she doin’ fine

Hello dearies. Thank you for the vast floral tributes, notes of empathy, texts of support, drive-by well-wishes, and the general outpouring of compassion and sympathy regarding my last post here. Yes. I survived the mask-less party of four or five weeks ago wherein post-soiree I felt very much dead-man-walking with regard to brushing shoulders with Miss Rona. Quelle surprise! I am still minus the virus!

And, yes, I semi-quarantined myself after that party. I mean, not like I was going anywhere anyways except to the market and back. A couple friends who also attended that party texted that they were safe, too; we were counting down the 14-days to get on the other side of all the stress associated by attending a risky, close quarters party scene.

Two days after my 14-day semi-quarantine, I accepted a lunch invitation. Party of five; outdoor seating. I figured this was an ideal scenario as (a) outside with the air moving (b) i felt lucky that I’d already dodged a CORONA bullet. Yes, I know. Insert gay eye roll cuz’ Mary I’ve lived a lifetime knowing and understanding that I am NOT the sharpest knife in the drawer. But I have a girth-y cock and dress impeccably. So those considerations have served me well. My father once said “…boy, that mouth will land you in trouble some day.” It actually landed me a two-bedroom condo in a luxury zip code but that’s an entirely different tale.

The luncheon was last Saturday. On the surface I was fine but internally my mind was racing with just exactly when the dry throat tickle would occur and what moment my body would convulse with chills. It must have been somewhat evident as one friend turned and asked “…are you comfortable like this?” I stated that I was fine but in my head I flashed Joseph Gordon-Levitt suds lathering and shaving my boi hole and punch fucking me till I giggle peed myself as something I’d be more comfortable with. Plus, I was a bit moist around the collar as I was wearing a watermelon pink, gingham checked, long-sleeve dress shirt, a navy sport coat, and beneath the most preppy white-summer-jeans in town–a nude colored body shaper. Or, in other words: male Spanx. Judge me. Because I really have zero fucks to give at this age. It’s all about optics and the body shaper tightens the belly and moobs rather well. Getting into it is like wrestling a meth head anaconda but getting out of it parallels something akin to projectile pink flab wherein one can lose an eye. But I digress.

Today is Independence Day. I have zero plans. Much like everyone else, I gather. I will probably more than likely walk the nearby park and soak up some vitamin D. The apartment is in an uproar as I received some artwork I purchased on ETSY recently, hence the entire gallery wall needs a smidge of an adjustment. The eye has to travel, as Diana Vreeland once stated. And since I have zero vacation plans anytime soon…pretty pictures will fill my travel void. Stay safe. Wear the damn mask!

 

foolish smart people

Hello loves. God knows when I’ll post again as the angel of death, also known as COVID-19, may be visiting soon.

Pull up a chair. First, you should understand that I’ve been most diligent with ‘shelter-in-place’ government directives. I moved my office setup to my mid-sized, one-bedroom condo, on March 13th. Friday, the 13th to be specific. Ahem. I’m not the superstitious type per se but the date sticks in my mind.

For the past 90-days or so I’ve been careful with stepping outside my protective barrier against the onslaught of the viral pandemic. For weeks the only toe stepped beyond my front door was to dash to the supermarket. And while you may raise brows with “well, that certainly isn’t a safe place” you should understand that this condo hi-rise has a mini-supermarket in the lower concourse. It’s much more expansive than a convenience store: they have imported olive oil and a fabu wine shoppe. But I digress.

I go to the store with a list and I go early. No other shoppers at 7:10am just shortly after opening time. Add to the supermarket trips a one time only trip to Walgreens for a pharmacy pickup. So there you have it: in 90+ days I’ve been fairly self contained in my safe lil’ world of go/grab/dash. And I carry a LYSOL wipe whenever I leave this apartment.

Last Sunday I attended a 4-guest bar-b-que; it seemed like the social distancing would be on par with government protocols. And, too, I knew these folks had been careful about their own safe environs as we recently shared how we both wipe down incoming groceries with a disinfectant wipe and even extend the maniacal sanitizing to the daily mail. I was a wee bit concerned to UBER to their home so I ordered an SUV with lots of space. Felt safe and good about that choice. The bar-b-que was, naturally, outside on their terrace/backyard so plenty of fresh air. I felt relatively secure that all of us were good and safe.

