Dirty Old Man

Alex was the curiosity of the EMT class.  Of latin descent, he has tan skin with thick black hair and gorgeous brown eyes.  It’s clear Alex works out and for good reason.

What made Alex the curiosity of the class was that we never knew what he would be wearing.  The first night of class, it was about a quadrillion degrees outside and he wore soccer shorts and a t-shirt; typical college kid attire.  “Nice,” I thought, “that look is working for him… and for me.”  The next few classes he wore sweats, fairly ordinary.  A couple of weeks in, however he came to class wearing flannel lounge pants and a hoody.  By this time, giving Alex a once over was a routine practice for Jafet and me.  We looked at the pajama-ed spectacle and then we looked at each other in disbelief.  (Why do people leave the house in their jammies?)  (Why do grown bloggers use words like “jammies”?) (Anywho)

Most classes Alex came to school in work pants and a T-shirt emblazoned (you should pardon the pun) with his fire academy logo.  “Now I know why he always looks so fit,” I thought.

One day Alex blew us all away arriving to class wearing black wool slacks, a purple dress shirt and coordinating tie.  The clothes fit him nicely and flatter his physique.  You have to know the whole class, including Mr. William’s, took note of how he was dressed!

Alex is very gung-ho!  One night the guy who runs the concessions stand got mugged and hit over the head.  We called 911, but Mr. Williams treated him while we waited for the responders.  Alex was right there in the thick of it helping with the assessment… With no gloves on; the number one rule of EMT-ing.

In my opinion, Alex was one of the best in the class.  Better than me in skill if not in knowledge.

He showed up at school Wednesday night, I guess to pick up his course completion certificate, but he stayed to help the students with skills.  While Mr. William’s was giving lecture to the class, Alex and I were out in the hall inspecting the equipment we would be using and talking about our future plans.  The subject of Ambulance Driver Licenses, and the cost of insurance to the operating companies came up.  That’s when he said it.

“I’m 18, so I probably won’t be getting hired for a while.”

I almost dropped whatever I was holding as I stared at him, mouth agape.  “I’m sorry,” I began, “did you just say you are 18 years old?”  He confirmed it.  “When is your birthday?” I couldn’t believe he could have been a “child” in class.

“March,” he answered.  “I’ll be 19 next month.  My plan is to be a medic (paramedic) by 21.”

“I can’t believe it,” I said a little too emphatically.  “I knew you were young, but I had no idea you were this young!”

I kinda had a secret crush on him.  I mean it’s not like I had many any lacivious lustful thoughts or anything but damn!!

I’m a dirty old man…


After the non-stop, pouring rain on Saturday, we had four days of clear and beautiful, if cold, weather.  So naturally, yesterday, the day I had an unexpected opportunity for a second get together with Heather, it rained all afternoon and evening.  Once again, I did not care.  I would drive through hell and – well, I practically did drive through high water – to get to her.

Heather had an early dinner with her family, and then I picked her up for another movie and dessert!  We went to see No Strings Attached, which was a cute movie.  And then we hung out at Cheesecake Factory for a little while, and ate pizza.  Ha!  Just kidding.  We had Cheesecake, of course!  I don’t know if I’ve ever told you this, but I LOOOOVE cheesecake!

I drove home in the rain, white knuckling the steering wheel most of the way.  When I got home I pulled something very exciting out of my mail box, before running up the stairs and out of the rain.  I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a day or two for that story.  Sorry.

Something happened on the way home, though, something that, while it shouldn’t, sort of changes the way I feel about my car:

Did I mention it's been cold?

This is the first brand new car I’ve ever owned.  Before this, the newest car I had owned was my 2000 Nissan Altima which had just over 18,000 miles on it when I bought it, so there was something about having four digits on the odometer that was special, something that maintained it feeling like a new car.

It’s still a nice car.  It’s still get’s great gas mileage.  I’m still very happy to have it.  I still don’t regret my decision to buy it.  But now?  Now that it has 10,000 miles on it?  It doesn’t feel new any more.  It doesn’t feel quite so special.

It’s a little sad.  (But I still a great evening!)

Is There A Certain Kind of Store For That?

On the television show Glee, there is a gay character by the name of Kurt.  Kurt has known all along that he was gay and never tried to hide the fact from anyone.  After a year and half of being terrorized by one of the jocks in the school (a self hating, closeted homosexual, in denial) he transferred to another school, a private school with a zero tolerance policy for bullying.  He met Blaine who is also gay and they have become friends, though it seems apparent that the relationship is budding into something more.

