Sunday, February 26, 2006

It Is Finished. It Is Begun.

All this week, I worked on the sanding table at my job. Sanding is second nature to me at this point. So as I smooth out the wood, removing all the chatter marks and checking, my mind wanders free.

On Friday, two thoughts collided in my mind, like sailboats on a glassy lake. Simultaneously it seemed, I thought, "These guys keep dumping me," and, "I don't get calls from the resumes I send out." Neither of them was particularly new. And neither was accompanied by any hand-wringing or lamentation. Just things I already knew.

But coming together, a new idea took shape: I think I lost it.

"It" would be... what exactly? My charm. My sparkle. My charisma. My blessed life. The sure knowledge that all I had to do was knock and the door would open. The lights would always turn green. Things would go my way. I have good bone structure, captivating eyes, a way with words, tall stature and erect bearing, a good sense of humor and a quick wit. The world has always been my oyster. Ultimately.

But now, now...

Had this somehow departed? Has everyone seen my act too many times for it to have an impact? Have the lines become stale? What's up?

And, more importantly, what happens now?

I guess, if this is true, there are three possible alternatives.

1. I'll keep plugging away at it, trying all my old tricks, although with increasing desparation, doing my best to make them more and more dramatic, and watching with alarm as onlookers faces are frozen in a rictus smile, their eyes betraying how pathetic they think my performance is. End up bitter and alone, nursing my grudges, replaying the scenes that I didn't manage to bring off again and again and again in my head. We'll call this the "Nora Desmond Option." [g]

2. I'll reinvent myself! This is America, after all. Find some new game, some new persona to replace the old one. A brand, spanking new Twenty-First Century Me! I'm seeing tight rayon shirts and low-riding leather jeans, chunky boots with lots of straps, and a big chunky belt buckle that spells out the words BULLY. And maybe some more ink work.

(Although it has it's allure: I don't think so. Once you realize it's all a game, it's tough to continue to play the game.)

3. Perhaps it's time to put aside games and personae, to just strip myself naked. Know that I am only the breath that moves in and out of my lungs. Some flesh clinging to a bony armature.

On Wednesday, I'll take my place in line, hearing the murmuring of the priest in front of me, and when I get to the front, he'll dip is thumb in a crucible of ash, and with it, make the sign of the cross on my forehead, saying as he does so, "Remember O Man, that thou art dust, and to the dust thou shall return."

Perhaps something pure. Something solitary. Getting off the carousel for a time.

My life here in the Howling Wilderness is dissatisfactory in many ways. I'm lonely. I don't have money. I want so bad to get on a plane and go somewhere warm, lie on a beach or by a pool and let the sun bake me. Somewhere with a leather bar, where I can go out at night, meet men, and find someplace to f*ck.

But one thing is sure: I have my eyes open. I'm seeing things. Just seeing. Clearly.

That's one of the good things about winter: the leaves are off the trees. The colors are washed away to shades of gray and brown. The trees outside the window where I sit and write this are all vertical lines, some thick, some scrawny, but so dense they all but obscure the pale golden fallow field beyond.

And the sky is blue and cloudless today.

And I am me. Just me. Just a guy.

My sense of myself has been getting more and more vague. My leather was almost a skin that I slip into, as if it were complete with a face and voice and mind. The opportunities and inclination to don my leathers are farther and farther apart.

I work, I go to Starbucks, I hit the gym, I walk my dog, I make dinner for me and my father, I go to see movies, I do stuff around the house, I drive down to Philadelphia to see whose at the Bike Stop.

But my eyes are open. I see. I watch.

I don't know what's going to become of me. Where I'm going to go. Who I'm going to be. And for me, that's always been a very good thing. Being able to see myself far into the future has always made me squirrely.

Ash Wednesday.

What might rise out of the ashes?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Why Can't We Be Friends?

Y'know what irks me? When people make mention of close personal friends who happen to be celebrities.

