Short and Sweet

Bwahahahaha!  Yeah, right!  If you’ve been reading this blog long, you know “short and sweet” isn’t really my thing.  But I’ll try.  I don’t have a whole lot of time for this.  (You like how I waste precious moments of my time, explaining how I don’t have much time?)  Anywhoo…

I’ve been so busy, and there are so many things to catch up on that I hardly knew/know where to begin, and with limited time for writing, I’ve been unsure of what to say to convey my current circumstances with brevity.  Things are pretty stressful right now and I’ve needed to spend just about every available computer time minute looking for and applying to jobs.  I’m still not working full-time, nine months since I was unceremoniously “released” from my previous full-time job.  I can’t say that the nine months haven’t been nice, ’cause they have!  I’ve loved having so much free time to do whatever I wanted.  I’ve loved being able to go about my day free from pressure to keep a certain schedule, or satisfy someone else’s demands.  I’m starting to see why self employment might be so attractive to so many people, though, in many ways self-employed people work a lot harder than the rest of the employed population. But the fact is, my money is running out and if something doesn’t come together pretty damn quickly, I’m going to be forced into some really difficult choices, none of which are pleasant.  By the end of August, if I don’t have a new full-time job, I’m going to have no choice but to move out of my apartment.  On September 1, I will have lived here for seven years.  I’m ready for a change and I do actually want to move, but I want to move someplace of my own choosing, under my own steam and without pressure.

If I’m not gainfully employed by the end of August, I’ll have no choice but to either move in with a friend (my options are extremely limited) or move out-of-state and live with a family member.  And again, my options are limited and very unattractive.  Moving away from my current life is the worst thing that could possibly happen to me right now (or very nearly – God forbid I should be accused of exaggeration…).  I have a lot to lose right now, if I have to move away.

Next month will mark the fifth anniversary of my match/friendship with L’il B.  He is 12 years old now and things are getting really interesting.  We had a conversation earlier this week in which he learned that Big Brothers and Big Sisters only serves kids from 6 to 16 years old.  He asked me, “So when I’m 16 you won’t be my Big Brother any more?”  I said, “I told you a long time ago, I will be your Big Brother for as long as you will let me.  But no, we won’t be supported by the program any more.  We’ll just be friends.”  It was just a little “throwaway” question from him, but it was clear that our relationship means a lot to him and he was bothered by the thought of losing it.  This is one of the reasons that I do not want to move away right now. I made a commitment to this kid and I want, no, I NEED to see it through.  Yes, moving away because of financial ruin, is a far cry from just dropping him from my life, but it still matters to me.

 

I’ve met a really great guy.  We’ve been dating for about seven weeks now, and while it’s still new and I don’t know what’s happening, or going to happen, we’ve been having a really nice time getting to know each other and spending time together.  He seems to be really sweet and kind.  He’s very intelligent and independent.  He has strong morals and isn’t afraid to share and stand by them.  Oh, and he’s really attractive.  🙂

Realistically speaking, it has only been seven weeks.  If our relationship were to end now, it would not be devastating.  I would survive and move on with my life.  BUT, I really like him a lot.  He seems to like me as well.  I have no sense of dishonesty in him.  Whether this relationship will turn to love remains to be seen, and it very well may not.  I could write a whole separate, rambling post about what love is, what it means to be in love, and how one knows when they are experiencing love.  I might sometime.  But for now, it’s enough to acknowledge that we are not in love, we just like each other, and are attracted to each other, and we’re each interested enough to continue to see each other and find out where that takes us.  The point, though, is that I’m interested enough, and like him enough, that I really do not want to have to move away and end this relationship right now.

 

I have been interacting with a representative from a local staffing agency which I have worked with before and I am hopeful that sometime next week I’ll hear from that representative to either send me on some interviews, or set me up with an assignment (preferably long-term, temp-to-hire, or even direct hire) to do some customer service work.  It’s not exactly in my wheelhouse, and probably won’t pay as well as I’ve been hoping, but it is more than nothing, and more than unemployment which is pretty much all I have going on right now.  Things will be tight, but at least it would keep me afloat, and at this moment, that’s what’s most important.

What else?  What else?

Oh yeah!  There’s also this guy!

IMG_0054

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The Words Will Come

Just start writing….  The words will come…  Just start writing…

That’s what the great and powerful “they” always say, right?  Just start writing, the words will come.  And the truth is, the great and powerful “they” are not wrong.  This strategy has worked for me many times before.  It’s just that, there’s a lot of stuff going on and swirling around in my brain, and I haven’t quite figured out how to sort it all out yet.  How much of it to share and how much of it to keep to myself.

Despite my best efforts I’m still inclined to worry a bit about what readers of this site will think of what I put here, and yet, I’m actually quite proud of my last post.  Yes, I discussed some “mature themes” and yes I admitted to some activities that, in the past, I would have completely kept to myself, as much out of embarrassment, as anything else, but I think it’s a good thing that I posted that.  I spend a lot of time in this sort of “in-between” stage of life where I feel like, I shouldn’t do anything I’m ashamed of and therefore I don’t do anything I’m ashamed of…  Yet I’m ashamed of things I really shouldn’t be, and therefore, this philosophy holds me back.

