Post Pandemic Travel

I took a trip last weekend for the first time since the pandemic hit. It was our firstbesties trip since January 2020 when we went on the cruise. Of course, I had to go see my bestie. It was supposed to both besties but Mikey had to work and couldn’t come down from Dallas. (We were in Houston)

At least Trev and I got to spend quality time together and reconnect our friendship. Overall, it was a great trip. Prior to the pandemic, we had two trips planned to spend time together but that all went to sh*t obviously. It’s been roughly 2 years since we’ve all seen each other. I’m headed back in July for Trev’s birthday and Mikey will be there then.

Our friendship has spanned a lifetime and I am grateful it has survived so long. We didn’t do anything crazy, just dinners, socializing, and a small pool party on Sunday.1  I was pleasantly surprised how many places still required masks. Pretty much every restaurant or business we visited required masks to be worn for entry. No one was being an ass or making a fuss about it. It was an affirmation that while Texas politics might be crazy, many of the folks who live there are still very sane. Well, except the bars. We went out Saturday night and it was like there was no pandemic once you got indoors at the bar. Barely a mask insight. Even half the staff weren’t wearing them.

To be fair, Houston has been pushing vaccines hard. Plenty of billboards were advertising for free vaccines and where to go. New cases are stable so while part of me was a bit shocked, it was my hope many of these folks were vaccinated. SF is now 70% for their 1st shot and 45% fully vaccinated. A few people I spoke to indicated they had had their shots so the overall experience was net positive in my mind.2  At this point, I’m pretty much over the ignorant folks.

Since originally it was supposed to be three of us, I didn’t feel the need to torture Shawn by making him go with me. (The two besties and I together is more than poor Shawn can handle.) He ended up traveling to Phoenix the same weekend. Ironically, he encountered a similar experience at an outdoor bar there as well.

The trip home was uneventful, but I was absolutely giddy when I got home. It felt so good to get away and do just normal things. Socializing and seeing friends and just being out in the world felt so good. I definitely came back feeling like we are really coming out of this now.

Sadly, it is looking like we won’t reach heard immunity because of all the idiots refusing to get vaccinated. We are still ahead of the curve at least. The current crop of vaccines are effective against all the variants out there so far. There are a few variants now that could potentially allow a person to become contagious or sick, but they would not get sick enough to die or even require hospitalization. And with speed the vaccines can be modified to incorporate immunity to new variants, I’m resigned to just getting a covid shot every year with the flu shot.

It was a great trip and I feel rejuvenated in many ways. I’m so excited to get back out into the world this year. Every day, we get news of more and more events being allowed due to dropping case numbers. SF is expected to reach herd immunity by the end of May. We could end up having no restrictions ahead of even the rest of California if this trend continues.

Hope springs eternal…

 

  1. Everyone in attendance was vaccinated. []
  2. Both Trevan and I have had our shots and with the current CDC guidelines we didn’t feel like we posed a risk to anyone. []

Terrible

I admit it, I am a terrible person. Why you ask? Well, because I gloated to myself over another.

Ok, so I don’t feel terrible but I also know I shouldn’t gloat. Let me ‘esplain’. There is a guy at the gym who pre-pandemic was all about his fitness. That, of course, is a good thing, except he was always humble bragging about how important fitness is to one’s health and side-shaming everyone around him. He would routinely make rather insulting comments about anyone he didn’t think put in as much effort as he did. I personally witnessed him fat shame a couple ladies on treadmills to one of the few guys in the gym who would socialize with him. I could go on but I think I conveyed the point.

Oh, and he is also a grunter. Any and every exercise was like he was dying to get that last set in, except it was every set. The worst, right?!

After seeing this guy and his snotty attitude for years at the gym, imagine my surprise upon seeing him lately. OMG! He gained like 40 or 50lbs of chunk. Yes, I know this is the “I’m terrible” part but I can’t help it. And maybe gloating isn’t the right word. I mean, it isn’t like I ran up to him and said, “hey fatty” or made any of the off-hand comments in his presence he used to make about others.  No, I did not do any of that. I’m just a little gleeful to see him get some comeuppance after years of his shitty attitude.