The most egregious was when, years ago at one of the goofy political things I had to go to, a speaker actually spoke the words, "Just the other night on the phone, Stockard Channing said to me..." I forget what Stockard said, but for the benefit of my table, I completed the thought "I don't know how you got this number but if you ever call here again I'll have you arrested."

And then there's the guy from LA. Should you meet him, after about fifteen minutes of conversation, you're sure to learn that he's friends with Rita Moreno.

When Rita was over for dinner... When Rita and I were in London... It was so great having Rita there as my date...

Okay. Why does this get to me?

Today I think I figured it out.

The next time LA Guy mentions his friend Rita Moreno, if'n I have the guts, I'm gonna say, "So tell me, how does Rita make herself vulnerable to you? And how do you make yourself vulnerable to Rita?"

Because I think that's what friendship is all about. Vulnerability. Bearing your breast to someone and handing them the knife. No one can hurt you like a friend can. And no one can put the knife down and kiss your quivering pecs like a friend can. That's it in a nutshell. Absent vulnerability, it's just people using each other.

Monday, February 20, 2006

About Last Night

I love three day weekends! And I was determined to make the most of this one. I made a foray down to Philadelphia to visit the Bike Stop. I spent most of the evening talking to a verrrrry hot man from Orange County, but there were those logistics issues that always come up, since I live all the way the hell up in Bucks County, and he was staying at a hotel out in Valley Forge, and how were we supposed to make that happen? But the ride home was not filled with whining and self-recrimination for a change, because I had a plan for Sunday night.

Last night, the Sunday night in question, I did something I've never done before in my life: an internet hookup! He checked out my profile, I checked out his, and we got together to have sex. Now, I've arranged scenes before, but never straight up sex. Kinda nice not having to pack a toy bag, just bring my own sweet self.

I had high hopes, and they were not dashed. Just about across the board, they were fulfilled.

Y'see, the man that I chose for my first internet hookup seemed to be a little off. The pictures of himself that he offered were grainy, and his description of himself was far briefer than I could ever manage. I put more into the "Any comments you'd like to share?" part of surveys than he put into his profile. From time to time I'd get instant messages from him along the lines of "Im so horny Ive got precum thinking about you." Andrew Marvell he is not. In short, he didn't seem to me to be the kind of guy that I could have a conversation with.

But that was fine. Because this was going to be all about sex.

So last night, I drove down to the unfamiliar tractless expanses of Lower Bucks County and that part of Philadelphia known (sarcastically in my opinion) as "the Greater Northeast." He was waiting for me at the door, and before I could even say "Great color on your accent wall!" (And it was!) he was all over me, and I was all over him. Pretty quickly we moved upstairs to the bedroom, shucked our clothes, and without lighting candles or anything, went at it.

Here's the kicker: he kept his baseball cap on the entire time.

Here's the total kicker: he's a cop.

Nothing really exceptional about the sex. Nothing elaborate went down. He didn't even take out his handcuffs. Just two guys going at it and getting all sweaty.

When it was over, I got dressed, we agreed to make it happen again, he gave me directions to get to Center City Philadelphia from there, and it was done.

How cool is that?

And it was so satisfying! No imagining a future life together. No animadversion (look that word up on, it's a great word). No plan. No strings. Just meeting up to spill our seed.

And I love that he kept his baseball cap on the whole time.

Edge Play Under Attack!

A friend, the August Founder of several groups that are household names to people with floggers hanging in their bedrooms and clothespins which have never seen a clothesline, is going to be the keynote speaker at an upcoming leather event. He sent to me, and to several other worthies, the text of his talk, and asked for feedback. It is, of course, excellent. I found crafting a response to be thought provoking. And I wanted to share my thoughts with all of you here on the humble SingleTails. Given the byzantine rules of anonymity that I apply to myself when writing here, editing my email to August Founder is something of a challenge, but I'll give it a whirl. I'll try my best to provide a cushion of deniability for the folks mentioned ("I have no idea what he was talking about on his silly weblog and that sure wasn't me!"), but in some cases, I have to admit there isn't a lot of stuffing in that cushion. But here goes...

