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

Monday, December 29, 2008

By The Time You Read This

I will have departed for my party meetup with My Colleague. And I am excited. I'm not scared. I feel butterflies, but the good kind. I want more to come from this night, but I won't die if it doesn't happen. I won't even die if I blow it tonight, and say something that makes her roll her eyes and consign me to the hopeless nerd bin. Idon't plan on dumping the whole Geek Me on her, but I'm not inclined to be ashamed of anything that I am. I'll just be wise and diplomatic. I'll do whatever I would tell any of my clients to do. No pretenses, but nothing overwhelming either.

As so many of you have said, Just Be Myself.

And I can do that better than ever.

Because I LIKE myself better than ever.

So I polished me up. I shaved and trimmed my hairline. And I liked what I saw. So I dabbed a little cologne (25 year-old Stetson, for the curious) and I liked how I smelled. Then I stripped off my socks and baby-wiped with shea butter my feet--every inch--until they glowed healthy brown, ash-free, just in case they have to make an appearance tonight for whatever reason. Then I put on my business casual--what I'd wear at any time that I'm with a client. And beheld myself. WITH my little stomach pooch.

And I liked it.

I'm not a bad looking guy.

Even my feet are okay. Nails and all.

And I'm funny.

And smart.

And I have a great career.

(And so does she.)


I like this.

This is going to be fun. No matter what happens. Because I'm okay.

I'm O.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Revisit

Yesterday, I finally met with the man from my old church. Have I named him? He needs a name. I think I will call him First Father Figure. FFF for short.

I guess my meds kept me from being nervous or afraid. Inhibited my serotonin re-uptake or some phrase equally attractive to the Xanax spambots. In any case, I was ready. It was his suggestion that we meet somewhere not on familiar territory, when I had fully planned going to his house. Instead we went to a place where I could eat BBQ ribs. So that helped a lot too, lol.

We started with a little more catch-up on the state of all his sons. He has so many real children that it's ridiculous. I was always trying to fight through the throng of kids to get to him, until I just gave up. He was/is a good man, but he just never had enough time for me. So I went chasing other fathers. However, he will always be my first.

So the meeting yesterday was not about trying to recapture the love I once had for him, or to re-establish the relationship I had longed for now that my rivals had been scattered to the four winds. It was about eliminating the vacuole of shame that lie beneath the surface. I had turned my back on 17 years of my life, and I was choosing yesterday to turn back towards it again. To face it with eyes wide open.

FFF and I had quite a chat. I went into my details by starting with the day I realized that I had been abused when I was a kid. Then I lept ahead to the time I started going to our church and how my hindsight informed me of the reason why. I told him about how it was a refuge from the fear of sex. I told him how I left all my relationships that he knew about, and the ones that he didn't, because of these fears. And I finished my account with the admission that if this were any other planet, or if this were a more advanced time, I would probably be a Gay American.

FFF's love for me remained intact. Of course, his solution for my life is for me to stop watching porn, no more masturbation, and cut out the secular music while I'm at it. If I were to return to the sterile womb of fundamentalist Christianity (these were not his exact words, mind you) God would then be happy with me and see me through to a married, fulfilling, sexual relationship.

Without getting into theological debate, he and I spoke for about 4 hours. So I was determined to stay out of that realm. But it was clear to me towards the end of our visit that our theology has a major point of departure. He believes that my behavior will earn God's approval and I have come to believe that there is nothing so great (or pure or chaste) that I could possibly do to impress God. The Bible says this; "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Or something like that. And no I don't know where to find it at the moment.)

So if God and Jesus is real, as this past week attests to, then He knew what I was--what YOU are--way before I did, and He STILL died for me. So what am I going to give to Him to make him "happy" with me? To "earn" His death? To be "worthy" of His sacrifice?

Not a damn thing. Because He did it all for me while I was already a sinner. He did it for me because He wanted to, not because I wrestled it away from some dragon.

God is either happy with me or He is not. There's nothing I can do that He doesn't see straight through to the truth of. If I go to church, am I going because I want to log time in towards a Hell Immunity Badge or because there's something in church that I really want? If I deny myself the pleasure of this God-created phallus, am I doing it because I truly believe somehow that it offends Him, or am I denying it because I want the bragging rights of how holy I am? Is any of my behavior, for good or for evil, EVER enough of a smokescreen to hide behind?

I think not.

