Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Last Rites

My father decided to wash my car Sunday. I would say Sunday afternoon, or Sunday night, but it was a rather attenuated process; I think he spent 3 hours on the washing and another hour or two on the drying and polishing.

He is rather fastidious.

Meanwhile, I was waylaid by a hang-over to beat the band. Of course, this was the happy day when my father woke up early, got laid, drove (with the girlfriend) to Seguin, Luling, and Lockhart to pick up barbecue, re-potted two plants on the front porch, and then decided that my car was too dirty and thus spent roughly five hours on it. That was just the exterior, mind you.

I refuse to give him my keys, for fear that he'll disappear for a day or two to go "catting around."

After this marathon day of leisure and Wash Tub(bery), my father decided to talk at me. Among other things, he wanted money. This is by no means unreasonable as I am living rent-free and have reaped the benefits of a guilty parent - including my cell phone and the DSL line through which this message is broadcast.

Unfortunately, my ongoing unemployment prevents me from parting with much more of my student loan funds. And it was that very point that the conversation went down-hill. My father asked about my employment situation - which, at this point, has not changed at all. My temp job - which is slated to last two weeks - doesn't start for another three weeks. That's when Dad pulled out the prayer book.

My parents subscribed to Life-Study Fellowship, an international missionary and prayer group that - for a small contribution - will "say a little prayer for you." He urged me write to them to have what I imagine to be a team of old ladies locked in a roomful of Bibles pray for my career.

I told him I don't believe (not in God, mind you, but in this evil empire that locks old ladies in knitting / prayer circles) ... and when I saw the hurt look on his face, I wrote a $5 check and made a prayer request. Truth be told, I am terrified that things are never going to get any better for me ... and that now that the student loans stopped coming, I'm going to have to start killing off relatives.

I am also mildly horrified that while I appreciate the power of prayer, I couldn't help thinking that - given the state of my financial and professional and even legal situation(s) - it's not so much a prayer for a job ... but rather, last rites for my career.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

VD - Not Just a Social Disease Anymore

For many years now, my single friends and I - and the occasional other bitter pills with which I associate, and who "fondly" recall their single days - Valentine's Day has not so affectionately been VD. A common social disease for sailors and ne'erdowells the world over a few decades ago, it seemed an apt way to summarize a made-up and very commercial holiday. Other than selling tons of flowers, chocolate, stuffed toys, etc., VD is also the day that makes single folk everywhere feel the uncomfortable pressure to partner up or face the unpleasant reality of feeling like a romantic loser.

I have long suffered as a singleton, and I am not yet a convert to the wacky world of being partnered; however I am happy to report (very happy indeed) that for the first time in my life, I had a date this year. The date was the guy I'm seeing, my on-again, off-again long time play buddy. I announced to him that we should date a week or so ago, which you would think wouldn't be a big leap as we have been making out and playing around for 3 or 4 years now, and yet it needed to be said. Note: when I proposed this idea, he actually seemed surprised - but he reacted with a friendly, smiling and lackluster, "Okay."

Romance isn't dead.

So, the day before Valentine's Day, when I said to my new "partner," that we should have a date on VD, he again responded with a rather lackluster, "Okay, but we have to do something cheap - 'cause I'm so broke right now."

I actually thought he was going to back out, which would be why I actually spent the day with an old high school friend, Ellen. We had a fabulous time of it - sitting in my room, chatting while she was knitting (such a charming and old-school habit, for which I admire her greatly). I toy with the idea of taking up knitting, but really - do I need to be any gayer? Anyway, so we hit up Wal-Mart and engaged in what is either the worse kind of excess, or just a good ol' time - depending on how you spin it. We went to Wal-Mart to acquire steak and lobster tails - partially paid for by her LoneStar card.

I know, I know. The obvious objections to someone on welfare buying steak and lobster leap to mind, but this would be the friend whose husband left her for her cousin; the LoneStar card thing is a by-product of a bad situation and she is using it exactly as it is meant to be used - as a supplement. She is working and in school, and the kids are well-fed ... and, after that meal, so too is her poor but sophisticated gay best friend.

That said, we had a lovely VD with lovely food ... and it was so much fun just cooking with a friend, something we should all do a lot more often, don't you think? There was wine and feta stuffed olives, peach cobbler and all.