You're going to come under fire for this speech (surprise!), but not, perhaps, for reasons that have occurred to you.

A couple of years ago, I got into a tiff with a noted Barber, late of New York City, now of San Francisco. Through the wonders of the internet, we've never actually spoken to each other, although once when I was visiting San Francisco, Mr. Barber crossed the street to avoid me. Or maybe not.

It all started when I read in Bob and Austin's online publication, All-American Kink or whatever, an interview with Mr. Barber. In it, he was condemning of Inferno, an event I love deeply. Something along the lines of "too many rules! you can't push the envelope!" This, of course, is claptrap. If Diabolique's whipping at the hands of the Man from Munich, or any of several scenes I've seen contrived by the deceptively amiable Mind Bender are the stuff of schoolroom shenanigans, than I quiver at the prospect of entering that schoolroom. (All of us are candyasses when it comes to something. For me it's the sight of my own blood, and items other than food I like and the occasional stream of piss from the tap in my mouth. Cigar ashes are beyond the pale.)

Mr. Barber stated that to prove his point, he had organized his own event at Fort Troff in Atlanta. At which there would be No Rules (!). By way of example, he sited a scene in which he smoked a cigar while a boy gave him a blow job. The boy was gagging on Mr. Barber's cock, and at one point, turned aside and vomited, but then continued the blow job. (Eeewwwwww!)

Okay. This all struck me as silly. In my humble weblog, I crafted what I thought was an amusing and not-too-meanspirited response, which I titled 'Wayne's Dungeon.' I used the characters created by Mike Myers and Dana Carvey on Saturday Night Live, where a couple of heavy metal enthusiasts sit around in somebody's finished basement being awed by mediocrity. In Wayne's Dungeon, two renegade leathermen congratulated each other and their guest for being truly Hard Core.

Well. Word reached me that Mr. Barber was really upset by that. I wondered if I had gone too far, insulting a fellow leatherman's idiosyncratic pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. Reflecting on it, I came to the conclusion that to the extent that I had let my baser self get the better of me, it was about high school. In high school, and therefore for the rest of my life, I was not cool. I aspired to be cool, but in every attempt I made to emulate the kids who were cool, it seemed they changed the rules on me as soon as I was able to limn and follow them. I was always two steps behind cool. The girl in the yellow dress that Virginia Wolf wrote about in a short story.

Here's my point. (I do have one!) Edge Play is the current flavor of cool. Those among us who consider themselves to be cool aren't getting the same charge out of being kinky as they once did, because now you've got tons and tons of people who are kinky. (I wonder if there's an age element in all of this? I think the TNG phenomenon is really interesting. We now live in a world where 24 year olds are accomplished whipsmen and whipswomen--No really! Some of these kids are really good!--and that's lowered the value of being an elder considerably. So, maybe we who are getting on in years just want something to set ourselves above the masses, especially the fresh-faced masses.) Now that kink is in every living room in America, and pervasive on the internet, it's natural that some among us would yawn behind fanned fingers at the mention of rope bondage and flogging, because they're into something that's really Out There.

And here comes poor August Founder, delivering an excellent keynote address at... uh... A Big Leather Event In The Reddest Of All Red States. And in it, he seems to be doing for Edge Play what he did for SM when he founded GMSMA: making something dark, mysterious, and forbidding into something accessible and understandable. And, dare I say, fun for everyone!

Oh man. Are you in for it.

Now what are you going to force the Noted Barbers of the world to resort to? Scenes involving live panthers and heavy duty farming equipment demanding a venue the size of Shea Stadium?

Prepare yourself for the backlash.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Poetry 'N' Lotion

I don't quite know what to make of this, but I like it a lot. Sort of a "found poem," no?