Each week I watch as Kurt grows and learns from his experiences and gradually becomes a more secure, self-confident person, able to accept himself as he is and surviving the adversity he experiences.  The relationship between Kurt and Blaine is very special to me to watch because it mirrors something I very much wish that I had.


On the television show 90210, there is a gay character by the name of Teddy.  Teddy is just coming to terms with being gay.  He was an All American Athlete, professional tennis player until he injured his knee.  Blond hair, blue eyes, and a body that goes on for days (what does that even mean?)  Teddy had a reputation as a ladies man, which stood in the way of him having a relationship with, Silver, his girlfriend last season before she finally got over the hype and gave him a chance.

This season has been about Teddy coming to terms with his sexuality and coming out to his friends.  It’s a story that is still being told, but aside from what I see as an accelerated time line, has been very believable and satisfying.

While drunk, Teddy hooked up with a guy name Ian at the beginning of the season and then tried to pretend it never happened, denying any confusion about his sexuality, even to Ian.  Right before the winter hiatus Teddy admitted to Ian that he was gay and that he wanted to be with Ian but needed time, before telling anybody about it.  Of course, Ian agreed, they kissed and one of Teddy’s friends saw them.

A couple of weeks ago, Teddy finally came out publicly, letting all his friends know that he was gay and was with Ian, only to have something come between them and he ended his relationship with Ian.  Last week’s episode saw Teddy sulking and having his ex-girlfriend, now friend-friend supporting him by taking him to do something she already knows lifts his spirits; hitting tennis balls off the roof of some building or other.  Just as Teddy starts feeling better he hits one last ball off the roof and we hear a male voice cry out in pain.  In the next scene, we see Teddy and Silver standing over a guy, dressed in soccer attire, sitting on a bench with an ice pack on his eye.  Teddy offers an  apology, the guy asks what they were doing and Teddy tells him that Silver was supporting him after a bad break-up.  The soccer player tells Teddy that the person must have messed him up pretty badly and before he thinks about it Teddy says, “Yeah.  He did.”  There’s an awkward silence as Teddy realizes what he just said and as the soccer stud doesn’t react to it, and then Soccer Stud says, “Yeah.  Well, I’ve been there,” before writing his phone number on Teddy’s tennis ball and suggesting that maybe Teddy could give him a free tennis lesson “to make up for hitting him.”

In this week’s episode we see Teddy’s friends, Dixon, Navid and Liam talking about going to a girls volleyball game to cover the story for the school news.  Just then Teddy walks in and they shut up.  There’s an awkward moment when Teddy feels left out and the idiots guys feel awkward for having talked about girls within the ear shot of the gay guy.  Later Teddy see’s Silver in the courtyard and they talk about how he feels like he’s out in the cold with all his friends.  Silver scolds the idiots boys who confess that they thought Teddy would be uncomfortable with what they were talking about and that they didn’t mean to be leaving him out.  The idiots guys decide to make it up to Teddy and invite him to hang out.  Teddy agrees without knowing what they have planned only to realize, too late, that they are taking him to a gay bar.  When this is revealed to the audience, my own anxiety level skyrocketed as I imagined being in Teddy’s shoes.

Inside, the bar is full of muscular, shirtless guys dancing and the friends stand dumbfounded, staring at the crowd.  Everyone is awkward, the guys don’t know what to think, and then a guy comes over to them and asks if he can buy Liam a drink.  Liam storms out and stands on the sidewalk outside, as if that’s going to make him less appealing to the gay guys in the area, and soon he is joined by Teddy.  They have a nice little heart to heart in which Liam tells Teddy he’s just not comfortable in that place and Teddy tells Liam he isn’t either.

“This just isn’t my scene,” Teddy says.

“So, what is?” Liam asks.

There is a moment of silence as Teddy looks through the huge window at Dixon and Navid dancing together while the pedophiles guys in the bar watch.  Teddy shakes his head in uncertainty, not disgust, and says, “I don’t really know.  But it’s not this.”  In that moment I can truly relate to Teddy.

Liam and Teddy leave to get a burger and leave Dixon and Navid inside with their admirers.


Heather, as I have mentioned before, is perhaps the one and only person in the world who has taken the time to know me of her own volition.  Deb probably knows me as well as Heather does, but I pay her for that and as much as I’d like to be able to look beyond the business nature of our relationship, I just can’t.  Heather knows me because she wants to.  She wants to take the time to see and understand me.  She wants to know the truth of my existence and not just the flowery, fun, shiny, “happy” side of my life (because she knows it’s not real).

