GIANT SPIDER ON THE WALL
It wasn’t so much the loud bang, the pieces of sheet rock that landed on my head or even the gun aimed just above my head that frightened me as much as the smell. I guess it was a mixture of gun powder and the particles from the well. However, I remember thinking it smelled of a cannon having been fired above my head. In retrospect, I do not understand why no one did anything about his behavior. But, we tossed it off to his being eccentric and the whiskey.
My mother would come running into the room. Me shaking the white powder and bits out of my bowl haircut. Dad sitting across from me, whiskey glass in his left hand and 45 mag in his right still aimed just a bit above my head. My mother in her blue shorts and patchwork button up shirt with her thin arms flat against her sides.
“What in the fucking hell are you doing to the walls?!?!? And put that goddamn gun down! Are you fucking crazy?!?!?”
Never one to sit quietly and a smartass at seven, I answered her last question, “Yeah. He’s fuckin’ crazy!”
“Shut up! Don’t talk like that!”
Dad just sat there looking confused. The gun was now resting on his knee, but I remember thinking that this was even worse because now it was aimed right at me. I remember wondering what it might feel like if he shot and the bullet splattered into my chest. How bad would it hurt? Would it hurt more than other things that had started to happen? But, I would start to get dizzy when I thought about such things. So, I began to hum.
“What in the hell were you doing? Do you realize how close that was to your son!!?? He’s a little boy!”
At this point mom began to run her long fingers through my hair and shaking the plaster crap out of it.
“Go to your room”
“No” …I just sit there humming staring across at the barrel of the pistol that was pointed at me.
“Give me the fucking gun!”
Dad sort of zoned back in and shook his head to indicate that he would not relinquish the gun to her or anyone. He finished off his whiskey and glared at me. I wasn’t scared. I glared back at him. I remember thinking how much trouble he would get into if he did shoot me.
“What were you doing?”
Mom was not going to let him off.
He sighed and just let the glass drop to the floor. It didn’t break. It just rolled across toward us and under the couch.
“I was trying to protect our son! I saw another one of those giant spiders crawling down the wall toward him. I didn’t want that motherfucking spider to bite him. So, I just shot the fucker. He’s lying behind the couch on the floor dead. I fucking saved our son, bitch!”
Giant spiders. This was a new thing. He had been seeing giant spiders a lot and even normal spiders terrified him. This always struck me as odd as my dad was a big guy. Well over six feet tall, always in a cowboy hat, boots and way too heavy. Actually, I guess he was what one might call “fat” but he somehow carried it in a way that didn’t seem so pathetic. It seemed more menacing and women flirted with him all the time. My mom was hot. My dad’s friends watched her a lot. And, I think she liked that attention and hated it all at once.
Giant spiders. And, now they were coming after me.
I could hear my Grandmother knocking at the door that separated her little house from ours. I wanted to go, open the door and let her take me into her house. But, I knew that would be a mistake.
But, grandmother was going to listen to my mom. She never did. She just kept knocking. They never gave her a key.
“So, you saw more of these giant spiders. How much have you had to drink?
“Not enough. Shut the fuck up with the humming! You sound like a fucking girl!”
Dad’s attempt at humiliation only made me want to stop with the humming and start singing full on. But, I knew that would be dumb. So I stopped humming.
“I am so sick of your fucking shit! I will not have you shooting guns in the house and you will not shoot them that close to him!”
Dad stood up. His gun fell back into his recliner. He was heading for her. She could move quick. Despite her small frame, she was able to pick me up in one swoop. My head was pressed into her breasts. She smelled like that French perfume she kept on their dresser.
As he sort of fell toward where we were she managed to move us to the side of the recliner where he had been. But, I don’t think he was going to hit her because he simply pulled the couch from the wall. It scraped on the floor and moved out several feet from the wall.
“I want the two of you to look at this dead mother fucker!”
Grandmother’s knocking was getting really loud and I could hear my uncle calling my dad’s name. His retarded voice sounding even more child like than usual.
I remember everything sort of freezing for a minute. Dad stood there staring down at the space between the wall and the couch. I guess he couldn’t find the dead giant spider. He let out a stream of curse words and punched a hold through the wall.
“Fuck you! We’re leaving”
And, with that mom carried me out the front door. She didn’t have to tell me what to do. I crawled into her blue Volkswagen Bug and plunged myself into the passenger seat. She jumped in and slammed the door. I could hear him calling her name. I don’t think she bothered to look behind us. She just pushed the pedal down and we backed out of the yard at a high speed and were soon speeding down the street. A couple of neighbors were outside watching. I felt embarrassed. She never seemed to notice the stares. Actually, she seldom noticed the neighbors.
She was crying. That always made me feel bad. So I plugged her tape in. Elton John was singing about electric boobs and moe hair’d suits. I started singing at the top of my lungs. She started laughing. We drove and drove. At one point she slammed on the brakes, shut the 8 track tape player off and looked at me. The make-up around her eyes was all funny looking. She looked like a sparkling raccoon. I loved that tan stuff with glitter she rubbed into her skin, but her hair was all messy. Like she had forgotten to use her hairspray or something.
“Baby, has Daddy been touching you in ways that are wrong? Has Daddy tried to hurt you? Mommy needs you to tell her.”
I stared ahead. Was that a horn honking at us? I wondered if she would take me to a movie or drop me off at the movies for a while.
She was crying again, but we were moving.
She pulled the little car into a parking lot infront of the strip mall where we watched fireworks sometimes. The movie theater was close I just wasn’t sure. I thought about jumping out of the car and trying to find it. I wanted to just runaway from her. But she turned the tape back on and turned the volume up high. She was punching the buttons and found the song about Benny and the Jetts that we both loved. The lights in the parking lot had come on. It was dark. I wondered how late it was.
