Wanderlustful


This is now my last day of my trip out in SoCal. I actually still have tomorrow morning out here but I really couldn’t count that as a full day anyway. A big part of that day will be spent for traveling back east. Friday was also majorly travel day. I would’ve arrived at SD earlier if not for the mishap at my plane. Blame it on my travel karma that I would pick a plane with a female pilot (which is a good thing) running on auxilliary power because the right generator was not “fixable but deferable.” But I arrived anyway and had a quick taste of SD with a late lunch at the W. Saturday was also travel day since we drove from SD to LA for a short weekend. Monday was travel day too since we had to drive back from SD to LA. Even much of today will be spent on traveling as we drive to the Cove at La Jolla. It’s not even over yet and I already realize that this week-long vacation is quite full of traveling. I can safely say that I have not been in (car) transit this much in a few days in a long while. I can also proudly say that, despite the bumpy flight on Friday, I have enjoyed every moment of riding around in a car from one point to another, whether planned or not from the point of origin. I know it’s cliché but this certainly is one of those trips where the journey is more important, if not more enjoyable, than the destination.

I hate going to places where a car is a necessity because I hate driving. The places I love to visit are the big cities where mass transit is well-established and where walking is more a preferred option out of healthy habits rather than as a mark of car deprivation. SF. Chicago. Seattle. South Beach. Toronto. Montreal. Honolulu. London. Vancouver. Boston. Ptown. Nova Scotia. Vegas. Fire Island. These places are all manageable on foot, or through mass transit, and I have managed to enjoy them much. SoCal has always been initmidating because of that basic need for a car. I saw Crash last year and was struck by that line about how the buses in LA have clear windows because people want to make a spectacle out of the busriders. It was more than a need; it was also a mark. The car is a metaphor for SoCal.

Putzing around on Manhunt, I was certainly amused by one reply that I don’t get back in NYC which is, “do I have to park the car on the road?” He must be asking if my building had a garage. (Damn. If it had to be this complicated back east, then I really don’t think I’d even bother half the time.) This just reaffirms this city’s fixation with the car. Understandably so, since the car is the lifeblood of connection. Every point is a few miles away and the lack of a car is sheer social suicide.

The car is a metaphor for Socal. SoCalifornians seem to be obsessed with the surface, as much as the car is just as sleek as its shine. (Posers, of course, also exist in abundance back in NYC, but Hans and I agreed that the posers back in NYC do so to make a comment about themselves — where they went to school, what they do, where they live — as opposed to the poseurs I met out here who do so to make a comment about other people — what they don’t look like.) They are also suckers for status, as much as the car is, of course, an object of symbol. Needless to say, there seems to be an inherent need for alcohol, reminding me of the gas guzzlers including SUVs that this region luvs to parade around in. (I still can’t get over the tables next to us at Cafe Etoile in Weho for Sunday brunch — there were the 2 homos already drinking martinis before noon who followed the vodka with a crisp bottle of champagne; and the woman who was just having a glass of chardonnay that she plunks down the bread basket for her dog to enjoy.) Shine, symbol and that constant search for liquid sustenance, it is too much of an appropriate image to not be worth stretching. The car is also the means by which the people get to the coast, in as much as Socal is defined by the Pacific. All roads lead to the ocean and I believe that the car is the means that is just as good as its end.

I particuarly enjoyed the drive back from LA to SD. Hans and I rented a Ford Mustang convertible and drove it down the Pacific Coast Highway (which stretches all the way up to Seattle.) (Luke had to drive back on his own car early Monday morning to make it to work.) It was just a lovely drive down. The wind was blowing against our faces; the sun on our skin; the surf as if kissing the tint of our shades all the way down. We saw the dolphins off the whaling point in San Vicente. We zigzagged down Palos Verdes and stopped for lunch at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. We eventually hit the suburbs of San Diego just in time to catch the sunset off Del Mar. Then, I began to realize why artists wax so much about California. More than the glare of superficiality in what is bred inland; its heart bleeds from the ocean where the glow of beauty is but natural. I have certainly been impressed by the (west) Hollywood cultture where a glass of chardonnay is light lunch and a few martinis will effectively make them full; where an endless parade of boys coming to and from gym are not an unusual sight on a midweek morning when everyone else would have already been in their offices back in NY; where it seems every second is a show as riding a bus at 10 AM on 90-degree weather warrants a boucle-suit and pearls; where everyone always seems to be on an altered state induced by alcohol or by a chemical drug, as if the glare of Hollywood has numbed everyone around it warranting the need for aids to procuring palpable emotion. But I know that what will linger in my memory will be the coastline at day’s end. Stripped of any artifice, refreshing and reassuring is the horizon melancholic in its burning, orange fading into purple melting into pink, submissively, helpelssly into the edges of the Pacific. With the top down. Hans quiet on the wheel and myself, sunglasses heavy on my windblown cheeks, smiling, simply moved by the Pacific passing by and life coasting on.