I followed this up with drinks and ribaldry with my darling friend, Loaded - who I need to start seeing more often. The spot was Sparks, a gay bar on Walzem Rd., well off the beaten path. Sparks has two things going for it, a devoted neighborhood crowd and the presence of apparently every black gay in San Antonio. I saw more black ass that night than I've seen in years ... and that was just when one particularly large man decided to drop trou.

Loaded and I wound up heading back to the gayborhood; it was near midnight, and I actually got a message or two from the guy I'm seeing asking where I was. I went shopping earlier in the day, picking up some lovely items -including a vintage suit. Whether me or the suit, Mark was happy to see me. And I don't even mean that in the usual dirty ways. I mean that as I was standing at the bar, as he walked through the doors from the kitchen, his face lit up.

A week or so ago, the Czarina and I were in my car and headed over to meet his partner at one of their properties. Andrew smiled as we pulled up, and Warren commented, "You know, seeing his smile makes my whole day." It was a rare and lovely moment, simply honest and purely loving. Life requires as many of those as possible, and for once what Mark and I shared was not lackluster; it was magic. His face lit up upon seeing me, and it was all I could do to take him in my arms and feel his arms around me - to fall into him and kiss with an innocent, deep passion ... the very thing that comes from knowing someone a long time, and feeling each other - for better and for worse.

A few minutes later, when I commented that he was my first Valentine (ever), that it was nice to have someone, Mark uttered the two words I didn't realize I longed to hear until I heard them, "I'm yours."

Romance really isn't dead.

The rest of the weekend was lovely ; I spent it with Mark, and something about waking up (late) with him, Monday morning, just felt about right.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Apple-tinis, and the Butt Sex ... or, A Small, Spotted Ass ...

One of the benefits of leaving the house is that you see things, odd and occasionally ugly things (like the dancing mattress outside a bed store on San Pedro). I was reminded of the character from the Bible, a whore who carried a mattress on her back. Combined with the Lady Liberty doing some sort of jig to advertise for a tax service, well ... it was all just a bit much.

And then there were the guns. My dear friend and ex-husband fucker called me this morning. She was going to meet up with some blogging friends and wanted a buffer to off-set her usual social apprehension. It was only when she was at my father's house, and I was getting dressed and she - amusingly said, "dress butch," that I began to question the situation. For the record, dressing butch for me was Dolce & Gabbana jeans four sizes too large and a black turtleneck. I wore the olive green Chuck Taylor high-tops. Also for the record, the group she was going to meet consisted of Right-wingers who decided to meet at a shooting range in far Northeast San Antonio. Now, my family having had a farm when I was a child, I fired my first gun at 6; mind you, I haven't fired a gun since then - of course, I live on the (South) East side, so guns are a means to an end.

We didn't make it to the shooting; well, we did - but, much like so many Southern wives, we pulled my friend's station wagon (a Ford, at that) into the range, drove through the parking lot and then left. I was mildly freaked out, not so much by the fact that I was a liberal minded, sashaying black queen ... but more by the presence of that many big trucks and fat men in camouflage. We all have our limits, you know.

We pulled out of the range, and my friend saw goats. There was a house right next to the shooting range with a herd (sic?) of goats - one of which put me in mind of Prada's new winter collection, gray - with white spots and black ears. Shortly thereafter, in the same (very) large yard, we discovered an ass. A spotted ass. Initially, my friend mistook the dear beast for a pig. It reminded me of a Shetland pony, small and cantankerous, odd-seeming and yet adorable. A mule stood before us, spotted and short and round.

We danced the predictable dance of two nerdy friends making bad puns about spotted asses. Something ain't exactly right there, but come on ... it's not like that wasn't predictable.

the Czarina, my darling Warren, and I enjoyed a chat somewhere in there; actually, it was before we hit the shooting range and after the steak dinner in LaVernia. I don't recommend LaVernia, but that steak was worth the "Deliverance" flashbacks I "suffered" while having my Iceberg lettuce, tomato wedges, and Ranch dressing. I told the waitress to find a cow out back (not kidding), punch it in the face and throw on a plate while it was still stunned.

