Well, well, well…look what I found in my drafts. Coulda sworn I published this. But maybe since Tanner Creek’s wifi hadn’t had the chance to pick on the Silver Fox in a while, it glitched this into draft status instead of publishing.
After completing this week’s driver challenge, I took myself out for a well-earned dinner at my neighborhood watering hole. It’s literally on my block, I can walk there in the rain without getting wet – which is really something in Portland, Oregon!
Of course, since I’m a neurotic mess complex person, I had to acknowledge the pyrrhic nature of my celebratory dinner – I was alone…again…naturally.
The Silver Fox had decamped once again to the family estate south of town – well, south of several southwardly towns. My other frequent companion at this particular watering hole was at a funeral out of state. To egregiously paraphrase the prophet Yoda, “Fucked, was I”.
But I had earned this. And my ass yearned for a perch with a bar in front of it instead of a steering wheel.
And goddamnit if what to my googley eyes should appear but an infant baby with two daddies queer.
It was fucking a-door-able.
Me: Barkeep, another!
Proof positive here that there’s always more than one cure for what ails oneself. Some more nurturing than palliative.
I experienced a range of emotions. From the expected aaawwww-ness of an infant doing infanty things to a wholesome appreciation of a gaddy couple out for a dinner together. To envy and jealousy at that same notion.
Happily, I can report that I was misty eyed over the sweetness of the visage before me. Although, I wouldn’t have objected to anyone who thinks they know me “well-enough” who’d have bet on my potential beer-vaporizing darker emotions wresting control of the situation.
It was interesting that in the moment, I wasn’t overwhelmed with “what might have beens” over my persistent singledom. I was rather struck by how I missed my buddies. The usual neighborhood characters who live nearby – ok, all in the same building that I don’t live in – that I call friend who color in and enhance my happiness. I wasn’t lamenting the absence of that elusive something I never attained; I missed the presence of the folks I have attracted and managed to remain in the same orbit as.
Like I said at the top: I’m quite complex. That complexity only sometimes manifests in messy emotions. And this wasn’t one of them.
Over the past week or infinity, I’ve crossed paths with several *woke* people or groups. People, actually, whose values and politics align with my own.
Strangely, it has not gone well for me. Witness:
Facebook: Minimum Wage
I’m not going to lie, I’m still scared to look at my Facebook notifications for fear of seeing what a woke mob of Portlanders has left there for me. As a matter of fact, since this happened, I’ve likely opened my Facebook app less than a half-dozen times.
My crime? Standing up for a local restaurant chain called McMenamin’s. They had posted an ad for cooks.
Actually, that was the lead comment by a woke Portlander who saw the ad on Craigslist and decided to post it on the DamnPortlanders Facebook page. A page that I’m quitting, if it hasn’t already expelled me.
Let me tell you about McMenamin’s crime before I go into details on my own. They posted this Craigslist ad for cooks: minimum wage (which is currently $13 and change, but moves to $14/hr on July 1st and $14.75 next July 1st) plus tips, medical/dental, 401k, PTO…not bad, in my opinion. Most of my service industry friends have no insurance since they are usually consigned to part-time positions. And 401k? Forget about it.
This woke Portlander was offended that a company would offer a minimum wage job in today’s job market, particularly in Portland.
My crime? I simply pointed out that Portland’s minimum wage is nearly double the federal minimum wage and that maybe there were other levers to pull to ensure Portland remains a livable city for our service industry workers – particularly since it’s such a big part of our culture. I may have also mentioned that attacking our own liberal policies made us look a bit schizophrenic.
Remember our unofficial town motto: Portland, where young people go to retire.
Anyway, I wasn’t expecting gratitude from my comment. I just wanted to throw a little voice of (t)reason into the dialogue. I’ll tell you what I wasn’t expecting…attitude.
I’m not even kidding. Given where the comment melee ended up, it actually started in a benign – if only by comparison – place. The OP claimed she worked on the minimum wage campaign five years ago and that it was out of date already. Without citing context, of course. She said that $15 should be the minimum.
I reminded her that $14.75 and $15 are pretty damn close, wondering if she was really upset about what amounted to $10/week. I also pointed out that she shouldn’t be upset by employers offering the minimum allowable wage – they were meeting the state’s baseline requirement of employers.
Her counteroffer was that the minimum should be $22/hr, $26 if you work downtown.
Ok, merely moments before, she’d declared that $15 should be the minimum. Now she’s saying $22 should be the minimum – do you feel like I was necessary in this debate? She seemed to be negotiating against herself just fine.
The split minimum wage is nothing new to Oregon. We created a three tiered minimum wage when we voted on it back in 2015.
There’s also a Rural tier that’s not pictured. The interesting thing from this last round of increases is the unexpected fallout: job loss. We’re famously one of the few states where you aren’t allowed to pump your own gas – we’re job creators like that. However, after the minimum wage hike, rural communities were allowed to eliminate those jobs and customers pump themselves there.
Basically, in small towns where there are fewer jobs, we managed to make things worse under the auspices of making them better. Now, don’t get me wrong…I’m all for a livable minimum wage. I’m also all for friggin’ oil and gas companies not getting away with crap like that.
I’m also the guy who pulls up to a gas station in Vancouver, Washington – and now Hood River and beyond – and sits in his car waiting for no one to come pump my gas. Basically, I’m a big dummy.
Asked the OP if she really thought the guy that takes my order at my favorite food cart downtown should be making $52k a year, because that’s what full-time work at $26/hr nets out to annually. I also asked if she thought a food cart could sustain that salary level, since I very much doubted that the owners of the cart made that much.
It got crazy from there.
One guy did a lovely math story problem for me involving rent on a one-bedroom at a crazy $1800/month rent, plus medical insurance, utilities, etc minus working full-time at $15/hr. Yes, the result was a negative number.
Also yes, he thinks a minimum wage earner is going to be dumb enough to live in the Pearl. Or alone. He seemed offended by my reply – a story about people having roommates.
Then someone jumped in suggesting a $30/hr minimum wage. Because, of course Portland should be 4x the federal minimum.
Who the fuck are these dumbasses?