“C’mon! Let’s dance!”
Mom got out of the car. I tried to get the passenger door to open, but it wouldn’t budge. So, I crawled over the stick shift and got out of the car. I hated my shorts. They were plaid. Grandmother had made them for me so I felt like I had to wear them. I liked the way the pavement felt on my feet. She took my hands and we started dancing to Elton John’s music. She was singing along like me. She picked me up and twirled me around.
We were both singing and laughing.
A van of older boys drove by and called out things to us that I knew were aimed at my mom. She both hated and loved that sort of attention. They parked their van a little ways away from us and were watching us. I felt a little scared, but she had no fear. She was lost in the music.
And, I think, for a few minutes — my mom was happy.
THE MEANING OF LIFE, ODD DINNER PARTIES, MUSICAL LOVERS & PANCAKES…
This morning began quite late for me. I woke up at 9am, opened up my iTunes to LemonJelly and fell back into sleep listening to the electronic ramblings. I got up a little before 11am. Headed out to find a pair of black slacks that would fit me. Finally found a 29/32, but am had to go with pleated. Ugh. Not too cool. I had my iPod on an endless loop of the 2 dueling 12″ mixes of “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” by Barbra & Donna. Aside from letting LemonJelly woe me back to slumber, this is all I’ve heard this morning. I love comparing and contrasting the two versions. Columbia Records released a 9 minutes version that is classic old-skool disco filled with those wondrous orchestral disco arrangements and enhanced mixing so that Barbra’s vocals totally eclipse those of Donna. Then there is the by far more polished mix by Giorgio Moroder for the Casablanca Records 12″ version which runs for just under 12 minutes. And, of course, this one is mixed so that Donna’s vocals are cranked up to 11 and Barbra’s are lowered to an 8 or so. …and that great little diva dig where you can hear Donna urging Barbra to “C’mon!” as Barbra starts to jump into a verse. But, the one thing that all the trickery of Moroder and Bob Esty can’t change is the moment toward the end of the song when Babs and D just belt out that chorus and quite nearly blow out by iPod headset. Such great disco fun.
However, dear friends, this is not the purpose of my posting. I want to tell you about — last night. I might as well. It is bound to get out at some point and I’d like to be the source to give you the truth. The whole truth and nothing but the truth. You see, it all began innocently enough. Ing met me at my new and way-cool office and we went out. Ing had a bit of an adventure on her way to meet me, but that is her story to tell. Suffice to say that if you should ever be cruising the streets of San Francisco on your cute little Vespa scooter — steer clear of Ing’s path. Failure to do so could be quite tragic! However, I digress.
We had a lovely dinner, followed by a great movie and then a stroll thru the beauty that is The Tenderloin where Ing and I were accosted right and left by dirty people begging us for money. One particularly creepy man offered me a newspaper for Ing. I did my best not to kick him, but Ing gave him a few coins because she’s just that kind of person. Once we made it to our destination, a great little dinner from the 40’s that makes the best damn pie you’ll ever find!
We ordered our sweets and talked for several hours about life, love, sex and politics. We spoke of friends, family, lovers, ex-lovers and those who we hope to be our lovers. Then, as I took my last sip of Diet Coke, Ing pulled out a book and began to read to me. Amid the social misfits inhabiting the dinner at 1am I was enraptured by the spell of a story by Tobias Wolf. And, if ever I have the guts to want to read my writing I plan on getting Ing to read it. Great voice and phrasing. The story was quite effective and left us both feeling drained.
I looked over at Ing with tears in my eyes and asked, “Ing, will I ever know love?”
Ing took my hand (after she wiped off the whip cream and chocolate syrup) and told me, “Matty, yes. You will know love. In fact, I am taking you to my home because I want you to meet someone. A very important person in my life. And, I think I might be able to arrange for you to meet the man who will bring you the love you so desperately desire. It’s going to be OK, sweetie.”
Well, how can I tell you what happened next? We got in Ing’s car and drove down some back streets — only a few cyclists were harmed. And, suddenly, I realized we were up at the top of Nob Hill.
“Ing? I didn’t know you lived up here?”
“Matty, very few people do know that I live here. However, I am opening this truth up to you.”
We drove into the driveway of a palace. Exotic plants grew over everything and the air smelled of tropical flowers and incense. Ing led me into her home. It was expansive and lovely. Decorated in a sort of retro-cool that so many aspire but seldom reach. Belle & Sabastian could be heard as she led me to a stunning dining area. I believe they were singing a song called “White Collar Boy” — it was magnificent.
“Have a seat, Matty. I am going to introduce you to my lover.”
“Wow! Ing? You have a lover?”
“Yes, this is our home.”
Ing walked out of the room. Belle & Sebastian crooned on to a new song called “The Blues Are Still Blue” and suddenly life started to make sense. This is what life is all about. This is what life is meant to be. This, my friends, is the meaning of life. I heard the clearing of a throat behind me and there he was. Standing in a way that indicated he wasn’t quite sure he was comfortable meeting me. His blonde hair was messed up in a way that showed meticulous care and, despite the warmth of their home — he wore a way-cool jacket. He was holding Ing’s hand. He raised her hand to his full lips and gently kissed it. That’s when I noticed the wedding band on Ing’s finger. She must have noticed my eyes looking at her ring.
“Yes, Matty. We are married, but we are not comfortable letting people know. Beck is really focused on recording his new record and –”
Beck raise his thin hand and spoke of his love for Ing and the fact that she and his music were all that mattered to him.
Suddenly, I felt self-conscious. Ing sighed and told me that she and Beck were going to make me some dinner because they knew I must be famished. And, indeed I was. Aside from my shock regarding Ing’s secret life up on Nob Hill with Beck I was starving!