(from a REAL profile of a REAL guy on a REAL website on the REAL internet, edited only to obscure identifying details)

* * * * *

I'm gwm, i'm neg, 45 OLD, delaware,
240lds, 55" c, tit
50"w, 7" dick, 5" head, 6" base, bull balls (dollar size) chew on love it alot, supper hairy cock, supper hairy ass hole also!
cumming ir U need more I give to U!
I have pic! NEW ONES TOO! I want them NOW put ur email there!! on there
I'll sent them type III BIG LETTER SO I CAN SEE!!
give nude massagers here!

love piss play !!

love playing alot with someone that can't get ever SEX!! don't care who see me any more!!

{I NEED A ROOM FOR MAL in jan! now!}

shave ur head dick ass hole alot!

Piss daily on u Up U!

give all the SEX U will ever Need or want!

Take it alot!

TIE U down alot in cuv I own! fuck U! RAW!!

I need U!!

U: 40 & UP!! old shaved head, dick, asshole OK!! must be will to start right NOW!!

[will travel here to delaware for a master}
(dc, del, md, nj, pa, ny, va, wv slave dog & ver too!]
I need alot of SEX don't care who see!

if U up to this email

live in a jock & collared!!

U live on Ur knees & hands too!
U need this Master now!

I don't care who see, Master do what I need to do to slave dog! 24/7 SEX!!

where r the BOTTOM'S? GUYS!

where r the hungry guys?

when can U start realtime here?

what all U into?

do U have a face pic?

READY to play anytime NOW!!!!!!!!!

where u at? slave!

where r U? NOW!

i do have pic!
it not let master put up on here OK!!

IT's all about master need & want DOG!

be really!
[he really gives his phone number here, but I'm not gonna pass it on. -ed.] two times! be about realtime OK!if not here leave name & number OK 2 TIMES PLEASE

* * * * * *

Okay. You know what to do!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Who Writes This Stuff?

Yo. If'n you're a twisted f*cker like me, you might want to keep an eye out for the episode of that cheesy poor man's X Files called Supernatural entitled "Human Prey."


The two guys--whatever their names are--are investigating strange disappearances somewhere in the midwest. And whaddyaknow! It turns out that the perpetrators are a bunch of hillbillies with bad teeth who enjoy abducting men, keeping them caged, and then releasing them and hunting them down.

For real!

We're talking scenes of guys in cages. (And great cages, too! Steel i-beam frames and rebar. (Rebar! Brilliant!) And the hunt scenes worked for me, too. No intimations of any cannibalism gooing on though. But there was a scene of a jar of human teeth kept as trophies.

Oh! And when cage guys were trying to figure out what the deal was, one of them offered that they were in for a 'Ned Beatty action.' How cool is that?

There is something about abduction and caging that just gets my juices flowing.

And I can watch this stuff on television! What a wonderful world.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Men Don't Tell

In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I'd give a little bit of unsolicited romantic advice. A valuable lesson I've learned (the hard way) that I thought I'd pass on. A misunderstood aspect of the male psyche that leads to untold heartache and angst in the world.

By way of example... So he finally has the guts to put it into words, you're fired, he's dumping you, and you sit there, dope that you are, and ask, "Why? I thought things were going so well with us? What's going on?" And he stutters and stammers and makes noises, but offers nothing in the way of a satisfying explanation. So of course you spend the next several months trying to fill in the blanks yourself, trying to figure out what you did wrong.

Am I right? I'm right, right? Of course I'm right.

So get this. Recent readings in neuroscience have brought to my awareness this salient fact: in most women's brains, the part of the brain where emotions arise is hardwired to the part of the brain where language is formed and processed, but in most men's brains, those two parts of the brain have little, if anything, to do with each other.


(Or, y'know, it's the proposition that embraces most of the evidence and the phenomena identified and tested by the scientific method. Like that theory of evolution deal.)


Implications coming clear?

Men are always accused of not being in touch with their feelings, and not being able to express their feelings, and blah blah blah. Women, on the other hand, are all about, "I sensed a certain tentativeness in you when I was talking about my friend Merideth's baby, and that made me feel needy and alone, because I want children some day, and I'm frankly threatened by the fact that you're obviously pretty ambivalent in your feelings about children."

And the guy listening to this is like, "Duh.... Idaknow."