I didn't say it, actually but I really wanted to. Normally, I would, but the trio of absurdly large and very white farm boys sitting at the table behind us gave me a brief pause on both sardonic wit and menacing homosexuality. Although I didn't say it, small hole in the wall steak places do a Southern man proud by continuing to serve steak rare upon request. Chili's, not that I consider that a restaurant per se, will only take it to medium, but my steak was not only bleeding but bitchily trying to sneak off my plate. It was fabulous. I regretted, briefly, that I chose a girly 8 oz. Ribeye when I really wanted the 32 oz. (for one) piece o' cow that would have rendered me incoherent, sleepy, and sexually satisfied.

So, the Czarina called with an idea - a pajama party. Those who know Warren likely know that this would quickly get obscene and easily devolve into a drunken gay orgy with robes from the Bellagio and a pretty little doggie licking your toes while you hit home-base with the guy you met fifteen minutes earlier. That Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, or a pre-pills Judy Garland would be on the screen of the massive TV would only heighten the exceptional homosexual charms of what would already by a really naughty time in (local) history. Warren, who initially was open to the idea of inviting women; on second thought, however, that was not - hea realized - a good idea at all. They have "titties ... and kitties, and I don't need all that floppin' around ..." I chose not to say that I had precisely the same thought at the time.

I still recall fondly a party wherein a guy I was hitting on winding up with the Czarina's psychic friend (the Swami go-down-on-me) in the pantry. It was a blow-job next to several cans of collard greens, and I had to microwave something - as I recall - to cover the sounds of moaning.

I digress, my father has decided to be supportive. I say this rather amusingly unequivocally. He is the epitome of a Southern man, and a Sudden Baptist (as I call them / us), by which I mean that if he either does not comprehend or does not wish to comprehend something he simply stops asking questions. When I commented, for example, that I spent the night with Mark the guy I'm seeing, he simply did not ask any follow-up questions. This being the same man who questions why I didn't drink the coffee he brought home from Burger King or, for that matter, where I'm going (or going to go, rather) when I decide to take a shower, you can understand my surprise.

As a further testament to his being supportive, and my attempts at becoming a real human being again, my father is now parking on our front lawn. We have a one-car garage, and thus a one-car driveway - so, as my car occupies the entire driveway, Dad has taken to pulling his Cavalier in behind me but on the front lawn so as to allow me to leave when the mood strikes. This is both absurdly white trash and amusingly respectful. I am torn on this point.

I am also hoping to (someday perhaps) have an occasion to leave late at night. The lack of late-night booty, or any booty for that matter, would be depressing if it weren't mostly funny (and if I hadn't acquired more porn).

As it stands, I am enjoying the hell out of my big-ass car. It is - if anyone does not know yet - a 1979 Lincoln Town Coupe, a special edition product of someone's love of both powder blue (I'm told it's 'Wedgwood blue') with blue leather interior and a 400 cm engine. The things revs like a bitch and purrs like a kitten. I think I'm in love.

That everything, even the lighter (and the 8-track), works makes it that much hotter. Oddly, though I have a full tank of gas and no job or other responsibilities to distract me, I haven't really traveled at all in my car. My life is, ultimately, a pretty quiet one ... so, I am waiting for the opportunity to hit 75 again (I got up to 75 for the first time the other day, while driving to class, listening to Eminem's "Lose Yourself"). My inaugural trip in the car was with the Czarina; Warren needed vodka and I needed to learn how to pilot that particular ship (I'm thinking of naming it Julia Sugarbaker, which is - coincidentally - what I named my walk). To that end, we went to the liquor store. You really gotta love Alamo Heights sometimes.

On that note, I have just pulled from my laundry hamper the bottle of vodka I hd there three or so days ago. It is going to be an early night of passing out between the floor and my flat-panel TV, downed while attempting to load porn in the built-in DVD player. Oh well, there are worse ways to hit the floor.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"Life is a Banquet ..."

You know that moment in "Auntie Mame" when a bedraggled Agnes Gooch returns from a night out with Mame's ghost writer / bon vivant / gigolo; the response a newly knocked-up and wildly undone Gooch weakly replies to the apt question, 'what happened?' is an abashed and weak, "I lived ..." Queens and gentlemen, let me say that to my knowledge I neither married nor engaged in the requisite activities to wind up knocked up, but indeed I lived.

