Justin's Life...

~ March 2000 ~
~ March 1st - 4th ~

March 1, 2000 - Wednesday

This morning, I awoke from a dream about Rob. Not Rob the waiter, but Rob from my Boston life. He and I were in the back seat of a car and I don't remember the what's of what was said, but he was crying because it was nice to see me again. He was telling me about his wife and kids, and I was telling him about Spencer and Katie. But what's amazing is that he was there in all the amazing technicolor that he ever was. I mean, nuances of his personality, which I thought I'd long forgotten, were there in the dream. He had the same face, the same voice, and it was so "him".

Surely, the thoughts had to be dormant in my head somewhere for my brain to recall them and for me to realize that they were correct, but I thought the details of that we so long forgotten, or so remotely stored, that they couldn't be brought to the surface without some sort of prompting, like a videotape or re-read of the diary. But he was THERE, right in front of me, the same person he had been.

And I've been thinking a lot about the past, a lot about rebuilding burned bridges. I've tried my best to rebuild a bridge with David, but that doesn't look like it's going to happen. But now I'm at least going to try and open up the communication again between Rob and me. It might blow up, go the wrong way, but at least I'll have tried, and that's all I can ask myself for.

Truth is, I guess I've been thinking a lot about the past lately because the present is so "less than it could be". Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not thinking about trading Larry in on a new model, but so much of his attention has been focused upon Daisy lately. He gets up in the middle of the night to take her for a walk, he's cleaning up puke near constantly, and he visits the vet several times a week. His worrying about her takes 80-90% of his attention, and his business, the kids, and I get by with the rest.

Last night, when we were out for dinner, he started crying in the middle of the restaurant. I didn't know what to do. It doesn't look good for Daisy; she's Ethiopian thin and she's always been a fat dog. Her eyes are shot, her body no longer grows hair, and she has trouble getting around. I can't encourage Larry to think that she's going to be fine. I don't think she's going to be fine. I think she's going to die any minute. But I can't say, "I think she's going to die soon." I need to be there for him.

But a secret part of me, deep down inside, wishes it would be over. A secret part of me, the part which my do-unto-others part overrides, has hopes that she'll go ahead and die, so Larry can stop worrying and life can return to normal. Yet I flip the situation in reverse and squash that part back into the sub-conscious. If I wouldn't want someone wanting it for me, how could I possibly want it for her?

We were going to go to Las Vegas for a much needed break, from the dogs, business worries, and the kids, but Daisy got sicker and we stayed home instead. Larry seems to always be waiting for a call from the vet or for test results. He's now even at the point where he's checking to see if she's breathing.

And I don't even pretend that my problems are anything near Larry's, but has relativity ever consoled anyone? Does anyone ever feel better because someone else feels worse? Someone's little girl getting shot might make you feel more appreciative about having a little girl that didn't get shot, but it doesn't make you feel any better about anything else that's going wrong.

Add to that my frustration with the diary not yet being published, with my business not reaching Gatesian status overnight, and with my lack of human interaction and it's not an especially pretty picture. Even if the interaction with the guys at USC was superficial, it was still there.

I'm so in the mood to fly someone in for the weekend, yet I know that won't cure anything. At least it could provide that needed break, though, and I've learned to never really know where anything's going to go.

Anyway, that's my life as of late. I'm gonna write e-mail for a bit, then turn this computer off and start reading "How To Get Happily Published".


March 2, 2000 - Wednesday

Normally, I'm the type of person who has cause to speak up, says nothing at the time, then replays the scene repeatedly in my head until I have the exact perfect thing I could have said. But today, I spoke out, and I'm admittedly proud.

I was standing in line at Old Navy to purchase some denim shorts when the lady in front of me tried to return an item. It wasn't the return line; it was the purchase line, as anyone who's been in the U.S. for more than a couple months would have known. But when the clerk apologetically told her that she would have to take it to the customer service desk, she went off on him, saying that they should put up a sign so she wouldn't have to stand in line behind that lady... and out of no where, my mouth just opened and said, "That's just common procedure."

She turned around and just sort of had an "Oh" look on her face. OK, so I wasn't nasty or swearing, but I said it, almost on instinct, because the clerk couldn't say it himself. I was proud. She was wrong, not the store, and I felt it was important for her to know that.

As he checked me out, we talked about it some more and then I said it was like "Duh!" and he laughed in agreement and said that he couldn't say that to her.

OK, nothing terribly exciting, but for me, it was worth a smile and a sense of pride. I actually spoke up for someone else.


March 3, 2000 - Friday

This past week, I got letters from three guys saying that after digitally meeting via this web site (on the bulletin board), they were going to physically meet in Nashville, Tennessee. The e-mails also invited me along. But I kept the idea of going in the back of my head, not really thinking I would... until earlier this morning when I talked it over with Larry and figured, "Why the heck not?" But now I can't get ahold of them.

Long story short, a trip mid-week, next week, costs $641.00 or 40,000 frequent flyer miles, but one that starts tomorrow and returns to LA on Monday costs only 20,000 frequent flyer miles. Yet I can't get ahold of any of the guys, so I don't know if that's ok or whether I need a car/hotel room/etc. I would just go ahead and reserve a car and a hotel room, but picking a random hotel doesn't seem especially prudent, nor does renting a car when it's likely there'll be three cars between them and more than enough without my rental.


