooms and two bathrooms--or downstairs to the laundry room, den, my bedroom, my bathroom, or garage. So I was tucked away in my room and barely heard him open the door. He slipped off his shoes and then I heard nothing more. Didn't hear him go up the steps or anything. Didn't notice if he turned on a light. Don't know if he went to the kitchen to eat, or just put something in the fridge. Nothing.

That's what makes me think he was either drunk or high or both. Because my lights were on, and I don't sleep with them on. He knew I was awake. And most times, he calls down to me when he comes in to say hello or something--anything really. And that's what I was waiting for. I was going to respond, then ask him what movie he went to see after he dropped me off at the car dealer. Have a little convo and whatever else he may have wanted to chat'bout. Nothing. I haven't spoken to him since the dealer.

Well, that's too bad. I'll keep trying because I said I would, but at least now I know that it's not just me. As I told you in my history with George--he knows how to lie. He wants me to believe he's been sober since the rehab, so when he goes out to drink, or smoke crack, or whatever, he's not interested in talking. Which suits me fine--but does him no good. And I don't want to force a conversation with him, or expose his inebriation, because I don't want to live in a constant state of confrontation and performing interventions.

So that's all I'm going to say about that right now.

In other news, I had another bank relapse. Two actually. Last week, my gym charged me more than I expected them to and pushed my balance into the negatives. Then two more debit charges appeared after that. Goodbye $105. I let it go because I still had savings in another account and I figured it was a punishment I deserved (I kept saying 'This is the last time!' but still I'm an idiot, so too bad for me). Then I had a payday and shortly thereafter, the accident. Then I did my taxes. Then I paid my insurance bill for the month. Then I rented a car, and they overcharged me to cover the rental without a credit card. Then they didn't refund me the money the same day I returned the car (still haven't, in fact. 2-3 business days, my ass). Then I had to lay down $100 surety for the new car. Then I had to gas up. Then I had to eat. Then ... then ... then ... and next thing I know, my whole paycheck is gone and I'm in the negatives again. And here comes three more debit purchases.


Goodbye ANOTHER $105.

I've already flogged myself, so I wont waste bytes repeating it. But My Friend The Doctor bailed me out again. I couldn't even call him this time. I just sent him an e-mail, informing him for the first time about the whole car situation plus the moneylessness. I couldn't ask him for $$ but the e-mail in itself was obviously a request. Which he knew instantly and responded. But aside from the money, he reassured me that I'm not the Crown Prince of all Sad-Ass Losers. He reminded me of my progress over the last year and under what kind of circumstances (See George; Former "My Benefactor", Postmodern Crackhead) that I managed to do it.

My Friend, The Doctor. He really wants to see me succeed. And I really want to. He believes in me. And I really want him to. He supports me, emotionally as well as financially. And I really need him to.

So that's alright then. And My Hero's a friend of mine too!

P.S.; note to self; GET A CREDIT CARD. Even though the interest will be 18%, like the car loan, a credit card would have saved me $210 dollars in overdraft fees for $35 worth of Starbucks and McDonald's, because I could have credit-carded the rental car instead of debiting it. And I can beat the interest if I pay the entire charge before the due date. The next spam application for credit, I'm filling out.

And I'd Like To Say This About That

(Originally 3/20/07)

I need to go in for an attitude adjustment on My Benefactor.

I hope I've cited this somewhere else on these webpages, but this is what I know about how I feel about My Benefactor--I'm jealous of him and I'm also resentful of the adolescent position I'm put in by his generosity.

That said, let me detail my exact history with this man.

In 1987 I was hired to work in a mail facility on the overnights in Mount Vernon NY. I was in my twenties and it seemed that I was on my way to adultsville. The job paid well, it had benefits, and my girlfriend at the time also worked for the post office. We talked marriage and considered what all would happen when we combined our incomes. We were both in the same fanatical church so all our ducks were in a row. And yes, she was a bit of a nutjob, but she was the sweetest little nutjob I've ever known. Unlike the scary nutjobs I'd hooked up with thereafter.

Anyway, from the day I started that job, I was fascinated by this guy who looked like George Segal. And he with me. I know now that it was a mancrush. Then, being all religious and in High Denial, I never tried to define it. I just went with it. So after I found that this George Segal lookalike was also a community theater actor, I was hooked! And when I dared to say hello, he said hello back! Then I found out that he was as witty as Bugs Bunny, and as mercurial. And his fascination with me was a big plus. So we became friends. I met his wife and his two little kids. We'd gone out to a comedy club, ate sushi in the Village (my first time), saw community theater together, saw Shakespeare in the Park together. I considered us as really good friends, back before I even knew what friendship was supposed to be all about. Also, back then, I always had an agenda with being friends with people who were not in church. I was supposed to Lead Them To Christ. I had even brought him to my church a few times--but getting him to buy into Christianity was like getting Bugs Bunny to buy stock in shotguns. And I wound up going places with him that my Pastor would not have approved of anyway.

But self-delusion is a grand platform from which to dive into questionable behavior. At least, questionable for a Pentecostal, Fundamentalist, Conservative Born-Again Christian.

Okay, enter his fascination with The Asian Beauty. In our small elite work area, a woman had just come out of a long term affair with our married co-worker. Being a Christian, I wanted to offer her support--instead of throwing stones at her, I did what Jesus Would Have Done. I bent and wrote in the dirt instead of joining the condemning crowd. She and I became friends as well. And George (let's call him that) was besotted with her. He couldn't NOT speak with her. He moon-eyed every time she walked by. So when she and I became friends, George piggybacked off me to get face-time with her. Well, okay, I thought. She's a beautiful woman. He's a handsome man. But surely nothing will come of it!