There is an excellent chance that I’m confusing shame with fear, or shame with unfounded guilt which causes fear, or some other tremendously deep and impressive introspection that I’m not quite clear about and obviously can’t manage to articulate…

I’ve come a long way in the last several years of blogging, and even before that.  I’ve learned a lot about myself, I’ve gained a considerable amount of emotional and mental independence (not to be confused with the physical and financial independence that I’ve had since I was 22).  But “a considerable amount” can be just a drop in the bucket when you’re coming from a place of such dependence…  Or co-dependence.  There are still a good many subjects and issues about which I can hear my mother’s voice, or more to the point, her judgmental, disappointed noises.  Tsking and groaning and sighing (oh my!).  And it’s not like she even needs to know about my behavior and my activities, but it doesn’t matter if the physical being knows anything because the non-corporial manifestation of her that exists in my subconscious is ever-present and equally judgmental.  And, of course, I think I’m inclined to project that judgement and condemnation onto other people both local and afar.  I imagine the gasps and the shaking heads of the people who might read my words, the disappointment that might come from having the image of me, which they have created, sullied by the revelation of the things I don’t dare say.

I am aware, as I write these words, that I’m creating a proverbial mountain out of what many would see as an equally proverbial mole hill.  I am also aware that, while I do value the regular readers of this blog and would hate to put anyone off, concealing things about myself and allowing the fears of other’s opinions to hold me back is not only destructive and hurts me more than it does anyone else, it is potentially more destructive and hurtful than not acting because of the fear.

I’m human.  I’m alive.  I’m male (stereotype).  And like everyone else, I have needs, both physical and emotional that need to be fulfilled, one way or another. The truth is, while I’m over here hiding from that fact, all of you are probably reading this blog and assuming it; assuming that I take measures to have my needs fulfilled (trust me, I do), you just don’t necessarily want to know what those measures are.  Certainly, there is a fine line between open and honest sharing, not leaving out pertinent details, and this turning into a very different kind of blog from what it has ever been before.  

Prior to the vague implications and poorly shrouded subliminal information in my last post, I believe I have discussed specific sexual activity on my part, exactly one time on this blog.  One time in five and a half years.  Meanwhile, any regular readers probably haven’t given my sexual endeavors much conscious thought, but have unconsciously assumed that I have not lived as a eunuch.  Society, as a whole, tends to frown on free and open discussions of sex, or so I have generally believed.  Yet as I write that I realize it happens far more frequently than I am comfortable with, and I have to question why that is.

Why am I so uncomfortable with it?  Why is it so hard for me to discuss it?

Certainly, it is, in part, due to my lack of experience and a fear that engaging in such conversations will result in any number of uncomfortable situations where I can not contribute as much to the conversation as people might expect me to; something I generally prefer to avoid.  But part of it is because of that non-corporial manifestation of my mother that exists in my subconscious, which is ever-present and tremendously judgmental.  It comes from a  damaged place within my psyche that is influenced by my mother’s constant over-vilification of sex during my childhood to the point that sex scares me.

There.  I’ve said it.  Sex scares me.  It doesn’t just make me nervous or uncomfortable because it’s “new”, it scares the ever-loving shit out of me in a way I don’t even know how to combat.

Logically, I know it shouldn’t.  Intellectually, I know that sex is a perfectly natural, and healthy thing.  Through the power of study, meditation and independent thought, I have even arrived at the conclusion that I believe pre-marital sex is not only not wrong, it’s important and healthy.  Reasonable, not overly graphic discussions of sex in general, are not something to be afraid of and shy away from, particularly when they lay the groundwork for a further story…

Yet any discussion of my own sexuality (not my sexual orientation, but my sexuality) makes me very uncomfortable and self conscious.

…..

I have a date tomorrow night, and I have mixed feelings about it.  I think it’s a date.  I didn’t really think it was a date when it was discussed, but it seems that it is a date.

Everything I have said here that leads up to that revelation does not, in any way, mean I think there’s an expectation or obligation for sex tomorrow.  In fact quite to the contrary, I think it’s clearly understood that sex will not be happening.  Rather, it’s about how this date came about, and how my shame, prevented me from writing about it before now.

In this wonderful, 21st century world in which we live, there is an iPhone app for absolutely everything.  Seriously.  According to one source in October, 2013 there were approximately 1,000,000 apps in the Apple App Store and that number just keeps going up.  If you can realistically conceive of it, there is probably an app out there for it, already.  And society (and men – stereotype) being what it is, there is more than one app for on-line dating and people-meeting available that uses the GPS signal in phones to show you the profiles of any number of people within a certain distance of where you happen to be holding your phone and looking at that app’s screen.  The first time I ever heard of one of these apps, I downloaded it on my phone, because it was free, and I was curious to see how it worked.  I never had any delusions that I would use the app as it was intended.  I still don’t.  That’s not my style.  But because I have discovered that my, once thought to be impeccable, gaydar is, in actually, completely for shit, I thought it might be interesting to see the faces of other gay men in the area, see if there was anyone I recognized and might, therefore, meet organically and get to know, in real life.  Of course, I wasn’t about to post my own face, because I would be mortified if anyone knew I had even heard of the app, let alone actually downloaded it and look at it once in a while.  I rarely initiated conversations with anyone, and even more rarely did anyone initiate conversations with, or respond to, me.  When they did, it was, without exception, overtures toward having anonymous sex.