So while I work on keeping the smugness off my face, my hope is that whatever experience he had during the pandemic has taught him a lesson. Yes, fitness is important. However, it isn’t always easy for someone to dedicate themselves to the gym. And talking smack about people on a fitness journey sure as hell doesn’t encourage them to get better or stick with it.

I’m terrible.

 

8 Years

The hubby and I recently passed our 8-year anniversary. There wasn’t much fanfare or hullaballoo this year because….COVID. He doesn’t like a lot of fuss anyway. We’ve settled into a life together so the milestone seems almost unimportant.

This last year has been rough because…COVID. He hates working from home and I don’t blame him. I could not work from home. Or let me rephrase that, I could not work from home successfully. Home is sanctuary and there are simply too many distractions and no motivation to keep me working. I could not imagine being tortured into working from home full time. Maybe, and I stress the maybe, if we had a big enough space to have an office setup that we only did work in. It couldn’t be a multi purpose room as anything else would probably distract me. Then, maybe, I could be productive. Maybe…

Having had our vaccinations, we are both finally venturing out there again. In the beginning, I almost felt guilty for not having to worry. We had a friend visit from Florida that wanted to have lunch while he was here and we agreed.1  That seemed to be the impetus that pushed us back out there. We both were so pleased to have such a simple social interaction it was like a breath of fresh air. I think that lunch made us realize we had passed a milestone. Now we are both eager to get out there again. And now that the CDC has clarified vaccinated people cannot inadvertently spread the virus, we’ve planned trips for the end of this month!

I just hope we keep up the pace of vaccinations before a wild variant pops up fully resistant to the current crop of vaccines. Shawn seems to think it won’t happen, but I am not so sure. I guess my faith in people has been damaged because I am definitely worried about it. And yet, I’m so eager for some normalcy again. I honestly don’t think I could survive another year of isolation. And in a bit of good news, even with the isolation depression, we didn’t have any big fights! I guess that is a good sign we are well suite for each other. I mean 8 years! Who does that?2

 

 

 

  1. I’ve had friends I’ve met up solo with for lunch but this was our first outing together since the beginning of the pandemic. []
  2. Of course I’m being sarcastic. []

Awkward

**Disclaimer – an adult rant today about gay shit, you’ve been warned.**

I’ve been navigating the “apps” again recently. I haven’t settled on any hard and fast rules that guide me as of yet, other than honesty. Having had my vaccination shots, I’m relieved on so many levels. However, I still need to worry for those around me as the science isn’t clear yet on the level of protection. Going thru a year of very limited human contact takes its toll. And things are moving so quickly now, it may be moot by the time I figure it all out.

Anyway, I was on one such app when a rando decided to send me a long winded message telling me how non-masculine he felt I was. He was particularly detailed, which would have been comical if it weren’t so sad. He clearly lives local and has seen me around1 as he listed a varied “suggestion list” of things I could do to butch it up. I’m not willing to dwell on the idea he may have actually thought he was being helpful as it would make me very sad.

The joke is on him though as I wasn’t bothered by it. To be fair, there was a time in my life when I would have been secretly devastated. However, that was a long time ago and that particular insecurity has left the building, so to speak. Lawd knows I’ve beaten that horse here often enough.

Our little letter in the alphabet mafia has had a continuing obsession with the idea of masculinity. Ask 10 of my fellow homos the meaning of the word and you’ll most like get 10 different answers. Western culture has become so dependent on the broken idea of hyper-masculinity I doubt we’ll ever sort it out.

I keep getting off topic, sorry I am a bit rusty at this.

The guy listed out my demeanor in public as a ‘dead give away‘. Well, no shit Sherlock!  I do not mold myself in the view of how others see me. I didn’t struggle with the shackles of one broken stereotype to take up another. In a word, I can be awkward at times. While I still have a few small triggers to put on my “big boy” voice, I strive not to put on a facade. My hubby calls it my work voice. Anyway, some random task or action can invoke my rather absent-minded approach to things. There isn’t a lot of forethought put into it, I just act. If that destroys your image of me, oh well. We have a saying for that where I’m from…bless your heart. I’ve learned my demeanor also has the affect of putting people at ease around me. People rarely feel threatened or triggered by me and without realizing it often relax into a more authentic version of themselves.2  It was quite a revelation when that little kernel of knowledge dawned on me all those years ago.