That's why he doesn't have an answer for you about why he's dumping you. He can't put it into words. Not to say he doesn't have reasons, but it's like a blind person being asked to explain what purple looks like.

And of course, when you get two men in a relationship, you have conversations that look like some weird kabuki theater: fist slammed on countertop, hand on chin, running fingers through hair... It's like nameless deamon's taking control of you.

(And I think it's just this insight, among others, that makes Brokeback Mountain so successful. Annie Proulx sure knows her neurochemistry! But I'm bringing up That Movie again, huh?)

So we all should learn not to press the men in our lives on these issues. It's not like he's not trying. It's not like he doesn't care, or doesn't feel. It's just the way God made him.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I'm Bound. Snow Bound

Yes we are! Easily over a foot here. But a good weekend nonetheless.

Anticipating Saturday being a nonstarter for travel, I thought that if I was going to darken the door of the Bike Stop this weekend, it would have to be Friday night. So after dinner, I headed south. And it was a good night. Wall to wall hot men. And they all seemed to be interested in each other, but not in me. Grrrr.

Now that's not entirely true. It was mostly me. The energy I was putting out. I was still in the throes of feeling pretty unhorny. And guys seemed to be so much work. And, I keep getting dumped! (What is up with that?) So maybe it was all about me feeling like damaged goods.

And, of course, I had a long time to think about it all on the drive home.

Saturday I had big plans. Really big plans. Since it's the Year of the Dog, I want to get Faithful Companion over to the Bark Park in Montgomeryville as often as possible. And we had a blast. At first, we had the place to ourselves. But then some other dogs--and owners--showed up. I chatted with a pleasant lesbian whose dog Cairo is an obsessive holedigger. And my boy-boy had a great time. I love seeing him so playful.

Then came grocery shopping, then home to treat my father to my reknowned roast chicken. (Served up with potatoes roasted in the pan and some of the sweet corn I put up last summer. Yeah! I put up sweet corn!) After an incredible dinner, I spent an evening watching the Olympics while the snow fell outside.


Today, of course, was all about shoveling snow. It was my fathers inclination that I should shovel out the driveway.

Say what?

Y'see, the guy who plows our driveway has chosen this week to head to Mexico for vacation.

Now, shoveling the driveway is pointless, right? My father doesn't go anywhere, I have four-wheel drive, so what's the point?

But then, but then, I suddenly developed a reason to leave the house. This Manhunt guy from Hamburg, PA. Jeff the Chef. Okay. With my father's fear of me driving in bad weather, how to make that work. Well, the points that I make from spending some time shoveling snow should get me out the door. So I started in. And that obsessive thing of mine kicked in. I figured, I'll just do the first ten feet, so that the guy that delivers our paper can back in to turn around. But then I developed this system, working in a (oddly satisfying) herringbone pattern. Further and further up the driveway I went.

(Oh. And I was wearing these performance outer garments. These black stretchy tights for pants that are made for skiers or something, and one of my Buck Rogers tops. I looked not unlike some snow-shoveling superhero out there. Passing salt trucks slowed down. Yo.)

Well, before you know it, there was no stopping me. All the snow had to be cleared from the driveway. And it was. And believe me, with all the snow we got... well... that was a lot of snow to shovel.

But my fiendish plan worked perfectly. Dad had no problem with me heading out for a couple of hours.

So we decided that the Starbucks in Quakertown would be a good meeting place. And off I headed. My newly retooled Jeep Liberty taking the ill-plowed roads beautifully. And there was the guy.

And he was smokin'. Just way hot. He had this long, lean body--like a greyhound--only instead of sleek, just covered in fur. Clearly, he was built for sex.

But of course, with both of us 45 minutes or more away from home, there was little we could do besides chat over lattes.

But it all did me a world of good. To have a hot man desire me, and desire him back.

The sun was down, the roads would be icing up, and I had to get home to make cock-a-leekie soup for my father.

Another good weekend. Can't wait for the next one.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Ev'rybody Wang Chung Tonight!