Our other co-workers continually told me that George and Asian Beauty were getting busy. Well, I couldn't believe it. Wouldn't, in fact. Not when they both knew what a Christian I was. Not when I had appealed so strongly to her NOT to return back to being some man's jump-off (didn't know the term back then, but it means being no more than a sex-relief, no potential to be significant) And then, when the rumors were driving me crazy, I had to ask him and her, during one of our many lunches together--just the three of us, split off from everyone else because that's how "close" we had become.

They looked me dead in my face and swore that they weren't having an affair.

Shortly thereafter, in the morning when we all were supposed to leave, they were caught on the parking lot video cameras steaming up her station wagon windows. Before I reported to work that night, it was the talk of the previous two workshifts.

I hadn't had a cry that hard since I had been a toddler. I cried alone, and I cried with the Asian Beauty. She apologized. George apologized. They apologized together. They apologized seperately. So sorry. Everybody was SO sorry.

I grew up a little bit during that season. I realized people were capable of doing anything.

He tried to quit her, and I tried to help. I did my Christian best to help them off each other. (heh). But it was no use. They kept relapsing. I felt the eyes of scrutiny on me as well as on them. I did my best to be a Christian example through all their failures and shameful behavior. I kept asking myself, what would Jesus do? What would he do to George? What would he do to Beauty? Si that's what I tried to do.

Then in late '91, my mother was diagnosed with brain cancer. I didn't know what was in store, but surely things would work out fine? In prayer, I thought I heard God tell me that if my mother were to die, I would be free to go anywhere and do anything for him, as I was doing for George and Beauty. My mother died in early '92. Not more than six months after the treatments began.

George and the Beauty took a backburner to the challenge of What Was I Going To Do With The Rest Of My Life. By this time, I had another girlfriend who was the less friendlier version of a nutjob. She had two kids already and a bad temper. She liked my mother (no wonder) but I was 'estranged' from her by the time my mother died.

So, I packed up my cares and went to Missouri to Bible School to become The Next Biggest Preaching Sensation (I've come to know thate this would be the first in a series of runaways that I would perform to get out of uncomfortable and awful situations). The white people who received me had other ideas. Over the next five years, I grew up a little more. I also I forged a relationship with My Friend The Doctor, and with My Mentor, and got a Master's Degree in Counseling. Eight years later, I arrived back to the east, landing in Trenton, NJ (a runaway move to get out of Missouri--I left a doctoral program, a house, and incurred debt to afford to move). Three years later, I moved to NYC, failing at the relationship with the girl I believe I still love to this day (another runaway move to get away from the girl). But I would still get my NY license and become a therapist in the city and succeed, right?

Around then is when I ran into George, who was as fascinated with me as he had been back in '87. We caught up on old times. He informed me that Beauty and he had tried a relationship after I left. George had divorced his wife. But it didn't work out. It turns out that Beauty wanted him for his money. He'd even let her and her two kids stay with him in his New Jersey house. Eventually, he had to force her out. It ended badly.

A year later, my NYC life failed, by license stalled, and I got evicted.

George said, "Come live in my house. I'm hardly there. And I need some help."

Which turned out to be true, oddly enough. Because all the while, throughout all the plays and Shakespeare in the Parks and sushi and affairs and comedy clubs, he had been a stone-cold junkie. A suburban substance-abuser. A prescription pill-popping Poppa.

And I had no idea. All I thought I'd ever seen him do was have way too many beers before coming in to work, but he had an addictive personality and was out of control long before I'd ever met him.

Now I live with him. After all this time. Ain't life funny?

George (I like this name for him MUCH better. From now on My Benefactor will now be referred to as George) has never tried to do me any harm. He's only ever been his own out-of-control self. And through that, he managed to like me enough to do kind things for me.

So yesterday, when I finally took the rental car back, after cinching the deal on my new car, I returned home and started to plan on how I would get back to the dealership, purposing not to ask George for a ride back. I knew that I had not finished paying him for the car I had wrecked, and I know that paying for this new car would prevent me from realistically doing so in the future. If he wanted to sue me over the money I still owe him, he would win hands down. But also, as previous posts will attest, I felt like I hated George. I didn't want anything from George. I hated living with George and I hated George's ugly grown-up son.

So he asks me, "Did you get the car?"

And I say, "Yeah. I can't believe it, but I actually did."

And he says, "Well, c'mon let's go get it! You want a ride?!"

I swear. I can be such a scumbag sometimes. All George seems to want in return for my rent-free existence is the care and concern I showed him back in the day. And that's not too much to ask for is it?

So we rode back to the dealership and we talked about the plays he's been going to see lately (throughout his joblessness), and I went to get my brand new car and he never mentioned how I'm going to pay him for the car I wrecked, and then I left him to drive back by himself and I haven't spoken to him since.

I'm going to work harder at not being such a bad person to him. If repayment for all this generosity is just a few words in the day and the night of friendly concern, I think I could possibly afford that. All this Being Friends education that I've been learning in the last two seasons of my life, through Matt and everyone else, should extend to my home life as well, shouldn't it? And although George tends to want to go further than I do ("Want to see a movie? Want to go to a play? Let's go and get dinner!") I could still afford to say "Hello."

Couldn't I?

Could I?