First things first. Happy birthday Matthew Kelleher.
Dropped by Shag tonight for Matt's official, actual birthday. The real Matt. Not the Saturday night who's that of Manhattan birthday Matty with the Polo logo you can see from space, enveloped by miles of male perfection. No, no. I skipped that Matty in favor of Phoenix Pride. The Matt I know was at Shag on Thursday, his real birthdate. Parker enthusiast. Notre Dame radio star. Rowdy rower. Jersey girl. That's my Matt.
Ben Harvey and I conspired to create an A Gay power foursome. The Fantastic Four! But better than the movie. I brought Matt and Ben Harvey brought the eponymous Charlie. Oh Charlie. As I have blogged frequently, I have been studying travels with Charlie, largely at Vlada, my usual watering hole, for months now. Of late, he has not been there, leading me to believe I am a more dedicated alcoholic and not quite the recluse I tend to see myself as. As a modern day Jane Goodall, crouched in the dark recesses of the noisy gay bar, jotting random notes in my head for use later in my online journal of events, I spied Charlie on more than one occasion, though never wanted to interrupt the natural order of things by talking to him. From a distance, he has a winning smile, which is not diminished by closer inspection. Tonight at Shag he reminded me that we had met before, some time ago at Beige.
It is at this point that the trolley really jumped the tracks. For weeks now, I have been on the brink of a nervous breakdown. I have had two different emotions colliding inside me for weeks, like a pair of hurricanes flung together in such a way that neither has an eye of calm anymore. On the one hand, I have my prolonged house closing, the stress of which has ruined my normally blissful slumber for three weeks now. The second storm was caused by the Bravo series Work Out, which is especially infuriating because it is neither a show that I like nor one I watch! But I did catch the season opener and the death of Doug on the show has hit me very hard. In particular, the "fat" trainer Jesse, who is the love of my life, showed callous disregard for Doug. "I don't need him in my life," he casually declared, cementing his guaranteed camera time. In hindsight, such blithe muggings for extra airtime on a basic cable channel look shallower than a child's wading pool and just as disgusting to watch as a soggy, full diaper floating in it.
Faced with Doug's mortality, I have been spurred into action, not to let that kind of pettiness rule my life. It fueled my endgame with Fat Ass, and in general, has left me with a constant sense of urgency about things said and done. It has made me more accomplished, and also more scattered in my thoughts, as I sift through the sands of my life, looking for the shards of broken glass to throw out. Compounding this with the Byzantine rules surrounding home purchase in the state of New York and I can hardly remember my own name. So when, after four hours of radio with guest host Cyd Zeigler, and sitting on an empty stomach and a full drink, Charlie mentioned Beige, I couldn't for the life of me remember the bar or its location in New York City. Even though I have been there at least 20 times in the last six years. This gave Charlie the upper hand to chide me for the rest of the evening about my inability to remember who or what I was. These kids today.
I barely got a chance to talk to Ben Harvey, or Matt, or even Cyd, who I dragged out on a school night. But since it is important to learn from every experience, I did get two things from this evening. First, the gays sure do like to worry. And sometimes they worry about things that mean absolutely nothing at all. Maybe we just like to worry for worrying's sake. Maybe it's a misplaced maternal instinct that, lacking anything to mother, we endlessly mother oursleves and each other. Whatever it is, Doug's death has reminded me that it just isn't worth worrying about. Whatever it is.
Second, I learned that even if I can't remember my own name, or a bar I got drunk in with Matt in Los Angeles (Cherry) or a bar I got drunk in with Matt and Charlie in New York (Beige), or the name of the guy who wrote about me in the New York Times in June 2003 (Bob Morris), I never forget to be an ass about grammar. By Manhattan standards, I may have a fourth grade education, but when's Ben's sweet, sweet friend Jeremy, who writes for the New York Times said "when Saddam was hung," I reflexively muttered "hanged" under my breath. Twice.
Because just like life, once just isn't enough to say everything you need to say.