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I hit that galleries by myself on Friday night.  I needed a break from Bart and his negativity.  I often wonder how he has a desire to keep living given his bleak look on life, society, his job and the future of our planet. 

I was asked two times where my boyfriend was during my gallery tour.  Both times I explained that Bart was just a friend and we were not involved.  It seems people assumed Bart and I are a couple given we attend so many gallery openings together.  I guess there could be worse things people could assume about me.

Saturday morning I ran into Mrs. N at the grocery store.  We hadn’t seen much of each other even though we live on the same street.  Pandemics can have that effect on neighborly relationships.  We had a nice conversation in dairy aisle.  Mrs. N told me she heard I had a new boyfriend who has a Lamborghini.  I told Mrs. N that Bruce was not by boyfriend and, in fact, I’m still single.  At least she didn’t remark on the age difference.  Mrs. N did extend one of those vague invitations to come over for cocktails sometime. 

Two very handsome men in my life but neither one is right for me.  The search continues.

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I seem to have been in a pandemic funk.  Nothing seemed to be important.  No motivation to post.  Who could possibly want to read about my life, which, I suspect is not relatable to most people?  A life of extreme white privilege but still seems to be lacking.  A career nearing an end.  An aging gay man who may be single the rest of his life.  An insignificant life.

And then on Memorial Day, one of my neighbors hung himself in the garage of his $4m house.  The forty-year-old man left behind a wife and two children who were in the house at the time.  Two weeks later the wife had a double mastectomy. 

Learning this tragic news catapulted me out of my funk.  I can’t explain why learning of someone else’s tragedy made me feel better about my life.  It just did.

While I didn’t know the family, they depicted a version of the American dream.  A stunningly beautiful mid-century inspired home which is one of the new architectural gems in the neighborhood.  Very expensive cars in the driveway with kids playing in the yard, which, always seems to be manicured to perfection.  It looked like a perfect life, yet, something was terribly wrong.  Now the dream has turned into a nightmare.

Surely, this man knew about his wife’s illness.  If the wife doesn’t survive cancer the children will be orphaned.  How could he kill himself knowing that his children could eventually be orphaned?  I know my questions don’t make sense as I don’t know the catalyst for the suicide. 

Last Sunday, Bruce showed up at my house with a Lamborghini Huracan he had rented for the weekend.  We got coffee at nearby locally-owned coffee shop before driving around the neighborhood looking at houses.  We stopped at a birthday party being thrown for three 10-year-old boys a few houses down the street from my house.  The young boys went crazy over the car.  The moms swooned over Bruce.  Bruce gave each of the birthday boys a ride in the Lambo.  The boys were so excited to ride in the car.

The next day, my neighbor who hosted the party, stopped by to thank me.  She told me the Lambo rides made the day special.  It was especially memorable for one of the boys who is the son of the man who killed himself.  She told me the boy can’t stop talking about the car and how much fun he had because, “Bruce drove really fact and made the car roar”.  She said the boy has been so sad but snapped out of it because of the ride in the Lambo. Knowing this warmed my heart.

So an ostentatious display of wealth helped a young boy snap out of sadness for a while.  Perhaps my life isn’t as insignificant as I thought.

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A Double Whammy Of Loss

It was a tough week. Work was like hell with a paycheck.  I fielded endless texts from Bruce as his relationship ended on the day of his mother’s funeral.  A double whammy of loss for Bruce.  A break up two weeks after buying wedding rings at David Yurman.  On the bright side, Bruce’s mother funded his private jet travel for the foreseeable future.  What a parting gift!

I was in need of art.  Bart and I attended Space Gallery’s 20th Anniversary opening/celebration. The art was stellar.  It brought peace to my soul.  I ran into an old friend who recently moved back to Denver.  He immediately zeroed in on Bart after introductions were made.  Bart could have cared less as the man didn’t look like an emancipated meth addict, his favored body type.  Odd, yes, but there is so much about Bart that is odd.  This was the second time in as many weeks that I introduced Bart to a man who immediately started hitting on Bart.  Bart wasn’t interested and it clearly showed.  If anything, Bart is a man magnet. 

Here’s my favorite painting of the night:

Patricia Aaron, Nothing But Blue Skies (Cape Town, South Africa), beeswax, pigment and mixed media on panel, 36 x 36, $6,500, Space Gallery.