What's with all the '80s American pop tunes as the soundtrack to the Opening Ceremonies?

Yeah. I've got Olympic Fever. As always, seeing those kids from farflung places going out there and giving it their all totally gets me. And then there's the back stories.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Vroom! Vrooooom!

It takes so little to make me happy. Truly.

After work today, Nightingale was kind enough to follow me back home so I could drop off the Awful White Ford Taurus and then drive me back into Doylestown to the Jeep dealership. After giving him my sincere thanks, I was reunited with my Bucephalus, that 2002 Silver Jeep Liberty that's taken me so many places.

And those guys at the dealership didn't lie. He really does drive like brand new. Trust!

No stalling, lots of pickup, zippy like I like it.

Verrrrry much puts me in the mind of a roadtrip.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Grammy Awards!

Some notes...

There is like... Nothing going on with Kelly Clarkson, right?

Most of the duets don't work. But Maroon 5 and whoever that was seemed to do alright together.

I would totally do any member of U2 except Bono. What is Larry Mullen's workout routine? Who is their stylist?

Holy Sh*t! Look at Sly from Sly and the Family Stone!

Fun meme idea: If you were otherwise sexually oriented (e.g., if you're gay, then if you were straight... If you're straight, then if you were gay...), other than the sex part of it, who would you be otherwise sexually oriented with?

Oh. Gosh. Shocker. Once again, Rufus Wainright is nowhere in sight. I guess he just doesn't make any good music. That must be it, right?

Huh. I guess since most of the viewing audience wasn't alive during the Manson murders, it's okay for Paul to sing 'Helter Skelter' again.

Green Day is such a cool band.

Yo! Jessye Norman in da house! Best Dido evah!

I hate Christina Aguilera. She has two notes: the low one and the high one.

You watch CSI, right? That's the television show with the Dominatrix that's smarter than everybody else around her as a regularly occurring character. Next to Mr. Slave, Mistress Heather is my favorite fictional fellow kinkster.

Please God, don't let Paul McCartney win. We don't need that.

I hate the lapses in iTunes. I finally figured out what that '80s song was that I love so much: it's Don't Tell Me by Blancmange. And it's not on iTunes. And I'm also hot for Robert Deniro's Waiting by Bananarama. And it's not on iTunes. Makes me long for my days as a music pirate. (Arrrrrgh!)

Cool! Big & Rich! Big has that star quality thing going on, but Rich looks like he got to stay up late with the grownups.

Go John Legend! His backstory is really cool, too.

I didn't know Shhirley Horne died. Awwww...

Latifah! Give me body! She's from Newark, New Jersey, y'know!

Okay. Time to turn off the Grammys. I've got to get in some firewood before I head to bed.


Is there a word for that? "Inert" comes to mind as a possibility. My nightly beat off sessions (after saying night prayer from the BCP, before I drift off to fitful sleep) have become downright desultory. I just don't have it in me. Just nothing goiong on. Some sort of deficit of the erotic imagination.

(I know, right?)

So what's up with that?

Danged if I know.

Got some ideas though...

•I'm at "that age." Maybe it's just a matter of getting older. I am not the man I was in my 20s, little less my teens. Although I'm given to understand that when you hit your 50s, the libido returns with a vengence.

•Too much going on. With the job search, with Starbucks, with church, with my dad, with getting work done on my car... A lot to dwell on.

•And all the dating. Maybe I've overdosed on men. The result of over-exposure. Like getting too much sun.

•The Little Old Lady Ride I've been tooling around town in. The venerable white Ford Taurus. My deceased stepmother's car. It's just soooooo Not Me. Castrating for sure. Luckily, my trusty Jeep Liberty is all ready for me to drive out of the dealership. And it should be driving like a new car. (In my next life, I'll learn the lesson of Routine Maintenance. In this life, I'm paying for my ignorance.)

•Well heck, didn't I just get dumped? Why yes I did. And even though I did my best to play it like water off a duck's back, I did have moments of asking myself, "So what's going on here? What am I doing wrong?