The doorbell rang. Beck called from the kitchen and asked me if I could answer the door. I walked back thru the hall to the door. Well, I can’t begin to tell you how I felt when I discovered Andy Gibb standing there in the darkness of a the crisp San Francisco night.
“Are you Matt?”
“No, my name is Hot Toddy. Sexy Hot Toddy. I’ve been told I look a bit like the late Andy Gibb. Matt, I want you. I need you.”
This was just too much. I ran away from Sexy Hot Toddy with tears in my eyes? Had he come all the way from across the country just to meet me or to hang with Ing & Beck.
Ing caught me just as I was running toward a room that seemed to be wall-paper’d in leather. (???) She held me tight. Told me to get a grip and led me back to the dining area where Beck and Sexy Hot Toddy sat. And, there at the end of the table was a plate of pancakes just for me.
As my fork sliced thru the buttery syrup covered pancakes my heart filled with joy. All was good with the world. Beck began to tell us how President Bush had been accidentally killed by Vice President Cheney while the two were cleaning their guns. Cheney had suffered a heart attack and it didn’t look good. We all smiled as Belle & Sebastian continued singing something about the price of tea —- then, as we laughed about Condy Rice’s fatal shoe store accident I could have sworn I heard someone singing the theme song to that odd Dudley Moore flick, BEDAZZLED.
And, then — just when I thought my heart would bust —–
…I woke up.
A NOTE FROM THE LAND OF THE EMPLOYED!!!
I will and tend to blog about anything that I feel like, but I do not blog about to work. However, I must let you all know that I was offered and accepted a job today! Effective tomorrow, I join the ranks of the employed.
You know, I bet most of you already know I was an odd child. But, when I was a little kid I had 3 fantasies about what I wanted to be when I grew up!
1. Barbara Eden as I Dream Of Jeannie! (I’m not sure if I understood that there was a difference between Ms. Eden and her role at the time. I think I actually thought she was a Jeannie and I so wanted to be her, have Major Nelson and live in a bottle.
Well, kids — today I discovered that dreams can come true!
I gave up my quest to be Barbara Eden ’round about the age of 4. Tho, I still wouldn’t mind living in a bottle as beautiful as the one she had. I wouldn’t want to be a girl and I no longer see the desire factor regarding Major Nelson. I gave up on the idea of being a movie star when I realized that I was easily crushed by a turn down from a community theater director. If I had trouble being evaluated on my looks by Mrs. Jones, there was no way I would be able to handle the audition process. Huh! I saw A chorus Line and ALL THAT JAZZ!
However, all my years in management I still dreamed of being a receptionist. I used to envy the folks who held this job. When I left Boston I did my very best to secure a Reception position but was constantly met with “You’re over-qualified” or “We do not think you would be challenged” —- But, this morning, I got the job! And it is in a gay positive, fun and cool environment! I am so excited.
First paycheck two weeks from Monday! Whoo-hoo! Of course, I am thinking it will take approximately a decade to catch up but it’s a paycheck! LOL!
I HAVE A JOB!!!! …don’t worry, I will still remain perplexed and angst-ridden. …but now I’ll have a budget!
MY NEW BOYFRIEND
Jungle Jane is trying to set me up with this hot chap. However, I fear he might be a bit too conservative for my tastes. But, if the chemistry is right — who knows? Jane – Are you sure this will be a good match?
This is who I really want for my boyfriend:…Arthur H. who, in my opinion, is the hottest singer/songwriter to ever emerge from France! Go France! I mean, I think he and I would make for a great match! I’m happy that Ing and Gina have found their true love with Bode M, but Arthur H. — come on! I mean look at his picture! Hear his voice! You can almost smell him! …that, being a good thing. There is one minor problem that could get in the way of my possible romance with this French God.
…He’s straight. I’m fairly positive. Tho, I can’t understand a word he sings. I like to pretend that I can — and Arthur H. sings only pour moi! However, there are suddle little clues that tell me he is more inclined toward the female sex…
…now color me “ignorant” if you must, but I am fairly certain that he is posing with a naked chick in those pictures. Also, one of his most popular songs is called “Bo Derek” but I was thinking that maybe that was like a witsful little ballad about shopping for clothes with Bo. Tho, I think this might just be wishful thinking on my part. Still. He does do that kick ass cover of “The Man I Love” …but he is French. And, those French are so wacky! Ya just never know. I wish that I were French. …not really. I think I’d rather be British and live in London. Then, perhaps I could travel to Paris every other week and serve as Arthur H.’s groupie or something — if it were to turn out that my suspicions of his being heterosexual are incorrect.
But, I’m not French. Five years of French study at university and all I can say is “Je suis fromage” …and, tho my heritage is all British — I am not. Just a Texas born guy recently transplanted from New England to the gay side walks of San Francisco.
So, Jane, if you want to send me that boy’s number I will give him a call.
A guy’s gotta date, right? And, I want a boyfriend. Maybe I could teach this guy how to dress. I don’t think the post-70’s-slut-boy thing is really working, but big thumb’s up for the effort!
Ingrid gave me a CD of new Daniel Johnston music. I’ve been loving it. However, I seem to be stuck on a repeating loop of “Happy Time” — really love that song. Daniel should do a duet with Liz Phair. That would be some cool shit! …as the kids say. Or, hella-cool as all the kids in SF seem partial to saying.
SETTING THE DEMONS FREE
Walking toward the trolley I was filled with a sense of dread. My stomach in knots. I got on the train, sat by the window and focused on what the shuffle option of my iPod might bring…
“Darklands” by The Jesus & Mary Chain
“Only You” by Portishead
“An Execution” by Siouxsie & The Banshees
“Alone” by Heart
I turned off the iPod. That was just too fucking creepy. Stomach churning. Feeling ill.