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I can’t believe I’m saying this. I’m writing on the terrace of a nice hotel overlooking Sunset Boulevard. It actually looks a lot less imposing than with what I have culled from memory. The movie leaves me with a picture splashed with bitter nostalgia. It is a bright, quite brisk Sunday morning out in LA and the boulevard is uneventfully quiet and uninterestingly drab, hinting at no trace of any notion of biting bitterness imagined from that camp classic. I look up at the Hollywood hills as it looks down upon Sunset. There is the constant hum of cartraffic below as the occasional bird flies overhead, in between adboards for Charles Schwab and Hustler Casino. I am enjoying a quiet start to a Sunday out here in California. I still can’t believe it (since it was only a few days ago that I was trudging through the unbearable cold brought about by some arctic winds back east.)

This West Coast trip has been flying by fast which is quite unexpected since I have been meaning to pull back from my pace back East and enjoy a laidback schedule as they do out here. Flying in from NYC Friday into SD and driving in from SD into LA yesterday all now seem to be a blur. I still haven’t gone to the Zoo and I still haven’t been to the Getty Center and yet, I feel like I’ve already immersed myself in a SoCal schedule. The many enjoyable meals I have had out with Hans, my friend from Seattle and Luke, his bf based in SD, and their friends both in SD and now here in LA have filled up my schedule. Brunch at Rice at the W SD. Dinner at California Cuisine on Hillcrest. A late lunch at the Abbey yesterday and a nice dinner at Le Petit Bistro in WeHo last night. The food was decent and the reds full-bodied; the company enjoyable. But what lingers most in me is the scene. Buff, blond boys in their tight shirts and Dolce sunglasses sipping martinis at 2 PM, disengaged and self-absorbed. (I found it quite surprising, but then, understandable from a market point of view, that the salads cost more than the staple dishes at the Abbey.) I have always heard of that Socal criticism on the area’s premium on superficiality. (It is, after all, ground zero for Hollywood.) This is the first weekend I’ve actually witnessed it firsthand. (I’ve been out to California so many times but I just realized I’ve always gone to the Bay Area.) It is one thing to be riveted by the occasional group of shirtless, runners in Balboa park, smooth, lean chests soaked in sweat and sun, all incidental to the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. It is another thing to be surrounded by a shocking display of conscious effort at looking good – the ubiquitous fauxhawk, the diva sunglasses, the parade of pecs, the matching sneakers — wherein to be seen out is in itself a show. (Seen as scene, I am a dork for alliteration, but I digress.) I don’t mean to make it sound like a musem spectacle but it is quite a consuming space to be in. I was eating my salad and observing the scene and suddenly, subconsciously slipped into thoughts of my own physical insecurities compared to the hot boys around me; thinking twice about all the adboards claiming cosmetic services that bombard one on the interstate coming into LA. It didn’t seem to matter that I had an exciting new career waiting for me in a week (since I start at my new job on the 12th.) It didn’t seem to matter that I had a great boyfriend and healhty group of friends back home where the assurances are unsaid; where my words define me more than my body weight. I just wanted to be like them, sipping an Appletini and being stand-offish. Of course, I know it strikes at hollow but it seemed to be the standard, and I found it enviable. This is where the brunches in NYC and LA seem to diverge; Sunday brunches out east will be a venue for therapy where me and my friends bitch about our lives. Brunches out here will push me to therapy.

Norma Desmond’s vanity led to her tragic end. It is a chilling message to me as I enjoy the start of this sunny Sunday out here in California.

We’re doing brunch with another group of LA boys in a few hours. (Hans and Luke are still in bed.) I’m already trying to figure out my outfit.

Today is Thanksgiving.

I am writing here on the Starbucks right across my sister’s apt. I just had a muffin (after skipping dinner last night) and am still enjoying my Pumpkin Spice lattte.

What am I thankful for?

