Fellow Traveler

As previously mentioned, I’m abandoning the one-word titles. They were fun for awhile but I’m over it. hehehe

I’m always tickled when I run into things that reinforce my thoughts or rants. After my post about my growth and life I ran into a buddy at the gym and we had a very interesting chat. It started as small talk and just a catch up. It turned into my buddy sharing with me how he recently attended a class that he felt was transformative and healing for him. I was hooked and shared a little about my struggles and how my blog helped me. I could have spent all night talking but he was still working out and I was on my way out. 

It was an affirmation for me though. It is rare for me to encounter someone who I feel is really working on personal growth. And that isn’t a jab at anyone, it’s just an observation. So many of us grow and struggle, but over time we develop coping-mechanisms to combat our failings and we just live with them. I’m always excited seeing that spark of excitement in someone’s eyes when they are discovering, or I should say rediscovering, themselves. I recommended one of my favorite books to him.1  I offered to grab lunch sometime and talk more. I hope he takes me up on it. 

It probably sounds silly but it revived a little of my own excitement. As mentioned, it was a simple yet very touching affirmation for me. It made me proud of my own work. I hope I get to share more with him. 

  1. How many of few long time readers remember? []

World AIDS Day

***Note – I actually wrote this post in 2015 but thru some sort of typo it got scheduled for 2016.***

World AIDS Day has a special meaning to many of us in the LGBT community. If you are over the age of 40, it is extremely unlikely you haven’t personally lost at least 1 friend or loved one to AIDS. While it is more of a chronic illness in western culture these days, it is still incurable and people are still dying. While I lost several friends over the years, two were very close to my heart and I use this day to fondly remember said individuals. Today I want to talk about Damien.

Damien was the manager of the Club Houston.1 I happened to meet him at a very rough time in my life. The first time meeting him left me a bit rattled actually. I was still young and very naive at the time. And while I’ve always been able to put on a good poker face, I was very intimidated by him. He was this rather imposing figure. He carried himself w/a bit of what I referred to then as arrogance. It helped his image that he was tall and lean. He had long curly hair, of which he he was very fond. He had a reputation for being very strict and frankly, being a bitch. As I would discover later, it was all a cover. He was actually quite kind and generous. He just had a really low tolerance for drama.

For myself, I was struggling to not be homeless at the time and ended up working at the Club for money on weekends. I’d come in and do the weekend bbq and they paid cash. Considering I was sleeping in my car at the time, I wasn’t in a position to refuse. Being funny and social, I quickly went from just weekend work to weekday work on a full-time schedule. Damien quickly fell in love with me (as a friend and mentor). One, I was a hard worker2 but that just served to get his attention. He loved me because, as he put it, “I was the nelliest funniest queen he’d ever met” For you long timer readers, you’ll remember I turned myself into a stereotype back then because I thought that’s what I had to be to gain acceptance. And truth be told, you would not have even recognize me then. But he loved me because I was so fiercely “out.” Anyway, back on topic.

After a little while, word filtered back to him regarding my situation and my routine unofficial overnight hangouts became a sanctioned activity. Employees were allowed to use the ‘gym’ for free. hehehe It was a huge burden lifted for me. A couple of the employees didn’t like me because they knew I’d rat their lazy asses out if they got high and slacked off while on duty. Said slacking meant more work for me. They would routinely kick me out after my time limit expired at night. This left me on the street anywhere from 4-6 hours in the late night/early mornings. The police were not friendly and the neighborhood wasn’t overly safe so I’d drive to a nicer area of town and park in well-lit areas. Anyway, what very few people knew at the time is he also helped me behind the scenes as well. I was the beneficiary of a monthly “employee of the month” program that seemed to only exist for my benefit. Said program paid extra cash to the winner. Damien grew to trust me a lot and was also a mentor to me. Having been thru some of life’s harsher roads before me, he would often share pearls of hard earned wisdom with me.

After a year or so, I moved on. While I had no shame in working there, I didn’t intend to stay that way. I’ve always been a quick study and any time life presents an opportunity I take it. I continued working and finding better jobs to better myself. Damien and I stayed in touch and I’d routinely lend a hand if he asked. An employee would get fired or just disappear and he’d call me for a quick shift. I was glad to help someone who helped me.

When Damien got sick, I was living in Boulder, CO. I caught a flight back as soon as I could and got back in time. It is a surreal experience to see the life and health leave someone you know. Gone was the vibrant man I knew. In his place was the decaying shell of a human being. In a word, it was ghastly. I loved this kindred soul and it broke me in so many little ways to see him reduced to this. When he passed away, I promised I’d never let myself die that way. I’d never let anything reduce me to such a state. (Kids say the craziest things when we think we are invincible)

[This part is new since I wrote this.] So today, I celebrate his life. He wouldn’t want me to be sad or down. He would want me to be fierce and alive. So in his honor, I celebrate the life of all of those we’ve lost due to AIDS. I celebrate the life of those who still live with AIDS. I celebrate their courage in the fight to live. I celebrate the new treatments and drugs available to everyone. Besides treatment drugs we also have PrEP now.3 PrEP is changing the landscape of treatment and transmission.