It all began with my first irresponsible act of 2009. Given that we're in the second month of '09, I'd say I'm not doing so badly, but I digress; last Thursday, by hook, crook, and begging, I managed to wrangle $1,396.92 out of Incarnate Word. I even got them to hand over the check rather than mailing it out - as is their policy. I promptly headed to the bank to cash it, grabbed sushi from the grocer down the street from the bank and had to run out to Stone Oak to pick up the Frenemy who had me running errands for him while he was at work. Mind you, errands consisted of running around with $1900 in cash going to several (not all) of his innumerable creditors to pay his $300 cell phone bill, nearly $300 light bill, etc. I marveled at how far beyond his means Steven lives, and then thought ever so lovingly of how much debt I'm in at present and promptly shut up on the subject.

My student loan debt alone is such that I could have purchased at least three very large Mercedes.

After a brief pause at Incarnate Word to write up a blog and send an apologetic email re. missing class, I missed class. Actually, I should say that I skipped class. I actually felt horrible about it (particularly as it was the class I really like), but I also had over a thousand dollars in my pocket and the option (finally) to buy food from some place other than a fast food establishment or street vendor.

As it happens, when I had the option to pay for dinner, I didn't have to. Since I was skipping class, the Frenemy decided it was a perfect evening to do "the audit." I have mentioned in previous letters, the audit is an annual tradition - born of Steven's indomitable spirit and unconscionable anal retentive-ness, and my ever-present desire for a good meal and a hearty laugh. We get together at something resembling a fine restaurant, order a lavish meal, and many glasses of wine, and Steven pulls out the 50 to 100 pages of the previous year's diary. It covers a little bit of everything - meals eaten, phone calls made or received, walks in the park, and days at work. It is also the absolute authority, once again by way of Steven's anal retentive record-keeping, on the Frenemy's sex life.

He keeps track of the number of partners he's had in the previous year (bragging rights, I suppose ...), and the purpose of our dinners is to tally up those numbers. This year he decided that we should break it up by gender. This does not mean that he sleeps with both men and women, of course; no, rather it means that he has sex as a man ... and as a woman. For the past decade or so, although she's had several different names, Steven has gotten all dolled up to go troll the West side bars - La Rancherita and Los Sombras - to give drunken cholos blow-jobs in his car or behind a convenient dumpster, occasionally in the bed of a big Ford truck or on the hood of a Chevy. When dressed for a weekend evening, Steven becomes the nympho-maniacal and overly rouged Victoria Ann Sanchez ... Tori.

It takes four razors, a bottle of Nair, a dollar store dress, Pay-less stilettos and an entire tube of lipstick to get her going, but much like the juggernaut, once she gets going neither rain nor sleet will keep her from her selected target(s). To that end, Tori seduced 104 men last year - a rather impressive number for a made-up person who exists only to satisfy base animal needs.

And then there is the Frenemy. Not to be undone by his alter-ego, Steven turned over a new leaf last year. Frequenting and, not to mention the men 4 men section of Craig's List, Steven - while attempting to date five different men last year (among them, one of my favorite bartenders - and occasional friend with benefits - Sevi), and including the hustler / hooker / drug dealer / POZ twink with too much bronzer and not enough sense, Steven slept with 129 men (not including repeats)!

And for those of you keeping track, that brings his total number of sex partners for 2008 to a whopping 233! As several people who've heard the number remarked, "that's almost a man a day ..." To say the least, such numbers are impressive for someone who spent five months of last year in a relationship. Ironically, the person with whom he was involved was the one person he did not screw.

And on the subject of sex, I am still not having it. I am rather enjoying the celibacy; enforced or not, not having sex does give one time to evaluate what you really want ... and the bicep of my right arm is fabulous. My porn collection has expanded, naturally, to include both "Black N Large 3" and "Boys Misbehaving." I would make the usual comment about how porn should have better titles or writing, but first off that's not why one watches porn - for the intellectual stimulation, and second that's how we wind up with "I Know Who You Blew Last Summer," "Shaving Ryan's Privates," and that horrid but incredibly lavish "Pirates of the Carribean" porn I saw while browsing the Adult Video Megaplex last week.

I did, interestingly enough, spend the night with the guy I'm seeing. I find myself using that phrase when referencing my dear(est), darling crack-head. We do not date. In fact, the closest thing we had to a date was going dutch at Taco-Cabana one morning after a drug binge that culminated with oral sex and falling off the couch. I am absurdly attracted to him, and although he calls what we have a friendship, we're all over each other when we get together - public or private, we just keep touching each other and otherwise being very couple-ish. It's a disgusting display, I'm sure, but it's nice to be that couple once in a while - even though we aren't a couple.