The block button is my friend.

Through all the bullshit that went down with The Guy this summer, one good thing did come out of it.  Well–  He doesn’t, by any means deserve all of the credit, it was the whole unfortunate experience with that short-lived job.  From the day I walked in the door, I was determined not to hide who I was or try to keep secret the details of my existence that have been so hard for me to freely share, verbally, in the past.  It was a fresh start in a new place, with a new group of people, and I was determined to start things on the right foot.  The Guy figured it out, or believed he did, from the very first day.  So, apparently, did my boss, though she couldn’t say so until I revealed it to her.  All she said was “I knew you were ‘family’.  Well, I was pretty sure, anyway.”  I learned to be more open about myself.  I learned not to fear people’s reactions.  (To this day, I have not had one person outside of my family react badly to learning that I am gay.)  I learned to tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may, because these people were all new in my life and if they learned the truth up front and they didn’t like it, well, there was no loss.

Thanks to The Guy, I started to feel better about myself, physically.  Again, he doesn’t get all the credit.  Over the last two and a half years, I have lost approximately 70 pounds.  The man I see in the mirror today, is definitely not the man I saw back then.  That man’s clothes don’t fit me anymore.  I still have a long way to go, but I’ll gladly take what I can get.  I’ve learned to appreciate my body in its current form, to take control over the things I can, and not obsess over the things I can’t.  But at least for a little while there, I believed that, not only did someone find me attractive, but someone who I was attracted to, found me attractive.  Due to the nature and circumstances of our involvement and the end thereof, I temper any excitement at that fact with a healthy dose of he-was-full-of-shit, but at the very least, I learned what it feels like to appreciate having someone pursue me due to physical attraction.

I posted a face picture on the app, and filled in a simple profile telling people what I was about, and what I was and, more importantly, what I was not looking for.  I tried to put the hurt and shame of my experience with The Guy behind me and see what came next.  Suddenly, out of the blue, people started initiating chats with me.  Talking to me.  Having real conversations with me.  Much of the time, those conversations end with “so when can we hook up?”.

The block button is still my friend.

Early this week, I crossed paths with a guy we’ll call “No. 1” (not for any reason you’re likely to think of, just go with it) who was deemed to be a “likely match” by some inexplicable algorithm the site uses to suggest people you might like, based on your reactions to their previous suggestions.  No. 1 had a very relatable profile, with a statement about relationships, fidelity, and where he stands on the subject that I happened to like quite a bit.  As it happened, he hit the little “like” button on my picture and I hit the little “like” button on his, and the app was kind enough to let us each know that the other “liked” us and suggested we chat.  So we did.  And he was a nice guy.  And he appealed to me.  And we exchanged phone numbers and I suggested that we should talk again.  I even considered asking him if we could meet for coffee or something sometime, but I decided against it.  The next morning, he sent me a text message and asked if I might be free on Saturday after he gets off work at 8:00.  I am and said as much, and we set up what I thought of as “meeting and getting to know each other better, face to face.”  I know. I know.  That’s pretty much what a date is.   Only, I didn’t think of it that way.  I didn’t think of it as a prelude to anything.  I thought of it as meeting a potentially nice person and getting to know him.  (Again, pretty much what a date is.)

My mind is reeling with this.  Really, it wouldn’t be such a terrible thing if it is a date.  It wouldn’t be such a terrible thing if I enjoyed our date.  It’s just…  I admit it.  I’m terribly skittish.  And it pisses me off.  It’s not fair, that this one experience with this one, completely fucked up guy, has done such lasting damage in me.  I want to move past it.  I want to put it out of my head and forget about The Guy entirely.  I sure as shit don’t want to let him affect how I handle dating going forward.

But I’m so afraid of taking another chance.

I’m not sure I’m open to a relationship right now.  I’m not sure I’m ready to date right now.  When I agreed to meet No. 1 and we settled on a time and place, I thought, “Great!  That’s that.  I’ll see him on Saturday and we’ll have lots to talk about,” and I’m sure we will, only, he continued to text and talk to me after we settled the plans.  He has texted me every day since then, and I can’t quite explain why that bothers me.  It just does.  He has made some fairly innocent comments here and there that really have me on edge.  I’m probably reading too much into it, but he has made some comments which elude to the prospect of a relationship with me and I’m so not in that place.  I mean, we haven’t even met yet.

And all I can think is, “Oh my God!  I’m The Guy!”

Are You Happy Now?

I’ve always liked this song, but I guess I never really paid close enough attention to the lyrics before.  It played on my iPhone the other day and I’ve been listening to it on a loop off and on since then.  I’m not sure if it makes me feel better or worse, or if it reminds me of what I lost, or that I didn’t lose anything.  Maybe I’m even lucky….  after a fashion… not to have ended up entangled with such an emotional cripple.