•Heartbroken? Still??? That guy from LA, whom I met last year at MAL, sure rocked me. In a big way. A lot of things were brought home to me then. Including reduced nature of my potential seeing as I live with my dad and make not much money and all. And in a way, all the other rejections I've faced, even though I've pretty much taken them on the chin, were very present.

•Reduced testosterone. Y'see, since Christmas, I haven't been to the gym more than a handful of times. So my blood levels of that particular molecule are probably suffering. And it has a lot to do with male sexual response.

•Brokeback Mountain. That's another possibility. I saw it for a second time on monday night. And it's kindled within me all kinds of wacky notions about what Emmylou Harris called "One Big Love." Just when I manage to convice myself that such a thing is mythic.

Will it pass? I hope so. If not, there's always my fiftieth birthday to look forward to!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

What's It Gonna Be Like On Monday?


How does a hot, built, cigar smokin', whip throwin', blue collar leatherman spend a Sunday afternoon?

How about... watching The Breakfast Club on cable and crying his eyes out?

You got it, Boss. I can't let that movie go by whilst channel surfing. It sucks me right in. Always.

But I want a proverbial day off. Just to process it all.

Had a date last night. This guy down in Philadelphia. We met via the wonders of A verrrry hot man. I drove down. Met up with him. We talked. For a long time. For hours. Then we went to bed. And fell asleep in each others arms.

And he's verrrry kinky.

So that's good.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Another Year Of Breaking Balls

First up briefly... car trouble. Again. And I was hoping I had left that behind in 2005. Ah well. My power steering seems to have had a melt down of some kind. Right now, I'm waiting for the tow truck to take it in to the dealership. This means, alas, that I'm driving my stepmother's white Ford Taurus. Yesterday, when I took it into my gas station in Doylestown to fill up, the hot, inked cub who works there indicated the car and asked, "What the hell is this???" I laughed, explained my jeep problems. I'd be taking it there if I didn't have an extended care program at the dealership. They are scoundrels at the dealership.

Anyway, I got a call this week from a guy on my softball team. I had been thinking, and I believe I wrote here, that last year would be my final year with the Ballbreakers. I just didn't have fun last year. Everybody was grumpy. The evil Evil EVIL Big Apple Softball League has persisted in sticking us in a competitive league, where we lose all the time. And we went up against a team of hyper-competitive assholes who broke the leg--intentionally!!--of the guy who was calling me. And, our coach and his partner have moved to Las Vegas, where, I understand, you can play softball all year long. So no.

But the broken leg guy from my softball team, whose nickname is Filthy Whore, was calling with News. Y'see, they've paired the team down. Gotten rid of guys who don't seem to show up. Kept some of the best and the brightest. Looking for new guys (no experience necessary!) to sign on. We're going to the recreational, as opposed to the competitive, division. And it's going to be all about having fun. Because that's what all of us want. And, I might get to pitch. Or play any position on the field I want. Because it's about having fun. And if we win some games along the way, that's gravy.

Just the tone of Filthy Whore's voice had me ready to re-up for another year. I mean, he's had a tough year. It was a major break, it meant he couldn't work, and he couldn't even stay in his fourth floor walk-up apartment. And all because of this asshole on another team, who faced just about nothing in the way of reprimand from the League. So we hate the league.



Every Saturday, April through August, driving up to NYC...? Am I really up for that? Foregoing much else on weekends (like dating or trips down to the Bike Stop on Saturday nights...

Ah, but it's softball! Out there in the grassy field, the sun, the men, the crack of the bat. Maybe this will be the year that I get my act together at the plate!

We ought to have our first practice in March. As soon as it looks like a dry, warm Saturday.

Oh. One other thing before I close. I got an email from a guy who runs the leather store at the Bike Stop in Philadelphia. He was forwarding to me an email he received from somebody at Princeton University.

Ok. This is so cool.

Princeton is doing a production of Waiting For Godot. At some point in the play, they need to crack a whip. They obtained a whip, but nobody involved with the performance is able to make it crack. And they need somebody to show them how. And do I know of somebody? And they'll pay.

