Thursday, June 16, 2011

You got the Bear- Now what?

Me and Gal Pal Drew in "Bad Dream"
Orlando is a little concerned. Not only has he entered the Funhouse of P.A., it truly hit him last night as we were going to bed that I have indeed given up acting. I think what really frightens him is that I may end up focusing fully on him. “But you love it so..” he said in his sweet little boo boo voice which makes me want to squeeze his head and kiss his face.

“Loved in past tense. I’ll always enjoy  watching it and perhaps talking about it, but the whole process of being in a play or almost any show just depresses and overwhelms me. It’s no fun anymore. I over think everything. I am saying my lines in my head before I speak them. My hands shake so badly I can barely hold a prop. I can’t relax and enjoy the audience anymore because I am too worried and focusing on their reactions. Don’t worry. I’m not going to miss it.”

We crawled into bed and he growled and bit my ear and then pulled me into him closer. “I dunno Honey. It just seems like it’s a central part of your being-of who you are.” I was worried for a second he was going to bring up Jeffrey as a possible irrational reason for this choice, Jeffrey who you may recall- had died of cancer a few years ago was an integral part of my San Francisco theater world and cronies. He died an ex-friend-much to my chagrin. This lack of resolution made me distance myself from nearly everything and everyone related to him. There was once a powerful drive to do it physically when I was considering leaving my job and moving up to Redding CA to live with Orlando. After some clear thinking, two realizations came to surface; FIRST I should want to move because I want to live with Orlando -and no other reason and SECOND -Redding California is hotter than the hinges of hell 8 months of the year. Eventually -the  mutual theater cronies that Jeffrey and I had that mattered to me, (all three) began to wander back into my life. It was if they knew and we never had to talk about it. Still my desire to go back to the stage never felt the same.

I flipped over from our spoon position and touched noses with Orlando in the dark. “It’s Okay” I whispered. Then I realized I was whispering and spoke full voice. “ I am not going to miss working 40 hours a week and rehearsing 35 and feeling exhausted all the time-and barely getting paid for any of it. I am not going to miss egomaniacal Director’s who would rather exercise their mind control then their ability to direct a play. I am not going to miss being told I am too Gay to play certain characters. I am not going to miss playing truly queeney characters. I won’t miss working in drafty poorly heated theaters that smell weird. I won’t miss working with dysfunctional costars with a myriad of personality disorders. I won’t miss sucking up to people who are vapid and unkind to help the theater I am performing in to get the things it needs because it doesn’t have any money. I won’t miss never having a weekend free-think about that one honey-. It’s stupid. It’s not like it’s Broadway and I am Channing saying I am through and I’m never doing another Dolly! I am P.A. Cooley. A guy that a handful of Gay Senior Citizens in San Francisco might - I say MIGHT... remember. I am not famous.

“alrighty then”  He attempted to drift off. I grabbed his shoulder.
Party ON Garth

“BUT...there’s always film...I mean. It’s a medium I can control. Editing - no audience -no surprise elements The technology is changing all the time making easier and easier for the average Joe to make films. If I can just start filming those exchanges I want to start doing with Drew and I ya know- chatting and work on editing them and you can help too.!!! You are getting really good with my

“Yes ..yeah - of course...( he yawned ) I mean -I was just thinking. Maybe you could find something to do yourself?”

“Myself?” I asked

“Yeah ..well I mean. I got my racquet ball going on now at the gym and since you are not doing theater ,maybe you could form a group or something? “

A group? A group of guys videoing each other...? “

Oh C’mon! You know what I mean!  (To Be Continued)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Ones that got away -Thank God!

 I sank back gratefully into the couch cushions feeling like I had been racing around   Disneyland for a solid month. Orlando and I had been living together for only about 3 weeks now. Currently he was off investigating a new gym to play racquet ball in.  I sipped on my cocktail. It had been days…weeks even since I had just come home after work and made myself a drink and plopped on the couch and flipped on Tivo… alone.  Orlando’s shiny impressive flat screen massive TV now stood where my very Old very large clunky one had once sat. We didn’t have the energy to deal with selling my TV, so we just lugged it to the technology recycling pile in the garage of our building.

