I guess I should update this occasionally, huh?

First and foremost, the weather here has been AMAZING. Here are some pretty pictures I took of San FranPretty.

Pretty, pretty, pretty.

A lot has been going on, actually. However, I have to talk about 2 weekends ago when I was hanging out with the ever-beautiful and incredibly intense Atari and Raybee. I had such a good time...and I can't wait to go back.

Raybee lives in an old garment factory in Weehawken, New Jersey, right across the Hudson river from Manhattan. In fact, his loft lines up with 34th Street in Manhattan, and he has an incredible view of the Empire State Building. No, I didn't take any photos. I was kind of taking a break from all of that, actually.

Next time, I promise.

Anyway, he has a crawlspace converted into a bedroom and the ceiling is like, 5 feet high. He doesn't have any normal "rooms" per se in his house, except maybe his bathroom...it's like a big clubhouse filled with crazy art and toys and fun stuff and good food and tea and snacks. I loved it...when I hang out with Raybee it's like I'm 11 or 12 and he's the same age. I sometimes forget what it's like to be a kid, and as soon as Raybee picked me up from the airport in his bright metallic green Tonka Truck-like Jeep Wrangler with an inflatable Mystery Machine on the dashboard, I knew we'd be fast friends. I had a chance to hang out with him and just chill, and we had a fantastic time singing karaoke in a Hoboken gay bar the night before I left. I had a blast...he gave me a shot while I was in the middle of singing a song, and right before I took a breath to start the next verse of the song I was singing (Forever in Blue Jeans by Neil Diamond) I chugged it and continued right on. I made a few friends...Tony the Personal Trainer from Hoboken (you'll hear him when I called the drunk dial line for the next APNH podcast) and Casper the 6'4" Tall Pierced-Tongue-Having Lead-Singer-Of-A-Band Emo Boy (who went back with us to Raybee's Clubhouse when we shut down the bar). The bartender, an adorable, friendly Sicilian twentysomething with a bubble booty, New York accent, and a dazzling smile bought me another shot when I sat down, and also gave me his phone number; he seemed sincere, so I called him and left a message the next day.

Oh hell yeah!

Now, I also got to hang out with Atari as well...we walked all through Manhattan, and he showed me the apartment building where he grew up. We did some serious bonding, and I realized that he and I probably would have been great friends when we were kids. We were getting hungry after a while, and even though I had some "street meat" (a delicious hot dog from a cart) we decided to hang out with his mom and stepdad on the Upper West Side. So we hopped on the subway, went to their fabulous apartment, and had dinner together in a great Greek diner around the corner from their pad. I love that neighborhood, and his folks are wonderful people. His stepdad is actually an author and fellow blogger and is a really cool guy. He gave me a copy of one of his books, and even signed it for me. I started reading it on the plane...it's already sucked me in. It's a murder mystery/supernatural sort of novel, set in rural North Dakota. I love it.

The next day, I went to some bar in Chelsea...I can't remember what it was called. Atari was having brunch with his family, and said he'd meet me at the bar. So, while I was waiting, I phoned my ex boyfriend Nate (he lives in the gayborhood), and asked what he was doing. He sounded irritated, and it was so loud in the bar I couldn't really hear what he was saying over the din. I picked out "never call" and "once meant a lot to me" and "pointless" before I said I couldn't hear him and I'd just talk to him some other time.

Frowning, I snapped my phone shut; I was now crabby and annoyed, and I actually felt a little lump in my throat. Goddammit, this is not how I wanted to spend my glorious Sunday afternoon in New York, and definitely not the way I wanted things to be between Nate and me.

Because I had gotten up from the bar to try to find a quieter spot a few feet away, my seat was occupied by someone else when I stepped back over to the barstool. He looked at me like, "Whadda ya gonna do about it, huh?" Not wanting to get kicked out for breaking a barstool over someone's head and starting an all-out donnybrook (tempting as it was), I restrained myself and simply found another spot at the bar a few stools down [tee-hee-hee...I said "stools"] and sent Nate a text message. Just as I hit send, I felt the guy sitting next to me staring at me, and I looked up.

It was Nate.

He was all Chelsea'd out with a tight shirt that showed off his rippled, muscled physique and a pair of tight jeans that showed off his Hebrew National in the front and his kosher badonkadonk in the back. I smiled at him, noting how much bigger his arms were from the last time I saw them, and admiring the vein that ran along the top of each of his plump biceps. The boy has been taking good care of himself.

"Hey babe," I said.

"Hey darlin," he replied, with a trace of his Buffalo, New York accent on the vowels.

"You look good." He did. Like, really good. Damn him for breaking up with me, I thought.

"You do too," he lied. He's a terrible liar. He gets this twitch in his face when he lies, and his face twitched so hard I swear I thought he had Parkinson's disease or had bitten his tongue while washing out his mouth with vinegar.