I am thankful for family. As much as I hate to admit it, I am grateful for the family I was born into. Living an immigrant’s life in a first-world city, sometimes I wish I was born differently, maybe white, maybe hapa [localspeak for half-white, half-asian] already here in the US. Maybe it would have turned a world’s difference if that were the case. But, at the same time, I was born into a middle-class Filipino family in Manila, most of whom have since moved on to different places. That presents in itself a unique case all its own. We are tri-coastal in our dysfunction. Manila, NY and Honolulu are all worlds apart but we bind them all together. My family may wish it were a lot closer, a lot more intimate towards each other. We don’t talk to each other as much as we should but that does not make it any less than we would want to. We were raised to not scratch the surface and respect the status quo. We are a holiday people and enjoy the imposed intimacy borne from a more thoughtful private reflection that a public celebration invites. Our mode of speech is money and the time is usually Christmas. We talk by giving expensive gifts and elaborately-written cards. (To write, it seems, no matter how much more intimate it may be, is easier than to say out loud.) We drift apart into our separate lives after these days (as I know I will be when I leave Honolulu.) But I like it like this. Maybe it is out of habit. But I like my mother not being intrusive and my father not being commandeering. I am independent but not cut-off. I know I can easily call them (and ask for what I need when I do need to) and not be denied. Maybe things will change. Maybe I will learn to appreciate them more and express this renewed sentiment more often. What matters now though is that my family indulges me in its own unique way at this time; it allows for the continuity of our dysfunctional yet constant relationship enough to sustain the hope for a better and, yes, different future. I am grateful for that.

I am thankful for friends. Being an immigrant allows me to enjoy the best of two worlds. I have all the good friends left behind in Manila as well as all the newfound friends I have in NY and Honolulu. The friends back in Manila have given me a core that values the good and the just and the righteous. My friends here in NY (as well as the new ones I’ve made in Honolulu) have shown me a new and fresh frontier; how it is to live a life that is good and fun and worthwhile, all true to who I am. Life is too short to not make the most out of any moment. To have fun, reflected upon and instantly indulged, is paramount and having friends around is integral to its realization.

I am thankful for a boyfriend. I have been single for over 2 years now. I always tell myself that I am already over Carter. But it seems his memory has been creeping up recently: in conversations, in random thoughts, even in dreams. I don’t think it’s because I still want him. I know I’m already over him. But I think it’s because his ghosts have begun creeping out, seemingly exorcised, by my growing relationship with Tim. Tim, 41-years old, stable and drama-free, is quite the exact opposite of Carter, 26, unstable and psychotic. I think being in a healthy relationship flushes an unhealthy one out of the system, no matter how hidden the poison has buried itself. He wrote me a really sweet email 2 days ago about how he misses me. I miss him too.

I am thankful for my job. I can’t believe I’m saying this. Where I am has always been a constant source of aggravation. But, at the same time, all that stress comes with a cost. What I do allows me to do as I please. I love to indulge myself. I love to shop and travel and watch theater. Being a corporate whore isn’t all that bad as long as I live the good life when I leave the office.

I am thankful for NYC. I can’t help but blush every time I feel like Carrie gushing over her affair with NY. It’s still interesting how fate dropped me off in America’s Babylon. I could’ve stayed here in Honolulu. (Maybe I would have already gotten over my phobia of getting mangled by reef and learned surfing.) Or insisted on remaining in Manila (especially after going back twice during my first year of migration.) (There, I know I’d still be in the closet, teaching poetry to high school kids.) But I moved to NY to initially be with my spinster aunts. After some growing pains, I have to grown to embrace it and now am loving all that it has to offer. The power and the pageantry; the sleaze and the solitude; the culture and cute boys; competition and career. I like my cities to be like my cable tv; a thousand and one options at every click-of a moment. NYC delivers all at once and I am happy to be in the middle, (and not remotely) pressing the buttons.

It’s hard to connect with feeling down on the 6th day of my vacation out here in Honolulu. (Lists of things to be thankful for always come up along with suicidal tendencies.) Life has certainly moved on a slower, overtly manageable pace. Sleeping in and lounging out on the beach and leisurely walking all over have proved relaxing. “You look so content,” Kalani, one of the local boys I’ve been friends with, said as he watched me watch him play volleyball in a grassy park by the beach on a Wednesday afternoon. (This would have been hard to conceive in NY where the homos play vball on a weekend. Everyone has a weekday-grinding job. Also, the ‘mos in NYC would have been really catty, unlike the gay guys out here who are simply enjoying the game.) It didn’t even sink into me until he mentioned it. I just smiled back. The sun and the surf in the background; shirtless boys playing ball; me sitting on a bench in shorts and slippers sipping my macadamia nut coffee from a cup covered in designs of hibiscus. It was too much in a singular scene to not be content, inevitably and helplessly. It was another moment to be grateful for.