Walked to the copy place to fax all my completed forms to a potential employer. I had to get those in today. Alan was going to print them for me but we forgot. So, I had to use their computer, printer fax. $18.09. Fuck!
Walking from the copy center toward my cafe the anxiety demanded attention. I ran to that side place by the funeral home and got sick. I put a piece of gum in my mouth and walked to the cafe. I got a croissant and a Diet Coke. And, here I sit with my thoughts and anxiety.
Sometimes things just start to back up. The flow gets restricted. You know?
Too much worry about things for which I have no control, too much feeling for some things that will always be out of reach, self-doubt and fears I suppress for too long, aching sadness from wounds that just start to scab over when an unfortunate brush against a rough problem opens them all over again.
The boys are starting to wake and walk by in the the sun. It is another gorgeous day. Bad Bette Midler 80’s music blares on about me being her hero. She’s a fucking liar. I sip my soda. My stomach is calming. I take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Bad Stevie Nicks 80’s music begins to blare about wanting me to talk to her. But, I like Stevie Nicks no matter the quality of the production. Even an army of synth MOR can’t prevent her voice from touching me.
…setting my demons free.
These demons that weigh us down. The ones that make you think you can’t make it thru. The ones that make you think the reason you can’t capture the love of the one you want is because you are something less than worthy. The ones that make you feel like no one will ever hire you. The ones who lure you to make shit choices. The ones that push you into feeling like you will never again regain your life or independent control. And, the demon of the past that just will not let go.
I push a held breath out.
I imagine a gust of hot smoke emitting from my lips and a swarm of goblins trying to swim but dying because they can’t breathe the air of my freedom. I imagine them dropping to the tiled floor. I think I see a couple find a way to breathe and they scurry to the door. I don’t try to stop them. I just want to be rid of them. I’m selfish. I want this peace for me right now. I imagine one pesky demon jumping into the ear of that fashion victim queen walking down Market Street. And I think I see the other one jump into the passing F train to sneak into that lady who wished ill will on the homeless man she passed on her way to the train.
And, these dead demons on the floor of the cafe. I prod at the little things with my shoes. I want to smash them with my foot, but I’ve an interview in a little while and I can’t afford to get my GAP non-pleated black pants dirty. They may be too loose, but they are clean!
But, shit. I didn’t rid myself completely of these burdens. I wonder if I made the right clothing choice. And, the sadness is still here. But, I feel much stronger. I’m ready to roll. Ready to reclaim what I think should be mine. I’m ready to push up the hill like a mythic hero forever stuck in a rut. …another demon poking thru my positive spin.
I need to ask them to change the radio channel — Michael Bolten has taken the mic. Has my favorite cafe turned into a den of bad late 80’s music? …or did one of my little demons creep into the Pioneer transmitter?
Setting the demons free is not entirely possible. They have their place, I suppose. But I’ve no need of them today. So, today I am telling my little demons to fuck off.
DRY HUMPING TILL MORNING OR THOUGHTS ON FELLINI’S CASANOVA
Blame my pal, Ing. I recently visited her at one of her cool places of employment (ah, it must be nice to be employed!) and discovered a way cool book called, “Fellini’s Faces” which features pictures of all Fellini’s personal favorite actors who have appeared in his films. It is fantastic. Anyway, it sort of got me to thinking that I had never sat myself down and watched my DVD of the FELLINI CASANOVA. I believe it can only be found in France for now, but I read a rumor that Criterion might be bringing it to DVD for the rest of the world at some point next year.
I guess I must have bee 9 going on 10 when my father took me to see it in the cinema. I remember not understanding much of anything I saw and falling asleep — spilling my popcorn all over the floor. And, it gave me a nightmare. I was confused by a scene where it seemed like Donald Sutherland was doing something very wrong to a life size doll. Either he didn’t understand or my father was too into what we were watching to explain. But, that gave me a serious nightmare. Fellini film sort of went crazy after he discovered acid and made JULIET OF THE SPIRITS and FELLINI SATYRICON. …and, personally, I’m glad he took that trip because he created some incredible images. His films are still bold, experimental and work on many levels. However, logic is not one of those levels upon which a lot of his work rests.
…donald sutherland as the ultimate, but reluctant lover is only able to really connect to another when she is an ‘it’ and not a person… The doll of my childhood nightmares.
I had the chance to see FELLINI CASANOVA back in the early 90’s in Boston at Harvard University. The print shown was in poor shape, the imagery and concept of the work blew me away. True, the film was flawed. Too long, a narrative structure that is a bit too challenging to follow and a lead actor who is more than miscast — Donald Sutherland looks confused and worried. I remember thinking, “Wow, you can tell he is dying to rake his agent over the goals for this one!” I was too young and have not read up enough to know if this film was a hit. But, I think it is considered one of his few cinematic mistakes by most. That is really too bad because the film shines despite the flaws. I am hard pressed to think of a more interestingly photographed or beautifully filmed movie. Filmed in the amazing and legendary studio sets in Italy with the ultimate Fellini cast of oddities, misfits and the oddly sexy. Um, let’s not forget that this was Chesty Morgan’s one and only bid for legit work! Small part. You’ll hardly notice her. …and, that says a lot for the visuals that Fellini puts in front of the camera. The set design, the costumes, the special effects (or lack thereof), the incredible N. Rota score, the vibrant use of color, the surreal impact and those faces! It is a film that one is unable to deny! Even at 2 hours and 46 minutes, it feels more like a little under 2 hours. Fellini knew how to hold your attention. Ken Russell must have been green with envy. And, there is no way that this film did not influence Peter Greenaway’s PROSPERO’s BOOKS!
