Friday, July 01, 2005

watch your step/watching my step


Well, I am usually stupid. When my mood is fine I tend to forget that it often is not. So today--or really last night--when I began to sink, I was surprised. But now, midday, I have sunk. And I know that the best thing for me to do is sit tight, stay home, try to either keep busy or sleep, but above all, avoid getting myself into difficult situations. Because I am so easily irritated, hurt and offended when I feel depressed, it is best to limit my contact with others. I was just at the gym, swimming, and when I finished and was in the locker room some guy with a locker near mine had spread his stuff all over the bench and gave me no room. He seemed oblivious, and his selfish behavior made me mad. I had to remind myself to shut up, because I was tempted to argue with him. Likewise, just now, I was walking Mabel. A neighbor stopped to ask me a favor. In mid-conversation another neighbor came along, and first neighbor turned away from me while I was in mid-sentence and proceeded to begin another conversation, essentially ignoring the fact that we were just speaking. I walked away, pissed, and she said "sorry Jonathan." I nodded, my acknowledgement of her apology, but I felt utterly dejected and hurt.

For some reason, on the train coming home from the gym, I was overwhelmed with this memory. In high school I was sexually confused, like so many. I had girlfriends. I fooled around with them. I didn't fool around with guys, but I was curious. I was also too inhibited to act on my curiosity. The assistant coach of my swimming team was one of the few teachers at my school who could be considered "intellectual;" he was also gay, but very discreet. He did not hide who he was, and appeared at social gatherings (he was a friend of my mother's) with younger, surfer-type guys. After I had graduated, we kept in touch, and sometimes I would get together with a few other high school friends and go to his house, where he gave us beers and scotch and we would get drunk. One such night I was there, quite drunk, and realized that my friends had left. So it was me and Mr. __________. He started saying to me "You are different from the other guys. I always felt that about you." I agreed. I had always felt different. Only at Vassar, where I was then a student, did I know that there were other guys like me. So I felt that with Mr. ___________ the conversation might become interesting, and I was eager to talk to a gay man who seemed "normal," not the drag-queen ultra-femme types from high school, the obvious ones, with whom I felt no kinship (thus my confusion: how could I be gay, when I was not feminine? I was a good athlete, masculine, a little tough guy even).

So we talked, he kept filling my glass with more whiskey, and then he put his hand on my thigh. I froze. He became more aggressive. "Come on, don't give me that," he said, angry. "You know why you are here." He started to try and feel me up. I jumped up, suddenly not so drunk, and pushed him away and ran out of there. Driving away (I was staying at my mother's, not far away, and it was late so there would be no traffic and though I was drunk I was used to driving that way, carefully) I thought, "this is not what I wanted. It is not what I wanted at all." I never saw him againbut I spoke to him once. He was in Chicago, for a conference, and he called me and asked me to meet him for drinks at his hotel. He had gotten my phone number from my mom or maybe my sister. I agreed to meet him, but then I stood him up.

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