Thursday, May 28, 2015

Giovanni's Room

I reread James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room yesterday. That could be the reason. Or, at least, part of the reason. A reason among a multitude of them. The weather also. As much as we as humans might like to think we’re independent, sentient beings in control of our destiny, our emotions, our lives, often the reason why something is or is not comes down to something so deceptively simple as the weather - a thing we mistake as simple, a part of life, the background to it - when, in fact, it’s often the showrunner, the producer, the script we act out, life itself, the thing that determines what we do or do not feel, how we behave. So the weather, too. Let’s add that to the list of reasons. Also, the gym. Another reason. I’m going to Fire Island in a week and I’ve been working out hard in some last-minute attempt to get more in shape. Working out is producing certain effects in me, inspiring more confidence in my body as well as releasing whatever chemicals and hormones it does, chemicals and hormones that have me increasingly horny over the past several days.

And so it’s the sum of those, plus all the other assorted things life presents - meals, sleep habits, scents of trees, scents of men, people passing by on the street, the skin of shoulders on display on the sidewalks in this warm weather New York is experiencing, memories, texts, imagined futures.

All of these things combine to make me a person, a human, a man, desiring the company of another person, another human, another man. I want something nice. Sex is easy. I jerked off with a guy in the steamroom at my gym yesterday morning before work. Things like that are easy. There are guys on Scruff and Grindr who are to the point, who tell me that they want to be fucked, that they want my load, that they want me to suck their dick. Which, good for them. There are nights, days, mornings when such talk appeals to me. There are nights, days, mornings when I talk such ways also. Lately though, it’s something else I want. I want to have a drink first and chat, and then yes, we can have dirty sex, but I want some connection, to feel something with another human being beforehand.

There is a heat in the subway stations that seems early for late May. In some stations, it already feels like August. The heat has been trapped in some of these stations. People wipe the sweat from their brows and fan themselves with free newspapers, their copies of The New Yorker. Once boarding the train today, I rode next to this man in rolled up short sleeves, wearing pants cuffed high with no socks. There was skin, glorious skin, on display. I wanted so bad to touch it. I let our arms brush against each other while holding the pole above us. There was a moistness to his skin that sent shivers through me. I looked at him out of the corner of my eye, imagining certain things, nothing even in particular. I let this reverie of feeling take me off in its current as the train swayed through tunnels, taking us somewhere, to destinations known, to destinations unknown.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Confusion

"Confusion is a luxury which only the very, very young can possibly afford and you are not that young anymore."
-Giovanni's Room (40)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Roisin Murphy's "Exile"

Last week, I flew to Iceland, spent a day in Reykjavik, where I ate whale, fish, and more fish. I walked around the city, cold for the most part, underdressed for the weather. I stood on the water and looked at snowcapped hills across the way, taking in the landscape. I napped in my hotel bed, cruised Grindr, and wrote some stuff for work.

Less than twenty-four hours after landing there, I was off to London. I am always so happy there. I love everything about London. It makes me so happy. So happy even when walking around in shoes that don’t fit. So happy even when stopping in Topman to buy new shoes and then falling down a flight of stairs in those new shoes. So happy even walking around and realizing that these new shoes that I fell in are also too small and hurting my feet. Much energy, probably too much energy, in those few days was spent thinking about footwear.

I hung out with David a lot, went to a lot of fun bars, had lunch with Jacob, saw a couple cool art shows, and saw the incredible Roisin Murphy perform. I kissed a Scottish boy on the street. I had sex with this cute Argentine in some sex club and then had a cute, awkward breakfast date the next morning with him, in which, suave person that I am, I choked on coffee and spit it all over the table and myself.

I bought a new pair of shoes that fit me nicely. I flew home.

There was also a lot of drinking on this trip that was done. This is being mentioned because I had severe stomach pains over the last few days and after going to a doctor yesterday I was told that it was my week of binge-drinking on holiday that most likely messed with my stomach lining. So I have gastritis now. I have to take a regimen of pills for two weeks and am also not to drink coffee or alcohol for a while.

Coffee and alcohol are pretty much all I ever drink. The next couple of weeks are going to be really hard. Or good and healthy. Choose your own adventure.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Martinique

The subway always seems to know when you just cannot be late, when you absolutely have to be on time for something. Otherwise, I can think of no other reason why it is that so often when I leave early for something to get there with plenty of time to spare, that those are the moments when the train stalls or isn’t running or there’s a sick passenger or there’s a pack of feral cats in the tunnel or whatever the reason that day is that the announcer says.

Yesterday morning, despite giving myself plenty of time to get to a job interview, of course the L train (of course, the fucking L train everyone says in agreement) stalls at the 1st Avenue station for a good ten minutes before finally kicking everyone off on to already insanely crowded platform. It took me a good fifteen minutes to push my way out of the station, at which point I took off running toward Union Square, pausing only for traffic lights and to curse the sky - of course, it would fucking be raining then even though that was not in the forecast.

