Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What are the options?

Waking up into a preposterous place my head I'm squinting out at the sun: what is going on? I turned music on, so I must be awake -- I guess I can pretend I'm on drugs, because when you're on drugs and you feel this bad you just take it to the next level and work it. Problem is, I'm not on drugs, so even if I pretend I'm on drugs then I'm going to crash and then everything will be worse. But wait – everything’s already worse, which brings me back to my original question: what the hell is going on? It's like the bones of my jaw are protruding, I was going to say you might not even need an x-ray to see but then I looked in the mirror and no, there's still the softness of pink and little tiny hairs if I touch with my fingertips there's cold and moisture: me. Except I feel like one of those models of your skull where it's just the skull.

Times like these and I'm trying to figure it out: am I crashing from dancing, three four days later? Is it the new homeopathic remedy, sending me into some sort of dungeon? Is it some other cycle that I can't control? Okay, I think I'm going to turn the music back on, wait the muscles in my forehead just started vibrating I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Okay, the music: wait, that's dangerous, it's my favorite song of the moment layered with three different mixes that build and my drugs are kicking in again, especially when the beat starts layering oh the beat I can't help working that club drama jump turn look right at the metal in the center of the window pane but my eyes are the space around it and then you step out into wait who turned the sun on in here -- is someone playing games I mean it can't already be light out you're playing games, right?

Back in the kitchen to clean another pot, my shoulders are already burning. The news might be safer, I'll turn on the news -- yes, familiar voices telling me everything that's terrible in the world. This may sound strange, but I decide to go for an HIV test because at least that's something that will probably make me feel better. I mean, I haven't gotten tested in five or six years, mostly because I don't think there's anything I have to worry about, I mean I haven't had any anal sex without a condom, which is so different from the five previous years. Although, since I've started to think about getting tested again I've started to get paranoid, drifting back to that thought of teenage certainty: I'm going to die of AIDS. So when I think about getting tested, I think about what will happen if I test positive, and then my thoughts circle around me I don't need another thing to worry about.

It's funny, because the counselor asks me my gender and I ask what are the options and when she says anything you want I get all confused and choose other or something like that. Really I'm thinking female except I'm also thinking about the way this looks on their forms for men who have sex with men but she doesn't say anything about that except at the beginning it's just me underneath centuries of categorization. It's a pin-prick test now, results in 20 minutes but I'm shaking anyway as they draw the blood, I mean prick me. It's nice that the counselor sits with you afterwards while you're waiting -- so much better than those two weeks that used to get kind of frantic. This is when she asks the questions about risk factors and sexual partners, but she doesn't write it down while I'm talking like at City Clinic, maybe she’s not required to or she does that later.

I'm sweating, though for some reason I don't think of taking off any of my layers -- nerves, or maybe it's because I'm wearing a hat so I forget I can take off my sweater. I test negative, which makes me laugh with relief and then I get a test for oral gonorrhea, they can’t test for chlamydia or syphilis because not enough people tested positive so they lost their funding. Wait -- isn't it a good thing when people test negative? Not in the funding world!

I don't know if I'm the only person getting tested this evening, or if more people came earlier, but it's almost too calm and when I walk outside there are all these gays around, so many gays over here in this neighborhood and I figure someone should go home with me or I should go home with someone but also I realize there's nowhere to go otherwise, I mean unless someone stops me and says come here I'll go there. I go to Aardvark Books but there's no one to cruise and then I'm getting exhausted again so I head down to the underground where a few people definitely look me over but the moments pass and then the hottest boy is standing right outside my building when I get back, I look him right in the eyes and he smiles a little but walks to the corner store. I turn around to see if he turns too, but no one really does that anymore.


grantatee said...

oh, im glad you got the test. i asked what my options were when they asked me what my gender and sexual orientation were too. my counselor asked me to tell her the difference between queer and gay.


mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Thanks, darling. My counselor was better behaved, and did not ask the difference between queer and gay, although perhaps she was the same counselor!

Love --

jim said...

Strolling this eve, bumped your blog,

Have to tell you, most serious and important writing here.

I think you know, just confirming.

I'll read more as time permits, thanks for the exposure, vital and appreciated.

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Jim, thanks so much for writing --
I'm so glad you've strolled this way!

Love --

the zak said...

A thought experiment... the strategy of let's get tested TOGETHER BEFORE we have sex, for A VARIETY of STDs. A sexual health checkup reduces ambiguity and can be like anything else potential sex partners might do together.

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Um, is that really advice? I mean, I'm sure it would work for someone...

Love --

the zak said...

It's a thought experiment

see also

On the other hand, it would be interesting find out more about how it goes for potential sex partners getting tested TOGETHER BEFORE having sex, for A VARIETY of STDs.