Meeting FFF was the first gate. My next gate will be to visit our pastor. FFF says Our Pastor (for FFF still attends my old fundie church and is a deacon now) has mellowed greatly since the days of Hellfire & Brimstone. FFF says that I should give Our Pastor a chance to hear my story with the increased possibility that I won't become the church's next and greatest pariah.

And wouldn't that be nice?

But you know what? I'm not afraid anymore of what Our Pastor will say about me. If he burns an effigy of me in the church parking lot, or ignores my case completely, it will be no matter to me. I know I can't go back to them and their lifestyle. I know I can't believe anymore in their Conditional God. So where I thought I was going to lose something vital by being rejected by them, I realize now that time has already taken care of it. I'm changed and I can't change back. I won't change back.

Now God, it's on you. What do you want to do with me as I am? As I've become.

As You've made me.

Because I still believe in You. And I still love You. And I still want to serve Your ideals. Your greater good. I still believe in the divine. In the better angels of our nature. In a Calling.

I still believe.

Lord, help thou my unbelief.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Magic

I have three presents that I put near my Christmas "tree" because they don't fit under it. (It's my display tree from last year. I haven't moved it all year. I didn't want to, lol! It's PRETTY.)

The presents arrived in total surprise to me. They came from one of the dearest people in my life, who happens to be the farthest away from me in geography. It seems that if we lived in the same town, we'd somehow be best friends. But I say that about everyone. I feel so much. I latch on. I dream.

But this person, this gift-giving wish-granter, is pro-active. This person does when I don't. This person reaches out when I can't. This person likes me. Values me. Thinks things about me that I still haven't been able to think about myself. And I know this person isn't the only one, but is the only one who sent me presents. *GRIN*

And now I don't even want to open them. Just like the Christmas display, the sight of wrapped presents is enough. They don't look like they contain anything more important to me than the love that they are wrapped with. What other kind of love feels better than this? I honestly don't know. I honestly have not experienced it. But this?

Oh this feels so damn good.

This is magical.

This is Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas To You Too!


I've been busy not blogging! Going to have the adventures of my hero going live soon and I wanted to dedicate time to that. Plus wanted to tighten up my daytime work performance, even though right now is an obvious exception. (But the rain and slick roads are going to keep me inside this office all day, so I have time to burn since I've caught up on almost everything I needed to for My Boss. (Who is different from My Director--the counseling center guy who lost my respect some weeks ago.)

The Holiday party hasn't happened yet and I haven't run into My Colleague since we agreed to party together. But I'll definitely be there.

What else?

Oh yeah, where did Ned go? I'm looking all over for him. Worst Case Scenario Man is whispering some nasty crap concerning his disappearance and I'm hating it. C'mon man, throw me a bone here. Be on vacation or something, but not the WCS. And even IF the WCS, croak at me. Something. Don't be gone. That would SUCK.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Generalized Anxiety Disorder ... We Hateses Itttt

Yeah, so, I've definitely failed at some daily adult living skills in the last few months as it pertains to my career. I've really REALLY let the ball plummet when it comes to my day job, and my day job boss called me on it. I had no choice but to admit it to myself and come to a decision.

In the past, I would have tucked my tail and ran. I would have shriveled under the disapprovement with self-loathing and an abysmal sense of doom. I would have beaten myself up worst than if I were wearing red in a Crips' neighborhood.

But I've learned a lot. And I have to say I've learned it through therapy. The therapy that I give to other people. Because I've started to listen to myself. I've come away from sessions shaking my head and wondering how it is that I can dispense such counsel to others and not myself. How can I teach couples how to fight when I've been running away from relationships in terror of conflict? How can I counsel men about commitment when I've never been successful at it myself? How can I counsel people how to combat anxiety when I've been ruled by it?

These damn meds seem to give me the ability to practice what I preach. Without that feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach, I've been able to override self-condemnation and the long practiced coping mechanism of hiding my head in the nearest sand dune, thereby letting the world pass on--something I've done "successfully" for 38 years. As in successfully never learning how to kiss passionately, let alone learn how to make love. While this is only an aspect of social functioning and not the entirety of it, I'm going to say that I have been suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder because it did disable me from operating in normal society. Ask anyone if it's normal to be a 44-year old virgin. See what answer you get.

