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That Little Voice

12 Apr

I’ve had a fabulous week. So many moments of “holy shit my life is awesome right now” that I’m starting to wonder if my meds are a little TOO good. Nothing major. Just little things that make you revel in the moment of life. I’m really trying to think more positively. Maybe it’s working.

Part of this upturn in awesomeness is from some new friends I’ve made recently, one of whom is Mary Jane. *insert bad weed joke here* We have known “of” each other for a couple years, through a salon I visit. Only recently did we get to talk more when she did my hair one day when I couldn’t get in with my usual stylist before I left town. Since then, we’ve been hanging out after school/work most evenings. I have made her dinner, we listen to amazing music, drink wine, and never run out of things to talk about. She’s adorable, she’s interesting, she’s funny, she’s a little bit loud, and… oh, shit. I think I like her.

One of things I like so much is that she’ll say something random during a conversation. Something goofy that I would say. And then she’ll say out loud the exact self-deprecating things that I have said to myself so many times. Like, “Oh geez, why did you just say that? Seriously? Who SAYS that?!” It cracks me up to no end.

Obvs, since I’m digging this girl I have started wondering if she feels the same. I know she’s bi, I know she has recently dated both girls and guys, I know she’s a bit of a flirt. As each night has progressed, the hugs have become more profuse and prolonged. She gushes about how much fun she has hanging out with me. The past couple of times we’ve hung out, we’ve sat close on the couch with our legs touching. She told me that her girl friends at work have been asking her if we make out when we hang out (how totally high school!). Today, she even talked about making plans to take a weekend trip to another city (a couple hours away) to do some things and meet some of her family. So, by tonight I’m definitely thinking about trying to kiss this girl.

All evening, as we’re sitting on the couch, I think about it but I never get up the nerve. The moment’s not right, or she moves or does some body language thing that makes me bail on the mission. She gets up to leave for the evening because it’s late and we both have to be up early.

Chatting at the door. Hug. Really long hug. She pulls away from hug and goes in for another one, only her face is tilted up slightly. Shit. I should do this. I pull back a little and look her in the eyes. She smiles. I go in for the kiss. Our lips touch. Pause. Touch again. She’s smiling. I’m smiling. She turns to leave, then turns around and grabs my arm to thank me for a great night. I was hoping for another kiss, but she goes. I feel pretty good about this.

Then, the voice kicks in: dammit, why did you do that? What if she doesn’t like you “like that” and you have all this fun hanging out with a really cool person and now you just went and made things really awkward. Shit. You should totally have waited for her to make the first move.

She texts me to let me know that she made it home okay. It started out cool, and ended with me… well, with me flipping out in my head about this shit enough to write a blog instead of going to bed and staring at the ceiling over-thinking it while I try to fall asleep.

MJ: Home safe! Thanks for another lovely evening. 🙂
Me: Glad you made it. 🙂 And thank YOU.
[Inside My Head Voice: Ugh. That was the cheesiest reply EV-ER. Say something funny.]
Me: Here’s my inside my head voice: OMG. That was SO AWKWARD. Why did you DO that? And why are you typing in all CAPS?!
[IMHV: Okay, not bad. Way to break the ice on the topic of the kiss. Ball is totally in her court.]
MJ: Haha! Stop! It’s fine! See? I’m using lots of exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
[IMHV: Yay! She gets it. But she kinda dodged the kiss subject.]
Me: Thanks, that makes me feel BETTER!!!! 🙂 You’re so funny and adorable.
[IMHV: Um, please stop being a dork. And way to fish for more info, genius. Just say something direct. Geez. This is NOT that difficult.]
Me: I really wanted to kiss you earlier in the night but I wasn’t sure how that’d go over, so… I chickened out until the last possible minute.
[IMHV: Strike One for over-sharing. Strike Two for sending a second double-text in a convo that is going nowhere fast.]
MJ: I’ve just really enjoyed getting to know you. It really sucks not having known you sooner!
[IMHV: I told you so. You totally mucked this up. She can’t even think of anything to say to get out of this conversation! She just liked hanging out with you and you had to go and make it about something physical because you haven’t been properly laid in months. Good job.  Hey, have fun recovering from this one.]
Me: Yeah, it does suck. But better late than never!
[IMHV: *sigh* This is exhausting, really. Strike Three for using “better” again. That’s such a boring word. AND you used it in a cliche. Ugh. I’m going to bed now.]