"No I don't," I sighed. I looked kind of dumpy and crunchy as I slouched there in my black Nor-Cal hoodie and baggy jeans, with no styling product in my hair whatsoever (I was feeling lazy and didn't feel like making myself pretty), compared to the carefully coiffed Chelsea boys in tight clothing that surrounded us. Not to mention I've put on about 20 pounds since the last time I saw him. Yuck.

Okay, fine. 35 pounds. Yes, I'm painfully aware of it. I look in the mirror daily. Now I've acknowledged it, you can all stop talking about it behind my back.


He looked upset. I asked him why, and he told me. It was a good conversation...there was some closure that never happened when he broke up with me to move to New York (long story...it was for the best). He said I've been neglecting him. I said he hurt me. He said I've been elusive and non-communicative. I said he was right. I've been a hermit, a total shut-in hermit. When you're feeling pudgy and chunky you just don't want to see or talk to people, and apparently, this tends to piss my friends off.

I let him just talk for a while, listening carefully to what he was saying. I responded in kind, knowing he was right. We had a good talk, and I realized as we did I still love him dearly, even if I'm no longer in love with him. We've been through WAY too much to just drift apart...Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family in Cleveland, his cousin's bris with HIS family from Buffalo at his sister's place in Chicago, being bumped off a flight at O'Hare on New Years' Eve and going to a party at the Crowbar in Chicago instead of spending it in San Francisco, a roadtrip across the United States from Cleveland to San Francisco in my rusty Chevrolet Lumina, my dad's 60th birthday party in Cleveland Heights where he met my extended family...we packed a lot into the short time we dated.

"Nate," I finally said, "I love you, I always have, and I always will until the day I die."

He looked like he was going to cry, but he did that cute thing he always does with his lower lip when he's smiling and starting to sob at the same time. Then I hugged him, and felt a bunch of emotions wash over me. I realized I miss him dearly as a friend, and how much we used to make each other laugh until we were gasping for breath. I thought about how he played Dance Dance Revolution at Battlefield Mall in Springfield, Missouri when my Lumina broke down and stranded us there for three days, and the crowds we attracted (apparently they had never seen a Jewish San Francisco circuit boy from Buffalo tear it up on that game before). I thought about our "Tard-Out Sessions" where we would just act completely retarded and loud in public. I thought of him buying cheap sunglasses in Chinatown because "they're a great value...Value Glasses!" or buying a huge sandwich at the Castro Safeway deli for us to share because it was "clearly a better value" than two smaller sandwiches. I thought about the parties and clubs we went to, and how much fun we had holding each other on the dance floor, shirtless, aware of only each other. I thought about how brutally honest he is, and how I never had any doubt in my mind he loved me the entire time we were dating.

I love him for these things. I really do.

I smiled at him, and he smiled back. My heart sang. Right then and there, I knew we'd always be friends, and we have something incredibly special with each other. Just as suddenly as he appeared, he left, leaving me in my own thoughts, nibbling on miniature pretzels with a red plastic cup of cheap beer in front of me. I glanced over at the guy who took my seat earlier, who was eyeing Nate as he walked out, then me, then Nate, then me, then down in his beer. Yeah, that's right, I thought. Drink your goddamn cheap-ass beer, you fucking cockslap.

Snarky Snarkowski!

My phone rang, it was Atari. I told him to meet me at the bar, and after hanging up I went downstairs to play bingo with a tweaker and a drag queen. I won 3 games! A $20 bar tab (which I used to buy drinks for a few cute boys with cute New York accents), a $60 gift certificate for a hair salon in Manhattan, and a $50 gift certificate for a sex toy store, also in Manhattan. Oh hell's yeah. I was on FIAH.

Eventually, Atari joined me for a few games, then disappeared to get something to eat, saying he'd call me when he was done. I never heard from him the rest of the night; I later discovered the battery in my phone died.

Then...I kind of forget what happened after that. Well, I remember bits and pieces, and the near-migraine headache that suddenly manifested itself as I was in Times Square, and how it just as quickly disappeared on the subway 15 minutes later. I somehow made it back to New Jersey by 3 am, but not before arguing with a cabdriver over the fare back to Weehawken.

Anyway, do you remember me mentioning that hottie patottie Sicilian bartender boy from Hoboken? Like I said, I called him the next day when I was at the airport and left a message saying hi, not particularly thinking he'd call back. When I sat down on the plane and pulled out my phone to "place it into the 'off position'" (such a stupid thing for flight attendants to say...they should just say it needs to be "turned off"). My phone suddenly rang, and it was him. He apologized for not answering...he had been at the gym and was hoping he'd catch me before I took off. We had a nice chat, and he said he wanted to keep in touch with me because he'd be in San Francisco in August visiting friends and would like to hang out and spend some time with me.

The cockpit door was closed and the flight attendants were coming my way, so we bade each other farewell; I hung up, placed my phone into the off position, and smiled to myself, realizing that regardless of my 35 extra pounds...no matter what...my mojo is still safely intact.

And that was one to grow on.

© 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 by Chad Fox. All rights reserved.