So now the time for nevers is finished. I'm on the other side of the summit now. I've got the key and I've tested it out in the lock. And it works. I can chat up a fairly desirable woman. I can curry her favor to meet me at a party. And I sure will ask her out to somewhere else when the party ends. For food, dessert, or just kissing lessons.

And to bookend this post properly, I can own up to my mistakes at work and not be ready to hand in my resignation. I can continue working with the knowledge that I screwed up, and even parry with my boss' extreme displeasure and disappointment in me. If he fires me, then I get fired. Problem solved. Mea culpa, man. I get what I get. NYC-bound careers here I come. But if my boss wants to accept my apology and let me move on and correct my laziness, my disfocus, my poorly handled juggle of two careers--

--then let's do this.

It may have taken me 44 years to realize (minus the obligatory 18 years of honorary childhood), but I'm a grown-ass man.

Time to act like one.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Cried the boy.

Or at least, this is how it has felt, what with me calling out about The Crush, Crazy Plane Girl, Match Girl I, Childhood Bud II, etc. Every time I brought up a new possible girl here on the blog and it petered out, it felt like I was crying wolf.

So this is nothing new, except it's kind of different. I will call her The Colleague because she's a fellow therapist in the center where I do my evening sessions. And I have found her attractive, but in that distant "she's a professional girl" kind of way. Then increasing over the past months, as we passed each other or processed our paperwork at the same time in the front office, she and I would trade smiles, laughs, and banter. And of course, I was doing so because I wanted the pretty lady to talk to me. Then my ego helped me realize that she was doing the same thing. I smiled, she'd smile. I bantered, she'd banter. I made small talk, she'd make small talk.

So tonight, she let out a few microscopic hints that she wanted to know more about my life. She wanted to know about my day job and if, given the additional night cases I have, if I had any time for a social life, "like going to the gym." Yeah, she said that. In that "make it sound as casual as possible" way. And as I picked up on this it occurred to me that this was an opportunity that I wanted--one that I've been whining about here in this blog.

So there's this holiday party thrown for the center at a swank apartment overlooking Central Park South. I went to the one they had earlier this year. They seem to be throwing another one here in December. And I didn't want to go because for me, the gloss has WAY worn off for the center's director. But I did love that apartment and I get along well with the other therapists, so I considered going. But last night The Colleague, while we were bantering, found the party notice in her mailbox. She was making noises like she felt the way I felt and asked if I were going. I said "I would if I had you there to talk to."

Yes I did!

And then she started making noises like she might go in that case, and I added in, "If you go I'll go."

And she said, "Alright..." pensively.

So I got the party notice out of my box and said, "We'll check the RSVP at the same time, ok?"

This made her smile. And we then did check them at the same time, with she looking over at my paper to make sure I put my name down as well. When another therapist walked into the office and saw our party notices she asked The Colleague, "Are you going to the party?" The Colleague answered, "Alan convinced me to."

So. How about that, hunh? And check this, the party is designed to end at 9:00pm. A real sterile affair. But it leaves enough time in the evening to go somewhere else when it's over. Which I'm going to ask The Colleague to do. Because enough with the maoning and groaning, right? The opportunity presented itself, and I took it. As you guys have counseled me many times before, this isn't marriage and I don't have to panic. This is just a friendly get together. It's not even really a date.

But it would be nice if she and I became friends. With benefits.

And that's what's going on.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

As It Is Now

This started as a response to a comment, but My Ned, you pull out the conversation in me. I've missed that. :-D

Re: My laptop speaker problems, I know just the toothpick I'm going to use. Ned that would AMAZING if that were the only problem. Pray with me. ;-)

Re: Alan as zombie ... hmmm. I can attest to still having feelings of anger, as that there's a colleague in my day job pissing me off to high heaven with her passive-aggressive, hypercritical, complaining - to - my - boss - about - me - in - her - meetings ass. And I dread seeing her in a meeting this morning--in a few minutes actually. Last night, on my walk back to my car, I actually cussed her out aloud like one of those crazy homeless people (it was my process to get it out of my system for today, lest I become unemployed before I'm ready). So the meds haven't zombied that out, lol.

But the two times that I've had major crying jags since my San Diego trip, it was a day or two after I ran out of meds, and the situation warranted it (I was missing My Hero's hug and realizing that I was heading back into my hugless, sterile, alone life). I must admit, it felt good to let it go, but ... I'm no worse for not having broke down in the doc's office. A nap came along and helped some.