One thing is for sure, this is NOT your Heath Ledger Casanova. This is an exploration of what happens when sex becomes as meaningless as a handshake. Casanova is presented as a bit fey, weary and constantly struggling to prove that he is more than a just a great lover. However, all anyone he meets cares about is his abilities to do “it” like no other. Fellini teases the audience into thinking that we may enter the realm of the erotic at any moment, but instead we enter the world of the exact opposite. There is plenty of simulated sex, but it is all mechanical and essentially dry humping with either anger, boredom or aggression being the most obvious emotion at play during the fluid exchanges. But Fellini never seems to feel the need to make it grim — the sex scenes are quite comical. Casanova carries a bizarre sort of sex clock that he almost seems to need to get it up. As he gets to humping, the phallic owl starts to tick faster and grow longer and longer. The ridiculousness of it all is funny.
However, there is a sadness at play. A loneliness that makes you feel some empathy for this lost and bittering soul who dreams of being accepted as an intellectual but, in the end is just a silly sexual diversion for the wealthy. In the end, if one is to be forced into a world of dry humps — the most enjoyable and erotic moments are bound to be shared with a robotic doll. The closing scene of Casanova taking on the doll-like effect of his fuck doll lover as they skate on the ice over the long-ago frozen goddess of fertility is one of both the beautiful and the really ugly.
My Movie Views Shared With The Greater New England Area…
I volunteer as the Asian Film Programmer for the Rhode Island Film Festival. Tho, I haven’t done much of anything for them in the past 5 months. Anyway, this was an interview that ran in the RI news paper about a year ago but is just now showing up on the Film Fest site. I thought I would share the warmth for 3 reasons:
1. Everyone should see OldBoy
2. Promote the RI Film Festival which is saving one of the most historic cinemas in the US
3. And, the whole “Look, Ma” factor
As this illustrates, my head is full of useless information…
After a long day at the office we would go for drinks. Always upscale. She, a boss of mine, used to lament that I was like a little cloud of worry always floating above everyone I loved and it drove her crazy. She would fidget on the bar stool or the lounge sofa and stare at me as I rambled on about one thing or another. Very often I would be expressing my thoughts on a problem that she, one of our colleagues, one of my friends or one of her friends might be having and I would notice a look on her face that gave me pause.
I would shut up. A rare thing. She would take a sip of her martini, tilt her head to the side, examine her perfectly manicured nails and say, “There you come again. A little annoying cloud of worry trying to fog it all up. Where’s the fucking waiter, anyway?”
I would flag down the nearest server and think about what she had said. …what she always said to me. This was an endless loop of a scene for the two of us. I would take a deep breath and change the subject because I knew she was right. I was and am a cloud of worry. I worry about everyone I know. I can’t help it.
I care. Therefore I worry. Then, therefore I am.
…and, I think that, as a cloud, maybe — I do not have to worry so much about myself. It always seems as if I’ve just made a horrible decision or am on the cusp of falling into an oblivion that on some level I helped to create. So, I try to float and blow away from it. I try to help and I hope that my problems will either dissipate or simply vanish. Another sort of loop I notice has been playing since I was a child.
As of late, my blog postings keep getting people upset or worried about me. I don’t mean to do that. I’m just writing what comes to my mind.
So, I am NOT a phone sex operator. I WAS one for a little over 2 months in 1991. That was a LONG time ago. I don’t see what is so “scary” or “horrible” about it. It was close to 15 years ago. I have no plans to ever do it again. Tho, I would cast no judgment on someone who does it or uses that sort of service. It was something that I did, that helped me to survive and that was interesting and even a bit fun. But, I guess I can see why I hesitated to share that experience with people. Duh.
Of course, I guess the concern just means that people care. Which is nice. But it makes me hold back on what I feel like I want to express or write. A recent interview for a front desk job was quite interesting but I shudder to think how some might respond if I wrote about it and the possiblilty that I just might end up taking the job. Another big duh.
I think several people are convinced I am totally nuts. And, I’m not. I worry too much about being nuts to actually be nuts. I just worry. And, of course my biggest worry and source of stress is my continuing search for employment and getting my life back.
I made mention of Tori Amos in a post recently and 8 pals who read my blog told me that they kept hearing her music — all on the same day and felt it was some sort of good sign. I hope it was. And, last night, as Ingrid and I were chatting and waiting for a movie to start I was telling her about the CD, “Boys for Pele” For some reason, that CD has been playing in my head a lot. This CD is an angry work aimed at men. At least this is how I view it. Pele, a god to whom natives sacrificed beautiful men. …rare as the sacrifices made are those of virgin women. Or, so it seems. Anyway, I think this a very clever choice of title for a CD which seems to chronicle a nasty end to a relationship.
I mentioned a song, my favorite, from that CD to Ingrid which has always puzzled and bothered me. And I bored her further by describing the vid-clip which accompanied the song at the time of its release. …the mid 90’s, I believe. “Hey Jupiter” is an odd haunting sort of soft song filled with questions. I’ve always wondered whether those questions were inward. Was the singer asking these questions to herself or was she speaking to a friend or to a lover or an ex lover? And the vid-clip is so creepy and fitting for the song. I was watching that vid on the Internet yesterday and the meaning of it all just sort of came together for me.
The speaker sits in a hotel room asking these questions to no one in particular as the room is being consumed by fire. Fire fighters and folks (friends?) watch from the street. Their faces filled with fear, concern and worry. A happy little girl pulls the foggy speaker out of the room and forces her to run out of the burning building to a rundown taxi. None of the on-lookers notice as she is led to the taxi by the little girl. The questions continue to run thru the speakers head as she looks forward as if in a drugged-out haze and yet the little girl jumps up and down next to her as if she just can’t wait for the taxi to take off for somewhere.