I made another attempt at pointing out how taxing companies and the wealthy appropriately versus letting them hide profits and grow wealth through loopholes would help us provide healthcare for all. Oddly, that’s kind of a wash for employers in my mind, since they would have to pay taxes but wouldn’t have to bear the burden of paying for the administration of a healthcare plan. It’s a double win for employees, too. They wouldn’t have to pay a portion of their employer’s healthcare offering, plus the obstacle preventing employers from offering full-time jobs versus part-time jobs would be eliminated. Well, one of the obstacles, I know that some employers still need part-time workers to allow for scheduling flexibility.
Honestly, after that immersion into literal liberal retardation, I wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t just opt out of the DamnPortlanders group, but go as far as deleting my Facebook profile altogether
Regardless, this is a great example of people not thinking for themselves – or maybe not having the critical thinking skills to extrapolate an action plan that is actually actionable…and solves more problems than it creates.
Last time around, we eliminated a few pump jockey jobs. This time around we’d be eliminating small business if these woke jokers had their way.
But they don’t seem primed to compromise. A behavior that makes me think they might just be happy being unhappy.
I recently shared a post that I came across on the AppleNews feed on my Twitter page. It was an opinion piece by a former member of Congress.
Overall, pretty innocuous re-post. In it, the author lays out a case that I was surprised to find out wasn’t common sense. Then I remembered 70 million Americans who would bristle at the accusation that they possess common sense and were willing to vote to prove it.
Enter the overwoke feminists.
The first comment came in: Can we try that again without the misogyny?
Ok, A) “bitch” is nearly as versatile a word as “fuck”, so if you know me…feel free to assume my intentions. If you don’t, methinks thou art projecting too much. Maybe try seeking first to understand instead of leading with an attack.
And, B) of all the people who need a feminist to have their back…Marjorie Taylor Greene hardly seems high on that list. As a matter of fact, I bet she’d decline any defense of her character and respect-worthiness from a feminist.
But this former follower of mine – a female using a gay pride flag emoji in her Twitter handle – wasn’t going to let anything like non-consensual support stop her. I encouraged her to check her assumptions and maybe try assuming best intentions versus worse, but she wasn’t having that. She even tagged in a friend of hers to join in the attack. I felt like the wounded gazelle to their simultaneous hunter lionesses and scavenger hyenas. As noted above, this woman is blind, but I’d be surprised if perhaps she was only blind to the opinions of others.
Once again: the problem with liberals is that when we have a chance to do something for the greater good, we distract ourselves with infighting versus collaboration. The result is an epic display of ineffectiveness.
TheStreet: Racial Justice
On the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, there was a vigil-protest here in Portland. Because that’s what you get in a woke city whose unofficial forecast is “Cloudy, with a chance of protests”.
Commemorating nothing, I’d gone out to Kelly’s Olympian for a couple pints of the good stuff after clocking my 10 rides for the day. As I left – crossing 5th & Washington on the diagonal – I heard bucket drums behind me and turned to look once I’d cleared the intersection.
Sure enough, there was a wall of people dressed in black bloc just coming across 4th and up Washington toward me. A little excited to be catching a front row seat at one of my city’s marches in support of social justice, I pulled out my phone to capture a video.
What I hadn’t seen was the marchers’ advance team. Usually a few folks on bikes or motorcycles that ride ahead of the march to stop traffic prior to the marchers’ arrival. Because: safety first! I hadn’t noticed these two because they were on rented e-scooters – which I generally pay as much attention to as a mosquito.
They took issue with me taking a video. More accurately, they deferred authority to a vague “them” figure instead of being adults and just asking me not to film.
That’s not very Darnella Frazier of them.
I’m not someone who can physically defend myself, so I’m not sure why I mouth off as frequently as I do. I am good with words, though…so, maybe I do know why I pop off like I do.
I also bristle easily at intimidation. And these goombahs menacing me without owning it kind of demanded fucking with. I actually posted the video – along with my frustration – to my Instagram. It was there that one of the local protest pages filled me in on a possible rationale for the protesters request to not be filmed: videos could potentially be subpoenaed as evidence or to help identify marchers.
Ok. Sure…it’s a stretch, in my opinion. But I can respect a reasonable request with some context versus a vague threat from a disembodied “them”.
I actually thanked the local page that provided the insight, because I hate not knowing the “why” behind something I’m expected to do. Hate it. As a matter of fact, my complain-asking these types of questions and listening to the rationale behind things like ACAB, Defund/Disband the Police, Trans Rights, TERFs, and countless other movements that initially repelled me due to a too liberal use of hyperbole for my taste has helped me understand the actual meaning behind each group’s messaging.
I guess I have a thirst for knowledge. It’s like a sickness…
My question though: Why can’t the advance team use a specific reason like I was given after the fact while making their request versus just barfing out a “Hey, we don’t care, but they might…” and expecting me to fall in line?
Seems like police level bully behavior to me. “Because I said” is such a winning argument with me.
Instagram: Body Insecurities
There’s a fellow blogger and indie gay writer that I follow(ed) on Instagram as well. He lives in the UK and shared many of my frustrations with The Gays – apparently, we’re a global pandemic with our carelessly selfish behaviors.
But he’s also one of those gays that has self-diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I should have known that many red flags would only lead to bullshit shenanigans.
Last month, he posted a close up of his lower face with only the caption “It’s time to shave”. He sports stubble off and on, so I thought he’d been referring to his body’s follicular pigmentation betrayal.
Ok, so I assumed incorrectly. I suppose that gives him carte blanche to return the favor by incorrectly assuming my own intentions. Where I thought I’d been on his wavelength and sent a cute comment, he’d been referring to gawd knows what else and chose instead to assume I’d been trying to offend him. By the time I came to awoke the next morning, I was blocked and he had apparently deleted the post. As you can see, I originally liked his “post deleted” comment because I thought he’d been responding playfully…then I scrolled to the final message.
It’s not like we were ever going to have an acquaintanceship outside of social media, but I’m still sad about his decisions. But that’s the trouble too often these days – and I refuse to use the term too liberally, so I’ll just let you get there on your own. Perhaps, though, if he didn’t allow himself to react rashly after listening to his more self-sabotaging demons, he wouldn’t be self-diagnosing with anxiety.
What do I know, though? I’ve just been dealing with a bunch of the same crap he whines about regularly for a couple decades longer. Of course, I’m the enemy.
The truly sad news is that I’ve likely forgotten some recent examples. But overall, it seems people are – and I don’t know why this surprises me – just sleepwalking their way through wokeness.
