Boy, do I have some Tales to Tell...
Another Xmas gone by. I am glad it's done. I got a $50 gift card for Barnes & Noble, a bar of Lindt dark chocolate, and a Pannetone. All from Mike's family. Mike and I don't exchange gifts. We just buy things that we want after the holidays. Plus, it's cost effective.
The best part of this year's holiday is that we got to spend Xmas at Mike's childhood home with the entire family (extended!). It was nice that his brother's family made an effort to leave their home and spend time in Philly. I knew that I had to be there for that; if it meant travelling at 8:00am on Xmas morning.
So, it's back to work. I have dinner plans for New Year's Eve. Should be fun. I am glad to be home. Even though I have this bad cough. Later.
I can now cross off "Walk from 92nd Street to 24th Street" of my To Do list. Thank goodness.
For the first six hours of work, it took every ounce of humanity in me not to bash anyone over the head for asking stupid questions. I think people were purposefully avoiding me when they got a glimpse of my face. Some of my co-workers would come over and ask if I was okay. Others would just look in fear from a distance as I worked. The few that I am good friends with would just come over and give me a hug. Needless to say, after walking 90 minutes in the freezing cold only to work on my feet for 8.5 hours drained me of any compassion for people in general (let alone the striking Transit workers who make double what I make, may they rot in hell with their kin).
Around 7:30pm, as we began the last phase of our shift, I took on the task of restocking the water aisle; the very-heavy-gallons-of-water water aisle. Let's just say, I need to take out some more agression by throwing around cases of spring water. I'm in a frenzy of activity when this lady, probably in her 40's, comes up to me and says, "I just want to thank you for coming in. I know it wasn't easy to get here and work, but I want to say thanks for watching out for people like me." I stood there for a second, smiled at her, and said she was welcome. I suddenly felt tired but not as angry.
Maybe the Christmas spirit does still exist. Later.
On my way to work this morning, I was consumed by this wave of melancholy, depression, and irritation. I think it has to do with me working for a grocery store combined with being with someone who has only ever worked a Monday-Friday job.
I miss the days that I used to look forward to the end of the year. I miss looking forward to Xmas. And no, you can't get that back. It's not a state of mind. Adult responsibilities shatter that dream. I only look at Xmas day as just another day before I have to go straight back to work. Just another day.
I feel helpless. My parents are going through some changes and I feel like I cannot help them. Yes, I know I can be there to listen and give any advice they ask for. I can be there to support them in their choices. But I really have no say in what they are going to do. I feel so removed from it. So far away.
I feel pressured. And it's beginning to get on my nerves. A long time ago, my parents and I came to the agreement that I would not be coming home for the holidays because I hate travelling at this time of the year. We are actually very happy with it because I tend to visit them on off times. Hence, spending far better quality time with them. My partner's family is different. They say they do but they don't really understand how tiring it is to work until 9:00pm on Xmas eve, run to catch a late train to Philly, spend the day with them and others, leave the next morning for work, and work a full day. They say something about appreciating what ever time I can spend with them... blah, blah, blah... Mike will be going home since he has four days off. I just want to sleep. I don't really want to have to go. I feel like I am being backed into a corner. But I will go. It's what you do when you "marry" in. It's called obligation. I loathe it. Or at least, I don't have to like it.
Ideally, I would love to just stay home, with my cat (and Mike, if he'll stay), cooking for me (or us, if he stays), and having a nice quiet day away from people. But alas, no. I want to be away from the holidays. I want to just escape it all. With that said, I wish you all the best for the rest of this year and the whole of next. Hug your beloved. If you don't have one, be careful what you wish for. It always comes with extras. Later.
There are times that I sit in my den and just think about my life. I don't judge any part of it. I don't regret any part of it either. I just think about it. I wonder what life would be like if I stayed in the closet. I never really have a picture of what my life would be like. Probably because the picture of being with my partner is the only one that I equate to what heterosexuals call marriage.
I sit and wonder where I would be if I didn't quit my electrical engineering job with Con Ed. I'd like to think that I would have eventually come to terms with my sexuality. But where would I be in terms of life? Would I be settled down as much as I am? Would I have mortgage payments, household bills, and loads of laundry to do? Or would I be single, renting, and trying to run around the scene?
What if I didn't come out of the closet? Would I be stuck in a job that I hated, hating myself for avoiding who I really am? Most of my generation of gay men know how hard it is being in the closet. Some of us still are. Many of us still find an excuse as to why we are. I wonder if my personality would have come out anyway. Would I still be as confident even though deep down I would know that it was all fake?