I really don’t know what to believe.  I do not want to believe that he was playing me the entire time.  I don’t want to think he could be that cruel.  And maybe he wasn’t being cruel.  Maybe he really is just that oblivious to how things work in the real world.  Maybe I am.  I don’t know.  I just know that he told me so many conflicting things that I can’t trust anything he says anymore.  I just know that he told me enough of the right things to think we were nearly on the same page, and in truth he wasn’t even reading the book.  I just know that I went from falling in love, to being incredibly angry and feeling just a bit of hatred toward him.

And then this song came along, and I thought….  “Yeah!  That!”

“Are You Happy Now?”
by. Michelle Branch

Now, don’t just walk away
Pretending everything’s ok
And you don’t care about me
And I know it’s just no use
When all your lies become your truths and I don’t care… yeah, yeah, yeah

Could you look me in the eye
And tell me that you’re happy now, ohhh, ohhh
Would you tell it to my face or have I been erased,
Are you happy now?
Are you happy now?

You took all there was to take,
And left me with an empty plate
And you don’t care about it, yeah.
And I am givin’ up this game
I’m leaving you with all the blame cause I don’t care, yeah, yeah yeah,

Could you look me in the eye?
And tell me that you’re happy now, oohh oohhh
Would you tell it to my face or have I been erased,
Are you happy now? Ohhh, ohhhh
Are you happy now?
Are you happy now? yeah, yeah, yeah.

Do you really have everything you want?
You can’t ever give somethin’ you ain’t got
You can’t run away from yourself

Could you look me in the eye?
and tell me that you’re happy now, yeah, yeah
come on, tell it to my face or have i been replaced,
are you happy now? Ohhh, ohhhh
are you happy now?

Would you look me in the eye?
Could you look me in the eye?
I’ve had all that I can take
I’m not about to break
Cause I’m happy now, ohhh, ohhh
Are you happy now?

 

Those two lines are struck through because they don’t ring true.  I am broken and I’m not happy.  I really don’t think I’ll ever be happy again.  I’m sorry.  Not again.  I’ve never really been happy.  I thought I was getting there for a minute, but as it turns out, I was completely wrong and only deluding myself.  But the things I’ve learned about myself, and about my disease, and about life, these last few months…  I really don’t think I’ll ever be happy.  It’s chemically, biologically impossible.

Anyway, I know it’s been a while since I posted anything here, so in case you were worried, don’t be, I’m not dead…  not yet.

Crushed

“What are you doing, showing off in that dress?”

The office is so small, and so open that there is no chance that I won’t hear the conversations of other’s as they take place. This time around it was The Guy talking to his manager who was, apparently wearing a very flattering dress that showed off her figure… I guess. I don’t pay attention to such things…

The thing is, he used to make those comments to me.

“Don’t be walkin’ around in here, showing of that ass!”, he would text me. I didn’t really know what he meant. I have, all along, used my anti-decision making, decision-making tactic (or ADMDMT) of picking the next pair of work-worthy pants out of the drawer and then finding the first shirt on the closet rail that went with the pants I was wearing. As it happens, I have lost about 65 pounds from my heaviest weight and some of my clothes fit better than others. He liked the view of them all…. I liked to wear my smaller sizes, because they fit better and make me feel better about myself, actually fitting into them despite their significantly smaller sizes. I admit to you, the reader, that I wear those clothes proudly and with confidence – Not because I am “showing off” for The Guy, but because I am happy to be thinner and in better shape. And yes, I was aware that some of the articles would elicit… Well illicit comments, from The Guy. But I never at any point picked clothing, based on how I thought The Guy would respond to it. I still wear the larger sizes too, I don’t have enough of any one size clothing to call it a “wardrobe” so I cycle through them. As it happened, the “fat clothes” came back around in the cycle, right about the same time that The Guy, broke my heart. He has interpreted that as some sort of “keep your hands off” message from me, when in fact it’s just “what was next in line”.

This time, the comment wasn’t aimed at me.

“Just ignore me,” I texted him, “because I’m sure I’m being unreasonable, but that ‘don’t be showing off…’ comment to (his boss’s name) just now, kinda bugs me…”

He replied “Well… She’s showing off her body today just like you used to do…”

Used to do

“Yeah. That’s why it bother’s me.” I answered. Using the same “complimentary” terminology, with someone else, feels decidedly (to me) like having been forgotten or ignored. It certainly makes me doubt his sincerity toward me.

“I see the statements as very different. We had a physical connection / attraction. I complimented her… Very Different.”

had a physical connection

“That’s a big part of why this was a bad idea in the first place,” I told him. “Sooner or later, probably sooner, your interests will move elsewhere and I’m not going to enjoy watching / listening to it happening.”

“I don’t think I’ll be engaging in amorous activity anytime soon. I mean, I’d do you. And I’d do (senior boss’s name), just ’cause it’s cool to hook-up with the big boss… but now I wouldn’t do you because I know it makes you and me crazy.”

Seeing as how he never “did me” in the first place, I’m not sure where this conclusion of “makes [us] crazy” comes from.

I was already struggling with some jealousy just watching his interactions with people, before the poop hit the fan. Now that it has, I’m really not happy to hear him using the same lines on other people that he did on me… It cheapens whatever it was that we had.