My take? Being woke may as well be broke if you aren’t willing to think critically about the conversations you participate in. If all you’re doing is regurgitating talking points or assuming worst intentions without listening to the other person, you’re not going to help anyone.
More likely, as in my case, you’re likely just going to alienate likeminded folk.
Hard work pays off in the future…procrastination pays off today!
Well, in my universe, occasionally there’s a psychotic eclipse type thing. Then both parts are true!
Case in point: I’ve needed new wiper blades since our February snow storm. Not much to bitch about, considering Texas. Heck, even my 99 year old grandfather was alone and without electricity just across town for three days! (Yes, dad insisted he go to a hotel, but since my grandfather isn’t about to take orders from some punk 75 year old…🤷🏽♂️)
So, yeah. My wiper blades getting gouged by ice and leaving streaks smack dab in my field of vision didn’t really merit a mention. I checked our local big box grocery for replacements, but it was $30 for the pair! After converting that from dollars to beers, I walked away.
Then I found myself at an oil change and figured I might as well get it done. They were out.
But every time it sprinkled, there was a visual reminder of my overdue task. Usually accompanied by an audible screech from the blades skipping across the windshield.
Luckily – for me not future generations – this past April brought not showers as we learnt in nursery rhymes as children. As a matter of fact, Portland’s April was the driest on record…by one-third. We had only a half inch of rain versus the prior low record of three quarters of an inch.
No, that isn’t an invitation to book travel to PDX. You keep your germs local.
May was pretty much the same story. Low, but not a record low like April.
Until this week.
Frankly, I was happy to see rain in the forecast. At the same time, I figured I oughta get my act together, butch it up and get the deed done.
I made the Silver Fox – yes, he finally put in a leisurely visit! – take me when we went to coffee the other day. Lo’ and behold…
On sale, you say?
40% off, no less?!?
Don’t get too excited, though. They are proving tougher than my fingertips and are still awaiting installation from the front passenger footwell.
Tomorrow’s another day, Slugger.
Next up, returning Angela to her chancellor-esque stature from the Lisa Left Eye Lopez situation some ne’er do well left her in a few weeks back.
It’s tough to see, but scroll down. After the curious incident of the fog light poking out of the bumper, The Fox ceded his parking spot to me until his return to city slickering. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather it was sooner than later, but poor Angela! Just look what those philistines did to her!
Buncha bastards. Luckily, I’ve got friends like the Silver Fox to provide refuge and Diezel, who looks at it and says, “I can fix that” like the “in my sleep” doesn’t even need to be mentioned. Nor does the “you limp wristed ninny”.
This is what my friend, Diezel calls the COVID vaccinations. Somehow, we became vaccination twins: our second shots both lining up on the same day.
I’ll tell you this, on the second day I’m definitely feeling the accuracy of that moniker.
First shot: nothing.
Second shot: well, I’m not sure it’s a legit malaise or my usual “my lazy ass”. I described it to Diezel as feeling like I was taken apart and forced back together.
Overall, completely acceptable side effects 29 hours in.
Which is great news for a variety of reasons. Not the least of which was a certain Bubble Boy with an itch that needed scratching. He had wanted to come over last night and had been trying to set something up since Sunday.
So, actually, he wanted to come over Sunday night.
Or – please, please, please – Tuesday.
You know a boy is either hard up or sweet on a fat, old man if he’s that persistent. I hear him, though, when he complains about Grindr Gays in particular and asocial media in general – and it leads me to believe it’s the former versus the later.
Last time he’d been over – and keep in mind, this has been going on for about five months, now – he asked what the art in my bathroom was.
Not the painting of someone’s junk!
Fair point…that one is not mine, for the record fairly self-explanatory. He was talking about this one:
You’re kidding! You don’t know who REM is?!?
He was not kidding. It’s just a dumb album poster for a band, I wouldn’t call it art. But it’s something my youngest brother gave me for Christmas in the last century. He was just a kid at the time, and it meant something to me to be included in his gift giving – which came from his allowance and part-time job earnings. So I put it in a cheap little frame, which was all the rage for one’s framing needs at this point in time. It’s hung in every home of mine since.
The funny thing is that Bubble Boy always compliments my music when he’s over. Until now, I just assumed it was a statement of fact, kind of like agreeing that the sky is blue.
To be fair, that last point might be hard for Republicants to follow, since it involves science.
Once I realized he was unfamiliar with REM, I began to wonder if he liked my music like I liked my grandfather’s. Let’s just push that thought down, though, shall we?
Operating under my “Leave ’em better than you found ’em” mantra, I decided to widen his musical palate. To that end, while I was laying on the couch with a tiny and rare headache following my second shot, I decided to train a new Pandora station for his next visit.
What? I didn’t say it had to be an earth shattering improvement. Just better that they were before meeting me. Plus, music is important. It helps people <ahem> come together.
No other way I could have said that was as cringey or fun for me.
Anyway, since I was still feeling pretty good close to the end of his shift, I told him to get it while it’s (reasonably) good and he came over after work.
What? He’s chasing me down remember? I’m good if only for the simple fact that I’m available.
And I’m glad I had him over last night instead of betting on feeling better today than yesterday.
You know what didn’t friggin’ happen while he was here, though?
That damn station didn’t play a single damn REM song during his visit. Mind you, it’s on the third REM song (forth now, as I proofread) since I turned it on and sat down to tap this out.
My home network technology is kind of a jerk.
Ironically, neither Diezel nor I felt the same relief after our second shot as we did following our first doses. In texting with the Silver Fox yesterday afternoon, I shared that I thought my lack of relief was tied to a sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop as far as side effects were concerned.
As in, the legends around who experiences side effects and why had me feeling rather sure that I’d fall into the side effects realm.
Needless to say, I definitely felt some relief last night around 11. <smiling devil emoji>
Waking up to just stiffness and soreness today also provided a little more relief. I’m not taking it for granted, though. Perhaps my side effects are just running on Gay Standard Time…so I’ll reserve final judgment until tomorrow night.
Plus, on the full protection spectrum, I know I’ve got another 12 days to full efficacy. I’m sure Bubble Boy won’t mind that I don’t have a lot of other social engagements to distract my attention from the maintenance needs of his libido for the near future.
Dying from COVID: meh
Dying in the service of a 29 year old’s hormones: <thumbs up emoji>
Keep your fingers crossed that this barely noticeable side effects trend continues.
