Justin's Life...

~ February 2001 ~
~ February 21st - 28th ~

February 21, 2001 - Wednesday

I've been here at this apartment for two weeks now, and I'm not sure I'm any happier now than when I was in L.A.. In some ways, this place is a battleground, with neighbors upstairs pounding around and with neighbors downstairs thumping their stereo through my floor at all hours. Unpacking for two weeks, too, has left me drained... and I'm really at a sad sack point. I think back to how easy life was before; how living in a house had no loud neighbor problems; how I could be myself and that was fine.

Lately, I've come to realize that even eating is an obstacle in my new life. None of my friends seem to like American food, and moreover, I'm a meat and potatoes type of guy while Steve is a vegetarian. He'd prefer eating tofu at a Thai place while I'd prefer prime rib at a steakhouse.

But I guess, at its core, I've been feeling bad about myself lately. I feel like I'm too sensitive because the music downstairs is loud. I feel I'm the backwards eater because I like American food. I feel so on edge... so alone. I even think of how were in Kentucky, I'd be a fish out of water but I'd be comfortable.

It's almost like I have that feeling of smothering that I had before coming out of the closet. Experience in life has made that feeling be rationalized away somewhat, but it's still there. It's like I don't know what to do next, like I don't know how to get things to a place where I want them to be.

So who knows... but I hate "who knows". I want to know. I want things to stop being so uncertain. And my mind tells me that I just need to get over this sad sack attitude and make things happen, but my heart simply wants to hide.


A few minutes ago, the music again began thumping through my floor from the apartment downstairs, and at first I thought I would ignore it as it's the middle of the day. Yet, as it went on, it was vibrating my feet. The middle of the day or not, I still have the right to enjoy my $1200/month space without that vibration. In retaliation, and to signal that it was too loud, I stomped on the floor three times. The music stopped.

Oh no, my message had been received... but now what? A couple minutes later, I heard a knock at my door, and when I opened it, I had expected to find a punk ass surfer kid. Instead, I found a stocky black man, around 30 years old.

I don't remember how it began, but we talked about the music, and although I hate confrontations, I didn't back down from my position that it was too loud. (Ironic, considering what I just wrote earlier today.) Heck, I wasn't even nervous about it as I knew I was in the moral right even if the police later determined it wasn't loud enough to merit a noise ordinance violation.

So, anyway, the man was civil, said something about it being the middle of the day, and told me two or three times to come down and knock instead of jumping up and down. I did feel quite immature about jumping up and down when he said that, and somewhat like a spoil sport when he said it was the middle of the day, but I held my ground. He apologized, too, for leaving the stereo on until early morning one night when he left the apartment.

Just before leaving, he introduced himself, as well... so all in all, I'd have to say it went well for a noise confrontation. The music has not resumed, but as to whether there will be any longstanding change, I have my doubts. I guess I'll just have to learn how to knock: Though knocking is much more of a confrontation than jumping on the floor.


As I was driving around this afternoon, between the "what if" thoughts about the loud music downstairs, I realized, "life really isn't that bad." Sure, I may have to endure some aural discomfort, but I've got a shelter, a warm bed, and I'm only 25. Things aren't supposed to be perfect when you're 25. If they are, for where do you shoot?

Tonight that thought was slammed home as I watched Boys Don't Cry on HBO. It was about this girl named Teena Brandon who was killed because she wanted to be Brandon Teena. I may lament about how I'm worried I won't fit in just right, but I never worry about whether someone is going to physically harm me because I'm gay. So life is good... and I'm going to take this sad sack attitude and throw it out the window.


On a related note, just for kicks, today I decided I'd go to the nude beach here in San Diego. After a long trek down cliffside, I encountered body after body which looked as though it were Illustration #2 or #3 on the Evolution Of Man chart. Almost exclusively, small old men, hunched over, with their bellies protruding much further than their loins, walked the length of the beach or layed on towels near the cliff.

Needless to say, this was not the eye candy I was expecting... especially according to a website I'd found which said some 5,000+ people had been at the beach on Valentine's Day a couple years ago. At most, there were 100 people present, and of those, only 4 were women. Of those four, two were clothed. This was a man's land... a treacherous old man's land.

By the time I'd exhausted the possibility of finding the "young guys" spot by walking to the furthermost end of the beach, I was ready to simply turn around and head back to my car, having never removed my board shorts or t-shirt... but I had to pee.

"Why not?" I thought to myself, and off came the clothes. I waded into the water, peed, then headed back for my towel, which was at least 100 feet from the nearest person.

Now, I was tempted to put my clothes back on immediately and head back to the car, but the closet exhibitionist in me wanted to show off a bit. Unfortunately, while the ocean was good for peeing, it was not good for showing. Take an average sized dick and add 58 degree water, you get a vagina.

And so I layed on my towel, hoping to warm up a bit and have things at least return to their normal state. Ten minutes or so later, things were as big as they'd ever be, so off I headed, towel and clothes around my neck.

The first "stop" was near this 30-something guy with an amazing butt who was the nearest nude man to my towel. Actually, it wasn't to be a stop at all, but rather a quick look. I mean, I was at a nude beach after all. At least a casual glance was expected.