You're right Ned that the danger is present where I might settle for the Medicated Me and not try to change my circumstances. Additionally a pitfall I see is that I pine after you distant satellites around the globe. I share so much more with you guys, so much more often, than I do friends that are physically accessible. I wish that weren't so. Because sometimes, I wish I could just come over to your houses and we could pass a few hours away watching the boob tube, or listening to music, or just philosophizing the night away (as if I could find the time, lol!) So I'm connected to yous. And that makes it easier not to put in the fight to find someone in the here and now, the physical. But I wouldn't give you guys up for all the spoons in Souptown.

The meds have taken away a good bit of the anxiety when it comes to meeting Whoever She May Be, so I don't know what the blockade is now. I would have tried to chat up The Crush yesterday, but she went home early, right at the start of my training as it so happened. Story of my life, lol.

Lending out ego strength. It's what I do for clients. It's what I feel I need for myself. I need a wingman. Someone to ride shotgun with me and help me into and out of situations. Someone to introduce me around. Someone to pep me up on an unsuccessful ride away from the coffeehouse, club, party, concert. Maybe Grim will serve when he's ready, now being without a significant other, and never having actual success breaking away from her until his brother The Grim Reaper came and did it for him, but I don't think he'd be the ideal wingman. He's too negative, and he wouldn't know what I wanted if She kidnapped him and held him at gunpoint to get me into Her life.

And ultimately, it's me. Maybe I could get through an initial meeting now, not to mention Date One & Date Two (let the record show), but for the long term, what then? Guys are hot. Nice catch for your husband to have those kind of thoughts, right ladies? So hey, there, Al ... why not just take the hinges off the closet and Live Out Loud? Yeah, because I want to trade the closet for a pigeonhole. For the upturned nose or the roll of the eye. I want to escape the stereotype of the Angry Black Man on the eve of Obama's smoke-filled election just so I can become the Angry Gay Man. I want to go from the chance of fighting the normal conflicts within a hetero marriage to the added strain of fighting the conflicts within a gay marriage PLUS all the scrutiny, disapproval, and legal bans against our union. Not only do I want to try parenting in my late forties, but I want to do it PLUS try to usher the kid(s) into the world having My Two Dads for their social back-up. Or make that My One Proud & Out Dad and My One Confused Ashamed Dad (that'd be me). Yeah. Fly that rainbow flag high!

Grrr. Aggravating! There's nothing "gay" about it.

P.S. The meeting happened and Ms. Picky Passive-Aggressive was on her best behavior. That's why she pisses me off so much. She can be a sweet as pumpkin pie most of the time, and then she's a barracuda. I feel tricked and betrayed by her, and I'm going to go ahead and get all the way over it. Because please. What is she to me? Nothing, actually. Plus my boss supported me because he knows I'm an asset to him and valuable. Ms. Picky can go somewhere and scratch.

So yeah.

GRRR. Mad! But getting over it. Meanwhile, somebody, throw me a bone over here. I'm really not such a bad guy ...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Merry Early Christmas

There's a "Getting To Know You" meme circulating amongst my audio producting brethren and sistren. I am avoiding filling it out just as not to depress the living bejeezus out of the recipients. It asks you to share questions such as "Natural or Artificial Tree?" "Favorite Christmas Food?" "Home or Away?" "Gift Bags or Wrapping?"

Er, hrmm. A series of N/A's would be way too Charlie Brown for my tastes. MFTD wants me to come to his parents for Christmas Dinner and I resist for the same reason I changed my mind on Thanksgiving. This being "The Other" is getting on my nerves. This time of the year is so oppressive. Families EVERYWHERE. Toddlers riding on the shoulders of dads. Christmas specials as far as the eye can see.

Last night my laptop went mute. It had to be a static shock that traveled from my fingertip, through the earphone, into the comp audio connections, and fried something. Because one second it was working. Then I took the earphones out to help a fellow therapist (I was in the middle of downtime and took the opportunity to mix more audio for the show) and when I put the earphones back in, only one ear was working correctly, and the laptop speakers not at all. Audio production came to a screeching halt. SO depressing.

Then today I had to go to the prescribing doctor for my medication. I had to sit in the exan room by myself for about twenty minutes. I took my shoes off and lay down while I waited. And I thought of Grim's girlfriend, who is now died. And I thought of my mother, who has done the same, about 17 years ago now. And I thought of the absence of anyone in the waiting room waiting for me. And I thought how miserable it is to be alone sometimes. And I thought of my mortality. And of the grey blanket of sky over all of us. And the naked trees. And colorless world. And I wanted to cry, but I didn't because I'm on my meds.