I celebrate the kindred soul that touched my mine and helped me on my own path.

Hope springs eternal…

  1. One of two large bathhouses in the city []
  2. yes, even in a bathhouse. []
  3. Pre-Exposure Prophylactics []

Trip 

​I’m headed to the big state of Tennessee next weekend to see my little brother. It just so happens to be Halloween weekend as well. I didn’t really want to go on said weekend, but it was actually the cheaper weekend to fly. Who knew? 

Anyway, I’ve only been to TN and that was a few years ago. Actually, almost 3 years ago to the month. I went for some extended work training related to a software project I had been assigned to at the time. I did get to see him then briefly. I’m looking forward to seeing my little brother, my nephews and nieces, and meeting some of his new extended family.1  They seem to treat him well and he has really taken to them so I am happy for them. My little brother felt a bit alienated after both our parents passed away. He, being the youngest and still living at home, obviously struggled with it. Having found a new extended family has been very good for him. 

Of course, I’m also a tad leery. My little bro and I had a huge falling out a few months back. It ended up being a big misunderstanding and we patched it all up; however, we know each other. I do not know his extended family yet. I will do my best to keep politics off the radar. My little brother doesn’t vote and has never even registered to vote so his opinions on politics are often tolerable. That said, I’ve already admonished my little bro to have them keep politics off the table as well. If you read me with any regularity, you know I ain’t shy and I sure as hell won’t be silent. But, I expect it to go ok. He knows me and knows we see things a bit different. He also doesn’t want us to fight. It’s a short trip.

I’m going for the obvious reason, I’d like to see my brother. I’m also going because he’s been having surgeries for degenerative bone disease in his back and neck. Poor thing, he neglected some previous health problems that have led to this. Anyway, he just finished surgery #2 and will probably have to have at least 1 more at some point. They are fusing some discs together to help him regain some mobility and movement. He will never be able to go back to being a volunteer fire-fighter or any job that requires a lot of physical activity. He will (hopefully) be able to go back to some form of work but it’s all still up in the air for now. He is really depressed over it and I know a visit, even a quick one, will cheer him up immensely. He’s already so excited and texting me all the places he wants to show me.  

Unfortunately, it’s only for a weekend. It sucks a big chunk of time is wasted commuting. The three hour time difference really eats up the time off. But some is better than none and as I said, I know it will cheer him up. I’d things go well with his new extended family, I’ll try to plan a longer trip in the next year. 

I might also get to meet a famous blogger I’ve been dying to meet for years! Lol It’s a short trip so timing will factor in heavily, but I’m hoping to finally meet my friend and long-time fellow blogger Large Tony!

  1. He got remarried a few years ago and I have yet to meet anyone beyond his new wife. []

Room

My roommate is moving out. Actually, this will be the 2nd time he has moved out. He left for awhile when “he who shall not be named” and I were dating. It ended up working out for him to move back afterwards. It was kind of odd how it worked out. We didn’t plan it. It was just a series of events that made it work for both of us again. Anyway, he leaving on good terms. Him and his beau need their own place and with changes in their respective work locations, it just makes good sense. I’m sure they want their own place anyway.

I’m happy for them but it’s a little sad too. Carl and I get along really well. He moved in originally after Neil left for LA. Neil was an easy choice because I’d already known him for so long. I’m picky about who I live with and usually it has to be someone I already know or know of. Carl and I knew each other thru respective exes. Actually, we met when I was still seeing Drew. Drew was besties with Dodger and Carl was dating Dodger at the time. Confused yet?  I knew enough about him I was comfortable with being roomies. We talked and arranged a trial move in to see how things went. It worked out good for both of us. We almost never fight and even now with 4 of us practically living here, it has been pretty agreeable. Travis, his bf, isn’t officially a roomie but he might as well be. hehehe He is here all the time and we like having him around. Plus, he loves playing with Cooper and anyone who loves dogs can’t be all bad, right? heehee

Short of Neil moving back or Trevan moving to SF, I doubt I’d ever find a roomie I get along with so well again. Well besides Shawn obviously, but were partners so that’s a given. Carl and I had enough in common to remain friends but we weren’t always in each other’s way. Even our schedules are different enough we almost never fight over the one bathroom. Yup, you read it right. Four of us usually share one bathroom!

Anyway, we won’t be replacing him after he moves out. It’ll certainly mean a rent increase, but luckily we can afford it. And when I say ‘afford it’ meaning we go back to getting screwed royally over the high rent prices here. Even with our rent control, rent heree is ridiculous. It will dent the discretionary spending significantly.