So, anyway, I near the towel of the guy with the great butt, and as best as I can tell, he hasn't seen me due to this makeshift windblocker canopy on the side from which I'm coming. But, just as I'm passing, he turns over from his face down position. His testicles and penis hang below as he raises himself like a cat from a nap. I look his way; he smiles and says, "Hi ya!"

I responded in kind by saying how cold it was today and up he pops to walk over my way. We talk for a few minutes; he completely naked, me with my towel and clothes draped around my shoulders. I notice his Australian accent, remark about the beach's lack of people, and make quick glances to check out his dick and amazing ass. He asks if I went in the water. I respond that I did and talk about shrinkage. He walks around, jumping almost, as though he were trying to keep warm, and I comment about how cold the day is. He, in turn, offers me shelter from the wind behind his makeshift canopy. I decline. We talk for a bit longer then he heads back to his towel.

It was nice, friendly, and amazingly unpressed... even though we were completely naked.

I walk down the beach a few feet, lay out my towel, then get dressed, deciding I don't need to show off for the rest of the beach. I stand looking at the ocean for a minute or so, then head back over to the guy with the amazing butt's towel. Still glancing at his face and naked body, I say, "I'm outta here, but I just wanted to let you know that at least one person appreciated all the work you put into your ass." He said something which I didn't catch and laughed. I responded, "have fun!" then walked back to my car and headed home.

Perhaps all I really need is more real human interaction. When I got to the far end of the beach, I had no idea why people went to nude beaches. Yet by the time I got back to the car, I'd had a really nice time... just talking to that one guy.


February 27, 2001 - Tuesday

Last week, quite randomly, I answered the phone to hear Larry's voice on the other end. He said he was on a business trip in Houston and that it was odd to be there without me. Even though we'd never been to Houston together, I knew exactly what he meant. Almost without fail, I went on his business trips with him: For me to not be there just seemed wrong.

Indeed, I'd experienced the same reaction before Carlos, Steve, Brandon, and I even left for Vegas a few weeks ago. The Vegas Trip was one that Larry and I did. And while others may have gone along with us, it was decidedly a trip which Larry and I shared.

And so Larry and I talked on the phone for a bit, getting back into the groove as though the groove had never been left. It was immediately comfortable, immediately friendly, and immediately missable. I would have kept him on the phone for hours had it been feasible. There was so much I wanted to say... and yet I knew I needn't say anything. It was so nice to feel that ultimate comfort again. It's quite something to know that someone will never hurt you, would give his life for you, and just treat you, without exception, like you're the most special person who ever lived.

And yet, I do not regret moving out.

It's such a hard concept to describe, but one that seems simple at the same time. I miss what we had, but I knew that I needed the change. I do not regret moving out, but I so miss the comfortable love that I shared with Larry. I hate feeling on guard now and being unable to completely relax, which I could do with Larry because I knew he loved me for who I am. But I know that meeting new people necessarily requires not being at the ultimate comfort level. That comfortable love must be earned and tenderly grown.

And so, at least wanting Larry to partially know how my feelings remained, I wrote:


I just wanted to write you a quick e-mail to say that I miss you... and the kids... and the ranch... and everything. It was nice talking to you the other day, too. Really nice... and I miss that.

So, who knows... I'm keeping busy, but I've yet to find anyone with whom I can feel comfortable around. I miss that a lot, too.

So, anyway, I've gotta go... heading to Silicon Valley tonight, but I just wanted to let you know... especially if my plane should happen to crash. ;-)


He responded the next day:

<< I just wanted to write you a quick e-mail to say that I miss you... and the kids... and the ranch... and everything. It was nice talking to you the other day, too. Really nice... and I miss that.

So, who knows... I'm keeping busy, but I've yet to find anyone with whom I can feel comfortable around. I miss that a lot, too. >>

i know the feeling. i really did think, in my soul of souls, we were going to spend the rest of our lives together, forever...so i'm the surprised one. but i am happy to have andrew, each and every day. we are in some ways closer than you and i were, but in other ways we are not as close. but then he's only been here 6 months. you were my husband..he is not. i don't know if he will be..but he is very attached to me..and it's a good feeling. his still waters run deep. he seems happier than you were, which is nice.

i think it will be very hard, maybe impossible, for you to replace what you had with me. i know there are very few of me in the world. and even fewer in the flake-a-day gay world. what passes for OK in the gay world is pathetic. but you were not happy enough, and i understand that. it's my life, and i have made it, and i can't change it for anyone. the kids, the dogs, the confusion, the stress, the circus..it's the package..it's a done deal.

i am still very much in love with that person i met in boston..remember him? he was just so sweet...so special..and so one in a billion-millions. that was the person who fell on his big fat booty on those icy steps. that is the person katie misses and spencer still askes about. but sometime that other self-center'd person would live in your body..and well i was ready for that one to leave.