I bolted across this island of Manhattan, hopped on an uptown train and barely made it to my interview on time, covered in sweat, rain, and out of breath.

Despite this, maybe because of this, I managed to charm them and am now on to the next round.

But you just got hired somewhere, you might be saying. And yes, you are indeed right. What then am I doing? Really, I have no clue. I thought the listing sounded slightly interesting and wasn’t expecting to hear back, let alone get called in for an interview the next day.

In that office where I was being interviewed, they had a sample of Martinique wallpaper hanging from the wall. This is a print that I am pretty obsessed with lately. I took this as a sign.

I take a lot of things as signs though.

There’s a boy that I like. Okay, so maybe there a few. For now though, let’s narrow the focus and discuss this one in particular. I have never talked to him in person. I asked him to meet me for a drink. He’s working tonight, but hopefully that will happen soon. I am trying. I haven’t done that in a while, but this weather has me feeling again. Happiness is here with blue skies and rolled up sleeves. I want to clink glasses with a cute boy and talk about life and then have him in my bed. Or, I can end up in theirs. I’m not picky.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Twelve Years

I have been living in this city, New York, for twelve years now. This past week marked the occasion. It was April 24, 2003 that I moved to this city with some vague dreams, some more clearly delineated ones, and two big pieces of luggage.

And so it felt like an appropriate week to officially be hired at my job. My freelance job at this agency I really like has transitioned into a salaried copywriter position. It was one of the weeks where I thought to myself, "I've made it. I am making it." After twelve years in this city of floating from job to job, including some of the oddest jobs imaginable, after twelve years of being satisfied with getting by, after twelve years of not utilizing my actual skills, it felt so, so good to get this job offer.

I moved to New York wanting to be a writer. Twelve years later, it's happening. I am now getting paid to write. And, okay, so I'm not getting paid to write the Proustian work of fiction I had hoped to (I don't think anyone's necessarily hiring for that). Instead, I am getting paid to write advertising. The key takeaway from that previous sentence though is that I am getting paid to write. I am getting paid to write. That feels so good to say. That feels so good to live.

This past week, I also started taking PrEP. Not that I am really engaging in much sex lately, but knowing that when I do that it all too often tends to verge into risky behavior, it gives me so much peace of mind to be on this medication. It's another step for me in what feels like this climb toward adulthood.

The nights are cold in New York during this in-between time of landlords having turned off the heat and the start of warm evenings. Luckily I recently bought a new comforter. Come lay with me under it some night. We can keep each other warm and tell stories as we drift off to sleep.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

"Heaven is Ten Zillion Light Years Away"

I got my hair cut today. My favorite barber was alone in the shop this morning, it still early for a Sunday. He was blasting salsa music and reading a newspaper while he sat in a barber's seat. I find him in this position a lot when I come in. I used to take so much pleasure in the same thing, just sitting in front of a sunny window and reading and listening to music.

It's a vanishing sight, someone reading a print newspaper by choice, not cause it was handed to you underground where you have no cell service and you want something to read. Meanwhile I had probably spent an hour lying in bed reading bullshit on Facebook and just scrolling through images.

For some reason, I bought a new phone today despite thinking I needed to live more like this man and to quit always having my attention absorbed by my phone's screen.

I also today did something it has taken me more than a decade to do. After living in this city for nearly 13 years now, I finally went and visited the Frick Collection, something I had always meant to get around to seeing. It's a beautiful, beautiful space and walking through it, I played fantasy. I imagined myself living in this house, what it much have been to inhabit this place, walking through scenes of early 20th century New York glamour.

My left eye is red constantly. Stevie Wonder is amazing.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Burrito Fever

Other projects have been consuming my time lately. I haven't forgotten you, dear Diary. You still mean the world to me. I plan to recommit myself to our relationship very soon in a much stronger fashion. It's just that I've been a bit busy. New job. Trying to figure shit out. Life. The usual. You know. Plus, this new website that I've been putting some time into:

www.burritofever.com

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The War on Drugs - "An Ocean in Between the Waves"

I am sitting in the snow globe that is this midtown high-rise for my second to last day, watching the March snowstorm swirl around outside these large windows. It is my second to last day here because, friends, I am happy to say that sometimes dreams do come true, that even when it seems like they may not, even when you are beyond discouraged and at wit’s end from sending out letter after letter to recruiters for months, that still there is hope.

I got an email yesterday morning from an agency that I have been wanting to work at and that I have been in communication with for seemingly months now finally offering me a freelance position there. And I can’t think of a time where news has ever made me happier. To be honest, I guess that’s the feeling you experience when you get a job you’ve been waiting to hear about or that feeling when you got into that school you really wanted to go to, and, yes, I have certainly experienced the emotion before. But the thing about it is that it always feels new, always feels like the pinnacle of happiness, like something you’ve never felt before.