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What I Learned This Weekend

3 Apr

File under “Being a Newbie Homo.” Also, “Learning to Adapt to Being Gay in a Straight World.”

What I learned this weekend can be summed up in the text exchange I had with Hippie Rancher today, about my Saturday night out with two of my straight friends from high school:

HR: Did you meet lots of women?

Me: No, I did not. We stayed one place longer than we expected to hear a band B2 knows. So we didn’t make it to the girl bar.

Me: I got to be a stand0offish bitch to all the straight guys who persisted in hitting on me. On a positive note, I now realize why gay people don’t like to go to straight bars.

And, the story could end there and you’d maybe get the point, but when have I ever let a chance to tell a great story pass me by? Uh, never.

I mean… for serious. I had a wonderful, amazing weekend of chilling with fun people with (relatively) little drama, in Wichita. Friday night, hit up my first MMA fight at a venue featuring local fighters, for a  kids’ charity event.  Great group of people I met through a friend at school. Bought shots for a ring girl. Screamed and jumped up and down while guys pummeled each other. Left wanting to MMA fight. Did a little dancing. Made out with a girl on the dance floor. Left, got DIVINE street ‘dawgs from a vendor — complete with cucumbers, pickles, onions, jalapenos, and chili.  Total heartburn special. Totally worth it. And topped the night off with local greasy spoon Mexican cafe, Rene’s. Colorado burrito? Hell yes. Get one.

Here’s where it gets potentially messy. No one in the group knows I’m gay, except maybe the guy from school but we’ve never had “the” convo.  On the way to drop people off, one of the guys I danced with had me sit in his lap because we were seriously smooshed in this truck. Well, he decides to get out when they drop me off, and follow me to the house. I’m like, “Uhhh… mkay. Maybe he left his car here. Maybe he needs to pee and they’re waiting on him. Maybe he just really wants to have a great conversation.” Really? I know better than that!

But I feel like, since I’ve come out fully, that there should be some external change that other people can recognize the same way I feel a huge internal change from how my life was even three months ago.  And I am still coming to grips with having to have the “gay” conversation with almost every human being I get in to a decent conversation with. Or assumptions are made (like the one that was made this night) and then people get confused. And a little mad.

So, this guy and I sit at the dining room table, alone in B2’s house at 2 a.m. And we have an awesome conversation about spirituality and life after death, and… of all things… our mutual history with WWE/WWF wrestling.  Random, right? My kind of shit. I LOVE meeting people through completely chance encounters and having great conversation. But I digress…

A couple hours later, around 4:30 a.m., this guy says, “Well, it’s late and I’d better either leave or go to bed.”

To which I replied, “I can drive you home if you’d like.”

“You can if you want. I’m just saying that if I crash in a bed with you, there’s a small chance I’ll try to pull something on you,” he threw out there.

After a pause, I managed, “Would it help you not feel that way if I told you that I’m gay?”

Proceed with 45 minutes of him vacillating between asking me questions about being gay, to him being a jerk about the “wasted time and effort” (though he never came out and said that), to him actually STILL trying to get me to sleep with him.  F’real. I finally made the choice for him, and took his ass home.

The next day, I was pissed. Why should I have to justify my sexuality to some dipshit 25-year old kid who only followed me home because he got a boner when I sat in his lap? Why do I even care so much? But most of all: how do I keep this from happening again? I talked to HR about it, and he advocated that I be as up front as possible if a guy starts to invest time in me.  And he also suggested that I dial down the flirtatiousness.  I’m not awful. But I think I have a sort of natural charm that just happens without me realizing it. Until I’m doing it. And then it’s too late to stop.