I was once told that everyone had a soul mate. That, eventually, you find one another. Back in the closet, I believed that. Out of it, I think that is absolutely stupid. Would I have met Mike if I didn't start working for the fitness industry? No. Who would I have met if I decided to stay at Con Ed? Still yet, who would I have met if I decided to go to engineering graduate school in Buffalo rather than take my chances in New York City? I don't think it would have been Mike.
I sit in my den wondering all that and more. I eventually stretch myself across the sofa and let the cat crawl on top of me. Automatically, I fall asleep while Leena licks my fingers. I wonder if she knows how much I love her? How much I love Mike? I wonder. Later.
I still can't believe it myself but this weekend, Mike and I went to see two movies together. I cannot even remember when the last time we did this was. Or, if we ever did this. We didn't get to see Brokeback Mountain
. We did get to see Memoirs of a Geisha
(my life story) and Chronicles of Narnia
. I rarely, if ever, fully read reviews about movies I see. Not because of any superstition but because I just never get around to doing it. I did hear badly mediocre things about Geish
a. I also heard good things about Narnia
. Well, I loved loved loved loved loved Geisha
... not so much.
Of course, this just proves my thinking: no matter what anybody says about anything, you have to try it yourself. One person's opinion is exactly that... theirs. Again, as with anything else, your experience with something is totally yours. I've adored Zhang Ziyi in everything I have seen her in. I was disconcerted by the fact that they were all speaking English. I got over it because the movie was so damn beautiful. Michelle Yeoh was just stunning. Just absolutely beautiful.
A friend asked me why I was so enamored by the movie. With the risk of sounding cliche: it felt good to see a movie where Asians are the key characters. A movie where people with the same racial profile as mine are playing the major leads. It matters. It matters for the same reason Brokeback Mountain's
gay cowboys matter. Because when stereotypes are constantly played to beat you down, being seen as part of the fold helps you up. Later.
Ugh. It's just stopped snowing in NYC and the streets are just downright slushy. I had to take the cat for her annual check-up this morning. Trudging through that slush has taken away any motivation to hit the gym. I think I'll skip it since I have to go to work at 2:00pm. I'll just go hit the weights in the morning before I teach my class.
Something happened last night that I have not experienced in a long time. It actually felt very good to do and I am quite looking forward to the end results. We made New Year's Eve plans with a bunch of friends. We are actually going to a Moroccan restaurant for a 3-course meal. I can't even remember the last time I made plans for New Year's Eve. I really am excited.
God, I'm old and pathetic. Later.
Somebody called work today and asked for pretzels or cheesesticks. I mentioned that we do have a large variety of pretzels and we have breadsticks available. She then asked me if they were considered gourmet quality. I replied that they all consider themselves high quality products. She went on to tell me that she was throwing a party but wanted to serve pretzels in a bowl but did not want them to be low brow.
Which leads to my question: can pretzels in a bowl be anything but low brow? Discuss.
Being part of a couple isn't easy. At all. It's full of compromise. Some bad. Mostly good. One is always neater than the other. Always more reliable than the other. Always more aware than the other. Days off don't always coincide. If they do, one may have made plans without telling the other. There's always something. Why isn't the laundry done? Did you call the super to fix the lock? What's for dinner? Did you feed the cat? Sometimes it seems like one big constant. Always wondering what needs to be done, who is going to do it, and when.
There are days when I think about what my life was when I was single. Things got done when I wanted them done. I answered to myself. I planned my life without any concern as to who else may be involved. I wasn't necessarily carefree but I had no strings to worry about. Life just seemed so much less... involved.
Since I've been part of a couple for more than five years (8, depending on how you count), things are really different. At least in NYC, you go to company functions as a spouse. You do things with friends mostly as a couple. If one of you is missing from an event, the first question is inevitably about where the other is. As a couple, we've become one. Sometimes, I hate this. Sometims, I love it. Mostly, I am happy for it. Sometimes, I forget that I am part of a couple and I forget to call him after work to tell him I am just stepping out for a drink with friends. The last two times, I went out for after-work drinks, I actually did call him. I found it cumbersome.
When I think about it, I do love the fact that I am in a relationship. It's afforded me a lot of things. Like a place that I can call ours. Like monetary non-dependence. Like security and comfort. Like love, joy, and happiness. Maybe the grass is greener. But sometimes, I just want to play on the other side. Or maybe, I just long to play on the other side. And maybe, that is just enough. Later.
Above & beyond all the therapies and remedies, one thing we should all remember is that awareness, responsibility, and compassion are some of the first steps in ridding our world of disease and strife. Be aware of who you and those around you are. Take responsibility for your actions and their reprecussions. Have compassion for others who may not be as fortunate as you are. There are many things we should be thankful for. None of which you can buy.
Today is World AIDS Day. Find out the facts. Then, ask why our leaders don't know them.Go