Just thought I’d pop by and demonstrate my innate – and inane – ability to offend pretty much everyone.
Effortlessly and equally, because I’m all about equal opportunity. Or abootfor my fine amis Canadiens.
Anyhoo…or anyhooha in this instance, I’ve already seen one vagina today. From behind, no less.
I’m not bragging. Not by any means. But that is basically one whole vagina more than my daily average. I would barely have to round up to drop the qualifier on that…whatever opposite form of “brag” would work here.
My rolling 12 month cumulative total is two. Well, three – if you count Sharon’s moneyshot in Basic Instinct.
Which was far more palatable than my in real life misfortunes.
Somehow, these real life occurrences seem to happen while I’m driving. If this trend keeps going, I may consider quitting. Or running for public office and doing something about/aboot Portland’s homeless and mental health crises. I mean, surrealiously, if Matt Gaetz can get elected…
The first occurrence was last Fall and I was driving up SE 7th where it turns and becomes Sandy. I saw a woman waiting to cross the street. As I slowed to let her cross, I had an abortive thought about why women wear skin toned leggings.
Oh, Gawd…those aren’t leggings!
…and I decided to punch it instead of letting her cross.
Back to today, it wasn’tyet noon and I’d decided thatI needed a caffeine hit. Because I’ve been exercising on the reg and pulled two driving shifts yesterday that were long enough that the app cut me off, I decided to be a lazy pants and drive.
I’mundecided on whether that was a blessing or not. Pretty sure it had to be a universal kindness for my old, gay eyes since if I’d walked, I’d have taken the same route and not had the ability to floor it when I registered what was happening.
Suffice to say, even a homeless person should have the <ahem> “wear with all” to decide to change anywhere but a parking space. I mean, she was one block over from the Park Blocks, where there were plenty of hundreds of years old trees to provide at least some privacy.
But, here she was, shielding her…modesty? Sure, we’ll call it modesty, by turning away from traffic while she changed. Bending at the waist, mind you, so I got the full “fur diaper” experience, as my beloathed Black Sheep Bro used to refer to hislovelier-than-he-deserved girlfriend’s preferred natural state.
For my gay ass – careening away from this visage at, frankly, rather unsafe speeds for a surface street – I couldn’t imagine how society’s misogynistically imposed feminine grooming norms would have improved this experience.
Now, to balance my offense…with a more personal touch, no less:
I realized this week – on successive days – that I have two pair of undies that have reached a level of wear that I like to call “blown out”. I’m honestly afraid to shower snd dress today, lest this become a three day streak. For the unfamiliar, I usually refer to a ripped crotch seam as a blow out.
And, let’s all take a moment to admit that – unless it’s happening to you – the sound of a crotch seam ripping is a rather soothing ASMR- type experience.
Because I’m me, and because my mind is an amusing sort of defective, I view these two instances differently:
My panda print briefs are ripping at the waistband. A particularly heinous betrayal – despite the reality that I bought these a couple pant sizes ago.
Hey, I’m working on it, ok?
The tear is in a place that makes it too easy to make the shituation worse, too. My damn finger finds that hole every time I wear them and I can feel it getting bigger.
For my mental health, I should probably throw them in the trash instead of the laundry, but: pandas!
On the other hand…
The Contorted Flattery
The other pair of undies that have blown out are a pair of…boxer briefs? I dunno. There’s no real inseam to speak of, as you’d find on an actual pair of boxers. But the style is definitely an homage to 70s era gym shorts. Well, except the backside is a tasteful mesh.
No, I’m not a pole dancer.
And I’ll have nothing to do with tasteful on this blog post, damnit!
The blow out on this pair is on the “pouch”. Ok, that was semi-tasteful. Apologies.
Once again, these undies are two pant sizes old, but I’m not letting that reality get in my way. Obviously, Big Ed and The Twins are simply too much for this pair of pants to contain.
Again, I should toss these. But since they are cute and no one sees them but me, you know I’ll wear them in a fit of “why I’m single” defiance until one of The Twins fully escapes.
One of my favorite things to say back when I was giving 50-60 hours a week to the man was:
Today’s been one hell of a week.
Chrisism. Use it in good health.
I reworked it last year for quarantimes into “2020 has been a hell of a decade“, but it just didn’t hit as hard.
Anyway, 2021 has kind of started off distinguished only from 2020 by a singular event for me: the inauguration of an adult as president. Otherwise, SSDD.
Case in point, even though I declared my dating exploits over at the completion of the yearlong effort that led to Dating Into Oblivion (I swear that there’s a link to buy it somewhere on this blog page, should you be queerious), I still maintain a profile on Adam4Adam and occasionally recreate a profile on the human cesspool known as Grindr.
But, despite the Silver Fox’s assertion that I’m too hard on people, I maintain a standard when it comes to asocial media.
While that standard may look like me doing my damndest to die alone, I swear it’s really a filter that allows others to unintentionally self-select out of my dating pool.
Basically, everyone blocks me all of the damn time.
Por ejemplo, just last night, I had a guy launch into his schtick with me. For those of you wondering what a millennial gay considers a best foot:
No punctuation, no introduction.
I can reasonably assume that the string of vowels and consonants in his profile’s headline is his name, still…confirmation would be overly taxing? It looks both unpronounceable without a little guidance and vaguely Hawaiian.
Also, to his credit, there is blessedly, no butthole pic.
This is really what happens…do you think any reaction would be reasonably considered “too hard” on these friggin’ ass clowns?
Since Grindr is nice enough to alert users when someone looks at their profile, I cannot help but notice that Sup has not looked at mine.
So…I look at his, just to kill some time in case there’s somehow a backlog in what I’m sure is the very high tech and sophisticated alert system on this…mess of an app.
Uh-huh. We’re both tops – Google it – and he specifically calls out that interested parties should not be over 35.
Really, I guess I should be flattered that while my actual age is an anagram of 35…I am most decidedly not 35, but somehow made it through his filter.
Did you read my profile?
Impressively, he responds in the negative and enthusiastically says he will do so right now. Then logs out.
My notifications are still showing me as invisible to The Gays, so I know he didn’t check me out and then – reasonably – run off into the woods.
Seventeen hours later he messages me back, seemingly having missed my anagrammatical eligibility to put Lil Xtopher somewhere I know he doesn’t want him.
I point out our disparate definitions of the term “right now” and…he blocks me.