Of course, now that I’m an elder and on the council I do have to maintain an image. lolol I politely told him his ‘advice’ was not needed. I didn’t feel the need to thank him though. *giggle* Was I too subtle?

 

  1. His profile was of course devoid of any photos…I know, right!? lol []
  2. There are few who have the opposite reaction and think I’m an easy mark. They often find out quickly I’m also not stupid. []

Fine

I’ve been so serious here as of late so I thought I’d share something funny that happened to me this past week.

An attorney calls up one day a couple weeks ago about a records request we had produced for him. One of the discs had some erroneous data on it. No biggie, while rare it does happen, we made a mistake. We promptly sent him a new copy.

Fast forward to this past week. The guy calls back and this time one of the discs is blank, or so he says. I’m a bit less cordial (without being rude) this time as I begin to suspect he is playing us. It isn’t unheard of for an attorney to try and get one over on our office for a variety of reasons. Being devious, I offer him the option to swing by and drop off the disc so I can give him the new one vs making him wait while we mail him yet another disc. Now our lobby is currently closed to the public due the pandemic, but with the lower cases lately we have some discretion. And in my head I’m thinking I’m going to catch him in a big lie. Well, the joke ended up being on me.

He swings by and I get a call from the Sheriff desk he is here. I put on my best bitchy “I caught you in a lie” face and head down. And then it all just falls apart. I first had to pick my jaw up off the floor as the MF’r was FINE as hell!  I mean, “drop an egg and it roll down my pants” fine! I mean slap yo momma fine! He was stunning! Imagine Tom Ellis from the show Lucifer, but a bit shorter, dark blond hair, piercing green eyes, a slightly stronger jaw line covered in stubble and slightly more bulging muscles. He is wearing a well fitted shirt/tie with slacks. I actually caught my breath because I was so utterly shocked. If I had pearls I definitely would have clutched them in that moment. hehehe It was made worse by his completely calm and friendly demeanor, no gaydar pings unfortunately. He was nice and had these big paw like hands on him as he reached to shake my hand. (We aren’t supposed to shake hands but lawd baby jeebus I’ve had my shots and I couldn’t help myself.) I tend to have a firm handshake and guys will often comment on it. He did comment and I melted like butter inside. You could have scraped me off the floor.

And sure enough the disc was blank. So then I felt about two feet tall for thinking the worst and was falling all over myself to apologize, all the while taking in the breath-taking display that is this M-A-N! It is made worse because I think I actually felt myself blushing, which is just not something I do. As I repeatedly try to untie my tongue, I hand off the disc and he has an ever so slight humorous smirk on his face. Of course, I turn away quickly so he cannot see my full on blushing! I pretend I’m coughing so I can recover myself. Once I feel I’m at least not bright red, I turn to thank him one last time as he saunters away with his damn near perfect butt bouncing in those slacks.

I go back upstairs to collect myself and I’m quite sure the cleaning crew had to be called to clean up the slime trail I’m sure I had left in my wake. lolol I don’t know if it was the isolation, the testosterone boost from being back in the gym, my naturel gregarious nature, or all of the above, but I was flustered for a good 15 minutes after it was over. I’m sure he delights in knowing he has that affect on women and men as his smirk looked positive and had that knowing realization with it. Hell, it’s been days since it happened and I think I still might need a moist towelette after I finish this post.1

Of course, I had to call my husband and laugh with him and then blow up my coworkers texts on her day off to thank her for the blank disc she sent him. I was so tickled and it was a definite mood booster for the rest of the day.

Even an old dog like me can get flustered at times. Now you know…

  1. TFA if you are reading this post, remember the first time we met? Yeah, I would have begged him too! []

He Was Nice to Me

A somewhat well known racist in our community passed away recently. I won’t mention his name, nor will I link to anything about him here. My rant today has more to do with all the gays1 falling all over themselves to defend their friendship with said person as they mourn his passing.