So when the consultantion was done and I got my re-up prescription, I went to Best Buy to treat myself to an early Christmas. I got a flatscreen comp monitor for my desktop at home, which is the only reason I ever bought a laptop in the first place. (The laptop was cheaper than a new monitor at the time). And I bought a router for the same desktop. Nothing's wrong with the soundcard in the desktop. And I bought a 4 gig thumbdrive to use as the audio work harddrive.

So there.

And now I have to do a training at the siite where The Crush works. I may just chat her up today. Why not? What do I have to lose? MORE aloneness?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Okay, See, Now I KNOW I'm Crazy

Because one little fact has changed my whole perception of a man I had high esteem for. I mean, unless I'm not alone in this which I hope and pray I'm not, haven't you ever formed a picture of a person in your mind and there it lived, happy as a lark--until something came along and spoiled the whole thing? The picture in your head crumples like Saranwrap on a hot skillet?

Well if that's the case for you, then have a seat before I type my next sentence.

Barack Obama is a two-decade long smoker.

A SMOKER?!?!?!?!!!!! WHAAAAAAAAAT?!?!!!!

You mean all the while he was at Harvard, or Yale, or wherever the hell, and being brilliant and blowing Michelle's back out with that brotherly love, and being a Daddy to two of the cutest First Girls that America has ever had, HE HAD A CANCER STICK DANGLING OUT OF HIS MOUTH?!? Cigarette smoke clouding up the rooms he's in? Clothes smelling like dirty ashtrays? Standing outside in the freezing cold like a moron sucking on a coffin nail and squinting against the acid fumes curling back in his face like a scorpion's tail?

Y'all think I'm joking, but this is a serious crimp in my fantasy world. Smoking is just not smart. It's a stinky habit. And it denotes dependency. A crutch. When has a President of the United States ever been a smoker? Even George Bush was never seen in the back doorway of the White House with a cigarette!

I ... I ... just ...

oh Obama. Come ON. I thought you were a smart man!

Here's the article from whence this horrible news flows.

And for all my readers who smoke ... I still love you. But smoking? Dudes and chicks. COME on. Even you know you need to quit. Give yourself a raise in these fierce economic times and say no to big tobacco. You work too hard for your money to be giving it away to an industry that exists solely to kill you (and me).


Oh my God.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Laundry Day

Who knew I was so goth? I'm forcing myself to do my laundry. In the basement are the coin-operated machines. So I'm sorting the darks from the lights from the bright reds and I filled my hamper with black clothes first. Amazed at how many black clothes I have. Pants and shirts and t-shirts and socks and jockey shorts. I have big piles of color clothes as well, and bright blood red is a favorite of mine, but in what era did Goth Emo Alan sit on the throne of my life? And does he want his clothes back?

A few days ago, Grim informed us that his girlfriend passed away. He finished the e-mail by saying he didn't want any condolences or any questions because "none of it helps." So the compassion and empathy I wanted to feel for him was quickly supplanted by anger. Damn him! Oh he's got to be so effing brave and macho and stupid. I mean, I'm sad that the woman died. What, I'm not supposed to show any of that? Or I'm just not supposed to expect that he's feeling any of that? Which of course he must be feeling it times a million since she was his girlfriend (on-again off-again on-again, but still...). And this is an opportunity to be there for each other. Or at least let me be there for him. But that's not what he wants. Oh, make no mistake, he does want us to get together. Today in fact. He said he "just wants to be with his friends." Which might be the most emotional he may ever be. But it's always got to be on his terms. He's always got to control the situation. He's always got to tell everyone how to act and what to be and what's right and what's wrong.

So here I am, prepared to go and be with his friends, and try to do what he needs us to do, on his terms since he's the one who lost someone and needs to grieve in his own way, but I find myself feeling resentful of it. I guess I have to learn that it's not all about me and that sometimes I just have to let someone else have their own way. And that even though Grim pathologically always has to have his own way, this is not the time to argue about it.

Yeah. I think that's right.

And this is why I blog! Yay!

Okay. So that's what's going on.