Far be it for me to brag, but this happens multiple times a month. I know. Every month, I’m blessed to be able to demonstrate to people the benefit to themselves of not knowing me.
Namely, that without me in their lives, they can carry on blindly running full speed into pain walls that they themselves built. Heaven forbid, someone actually want to help another person become a better version of themselves. Or, y’know…a decent human being that contributes more to Gay Kulture than supporting their local STD clinic.
Remember…this is a Valentine’s Day post.
I really don’t know why I tease you by dangling that carrot shaped sex toy that – I hope – got mangled in the garbage disposal while awaiting its return to service.
That was graphic. Maybe now is a good time for a shot break.
This is my life, folks. And you wonder why I proChristinated my colonoscopy…
Except…every now and again someone seems to be looking out for me.
Now, a wise person – as I consider myself to be…shituationally – knows to take a fix up at about 1/1000 of its face value.
This is a brief tale about that one time a bar owner tried to set me up with the only other gay guy at the bar. And by “at the bar” I mean in the Pandemic Pivot of a Beer Garden that the owner of Big Legrowlski has managed to pull off. It’s really something. Five tents, broken into a group of two and three by a fire pit. Each tent has a physics defying heater mounted to the roof, meaning when I come out in December and January to support my local…I’m freezing my giggle berries off.
Anyway, last weekend, the bar owner comes over to keep me company for a second. He leads with a few seconds of small talk and then – in a fit of foreshadowing that makes me momentarily worried about the quality of his wife’s sex life – plunges into the real reason for his visit.
Hey, do you see that guy behind me?
Literally ever guy at the beer garden aside from he and I. I give him exasperated eyes.
To the left!
No mate, my left. Sorry. Sorry.
Cue up the Throwback Offenses!
Just as every Black person had likely heard a version of “I’m not normally into…but…”, every gay person has had a well intentioned abortion of a fix up from a well-intentioned straight friend who tries to fix up the only two gay people they know. Or, as in this case, the only two gay people in their general vicinity.
Argument against the existence of God: this phenomenon.
Somehow, this guy ends up joining us. Around my table, it’s: mine truly, the bar owner and then this…guy, and finally an empty seat in the clockwise position.
Buffers are important. Even when not needed.
I’d already told the bar owner “Hard pass” once we nailed down The Gay In Question. I’d even helpfully pointed out a few of the other guys at the fire pit that could eat crackers in my bed, just not this guy.
He was one of those classic “Is over 40, acts under 30″ gays.
How he ended up at my table – or why – was a short lived mystery. After being introduced by name by the bar owner but getting nothing in return (classic basic fag move) I also come to realize that this guy is a low talker.
It’s an exhausting – read: excruciating – 10 minutes. I should have just taken the hit and dragged Mumbles off to the giant elephant statue in the park for a blowie to get rid of him.
Glad, was I, that I did not.
As clumps of sand broke through my life force hourglass, I began to realize that Mumbles was into the bar owner.
The straight, father of two bar owner.
What an idiot.
Read the fucking tent, man.
Alas, this socially illiterate ‘mo starts playing grab ass with the bar owner’s nipples. That is something I will endure in a goddamned gay bar, but within normal societal watering holes, you keep that shit tight.
Not this clown college drop out.
Only minutes passed, I’m sure…but it felt like one hell of a week between meeting this guy and him crawling back into the sewer that birthed him. Small victories, though, I was still in possession of my table.
That’s enough for me. I might be perpetually single, but I can hold down a goddamned table in a beer garden in a rain storm.
You’d think that would be enough Dating IntoOblivion visitations for me for 2021, but no. Like a trooper – a. very. bored. trooper. – I maintain my usual divided attention at home while watching TV.
Shameless vs Words With Friends.
Then on the next episode, Shameless vs Adam4Adam.
Then on the next episode, Shameless vs Instagram and Facebook in a Battle Royale of short attention spans.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
The end result being that maybe I got my own date.
Slated to meet this coming (all over) Sunday at the Big Legrowlski. He seems nice, but if nothing else, this purple haired, four off-the-ears-facial-piercings guy in his 30s – I know, so many piercings for a guy that age…but at least he can commit! – will serve as a visual aid to the bar owner as to the type of guy he should drag before me in the future.
Crappy Valentimes, errybody! And, yes…I know that Part Deux preceded Part Un.
Part Un is…special. Maybe bring tissue. Or your label maker and a box to store your jadedness in.
I still love driving for Lyft. It’s currently my favorite form of prochristination and cure for boredom.
Short story, long:
Last night was the second time I’ve thought, “Sheesh, that could have been it for you, son” after a ride.
Yes, I talk to myself like that inside my head. Well, mostly inside my head. I also have a “Mom Voice” and a “Dirty Harry” persona that make occasional appearances.
But out of ~3500 rides, two that could have gone from dicey to deadly ain’t bad, right? Also, check out that 5-star rating! I feel a Rain Man voice coming on, because…
Anyway, I never wrote about the craziest drive I ever gave because it:
A) was just about everything anyone who’s ever said, “I bet you could write a book about your experiences driving” would think it would be; and,
B) my actual mom would use her actual mom voice on me and make me get a real job again.
Also, maybe I’ll write a book about it.
The Runner Up Ride:
First off, last night started out as a shit show. I picked up a guy on my first ride who tells me he was just leaving a friend’s place after a hang out. Assuming correctly that “hang out” was exactly the euphemism I thought it to be, partnered with the reality that this is a heavyset fella, I was immediately equal parts envious and Nancy Kerrigan.
I mean, really…whyyyy?!?
Then it got weird, when he asked if he could ask me an off topic and admittedly weird question. I’m pretty game for weirdness, so I chuckled and told him to get at it. Well, it turns out this guy and I worked together briefly at a local healthy grocery from which we were both fired – because that’s what this joint is like. In a fit of C.R.S…I have absolutely zero recollection of him.
His question could have been weirder, but my C.R.S. added just the right layer of awkwardness to the conversation.
We trashed The Gays for a while, since he’d mentioned his friend was a dude and 1 + 1 = a sword fight. Then, as he was exiting the car at the bar I was dropping him off at (a coping mechanism I completely understand) he says, “For what it’s worth, being a gay guy in his 20s is totally different than being a gay guy in his…” and waves his hand at my general state of being. Then he shows me a quarter slot as he hefts his way out of the back that could hold every damn quarter ever. That overly cheeky fat fuck…the nerve.