Is the little girl an angel? a demon? is this all metaphor or is the speaker dying up in that hotel room and the soul is being led away to — heaven? hell?
As I watched the video and thought about the cryptic questions Amos sings it struck me that I think there is no death in this little film or song. This is a person reflecting on something from which she must escape, but doesn’t quite no how. Addiction, maybe? But the point is — I think an inner strength is pulling this person out of a bad situation/phase and onward to something better. Not a death, but a re-birth and a turn in the journey that will lead to happiness.
…and, maybe, free of worry.
I have told very few people about this experience. I am not sure why. I am not ashamed of it, but people can cast judgments or project ideas on to you that have no validity. Also, it is ridiculous and I sometimes fear I will lose “cred” or something. I never even discussed this with my ex — and we were together a lonnnnnnng time. But, it’s raining. I am in a different cafe. A cafe that I once visited after a one night stand shortly after I moved to San Francisco. I didn’t know it was a one night stand until the event of the night was done. So, I came here feeling sad. Today, I am not sad but I am thinking about this experience because I actually discussed it with this jerk. And, of course. he projected something on to me that made no sense. Who knows? Maybe that is why it became a one night stand? Anyway, it is on my mind and in the spirit of my new life and my commitment to being true to myself, it might be cool to actually write about it. I think what amuses me the most is that it really means nothing and just a silly excursion of youth.
In the spring of 1991 I was desperate. The temp work I was getting was not paying enough to make rent and eat. And, I was discovering that my hard-earned degree in English was worth less than the parchment paper upon which it was printed. My job search was going no where fast. How many times did I hear, “Why aren’t you teaching?”
So, I was lying in my sleeping bag with Patti Smith booming from my CD player (I can know this because I wrote it down in my journal) reading the Boston gay rag, BayWindows. I came across a plain text ad for adult phone sex work and no experience was required. I called the number. The next evening after I left my temp post I headed over to a tiny office near The Boston Common.
It was on the 4th floor. The office was tiny and smelled of stale coffee and incense. I walked in and discovered a set of cubes and two fairly rough looking lesbians. Actually, they both would have called themselves “dykes” — actually, one of them was wearing a wife beater that read “Bull Dyke” across the chest. Her name was Bea and she was in charge, but her skinny girl wrote the checks. There were 3 things on the walls. A poster of Joan Crawford holding a rifle — I can only assume this was a picture from JOHNNY GUITAR. …I wanted it! A poster of Nirvana’s “Bleach” record. …I wanted to take it and mail it to my brother. And, a blow up of an ad for phone sex that had a picture of a girl in bikini. …I didn’t want that.
This last hanging work of art was the first ad that Bea and her girlfriend had ever posted. This was still an new enterprise for them. And, now, they wanted to offer the same service to gay/bi callers. That is where the BayWindows ad came into play. They were looking to “hire” five guys. I was asked if I could be available from 9pm to 2am 3 times a week. I cringed. I didn’t like the idea of walking home from this part of the city that late. But, Bea’s girlfriend explained that I would only be coming to the office to pick up my pay if I got the “gig” as she called. I remember Bea correcting her and telling me it was a “job” and a “gig” — they didn’t want any flakes. Bea told me that I sounded cute and responsible on the phone and that was why I was there.
Essentially, I had to audition. There were four cubes — all attached. But Bea had me go to the cube opposite her. I could only see the top of she and her girlfriend’s head. I no longer remember her girlfriend’s name. Let’s call her Jo.
Jo had handed me an odd looking mobile phone. Big and clunky, it had the look of a walkie-talkie. It beeped. One of them was calling me.
Bea: “Ok, connecting Mr. Jones. He wants to talk to a high school student. He is your principal and has found a fag magazine in your locker. He is into rough talk and rough sex. Here he is”
me: “Mr. Jones? I am really embarrassed. I’ll do anything, but please don’t tell my Dad. He will kill me if he finds out I’m gay!”
Jo: “Bobby, I have to tell him. You brought your faggot pornography into the school. I can’t have that. How do you think this makes me feel”
me: “I dunno. But, Mr. Jones, I will do anything! Just please don’t tell my parents!”
Jo: “Well, Bobby. What can you do to make me reconsider?”
me: “Anything you want, but please don’t hurt me, k?”
Jo: “Oh, I think some punishment is in order. Come on. What are you going to do for me?”
me: “Something that you’ll like, but I don’t want you to punish me.”
Jo: “Tough. Tell me what you can do for me.”
…I won’t take this any further, but my role play worked well for Jo and Bea.
I then took more calls from Jo and Bea. I guess I was there for about an hour. I knew the goal was to keep the person on the phone for as long as I could and to say things that person would want to hear. Bea would prompt me before Jo got on the phone and took on another scenario. I did the student/punishment thing, I did the son thing. I did the slut thing. I scored high marks on these. However, I didn’t do so well as being the coach, the teacher, the dad or the punisher. But, that turned out to be cool. I guess the other guys that they had met were older and Bea felt they had the “top” side covered, but she felt that they needed young, submissive and bottom. Jo agreed. I got the “gig” — uh, the “job”
I was “loaned” one of these giant mobile phones. I don’t have my journal with me, but I believe my nights were Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I have to admit I kind of enjoyed it for the first couple of weeks. I thought it was funny and it was kind of cool to be able to see how long I could keep a guy on the phone. I also thought it was endlessly interesting to hear and discover what turned this odd men on. During the first month I thought I had it made!