Enjoy the weekend!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Posting Instead Of

This morning I'm in quite a state. I have a client I've promised an early appointment to on a regular basis, and each time that appointment comes, something in this day job threatens to make me unavailable. In times past, I've skipped out on the day job after a fraught day of anxiety. Lately there was the promise of being able to take the part time job here in the city and ditch the NJ day job, solving the problem and keeping me available for the early client. Now not so much.

But that's only one problem.

I can't think of a single thing I'm supposed to do today. I've a nagging feeling that I'm supposed to be somewhere dayjob related, and I can't remember. I've given up writing in my planner because I keep misplacing it anyway.

Yesterday, on the road, Grim Jester called my phone and left the message to call him back "as soon as you get this" which I did do. Then in live convo, it turns out to be something he wants me to do for him that he goes on to disqualify me for anyway. Meanwhile my persistent part of the conversation uncovers the fact that his GF is now in a semi-conscious state, has a DoNotResuscitate order, and is not projected to ever leave the hospital.

I mean, just, damn. I used to play City of Heroes with this girl.

I still have a little holiday weekend movies hangover. "Zack & Miri" being chiefest. Maybe because I saw it on the biggest screen out of all the ones I've seen in the last few days (a record, ladies & gentlemen).

Here's a spoiler, but it isn't THAT big of a spoiler....

So, Zack & Miri actually DO IT in the course of the movie, in the pursuit of making the titular porno. And so, since it's a porno, the camera is all up in their faces. (Of course, the in-movie camera they use to make that scene could not possibly have been where the actual-movie camera went to show their faces in the scene and later played back within the movie, but I'm nitpicking.) And anyway, as they DO IT, they of course have an orgasm. For the amazo-factor they have it at the same time. It changes everything. And from that point the rest of the movie becomes a very sweet tale about true love.

But that concurrent orgasm scene is haunting me. There was something in the red-flushed, straining face of Seth Rogen that creeped. Me. Out. I've seen enough porn to know that chances are he was just acting. (Most moneyshots in porn occur with the male actor looking nothing like passion at all. Maybe a little constipated, but not like "za-KAMM!!" as I usually expect them to. (Very disappointing if I may say so.) But now Seth Rogen affects the appropriate face--and it just made me feel -- like a perv. Like I was peeking in on something I had absolutely no business seeing at all. Like it was meant to be private and intimate and wonderful and lifechanging and no one, not just me, but no one in the whole audience, or in any audience in all of America should have been watching. There was not a "whew that's hot" factor to the scene, but a "wow, Zack looks so vulnerable and a little lost" factor to it. Like he was being completely devoured by his fantasies and it was too much in that second. For Miri, it was just a hot chick getting a happy and amazing orgasm--nothing to write home about. But from Zack.

Just, oob.

Ned, you are officially off the hook. I'll watch porn, but now I know I'm nowhere NEAR as eager to watch two people making love. Mind you, reading audience, it isn't as if I ever received any promises or opportunities to actually watch Ned, but for the sake of the private mindscape--I'm going in for a flush. I don't want to see Ned, nor Scott, nor Mike, nor any of my guy friends cyber or not, making love with their significant others. Because just--it's wrong. It's private!

What else do I have to say today before I sign off this morning?

How about, "for those of you who know a word of prayer, please pray for me."

Ah, that does remind me. The church guy who used to be my father figure--who I was going to meet on a Saturday and spill all the tea with? I still haven't met with him. But about a month ago, he did call me and shared a story with me. It started with him asking if I still wanted him to keep it secret that he has contacted me, and I told him yes. But the reason he had asked is because our pastor had been in his pulpit talking up a storm (as he usually did) and my name came up. I totally forget why. But there's my pastor, talking about me to the church, a little more than a month ago. I was flattered to hear this and terrified. Because I'd always wanted to know if I'd even been significant to that man, since after I left the church for the ministry, it seemed like I never had been. Now I see that I'd crossed his mind. (And when anything crosses his mind, it usually comes tumbling out of his mouth, for better or for worse. This is not a virtue, btw.) The thing that sent my former father figure asking me if I still wanted our contat to remain private is because along with whatever else he was saying about me, the pastor ended with, "Where is Alan? How is he doing?"

And I still don't want him to know. Because he won't like it.

Lastly, I'm still lonely. It seems the only times I've been truly alive this holiday weekend is when I was involved with other peoples lives and talents. I'm not particularly happy about that. But whatcha gunna do?