Besides missing having him around, we’ll have to try to find a new sitter for Cooper. Carl has been here pretty much since Cooper came along.It wasn’t that long after I adopted Cooper that Carl came back. Cooper has bonded to him and I know he’ll miss having him around. I’ll also miss having someone to watch Cooper for me when Shawn and I travel and can’t take him. Cooper didn’t do well the last time I tried to kennel him over night. I’m hoping I don’t have to go back to that. Plus, he knew Carl so he handled me being gone better. Luckily for Cooper, Uncle Carl will still be around and will pop in from time to time to visit.

Carl will be missed for sure. The apartment feels as much his as it does mine and I’m sure it will feel weird for awhile without him.

Large

In case you missed it, my blog buddy Large Tony is back! I guess he missed us too much. hehehe

LT is one of my longest reads next to homer.1  I stumbled over his blog roughly a year or two after I started my own blog. His sense of humor, southern manners, and generous “writings” made for regular read on my list. His style is often laced with adult topics but once you start reading, it is hard to stop. hehehe This is his 4th venture into the blog world. Each of his previous blogs served a purpose in his life and when one came to an end, the blogworld heaved a collective sigh of disappointment. This time he seems to be back for the pure joy of blogging.

If you get a moment, hop over and say hi. Maybe you’ll get hooked on his great stories about Granny, the Attorney, himself, or random adventures in discovering first world problems of a man with certain ‘blessings.’ heehee

We missed you T and glad you’re back.

  1. Well brettcajun too when he surprises us with new updates. LOL []

Best

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Sista's

One of my best friends was in town this past weekend for a much needed visit. It has been a while (years actually) since we’ve seen each other and it was great to see him. He got to meet Shawn and they both liked each other. As for the weekend, we didn’t do anything overly exciting. We did a few touristy things but mostly just hung out and caught up on our lives. It’s actually been almost 3 years since we’ve seen each other. We have a mutual third friend who wasn’t able to come but he was with us in spirit. (Plenty of spirits where had, I’m sure he was in one of them!)

Trev and I have always had an easy friendship. By easy I mean we could go years not seeing each other and when we do, it is like we just saw each other yesterday. We sat down, counted it out, and we’ve been friends now for 21 years. Twenty-one years! Friendships like that are hard to come by and I consider it a blessing in my life. In our talks, we looked back across the years of friendship at friends that are now absent. Some have passed on, some left on their own, and a very few we had to step away from, respectively. The latter is a very small number. All that are gone, for whatever reason, are not forgotten. We tried to focus on the good memories and laughed a lot.

We’ve both had big life events in the last couple years, but agreed we shouldn’t let that get in the way next time. We promised each other we wouldn’t go so long this time w/o seeing each other in person. It is a promise I plan to keep. I don’t even think I realized how much I missed him in my daily life.

Priority

I ran into a casual friend the other day and he got upset with me because I wouldn’t ditch the gym to go drink with him. I don’t mean just disappointed but actually upset, storming away in a huff upset.

First, we know each other from around town. We are friends on a couple social sites but we don’t engage that often. We just tend to travel on different paths. We have had a couple decent talks and they’re always cordial. Most of our interactions are often by happenstance so I was kinda surprised that he would get upset. He has never reached out to me directly to build a stronger connection.1  So to suddenly get upset when I wouldn’t just ditch my plans to go drinking was a surprise to me.

After a rather short but odd conversation, he proceeded to tell me, “I do not think we should really be friends anymore. You obviously care more about being narcassitic and shallow than actually being a friend.”  Yes, that bitch actually said that to me!  He then proceeded to storm away in a huff and promptly remove me from his friend lists. I guess he thought he was teaching me a lesson. All I have to say to his behavior is “squish-squish darling, squish-squish.2  Seriously. lol I mean it would have been different if you were a good friend that I rarely see or someone who changed their plans to spend time with me, etc. This wasn’t any of that. We ran into each other on the street, he asked me to go drink, I politely declined because I was headed to the gym, and suddenly I’m a shallow uncaring friend? In what alternate reality?

For someone who was so butt-hurt at my unavailability, he obviously doesn’t read le blog or any of my social updates. Clearly, you weren’t THAT into me if you haven’t taken any time to read up on me, of sorts. lol Maybe had he taken the time to reach out to me and actually MAKE plans we could have gone drinking. I certainly enjoy an occassional trip to liquor-ville. If my friendship was so important then he would have made more of an effort. He would have made it a priority. Then I could have at least understood the dramatics. 

I don’t believe it was ever about the gym. It was about the inferred insult he assumed when I wouldn’t drop everything on a a whim to spend time with him. He either felt like I should be honored he offered or he was just insecure. Either way, not my drama, not my problem. And had he not flown off the handle I would have offered to schedule a raincheck. Fat chance in hell that will happen now.