While having dinner on Saturday night, I decided to ask her a loaded question.  I didn’t know how far the conversation would go, or just how useful it would prove to be, but I decided it was worth a shot.

“So tell me,” I started, “what’s wrong with me?”

“Well!  How much time have you got?” she asked, with a chuckle.  “What do you mean, what’s wrong with you? In what context?”

“Socially,” I answered.  “Why can’t I meet people?”

I don’t remember the exact dialogue of the conversation but she asked me for more specifics about what I was thinking and it came down to this.  Stereotypes exist for a reason.  I truly believe that.  The stereotype of a modern-day gay man is one of promiscuity, lecherous even, damn near predatory at times.  I saw a movie once in which one of the characters talked about how sex, for gay men, is like a handshake.  I am not like that.  I wasn’t like that before I knew I was gay and I’m not like that now.  But I buy into the stereotype… Because stereotypes exist for a reason.  And as such, I don’t trust gay men (I mean, I don’t really trust anybody, but for the purposes of this conversation, I don’t trust gay men.)

I know it’s not realistic to compare my life to characters on television or in movies and for the most part I try not to do that, but T.V. and movie scripts are based in some modicum of reality and so when I see things that I like, but which don’t jive with my own experience it’s disheartening, to say the least.

You see it all the time on television.  Gay characters meet in the most ordinary of places under the most ordinary of circumstances and they fall in love and have a relationship, like I would like to have.  Depending on the show their might be some “cruzing”/ “club scene” hooking up taking place but rarely is that where the lasting relationships come from; kind of like reality.  But these guys go about their day-to-day lives and meet each other in the most random and ordinary of circumstances and end up in relationships.  Meanwhile, I go about my day-to-day life which includes an overabundance of ordinary circumstances and I never meet anybody who I know is gay first of all, and with whom I have a connection, secondly.  I never have a moment of realization in which we both realize the other person is “family”.  I never meet a guy, think he’s attractive and have certainty that he’s gay and he knows I am as well and then bond and have anything, whatsoever, evolve from that.

I go to work.  I go shopping.  I go to school.  I go to the gym.  I go to Big Brothers and Big Sisters events.  I go to random training opportunities a couple of times a year.  I may not be a social butterfly, but I’m honestly not a shut in, either and yet, never once have I met someone I thought could be something more and had it turn out to be so.

Heather suggested that I should look into on-line dating.  Honestly, that idea is abhorrent to me, for me. But even if it weren’t, stereotypes.  Exist.  For.  A reason.  What little exposure I have had to the world of on-line gay dating has proved that those men are looking to live up to the stereotype, and I am not.  So I don’t trust it.  I don’t trust them.  And honestly, I’m afraid of them.

Heather says I lack self-esteem…  Well, DUH!  If anybody knows where I can buy some of that, please let me know!

Days Which Should Never End

It rained almost non-stop on Saturday.  I didn’t care.  I got to spend the day with Heather.  I’d have driven through a hurricane for that.  Neither rain, nor sleet, nor the gloom of night, shall keep me from my– wait, that’s something else.  Eh nee way…

It was a great day.  I never get to see Heather and when I do get to see her (which clearly contradicts that “never” statement) it’s usually with other people in tow.  Not that I don’t like the people who come in tow, but it’s nice to get to spend some time alone with the one person on this entire planet who truly understands me and sees through all my defenses and facades to the core of the real me.  We don’t even have to do anything terribly special for it to be, well, special.

I picked her up at noon and we went to lunch at California Pizza Kitchen where we shared a lunch of Avocado Egg Rolls

and Pear and Gorgonzola pizza.

After lunch we went to see I Am Number Four which was a really good movie we both enjoyed a lot.  Heather said she hasn’t been to a movie since seeing Avatar.  I haven’t been to a grown up movie since…  Well, maybe since seeing Avatar.  Well, OK, that’s not really true.  I’ve seen a few “grown up” movies with Lil’B, but I don’t know when the last time I saw a “grown up” movie with a grown up was.  Anyway, the lead actor (Alex Pettyfer) is someone I’ve not seen before that I can recall, but once his hair is bleached blond (it’s part of the story) he reminds me a great deal of a young Ryan Phillipe, which is a very good thing.  Dianna Agron from Glee is also in this movie and does a fantastic job.  Personally, I really enjoyed Timothy Olyphant who always reminds me of Josh Duhamel.  I would say something here about how Timothy is underrated as an actor and deserves to be more famous than he is, but let’s be honest.  He’s good looking and had great hair in this movie.  Whatever.