First person to throw up in my car? Me. Almost. Well, I did, mentally.
Optimistically, I thought, “Well, things can only go up from here” in my Dirty Harry voice.
Then I picked up a young woman who answered “Better…” when I asked how she was doing. She followed it up with “I’ve been throwing up all day, but now it’s mostly dry heaving. But I brought a plastic bag, just in case.”
So…that was a quick arc, from virtual to actual (potential) vehicle based vomit.
It turns out she’d drank an entire bottle of something that was lost behind and effort to stifle something else on Friday night – on an empty stomach, no less – and yesterday was a Bob’s your uncle type day for her. Fortunately, we made it to her destination without incident, Portland’s pot-holey roads notwithstanding. Her ride ended close to my home – and, in a completely unnecessary side bar, right across the street from a place I lived back in ’96-97 – and I though that maybe I should just give up and call it a night.
Clearly, the universe was trying to tell me to fuck all the way offsomething.
But the (recreational) O.C.D. is strong in me and I like to give blocks of 10 rides when I go out. My feeling was that even if I was going to short-day it, I needed to hit five rides so I could sleep. Hell, at least four, so I could true-up my total ride balance to a mentally comfortable multiple of 5 or 10.
Full disclosure: when I get into what I call “overtime”, that 10 rides block goes out the window. If I’m in the far reaches of Portland on my 10th ride – as is often the case, given the level of fuckery I endure from the universe – I’ll put my app in Home or Lux Mode and take rides that come my way, but not hold myself to ending on a multiple of 5 or 10…
Surely, I could manage two or three more rides. Right?
Again, optimistically, I thought in my Mom Voice “You never know, the next ride could turn everything around for the better”.
That was just plain, old foolhardiness, though.
Enter, my third rider.
A phrase that is as potentially foreshadowing as a depraved mind could imagine. Seriously, you wanna know how this turns out? Remove the comma.
Let’s call this guy Donnie Drunko.
I clocked his blood alcohol level as elevated as he wobbled toward the car. I also clocked his sexual proclivities as he gave a long hug to a male friend before heel-toeing it my way.
He seemed amused when I told him I came out to drive after giving my wine rack the side eye too early in the evening, unnecessarily admitting he’d had a few drinks. “Yeah”, I replied, “but knowing my night owly tendencies, I knew that if I opened a bottle at 6:30, I’d be opening a second before 11.”
I went on to mentally muse that there was also a $15 streak bonus at 9:00 for giving three rides between 9-10 PM and I wanted to start a second streak in that hour to add a $30 bonus to my night’s effort. That bottle of wine could wait until 11.
Well, that’s what my thought process had been. I was already second-guessing that moderation decision and by the end of this ride, I was going to regret not boarding the bus to Hammertown.
Let’s just go straight from his surprise that it was only 7:40 and he was firmly wrapped up in a booze blanket, bypass the fairly enjoyable conversation about owning a house as a single person and skip onto me pulling up to his curb, eh?
He seemed to have trouble getting his shit together before deplaning getting out of the car. Not an unfamiliar phenomenon – especially with relaxed folk. People want to make sure they have everything, and that’s just more of a production from inside a bottle.
I’ve learnt to display a detached patience when this happens, like I don’t notice.
Instead of struggling to get out of the car, I realized he’d been struggling to close the diagonal distance between us. From the back, he grabs my arm to pull himself toward me so that his chest is against the back of my driver’s seat.
Assuming best intentions – like a moron – I ask if everything is ok, like maybe I parked in front of the wrong house. Nope…right house, wrong ballpark, as I soon found out.
“Do you, uh…want a hand job?” he slurs at me, his masked face surprisingly close to my own when I turned to face him.
“Boy, did you read that wrong”, I replied, enjoying the chance to use one of my favorite West Wing quotes in the same manner – albeit far more X-rated – that Leo McGarry had used it when Josh had tried to hug the curmudgeonly Chief of Staff on the show.
Shrugging off my rejection like it was my character flaw versus the complete cultural abdication of class on the part of The Gays that it is, he gets out of the car. Eschewing my usual “wait until they get to their door safely” M.O. I drive off immediately, debating when I should 1-star this clown and lamenting the pathetic state of Gay Kulture.
Internally, I’m trying to talk myself into waiting until morning. Then I hit the Block Hammer wall that I encounter so frequently on asocial media. When I don’t align with someone’s self-indulgent world view behaviors and they block me for – and I’m paraphrasing here – telling them that they are basically an affront to anyone with actual retarded developmental issues.
I know…you’re just dying to know that if that was the paraphrased version of my online response, what is the actual content. Trust me, it’s usually full on Julia Sugarbaker-esque indignation.
Low grade concerned that this guy could effectively pull that same cancel culture bullshit on me that faceless gays do online when they block me, simply by lodging a complaint about me with Lyft, I pull over and pull out my 1-star rating for this Lost Boy.
I hate giving someone a low rating/review and think Lyft is a little overly cautious in its pairing paradigm. Out of five possible stars, the app will never pair you with anyone you rate 3-stars or less. I think that’s a bit harsh, but I understand that they are trying to make the community the happiest possible place for passengers and drivers by pairing you with seeming favorites. It’s cool with that perspective. Wanting to be a busy boy, though, I tend to rate riders thusly:
5: good/great ride with a tip
4: good/great ride
3: lacking behavior, self-aware enough to tip to compensate
2: lacking behavior
This guy got a 1…even though I woke up to a chubby tip. I’d have still not felt bad had he given me a fat or even morbidly obese tip…and here’s why: it wasn’t until I pulled back onto the road to fetch my fourth ride that I realized this guy pulling himself so close to me could have easily ended with him pulling a knife across my throat – remember, I live in Stabtown, USA – as it did with a clumsy offer of a handy. Needless to say, I was a little trembly when I pulled up to my next pick up.
Happily, and in a fit of Mom Voice vindication, ride four was a 25 minute Lux ride from the swanky West Hills to far less swanky Felony Flats on the east side of town. As if the $50 ride itself wasn’t enough to tilt things back into cosmic balance for grumpy old Xtopher, the guy was a great conversationalist…which is fucking priceless.
The post-credits scene:
Since you obviously want to know…having stayed this long; no, I did not manage to double up on the streak bonus. Ride number four in my streak efforts barely fell into the 9-10 o’clock hour, but by the time he ran out his five-minute pickup time, it was 10:03 so I couldn’t start a second streak.