Saturday night. B2, Virgin Mary, and I are dolled up and ready to rock. If I do say so m’self, I looked pretty awesome. Jeans and rock graffitti Chucks, mohawk in a pomp, black chiffon corset topped with a killer leather vest, 50’s June Cleaver hot pink choker beads, and a huge turquoise ring. Oh yes.

 

Wild Bean – Lewisburg, WV

27 Mar

It’s a first! I was inspired today to start writing about food  & drink stuff I discover, love, or loathe, and the charming little places from whence the aforementioned stuff comes. How apropos that my first comes from the quaint village of Lewisburg, West Virginia, and its local coffee shop/eatery/hippie central: The Wild Bean.

Food & Drink: The menu boasts an impressive and creative mix of specialty drinks and the old coffee house stand-bys. I decided to try a Sugar Maple latte, but modified.  Half the syrup (I like my drinks on the mildly sweet side), an extra shot (for caffeine and stronger flavor), and with whipped cream (because it makes everything better).  I can’t imagine how tooth-achingly sweet one with the full dosage of pure maple syrup would have. Mine was perfect. The taste of the maple highlights the smokiness of the amazing espresso shots. Extra point for a great barista who knew how to (and took the time to) pull great shots.

I saw after I already ordered that they have almond syrup. Since its discontinuation from the Starbucks lineup, I always get excited to see it in other shops. So yummy, but I’ll have to do it another time.  Other menu items that caught my eye: Stout Chai — a 20 oz. chai latte with a doubleshot of espresso; and Swift Kick — 8 oz. of espresso with brown sugar cream stirred in (okay, I may actually get one of those before I leave here).

Wild Bean has a kitchen and sports a small but interesting food menu that is super veggie-friendly.  I am sorely tempted to try the Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana, or the Ultimate Grilled Cheese. As I write this, they are baking chocolate chip cookies that almost make me drool on my keyboard.

Local Color: Artwork from local schools and local artists line the walls, along with vintage coffee makers, burlap bags, and pictures.  There’s a stage up front that is used for a raised seating area when it’s not being used by one of the bands or artists whose upcoming performances are listed on chalkboards by the front door.

Wild Bean has a nice selection of coffee and accessories, including hand-thrown coffee mugs and plates from a local potter.  Stone jewelry and photog postcards are also available, along with CDs and some books.

The Little Things: The only downside I found with Wild Bean is that their wi-fi access is not free or unlimited. You have to get a code for a one or two hour access window with your purchase. It makes sense to keep people from living up here online without buying things, but it’s kinda annoying.

The music is eclectic and loud enough that you can enjoy it without feeling like someone is beating the notes in to your head (Hello, Starbucks. Tell your stoner employees to leave the volume dial alone when they get to work.) It’s also at a volume where you can have a conversation in a normal tone of voice without feeling like everyone around you is eavesdropping. There is a good mix of people — hipsters, middle-aged marrieds, the requisite strange 50-something fat white guy, and maybe even a gay person besides me.

Seating areas are mixed and comfortable.  There’s a section with couches, a coffee table, and a fake fireplace. And toward the back of the shop you’ll find a kid’s play area with toys, a soft floor, and books. Nice touch.

They recycle! Gotta love that there are separate bins for plastics/glass/paper. Why every coffee shop does not do this is beyond me.  It just makes sense.

All-in-All: 4.5 out of 5 beans. I could totally see myself hanging out here and writing or meeting up with friends for a bite to eat.

Mountain Detour

26 Mar

Last week, I took a spontaneous, last minute road trip to D.C. from Kansas. I had every intention of blogging about it as I drove (not literally AS I drove, safety nuts) but every time I stopped for the night, there was someone great to catch up with, or my attention would be derailed by reading up on Autostraddle, or Twitter, or Facebook, or… the welcoming softness of a hotel bed. So, that’ll be a catch-up entry later.