  I listened to the early evening sounds of our building around me, and the very faint hiss and whistle of the radiator.  Despite the fact that we had unpacked every box, the apartment still had a cluttered appearance. The bits of paper around my desk were dropping to the floor. His various back packs –ok he only had 2 –plus his lap top bag, were strewn around his “place”. He seemed to gravitate toward the Club chair. I liked looking over at him just after dinner, watching him struggle to stay awake when we watched TV. Eventually our evening cocktail and the dinner won out and his head would sink back into the soft club chair for a cat nap of 20 minutes or more –eyes closed –mouth wide open and I found it endearing. Especially when his head snapped back up and he asked, “What’d I miss?”
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I got fetal on the couch with my cocktail and balefully glared at an unruly shelf in desperate need of clearing.  Then a new thought fibrillated through my body and I sat up in surprise …”Hey..I live with someone now” There was no doubt I was living with the right one but,  I suddenly felt  like a race that I had been running for ever had finally finished. It was good feeling. Relief and not confusion settled over me.  A relationship –like raising children, is one of those learn-as- you- go- sort –of- things.  There are plenty of books and classes and helpful friends and relatives but you don’t get it until you are actually in the thick of it. I have learned much in the past few weeks. I have learned much in the past several years. It’s not that I am a late bloomer…I had been studying  how to do this for a very long time and now it was time to practice what I had “learnt”
Before I had met Orlando my relationships were not exactly wise choices-at least not on the inside but on the outside they seemed like very good choices.  Allow me to explain. One man worked for a non-profit and his job was to glad hand big wigs into giving this particular non-profit money. He is attractive in a congenial good guy way that almost gives off a cherubic innocence. He’s the kind of guy that could watch a football game or a Science Fiction Movie. He was very good at his job. He was so good in fact that the San Francisco Examiner took note of it and pointed him out as one of the up and coming stars to keep an eye on. (It helped him that his non-profit was enormously appealing too, because it gave enterprising kids a chance to succeed in forming their own businesses.) He was age appropriate (38) and dammit…he looked good on my arm-and vice versa.
As my Jewish Friend asked, “It didn’t take?” No –it didn’t take. At that point in my life I kinda told my boss of 7 years (at the time a Mortgage Broker) to go take long walk of a short pier. Thinking that a bright impressionable lad like myself could reinvent myself, I figured getting a new job would be a piece of Princess Cake. I didn’t realize the economy would choose that particular time to tank. The San Francisco Examiner’s Pick of the Litter couldn’t handle the strain of being my personal bread winner and was fearful that at any given moment I would ask the fateful question, “ Honey? How do you feel about me moving in?” Since I was empathic and I loathed people sensing any weakness with in me. I cut bait and sailed Gay-ly forward. I have to admit -he was a good guy and the sexual attraction was still there, but he couldn’t handle vulnerable P.A. Strong P.A. on the other hand was another matter altogether….
My 24 hour rebound was ( all this unknown to me at the time) a high school senior named Bam Bam. When Mr. SF Examiner and I were breaking up at the Mix quietly in the corner, my phone rang and it was Bam Bam asking when we were meeting that night.  I admit it. Look. Don’t judge. The writing was on the wall. I knew the relationship was doomed and earlier that day I had been trolling the internet for …attention. I held the phone looking directly at my soon-to-be-ex and said, “20 minutes.” My ex was shocked that I took a booty call during our break up but I was hurt that he felt he couldn’t handle the WHOLE P.A. Cooley and I needed comfort and Bam Bam looked… very comfortable to me. –and indeed he was. After my evening of comfort with the Bam, his phone rang the next morning. It was his Mom, making sure he wasn’t late for wrestling practice…she even asked where he was so she could pick him up and take him there. I strongly urged him to um…meet her on the corner somewhere. I tried very hard to resist the Bam’s charms for future assignations and succeeded…sometimes.
My attraction to big brown eyes and baldheads and dark skin never faded …(Orlando may be Puerto Rican but take a good look.) and after Mr. Examiner I met The Nurse. Well one would think that a Nurse would make an excellent life partner right? WRONG!  Be wary of a nurse. A Guy or Gal who spends their days being humiliated daily by ego maniacal Doctors, after doing very difficult thankless work that requires intestinal fortitude is either very crazy or a living Saint. I know. I work with them everyday. Let me tell you. The Saints are very few and far between. This one lived in LA. His big loving moment with me was when he drove up to see me on 4 hours of sleep after I had a horrible dental procedure that left me swollen and doped up on my couch. I awoke on my couch to find him asleep on the rug beside me holding my hand. It endeared him to me so I fell down the rabbit hole of love yet again.
I waited tables on weekends part time, so he always drove up to see me. He was 23 at the time. He made twice what I made at my two jobs, but when I bought him an inexpensive pair of sneakers he got on the phone and crowed to his friends how his man got him some new “treads” Did I mention he looked liked a thug? I liked the Ying and Yang that he looked like he might kill you, but he spent the day being compassionate to frail sickly people…(or so I thought). In the end, I lent him several hundred dollars feeling guilty about him having to pay for all that gas for his Mercedes. This turned out to be a poorly thought out move. Upon lending him the money he dumped me immediately and told me “I was no better than a woman”. I never saw the money again.  In retrospect I found it more irritating that he found calling me a woman insulting than the actual act of being dumped. I recall going through the motions of being heart broken and well…not being all that into it. I was furious about losing my money. It got a little worse as he left some maniacal rants on my voicemail indicating he was truly unhinged. He said he had a mysterious genetic disease for which there was no cure and he would be dead in 2 years. Well it’s been 4 years. He looks healthy and he’s moved to San Francisco now. He looks very cerebral and introspective in wire rimmed glasses and khakis and expensive sweaters. When I see him out and about, we glance at each other making note of each other’s presence but that’s about it. He tries to friend me on facebook. I hit ignore. I’d rather hang with Mr. SFExaminer than the Nurse any day if I were to hang with an ex.
Then I met the Lando man. It was all supposed to be a weekend hook up and well ….that hook up has been going on since 2009. (An Author smiles smugly to himself, sips drink, and stops writing to watch Chelsea Handler. Author is enormously pleased with how things all worked out)