Still, I’ll gladly take:
A) a $50 ride
B) restored faith in my riders’ behavior; and,
C) getting to my 10 ride goal after a really rocky start to the night as offsets to a second $15 bonus.
You know me…every day is just another opportunity for me to put my affairs – not that kind, Diezel – in order before I die alone.
Today was no exception.
It was a day that started out strangely well, considering a night of whack sleep. I’d fallen asleep for <30 minutes last night on the couch around 8, but was then completely wide awake. I didn’t take my new favorite weed syrup sleep aid before bed because I was meeting my parents at 10 this morning to go look at bathroom fixtures and entry lights for a few projects they have going on at Galby Acres and I didn’t want to oversleep.
Naturally, I woke up at 730. <eyeroll>
No matter, I had errands that I could run before meeting up with M&D at 10 and actually managed to overcome my usual morning torpor and get to it. Of course, my parents surprised me with an en auto breakfast – restaurants are closed to dine in customers here in Portland, so we got take out and ate in the car like hippies – and after we hit the kitchen/bath/lighting shop, they re-surprised me by letting me tag along to watch them car shop.
It was a good morning.
When they dropped me back home, mom admonished me to take the rest of the day off, like spending my morning with them had been some sort of chore. I fully intended to comply, but then decided to just pop out for a couple hours.
I was out for just under three hours and only had six rides. Most of my time was spent sitting on the 5 northbound since it was after 230, and even in a pandemic under lockdown orders, the idiots that live across the river in Washington – with its lower property taxes and no income tax – but come to town for our higher paying jobs and sales tax free shopping have found a way to make a three mile drive take 15+ minutes. I had one ride that took me to the second to last freeway exit before the state line and the next two hours were spent with me getting almost back to the city core before being called back to one of the last two exits before entering Vantucky.
Actually, my third ride was to pick up my second passenger, because he got nauseous being that close to Washington completed his errand quickly and I was still the closest driver. That was a first: a back to back repeat rider.
After yo-yoing between almost downtown and the state line for the next two rides, I decided to put my app on Home Mode and call it quits. Earnings were crap, since I’d spent most of my time sitting in traffic…and none of those apparently entitled bastards understood how gratuities work. Or their sense of entitlement made me driving 15-20 minutes to fetch them for a 6 minute ride seem equitable.
I’d roll my eyes, but they are still sprained from the last epic eyeroll…
I got one ride on the way home.
In true Portland style, this is my passenger’s avatar.
Well, that looks like it is gonna be an entertaining ride. If it was a cis-woman, I was prepared to be hyper aware of how easily she could snap me in half. But I suspected it was merely another queer youth expressing his gender-fluidity.
I was right.
Still, we had a nice and amiable chat during our 8 minutes together. I learned he was going to his boyfriend’s for an at home date night, which sounded super sweet. They started dating just after lockdown 1.0 and have been together a little over six months.
I don’t know why I was surprised to pull up to his boyfriend’s house and think “I’ve picked someone up here before…”
Imagine my surprise when my passenger replied.
I vamped and said that I thought I’d given his BF a ride before. I immediately called up a mental picture of the guy – like a stoned out, slightly-too-old-for-it skater boy who was newly missing a front tooth when I picked him up. He awkwardly came out to me during our ride after bitching about how picking up an extra shift at work was better than hanging out at home with his bitch ex-wife, who he also worked with so it was not easy to manage time apart.
He talked a little about the guy he was seeing before I dropped him off at a dispensary a few blocks away.
Imagine my surprise as I sat in the driveway trying to decide whether to head left or right and a call came in, taking me to the left. A right and a couple of miles had me pulling up to my next ride…at the sister store for Mr Nice Guy.
I think it’s because something weird like that would only happen to me, but it might also be because I’m one of the few who would notice that type of coincidence.
Still, if I dropped the woman I picked up at the second shop at the house where I’d just picked up my previous ride, I was fully prepared to laugh all the way home. Luckily, that did not happen.
Back to tonight, though, I tell the guy that I think I’d given his boyfriend a ride before and asked if he worked at a weed shop.
Me? No, I work at a pizza joint.
Clarifying I had meant his BF, while thinking that even with his tendency to capture makeover moments on film – he was not wearing any overt makeup tonight – that he should be able to do better than the guy inside that house, my young, gender-fluid passenger laughs awkwardly and gets out of the car.
Affording me the opportunity to see the Mr Nice Guy logo on the hoodie he was wearing.
Fuck my life.
Luckily, I’d ordered a beer delivery from Big Legrowlski whilst sitting in traffic on the 5 and it was presently waiting for me at home. A Pallet Jack or two oughta set me just right, allowing me to forget that a burnout type guy missing a front tooth can get a boyfriend and I’m sitting at home drinking alone with the ever disdainful Mistress Myrtle.
Because, with Myrtle around, you’re always alone. I hope she ends this game of cat and Xtopher she’s playing soon and puts me out of my misanthropy…
Well, it’s been a minute since I’ve posted under this theme.
Maybe it’s been 100 years, maybe only 9 months. If I’ve learned anything in 2020, it’s that time is excruciating relative.
Another interesting thing about 2020 has been how the mentally lethal distractions that inspired this theme – based off of the pre-credit scenes in the original Star Trek, where some extra in a red shirt always seemed to die after beaming down to a strange, new world – have shifted. Before the quarantimes, these mental deaths were always near misses with my own mortality.
Lunch with my parents?
People emerging from lockdown 1.0, unsure of how to navigate life in “the real world” again?
A friend’s small wedding?
Family gathering in Central Oregon for my nephew’s 21st?
Bubble Boy not texting back in a timely manner?
Yeah, they all died at one point or another in my neurotic mess of a brain.
It’s fascinating that my prochristination has me finally getting this out of draft on Thanksgiving Eve. After shaking my initial misgivings about meeting my parents for lunches on their trips into town, I still get a little heebaliscious when thinking about dinner at their house tomorrow.
I overcame my original disease with lunches after just admitting that with the Silver Fox in isolation with his ex-wife about 90 minutes south of Portland, my own isolation was poised to redefine the term lonely. Knowing that I was either at home or driving made me realize that my parents were likely the only people I would actually see intentionally and with any regularity during the lockdown.