I still think fondly of that odd night - some time ago now, more than a year, less than two - when I was seeing both Rich and Mark, and I was in a that couple
circumstance with them both - in the same bar; I was holding Rich's hand while kissing Mark. Some moments you just can't revisit.

I was actually out with Sabra when I ran into Mark this last time. Sabra and I met up for dinner (pork plates at Broadway 50/50) and drinks (Web House). The conversation turned to silliness - talk of old friends from high school who now have wives, husbands, kids - including Sabra herself, who has three. Inevitably the conversation turned to Sabra's family, or rather to her marriage ... or rather, to her divorce.

Although my father, who attended Sabra's wedding, gave it 6 months, Sabra and Bobby lasted 10 years. None of us in the know ever thought it would end (without blood-shed), but relationships are full of surprises (and crap). Accordingly, when Bobby walked out one day he took the kids (her laptop and the washer and dryer), and then he moved in with Sabra's cousin - a bed-hopping common law married bottle blonde whose sole ambition in life seems still to be sleeping with the entire male population of whatever trailer park she's woken up in most recently.

When the relationship with his wife's cousin went south, i.e. when the cousin's common-law husband with the gun collection and felony assault history found out it was going on, Bobby returned to his wife - to cry on her shoulder. In the course of counseling him through his break-up, and in the midst of what was very nearly a very bitter divorce, they began having a torrid affair.

Somewhere in there he cried guiltily (and pitiably) about cheating on his wife's cousin, with his wife. There are a number of other very odd statements he's made over the past year or two this has all been going on, but - as Sabra observes very practically - "at least I'm getting laid regularly." Apparently, divorce has proved fabulous for their sex life.

Bobby was jealous that Sabra was out with me, although neither she nor I could quite figure out why that was the case. We eventually agreed that it was just his 30-something version of teen angst. It's sort of like an episode of "My So-Called Life," but I lose myself in that particular simile.

Meanwhile, I spent part of yesterday with Warren and Andrew. I always enjoy my time with them, and I think somehow that the chaos and drunkenness that define that house also explain the sense of comfort and home most everyone enjoys there. My father, eager to see my car, offered to drive me over to Warren's. I agreed and then spent the whole drive thinking about how my father would react to a drunken, slurring Czarina Warrenina Joskes descending the stairs naked and doing his best Norma Desmond.

I was tempted to let it happen, on the off chance that my father would lose some of his classic Southern polish and simply flip the fuck out. At the last minute, I decided that 84 is a bit too old for that particular experience. So, I had him drop me off. My car - the rather diva-esque 1979 Lincoln Town Coupe (in Wedgwood blue) - was in the driveway and upon entering the house, expecting neither chaos nor calm, I discovered something right in the middle. I had been there ten minutes, and was in fact upstairs in the office - writing up a sales receipt - when I was called upon to do someone's taxes.

The woman renting one of the boys' properties and a friend came by with paperwork in hand, ready for productivity. Warren was actually more ill than drunk, taken out by the same allergies that have very nearly kept me sober. I worked on Turbo Tax while Warren sneaked downstairs to fix a cocktail. There was a screaming match that ensued, the tax client was asking questions about tax laws, and I ran out of cigarettes. It was perhaps the very epitome of drama and yet I felt so perfectly at ease in all of it. Between Warren and myself, we got the client a nearly $7000 refund, and once they were gone and the house was empty (Andrew, I think, went off to buy another car), the Czarina and I took the car out for its maiden voyage. We went to a liquor store. Two handles of vodka - one hidden in the oven, for later - Warren and I sat and enjoyed a drink.

Sitting there, in that resplendent kitchen, the sun beaming down on us, a fat black cat and two happy little dogs running about, the gorgeous red of the dining room seeming so perfect in the afternoon light, I thought about peace. Amid all the drama of that day and other days, despite all the screaming and the drunken moments, Andrew's and Warren's relationship, their life, is the one most resembling what I want for myself someday ... a loving, old, ultimately happy union where life in all of its occasional ugliness is shared.

I am so tired of hearing that trite old maxim, "everything in time" ... or the patronizing, "Your time will come." After the first decade or so of wanting love that line got old. In truth, not everyone finds someone. I don't know that I will. I do know, though that I am enjoying a banquet. I live.

And from that life, more stories will come.