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Archive for the ‘friends’ Category

Mike called just as I got home from the gym last night. He was in the neighborhood and wanted to grab a drink and catch up. I hadn’t seen Mike for many months. He has been on my mind lately so I agree to have drinks. I quickly changed clothes. A new G550 pulls into my driveway as I finished tying my shoes. Mike had traded his E class for G-wagen. Being in the car business, I’m sure he got a great deal on it.

I’ve known Mike for 30 years. Getting into his car is always the start of an adventure. Last night was no different.

On the way to the bar, we stop at carwash because Mike thinks the black G-wagen needs a wash. There’s no wait at the carwash so we’re back on the road in 10 minutes. The bar is down the street from the carwash. We’re greeted at the door. Our temperature is taken and we sign the attendance sheet. We’re escorted to a table in the corner of the patio. We remove our masks once seated. The bar is sparsely populated so it’s easy to socially distance.

Mike has always been more social than me. I start asking Mike about various friends we have in common who I have lost touch with. I find out Alex died of pancreatic cancer in January and Paul died of a heart attack while on a bike ride in March. The news of their deaths stuns me. I really have lost contact with most of the social group I was a part of before my ex and I split.

We decide to grab dinner after finishing our drinks. We discuss a few options before Mike tells me he has to feed his dog. We hop on the highway and head to Greenwood Village in the southern suburbs. Traffic is light so it only takes 15 minutes to get to his house. Once the dog is fed, we decide to have salad and cook Kobe burgers on the grill. A few minutes later, the doorbell rings. Steve, one of Mike’s coworkers has ridden his bike over. Introductions are made. Steve fixes himself a vodka tonic with a heavy emphasis on the vodka. Mike only had two Kobe burgers so he throws two chicken kabobs on the grill for Steve.

Over dinner on the covered patio, Steve starts talking about another co-worker who was found dead in his pool that morning. Steve starts crying. I give a WTF look at Mike. Mike had not mentioned his coworker’s death so this new was rather surprising. Steve manages to pull himself together. We finish dinner. The conversation returns to the coworker’s death. Was it a suicide or accidental drowning? The dead man and his girlfriend broke up on Monday which makes some think it was a suicide. I’m tired of the conversation so I clear the table and take the dishes into the kitchen. Mike soon follows. I ask Mike to take me home.

Steve hops on his bike and rides home. Mike lets me drive the G-wagon to my house. It’s a sweet ride with a lot of power. It handles better than I thought it would. It’s also a quiet ride for being a boxy vehicle.

We promise to stay in touch and not let months go by without talking. I thank Mike for drinks and dinner. I stand in my driveway watching Mike drive away. What an evening! Drinks, dinner and three deaths in less than four hours. The adventure is over.

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The Architect

I’ve been spending time with Bart, the architect. I find him devastatingly handsome, yet he doesn’t know how handsome he is. He’s one of those guys with a razor sharp chin line with a square jaw. He could cut paper with it. He’s also one those guys who has a 5 o’clock shadow at the end of the day, but oddly has very little body hair. He’s like Clark Kent but shorter and leaner with a taste for fetishes. He’s extremely shy and socially awkward at times. He’s attracted to guys who are young, hairless and skinny. The type of guy who’s 21 but looks 16. That is definitely not me. It will never be nothing more than a friendship.

Bart asked me to take him clothes shopping because the stores never have his size, yet he didn’t know what size he should wear. How does a man get to 60 and not know how to buy clothes? He knows I’m a bit of a clothes whore so I was his go to person. Bart is 5’8” and weighs around 140. At the time, the store options were limited as most stores were still closed and Bart tends to be frugal. Our first stop, Banana Republic, was deserted. Bart didn’t know how to work with a sales person so I stepped in. Bart couldn’t find anything he liked. I picked out two shirts in what I thought was his size. I gave the salesperson the shirts and asked her to start a room. Bart was unsure about my choices but I made him try them on. Bart liked both after trying them on. He bought both shirts. Success! The next stop was the Gap for jeans. After teaching jeans 101, he tried on three pairs and bought all three thanks to a great sale. He vetoed shopping online at Nordstrom or Neiman’s as he didn’t want to be bougie.

Bart has asked me to join him on walks in the evening after work. It’s an enjoyable time until he starts talking about conspiracy theories. He believes COVID-19 was engineered by the United States military. He thinks aliens are being kept at Area 51. He also believes the worlds billionaires are creating a new city on a private island where they will move so they can declare independence from all governments. Only rich people will be allowed on the island. I pointed out that the least wealthy of the billionaires would be the new poor on this island. He had no answer when I asked who was going to clean their houses and cook their meals. I doubt the wives of the richest men would run a vacuum around a mansion.

