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

Monday, June 22, 2009

So, Yeah ... Oh, And One More Thing

I finally got that haircut.

So yeah, down to the convention I went with a fellow geek riding shotgun. It was the time I was looking for--fun, frolick, abdication of responsibilities, giving myself over to the pursuit of comicbooks with no apologies.

And there was a distinct lack of a certain something--fear. Yes I reunited with people I already knew, but I was able also to meet and bridge gaps with new people (See above pic!) Although I'm the All-New, All-Expanded Alan, I didn't think I was totally out of the running to be met, to be liked, or to be friended. And I've been med-less for more than a month now. So whatever that social anxiety thing was--I'm over it. Clearly something in me realized that there's just not enough life left to waste not doing and not saying what I need to do and say.

So, yeah.

Oh, and one more thing.

There's Ned.

I'm hoping this is a full length film, not limited by Flickr or any other agent, just so that you can get a flavor of the kind of time I spent with Ned. And there was a chance--a real good, GREAT chance that we were going to have The Lunch Of The Warrior Poet, and I was going to crystallize some words forever in his heart and in mine. Now, "The Lunch" we DID have;

... but "Of The Warrior Poet," not so much because as fate would have it, my fellow geeks found us as we were on the way to lunch. So CLOSE. And while I love my geek nation, Ned and me were about to transcend but my geeks forced me to stay earthbound. Ironic, seeing as how we're geeks and all.

In much more plain terms, Ned, I wanted to tell you at lunch how much you've meant to me these past years, and how much it meant to me to have you overcome whatever gremlins messed with you and me and just ... always everything else that gremlins tend to mess with ... and drive over an hour to hang out with me. I couldn't plan what to do to make it worth the trip, except just be myself, and I don't think I did that nearly enough. The Lunch would have been my moment, but my geeks descended on us. And as I accepted the lot cast for me, fighting the impulse to reject them and make them leave me alone with my Ned, I looked for a positive side to it. Which may have been adding another layer of safety for you, and provided another view of me through them ... but gosh. When am I ever going to have this chance again, you know? You are NED. After so long!

And really, what do I want? I guess I wanted more of the dialogue, only face to face. I wanted to watch the genius working behind the eyes. I wanted to be real. I wanted to peel. I wouldn't have minded crying a little bit. Or a lot. If I wanted anything else, I'm not aware enough of it.

I can tell y'all what I didn't want! Really really did NOT want a kiss. I wanted to talk about my sexuality but I did not want to ruin Ned's trip or violate his trust. I did NOT want Ned to regret the trip down to Charlotte. I didn't want him to regret the years and all the words we've traded. I didn't want to ruin a friendship. And I did not not not want him to leave.

But what did I get? I got a guy who DID make an hour-plus trip to meet me. I got a big hug. I got a sacrifice of his comfort possibly, and definitely a sacrifice of his time. I got the attention of someone dear.

And when Ned drove his mobile up College Ave away from lil' ol' me, I heard the typed words of a commenter a few years ago in my head. "It's okay to feel sad when you're leaving your friends. It's normal." (paraphrased. Eliel was that you? Did you say it aloud at some other time?) So I told myself "It's okay." And when I didn't race to rejoin my geek nation that afternoon, I told myself that was okay too. And when I stayed alone for a little while more and didn't go find them later that night for dinner, I let myself know that was okay too. Because I knew I resented them ever so slightly for crashing my opportunity to take my soul out for a spin with Ned. And I knew also that I wasn't in a rush to plunge back into fantasy and geekdom when I'd had such a brush with reality.

And I realized just now that besides the lunch, I had a chance to do all this realness with Ned at any other time, and didn't.

Hmm. Guess I still had a comfort zone of my own to chuck, and fears in another more subtle, but still limiting form, to overcome.

Yeah, maybe at a lunch alone I wouldn't have said much more than what I did say during the other times. I mean instead of a panel of talking heads, I could've taken Ned to a pair of cushioned seats and we could have soul-strolled.

And maybe that's okay. Maybe that's how it should have gone anyway. Maybe that made it better for Ned.

Anyway, I hope so. Actually, I hope I'm thinking it to death in typical me fashion and that everything was just fine.

Any anyway, thanks Ned. I love you, my friend.

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