As a bit of back story, I met this person multiple times in my tenure here in SF. Sometimes it was here in SF and others while I was back visiting in Texas, where he lived for a length of time. Without fail, every time I met this person he managed to tell me in various phrases and words about his racist views. It should come as no surprise he was also a rabid trump supporter. Granted, our first meeting didn’t go so well when I asked why he had a confederate flag tattoo on his chest.2 He gave the typical BS excuse about white heritage.

Fast forward to his recent death and the eulogies about how “they didn’t always see eye to eye but he was a good friend.”  It was almost as if they all got together to work on a standardized message. It would be comical if it wasn’t so pathetic. I encountered the same phrasing from various folks on IG multiple times; talking about how “genuine” and “what a great friend” he was prior to his death. He was a proud racist and made no bones about it and these sycophant fa**ots are touting his virtues.

It shouldn’t surprise me, but because some of the people involved I used to admire, it did. Granted, after I reflected on why I admired these guys it was mostly due to their prowess in the gym and/or attractiveness to me. So yeah, I shouldn’t have been surprised. Seeing some of these guys just falling over themselves to qualify “he was always a good friend to me“, or “he was always nice to me“, etc was pretty disgusting. So that makes it ok? In other words, “I knew he was a racist but because he liked me, it didn’t matter.” Hitler was nice to white people, did that make him ok? The most laughable argument was “I wish people knew him in real life vs his social media persona“.  Yeah, I can personally shoot that weak argument down. And to bear, it is just code for he knew we were uncomfortable with his views so he avoided talking too much about them around us so we could pretend he was a good guy. 

Are we so broken as a community that attraction is more important than morals? Or maybe I’m deluding myself that we were ever anything better. There are a lot of things we can agree to disagree on but racism definitely is not one of them. If you’re butt-hurt for being called out on your friendship with a vocal racist, maybe you should spend some time examining why his views weren’t a deal breaker instead of shrugging it off with comments like  “we should respect the dead”. He might be dead but the rot in our community is alive as ever.

  1. read as cis-white gay men []
  2. A tattoo he later had covered up for some “unknown” reason []

Optimisitic

First, thank you to the folks who reached out to me after my last post. I wasn’t down or depressed. I find talking about it quite therapeutic. It was on my mind so I put pen to paper, so to speak. But, yes I’m doing well.

I’ve found myself feeling optimistic again lately. It helps that we are back in the gym again…again. I feel like we’ve crossed a major hurdle now and we are over the worst of this pandemic. The supply is now on track and a 3rd vaccine just got an EUA.1 It is my prediction we won’t see anymore severe lockdowns, at least here in California. Hopefully, my words bear out to be true.

Speaking of the gym, after the first severe lockdown and they sorted out a tier system, I had the roughest time getting back into a solid gym routine. Ironically, right when I found my stride they got shut down again. We’ve been back at it for a couple weeks now and this time it wasn’t as hard. It was a shorter break but I was surprised I didn’t need the extra weeks to build back endurance. The weight I’m slinging is still much lower, but it feels good to be back.

Fun fact, the government will not mandate the vaccine. Vaccines released under EUA aren’t eligible for mandatory vaccination orders. While I trust the sciences, EUAs are designed to allow for immediate use while study continues. However, that does not mean you won’t see restrictions on day to day activities from private companies. You may end up having to show proof to go back to in-person work, fly, or return as an adult to college, etc.

Locally, we are moving into the Red Tier this week. Red is still restrictive but a lot of businesses, including restaurants, get to re-open at limited capacity.  New cases have been below 100 per day for almost two weeks now and available ICU beds are way up. It seems people in general are more optimistic and looking towards the light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully, as vaccinations rise, we will ease back to normal by year end. I’ve even seen some big events toward the end of the year start planning for in person gatherings.

For myself, I miss hugging. Such a small thing but I miss it. Sure, I miss traveling. I miss the ease of just “doing things”, but it’s the little things I miss the most. I miss the casual intimacy that comes from being close to people you know. I’m eagerly looking forward to it.