Bart will accompany me to the art museum this afternoon to see the Winslow Homer/Frederic Remington exhibit. I’ve known Bart for two years but I never knew he had any interests in art. His shyness prevents him from opening up to people. For at least a year, I thought he disliked me. Recently, he told me my confidence and social skills intimidated him. I was taken aback. I never thought my self-confidence and social skills could be intimidating.

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Perspective

A holiday weekend spent mostly at home seems to be the new normal. I wanted to go out and be with people and meet friends for drinks. None of that happened. I talked with various friends around the country over the weekend. I talked with Cindi on Saturday. She’s been in Montana preparing her mother’s house for her return. Yes, it was Cindi’s brother who killed his best friend and later killed himself. I couldn’t reveal that when I wrote about it. I’ve been talking to Cindi several times a week. There’s usually a major breakdown once a week. Saturday was one of those days. I talked her off the ledge. Her mother returns this week. Cindi plans on camping on the ranch for a few days while her mother stays at her house in town. Then Cindi hightails it back to New Mexico to resume her life.

Yesterday, a sprinkler zone would not turn off. The zone was repaired a few days earlier. I’m sure it will be another pricey repair. I had to shut off the water supply to the system. A bathroom faucet started dripping and the shower drain in the master bathroom wouldn’t drain. Why do all these things go wrong at once? Why is the fucking universe doing this to me? The frustration of the lockdown compounded my aggravation. My life sucks. I wanted to have a stress free weekend and but that plan went out the window. Then I came to my senses. These are extremely irritating but minor inconveniences. I needed to get a grip on reality. It’s not like my brother killed his best friend and then himself. I didn’t have to put my life on hold to clean up after a shit storm. I didn’t have to deal with police investigations, crime scene clean up, an impounded truck riddled with bullet holes, grieving neighbors and friends, insurance company claims reps or contractors trying to prey on vulnerable customers. I just needed to arrange for repairs to be made. I needed to put things in perspective.

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The Friend Column

One of Morgan’s online friends has taken an interest in me. Morgan gave him my contact info after a group of friends, all 60 plus, had a socially distant hike. Morgan invited the guy on the hike because he likes older men. The guy shows up in a new Range Rover Sport. A nice car a guy who is only 28.

He started texting me that night. The conversation was social so I didn’t think much about it. I find out he lives in three-bedroom apartment in LoDo. His parents are “helping” with the rent while he reboots his real estate career. A google search tells me the rent on a three-bedroom in his building starts at $8,000 a month.

Last Sunday, he was invited to Morgan’s 71st socially distant birthday party. We had polite conversation which he also had with most of the guests. The guy can work a room.

He started texting on Sunday night. He wanted to know if I knew a local lawyer specializing in LLCs and S-Corps. The conversation was friendly and centered on the city and what it had to offer.

He texted on Monday asking how my day was going. We exchanged pleasantries and that was it.

Tuesday morning I get a good morning handsome text along with a picture of him shirtless in bed. He asks me if I like to cuddle. He tells me wants to have movie night with me, cuddling under a blanket with my arms around him. I tell him I thought I was in the friend column. He tells me everyone starts out as a friend. Plans are made to get together on Friday night.

Being 63 makes me hesitant about meeting him on Friday night. I talked with the architect who has also met the guy. The guy has been texting the architect too, but it’s more sexting, than texting. The architect tells me the guy has hooked up CJ, another friend. The guy wants to have a three way with the architect and CJ. Three ways must be his thing. The architect has not been asked to cuddle on a movie night. I guess there are guys he cuddles with, and there are guys he simply plays with.

I can’t say I’m not flattered by the attention from a young man. Physically, he ticks off all my boxes. He’s educated along with being a great conversationalist. What I’m not thrilled about is the age difference. There’s a good chance I’m older than his father. What bothers even more is he’s hooked up with Morgan and his husband, CJ and wants to hook up with the architect. I don’t want to be involved with a guy who’s having sex with my friends. I also wonder how many other guys he’s been with in the six weeks he’s lived here. And I wonder about COVID exposure.

I still plan on meeting him tomorrow. I will not be cuddling under a blanket watching a rom-com is his pricey apartment. I’ll be socially distant while I explain why I need to keep him in the friend column. It’s a conversation I want to have in person so I can control the narrative.

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Another Man Down

Back in December I posted about a guy I met. Our timing wasn’t right. He started dating another guy. A short time later he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

Morgan texted this afternoon to let me know the man died today. Even though we were never involved, I am incredibly sad. He was a very nice man. And handsome too.

There will be no funeral because of the pandemic. I made a donation to the American Lung Cancer Association. I thought it would make me feel better but it didn’t.