OK, I just got a call from Matt & Brian. No hotel or car necessary, and I'll be on my way tomorrow!


March 4, 2000 - Saturday

I'm on the plane now to Nashville, via Houston, and I must say that it feels rather awkward to be travelling alone to an "unknown" destination. Since yesterday when Larry confirmed the reservation, I've been visualizing possible worst-case scenarios. What if the plane crashes, what if they're freaks, what if I feel uncomfortable. I've developed contingency plans for all the but the first. The best I could do for that one was to leave a box of chocolates and a card in Larry's dresser to let him know how much I love him. He'll find them later today.

From my limited conversations with Jay, Brian, and Matt, I think the weekend will be fun. I think it'll have some kin to the ski trip taken with David and Jeff about this time last year. It'll be a little oasis where I can let more of the repressed part of me to the surface. Even in a great relationship, you still get bashful about things, you still have your inhibitions and expectations, but Jay, Brian, and Matt have only what they've read here online. I can go there, let my "bad boy" side out ("bad boy" by relativity) and just have a fun time, with no real worrying about what they may think of me later.

It's a hard thought to explain... but between now and yesterday, I decided I'd take along an Uno deck and if all went well, suggest a game of "Strip Uno". I went through the various rules:

During Regular Play:
  • Opponents play Uno as normal.
  • When one person wins the hand, the point values for each of the cards in the others' hands are tabulated. He with the most points (the most cards) must remove one piece of clothing, starting from the foot and going up.
  • A shoe and a sock go together, but each shoe/sock pair goes separately.
  • After both shoes are lost, the jeans go.
  • After the jeans are lost, the underwear is removed.
  • Once clothing is lost, it cannot be re-won.
  • A player cannot lose his shirt. Once a player is wearing only his t-shirt, play continues as normal with the following exception for the t-shirt-only player. He may win back his boxers/briefs by winning a hand, but he cannot win back any further clothing. A subsequent loss requires the re-removal of the underwear.
  • Game ends when all but one player are in t-shirts only.

That's something I couldn't do if Larry were present. I'd feel like a fool, and I may still feel like a fool with him not present, but I can do it if he's not there. The positive side of that is that it shows the depth of my respect for Larry's thoughts and how I want his acceptance. I don't want him to think of me as childish or devising stupid little games just to get a look at another guy's dick. Yet I can also see how I should be able to share that part of myself with him as well. But don't get me wrong: Larry knows me FAR better than anyone else ever has. He knows all those little things that no one else except me should know. He knows how I think. He even knows that I'll have devised some stupid little game to see the guys naked. That's the amazingly great part of Larry. And I know him well enough to know that he wouldn't want to play "Strip Uno" and that he would think that I should just go ahead and say "Show me your dicks" if that's what I wanted, but I'm certain that he has no problems with me playing "Strip Uno" with them.

Moreover, this trip was $641 if paid by cash or 20,000 miles if paid by frequent flyer miles. I would have charged it to my credit card, but Larry stepped in and paid for it with his frequent flyer miles. He's paying for me to fly to Nashville to hang out with these guys while he's staying in LA with Daisy and the kids. Even in his struggle to hold on to her, he's there for me, wanting it to be the best it can be for me while his attentions are otherwise focused. The greatness of that hasn't been lost in the least on me. It makes me love him all the more.

So I'm on my way to Nashville, hopefully to meet three great guys. From my phone conversations, I'm pretty sure two of them will be fun to hang out with, and the third could be a pleasant surprise as well. Time will tell, but at the very least, the trip makes me realize just what a great catch I've got in Larry.

7:43PM Central Time

I knew the plane for the second segment of my trip was going to be small, but when I stepped on board to find my seat, 19A, in the last row of the plane, next to the lavatory, I wasn't exactly enthused. It was at least a jet plane: I had that solace, but the engine not four feet from my window wasn't moving as we were backing away from the gate. "It's being pushed by one of those cars," I told myself. And indeed the plane was, but as we started going forward, I could hear the engine of the other side of the plane revving up. Mine remained still.

Faster and faster we went towards the runway, yet the engine next to my window was not working. Surely they weren't going to take us up in a plane with only one of the two engines working. Surely... ? "Should I ask the flight attendant about it?" was another thought racing through my head. We were already in motion, she was buckled into her seat, but the engine not working just didn't seem right.

I closed my eyes and said that I would keep them closed until after takeoff. Yet we were waiting in the queue and curiosity got me. I looked at the engine once again. I couldn't see the blade. "Yes, it's running!" They're not taking off with it not working after all. *sigh*

So now I'm on a plane, somewhere between Houston and Nashville. Any more plane anxiety and I'll be looking for a parachute.

And speaking of comfort, the seat next to me has a sign above its tray table which reads, "LIFE VEST INSIDE SEAT COMPARTMENT FOR FLIGHT ATTENDANT ONLY" If there was ever a need for it, doesn't that seem a little harsh? It's hers and not yours, sorry.

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© 2000 Justin Clouse
Justin's Life...Justin's