I began to think better of the whole conversation and told him, “You’re probably taking this all wrong and feel like you need to modify your behavior to ‘protect’ me. That wasn’t my point at all.”

“No, I’m acting the way I alway have… I am an extrovert and I compliment folks, not with intentions to sleep with them, but because I like to see their faces light up when I say something flattering or nice to them.”

And the fact that he’s using the same terminology and tone that he used with me, the person he made a choice to reject out of hand, is, apparently, completely unimportant…

…and Other’s Require More Effort!

I hadn’t really intended to resume writing at this site just to disappear for a month, but the last several weeks have been tremendously, and unexpectedly busy.

My new job keeps me very occupied, which means that, unlike my last job, I have not had any time for messing around at work,  (well…  I say I haven’t had any time for messing around at work…  I have managed to find a few minutes here and there for some “messing around”…  But that’s another story for another time, or maybe not…).  I certainly have not had time for writing blog posts!  On top of that, my evenings and week-ends have been pretty hectic as well.  Making time to write blog posts has been nearly impossible!  When I’m not working, which has been mostly on Saturday’s I’m hanging out with Lil’B, or other friends, or shopping, or whatever…  And when none of that is going on, I’m often engaged in the ongoing text-a-palooza with “A Guy” that has been, in equal parts, ripping my heart out, and showing me a world of possibilities I never believed existed for me.  He is less so “a guy” now, and more so “the guy”, though it’s still really complicated and not without its share of frustration…  But I’m getting ahead of my self and it’s much too late to get very far into that tonight.  Besides, I’m still processing and not sure what or how much to say.  So apparently I’m just a big tease…  But then again so is he…  Er, what was I saying?

There are a lot of things to write about and I really must make the time to get it in, but for now, there’s this…

In the early middle of June, I went one Saturday afternoon to K’s house in Berkeley, for her son’s graduation party/barbecue.  At the end of the party, I was in the kitchen packing up the things I had brought along, when K’s father, in from Arizona for the event, said, “Kevin?  Is that your car out front here?”  I confirmed that it was and he said, “cause this guy just smacked your car!”  Now my car was parked at the curb, at the edge of K’s driveway, with at least 20 feet of open curb between my rear bumper and the corner.  Remember that.  It’ll be important in a second.

K and I ran out to the street to see what had happened as the late-model Honda Accord drove away from the scene.  he drove halfway down the block, turned around in a driveway and then parked his car at the curb.  Seeing K and me standing there, he strolled slowly, and with empty hands, back to where I was standing, behind my car and examining the damage.  The first words out of this guy’s mouth were, “Oh, sorry.  I thought I had enough room to park there.”

I turned around and looked at the expanse of curb behind me and said, “Um, I think you had plenty of room to park there”

We surveyed the damage to my car and it was minimal.  I told the young man, “It doesn’t look to bad.  I’m sure it won’t be too complicated to fix, but I should go ahead and get your information.  Do you know he actually rolled his eyes at me, and then sauntered back down the street to his car to get his insurance information?!?

My Honda Insight, Damaged Bumper, Taken outside K’s house, Berkeley, CA

A week later, I had dropped my car off at a body shop to get the damage repaired, and I was on my way to the Hertz Local Edition lot to pick up my rental car.  When the driver pulled into the lot, I saw it right away.  The car of my dreams…  all most.  They had one white, Convertible Mustang on the lot (I don’t care for white cars, but otherwise it was great!) just waiting for someone to pick it out and drive away.   I was meant to be that someone.  My whole life a Mustang has been my dream car, though I never really thought I would be a Convertible guy.  Since it was an insurance replacement (my insurance policy covered $25.00 a day), they were offering discounted rates.  I don’t know what the Mustang would normally cost, but with the insurance company discount, it cost only $40.00 a day including Taxes.  My portion was only about $15.00 a/day.  When the lady at the counter told me that, I had only one response:  “Why not!  It’s time to kill the dream, anyway!  Let’s go for it.”  I thought the likelihood of it living up to my expectation was pretty low, so once I had driven one, I wouldn’t be so excited any longer.

I picked the car up on Friday morning, and I already had plans to go on a photo expedition on Saturday, with K.  (In April, just before starting my new job, I went to Albany, NY to visit my sister and her family, finally getting to meet, not only the new baby baby, but also, the nearly three-year old I hadn’t gotten to meet at that point.  Before going on that trip, I bought a fancy pants new digital 35 millimeter camera and I’m itching to learn all of its secrets.)  Naturally, while we were out, I had to have some pictures of the Mustang.

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The Mustang which did nothing to destroy my dream!

I had that car for a week five days, three of which were rainy, which I thought was completely unfair of Mother Nature.  The rain tapered off on the third day, but it was still a bit cold.  I didn’t care.  I had a Mustang for only a few days.  I was not about to lose a single precious moment in that car!

Driving the rented Mustang with the top down on the first available opportunity.  It was about 60 degrees, but I didn't care!

Driving the rented Mustang with the top down on the first available opportunity. It was about 60 degrees, but I didn’t care!

At the end of the week, I did not want to give it back which meant…  There was only one thing to be done:

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SOME dreams do come true.