I am so in. I'm totally up for driving out to Princeton and spending an hour or so teaching budding thespians how to crack a whip. And, since I'm betting part of the problem is that they have a cheap, silly ass whip that they're trying to crack, maybe lending it to them. What fun! And maybe I'll get comped for the performance, too. And I love Waiting For Godot.

I love teaching. It goes with me being a natural exhibitionist. TES in NYC is having some big SM shindig this summer, and I was asked by someone on the program committee if I would be a presenter. You bet I would! I had a blast doing my chain bondage presentation at TESFest a couple of years ago.

And, to some degree, it burns my butt that GMSMA has never (ever) asked me to do a program for them. Or a workshop. Or even sit on a panel. All they ever wanted me to do was a job I was totally not cut out for: keeping the books. And lord knows that was a nightmare for all involved. Ah well, a prophet is without honor in his home town, right?

But, I'm all juiced up about the Princeton thing. (I'll be able to put on my resume that I taught at Princeton University! Yessss!!!) And the TES thing this summer. And you there... If you're interested in me doing a presentation for your humble (or august) group of pervy folks, I hope you'll think of me!

Gotta go. Towtruck will be here any minute.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006



Last night I had a dream. About my grandmother. Who has been dead almost thirty years.

If you know me, you've probably heard me make reference to her, as my 'saintly white-haired grandmother.' As in, "My saintly white-haired grandmother used to say, "And people in hell want ice water." Or, "As my saintly white-haired grandmother used to say, "If you want to make a sale, put the goods in the window." Or, "As my saintly white-haired grandmother used to say, "Fortune favors the bold."

Sarah Eleanor Kramer was quite the lady. She was the pilar of her church, St. Gabriel's Episcopal in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While staying up here, she was invited to take part in a Bible study conducted by some local Mennonite women, and would wow them with her ability to quote just about any passage of the Scriptures--King James version--that they chose to look at. (And they say Episcopalians don't know the Bible.) She also had the odd habit, to which I'll probably succumb one day, of weeping during services.

You probably have the impression of someone pretty retiring and perhaps a bit sanctimonious, huh?

Once, during a family game of Scrabble, my grandmother announced, "Well, I have a U, an N, and a T, but no letters that would make a word. Well, I do have one letter that would work, but I can't use it with Drew here." And my dad gave an exasperated "Mom!" My grandfather, whom I called "Pop," told me about the early days of their marriage. I interrupted when he was describing how his wife would make gin in the bathtub and asked, "So, you were a bootlegger and Nana was a flapper, is that it?" And he told me that he guessed you could call it that. My brother once made the mistake of inviting her to join in the game when she was staying with him on a friday night, when he would play poker with the boys. She cleaned them all out. And gave me the proceeds and told me to buy myself "something nice."

She doted on me. Spoiled me rotten. Letting me know I was her pride and joy. Possibly the root of my problems in managing my money stemmed from my relationship with her.

We were sitting at the kitchen table here in this house when she told me that she felt strange. She went to lie down. Later, the doctor told her she had had a stroke. Not long afterwards, she was visiting her lifelong friend down the street, Hazel Lamont, to deliver some new bit of neighborhood news. When Hazel answered the door, Nana said she was dizzy. She sat down on the rocker on Hazel's porch and died then and there. I don't remember her funeral. Possibly it was thought that with two deceased mothers, I didn't need to experience that.

In my dream, Nana and I were on some sort of campus. There was a religious retreat going on. Held by Quakers, I think. (For people who refer to their services as "Silent Worship," they sure are a chatty bunch, huh?) At one point, we were in a car, a big late model '70s thing. She was behind the wheel. (My grandmother didn't drive.) It was a pretty Lucy and Ethel thing, plowing through flower gardens and over shrubbery and such.

I woke up as the dream concluded, feeling warm and wonderful. And full of gratitude. Grateful for her visit.

Why now?

I have no idea.