But this past Friday I attended another social event and only replied ‘yes’ to the fanciful, heavy card stock invitation because the invite noted the soiree would be held on a rooftop deck. I sort of assumed it would be a smallish guest list, as the city is just beginning to reopen. The salons, bars, and restaurants are blooming all over town. (well, the ones that weren’t damaged by the looting. But that’s another post entirely)

I was rather looking forward to the event as it was a special gathering to celebrate a friend’s pending retirement from a finance giant. I felt confident that the invitation list would be top tier, best friend types. Well, …. not exactly.

We did initially gather on the rooftop. And it was large enough to allow for social distancing. (and what with a nearby pool, the wafting chlorine had to be a good thing, huh?) But then event plans for the evening changed: the wind shifted and suddenly there was a chill in the air and the Bergdorf Goodman pashminas on the ladies-who-lunch set were not going to ward off real chill. The party moved indoors.

And that’s when my anxiety panic wheels fell off. The color must have drained from my face. An acquaintance slid through the 60+ chattering, laughing guests and mumbled “Are you okay with no one wearing a mask?” Mind you I wore a mask upon arrival, as did others, but we all removed them out on the rooftop deck and nobody put them back on once inside. So, true to form, bowing to peer pressure and ‘what will people think’ I didn’t put mine on either.

“Chill! These are all smart people. I follow all of them on Facebook and I can tell you…no one has been traveling to China or Canada or attending large gatherings like conferences and such. You’ll be fine…”

I left within the hour. When I got home I undressed in the foyer and wadded up my mask and tossed it against the wall like some wilted prom corsage with all the promise of romance strangled from it. I was angry with myself. Angry that others could be so nonchalant with their own health and safety. The virus does not care about social prominence or position; that was the trouble with the other evening. Money isn’t a shield regarding COVID. A lot of rich folks have dropped like flies, too, sweetie.

I’m trying to have a clear mental state. No nagging thoughts on the lack of protection and the prospect of exposure to COVID. Too much over thinking and I feel it gives room to ill spirits and I need my chakras happy and joyful right now. I went to the market and bought a small container of deli-prepared curry chicken salad.

I never buy curry chicken salad. But if indeed the next 12+ days are my incubation period before the virus grips my lungs, I’m going to enjoy a few things before the cruelty of stupidity and peer pressure places me on a ventilator. Some will think “Oh, Mary…stop with the over dramatics.” But here’s the thing: I’d wager there are 100K+ dead Americans who wish they could trade places with my over-dramatic ass right now. But they can’t.

mother’s daze

Today is Sunday, May 10th, wherein every social channel overflows with vintage pics of moms doing their thing. That is, being a loving mother. The majority of pics feature moms at one’s wedding, moms at graduation, beaming because you made it through university; there are pics of mom’s on the beach. And photos of sepia-toned wedding portraits when one’s mom was most radiant. And there are a ton of mom’s on Christmas morning, in front of the tree, opening that SEARS gift you and sis were so thoughtful about.

Admittedly my feed is cloying with all these wonderful moms. And it magnifies, on this date–every damn year, how I don’t have a mom. Or a good one, that is. I fooled myself for a lot of years. I’d chalk up my disappointments regarding her vindictive, punishing behavior or mood swings to something I did. Or something I failed to do.

It was during my college years that my eyes were opened to what motherhood should look like and how vastly not normal my own mother’s reactions would be regardless of the situation. There was an unpredictability to her moods. And that is being kind. Once I began weekending at college friend’s homes, it became apparent what a doting parent looked like and acted like. My mother was the type of woman who minimized and downplayed any scenario that I found troubling. Her iron rule encompassed the ‘I’ll give you something to cry about’ school of parenting. In my advancing teen years my stoic stare when she backhanded me drove her crazy. By today’s standards a lot of her emotional abuse and physical force would be deemed child endangerment. But I think, on some level, it was character building because I was not going to let her break me.

On the flip side my mother could take a minor incident and escalate it to full nuclear response. If one’s school books didn’t hit the gold metal Italianate bench just the right way after she’d spent the morning housecleaning, well– get ready for a couple backhands for being so ungrateful that a clean house greeted your return from school.