But, the extra money was great! However, even then, I knew it wasn’t much. I got $30 a night. But, if I kept someone on the phone for more than 30 minutes I got an extra $10. It was also paid to me in cash. But, it was safe, easy, kept me eating and allowed me to see a movie a week. I only got to the end of the second month before I turned my phone in to Bea and Jo. By that time I had a job and was finding it difficult to not tell my friends. I was also being asked to cover Fridays and Saturdays but refused. Which was pissing Bea off. Bea kind of scared me. In retrospect, Jo was the scary one. She never smiled and had the look of someone waiting to inflict pain on the nearest living thing. But, Bea was big, burly and yelled more than she spoke.
Now, the most interesting “conversations” I had were with women. ….straight women. I still don’t get this. But, sometimes I would get a call from a woman who wanted to talk to a gay guy who would explain everything “he” liked to do in graphic detail. I would be told what aspect of gay sex was of interest and go from there. I guess his happened about 6 times. And the women would masturbate as I talked to and with them. I wanted so badly to ask them what about hearing a gay guy describe hot gay sex got them off. But, that was forbidden. And, I was too afraid of Bea and Jo to ask their opinion. I still wonder about that. I would not find it erotic to sit and listen to a woman walk me thru what she likes to do or have done to her by a man or another woman. …I would find it interesting, but not erotic or arousing. But, then again, phone sex doesn’t interest me that much at all. Which might be why I started hating it so much.
Only one call ever disturbed me. I got this guy who wanted to hurt me in his fantasy discussion. So, he started telling me what he was doing to me and it got violent to the point that he was slicing me with a knife. After his conversing turned this corner I just stopped talking. …but he kept going. It was so gross and scary. After a few minutes of total silence from my end he stopped. Silence. Then, back into a normal voice he asked, “Hey, are you there?” I remember not being sure of what to do. Before I could stop myself I said, “I think you hit an artery. You killed me, dude.” (I was playing a skater) …he hung up.
When I would stop by every Friday to pick up my money I would sometimes meet other operators. It was interesting because it seemed that all of the women were lesbian, large and older. There was one lady who could not be a day under 60 — but I gathered she was there best. And I seemed to see/chat with her every Friday. I only ever met one of the other four guys. He was physically-challenged and had the look of a librarian. Interesting. By the second month I was flipping thru magazines, looking at one of my videos without sound — VALLEY OF THE DOLLS was my favorite. I wanted to clean, but the phone was too heavy.
I should note that the calls I got were fairly “normal” sex fantasies revolving around a younger guy getting punished by his father or teacher. This was “my” standard caller. What was funny at first was dull and gross in the end. By the second month I thought I was in hell for those hours on that stupid phone that was my secret beast of burden.
I can still remember feeling more than a little scared as I walked off the elevator to return the phone. Jo didn’t seem surprised, but Bea asked me if I would reconsider. I said no. Jo inspected my phone and then gave me my money. The disabled librarian-looking guy was there. We ended taking the elevator down together. As I held the door open for him he told me that Bea had told him I was her best male operator.
Odd, but kind of interesting.
Everyone, please cross your fingers for me! Interview tomorrow!
Ok, iPod Shuffle today on my way to the cafe:
“Fucking On The Dance Floor” by Dirty Sanchez
“Garbo” by Stevie Nicks
“Chinese Burn” by Curve
“Honey” by Tori Amos
“Personal Jesus (Holier Than Thou Mix)” by Depeche Mode
“Bedbugs And Ballyhoo” by Echo & The Bunnymen
“Headon” by The Jesus and Mary Chain
“The Wind” by PJ Harvey
“Throw Them To The Lions” by Siouxsie & The Banshees
“Spark” by Tori Amos
“Angels Go Bald, Too” by Howie B.
…and, then I arrived to the cafe. I chatted with Darren and Tom on the phone. And, I got something very, very, very kind in the mail — but I know not who it is from.
So — to “Glass of Tea” : Thank you so much. Funny how people can take on the role of angles and not even know it. I am much blessed with great friends! …and, a metal monkey with a huge penis necklace.
And, Milford took me to a fab dinner tonight! Upon my arrival home I decided to get something out of the pantry and smashed a very large jar of soy sauce all over the kitchen! Glass and soy sauce everywhere. 3 towels and many napkins later — it is clean and the whole house smells of Lysol. It’s all so hospital fresh we both want to puke. …but anything beats the scent of fermented soy sauce. Alan suspects that the bottle was more than 4 years old. Hmmmmm….
…sorry for the dull post!
NOTES & OBSERVATIONS FROM THE CAFE AT WHICH I SEEM TO LOITER WITH MY iBOOK…
So, since last week my days have consisted of waking up just as Alan is getting ready to leave for work so I don’t have to get in his way. Normally, if I were working — i would be up a good hour or so before him. However, right now this is not the case. So, rather than cramp his style and morning rituals (which we all have) — I either sleep or lay in bed till about 8:30am or so. Then I get up, have a cup of sugar free oatmeal, swallow my vitamins, turn on the cell phone, crank on some music with remote in hand for when/if the phone rings and I go onto the various job boards and watch/wait for jobs to which to apply. This routine runs till about Noon.
Then, I make some lunch. Eat. And head out to catch MUNI to whichever area I decide to seek temp/retail/part time employment. Normally, this is a time killer and an interesting way to see how people respond to me when I ask if I can submit my resume or inquire for an application or simply ask if they are taking applications. Then, ’round about 3pm I head over to my fave cafe on Market Street, get a cookie, a Diet Coke, sit my phone on the table and crank on the iBook. Now, the job postings seem to mostly come up in the first part of the day and you want to be the first to respond because in our current SF job market there are approximately 125 people who will respond to every posting within two hours. As someone who works HR and just left a position where I recruited from Craig’s List — you don’t and can’t really bother looking after the first 40 to 50. It’s just too much.