Under the Rainbow

It’s funny how things can turn, almost on a dime.  I sat in Deb’s office last night, smiling and happy, and telling her about how much things seem to have changed over the last six weeks, since I started my new job.  I’m confident in my work.  I’ve had an easy time of making friends with the people who work around me.  (A bunch of us are going roller-skating after work in a couple weeks.)  I’m out to pretty much everyone, and comfortably so.  I’ve fairly well tolerated the inefficiencies and poor co-ordination of some things that go on there.  I’ve taken, relatively in stride, the fact that the things I believed to be the reason I was hired, my “expertise” in such things as moving large groups of people and managing all the issues that come with that, had been relatively ignored, due to the timing of my arrival.  (We were hip deep in a 60-person move when I started.)  I’ve met someone with whom I have a lot of chemistry and genuine, mutual attraction.  I’ve been relatively adept at letting the little things slide off my back.

Monday night at dinner with Lil’B, for reasons that are too random and confusing to explain, we began talking about Vincent van Gough and bipolar disorder.  One of the activities in the kids menu he still gets was to draw a picture of a character from the menu after they had just visited the Louvre and he decided he wanted me to draw the picture.  I’m not really sure how Vinnie came into the conversation, but as I was using one of the only two crayons they gave Lil’B to draw the picture, the yellow one (I held the red crayon in my other hand), I was telling him about my drawing, about the Louvre, and about Vincent van Gough.  I drew a living banana, with two twig legs, and a suit coat, with lapels and long sleeves.  He had a yellow face, with a protruding nose and he wore a monocle.  I told Lil’B about the emotional troubles that Vicente had and how unappreciated he had been because people couldn’t understand how he was so up one minute and so down the next.  We discussed the fact that he likely thought himself a terrible artist (something I learned form a little educational documentary I watch called Doctor Who).

The assignment was to draw the character right after they left the museum, so as I was putting the finishing touches on the picture, LIl’B asked me why I had used only the one crayon.  Just as I reached the point of telling Lil’B how in one of his fits of deep despair, van Gough had cut off his own ear, I switched to the red crayon and our debonair, snappily dressed, monocled banana-man suddenly gained a bloody gash on the side of the head where, once his little banana ear had been.  The boy in Lil’B thought that was pretty cool.  The innocent and naive young human being in him, the one who has never been exposed to the kind of emotional turmoil that Vincent van Gough went through said, “so he was crazy.”

As I was trying my best to explain to my young friend how, mental illness does not necessarily mean crazy, that there are plenty of people in the world who experienced these types of mental illness but who would not qualify as being “crazy” and that, in fact, I have struggled with depression, even during the time I have known him, but that I was not crazy, it occurred to me for the first time, that I was not depressed.  Not just that it was at bay.  Not just that it’s lingering in the shadows waiting to destroy me again.  For the first time since I could remember, I did not feel like I was struggling against Depression, working to keep it at bay all the while knowing that it was just over there, just beyond the great barrier waiting for my next moment of weakness, to take over.

I shared this with Deb last night.  But I tempered it by telling her, “I’m not dumb enough to say that ‘I’m cured’.  I think it’s dangerous to make such claims but right now, things are good.

And then today happened.

Only….  Nothing particularly special or significant happened, just a whole lot of little things.  I told a friend t0night, via text message, “I think I’m just having a moment.  Several things kinda crumbled (not caved, just crumbled) in on me this evening and I’m just trying to deal.

“I think I need a hug.  Well, a hug and some company and some comforting…”

A whole lot of little things piled up on me all at once, right around 5:00.  Because I’m now hourly, and didn’t get to work until around 9:00 this morning, I planned to stay until six…  I was there until 6:45.

At 5:00 the last two people in the immediate vicinity of my desk (two of the four-person Communications department – a group of people who communicate very effectively…  and frequently…  and from great distances…) left and I was alone to concentrate on whatever I needed to do.  It was then, in the deafening silence, filled only with the sound of the air conditioner kicking on and off, and my own addled thoughts rolling around in my skull, that I realized how much I had been struggling.  Not that the work is too hard, or that the people around me aren’t awesome, because it’s not and they really are, which thrills me.  It’s that with my particular set of circumstances (I was formally diagnosed with ADD six months ago) it can sometimes be really difficult for me to focus on what I’m trying to do.  Suddenly the list of things I needed to accomplish before the day was over was daunting.  Suddenly, I was overwhelmed by the knowledge that this is not a new predicament.  Suddenly, I was distraught, and even a bit angry, with what a mess my very small, very cramped, very not-my-own-private-office-like-I-had-for-8-1/2- years-at-my-last-job desk was.  Suddenly, I was upset that I feel like my talents are being wasted, because I spend at least half of most days processing and delivering mail and packages (something that was not discussed as being part of my duties in my interviews or hiring process); all day every day subject to the random whims of our customers who don’t have any means of requesting things other than approaching my boss and me directly and interrupting whatever we happen to be in the middle of; and the other half of most days struggling to concentrate on what I’m doing over the constant bombardment of voices.  It’s not that they’re not talking about work, because they generally are.  And it’s not that they’re not friendly people, because they definitely are.  In fact, it might be easier if they weren’t, because then I wouldn’t want to be part of the conversation and I do.  Which makes it a complete distraction.

