Friday, May 7, 2010

"my traveling companions are ghosts and empty sockets"

A few days ago, I returned from a trip that brought me to several states in this country of ours, to a couple cities I had never before been to. It started off with a trip to Milwaukee, a city Jacob and I were flown into by a john. That leg of the trip is a very long story in and of itself that I want to parse out in a fiction piece, exploring this man's life whom we went to see. An odd fellow he was. He has a wife and two kids and is obsessed with escorts, seemingly every other weekend flies one into town from San Francisco or New York, pays them a large deal of money in addition to the costs of nice meals and a nice hotel. We are both convinced that he must embezzle money from the company he works for. After the first time we had sex with him, he called his wife while we were still naked in bed to tell her that he was at a meeting, a very interactive meeting, very hands on. He ran his finger along my leg, caressing it as he said these things and I felt quite weird, a bit uncomfortable, and was ready for him to go back to his wife, felt bad for her. At one point, he took us to a cheesy chain Italian restaurant in the suburbs only a couple miles from his house. There was definitely some thrill he got from putting his life so at risk. I however was a bit uncomfortable about having a supporting role in this man's drama. He would come each morning, feed us bagels, want to get fucked senseless, and then took us sightseeing around the city, before taking us back to the hotel, him desiring to get fucked senseless some more, a hungry and whiney bottom, and then he would leave around five or six, the end of a workday, and head home, the two of us alone by ourselves in a fairly depressing city, a city where there seemed to be a couple of parking garages for each block. Once I noticed the large amount of parking garages, I couldn't stop thinking about them, wondering what it said about this city, about most cities actually.

He dropped us off at the airport and we made like we were heading to check in to the flight he had bought us home to New York, however once he was out of sight we doubled back and went to the Dollar rental car counter where I had reserved us a car for the roadtrip we were about to embark on. We were handed keys to a Ford. We drove out of the airport parking lot, trying to find a radio station to start the journey with, an appropriate soundtrack. I am not sure what it is we settled on. We drove and drove, having started later than we had hoped and so not making any stops, having to pick up Bob early the next morning at the Nashville airport. We drove until Bowling Green, Kentucky, where we stopped at an "America's Best Value Inn," because they were advertising $30 rooms and we were tired, needed to sleep until the morning when we would do the final hour of the drive and pick Bob up and all head to Short Mountain for Beltane.

It's a Friday night and it's getting-ready-time and so I am hurrying way too quickly through these things that during them I could not wait to recount in my diary later, but I have been working nonstop since getting back, doing other things, and have found no time to document these things, and so again, an apology to my future self and to you because you are getting the abbreviated version, the highlights reel.

The hotel, this supposed best value inn, was such a downgrade from our luxurious lodging at Milwaukee's Pfister Hotel that we laughed really hard when we opened the room's door - broken lamps with yellowed shades, a room reeking of smoke, a janky old tv, and disgusting sheets - basically what one would expect from a room for $30 a night. We left early the next morning after I jerked off on to Jacob's face, headed back on the road toward Nashville, toward Bob.

It was pouring rain and I was already dreading what would lie ahead at Short Mountain, having been there last year when it was nonstop rain and wondering why it had to be the same situation this year, was so disappointed and almost wanted to just skip that portion of the trip and head straight to Memphis. Bob definitely wanted to do the same while we were eating at a Waffle House while watching the heavy rain on the other side of the windows. As much as we wanted to though, we had to go there because we were supposed to give Diego and Kyle a ride from there to Memphis where all of our flights were out of and we were all going to see Graceland.

We stopped at a Wal-Mart, bought a tent, and navigated our way to the mountain. We set up the tent and seemingly immediately jumped into the craziness, eating some mushrooms. The rain let up a for a slight bit and the actual Beltane ceremony took place as they prepared to hoist the maypole. I was tripping hard at this point, the rain had started up again, and I was shivering too hard to stay put. I jumped ship, leaving everyone in the circle, and ran to the safety of the sauna. I ripped my wet clothes off as fast as they would come off and sat there in the warm room, naked and slowly drying, the shivering ending. I never wanted to leave the sauna, did not want to get wet again, did not want to be stuck in the rain. Eventually some common sense told me it would probably not be a good idea to stay in the sauna for hours and so I got dressed and tried to decide what to do, tripping very hard and finding it nearly impossible to interact with people, just wanted to lie down and roll around in blankets. So I walked back to the tent, barely finding it, my mind quite gone. I stripped off again and got into my sleeping bag. Eventually Jacob, Bob, and Diego found me in there and wondered what I was doing. I tried to explain that I couldn't handle anything else and just wanted to lie down until I got dry, until my mind calmed down. Bob felt the same way and joined me. The two of us lost our minds together, while everyone else ran around in the room. We talked about boys, pissed in water bottles because we didn't want to leave the tent, talked about the terrible storm and all the terrible things that could happen. This lasted seemingly for hours, but of course in such conditions who can really say how long moments last?