I recall visiting at the holidays shortly after my father’s retirement. At some point in my visit, he pulled me aside and muttered “I didn’t know how bad you kids had it until being home full-time.” I appreciated that frankness, but in my later adulthood I wondered why he never stood up to her bullshit. Every single goddamn movement within my family was sanctioned, approved, and coordinated by mother. It was her way or the highway. And she seldom took ‘no’ for an answer. She was a master at her craft, often playing us, her children–against their own father.

I stopped going home for the holidays in the early 90s. I was old enough to reject the familiar templates that were dragged out annually just like the Christmas decor. “I married your father so you kids could have a Christmas like this..” was emphasized with a sweeping grand gesture. No gift could be opened until silent nods of appreciation could be accepted from our pajama-clad eggnog sips.

There’s more, of course. So many more incidents that I can unearth and replay framed by the nagging ‘why?’ My mother is a classic narcissist. Trust; I’ve done all the online research and so much of her temperament and patterns align with my desktop prognosis. Toss in old age and the onset of dementia, peppered with selective memory, and it all adds up to this: fuck Mother’s Day. Today I take a stand; I’m not calling. It makes me anxious to even type that. At some point one has to let it all go–the charade of keeping up appearances and customs just because of a certain calendar date. You can’t pick and choose when you want family, mother.

my corona

Let me begin by stating that this is the second attempt at writing. My first attempt was disrupted by the extremely irksome leaf blower equipment below my windows. Who the fuck blows leaves and twigs and dead rats during a global pandemic? Apparently very rich people.

Those who have hunkered down with 24 COSTCO cases of toilet paper want a neat and tidy sidewalk and driveway as well. It must be a real feel good to know that one’s unprotected, third-world gardener is still gainfully employed by the bounty of one’s divine graces. But I digress. By the way, toilet paper hangs OVER. Not under. That is the universal rule. I did not make it but I am here to preach the truthiness.

Monday will mark the one month anniversary of shelter-in-place. As I shared, I moved my office function to my apartment a month ago. While so many millennials view working from home as a ‘must have’ on their list of company perks and flexibilities, I—for one, abhor working from home. I’m easily distracted to begin with. And while I’m perfectly focused on my M thru F, 9 to 5, workaday routine, I’m not opposed to leaping from this desk chair while expressing “OF COURSE! If I hang the roman emperor plaque in the foyer and flank it with the antique Versailles etchings my life will be complete and Architectural Digest will surely come knocking” while racing for hammer and nails. I suppose at some juncture I’ll have to lightly patch all the nail holes here. Otherwise the next tenant will think there was a St. Valentine’s Day massacre reenactment theater here.

I think I am still negative for the virus. But I also have days where I think I have the onset of the low fever, the dry cough, and the loss of taste and smell. It’s my ridiculous panic and anxiety kicking in as I’ve interacted with zero general public for a month. Yes, I do chat with the supermarket cashier, from a distance of 6 feet (she’s positioned behind a hastily installed sheet of plexiglass) to prevent virus spread.

The other morning at the supermarket I felt an acute sense of judgement from the two folks six feet…and nine feet, behind me in line. They were both wearing masks and I have yet to go that route but will don a mask in the coming days as I did order two from some Euro trash type making easy money via ETSY. The two nondescript blue, surgeon-like masks arrived yesterday. They’re fairly well made. I mean, yes, if this was the YSL atelier I would have ripped the seams out and tossed it across the room with shouts of “how very dare you present this ineptitude and shoddy craftsmanship” but there I go again with delusional grandeur.

I grabbed the two masks from their packaging, (that I wiped down with a LYSOL wipe before opening) and was just going to toss them into the bedroom when I thought:

“Shouldn’t you wash these masks? You have no idea who made these. You have ZERO assurance that, in fact, the person who sewed the masks wasn’t–literally, breaking a viral sweat over her flea market SINGER sewing machine while sneezing droplets spray onto the very fabric you’ll place across your nose and mouth!!!” 

So I washed them in the kitchen sink in warm water with mild detergent and let them air dry.

Truthfully I was more concerned that the masks had been wiped against a wild hairy bush after a finger bang. Or maybe my mystery seamstress fucked her Brazilian hung baby daddy and wiped his cock with MY TWO MASKS!!  How sick and twisted is that!?

No. Seriously. Is that sick and twisted? Asking for a friend.