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Bittersweet

One friend experiences an emotionally uplifting day when he finishes cancer treatment, while simultaneously, on the same day, another friend experiences an emotionally devastating day when his mother succumbs to cancer.  I’m torn between being elated for one while helping the other grieve and be supportive. Why does life have to be so bittersweet?

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An $800 Bar Tab

I woke up this morning with the cat purring next to me.  The bedroom was filled with chilled air thanks to a window I cracked open before going to bed last night.  It was one of those great mornings after a night of deep sleep.  The bed felt unbelievably comfortable. I had fond memories of Friday night’s adventure. I texted a safe travel message to Bruce who was sitting on plane at DIA waiting for departure.

Yesterday, Bruce received a call from one of his sisters advising him his mom had taken a turn for the worse and would be entering hospice care.  He was a wreck.  Many texts back and forth.  LA, for some unknown reason, was being uncommunicative.  Bruce and I talked several times.  Bruce was arranging flights to Iowa.  I agreed to watch his dog until Mike could take the dog to his house.  The plans changed relentlessly.  The final plan was for Bruce to fly out first thing this morning.  LA would arrive Saturday afternoon.  Bruce’s neighbor, Jill, would watch the dog until LA arrived.

Bruce was a mess.  His mom’s rapidly declining health along with relationship issues put Bruce in a glum mood.  I suggested having dinner.    

We had dinner at an upscale chain restaurant in Cherry Creek.  I steered the conversation to real estate in order to avoid talking about his mom’s pending death, or his issues with LA.  Bruce is a newly licensed real estate agent in Denver.  He’s building his brand and trying to develop a clientele.  Discussing real estate soon had Bruce in a much better mood.

Bruce had secured after dinner reservations at a private speakeasy deep in bowels of one of the new chic boutique hotels in Cherry Creek.  After dinner we dropped his car off with the hotel’s valet and searched for the unmarked entrance.  After some effort we found a doorbell next to an unmarked door in the alley.  Soon we were being escorted two floors underground to a beautifully decorated lounge with dim lighting and a semi-circular bar.  The room evoked a long-forgotten era.  We settled on two different elaborately-concocted gin cocktails.  Both were very tasty.  The conversation turned to his relationship woes.  Two hours later Bruce picked up the almost $800 bar tab (two cocktails and two very expensive shots of scotch, neat).  We headed upstairs to get a private tour of the hotel’s art collection because, of course, Bruce knew someone at the hotel.  The tour started with complimentary top-shelf tequila shots on the rooftop deck next to the pool.  I knew many of artists whose work hung in the hotel.  It’s an amazing collection. 

After the tour, Bruce retrieved the car from the valet and drove me home.  Despite Bruce’s relationship woes, it was a most enjoyable night.  I managed to put Bruce in a better mood.  We had good food and outrageously-expensive liquor along with seeing stellar art.  It was a great way to start the weekend.

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The Exposure

I hit the galleries by myself last Friday.  I needed a break from Bart.  I get tired of hearing his misogynistic opinions and insulting comments about rich people.  I saw some great art in the two hours I was out of the house.

I worked in the yard most of Saturday afternoon.  My neighbor, Mrs. D., stopped to chat with acceptable social distance since I was not wearing a mask.  She invited me for cocktails at 5.  Being a psychiatric nurse, she managed to work the high rate of suicide by single men into the conversation.  I assured her I was fine and would see her, and her husband, at 5 for socially-distanced cocktails.

I came into the house around 3.  I had a notification on my iPhone advising I may have been exposed to Covid on March 19, which was two weeks after my first vaccine shot.  I called Mrs. D. to cancel cocktails due to my possible exposure.  Just before 5, my doorbell rang.  Mrs. D. was at my side door holding a silver tray of hors d’oeuvres and a gin and tonic.  Since I couldn’t come for cocktails, she brought the party to me.  Such a nice gesture!  She set the tray on the side porch and scurried across the street to greet arriving guests who have been fully vaccinated.

I sat on the porch enjoying a very refreshing gin and tonic and hors d’oeuvres while googling quarantine protocol for exposure after the first vaccine shot.   Google can be a blessing and a curse.  Search results supported 7, 10 and 14 day quarantines.  I was already on day 8 so I decided to go with 12 days since I have no symptoms. 

While I’m grateful for the notification, it seems odd that it came 8 days after the exposure.  I guess it depends upon when the person self-reports the Covid diagnosis.  I’m also grateful I’m not sick.  I only left the house on the 19th to attend two socially-distanced gallery openings with a handful of other patrons.  I’m guessing that’s when it happened. 