It started to wear off and I heard some bass far off in the distance. I wanted to dance, wanted to go play in the woods with all the crazies. I got dressed in insane clothes, tried without success to convince Bob to join me, grabbed my big bottle of whiskey, and went in search of fun, found it. I had such a lovely time that night, got stoned, danced in a pavilion sheltered from the rain with all these other bodies around me, friends, lovers, and people I wanted to be one of those things. There was a campfire that inspired nice physical and mental sensations in me. I found Jacob and Diego again and was so happy to see them, was so insanely happy to see Jacob's cute little face, had wanted to see him ever since I left the tent a couple hours ago, had wanted to spend time with him in the woods, this beautiful creature that I am insanely in love with. Seeing him made me so giddy, so happy. We danced and danced. We sat in the sauna. We played with our dicks. And we danced some more. Tired, we walked back to our tent in the dark night, occasionally losing the trail, holding hands since we couldn't see anything, hoping to avoid puddles.

The next morning after a lovely walk to an abandoned barn in the middle of the woods, we packed up our stuff and headed out. Jacob went to get the car and it got stuck in the mud, had to be pulled out by a tractor. The rain started up again once we were on the road, became heavier and heavier. We got stuck in traffic in Nashville, sat on I-40 in standstill for two hours before finally managing to escape. We went the wrong way on an on-ramp to get off the highway. We tried another east-west road, which was also blocked off. At this point we learned that the roads were all flooded and all closed, that the Cumberland River had swelled and washed out a lot of the roads we needed to take to get to Memphis.

Twelve hours later, we finally made it. We had to take a very long detour a couple of hours south to try to get there and finally made it. Reading the stories about Nashville and the losses its music community especially has suffered has made me realize how crazy that storm was.

We checked into a Motel 6 in Memphis, in a very sketchy part of town. Two rooms. Bob, Jacob, and I in one. Diego and Kyle in another. Graceland was amazing. The barbecue food I ate was amazing. Getting drunk on Beale Street and having crazy conversations with people was maybe the highlight of the trip for me. We all got shitfaced there and Bob, Diego, and Kyle took a cab back to the hotel at some point. Jacob and I kept drinking and kept talking to strangers. We walked home, talked to some crazy man outside a Walgreens, eventually ran away from him into the Walgreens. A little while longer, we were back in out hotel room when Diego and Kyle are calling out to us that there is someone there to talk to Jacob. It is sketchy guy that apparently followed us home from Walgreens. We tell him to go away. I am pissed off at Diego for numerous reasons all sort of taking shape because he told this clearly scary looking man Jacob was there and really furious with drunk Kyle who after people telling him to go away tells him to come up to our room. I shut the door on the two of them as well as the crazy man. Ten minutes or so later, calmer, I tell Diego and Kyle to come over and drink with us. Instead Diego wants to talk. We do. It's stupid. I go back to my room. Ten minutes later, he asks for the car keys to get their stuff out, saying they are just going to take a cab to the airport tomorrow. I don't really protest and no one else seems to mind either, actually seem happy about losing some people.

The next day the three of us ate at a really cute place, went thrifting, made a quick stop to see where MLK was shot, to take in that place and imagine what was lost there, what occurred in that place. I thought a lot about place and history and what it means to be at the site of certain things, sites where such notable things happened. In Milwaukee, we visited the site of Jeffrey Dahmer's apartment, now demolished. Memphis has Graceland, Sun Studios, and the Lorraine Motel. I was with people I loved and we were taking in ghosts, pausing before things for reasons which I don't think any of us were sure of, but which I am certain are good reasons, valid, necessary even.

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