 

these are the days of our lives

“Like sand in an hourglass…these are the days of our lives.” Wasn’t that the opening for a soap opera? I seem to recall that tagline somewhere. But are we counting days or hours nowadays? Today I am still in good health. And I hope you are the same, dear reader.

I finally freaked my shit on Thursday, March 12th, and moved my office MAC, files, notes, et al– home. I’ve never been one to wish for a ‘work from home’ dynamic. I think it’s generational: I busted ass for years to snag a corner office and a VP title. In my day those were visible symbols of success. Why would anybody forgo getting dressed nicely to crush your coworker’s self-esteem thru fashion intimidation? I see no real value to being at home, sitting in my lounge PJs, while answering emails and dialing in for conference calls that could have been an email.

But back to Thursday, March 12th. My little office group was doing a fine and dandy job of running around with LYSOL wipes on door knobs, chair backs, phones, keyboards, and the lone KUERIG coffee machine. But the media hysteria finally caught up with me and I thought “Bitch, you’re over age blippity blip…take your old ass home unless you want to be a death statistic.”

I have left this one-bedroom apartment only four times since Friday, March 13th. I’m blessed that a small supermarket is attached to the condo building I reside in. My quick trips to the store are nothing more than me riding an elevator and sashaying through a parking garage to a side door entrance of the market. My trips are early in the morning when the market first opens; I make a list so I’m not dilly-dallying about browsing. And I have no interest in small talk with the cashiers either. My supermarket trips have the precision of a military maneuver. Get in; get out. I carry a LYSOL wipe for all the doorknobs/handles I encounter to/from.

When I’m finally in the safety of my stuck-in-the-eighties kitchen, (almond-colored appliances, am I right?) I even wipe down all the groceries and the tote they arrived in. This is the peak degree of my paranoia. But can we be too safe today? I don’t want to check out this way! I don’t want to be a social security number on that White House orange turd’s casualties list. No ma’am.

Working from home is okay. If I had a 2-bedroom apartment I could see a future state of creating a home office/craft corner type scenario.

I have two MACs. My work desktop has a warning Post-IT note: “You’re on the office network now!” So that’s a firm “no” to surfing Etsy, Amazon, too much Twitter, or a misstep over to PornHub just for a quick whack to some new day depravity so perfect for the moment we now live in. Frankly, observing a skinny Chav smearing IcyHot on a dildo is a fresh level of kink in one’s search for that shooting-stars-out-my-ass unobtainable orgasm. But such is my life’s quest. Much like Lord Carnarvon wondering Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, someday I will find a great and glittering treasure amid the smut. But I digress.

“Unprecedented.” I’ve seen that word used everywhere now. These are indeed unprecedented times. I bound from sunny hope for a quick resolution to the viral spread to abject panic and anxiety that I won’t have a ventilator assigned to support my dying breaths because some newbie doctor will deem me, by government mandate, “too old” to keep alive for the new world order.

And make no mistake about it. We are entering a new world. Things can’t go back to the way they were. I’m not a religious man, much–but there is irony that what with all our military bluster and nuclear this & that…ultimately, in the end, we will all find defeat via a microscopic bug. God is pissed. Maybe. It’s a thinning of the herd while the earth holds it’s collective breath that we arise from this pandemic with some degree of humanity and understanding that we are all one regardless of how much toilet paper one hoards.

Hole springs eternal

I awake. And if you’re like me, do you experience that special, unique time warp of being awake but not up and out of bed? Eyes still closed but aware of the bedroom’s changing, dawning gray light, this is my magical thinking time when most of my problems are seemingly so simple and easy to solve.

Why not date that 29-yr old professional dancer, I think. It seems so fitting. His youth will parallel my ‘young at heart’ outlook. Which is mostly true between fits of wanting to stick my head in the oven. But I digress.

I am still skating around the presence of aforementioned dancer. He’s sweet; charming, I think, in the fashion that only becomes evident by discovering his midwestern roots. There doesn’t appear to be a condescending bone in his body. And what a body it is: are there 8-pack abs? Not an ounce of extra body fat; but then you understand this because ‘dancer’ conveys lithe, form, grace; ‘dancer’ is the very opposite of my body’s advancing betrayal: soft Dad bod.