I sat at my desk, organizing, as best I could and growing more and more frustrated by the limitations that I have in my ability to do my best work and the list of projects that have been asked of me, that I simply can not get to because I’m overwhelmed with the little stuff that in the short term is high priority to people as they request it.  I spent half an hour, trying to get some semblance of control over the situation.  I got rid of some clutter.  I sort out and filed my e-mails so only current and relevant things were in my in-box.  I made a to do list for Monday, and I cleared my white board and made three columns on it: one for daily responsibilities, one for short-term projects and one for long-term projects.  I put completion percentages next to each project and put a sad face next to the 0% complete for the Emergency Response Team development project that is currently at the very bottom of my list of priorities, even though I would like it to be at the top.  Finally, I packed up and walked out for the night, despairing with the knowledge that I must talk to my manager on Monday about finding a way to mitigate some of these issues.  I need to ask her for somewhere else for me to sit.  A desk that will be quiet enough for me to focus on my work when I’m able to be at my desk doing it and which will take me away from the noisy, but fun Communications group and “the guy”, because I can’t get any work done when they’re around, and knowing fully that there’s a very good chance that there will be no where for me to move.

I drove home thinking about “the guy”.  Which, to be fair, is probably overselling it a bit.  The truth is there’s been little more than the two of us circling around each other, and around the idea of becoming an us, which I suppose makes him more of “A guy” and not so much “The guy”.  I’m frustrated.  I know what I want…. I think.  But I can’t figure out what he wants.  And every time we talk and I just about have him opened up and ready to be forthcoming he dodges and I’m left in the dark again.  He’s an expert at avoidance and if I didn’t understand it so well, I’d probably be pretty pissed, but I do, so I’m not.  I’m just annoyed that we haven’t managed to work through it yet.  I was feeling disappointed about his lack of response to a text message I had sent, and about the fact that, while he acknowledges that there is “unfinished business” between us, he has not made any moves to finish the business, and when I do, he just avoids.

And I realized I was feeling really lonely and low, and that if I could just hang out with somebody and talk about it I might feel better.  I reached out to three different people including The Guy via text, just really needing a bit of interaction, period.  None of them responded to me.  One still hasn’t.  One responded within an hour of my text but didn’t offer much in the way of comforting or consolation.  And The Guy finally acknowledged my first text hours after I sent it, but disappeared pretty quickly after.  All of which is to say that I’m absolutely giving them the benefit of the doubt.  It is after all Friday night.  Most people have social lives on Friday night.  Just because I don’t, doesn’t mean people are obligated to respond.  I realized that I’ve only had one person extend an invitation to me in months, while I’ve extended a number of invitations, most of which have been turned down.  And now I’m wondering what’s so wrong with me that people only want to be my work acquaintances but not my friends and, apparently, not my boyfriend.

I’ll get over it, like I always do.  But still, not exactly the smiling, happy go lucky, better than I’ve been for a while, guy I was last night.

Also, right in the middle of writing this post, and when The Guy finally got around to responding to my texts, my Internet crapped out due to an outage in the area…  When it rains it pours…

Call Me Coach

This week, on Glee, there was a subplot story line, in which Coach Beiste admits to having feelings for a guy who “doesn’t think of her like that.”  They then presented a montage of scenes in which the guy in question is clearly flirting with Coach Beiste or suggesting a date with Coach Beiste and in every instance she is completely oblivious to what’s really going on.

These scenes were comical, to be sure, and of course, as an outside observer, it’s easy to see what’s going on.  But I started to think about it.  I put myself in Coach Beistes cleats (which wasn’t really that hard to do) and I wondered, “If you’re someone who doesn’t fit the norm of what society thinks a person should be ; if your self-esteem is so low – at least in the area of romance – how likely would you be to be able to recognize the signs?”  I’m pretty sure that I’ve had my share of Coach Beiste moments.  I’ve been completely oblivious to signs when someone was flirting with me.  Add to that, the fact that my Gaydar is shot and I’m in a pretty bad way.

I once wrote a post about lunch with a guy, Kevin was his name – how cute would that be (barf) – who had invited me out to thank me for being such a big help to him in a work related capacity.  He worked for the local University of Phoenix campus and I had enabled him to come set up an information table in our building lobby on multiple occasions.  To this day, I do not know if that’s all that it was.  There’s a realistic possibility that I was on a date and didn’t even know it.

I’ve written more than a few times about Jesse the fire fighter who, apparently, liked my eyes and then never gave me the time of day again.

Enter Brendan.  You might notice that it’s now November and that means yet another round of emergency drills have come and gone.  At some point in the past year, I gained responsibility for the Building Emergency Response Team at an additinoal building.  It’s a small group of people.  My company has an educational theater group that travels around to schools putting on, well– educational theater.

This October, when I requested volunteers to help observe our emergency drills, a few people from the other building volunteered to help us out.  We had a pre-drill briefing at the beginning of that week and Brendan was in attendance.  He was the first person in the conference room and he was very attentive.  I admit, I thought him a little strange at first as he was completely focused on me and what I was saying, something I’m definitely not used to.  He maintained eye contact with me the entire time, something else I’m not used to.  He smiled whenever I looked at him or spoke to him.  Being from another building, he asked me if I’d show him what we’d be doing the day of the drill; take him on a miniature tour of a floor. He followed and stood close when we talked, again always maintaining eye contact.