Quarantine has allowed me to skip the gym without feeling guilty.  Just a few more days and I’ll be back at it.  In the meantime, I have plenty of yard work to keep me busy.

Scottie Burgess, Brand Power, extruded polystyrene and paint. Seen at Pirate Contemporary Art.

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Out In The Blizzard

A little over two feet of snow fell during the blizzard.  Mike and I took his g wagon out in the snow to see how it would do.  It did amazing well until Mike managed to get the car stuck in a snow drift sideways on an unplowed residential street in Cherry Hills Village. One of the security guards walked down from the main gate to see if we needed a tow.  After about ten minutes of rocking back and forth the vehicle was unstuck.  After that ordeal, we had a late lunch at bar on South Broadway.  There were very few places open.  The bar was populated with day drinkers. A $15 tip was left on a $25 check which delighted the waitress. 

Monday was bright and sunny.  My garden gnome can finally poke his head out of the snow.  It lightly snowed again last night and a few flakes are falling today. The rest of the week should be clear. 

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Not Worth The Risk

I had dinner with Mike on Saturday night.  I met him at his house near the Tech Center.  Mike wants to drive to we head to the garage.  There’s a new grey G-Wagon in the third stall.  He sold his black G-Wagon to a client and has been driving his Hyundai.  Mike took advantage of a special tax write off by buying a certain type of vehicle by the end of 2020.  Mike prepaid for the G-Wagon at the end of December which earned him a $37k tax write off. 

We had dinner at a restaurant down the street from Mike’s house.  I knew dinner would be pricey as the first thing I saw upon entering the restaurant was a women with a $4,000 Chanel handbag hanging from her shoulder.  We managed to snag two seats at the bar.  The food was good but not worth the price.

After dinner we went to one of the local gay bars for a drink.  The Covid rules were being strictly enforced.  We had to sign in for contact tracing, temperatures were taken and masks had to be worn until we sat down.  There was no roaming around to socialize.

Mike was bored so he started texting friends to meet up at a dive bar on South Broadway for karaoke.  I’m not a fan of karaoke but I thought it would be better than another evening of Netflix.  Or so I thought.

We arrive at bar.  Mike’s G-Wagon looks out of place in the parking lot populated with aging cars which have seen better days.  We enter the bar.  We are overdressed for the venue. Not a Chanel handbag in sight.  I doubt any of women’s purses cost more than $40. None of the Covid restrictions are being enforced.  We are the only ones wearing masks.  The bar is not too crowded but there’s a lot roaming and socializing by the other patrons, who, I’m guessing, are regulars based on their social interactions.  I find a deserted area by the pool table sufficiently away from the other patrons.  I stayed there the entire evening.  Mike’s friends arrive.  They soon ditch their masks.  I kept mine on the whole night.  I was the butt of jokes because I was the only one in the bar wearing a mask.  

I didn’t sing and stayed clear of the karaoke area.  We left at 11 when the bar closed.  I was home before midnight.  It felt good to get out of the house but I don’t think I will ever go back to that bar in the pandemic.  It’s not worth the risk, and clearly, there are many people who totally disregard Covid protections, including Mike and his friends. 

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No Misgivings

Bruce stopped by about a week ago.  He looked incredibly handsome in his business attire.  He was sporting a pair of beautifully-crafted custom Ferragamo alligator shoes.  We had a long talk.  Bruce understands why I was reluctant to accept the painting.  I understand why Bruce wanted me to have it.  I accepted the gift.  The painting is still at Bruce’s house.  Between our different schedules and two Covid scares on his part, there has not been a suitable time for Bruce to drop it off.  In the end, I didn’t have any misgivings accepting the painting given that his shoes cost more than twice the price of the painting. 

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An Extravagant Gift

Last weekend, Bruce finally gave me his Christmas gift.  It’s a medium-sized painting by an artist who is represented by one of the local high-end galleries. It’s a stunningly-beautiful painting which I dearly love.  I have a much smaller painting by this artist hanging in my family room. While I was overwhelmed by Bruce’s generosity, I declined the gift.  I felt the gift was too extravagant as I no longer have an intimate relationship with Bruce.  We are simply friends.  I haven’t even know him a year.  I felt uncomfortable accepting a gift which cost many thousands of dollars.  Sadly, I only succeeded in hurting Bruce’s feeling.  The painting is currently leaning against the wall in Bruce’s media room.  I agreed to have another discussion about the painting when he gets back in town from visiting LA.

What do you think? 

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