A Mercedes tells its story…

Yesterday I pulled on the door handle on my car (pretty mundane stuff).  But instead of opening the door, the handle came off in my hand.  So today I went to a junkyard to get a new one.  While the scrapyard gentleman removed one from a carbon copy of my car, I wandered about.   A Porsche Cayenne caught my attention.  It had apparently caught fire and burnt to a German crisp.

IMG_4536

…to a crisp.

Weaving through the rows of cars, I came across a white Mercedes E-Class.  The view from the rear suggested that the car was only a few years old, and in great condition…or at least it was at some point.  The front, however, was a devastated hunk of contorted metal.

From inside shone the crisp, white, and nearly luminescent color of crumpled airbags.  They seemed to have come out of every nook and cranny.  In the passenger footwell was a can of Axe body spray and a pair of green and yellow Adidas gym shorts.

Behind the passenger’s seat were two cans of RedBull, one empty and one unopened.  I guessed that the driver couldn’t have been much older than me.  Coming around to the driver’s side, there were a few more items that held more of the driver’s (and the Benz’s) story.

The leather inside was a dark tan color.  Looking around the driver’s seat, I noticed many deep-red blotches.  They were the unmistakable color of blood.  In the driver’s footwell, thrown in almost as an afterthought, sat two items which revealed the story’s climax.

A CPR mask, tossed on the floor, hinted at something devastating.  The second item was barely visible, so I opened the driver’s door to get a closer look.  White with more red stains, it was a sheet.

I noticed that the seatbelt was completely reeled in, as it is when no one is wearing it.  Between the mask, the blanket, and the position of the seatbelt, it became evident that someone had taken their last drive in the car that I was peering into.

Suddenly I became dramatically aware of the brevity of a two-ton vehicle plowing down the road, and what can happen if things go wrong.  I was staggered.

Then I began to wonder.  Who was the driver?  Where were they going?  Was it something mundane?  The grocery perhaps?  Or maybe this person was on the way to the gym, ready for an ordinary workout.  While standing there, staring into that Mercedes, another question came to mind which was completely overwhelming.

What were this person’s last moments like?  Images of what may have happened seemed to rush though my mind.  Did they see it coming?  Were they scared?  Did they have any idea how serious the crash was going to be?  Did they even know what hit them?  No matter what, they certainly couldn’t have been prepared for what was about to happen to them.

Walking away from that white Mercedes, I realized a universal truth of life:  We are all, no matter how different in life, going to someday be humbled in the face of death.

To leave things on a positive note, I am pleased to report that my habit of not wearing my seatbelt has been completely kicked.

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My favorite book has blank pages.

There’s a certain excitement inherent when I see a blank page. All of the stories or chronicles that it could hold leave me with a sense of anticipation. So you can imagine how an entire blank diary must make me feel.

Last month I went through the things in my grandmother’s condo. She died two weeks prior and while she hadn’t lived there in over 5 years, it was still filled with her belongings. Five years ago she moved in with her boyfriend of 25 years, so all of the day-to-day items were gone. Left behind were decorations and personal items she had gathered throughout her life.

She traveled the world, and everything in that house told the story of where she’d gone. I found an ashtray from a hotel in Amsterdam. There were hand-painted porcelain dishes from Japan. Inside a cigarette tin from the UK laid a folded five pound note. A piece of stationary note from The Ritz in Paris had a bit of wine spilled on it and what appeared to be a last name and a phone number.

As I gathered a few of these things and put them in a small box I came across one more item that made me gasp with excitement  It was a journal. The cover was a colorful weave of fabric and it had a frayed string tied around it. I untied the string, hoping to find some record of where she was when she got it. To my disappointment, each and every page was blank. But no matter. I put it in the box with everything else and left her condo for what would be the last time.

It sits on the dresser...waiting.

It sits on the dresser…waiting.

The journal now sits on my dresser, waiting for words to fill it. It’s beautiful. From the weave and color of the fabric it looks to be from the Middle East (in my very non-expert opinion). There’s a smell of spice or incense coming from it. I want to write in it. At first, though, I couldn’t seem to think of any subject which would be worthy of a book with such personality.