the day jeremy drove in the driveway..i knew it would end, and i guess i was ready for it to end. i did nothing to stop it. there was just no point. you left a lot of unfinished business, but your journey is that, YOUR journey. it was our journey for sometime, but then it became your thing. i could do nothing to make it "better"

i don't know if you will find what you need, but good luck on it. mine is mine..kids, dogs and confusion..and i wouldn't change it if i could...i'm gonna enjoy seeing the kids all the way thru it. i'll miss a few fun weekends in vegas, but for me, it's worth it. i hope there will be time later in life for doing nothing.

good luck on your journey..i know if you were here, you'd still be unhappy at some level, unhappy even in the fresh snow at the ranch...but for me..this is the right place to be.


ps: i didn't mean to sound so sad..but i think i'm just saying what we both already know. maybe i don't need to say it, but it helps me keep it all in perspective. and it's prolly best if we don't talk about this stuff, since it isn't doing either of us any good. i know if u were here, it wouldn't be long till all your issues would return. i know you have what it takes to find quality people. and you have what it takes to love someone for real..i hope you can find someone worth loving, that's the hard part.

--- Edited For Identity ---

It meant a lot to me... especially that last paragraph. I've just gotta hang in there.


So many things have been happening simultaneously lately, I don't think I can accurately mesh them while keeping chronology. Yet I think the events are worth noting.

  • Friday night, after writing that e-mail to Larry, I headed on a plane to San Jose with Bryce. During the flight, Bryce and I shared an indescribable connection. As the plane did its thing, Bryce's legs pressed out against mine. (We sat across from each other, with me sitting backwards, on the Southwest plane.) It was as though we were holding legs instead of hands to get each other through the nervous part. I even said, "I love you" to him and he responded, "You, too." It was nice.

  • Later that same weekend, Bryce made me feel bad about myself by saying, "This is gross. I don't want to look at that" to Carlos while Steve was giving me a massage in the living room floor of his and Carlos's condo. On the plane ride home, I told him that I knew that he valued people with great bods like himself over the rest of us, but that his comment and general attitude really made me feel bad about myself. He apologized, but knowing his attitude sure doesn't help me get closer to him. I want to feel comfortable around my friends, not ashamed, or like they're judging me.

  • A couple weeks ago, I made it to Bryce's dad's house one night. His dad wasn't home, of course, but I got to see the house and Bryce's room before Steve and I headed on to San Diego. He took the effort to have me there: I appreciated it.

  • A few hours after reading Larry's e-mail, I sat in the floor of Steve's condo and cried. He and I were talking, and I told him how much I missed that comfortable love. I explained how I used to have someone take care of me and lately I felt like I was fighting to get what I wanted. I explained that I'd tried to get crab cakes several times in the past week but that somehow I never got there. Even earlier that day, we were in San Francisco, heading to the fisherman's wharf, but didn't make it to a seafood restaurant. Instead, as we were passing the piers, Bryce said something about a steakhouse and we stopped there for dinner... although we were specifically heading to the wharf to go to a restaurant that had crab cakes. When I wanted to order pizza later that night, I had to combat the idea of "who wants pizza?" whereas before I would have simply said "Let's order a pizza" and that would have been that. I explained how I hated having to be assertive and even though there was no reason for me not to get a pizza if I wanted one, how I hated feeling like I had to insist instead of having it simply be fine.

    Steve just held me while I cried... then said he'd have to see about flying down Wednesday to go get crab cakes with me (which he subsequently bought a plane ticket to do).

    It meant a lot to me that he'd do that... and I find it somewhat ironic that the comfortable love that I had with Larry is bringing me closer to Steve.


February 28, 2001 - Wednesday

Normally, I'm a passive television viewer... yet thinking back to the original Survivor and to my current addiction, The Mole, it seems "reality tv" has an unmistakable hold on me. For the past two months, I've found myself increasingly engaged with the gameplay and the characters on The Mole. Last night I even dreamt about the cast members, and now I wonder how a television show merges with reality so seemingly without seams.

Is it because it's a "reality" based game? And why do I barely care about the current season of Survivor when I was so into it the first time around? I think whereas Survivor has denigrated to near insane contestants killing pigs to curry favor, The Mole remains a cerebral game. The concept behind it, 10 players, one of whom is a saboteur, competing in contests to add money to a group pot, is so much more complicated than the backstabbing and faux wilderness survival of Survivor.

In The Mole, each contestant must observe the others and decide, if a contest was lost, was it lost because of the other player's inability to complete the task or because that other player purposely sabotaged the team's efforts. Moreover, it's in the best interest of each player for the other players to think that he or she is the mole. Causing the challenge to be lost causes the group pot not to be increased by the reward amount, but it lends credence to the idea that that player is the mole. If the other contestants answer questions indicating that he/she is the mole, it's easier for him/her to have more correct answers than those players on the true identity of the mole.

And yet, The Mole is suffering in the ratings. It's too cerebral for the moronic American public, unfortunately. I doubt it'll return for a second season here in the U.S... and yet I am so engaged with the show I'm having dreams about the cast members. Heck, I even shaved my facial hair to match one of the players.

So, who knows... just an observation.

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© 2001 Justin Clouse
Justin's Life...Justin's