This was the first shot at writing on the web I ever tried way back in 2005. It was a rough time, dinosaurs ruled the land, Boy Bands were being hunted to extinction and the great white AOL was still screaming and hissing on people's phones like a pissed cocktail. And I decided I should write something, somewhere like a message in a bottle.
Sometimes those bottles come back.
Apr. 3rd, 2005 | 05:09 am
I am a night person.
I know this, not just by the fact I am sitting here at 5 in the morning listening to Cake. There is something so completely perfect about his voice in the middle of the night. A magic in the word Perhaps that can't exist while the sun is up. I have a lot to say, I can tell already that, I have hung out with my friends, played my video game, went and downloaded some White Label mixes, and I am still awake.
It's cause I am a night person.
I can hear the night. You know what I mean if you're one. You can hear the night, it is this, like water rushing towards you. A stirring that has no sound or fury, but it signifies something. There is a live wire that engages itself in my head as soon as it gets late. Like the background noise of the world has drifted off, and for like 2 hours, before the city wakes up, it's quiet. Not silent, quiet.
I grew up in the Bay Area in California and I have this very vivid memory. Me and some friends had gone to Berkly to watch/perform Rocky Horror. We had screamed ourselves hoarse and ended up in this crummy little diner, dressed as freaks, making the waitress smile politely at us, but you saw her eyes move off us. Like we were invisible and glowing neon at the same time. So my friend Cybil, sweet Cybil, who was too chubby to be beautiful in San Fransisco, but had a mind sharper than any mind had a right to be. So Cybil takes off back to her place where me and my friend Wayne are stay. They scramble into Wayne's 30 year old Rambler. 2 Tone steel car, the kind of car a dwarf would make if they knew how to make cars. They climb in, they are tired, reek of smoke and probably want to get back to have sex. Wayne was one of those guys who could see past the body in a way that made me hate him every time I thought I loved him. I was ready also. I had spent another weekend in this old, haunted movie house, ghosts of movies past wandering the halls. A glory to it that if you squinted and looked away fast, you could see. Anyone who has been there knows what i am talking about. Like some grand old dame, well past her prime, you can see in her eyes and smile, she was once a mankiller. She once was the belle of any ball, had any man she wanted, and looked back with no regrets and 2 fifths of burbon wouldn't uncover. I was tired, confused and a little pissed they were going to have sex and I wasn't.
Not that I was looking for sex, principle you understand.
So I decided to walk. San Fransisco is a grid like entity that in paper sounds so simple. Letters and numbers. Cross streets and intersections. Straight lines in concept, the reality is something much more. Well of course they tried to talk me back into the car. I knew I was being dramatic but I also knew, my night wasn't done yet. So I walked away from them, I never looked back to see if they were waiting.
I'm lying, they didn't wait.
So I walked. Calm bay breeze moving past me like an old friend. It circled around my feet, I pushed my hands into my jacket and fought to ignore it. this wasn't time to play. I was MOPING. For me sometimes, this is an Olympic sport. But the mope wouldn't take. As I heard the ships in the bay and the lapping of the water as I walked past the piers, the mope went away. And I felt it.
I felt the night.
It was like a friend, a lover, a companion. Me and the night walked for quite some time. Me and the night walked the hills, watching the squat little street cleaners do their early morning ballet, I could smell baked bread form a corner bakery. It was Sunday morning and the city was waking up like anyone else on a sweet Sunday, slowly. I watched as the city stretched itself out, like a cat making it's presence known without letting you know it cares if you know. Me and the night, we walked the streets, we walked and I talked. I told the night about my day, and my night. I told the night that I knew I was gay, and that I didn't care what people thought about that. I was more worried if I was gay.
I know....let me explain.
I love men. I mean they turn me on. I see a hot guy, and I drool. Kinda Pavlovian I know, but I respond to homo-erotic images. Always have, always will. I also knew that I wanted to spend my nights with a man. I knew that I wanted to feel this guy curl up in my arms. I wanted to smell his shampoo, I wanted to rub against his stubble. I wanted to talk about our day, I wanted to argue that cartoons have way more depth than certain literary novels. I wanted to debate the fact I thought the Roadrunner was in fact a criminal mastermind and I wanted him to laugh and pull me close and say I was crazy. I wanted that in a way that made my bones ache. I wanted all of that.