It is almost 2 weeks into September. The sun has set earlier in the day. There is a faint bite of chill in the air. My windows are open, letting the cool evening breeze in. I am wearing my PJs as I write this. The humid summer seems to be giving in to the damp of fall. But my thoughts are not into the oncoming season. It lingers on the ending of the last.

I spent a part of Labor Day weekend out in Cherry Grove on Fire Island. Hans, my friend based in Seattle, came over for the Alegria circuit party. (His bf, Scott, based in San Diego, arrived later.) There was some time for Hans, Tim, my bf, and myself to catch some sun out in the Grove.

We stayed at the Bates Motel, er, the Belvedere. It’s an old castle that they’ve turned into a hotel. Though old, this isn’t old enough to have escaped the garish design aesthetic of a homo mad for the roccoco. I told Tim about how Liberace puked this whole place out. He said it was Liberace’s mother.

Our room had 3 lamps, all different, one tattered in its shade and one battered by time, that you could almost always only find in flea markets. There was actually a nice study set – a heavy oval table with 2 deco chairs upholstered by metal bullets with opal vinyl. There was a wooden pedestal mounting an ivory bust of what looks to be a Greek boy. Oddly, there was a shell collection framed in wood and mounted in glass. Below it was a moss green study chair. All these were only in our room. It hit that point of eclectic and pushed it over to garish. It began to boil over to grotesque in the living room (that’s off-limits to the public but could be seen from a landing.)

But Tim liked it. I painted a pictue to him of how the Grove was the West Village and the Pines was Chelsea. I told him how people say hello in the Grove and barely give you a smirk out in the Pines. There are drag queens lipsynching to Lulu in the Grove. In the Pines, you only hear technobeats that dictate the cadence of muscleboys rumbling on the dancefloor. Tim preferred homey. He liked the Belvedere. He liked the Grove.

Seriously, I also liked the Belvedere over the Botel. It was homier. It has a hot tub. It has an observation deck. It may be grotesque, but it has flavor. It has taste that’s palpable. The Botel is simply a cold, lifeless venue where the rooms are nothing more than basements with a bed. The building in itself is simply a box of faded blue that seems ill at ease being right in between the restaurants and right by the Low Tea place. The Botel is tasteless, to say the least.

But I like the Pines. I know it doesn’t strike one as homey but it was my home last summer. If memory serves me well, then I had a good time. Somehow, I also like the live-and-let-live attitude the people have out there. Not everyone will say hi to you but, also, not everyone will besmirk you. Usually, people leave each other alone (unless they’re hitting on you.) I like that and can relate to it. Needless to say, the boys are hotter. I always like eye candy when I’m out there.

Luckily, we actually got some hot eye candy in the Grove. This was, notably, a hot tub sighting.

There were these 2 hot boys playing with this one not-so-hot guy. I actually initiated the conversation about us playing with them and Tim seemed hesitant at first not because he found it odd for us but because he felt we weren’t invited. It was an interesting turn in this relationship. We moved closer anyway. We never got into playing with them but it was still hot to be in that boiling tub on that unseasonably cold summer night and have a cum bath (apparently) as we negotiate the murky waters that is our relationship.

It became even more calculating when Hans arrived (since Tim and I came into the Grove a day earlier.) It was interesting watching all three of us do in the tub.

The first time was in the afternoon after soaking up on 2-for-1 Pinot at the Tides. We ended up chatting with Mike, this NYer (who turned out to be my neighbor!), a quite short dark-haired white male who really was quite indistinct-looking but who had a nice uncut cock. I knew Hans and Tim were playing under the water and I thought that was really hot. Then, Hans left to nap. Tim and I were left with Mike. Soon, Tim was playing with Mike and I was tugging on Mike too. Apparently, I encouraged this behavior when I told him that I loved to watch. (I can’t remember if I told him that during the tub bath or before it.) But, anyway, we were warm and had to leave so all 3 of us exited the tub.