  1. And to be fair the same is true of me. []
  2. A reference to AbFab where Adina fakes crying for Saphie” []

Belly

Apparently, I have a habit that is a carry over from childhood. lol

While at the movies the other day, a friend and I had to relieve ourselves after the movie. I can’t just unzip. I have to unbuckle, unzip, and basically open the fly to do my business. After said business is done, I tend to hike up my shirt so I can close up shop, so to speak. I was told that my habit of hiking up my shirt to my chest is something only kids do.

Having never though about it, I just laughed and shrugged it off. Well, after pondering on it for awhile, I couldn’t seem to place any other adults doing it the way I did. Who knew? I didn’t know it was not a very adult thing to do. I mean no one has ever commented on it before so how would I? Of course, now I find I’m self-conscious about it. hehehe. I guess I’ll have to be mindful while in public to behave in a manner suiting an adult. hehehe

Arrogant

I was talking to a friend the other day and I sort of confronted him on something. He has always had an arrogant side and I was genuinely curious where it came from. Some of it I could sort of be expected as he trends on the very good looking side of things. And while not rich, he has a job that keeps him comfy. One might expect a bit of arrogance from such a person.

The odd part is I’ve never really seen it as a connection for this particular guy. It doesn’t seem, to me anyways, that his attitude comes from that aspect of his life. So curiosity got the better of me and I flat out asked him. His answer surprised me. He said his dad had been on the arrogant side and it was often a way to cover up insecurity. Growing up as a boy he’d picked up on it and grew into using it for himself. I guess to a degree that makes total sense but I don’t think I would ever expect arrogance to cover insecurity. They don’t seem grounded in the same causations, so to speak. I was equally surprised he was introspective enough to have figured how why he does it.

We chatted a bit more and emboldened by his honestly, I asked why he’d never attempted to be arrogant with me directly. His reply was again a bit of a shocker. lol He told me he’d never felt a need to behave that way around me. He also indicated he didn’t think I would put up with it anyway, which is true but not the point. I was surprised here because in a previous rant a while back I talked about discovering friends had been intimidated by me before they knew me. He’d been one of them apparently.

Now that I’ve had to digest it all, I’m still a bit baffled. I’ve always seen arrogance as a wasted emotion. And while I still think that, I am beginning to see the facets of it now. From my jaded world-view, it has always been something I contributed to rich spoiled or super attractive guys. I guess on some level I knew it could be associated with insecurity but I obviously never registered it as a conscious thought process. And now I find myself going back thru memories of guys in my past who’d I’d labeled as arrogant and written off wondering if they too had developed it as a coping mechanism.

I still see arrogance as a wasted emotion. And while it may very well sometimes be a coping mechanism, it is a destructive one. It does more harm than good in the end and should be avoided. Besides, being humble increases a man’s attractiveness. The old adage goes, “you catch more flies with honey…” would apply here it seems.

Comments

I’m not sure why some folks think they can’t disagree with me on my blog. I guess many carry over the failed experiences from other sites. Either way, I’ve had a few instances lately about whether a person felt comfortable leaving comments here so I feel compelled to speak up. One person even stopped me on the street to tell me their opinion after expressing a fear of posting on my blog.

I welcome comments, even if you disagree with me. My expectations are simple. Agree, disagree, or not care and comment as long as you are respectful. We can argue till we are both blue in the face. And we can do so w/o resorting to personal attacks.

For the most part, it is rarely a problem. I am not a news/media site and yes my rules are non-negotiable, but they are simple, fair, and most importantly, applied equally. I can count on one hand the number of non-spam comments I’ve deleted over the years. The only exception would be the crazie fundies who randomly descend with threats and condemnation. I’ve actually taken to forwarding death threats, however harmless in reality, to PD.1 The rest of the haters’ comments are deleted outright from the queue.
And truthfully, if they expressed an opinion w/o vitriol and name-calling, even their comments would get thru. Sadly, that is so rarely the case.

Lord knows, I am opinionated. And if you hope to change my mind on a subject, you need to back it up with facts and/or reason, not name-calling, faux indignation, etc. Unlike a certain blogger we know, I don’t cultivate the appearance of support here by selectively managing the comments that come thru. I encourage different pov’s as I can learn from them.

I’ve always gotten more emails than comments in relation to posts on my blog. I have friends who are private and just like to discuss their opinions with me behind the scenes. I also have “lurkers”, guys who read but never or rarely comment, who will email me from time to time as well. In all of these emails, I’ve never had one be rude or disrespectful. If you can do it in private, no reason you can’t do it publicly either.

So, if you’re in doubt about whether you should make a comment, now ya know. 🙂

  1. You’d be surprised how many of these idiots send emails thru their work accounts or work servers. LOL []