The day of the drills he came back to the building and was very friendly.  We talked a lot during downtime, and I got a really strong sense of chemistry and connection.  I was sure he was interested in me.  And while the idea still scares the crap out of me, I was interested in him and willing to see where that could go.

We always have pizza for all the volunteers at the end of the fire drills and as I was collecting the critique sheets and letting people know when and where the food would be, he hesitated and then said he was probably not going to stay.  “I have to watch my…” his words trailed off as he gestured to indicate his general torso area, adding “I’m a man on a mission.”

I told him we always have salad too.  “You can just have one or two small slices of pizza and then have salad,” I told him.  We always have a lot left over and if he didn’t come have some he was just going to leave us with even more after the fact.

He thought on this for a moment and then said, “Well.  I was going to skip the gym tonight, but I guess I could go on the treadmill for an hour.  And maybe I could take some home to my hubby.”

I did my best to convey no reaction to this revelation and said, “Yeah, you could do that.”

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  I’m not interested in getting involved with a married man.  But still…

A week later Brendan signed up for a Safety Training class I attended.  When he walked into the room where I was already seated, he made eye contact with me and smiled and then walked right past me and sat at the other end of the table.  I was disappointed.

The Educational Theater Group is celebrating its 25th anniversary and they had a reception last night.  As part of the Facility Management staff that maintains their space, and as the Emergency Response Program coordinator, I was invited to attend the reception.  There were lots of good reasons why I should go to the reception, and I’m glad I did, but the truth is, I accepted the invitation with the hope of getting to spend some time with and talk to Brendan.  I didn’t see him at all until close to the end of the event and when I did, he was guiding a costumed character around the space.  He seemed really happy to see me and gave me a hug and then…

The conversation fell flat.  I felt incredibly awkward and had no idea what to say.  Before long, they moved on and not long after that, I went home.

And then there’s Ed.  Ed is the supervisor/account manager for our Janitorial Service.  I meet with him most Thursday mornings to do an inspection.  Physically, Ed possesses many qualities I’m attracted to.  He also has a very friendly and outgoing personality.  I like talking to Ed.  I do not like doing Janitorial Inspections.  And he knows it.  But they’ve been delegated to me and so he and I walk a floor and he makes notes of things he sees that need attention, usually catching more than I do, because I don’t know what to look for in the first place.

While we walk, Ed and I talk about random things that have nothing to do with Janitorial Services, and while I do not feel like I know Ed, I feel like we’re friendly.  A month ago, due to multiple conflicts on my schedule, I e-mailed Ed and told him I was going to have to cancel our next few appointments.  He e-mailed me back saying, “Not a problem. I know you’re quite disappointed.”

“Completely crestfallen,” I replied.

Ed and I were scheduled to meet for the first time in weeks today, but he called me yesterday to verify that we were still on and then told me that he had a bid walk for a contract to do this morning and asked if it would be okay to push back our inspection.  I was fine with it.  I’m never disappointed not to have the inspection.  Ed said he’d be at my office at 10:30.

By the time my noon meeting rolled around and I hadn’t seen or heard from Ed, I figured it was a safe bet that our inspection was cancelled.  When I walked back into the office at 1:30, I was quite surprised to see Ed in John’s office.

One of the things that appeals to me about Ed is that he always wears a suit.  No one around here expects him to and he is, apparently, not required to by his employer, but he tells me he prefers to wear suits; and he wears them quite well.  When he and John came out of John’s office, I walked over and took hold of Ed’s arm, found his watch under his shirt sleeve and said, “Well, it looks like it still works.”

Today Ed is wearing a textured, light grey suit, a white shirt and a blue and gold striped bow tie; a real bow tie which he tied himself.  He looked really good.  I had to look at something at K’s desk and he had to finish his discussion with John and then he came over to the counter at K’s desk.  I told Ed he was much too late for us to do an inspection and I was about to go get some lunch.  He asked me where I was going and said he’d walk with me.  I told him I was just going to go across the street and get a sandwich to bring back to my office, and again he said he’d walk with me.

In the elevator, I reached up and moved the edge of his bow tie out of the way to see if it was tied or clipped and he said, “Oh yeah, baby, that’s tied!”  He watched four you tube videos over the weekend to learn how to do it.  I asked him if he’d been hitting the gym (this was a topic that had come up in previous conversation.)  When he said no, he asked why.  I said, “You look good.  You look fit.”  He said, “Yeah.  If you’re gonna wear a bow time you have to walk tall!” (So true.)  Being of Asian heritage, he is not a tall man, but he hides it well.

Ed walked over to the deli with me, chatted with me while I waited for my sandwich and then walked back to my office with me, for no business reason whatsoever.

Many times I have wondered if he might be gay.  Many times I’ve been sure he wasn’t.  I know nothing about his personal or romantic life.  I may be imagining it all, but sometimes when he leaves me, I think there’s some interest, some possibility.  Other times he leaves me and I’m sure it’s all in my head.

Just call me Coach.