The second time was in the evening after dinner. There was a bigger crowd this time – the older, buff, indistinct-looking white male. the very chatty white male with a belly (who left soon after) and the flabby Latino male with piercing eyes. Hans was in between Tim and I. It was quite quiet for the longest time and I knew that Tim and Hans were (again) playing under the water. A little while after, the Latino boy comes in and thrusts his dick in front of their faces. First, Hans goes for the blowjob. Then, Tim goes for the blowjojb. Then, Hans again. The Latino boy eventually finds himself in the older white male’s space – and room as I saw them do later on.

I was quite unprepared and perturbed by the image of Tim sucking the Latino. There was something about Tim and Hans playing under the water discreetly that I found titillating. It was such a fantasy of mine before this whole trip to see them get it on. Hans told me that he found Tim cute and, more importantly, that he got along with Tim – which is so much more than could ever have happened between him and Carter. (In hindsight, I’m sure Tim found Hans attractive too if not most articulate since he made a comment that night about how I liked “articulate white boys.” Also, the fact that they played together shows that they’re interested in each other.) Knowing that they were jerking each other off and realizing this when I reached into Hans’ dick and it was hard as a rock was hot. (It was also hot when Hans turned around and I met Tim’s finger around his butthole.) It was a quite different feeling when I was confronted with Tim blowing the Latino. I was intitally shocked, then, I found it bemusing. It really wasn’t a matter of right and wrong since we were not exclusive (as we never even had the conversation about that anyway.) It was nothing more than a matter of the expected and the unexpected. I was just not expecting him to blow the Latino but he did. I was shocked but I settled down after getting used to what I had just seen. It was also interesting how he suddenly came over to me after what was just a 5-second blowjob but what seemed even longer. He mentioned how he found it weird “doing it in front of me” and that “I looked disturbed” and that he was doing this anyway “because I loved to watch.” I understood how he found it weird. It was all so unexpected (but considering that we met in a sleazy bar, I quess I should have been more prepared.) I knew I looked quite perplexed since I didn’t know what to make of it at the time. But what was interesting was when he seemed to suddenly imbue that whole act with a selfless moral – he seemed to imply that he did it more for me than he did for himself. He certainly looked like he was enjoying it. I certainly wasn’t enjoying the sight of him blowing the Latino since besides being unexpected, I was uninterested in the Latino. Maybe it wasn’t as much more of a moral rationale as it was a lateral tangent on what was a swirl of events in that tub.

Here I am again facing the question of exclusivity. I had tried the open relationship with Carter and, obviously, it didn’t work for both of us. I don’t feel the need yet to define my relationship with Tim right now but the recent events push me to think about that angle of it. I remember Joanne, my colleague (whom I call my straight gf) at work, making a comment about how he wasn’t the one if I still felt the need to look and play around. Who is the one anyway and how do you know if he is? The one is the one you’re with at that exact moment in time and space. Do I wish to commit exclusively to that one?

How important is sex? I’ve always believed that sex is integral in a relationship. Who you get it from and how you get to it are all important distinctions that complicate the process if both partners are in an open relationship. Sex is,ultimately, about fulfillment. How should one be fulfilled? How often? How many different times and from how many different persons?

Who do I go home to? Is that enough? That was what Carter always emphasized in our many few moments of discussion over our relationship – that I was the one he went home to at day’s end.

Coming home to me should be fulfilling. A coming home is tantamount to coming/cumming. But I kinda find that unacceptable because I want to come/cum. My dick wants to spurt spooge in the most orgasmic manner possible. I want someone to make me come/cum as well as someone to come home to me. Those are two different realities and to construe one as being the other is a mindfucking cop-out.

“I’m naked and I’m far from home,” Freddie Mercury sings in Save Me right now. I love that line. (I think he’s such a genius.)

We only stayed in the Grove for 3 days but I felt like we were there for much longer. There were so many things that happened in the tub, at the very least, and out of it. (Then, again, this weekend vacation was tons better than the Southern Decadence weekend Carter and I spent in New Orleans so many years ago which turned out to be a psychofest.)

Funny story: I luv go-go boys so we went out to the Tides for go-go boy night. There was Jeremy, this kinda flabby guy in a Ginch Gonch underwear who claims to be straight and studies at Oxford. Just when I thought I’ve heard them all, I always get stumped by a new one.

Just when I thought I’ve seen them all, I suddenly get shocked by a new one. What matters is not that I remember but that I recollect.