After the movie we went to do a bit of traditional shopping.  It’s traditional because, well, every time we get together, we end up going to Target, Trader Joes, See’s Candy and TJ Maxx Home Goods.  And that’s just what we did.  After dropping off the purchased cold and frozen items at Heather’s Grandparents’ house we went to a “Billiards Cafe” to shoot some pool together.  We are both fairly terrible so it was fun (I hate playing pool with someone who is pretty good and all I can do is sit and watch them play.)  I ended up winning the first two games and Heather won the third one. And then we went to dinner at Chevy’s “fresh mex”.  We were both fairly stuffed, but Heather had mentioned a place nearby, earlier in the day and we were determined to check it out.

Orange Leaf is a self-service Frozen Yogurt Bar where you go in and get your cup, select yogurt from about 15 different flavors and add whatever, and however much of, the toppings you want.  They charge by the ounce, which has a tendency to be not nearly as good as you think starting out.  I got Chocolate and Peanut Butter Yogurts, side by side, and topped it with every kind of chocolate and peanut butter candy topping I could find.  This proved to be a bad idea as, in the process of eating the delicious concoction, I managed to dislodge the wire on my lower jaw from the back brackets on both side of my mouth.  It doesn’t hurt, but it’s a bit of a nuisance and I’m going to have to get it reinserted.

We had a really great day together and, as usual, I was really sorry it had to end.

Moving Melodies: The World I See In You

During my brief forray into the world of the college student in 1993 my sister and I went to a concert at an Oklahoma City University by a Christian Recording Artist I hadn’t ever even heard of but Erin liked.  I went for the experience.  I had not been to very many concerts in my lifetime and I wanted to broaden my horizons…  Also I think I MAY have gotten the ticket for free… Maybe.

The concert was actually quite fun and I came away from the venue that night with, if you can believe it, a cassette tape.

For those of you youngsters out there, a cassette tape was a little plastic cartridge, roughly the same size and dimensions as your iPod touch (just lighter) that had two wheels inside with a magnetic tape wrapped around them, which through some sort of witch craft scientific engineering actually had sound recorded on them.  You had to have some sort of specialized player in order to hear the recordings.*

Anyway, nearly 20 years have passed and I still enjoy the music on that cassette tape, though I did purchase it a second time in the form of a digital download when I became a part of the iPod generation.

For you old fogies out there, an iPod is a device, roughly the same size as your old cassette tapes (only heavier) with wheels and boards inside, which through some sort of witch craft scientific engineering actually have hundreds and hundreds of hours of sound recorded on them.  You don’t even have to have a special player to hear them, just some earphones.  They are self contained with controls right on them.  Ask your Grandkids.  They’ll show you.

Today, as I was driving to get my lunch a song from that album came on my car iPod.  (For those of you youngsters out there, an album is… eh, nevermind.)  For the first time, I thought a little more about what the lyrics said and was both amazed and saddened to realize how far-reaching the sentiment isn’t among the Christian community.

Pay special attention to the lines in bold.

The World I See In You
Recorded by Margaret Becker

No one could ever make me doubt it
No one could make it be more true
Written in a stone, and set in cement
Are all the things I feel for You
When I look into Your eyes, I see the love that I need
When I look into Your world I see everything I’d like to be

I believe in, I believe in, I believe in
The world I see in You
I’d like to live in, I’d like to live in, I’d like to live in
The world I see in You

No back is ever turned in Your world
No hand is ever pulled away
Love is the law, the jury and judge
And the only debt there is to pay
When I look into Your world I see a land of Mercy
When I look into Your world I see the place I’d like to be

I believe in, I believe in, I believe in
The world I see in You
I’d like to live in, I’d like to live in, I’d like to live in
The world I see in You

I believe in, I believe in, I believe in
The world I see in you
Got to have it, I got to have it, I got to have it
The world I see in You

In Your world I’ve yet to see
A man too far, a mark too deep
A prodigal or refugee
That could not find shelter in You

I don’t believe in politics, no heavy-handed moralists
Right wing supremacists, lame brain rhetoric
Cultural genocide, judgment from the justified
Your world isn’t that
Your world isn’t that
I believe in love
I believe in truth
I believe in mercy
And the passion of pursuit

I believe in, I believe in, I believe in
The world I see in You
I’d like to live in, I’d like to live in, I’d like to live in
The world I see in You

I believe in, I believe in, I believe in
The world I see in you
Got to have it, I got to have it, I got to have it
The world I see in You

*Realizing that I just this week heard that the last vehicle with a manufacturer installed tape deck has just gone out of production, if anybody actually reads this post who really doesn’t know what a cassette tape is, I will be very, very sad.