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Lena

Lena stopped by my house yesterday while I was working in the yard. I’ve haven’t seen or heard from Lena in five or so years. We kept a socially acceptable distance while we talked. She looked good. She seemed happy. Her business is still going well. We agreed to get together after the pandemic. I always had a good time with Lena. I simply got tired of being to only one to organize our time together. We’ll see what happens.

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Cindi texted after midnight to let me know a mutual friend of ours died from COVID-19 complications. I wish she would have waited until this morning as I never got back to sleep. While not a close friend, he was a man I knew socially, who, at one time, was a pillar of the LGBTQ community. He was at all the fundraisers and his family’s foundation supported many of the non-profits serving the LGBTQ community. He was also on several of those boards for many years. Not only am I tired as hell, I’m sad. Adding to my sadness is a friend in Santa Fe who has been in the hospital for almost four weeks with COVID-19. His prognosis doesn’t look good. And then there’s my job which has been like hell with a paycheck today. I’m looking forward to this day ending.

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Shortly after reports of COVID-19 started making headlines, Morgan told me I should seriously prepare for this to spread. He suggested cashing in my stocks and buying gold which I can store in a bank vault, and filling up the panty with stapes like dried beans and rice. He cancelled his trip to Palm Springs. I admit it took me a while to realize the seriousness of the situation. I felt Morgan had Chicken Little Syndrome.

Yesterday, Morgan texts me a picture from a Scruff profile of a guy who’s staying in Colorado but lives in New York City. The guy has recovered from COVID-19. The guy is 32. I found this puzzling so I called him to see if he’s going to hook up with guy. Morgan affirms he is. He goes on to tell me had two 3-ways with his husband and a smoking hot 24-year-old guy. At this point I’m really confused. When did he go from stocking the pantry with beans and worrying about having a proper mask to 3-ways? How did he overcome his Chicken Little Syndrome? He justified the 3-ways by telling me the young guy only seeks men 50 and up, and the guy probably already had COVID-19 because he got sick on a cruise in January with many other passenger. Since the guy probably already had COVID-19 he would be safe. (The key word in that sentence is probably.) Besides, how many more hot young guys will he bed given he’s about to turn 71. I was stunned by his justification. It was a stretch. Twisted logic used to condone fulfilling his carnal desires.

Last Saturday night Gary hooked up with an escort. Morgan’s having 3-ways. Here I sit, at home after eating dinner on Saturday night, listening to music from my high school years trying not to think about sheltering in place. Am I the only one of my friends not hooking up? I may be. And I’m okay with that.

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Casualty 1

A friend told me she’s closing her gallery. The gallery is a victim of the COVID economic collapse. Even though most business will be open in a month or two, art is a discretionary income purchase which means few people will probably be buying pricey art for a while. Rather than lose money until the economy recovers she decided to close her gallery. The gallery closing is the first casualty I’ve heard of so far. I’m sure there will be others to follow. I can’t say which gallery as the closing has not been announced publicly.

I was saddened by this news. The gallery has been a pillar of the local art scene. The gallery will be missed. Her roster of artists now have to find new representation which could prove to be challenging. I have very fond memories of the art openings, the artists I met there and the great times I had just hanging out at the gallery. I will always cherish the art I bought at the gallery. I will miss the gallery.

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Morgan texted me this morning asking me to look up a profile on Adam4Adam. He deleted his profile as he prefers to use Scruff and Grindr. I look up the profile. The guy is a forty-year-old massage therapist who is 6’5” and weighs 205. In his profile picture he’s sporting a shaved head and wearing a leather harness. He’s not Morgan’s normal demographic. I text screens shots to Morgan. Morgan has been looking for a new massage therapist so I ask him if he’s going to hire the guy. Morgan tells me the guy is really an escort. I was not surprised. He went on to tell me Gary, a guy who joined us on the Sunday walk, hooked up with the guy on Saturday night. I’ve only met Gary a few times so I consider him more of an acquaintance than a friend.

I don’t care that Gary hooked up with an escort. I have had friends who have escorted in tough times. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do to pay the rent. If Gary wants to risk being exposed to COVID by a guy who makes his living by having sex with men, I’m okay with that. I’m not okay with him not letting us know he risked being exposed before joining the group for the walk.

How do we know what others have done who we interact with on a daily basis, like the grocery store employees and restaurant employees packaging takeout orders? Can we assume these people are following all the rules? I think not. That’s why we have been encouraged to limit our exposure to others, wear masks in public and properly wash our hands.

Every day of our lives is a game of Russian roulette. Will we be exposed when we leave the house? If we get sick, will we recover or die? It’s our new temporary normal. Or, it this just a practice run for the next pandemic because we know there will be another pandemic some day?

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