The LIRR train had just rumbled out of Ronkonkoma. Eric and I decided, wisely, to take the earlier train out of Ronkonkoma than to wait for the train out of Sayville which doesn’t leave until after another hour.

I am sitting in the front corner seat with a picture window right in front of me. The pitter patter of the rain drips diagonally on the wet glass. The trees passed whirr by in a blaze of green. The rain clouds remain in the horizon, ominous of another stormy afternoon.

I had spent the weekend out in Fire Island. I could only laugh at the fact that I chose this weekend out of all the other weekends that I could have gone. It must have been the wettest and coldest weekend out there this summer. Funny how Eric and I chose to spend another $100 for an air conditioned room when it was a cool 50s outdoors. It felt more like an October night than it did an August one. Then, again, it might as well have been wise since keeping the air at 68 made it feel warmer in our room than it was outside. Also, the a.c blocked out the noise from the tea dances right below our window. (After all, the Botel was in the heart of it all.)

‘Time flies when you’re wet and cold,” I overheard this homo say on the ferry from the Pines into Sayville. How apropos considering that I am now looking back at this very short vacation.

It was a wet weekend. I couldn’t say that I wasn’t unprepared for it. I always say, on the surface as jest but what in reality is a quiet affirmation of what bothers me to the core, that I have bad travel karma. The perfect Thursday couldn’t have been any farther from what happened Friday. Of course, the tornado warning issued in the Bronx that day was ominous of things to come. (It should be noted that tornado warnings issued in the Bronx are just as rare as the sight of a mirage in Midtown Manhattan.) The storm clouds formed a formidable blanket of gray over the summer horizon. Temperatures were dipping by the hour. I packed a Fire Island wardrobe of tanktops, cargo shorts and a skimpy swimsuit. (I ended up buying a sweatshirt on the only clothing store in the Pines aptly called All American Boy.) I realized the folly of not bringing thicker clothes already knowing that it was always 10 degrees cooler in the island than it was back in the city. (The forecast was a rainy 78 in the city which made it in the cool 60s in the Pines. It was even colder with the storm winds blowing out from the open sea.) But, the reality is that as much as I have bad travel karma, I love the whole idea of traveling. I was determined to make a good vacation weekend out of this Pines stay.

I needed a vacation anyway.

Eric and I walked into the Grove for dinner at the pizza joint that night. Of course, we walked through the Meatrack, this bucolic landscape of groves of trees and dunes that connects the Pines and the Grove together. This spot is notorious for its shameless cruising trails and on-the-spot sex. There hardly were people there that time so it was uneventful. My chicken parm dinner with Eric (who had pizza) was more of an event than our walk through the Meatrack was.

We headed back to the Pines for Low Tea where I bumped into Tom and the gang from my house share last summer. Honestly, I’m kinda regretting not doing the share this summer. Knowing how much I love Fire Island and realizing now how expensive it is to bunk out there, a share is always the smartest way to go. I was happy bumping into them. Tom was the only guy I really liked back in the house then and I was happy to see him again. (It’s always a dramafest when you put 12 highly-strung gay guys under one roof in a sexually-charged island.)

Then, Eric and I headed back to the Grove for the Funderwear party.

I knew it was going to be fun when we bumped into all these hot boys waiting for the water jitney that goes to the Grove. (We later realized that they all worked at the Pines since we saw them all the following day at the restaurants and the coffee shop and the Botel.) Most remarkable was this one guy who wore matching tanktop and undies, cowboy boots and nothing more (except for a wallet that was hidden in his undies which gave him an even bigger bulge.)

I didn’t expect to see a big crowd at the Tides considering the weather. But I must have underestimated the msucle queens who are resolute in running around in their skivvies. I wore my gray DKNY bikini that night. Eric wore his blue boxer briefs. (Were they Hanes?!) Chris, an acquaintance, was there too in his tighty whities. There was a bar with a gogo boy and a dance floor full of almost naked homos. But the spot where the funderwear lay was in the back room downstairs. I must say I missed this party from last summer and coming out here this time to be in it was worth it.

I hooked up with this tall boy in blue swimtrunks with a really big dick in the corner. (It was the same corner where I lost my $20 that was hooked to my undies’ garter strip.) I also made out with this tall, thin, buzzed twink in his blue undies. He was such a dreamboat. There were other nameless but not-really-faceless guys I fooled around with. The buff, old guy I was lusting after all night long. The bearded, salt-and-pepper hairy guy with the unzipped sweatshirt nicely framing his exposed pecs. The thin, dark-haired twink in his white boxers. I don’t think I was up to any more intense playing after coming that one time.