A few things came to mind. I thought that perhaps someday I’d meet someone who is so special to me that he would be worthy of the journal. That seemed a bit risky though. I wouldn’t want to have to burn it, after all.

Then, it occurred to me something with which I could fill the diary that would fit its personality perfectly. I don’t know where it came from and I probably never will. But I want to see the world, as she did. I want to explore to the four corners. As I do, and I will, I’ll record that journey in this book.

Who knows where it will someday end up. Perhaps someday someone will find it in my condo and, while sitting on my couch, take a trip around the world.

That thing so good, you’ll never have it…

He’s that boy, for me at least.  He’s the one I knew I’d never have and I always wondered what it’d be like if I did.

He’s beautiful.  Completely.  He’s pretty in that Instagram, bartending-in-only-underwear way, and every detail is perfect.  The first time I met him was nearly a year ago. He was behind the bar making drinks for the crowd around him and I watched him for a moment.    I remember wondering to myself what kind of crazy perfect person I would have to be able to get next to the likes of him.

He is a very talented musician who is already well on his way to success – and hell bent on it.  He’s that kind of million-twidder-followers popular.  He knows every gay in the city (and I mean every single one), and most gays in other cities.  

The second time I met him was at his house (no, it’s not what you’re thinking).  I was with a friend who works with him at the club during a small gathering.  I casually asked him about his music and we ended up sitting on a couch chatting for awhile.  When I gave an awkward look he smiled and asked, “What?”

“I was just thinking about asking you to play for me.  I mean I don’t expect you to but…”

He interrupted me and said, “Sure, I’ll play for you.”

As I stepped through the doorway into his room I still had that thought of him in the back of my mind.  “I wonder what it would be like to kiss someone that beautiful…”  (Not that I ever would…)

He pulled out a black guitar and while he played the voice that came from him fit perfectly – it was beautiful.  He then showed me around, talking me through various recording equipment and discussing his plans to add more.  He sat down in front of a keyboard and toyed around with it for a moment.  I had my phone in my hand and took a picture of him playing.  He smiled and said, “What’s that?”

Just toying around...

Just toying around…

“I want to remember this, and I sort of take photos everywhere I go.”  He smiled and continued to play, pausing briefly to pull me towards him and wrap my arms around his chest.  I could feel the sound of his voice moving from his body into mine as he sang.  My whole upper body vibrated to the sound of his voice and I’m pretty sure I was trembling a bit.  Still playing, he turned and looked at me.

Then, he kissed me.

“It’s the little things.”

I went on a drive this evening.  That is, I got in the car with a recording artist friend of mine and drove, for the hell of it.  We were in a local forest and stumbled upon a beautiful winding road in the hills.

This is about 20 seconds of us weaving down that road.  Personally, this is one of the “little things” that makes life beautiful.

By the way, the song playing, if I remember correctly, is “The Fox” by Nickel Creek.  It’s brilliant!

I am not bipolar, I have bipolar disorder.

Recently I came across a post by a fellow who discussed his dealings with an illness called bipolar disorder (or manic-depression, if you speak the old tongue).  I too have this illness.  Learning to effectively manage this disease is nothing less than developing a science or crafting an art form.  It’s a massive help to share your story or to hear someone else’s, so to the fellow behind bipolarblogging, I commend you.

I’m 23, and I’ve been dealing with manic depression for the bulk of my adult life (since I was 15).  The journey has been interesting, to say the least.  I’m not crazy, but I’ve done some crazy things.  The one thing that perhaps is most lacking when in the throes of this disease is clarity.  It’s clear understanding that has been my biggest tool in managing my condition.  So for those who may not be familiar with the disorder, I thought I would deliver some, in convenient bullet-point form.

  • I’m not bipolar, I have bipolar disorder. 

What this means, in a nutshell, is that I am not defined by this illness.  It’s simply a part of who I am.  It’s very easy to label someone with a mental illness as “crazy” but this is never the case.  I may have done some crazy things in years prior, but as our presidential candidates have shown us, you don’t need a mental illness to do crazy things.

  • I may take medicine, but I still have feelings.  

