Interlude

It rains every day now.

In Seattle the rain didn’t bother me. I’d put on my hoodie and walk all over town.  Like a native, I didn’t carry an umbrella.  The city would be saturated for six months so that it almost felt like I was walking underwater.  I half expected to see jellyfish swim up out of Puget Sound and dart about among the tourists at Pike Market.  Purple and undulating across the gray horizon.

But here the rain is harder.  More persistent.  It keeps me indoors.  Pent up in my apartment with hot chocolate and a book.   Here there is nowhere to walk to anyway, except a convenience store, or fast food franchise.  (Not that I wouldn’t brave a monsoon for a McRib.)

Remind myself for the millionth time that this suburban existence is only temporary.  That early next year we’re moving to New York City.  There, even the most mundane activities will be rendered sophisticated by proxy.  Doing laundry will become doing laundry in New York City.   No matter what I do, I’ll be infinitely cooler than all of my friends who won’t be living in New York City.  Imagining finally being able to look down on someone is the only thing that gets me through the long, gray days here.

Here I have no friends.  Here the clerk at the 7-11 is the only person I interact with during the week.  His red and black shirt, and the name tag it never occurs to me to read. I think he has a crush on me.  When I walk over for a pint of ice cream, or a banana, or a big gulp, he always breaks into a ridiculous grin.  Asks what my plans are for the evening.  I’ll point to my ice cream and say, “You’re looking at it.”

The truth is, I only make so many trips because I work from home and get so sick of looking at the walls of my apartment that I have to get out, even if it’s only to go to the 7-11.

Growing up as an only child in rural Texas, solitude never bothered me.  I was always able to keep myself entertained by retreating into my imagination.  Even as an adult I’d fantasize about being incarcerated and put in solitary confinement just so I wouldn’t have to interact with other people.

Now, I find myself surprised to feel suddenly isolated.

In Portland, on our weekends together, I overcompensate and drive Carlos crazy with my constant babbling.

“What if our plane crashed in the Andes and we were forced to eat each other to survive?  What part of my body would you start with, and how would you prepare it?”  I ask.  Spooned in his bed, my arm around him.  He’s trying to sleep, but I’m wide awake, pestering him with every inane thought that pops into my head.

“Your tongue, so you’d stop talking.”  He says.

I get the hint and kiss the back of his neck.  After a while I hear his breathing change and know that he’s fallen asleep.  These weekends together are temporary too.  In a few months we’ll be living together full time.  Think, maybe I should enjoy the solitude and the space while I still have it.

Anniversary

Last night we celebrated our two year anniversary.  In retrospect “celebrated” may not be the most appropriate description of our night together, unless your conception of the term celebration is broad enough to include explosive diarrhea.  In that case, it would be a fairly accurate account of our evening.

Had we stuck to our original plan of going to the fancy sushi place downtown, the tragedy might have been averted.  But after a day of shopping and walking along the waterfront, we both found ourselves with a hankering for a hamburger, and it was our night after all, so we could eat whatever we wanted, gosh darn it!

So we ended up at a burger place in Belmont called Dick’s (no joke!).  This is not to be confused with the chain of burger joints in Seattle of the same name, which, despite it’s ghetto perception, and being the favored late night eatery of Capitol Hill drunks, never gave me food poisoning.

This Dick’s is a gourmet burger joint featuring pictures of famous men named Richard,  from Nixon to Montalban.  The burgers spotlighted last night were the lamb, which Carlos had, and wild boar from the Texas badlands (redundant?).

I decided to play it safe and ordered the buffalo burger, with some yam fries, and a chipotle aioli dipping sauce.  I don’t know if it was the burger being undercooked, or the aioli being “off” but before I was two thirds the way through my burger, my stomach began cramping with an urgency that made my brow sweat as I prayed to the Invisible Pink Unicorn that I made it to the restaurant bathroom before ruining a perfectly nice pair of American Apparel undies.

I returned sheepishly from the restroom, quietly mortified by the thought that if I could hear the conversation of the couple at the table nearby, then there was every probability that they could also hear me messily evacuating my bowels.  Not to be too graphic, (at this point, I assume readers of my blog are prepared for TMI), but I’ve never experienced the expulsion of anything from inside me with such force that I was reminded of a movie where a car hits a fire hydrant, and the water explodes upwards in a never-ending, forceful geyser.   Because that’s what it was like.

Carlos ordered dessert to go as I went back to the restroom a second time, after which I made him flee as if we were getting away from a crime scene where we were the culprits.  Needless to say, it was a very long bus ride back to his apartment.  We cuddled on the couch watching the Garfield Halloween Special, followed by Trick R’ Treat, punctuated by intermittent trips to the bathroom every 20 minutes or so.

Last year on our first anniversary we wandered around the waterfront in Seattle before ending up in an overrated steakhouse that still had Halloween decorations up.  I’d given him a card with a picture of two chimpanzees on rollerskates with their arms around each other.  On the inside it read, “I like the way you roll.”   Underneath I wrote some heartfelt, personal note, ending in the words, “I love you, monkey,” because I was too afraid to say the words out loud.  He pointed out that chimpanzees were apes.

Who could have predicted that two years after meeting on a sleazy, gay hook-up site, we’d still be together?  My journal entry from the day we met was, “Met Carlos at Peet’s on Broadway.  He’s totally cute.  Turns out he’s a massage therapist!  He’s one of those “natural medicine” people that I can’t seem to avoid.  Don’t know if we have much in common, or will “date.”  But we had a lovely chat (despite the fact that I was supposed to be working) and we’ve made a date to see each other on Friday when I’m done running.  My goal is to either fuck him, or at the very least, weedle a free massage from him.”

Despite my initial cynicism, I was quickly smitten.  One date led naturally to another, until spending our days off with one another was just a given.  In many ways we’re completely different.  Despite my avowed atheism and total devotion to the scientific method, and his general open mindedness and affinity for alternative medicine, he’s the logical one with his feet planted firmly on the ground, while I wander around with my head in the clouds.  But we complement each other.  I think.

We have enough differences to keep us (well me, because I guess I can only speak for myself, here) fascinated with one another, and just enough in common for a firm foundation to build on.  (Mostly comprised of all the things we both hate.)  Every time I see him I tbink that he’s more beautiful than he was the time before (if that’s possible!), his sharp wit always keeps me on my toes, and he can always crack me up.

I think that’s what I love most about him.  He always makes me laugh, and even during the times when outside factors conspire against us, specifically when food poisoning completely lays waste to my bowels…I always manage to enjoy myself when we’re together.   Pluse, even though I was sick to my stomach all night, he pretended not to have heard a thing. For a pessimist like me, that’s a real testament to how we feel about one another.

So, thanks for sticking it out with me another year, Monkey.   I love you!