As always, hope springs eternal…

  1. Emergency Use Authorization []

Melancholy

This time of year gets me a little down.1  Today, marks the anniversary of my beloved Coopers’ death. I am not sure how he touched me so deep, but I still long for him. The intensity of his death has diminished but the longing for him is as strong as ever. He barreled into my life like a little dynamo and I was better for it. His absence is felt often but more so this time of year.

Next month also marks the anniversaries for the death of both my father and mother, albeit decades apart. Their anniversaries are less than 2 weeks apart. I’ve mentioned before the memories of my mother have become dull. I still have a funeral card to keep her face alive in my mind; however, the memories themselves tend to blur after so many years. I was 5 when she passed. I’ve always wondered how my life would have turned out had she survived her battle with cancer. I can’t honestly say I knew her well enough to know what she would have thought of me being gay. I like to think she would have come to terms with it. The story of my adoption leads me to believe this. For those of you who have not read my history here, I was abused/neglected as an infant. In a defiant act to my birth father, my birth mother asked her friend, my soon to be Aunt, to adopt me. It was out of the question for various reasons so she brought me to her brother, my soon to be foster dad. The story goes that once my foster mother held me in her arms and saw how terrible I looked, that was it it was decided. So yeah, I like to think, however much it might have pained her, she would have come to terms with it, or at least that is what I tell myself. I do remember my mother was gentle but utterly fearless when confronted. I’ll never know and I’m ok with thinking she would have accepted me.

My father and I were estranged for a long time after my abrupt departure from home. We didn’t speak for many years and even after that it was always strained. We never regained the bond that a father/son normally reach to some degree in adulthood. We did get closure together before his death. I say we because I got a closure I didn’t realize at the time that I needed. I now remember him with sorrow for the relationship we could have had together had he not rejected me at such an early age. I find the pain/trauma of my childhood has taken a backseat to the regret of never having a better relationship with him. I do wonder if I had tried harder to mend fences and be closer after our reconciliation if things would have been different between us. I didn’t feel the onus was on me, but now that he is gone it is one of my regrets nonetheless.

It was several years after the death of my father before I realized my melancholy moods around this time of year had meaning. When I notice the turn of my inner mood I now reach for the memories. There is some joy in it as well. In recent years, my memories of Cooper have tended to blend with my thoughts of the past. I guess with the anniversaries being so close it makes sense. As I’ve aged, I have also found many of the good memories from my childhood sprinkled in amongst all the painful ones. I discovered I find solace in remembering the past. In a weird way I think I look forward to it. I am not one to dwell on the past, but pulling up the memories strengthens me today in the now. I pull the memories up, even some of the painful ones and I remember. I remember what got me here and I remember who I am because of my past.

Be well, my friends.

  1. As apposed to the madness we are slowly coming out of now in the political world []

50

Well, the terrible day has arrived. I’m 50! (Yes, I’m totes joking)

As I’m fond of saying, I’ve reached ancient in gay-years. I’m an elder now. It is time for to don my robe, take up my staff, and take a seat on the #alphabetmafia council. (If you are on TikTok, you know where that phrase came from. I love it!) I mean those free toasters aren’t always enough to swell our ranks, am I right? Apparently, I’m supposed to have lost interest in a whole host of activities I’m still participating in.1 day. I’m hoping the Biden/Harris inauguration goes off without too much drama.

I joke but I know a lot of gay men struggle with aging. Our community isn’t always the kindest to older gays. I’ve never minded my age or aging. And considering for a few reasons, I never thought I’d even reach 50, I’m perfectly fine with it. Sure, there are times I might feel the sting of being less attractive or less appealing as years past, but those things are superficial. I try to take it in stride. My life was a tragic rollercoaster ride before I made it to 25, so 50 has been an easy target.

I can actually remember one time when I was still new to blogging wondering what I would be doing if I made it to 50. In my mind it was a far off place full of disbelief and what-ifs. lolol  Well, here I am. I like to think I’m a better man than I was back then. I certainly struggled along the way. I am a little proud that I am still blogging, albeit nowhere near as often. I took to blogging like it was made for me back then. This blog has been a priceless tool in my journey of self-discovery. I credit so much of my emotional growth to this medium.

