The Inferno Post
(Thinking ahead this year, I carried with me a pen and notebook, jotting down thoughts at random. So here they are, in lieu of a narrative. I mean, at this point, you know what the narrative is, right?)
Left at 3:00 a.m.
Foggy hills dappled with goldenrod in Western Pennsylvania.
Crows watch me speed by from the side of the highway.
Just past the halfway mark at the first rest stop on the Ohio Turnpike, I get my first Starbucks. (And see several hot Ohio men.)
Other than Starbucks, I'm still boycotting Ohio because we have them to blame for the last election.
The Left Turn Signal Gambit that hot tub guy taught me (while on the interstate, put drive with your left turn signal on to indicate to truckers that you're up for sex) proves fruitless. I think that must only work in Florida.
From what I've seen, the entire state of Indiana has let themselves go. Everybody needs a makeover. That could be their state motto: "Indiana -- Just Let Yourself Go!"
Michigan is beautiful countryside. It puts me in mind of Hemingway's Nick Adams Stories. If you haven't read it, take it on your next vacation. Especially if it's a camping trip.
I get to Inferno! Thirteen hours on the road.
I'm in my room unpacking and hot tub guy calls. Crying. Really crying. Because he was out riding his bike and had a spill. And got hurt. Bad. And was alone.
That. Was. Rough.
I did the best I could to talk him through it. Called later on and there was no answer. The next day, he called me. He took a bunch of sleeping pills and passed out. Woke up the next morning in sheets soaked in blood. Made it to work where they patched him up in the infirmary or whatever.
And hot tub guy thanked me for being there for him.
The first night of Inferno. The dungeons are open. It's cold and drizzly. Maybe because I drove twelve hours on four hours of sleep, maybe because I was worried about hot tub guy... I just feel so detached. So out of it. I head to bed early.
The next morning, I renew my acquaintance with Officer Wes. Officer Wes met my best Inferno buddy Alpha when they were roommates their freshman year of college. Such a sweet man. He mentions that he wants to be singletailed at some point. (!) I would totally be up for whipping Officer Wes! The connection is definitely there.
In the alternative, there's my roommate from LA. It's his first Inferno. He's a gentle, thoughtful man, and I immediately liked him. So I did my best to impart to him some words of wisdom for his first Inferno, and before dinner, gave him a quick tour of the compound.
Monday, 5 p.m.
Rain, rain, go away.
No play today. The bondage tent collapsed. No one was injured, and the facilities crew did an amazing job in rearranging the equipment so there was no interruption in the availability the various bondage tables and such.
But I couldn't help thinking that the collapse of the bondage tent was somehow symbolic. The overall mood was somewhat subdued.
Yossie from SF organized a hook dance. Whuzzat? Wellllll... Participants get a couple of large gauge fish hooks through their pectoral muscles, strung with loops of cord. Attaching the other end of the loop to some fixed object, leaning back and letting the hooks support one's weight, giving it to a partner to tug. Very quickly, the sublime dance began. If endorphins could be harnessed to produce electricity, we could have powered some midwestern metropolis.
Watching it, however, I felt fragile.
Perhaps not trusting myself after my reaction getting whipped by roadkill last year. Or, perhaps, the psychic energy I expend keeping pain and loneliness at bay in my daily life depletes my resources. I had a feeling watching the men with hooks in their chests that I was staying up with the grown ups.
This morning at breakfast I proposed to Officer Wes that I whip him. But he has a bacterial infection and doesn't feel up to it.
And no other topportunities have presented themselves.
But then, I got the phone call from hot tub guy, reporting that he was alright. And that was the best thing that happened to me all day.
Huh. A thought occurs to me. I'm internalizing. The weather is crappy. People are staying in their rooms. The bondage tent collapsed. Maybe the reason that I'm not having any opportunities to play is because no one is playing. It's not about me.
But maybe I'm just not cut out for all this stuff. I'd rather be making dinner for hot tub guy. I want to fall in love, and it's unlikely that will happen at Inferno.
Now if it's not not about me, just what am I doing? Or not doing? Maybe it's just the case that my expectations are too easily raised. Or a general awkwardness in new situations.
Maybe I'm just "Complicated." Am I "Complicated?"
I thoroughly enjoyed a shaving scene with Manboy Bill. The first scene I did during my first Inferno was giving Manboy Bill a mohawk. This time, he wanted to leave what was on top, but take off the back and sides. I was as obsessive shaving his head as I am with my own, not letting up until it was smoothe as a baby's ass. And he looked great. And it was very even.
Wandered around with my whip around my neck for awhile. No takers. Not even close.
With my sponsee (the one who showed up!), I watched ARt whipping the Mann von München. My sponsee commented, "I feel my spiritual quest and my sexual longings are one." (Can I pick'em or can I pick'em?)
More rain today. Good news for performance outerwear fetishists, bad news for the rest of us.
Text message from hot tub guy asking about the weather. My reply: You can see your breath. Then I messaged him: There are a few porn guys here, and many other hot men, but all I want is to curl up next to you in bed. He gave me an emoticon smile for that.