On the way out, I happened to stop in Lewisburg, West Virginia. I hadn’t been there before this trip. I came in to town through the mountains in the middle of the night. There’s something powerful and exhilarating about weaving through the foothills in pitch darkness, with my headlights cutting through the night not quite far enough to keep me from thinking that, in the next 100 feet, the road drops off the face of the earth. When I woke up the next morning, I stepped outside to a quaint little mountain town full of beautiful houses, and awesome little local shops, including a coffee house that brewed a delicious espresso. I couldn’t stop thinking about the town. If I hadn’t been in such a hurry to get to D.C., I would have stayed longer.

So, since my return trip started today in the early evening, I decided it was the perfect distance from D.C. (about 4 hours) to stop for the night on my way back home. Same twisty night drive coming in. And when I got here, I found even more reasons to love it. One of my favorite things about traveling are the random encounters with people. You never know who you will run in to, who will strike up a conversation with you, or give you a great story to tell. And Lewisburg didn’t disappoint.

As I pulled in to town, I stopped at the gas station to pick up a drink for the hotel. I got some iced tea from a “Teazer” fancy tea machine, which had to be brewed in a certain cup. Then I spent five minutes trying to find a lid that fit the cup. I gave up and headed to the cash register. As I set my purchase on the counter, the cashier pulled out a fitting lid from behind the counter and popped it on my cup. Her name was Wanda, and she was 70 if she was a day, grey and white hair pulled back in to a ponytail. She chuckled when I said, “Oh, good. I thought I was losing my mind because I couldn’t find those lids over there.”

“No, it’s not just you. For some reason unbeknownst to me, we have to keep those lids over here instead of by the drink machines,” she explained.

“Oh. Well, that’s odd.” I commented.

“Yeah, I think if you leave them over there, they do tricks or make messes when you’re not watching them.” Wanda joked as she rang up my snacks.

I smirked. Another great thing with meeting new people is finding the ones who can play one of my favorite games: carrying on conversations about really silly, random things. The kind of conversations where you walk away with a grin, knowing that you just bonded with another human being over the most innocuous thing. Tonight, it was to be iced tea cup lids.

“Maybe they’re a bad influence on the other lids, or they teach them naughty things to do,” I suggested.

“Oh, yup. I’ve got it.” Wanda nodded, “That’s why they’re called TEAZERS — they pick on the other lids, so sitting behind the counter is timeout.”

“Ha! That must be it!” I smiled at her as she handed me my change. She was chuckling out loud, “Have a good evenin’, sweetie.”

My next stop was for food. I have this road trip rule about only eating at places that I can’t eat at back home. I had to break my rule and pick Hardee’s, though, because I just couldn’t bring myself to eat alone at a Shoney’s. That’s an experience that has to be shared. Plus, I have a thing for Hardee’s Mushroom & Swiss burgers, but on sourdough bread and with a side of extra mushrooms. The Hardee’s in my hometown manages to screw it up every time, while charging me almost $7 for a fast food burger (because of all the add-ons). And I continue to go back. Because it’s worth the pain, these things are so good.

I was pleasantly surprised and cautiously optimistic when the girl at the drive-thru not only got the gist of my requests, but also only charged me for a regular sandwich. When I got the bag, I could tell it was right by the weight of the extra mushroom container. I know it seems simple, but I really love some foods a certain way. And I really hate stupid people. So, score another “cool” point for Lewisburg and it’s adept teenage fast foodies for being able to get my stuff right.

The highlight of the evening though is my hotel. When I arrived, I took a cruise through town, hoping to find something besides the corporate chain I stayed in on the way out. I’m game for saving $30 a night to not have a continental breakfast I won’t eat anyway. Not to mention I get the charm and quirkiness that comes with local lodging establishments. Fort Savannah Inn fit the bill, and I looked them up and called to confirm availability and wireless access. Good to go. On the main street near downtown, I pulled in to the parking lot in front of a lodge-type building with a sign advertising the main front desk. I saw the innkeeper peeking out the window at me, so I got out and went inside. The inner lobby door was a six-foot wide barn door that led in to a dark, defunct souvenir shop and cafe with “KEEP OUT” signs posted everywhere. Uh, okay.