As I hit the half centennial mark, I do realize the scope of my age and the breadth of changes in me, my life, and the world around me. I mean, I am old enough to remember Pong after all. There was not internet when I was a kid. There was no cell/smart phones, WIFI, Bluetooth, or social media. Hell, even 911 didn’t exist until I was in high school. Cars didn’t have seatbelts, gasoline was less than a dollar per gallon, TV’s had less than 10 channels with no remote control. Cassette tapes were the size of a small tablet and restaurants still had “smoking or non” in one room. The world has jumped far ahead in technology. Sadly, I’ve witnessed many of the very tools meant to unite us only serve to divide us further.

I’m not feeble just yet but I can’t push myself like I used to when I was a wee lad. That would probably be my only regret at this point. I’m still pretty fit, covid-19 times considered, but the body isn’t as resilient. I’m eagerly headed back to the gym (outdoors) this coming weekend. I had several minor injuries in 2019 that plagued me throughout the whole year. It made me realize I’m not as spry and flexible as I used to be. That said, I look forward to more years in the gym.

I have never been huge on birthdays so not much is planned. I have to work for one. With the covid-19 restrictions still very much in effect, I’ll probably end up doing what I usually do. Sit my wide ass on the couch, cuddle with Daisy2, and play video games. I know I know, I’m not supposed to like video games at my age. Pissh! Tosh! I do what makes brings me joy, naysayers notwithstanding.

I look forward to my years ahead, however many that might be. And as always, hope springs eternal…

 

  1. Maybe now that I am on the council of elders, I’ll be able to get my memos more regularly.) )

    To be honest, I don’t feel 50. Well, parts of me feel 50 but overall, I don’t feel it. My face might look it, but I don’t feel it. And 50 appears to be the new 40 in many of my circles so I guess I don’t have to go into seclusion just yet. Of course, today is also inauguration ((corrected – thanks Kevin! []

  2. and Toby []

January 6, 2021

Well, I think we can all agree yesterday was a total shit show! Armed conspiracy nuts descended en-masse on the capitol, after days & weeks of being fed propaganda & lies by our out-going president, congressional leaders, and propaganda media. This day will go down as a dark stain on American history.

We all witnessed it unfold for the world to see. These patriots traitors committed seditious acts and deserve to be prosecuted once the new administration takes office. Even worse, the active president refused to act allowing the situation to go on for hours before enough forces would be mobilized to quell the insurrection.1  And let us not forget the inept mismanagement of the capitol building grounds that allowed for this. The entire episode carried on long enough many people just wandered away vs being expelled. To say it was an embarrassing day for our country would be an understatement. If anything, it was the perfect example of our current president’s failures.

We did finally see order restored and the ceremonial act to certify votes was completed. It still had it’s own drama, as over 100 house republicans pushed their fake narratives during the process. At least the senate had enough common sense to drop all but one of their remaining fake grievances with the electoral college results. They all knew nothing could change the outcome of the election.

History will remember trump as the corrupt selfish childish man he is. It will not be kind to this traitorous fool. And now that he is about to lose his immunity from prosecution, history will also remember what comes next. We witnessed a man-child act out of fear and desperation to try to hold onto power. His scorched-Earth approach has failed spectacularly.

History will also remember these fools who fell for this dangerous propaganda. It will remember the seditious acts of a deluded group of fools. It will painstakingly paint their racism, ignorance, and bias into the history books. I take great comfort in knowing they will not be remembered as “patriots”. No, they will be remembered as a bunch of ignorant social media warriors who made it as far as they did only because of inept mismanagement of the capitol grounds.

I eagerly await President-elect Biden’s inauguration.2  He was not my candidate of choice; however, he is proving to be just what America needs right now. Hopefully, he will be able to restore many of the democratic safeguards dangerously eroded by trump and his cronies.

Hope springs eternal…3

  1. Several news outlets reported it was Pence who authorized the National Guard, even though that power rests squarely with the president. It is important to remember D.C. is not a state yet []
  2. On my birthday no less! []
  3. This post has been updated to correct my reference to the white house instead of the capitol building []