But it was 3 am and Chris mentioned a foam party at Sunsets on the Bay, this other bar. I have heard of foam parties from these straight ex-frat boys I work with but have never been to one. Eric has never been to one either. We giddily went and were floored by what we saw. There were the underwear party boys frolicking in a sea of foam. It really was a sight to behold. Naked boys wet and wild in a sensual sudfest. We were both dreading the long walk home being cold from the foam but the sight was too inviting to resist. So, once again, Eric and I stripped to our skivvies and dove into what seemed to be what the insides of a laundry machine looked like if you were washing dirty undies and horny boys.

I’m amazed that we found our way back after such a night of debauchery, We were wet from the rain and clumps of wet sand clung to our feet (since we took the safer, less-scenic beach route over the Rack) as we reached our room. All I could remember was light flowing through the thin sheet that served as blinds creeping through our window as I lay to sleep. Day had broken when our night had just ended.

We woke to a cloudy Saturday. I had already resigned myself to a sunless weekend. But what I was unprepared for was the onset of the cold. It felt more like the fall than it did the summer. What made things worse were the winds that I had to buy a sweatshirt to keep me warm.

It was a cold weekend.

Eric loved to take naps so I was allowed time alone to walk and stop and think. I usually walked out to the edge of the dock where there were two benches with the loving inscription, “In Memory of Philip/ From James.” I sat on the edge of one bench and stared straight out, a large Starbucks coffee from Bay Bar in hand.

I remember the usually calm waters of the bay being very choppy. What used to appeal to me as inviting in their rest were now sinister in their restlessness. The storm clouds were a daunting presence, looming and threatening with the onslaught of very heavy rain. The boats tied to the dock flailed back and forth in their places. Very few people were scuttering about, reasonably choosing to remain indoors in this weather. I wanted to walk out and see something different. I saw something unexpected. I saw the waters grinding into each other, endlessly out into the open ocean. I saw the skies above seemingly forever gray, resolute in their blanket of darkness. I saw the winds swooping down upon the island in unabashed fury. I saw, for the umpteenth time in my life, something bigger than myself.

I went out to Fire Island looking for sun and sand and sex. I come home bringing with me this quiet realization that I am not the world. I am so used to overstimulating myself in this big city and biting into a routine that smacks of egoistic adulation, personal gratification and self-masturbation. I have worked really hard and played even harder all summer long. This past weekend was the first break I had and I come out of it tendered with perspective. Yes, I live for myself but I am not only about myself. Yes, I can plan but I cannot execute without being affected by somehting by and beyond me. Yes, I can calculate but, ultimately, I risk. (This world is full of risks.) I live in a world of the unexpected.

It was a cold and wet weekend, albeit quick, but I come home with a heart warm with meaning.

There is the soft humming of string music through the speakers. There is a boy whining to his mother a few feet away about some stickers in a book. A middle aged man reads his morning paper while lying in wait for his evening commute. A college boy in stoic pose buries himself in his book as his varsity bag laden with baseball stuff and a bat lays in a pile at his feet. A clear female voice authoritatively announces the final call for trains leaving for the DC corridor. Some commuters scuttle out as others arrive to take their spaces in this disjointed assemblyline of slumped shoulders moving slowly.

It is a Friday night and there is a week-long weariness attached to the faces and bodies of these people waiting for their trains. Everyone yearns to already be some place else and yet are doomed to suffer that inevitable in every destination, travel. This basic frustration coupled with every other one — this is NY, after all, the capital of neurotic anxiety — around the difficulties of daily routine set in an ultraurban competitive environment adds up to a scene of such sheer human pathos. There seems to be a collective sigh after every anxious thought. There is a sad unity in the passionless consumption of periodicals and a hollow harmony in the many yawns. Everyone is armed with impatience and yet have aleady hopelessly lost to the quiet power of time’s passage.

This is why I like traveling. It reaffirms for me one of life’s many paradoxes. Knowing what one wants is inextricably linked to not always getting it at the time he or she wants it. Everything is in process in as much as everyone who seeks that thing is integral in its unfolding.

I am waiting for my train to board then leave for DC where I will be spending this long weekend.