I just didn't want to be gay.
I didn't want to be the finger snapping, neck turning, flamboyant freak that made me shudder when someone other than a gay guy did the voice. Nothing worse than a straight fuck pretending to be a flamer that gets me going. I didn't mind effeminate guys. I loved my friends who were, I just wasn't one of them. I was the one who didn't drink, never did drugs. I was the one that we all had a blast telling girls I was gay just to see them freak out. I was the straight acting one who wasn't acting. I didn't like clubs, I didn't like casual sex. In general....I didn't like gay. At least the gay I kept seeing.
I wanted to go to Barnes and Nobles on a Sunday morning, grab a stack of comic book GN's, a HUGE frappicino and sit there, looking across from this guy, as he read...well whatever he wanted to read. And I wanted us to share our differences, I wanted him to ask if Superman had really died and did I think the guy who played Flash on the TV show was hot. I wanted him to laugh that a grown man loved comic books and died for a good video game. I wanted him to think it was cute that I was happier at home on the couch than in any club made or devised. I wanted all this...but I kept coming back to the gay thing.
Well let me tell you one thing about San Fransisco. When you talk to her, and it is a her. Actually it is a huge drag queen with incredible makeup and a wig that can make Tammy Fay blush. She has no shame, no tact and will always tell you the truth. And for that you call her a her. It's only respectful.
So the city stops me and the night on my walk and in the middle of my little....well guess I was moping after all. And she looked right at me.
"You like dick right?"
Well, I had to admit, I did like dick, so I just nodded yes.
Then you're gay. Move on.
That was when I got mad.
Move on ? Move on ? How can I move past this point if I say I am gay then I have to accept all those other things. And I have to go to those damn bars and do that whole casual sex thing. I will have to smile a lot when I have no reason and I will have to scream people's name that I barely know over yet another Hector remix of yet another fucking Madonna song. And I will sit there, as my eyes water up from the smoke, and I am going to end up leaving with some guy and we are going to talk in some diner for the next 30 minutes so we can see each other in something other than bar light. And we are gonna trade romantic resumes and see if we are indeed what we are looking for, or a temp job that might come up. Some guy, I won't call again, who won't look at me next time I see him out. This guy, I am going to have to be this guy.
Well of course like any good drag queen, the city took a pause, dragging out the next words into a dramatic monolouge instead of just words. She looked me in the eye and simply said, "Then don't become him."
That of course had occurred to me. I mean sure, I can turn my nose up at all of that. Go off and live this...well life. A life with no romance, no sex, I had friends, I had work, I had my comic books. I had a cat, a car and I had myself.
"No, I don't mean walk away from it idiot, I mean don't be that guy. Be yourself, do what YOU want. Don't do what you think they want you to be. Just shut up already and be you. Fuck em if they can't take it. Why waste time on people who don't get it?
I looked to the night, hoping at least he can back me up some here. But the night was quiet, even it bowed to the wisdom that can fall from a drag queens mouth.
"Be myself ?"
"Only person you can be, I don't think you're smart enough to be more than one.", her smile told me she was kidding, her eyes told me she wasn't joking.
"What if they don't like me ? What if I am just this boring, introspective nerd who follows the X-Men monthly and stands in line to see the new Sci Fi movie and the guy who still goes to Toys R US to see whats new, and more times than not walks out with something. What if they just look at me and laughs. What if I end up alone ?"
Drama pause and then,"Sweetie, what do you think you are now ?"
I looked to the night, but it had fled. The sun had given it's 20 minutes notice and I am sure the night was well on it's way to clock out, go home, take a shower and watch some Twin Peaks before it crashes. I looked back and the city was just a city, Drag Queens don't do morning at all.
I looked to the little bakery I was standing in front of and smiled.
I walked in and ordered myself a bagel and some juice, sat down outside, took this weeks comics out of my book bag, and began to read.
It felt good, coming out of the night, and just being me.