Sunday, April 18, 2010


This guy thinks I must be really young, because I like kissing, I'm really affectionate, I grab him and I'm laughing and I'm saying hi to everyone -- he thinks I'm somewhere between 20 and 25, I'm crazy, I must be on drugs. Now I'm laughing more -- you're drunk, he says, you must be drunk.

It’s the moments between the moments when he's uncomfortable that are the moments why I'm here: you know that. He wants to wander around, I'm good at that -- onto the sofa for a group with these two other guys and I see what he means; this isn't sex, it's something that involves hands and cocks and mouths and a mirror and a sofa but nothing else around. Finally this one guy is fucking my face, which is where the mirror comes in, that's what he's watching, he wants a view of himself so I don't look up I'll take this sensation without all the awkwardness and posing until the first guy pulls me away, boyfriends in that moment, where we going? He was using you, my momentary boyfriend says.

But that's what I liked. The next day I'm cooking for the train and this guy unlocks the door and ruins my calm day. Who are you, he says. I'm a friend of Diane’s, I say -- I'm staying here for a few days. You don't have permission to stay here, he says. What do you mean, I say -- Diane gave me permission. I'm the building owner, he says -- you need to leave right now. I can't leave right now, I say -- some friends are picking me up in a few hours. He says: you need to leave right now, or I'm going to call the cops.

Like Conrad says later: I've seen the movie -- there's punctuation at the end of his sentence, not quite a period or an exclamation mark, but not exactly a question either. I'm standing there in my underwear and this guy, the building owner, is telling me Diane's crazy, this is someone's apartment, the tenant is taking care of her mother on the South Side, she could've come in with an ice pick to your head while you were sleeping, she's a black woman, you're lucky I found you, I could call the cops on you but I'm a nice guy, the tenant is coming over at 6 pm to sign a new lease and you need to be out of here, do you need help with your bags? Are you packing? Hurry up -- do you want me to call the cops?

This is crazy; at least I know how to deal with ridiculous situations like this; when he yells, I act calmer. When he threatens me, I act like I don't notice. When he tells me Diane’s in a mental institution, someone said she checked herself in, he can't get in touch with her, that's not her number she gave me that’s his number, this is his knife she leant me for chopping vegetables, I seem like a nice guy, I need to get out of there right away, hurry, any apartment but this one, why did she give me this one, someone has a lease on this apartment, if I want to do this the right way just give him a call next time, he's a nice guy, do I have his number?

I don't even know Diane -- she made me a sweet offer, took me out grocery shopping, and then disappeared. She told me it was the least she could do for a great writer, but then why did she leave me in this terrible situation? I'm waiting in the vestibule for Conrad to rescue me, the owner comes back a few times, one time with someone who's obviously a hired thug, just to take a look at me, he can't believe Diane is doing this to him, he knew she had a checkered past and he was giving her a break, he paid her twice what he told her he would.

Then there’s the train that doesn't have anywhere for your bags, eventually I stash one on top of the toilet that's in your room, and the other on the only other surface. It works okay. When I wake up, and open the door, the guy in the room across from me looks excited -- I can't see him that well because I don't have my contacts on yet, but I like the way he zooms right in, he never thought he would be doing what he does, he runs his own business, a mortgage firm. He says: everyone in the mortgage business is a Republican, and straight, and I'm the opposite.

And then: I was living with my boyfriend in Florida and that wasn't going to work out, so then I got this job, just an entry-level position, and then that led to another position and eventually I realized hey, I can do this better, so then I opened my own firm. Is it he who says something first about gay marriage, what do I think of gay marriage? That's certainly a question I can answer, and I always find it interesting when someone is such a dramatically different world that might seem counter to everything I stand for, seems to agree with me entirely. Perhaps not on mortgage regulation, but still -- this is the possibility of random conversations on trains.

He wants to know what I'm doing, are you just bumming around? I tell him the whole story, I mean a summary of each of my stops, and then we talk about my writing, and he's especially interested in That's Revolting, but then after the train stops and we get off for air then back into the train he disappears into his room with the door closed, so I'm guessing that something I said threw him off. When we finally get to New York I tell him he should send me a note if he ends up reading one of my books, my contact info is easy to find -- he says I hope you don't think I'm a stalker or anything, but I was checking out your blog, I liked the photos of Santa Fe -- I say no, that’s great, that's what it's for, send me a note.

I hope he does write -- there was some kind of connection that I'm curious about; and sometimes the connection is just that, it stays there on the train and I wonder.

1 comment:

kayti said...

if someone thought I was somewhere between 20-25
years old. I love them