What am I saying is that I was incredibly, incredibly happy, all the more so because I had been starting to experience severe doubts about my competency, about whether I had chosen the right career path, that maybe I wasn’t good enough. I interned at a big agency this past summer, then afterward, despite thinking I would easily get a job, I did not. A couple months went by and I took the only industry offer I got - another internship, this time under the presumption that it would quickly transition into an actual job after a couple months. Five months later, it did not. 

I have been applying everywhere in the past couple months once it became apparent that I would not quickly transition here to being a regular employee as I had been told when I accepted this offer. There were a lot of almosts. Various positions that it seemed like I just almost got. Back and forth with recruiters, only for the talked about jobs to vanish, to no longer be needed, to have been filled by internal referrals, to have needed someone that could start right away.

And so after several of these and after being stuck in intern limbo for the better part of a year now, I was really starting to feel crazy, wondered if I was too old to try a new career path, wondered if I was perhaps not as talented as I thought I was. Almost a year ago, I took a big leap and left the hospitality industry which I had worked in for years and which paid me comfortably to embark on something that I wanted to do, something that let me indulge my creative impulses that I have, something that would let me employ language as my job, to come up with clever ways of saying things. I didn’t think it would be this hard. Recently, I had even started to fear that I might end up going back to hospitality, that maybe I would never get a job in advertising.

Which is why yesterday’s email was such a relief. I wanted to run laps around the office here, shrieking with joy. Instead, I giddily bounced up and down in my chair here and waited until I left for lunch to shriek with joy on the street. And I am still not entirely there yet. It’s a temp-to-perm freelance job. It just means that I have to go in there and be amazing every single day and show these people that I deserve to be here. Which I am going to do, which I can do. 

I am so, so happy.

Friday, February 27, 2015

#thedress

Our world is built on twigs, a little beach hut built on twigs, and it was shaken by the color of a dress yesterday, by the perceived color of a dress.

What we hold to be reality, things that we deem objective truths, that this color is blue, that that color is white, easy things that we can all agree on, came into question yesterday. Our reality, our idea of it, is build upon our flimsy perceptions of the world. Last night, we saw just what a rickety, what a fragile, foundation that is.

At first I saw the dress as white and gold, but then saw it as black and blue. Now it is all I can see and I have a hard time imagining how I saw it as white, and an even harder time understanding how that is what so many people still see when they look at the dress.

There are the internet voices mocking our interest in this dress, how this became a national topic of discussion, saying that it’s proof of the triviality of life in this year of 2015, of the inane things that we choose to focus our attention on. However, I think these commenters entirely miss the point, that this is not a small, inane thing, but instead that is actually one of the biggest things that has ever preoccupied the nation at once. People are dealing with some of the biggest questions, those concerning the nature of reality and how our idea of it is informed by something as imperfect as human perception, that some tiny cones and rods in our retinas create our conception of the world. There are worlds our eyes don’t see, that they are incapable of seeing.

It was a collective national acid trip last night as people questioned their vision and questioned what is real, what is not, and whether there is even such a thing as “real.”

It was a beautiful, beautiful moment.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Carry On, Charlie

I renewed my lease for another year this morning in this apartment I live in, this home of mine in Brooklyn.

I picked up my new glasses today with a stronger prescription so I can see the world with greater clarity.

I signed up for a gym membership again, signing a one-year contract. The gym is the one I used to belong to and it is a couple blocks from where I hope to be working soon (fingers and toes crossed!). Signing up here was an attempt to will this job into being.

I got an email from an eBay seller letting me know that I in fact could buy this gay pulp novel that I had really wanted, and that I had been outbid on, the title of which is, "Carry On, Charlie."

All of these are connected. All, signs of some sort. 

After work today, I stopped uptown, at this guy's house I see every now and then, this piss drinker. I saw myself in his mirror as I undressed and saw hard work unravelling. I saw a thin body without much definition and terrible posture. I saw the months and months I had spent in the gym shaping myself into what I wanted to look like, what I wanted to feel like, fading away. I haven't been to the gym in probably a month, haven't been regularly in months. I had let my gym membership lapse due to being a broke intern and also because I didn't know where I would be working soon, in what neighborhood, and thus was unwilling to commit to a place for a year. Today, though, seeing myself in that man's mirror was the motivation I needed to just say "Fuck it!" and sign back up at my old gym near Madison Square Park. 

Working out felt so great. Yes, there are the physical benefits, but just as important are the mental ones I get from moving my body around, from exhausting it, from working up a sweat like a human body is meant to do. The joy of motion. Sitting at a desk all day, I need this more than ever.

And tomorrow I am going to go into this job that feels like it's in its last days and I am going to hope for an email to appear that will make that true. And then I am going to go run and run and run.