Glance at this blog with one eye shut for two-point-five and it becomes apparent that I’m pretty gay.  As you would expect, I’ve been privy to many a gay-rights debate.  It’s a hot topic, on both sides of the field. A big part of this is prejudice and discrimination.  I have no problem with this, but at times I wish we could focus on eliminating prejudice towards other groups while we’re at it.  I have faced a bit of controversy in my own life because I’m gay, but it’s nothing compared to the mountain of prejudgment I’ve received for having bipolar disorder.  It’s even come down to a level that can only be described as name-calling.  Call me a “fairy” and I’ll probably brush it off.  But call me “crazy” and, while I may not show it, I can say based on experience that it will hurt.  Deeply. 

  • Sometimes, I hurt.

Bad things sometimes happen, and the result is negative emotion.  One key to understanding bipolar disorder is seeing that with the illness, emotions don’t always have an apparent cause.  Many years ago on a summer day, a friend picked me up and took me for a drive.  This is one of my most relaxing activities, but halfway through our middle-of-nowhere-adventure, I started to cry.  Josh didn’t understand, and asked me, “What’s wrong?”  With tears running down my face, I spoke only the words,       “I hurt.”  

A lonely road, indeed.

The reality was that my neurotransmitters, the chemicals in my brain that affect my mood, were not balanced that day.  As a result I was depressed.  Nothing bad had happened, but I was so deeply in pain.  Recognizing this is one of the most effective tools in my mental toolbox.  So, just as important when dealing with this disorder, as medicine, therapy, or activity, is education.

The Depths of American Imagination

Behold the 2015 Ford Mustang!  (Maybe…)

Ford’s new pony-thingie.

This is an artist’s rendering of what the 2015 Mustang may look like.  It’s just a concept, so the actual model will probably look like this photo, if you uploaded it to Instagram and applied the “much less enthralling” filter.  I think there’s just one problem though.  The new look of the pride of the American auto industry may already exist…in your neighbor’s driveway.

This next photo is of a car that you can go into a showroom and buy, today.

“Someone glued the wrong badge to it, obviously.”

…and it’s a Honda.  Would I buy the new Mustang, with actual money?  Unless it’s exponentially better than every Mustang I’ve ever driven, there’s not a chance.  If the concept for this car, the time when designers can be as bonkers, ridiculous, and creative as they want, looks like a two year old Honda, what will the actual car look like?  What will it feel like?  A Stannah Stair Lift comes to mind.

To be perfectly honest, in order for these cars to look exactly the same, all one must do is squint slightly.  Give it a try.

See?  Toldja!

The Gay Social Screen: GRINDR

Awhile back I took some screenshots from my grindr and laid out a few categories for some of the specimens that can be found on the app.  I promised to regularly post some interesting or funny grindr snippets from time to time and, well… didn’t. This is probably because, like most things grindr, I lost interest in it fairly quickly.

Luckily some interest has popped back into my head.  Here are a few snippets to make us all feel better about ourselves:

My reaction to this one caused everyone in line at the gas station to stare at me.  To set the record straight, if I did have any kinky fantasies, I don’t think I’d have a problem finding a way to act them out.

That conversation started (and ended) with a bang… Unfortunately for him, the answer to that question is a resounding “no.” Well, the second part at least.

Not exactly Jake Shears, but seemingly ordinary.

This one seemed to only register a 3 or 4 out of 10 on Jacob’s Spectrum of Bizarreness, but upon further investigation of the individual wearing the duck-printed shirt…

It shot up to 8 or 9.  Eek!!

Like whoa!!

This next one’s photo probably came from an album that had a title of something like “5th Anniversary”.

“He told me grindr was an app for coffee beans!”

I’m not sure about the most concerning part of this next one.  Perhaps it’s how enormously  a turn-off a school bus is.  Maybe it’s the fact that this dude was on grindr while behind the wheel of a freaking school bus! 

While Oprah says the car is a “No Phone Zone”, I think a bus counts too.

I figure that if I poke fun at some Grindrvillians on a regular basis, I can get on it for my own purposes and not feel bad.  So I suppose I owe a bit of gratitude to the blogosphere for making a small proportion of my sex life possible.  Thanks everyone!