I found the other door to the office, and pulled it open as the barn door creaked shut behind me. The innkeeper hollered at me from ten feet away, “You the lady who called?”

“That’s me.” I headed toward the desk and went through the usual check-in rigmarole. $52 with tax included seemed a fair deal compared to the $80+ tax at the chains. So far, seemed pretty normal. I hopped in the car to drive around to my room, and was greeted by outdoor kids toys on the motel walkway. Sweet. Motels with people living in them? Guaranteed experience.

Now I’m settled in the room. Once I figured out that none of the three (completely different) dead bolts on the door actually work, I used the door chain that appears to be from the 1950s and probably wouldn’t keep the wind out. I closed the curtains on the first-floor window that backs to completely pitch black woods, and I took in the wood beam ceilings and furniture that appears to have come from a dozen different hotel auctions spanning the last 30 years. I love it. And when I turned on the t.v. and it was already tuned to HGTV, I knew I had another sign that Lewisburg likes me and wants me to stay here.

Tomorrow was going to be a day for hitting the road hard. But I think at least a half day of antique shops, flea markets, local coffee, and taking in some mountain scenery here sounds like a much better idea. School will wait if I don’t make it back from spring break on time. But sometimes you have to pay attention when life tells you take a detour.

Special Hamburger

20 Sep

Ever since I started renovating our side of the house, I have coined a nickname for our neighbor’s dog… “Special Hamburger” — so named because I would love nothing more than to feed it a special anti-freeze hamburger or five.  This thing defies all logic of ability in the amount of barking it does.  It’s probably deaf by now.  As are its owners, apparently, because they let the thing stand there and screech at them from inside its dog run while they are 20 feet away in the driveway, or inside, or in the backyard. 

So, I finally had enough after listening to it all.fucking.afternoon.  It’s a balmy 73 degrees outside and the only way I can open my windows and enjoy the weather is if I want to listen to the Barky McGee symphony all damn day. I realize it would probably be faster to just walk over there and tell them to shut it the hell up, but I’m a fan of written communication when possible.  Plus, this way, I don’t get arrested for punching someone in the face.

——————————————————–

September 20, 2009

Dear Dog Owners,

This letter has been some time coming, but it is after a full three hours (and still going) on a Sunday afternoon of listening to your dog bark and whine and yap that I have finally decided to write you and ask your assistance in getting your dog to shut up. It’s ridiculous that we can’t even have our windows open to enjoy a nice afternoon breeze… or morning breeze, or evening breeze for that matter, because, let’s face it, your dog starts barking at 6:30 a.m. and doesn’t shut its yap all day.

Perhaps you have grown immune or deaf to the screechingly annoying sound that is your dog barking. Unfortunately, the rest of the neighborhood has not. Just because you live at the end of a dead end street does not mean there is an invisible wall surrounding your property so you can allow incessant noise at all hours. Yes, dogs bark. But more than a couple of minutes of barking in any given hour is, by most normal definitions, excessive. If I wanted to listen to someone’s mangy mutt bark its head off while chained to a stake outside, I would pay a lot less property tax and live in a trailer park on the other side of town.

There are a number of options available to you, as a responsible pet owner, to make your dog less of a yapping nuisance to your neighborhood. In addition to bark collars and training, there are also devices you can mount on your fence that emit a high-pitched noise whenever your dog barks, to help it to bark less. There’s also the novel concept of spending time with your dog, instead of leaving it outside squealing for attention. If you can’t do that, I highly recommend a friendly country home, placement with the SPCA, or euthanasia.

Obviously, I prefer to avoid personal confrontation. I’m afraid if I made this request in person, I would not be able to avoid using those naughty words my mom always taught me to not say to others in polite company. Please remedy this situation within a week from the date of this letter. If you are unable to do so, I will start filing noise complaints with the police department until the problem ceases to exist, or your dog finally keels over dead.

Thanks for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Your Neighbors