Saturday, July 06, 2002

I really can't tell. Either my dog Bear is becoming a male dog, or she has a yeast infection. Like clockwork, Bear has continued a long tradition of consistent peeing. Today, she absolutely yanks the concrete out from under me by peeing in three different places. Maybe she's been jealous of the guy dogs, hiking their hind legs. Maybe she has been watching Madonna videos, and now realizes that girls can do anything they want. Maybe she just needed a change of pace. Sometimes we all need that.

So what did I do for the evening of July 4th? Absolutely nothing. I had numerous invites for social and visual celebrations, but those cool starbursts behind the eyelids were infinitely more alluring. I fell asleep just as the fireworks were starting, and sweated through the rest of the night. At some point, a friend of Dan's called in the evening, and I was so completely out of it. I know his friend thinks I'm a babbling idiot. The worst kind, actually, the kind of idiot who just woke up. They answer the phone with this strange, dislocated voice, and then try to convince you that you didn't wake them up. Why is it that the only coherent thought at that point is to prevaricate wildly, trying pathetically to sound conscious? "Nomm, NO, no, I wasn't sleeping.... I was ... eating ..brmm.broccoli... yeah...Who is this again?"

I have to say that I love the Space Odyssey karaoke pods at the New Museum. Sleek, futuristic, organic, perfect for my future living room. The last time I went there was with my friend Deanna, and it revealed something I had never really known. I'm a really tuneless singer. I've always thought of myself as a shower Pavarotti, but hearing my own voice in headphones quavering to Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams song was quite humbling. Thank god the pods are soundproof. My dream of some rock music agent hearing my singing emanating from the bathroom has been replaced by the certainty that it might be best to keep the windows closed. Today I stepped into the pod with diminished expectations, but then I chose something wonderful. Radiohead's "Creep". I will never be an Annie Lennox, but I can definitely be a Radiohead frontman.

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Good lord! I keep trying to tell myself that it was hotter in Uzbekistan, but I just can't recall it being this hot. That first summer in Tashkent, it was regularly in the 110's to 130's. That was hot, but it wasn't this humid. They had these great adobe houses that would stay semi-cool during the day. You would get home, rip your clothes off, and just sweat in your room, rather than burst into flame outside.

A great friend of mine from my medical evacuation time in DC was in town, and I wanted to meet her this evening. After a long sweaty day, I was a bit funky (actually, musk oxen have nothing on me), so I took a shower before meeting her. I clean up, I step out the door... and I'm sweaty again. Isn't there some sort of jet stream that should make New York cooler than, say, an oven?

I get home, strip down, turn my little oscillating fan on, and think about mint juleps. Maybe one of those a/c units isn't such a bad idea, although our place isn't bad. Another one of these days, and I'm simply staying on the subway train, just for the cold air.

Monday, July 01, 2002

What a great weekend. Joined up with Andy, Scott, and Dan at a grotty bar called Dicks in the East Village on Friday night, hosted by the masters of blog. When I think of some of the insanely inane conversations I've had in gay bars over the last few months, I now have experienced the polar opposite. Not that the blogger people were all intellectual and esoteric, simply that I could say something odd and not have all the normal strange looks. The Love Boat IS a good topic, as are urinal strainers. For those of you who don't really know your superior urinal design, the strainer is a mesh that keeps cigarettes and other lovely objects from blocking up the drain lines. The ones at Dicks Bar are produced by none other than the "Swisher" company, and have even made the whole pissing process a morality tale by also printing "Don't use drugs." Up until the point that I was taking a piss, I was going to try heroin that night. Thank god for urinal marketing.

Went to the Pride parade today. What with the day of a million zillion rainbow flags, I felt a certain pressure to look my best. I even did laundry on Saturday so I could have clean underwear (it's been one of those busy months). What with the month of donuts and gravy, I am extremely insecure about how I look, and my eternally patient roommate deals daily with my need for clothing approval. I'm not colorblind, but I feel out of my element in anything but jeans and a teeshirt. I totally missed the gene for good fashion sense, and feel extremely lucky that I have Dan as a roommate.

I made him get up and help me pick out a shirt. He asked me what was my wildest shirt, and I used the radioactive material tongs to pull out this one orange cowboy shirt I had bought years ago at a thrift shop in Texas. I've never worn it, as it is definitely not my style to be agressive, at least for clothing. Dan was enthusiastic about the shirt. Emboldened by my loftmate's encouragement, I strode out of the apartment, heading towards the flaming on the horizon. During the festivities, I got so many compliments on my shirt. People NEVER compliment me on my clothing, so I was practically skipping home afterwards. Andy helped me replace the old Gilligan hat with a newer, sturdier Gilligan hat after lunch. He almost persuaded me to buy a cowboy hat, because he said I looked really good in it. I was sorely tempted, but I also realized that I felt uncomfortable thinking of wearing a cowboy hat.

I have so many conflicted emotions about that. I was raised around cowboys and ranch work, and I associate the cowboy clothing, the music, the attitudes with that part of my life. For a very long time, I had a negative association with anything smacking of West Texas and being a cowboy. I can still think of how my dad must have sometimes despaired of ever making me into the typical Bunger man. I despaired of ever reaching his terms, that's for sure. When I was just a kid, having to work all the summers on the ranch, learning welding, cattle doctoring, plain and simple menial labor, I hated him. All I wanted to do was read books. I hated cows, I hated the people who worked for him, I hated working, I hated being the son of the boss, I hated myself. I would beg not to have to learn the trade, he would make it even harder for me to achieve it.

It was so hard for both of us, but I guess he knew me well enough. With the distance of time, I know how much of my basic value system is from him. I'm a brilliant car mechanic because of him. Hell, now I'm a better mechanic than him. When he forced me to work on rebuilding my engines, I would get so mad that I would throw the tools at the walls, cursing, yelling, kicking my own junk car. I used to dread the trips to the cabin, all the carpentry work, the hunting. At the end of my teenage years, these were the activities where we learned to be father and son. We couldn't ever talk about the really important things, but we communicated through handing tools across a Volkswagen engine, or just sitting outside of our cabin's new extension, watching the stars wheel across the sky. Now that I'm a man, I love working with my hands. I love building things, tuning an engine, working a shovel into the earth. I love grime under my fingernails, callouses forming, sore muscles after doing real work. Handshakes can seal deals, promises are more than just words, and biscuits need gravy.

Some people say I'm a Texan. I've seen some mightily stupid Texans, prime example being Dubya. I'd prefer to say that I'm like my dad.