Maybe everyone who was here for A made dates or is all played out.
What vibe am I giving off?
At this point, if I did have an opportunity to play, my head would totally be in the wrong place.
"Own your power" was what Yossie told a reluctant hook dance participant.
"I have really bad news. The rain gods want us to sacrifice a virgin. So we're shit out of luck."
In the world but not of the world. That's how I feel. Just like the 2004 season of the Ball Breakers.
Tuesday, 1 p.m.
In matters of the heart, I don't deal well with ambiguity. (Thanks, Dad!)
So that's why I'm having such a hard time.
However, my roommate from Los Angeles has asked me to flog him this evening after dinner. So now I can relax.
Tuesday After Midnight
Flogging my roommate from Los Angeles went really well. I gave him a sampling of as many sensations on his beautiful back as I could squeeze in. Afterwards, I was supposed to get my butt beat by TxLthrDad. After the scene with my roommate, I needed to unwind just a wee bit. I saw TxLthrDad as I was heading up to my room to get a cigar, but on my return, he was gone. I have to admit though, I was steeling myself rather than panting with anticipation. I can't take anything at all on my butt. It makes me cry. Anything but that. Bondage, edge play, knives, face punching... But not my butt. I hung around the beverage tent until midnight snack. No sign of him. So I decided to go to bed. After all, long day of Tear Down tomorrow.
I wonder if my SM is different now. Not so much about whips and needles and wax and such, but more about relationships, connection... Not so much about bodies but more about heart, mind, and soul.
If someone so much as pokes me, I'm going to cry.
So I had a crappy Inferno, but a great Tear Down.
Could it have been a failure of my sadistic imagination? I used to be so much more involved with things. Before I lived out in the howling wilderness. I'm so out of the game.
During the final brunch of the run, before everyone heads for home whose not staying for Tear Down, they read a list of all the groups represented by the men attending. "GMSMA, Dallas Discipline Corp, Renegades..." In the middle of the list I heard "American Organists Guild." I was sitting next to church organist Manboy Bill. I turned to him, and barely looking up he said offhandedly, "You don't know for sure that was me."
I never jerk off during Inferno. The eroticism is the sea I swim in, it seems so de trop. But the first night of Inferno, I decided to give it a shot. It was slow to get going. Like I had to teach myself to do it again.
During Tear Down, the facades began to drop. (Or mine did anyway.) We became ourselves again, little by little. The men we are the other fifty-one weeks of the year. Comparing notes on PDAs. The price of gas back home. Flooded basements. Overweight cats. I found that DCSMTop and I shared a preoccupation with Project Runway. At dinner, I met a Russian man with great energy. And, he lives not so far away from me. Hope to be seeing him sometime again.
Diabolique was the Tear Down co-chair. He was perfect. Set just the right tone. Encouraging, clear, concise, focused. Just perfect. In the wake of a nuclear apocalypse, I'd be hunting for Diabolique because I'm sure he'd have us growing organic vegetables under geodesic domes to get us through the nuclear winter in no time at all.
Some secondary roads that overpass or underpass the Ohio Turnpike:
During Tear Down, while we were toting away the St. Andrew's crosses, I was singing to myself one of my favorite hymns: "Raise high the cross! The love of Christ proclaim!"
Overheard during Tear Down: "Hey Tiger! Oh... I'm sorry. I didn't mean you, I meant the other Tiger.
The first morning of Tear Down, I awoke to the sound of rain drumming on the roof. It took me about twenty minutes to put on my boots. I was just dreading heading out in it. But it was fine. Better than fine.
Okay okay okay. So it seems I like Joe the Barber. This always happens to me. Just when I make up my mind not to like someone, I become a big fan.
The "Last Day Of Inferno Conversation Phenomenon." You've got to get a move on and head for home, and there's that guy you did that scene with last night, and what transpires is this staccatto "That scene we did. Transformative. So powerful. Changed my life. Get home safe." Like drive-by affirmation.
So anyway. I get home on Friday. Saturday, I headed up to NYC (MUCH to my father's chagrin) for an awards ceremony for softball. And that was cool. I had heard that the New York boys of Leather (NYboL) was having a bar night at the 9th Avenue Saloon, and figured that would be worth a stop-in.
And was it ever. I knew half the place. And they were happy to see me. Really happy to see me. Like a homecoming. Which it was. And I was asked to become an associate member of NYboL. You bet I said yes! And there was my buddy Rick who moved down to FTL!!! Back in town for some meeting. Such a wonderful, sweet man with a smile that lights up a room. Rich was the last person in my life with whom I could go out and get drunk off my ass and laugh myself silly. I miss him so much. I miss everybody so much.
That's what was awry at Inferno. It's not the SM I need. It's to feel like I'm part of... ...something. A brotherhood. A family. A circle. A band of warriors. Among people who know me. Who find my presence in their life something to celebrate. Not to mention that numinous cloud of romantic possibility.
Although it meant giving up several opportunities for play at Inferno (among other things, it was pretty Top-heavy this year), I think I did the right thing by not bottoming. I'm bottoming most of the time these days. And I've always felt so much more myself when I'm on Top.