Even though I was driving with Lyft ~20 hours a week, I felt like the table between us was buffer enough, since I was completely masked up while I drove people around. Still, it took a few months before we ventured back into hug territory.
Knowing that dinner tomorrow would be just my parents and youngest brother, I agreed to the pandemic indulgence. I still took this past week off from driving, on a doctor’s advice. Right now, I feel like the biggest risk to our meal is a nosey neighbor calling the cops to report our gathering. The Governor has set a 6 people or less from no more than 2 household rule on the day. We will be only 4, but from 3 households. Since the Guv has gone the shocking extra step of encouraging people to report their neighbors if they suspect a violation of these guidelines, I’m thinking maybe I should pick my brother up along the way.
And because my parents are like poster children for great parents, Tuesday evening I start getting texts about coming out tonight to have a special dinner and spend the night.
It’s quite a nostalgic pull from the days when I lived out of state and would fly in early for holidays. But this year, I just can’t get there. I’m missing the rationalization that would make me comfortable spending that much time in their home, potentially exposing them to my city germs.
Also, there’s Myrtle. She’s kind of a situation.
After getting her, I took the advice of friends and family with cats and left her for the night with extra food – with a healthy 50% bump just to be sure – and went to my parents’. Myrtle being Myrtle, I came home to cat puke everywhere – none “fresh” – and a starving cat.
The next phase was taking her out with me.
That was an exercise in animal cruelty. She screamed the entire trip out in her cat carrier. Once we arrived, she stayed under the bed the entire visit. Emerging, from what I can tell, only once for some water and to shit on my parents’ hallway carpet.
It’s not easy being her.
So, for many reasons, I demurred on the invite for tonight. Then I woke up with a sore throat today, because that’s just my neurotic brain having fun with me.
But having skipped my nephew’s birthday, dreading the following two weeks and filling my dreams with sole survivor scenarios where my nephew, younger brother and I were the last of our clan, I wanted to go to Thanksgiving dinner.
But now the dreams are back.
COVID has messed up my sleep schedule pretty good. I won’t mix my syzzurp sleep aid with alcohol, so if I drink I’ve resigned myself to bad sleep. But it’s been next level bad these past two weeks. I’ll stay up too late and then get woken up by Myrtle around 9, after logging 4-5 hours. Or, I’ll go to bed around 10 and wake up around 2, wide awake. On the days I can fall back to sleep, it’s usually not until 5 or 6 and then Myrt still wakes me up around 9.
I think Myrtle just wants the bed. But still, I don’t want to be at my parents’ house with this crap going on and accidentally wake their dogs with my late night meanderings around the house – because then everyone is up.
But I know that part of my recent sleep problems are due to bad dreams. I just want them to remain bad dreams, I don’t need the reality my brain tries selling my unconscious self.
But overall – and I think this is something I need to acknowledge gratefully – no one close to me has died from COVID. Friends of Facebook friends is as close as its come to touching my life in reality. The back of my mind is screaming that I’m due, but I’m shushing it for all I’m worth.
No one got sick from my nephew’s birthday.
No one died after the wedding I dipped on.
There’s been plenty of non-COVID close calls because people forgot how to live after 1.0 ended, but again, nothing in my direct realm.
Then there’s Bubble Boy.
Just so I don’t bury the lead, he’s still alive.
Lil fucker got himself stabbed, though, so it’s not like he’s coming out of this unscathed.
No. I did not do the stabbing. Well, not the literal stabbing. <wink, wink>
Bubble Boy is someone I’ve hooked up with a few times over the years since I moved back to Portland. No, he is not a part of the Dating Into Oblivion blog theme or subsequent book – since we don’t date so much as we mate. He’s not interested in dating and he’s not boyfriend material if he were. But he’s a hot little nugget of a man, I’ll tell you that.
So when lockdown hit and he was up to meet, I decided – after the first three months – to go for it. It took me that long to rationalize a guy in his early 30s having the discipline to isolate or take reasonable precautions during a pandemic.
Sure enough, we start connecting a couple times a month versus our every month or two pre-lockdown rhythm. Then he goes quiet in August. After one missed assignation and a couple unreturned texts, I arrive expeditiously at the obvious conclusion.
Then I spend a week re-isolating, assuming – irrationally, I know – that he is in hospital or dead from COVID and that I’ve been exposed, symptoms lacking be damned. Also 1000% not surprised that this might have been the case that my psyche is trying to make to me.
When he finally blips back onto the radar, my reaction to learning he’d been in hospital was “Naturally” and to mentally pat myself on the back. And to be relieved he survived.
After he misses a couple more text replies and another “date” with the explanation that he’d been back in hospital, I ask if he’s sure he should be making plans to meet.
Oh, yeah. I’m fine, my stitches just keep getting infected is all.
But, c’mon. You just know that I had to demand an explanation after that overshare.
“Oh, is that all?” – Me. Really, it’s so not shocking I ended up alone.
Sure enough, desperate times did indeed breed desperate measures and he’d been mugged one night on his way home. I didn’t press for details, rather assuming it was from something acceptable like essential work.
Plus, I’m enough of a Portlander to know that we are a stabby lot.
You think I’m kidding.
Poorly, by the way. His attacker stabbed him in the collarbone. Of all the…I mean, I’ve never stabbed anyone, but I think I could do so without my blade bouncing off a collarbone, FFS. Although, admittedly on his 5’3″ self, I’d have to work to get down to gut level and avoid ribs and whatnot.
Ok, I’ve clearly put too much thought into that.
But that’s kind of the point of The Red Shirt Diaries – an overactive and macabre imagination.
To redeem myself, when we did successfully meet up post-stabbing and he interrupted the usual commotion involved in our involvement with a caution to be careful of his stitches, I replied by pushing his face deeper into the mattress with one hand, telling him this was his idea and smacking his ass with my other hand.
My little freaky-deaky f*ckbuddy seemed to rather enjoy that. But I also think he knows me well enough to know that I was, indeed, more careful of his stitches after that.
So…one more day to get through and then a couple weeks of what I know will be a neurotic red shirt-esque death watch and hopefully I can sail into the new year with a still-full compliment of friends and family, despite my relatively empty quarantine bubble.
But let’s face it, this being my life, you just have to know that I’d be the one to die of COVID in my circle. How I can’t get there with the people actually in my bubble probably goes back to being raised by great parents who taught me to be concerned for others…