There does tend to be a number of postings that will pop up at the tail end of the day, but I’ve noticed that these are the jobs for which I am either way under-qualified or way-over qualified. So, from anywhere from 3pm to 6pm I am mainly surfing the Net, reviewing emails, making a few calls on jobs that I never heard back on, chatting with the lady who works the counter or just quietly watching and listening to the folks who come and go. There have been a few days where I have skipped out on checking stores/shops and just head straight to the cafe because I enjoy the sunlight, the people watching (ALWAYS great in SF — and particularly in this area) and I take notes.
Today was another beautiful and perfect day in San Francisco. The picture at the top of the post was taken in the summer of 1977 according to Google, but this is what the day looked like. But, it was nice and cool. I was wearing my neat-o Deisel jacket I got for $15 back in January — size small. So, it fits. My goatee is growing back.
I no longer have to ask for what I want, the lady is already pulling it together for me as I walk up. Today, however, there was a very interesting lady at the counter ahead of me. She looked like a ballet dancer gone to seed. I would guess she was in her mid to late 50’s and painfully thin. Her hair was in a tight bun and she dressed very thrift-shop chic. It was clear, tho, that she had money. While her skirt, shirt and sweater was most certainly designer vintage — her shoes were not. Spiked heel’d to the point of fetish with little black ribbons that tied up her calves. Red silk stockings and some very expensive diamond rings — she oozed a sort of classy slut look. The problem was her face. Not enough make-up to match her over-all “look” and the pain of time and mileage were all over her cheeks and around her eyes. She looked somehow frail, tired and pissed off. I could tell as I walked up that the normally happy-go-lucky lady at the counter was not happy. I could also tell that this customer had been at the counter for some time. I will call her Lilly.
Llily stood there with her right foot extended so far I thought she might break out in dance at any moment. Her left hand (with long red finger nails) was placed firmly on the top of the counter and her right hand was touching the side of her face as if she were trying to solve life’s ultimate mystery. Lilly was sighing as I walked up.
Lilly: “Well, they all look divine, but how can you not sell sugar-free pastry?”
no response from my pal
Lilly: “I just don’t know what I want. I’m sorry, but there is both so very much and yet so very little.”
well, here is your tea. why don’t i ring that up and assist my other customer.
(Lilly looks at me. I look at her. She frowns. I smile. Lilly returns her attention to the pastries layed out under glass)
Lilly: “I guess the croissant has the least sugar, but each one probably has a stick of butter. Is that correct?”
no response from my pal
Lilly: “And you say that these ring shaped things are more sugar-like than bread orientation?”
my pal looks at me with a look that seems to scream “I’m gonna kill this white ass biaaatch!”
Lilly: “Well, I need to think just a bit more. Why don’t you help this young man.”
(Lilly turns and watches me and the counter lady closer than she was inspecting the pastry)
I get my cookie and Diet Coke
Lilly: “Excuse me, but do you have any idea how much sugar is in that huge cookie?”
Me: “A lot I should think. You see, this is a pastry shop and this is a chocolate chip cookie.”
my pal laughs out loud
Lilly: “Well, you appear to be in good shape so you must know what you’re doing. I like your jacket. Is it Diesel?”
(Lily touches my jacket with her right hand)
Lady, leave my customer alone. Either order something, pay for your tea or leave my store.
Lilly: “I’ll take an oatmeal cookie, but I would like to see more healthy options!”
Fast forward about an hour — two middle-aged men enter each holding the hands of two little girls. I would guess these two guys to be in their mid-40’s. They are wearing track suits. One is orange and the other is blue. It is an Howard Johnsons kind of moment except they are both gayer than gay. It is quick to note that the two little girls are their adopted daughters. The domestic “life” partner in orange is tall and thin. The other domestic “life” partner in blue is not so tall and a bit chubby. The two girls look like they could be twins. One is in a dress and the other in a little jumper-like thing. I should think that they are both about 5 or 6.
Orange: “Honey, why don’t you take care of Kayla and I will take care of Kara”
the little girls go all hyper and upset Lily who has been sipping her tea, playing with her cookie and staring off into space ever since she sat down. But, the two kids are REALLY noisy.
Orange and Blue seem oblivious to the fact that their little girls’ collective voices rival a sonic boom.
counter lady looks distressed. …she has trouble understanding what the little girls want. I am not sure that either spoke English very well. The odd thing was that the two daddies just seemed to be amused at the chaos.
Enter a very flamboyant pair of boyzzzz. Each wearing tight jeans and mesh power tank tops despite the cool weather. They have perfect bodies but sound like the Gabor sisters.
It only takes a moment before they are both horrified by the noisy children and the ugly track suits.
Lily just can’t take it.
Lily: “Please shut your fucking brats up! This is not a zoo! Some of us are trying to think!!”
Eva Gabor: “You go, Miss Thang!”
…the little girls shut up. Orange looks angry, but Blue looks worried. They get 4 cookies and rush out. The Gabor sisters want a 10 dollar bill broken. Not going to happen. They are annoyed and leave.
I look over at Lily. She seems sad to me.
I sigh and wonder if I will get any call backs today. I don’t. But, I do get some funny emails and a phone call from a friend. As I leave I turn off the phone as I put my iPod ear plugs on/in — Siouxsie & The banshees come on first. …”Jigsaw Feeling” …I decide I’ve been listening to too much Siouxsie & The banshees.
…maybe one of the 3 positions for which I feel most confident will call tomorrow. As I get on MUNI Siouxsie comes back on singing of metal postcards. The guy on my left smells of old shoes, the guy on my right smells of Old Spice but the lady standing across from me smells like one of the Calvin Klein scents. I walk home from West Portal and I’m soooo cold!