Naturally I keep this male interest at arm’s length. I am old. I have a fractured heart from a 25-yr relationship that crashed and burned over 12-years ago. And while–on many fronts, I’ve risen above that horrific time period, I still maintain a guarded heart. My heart knows more about the isolation of lockdown than the inmates at Statesville.

A well-meaning friend suggested that worry over my physical appearance was misplaced. That I was forgetting the whole ‘daddy/son’ vibe that perhaps occupies some facet of his moderate interest.

“Sweetie, YOU are the opposite of his body. That’s why it works! He wants to feel those love handles and nuzzle your man boobs. It’s unfamiliar territory. Which is why you’d be a perfect couple…”

Somewhere between bites of arugula and sips of chardonnay, my dad bod was objectified. I am no one’s ‘daddy.’ I’ve always hated all the lanes and channels the gay community subscribes to: twink, queen, daddy, rice queen, leather daddy, et al. These monikers serve no purpose, I think.

But back to that dancer. What to do. What to do. I’ll tell you what I didn’t do.

He performed this week. We’d text one another about the pending performance and my availability to attend but I kept my plans vague and noncommittal. I wanted to play it cool. Chill. But I did attend. I arrived virtually as the lights dimmed. Which gave me just enough time to dramatically scale the side stairs with a hundred pair of gay eyes lusting for my Balenciaga neck scarf.

The performance series was riveting and eclectic in themes. Variations on love, depression, wants and desires…you know, that contemporary jazz dance stuff.

Post-performance the audience was invited to a reception to meet and greet the dancers and the production/director teams. I was just entering the room when I saw him. Standing like a rare bird; surrounded by other equally beautiful men. Young. Thin. Fashionable. Their heads tilted back in the abject joy that no matter how one stands or maneuvers, the sheer power of youth guarantees no bad angles.

My heart beat raced forward. I panicked. I left. In the elevator to street level I bit my lower lip so hard it bled. It was the opposite of coming up from a deep dive. I needed air, most definitely. I needed a drink. I needed to sit at home in the dark and wrestle with why fear drives my fucking life.

Happy nude rear

Ugh. New year’s day has dawned. And while I’m all about sunny optimism and bright new beginnings, let’s just understand that the flip of a calendar page is far easier than making–and keeping, real resolutions. Yes, yes..I will lose weight; I will put myself out there more; I will be a better friend… and so forth and so on. Truth be told: at this age my bad habits aren’t really going anywhere. And while they’re few and relatively harmless to no one other than myself (oh hai, emotional cutters) I find the notion of any real and lasting change to be rather daunting. Tis noble to consider giving up the masturbatory habits of a teen age boy, but why? Do I want PornHub to layoff staff?And in the broader spectrum of general wellness, my prostate has never been better.

The new year rang in while I was dozing, near sleep’s shadowy edge. But I was lucid enough to hear my Asian neighbor’s gaggle of girlfriends begin the countdown with subsequent squeals of delight as the clock struck midnight. I was annoyed that they began their countdown at FIVE, four…three… et al, versus the more logical and traditional notion of TEN, NINE, 8, 7… and so forth. I mean, really? Who starts a fucking countdown at FIVE? Note-to-self: slip a copy of TOWN&COUNTRY beneath her door today.

Christmas day was somewhat okay. Rather uneventful which stands in sharp contrast to the many years I was pleasantly partnered wherein I was virtually guaranteed to receive at least five or so ‘must have’ gifts from my eight page “gift-suggestions-that-I-should-really-get-if-you-want-to-fuck-this-boi-pussy-ever-again” thesis. They say in most relationships one partner will harbor more love for their partner than their partner does for them. I believe that notion to be true but I also believe it to flip flop if one’s relationship has any length to it. I mean, really–haven’t we all been there? Years one through three wherein your partner’s rakish habit of guzzling his morning OJ straight from the carton becomes a justifiable homicide in years, say–five to ten. Which is probably the life sentence for killing someone with a swift blow to the head from a Sunbeam waffle iron.

The Christmas trim should begin to come down today but my flight attendant neighbor wants to stop by later for a glass of new year cheer. I’ll resist the urge to purge; though I’ve already removed the season’s greeting cards from their colorful position along the edges of my foyer mirror. That small, mindless task felt like a new chapter in this old book.