They started coming in 5 years ago when their daughter was just 4 months-old. The Mom loves telling tables next to her how Lil’ Rachel used to sit in her car seat and follow me with her eyes everywhere I went. Since then her parents have called me her boyfriend.
Every time she comes in I give her a big hug and compliment whatever pink accessory she’s wearing. When she turned 2 I put a candle in a scoop of ice cream and had everyone sing Happy Birthday to her. She huffed and puffed so hard that saliva shot everywhere. Not a drop hit the flame, it didn’t even flicker. It was so cute that I celebrated her birthday every week for next 6 months. I stopped when her aim got good enough that it just wasn’t worth the hassle of running around looking for people to sing anymore.
They stopped coming in as frequently when the husband died of heart failure a year ago. Last week was the first time I had seen the girls in a while. Rachel was excited about starting kindergarten in the spring. Her smile was as bright as the gold plated Star of David she wore around her neck that used to be her father’s.
“It’s so pretty and shiny. I must have it. Gimme!” I said as I reached for the necklace. She let out a scream and then giggled as she wrapped her arms around her neck to protect it.
They had just gotten back from Mexico visiting family where apparently Rachel found a new boyfriend; her 15 year-old cousin Oscar. I knew something was up because she acted so disinterested in me. Half way through their meal the Mom signaled for me to come over. She passed me a piece of paper and whispered, “Rachel just asked me the funniest thing… I don’t know where she comes up with this stuff.” I opened it and written in green ink was, “Does Jim date girls?”
I laughed and then blushed. Rachel pretended not to pay attention as she dipped her mini-burger in 1000 island and took a bite, but I could tell she was waiting for an answer. The Mom was aware of my sexual orientation, as we used to be friends on Facespace, but Rachel was not.
I wonder what I did to make her ask this. Was it the delicate way I pointed to things on the menu? Was it the feminine facial expressions I made while describing the deliciousness of a certain appetizer? Was she just the youngest girl on the planet to develop such a precise gaydar? Or had she simply heard this question before on T.V. or at day camp, understood its significance, and wanted to know if I was single? Whatever it was, I know that 5 year-olds are smart and respect you more if you tell them the truth.
“No,” I said.
Rachel put down her burger and then showed me her gold necklace again.
When Chanel left yesterday I checked my wallet to see if I had accomplished my goal. I had 17 dollars remaining. I did it! Of course there were times when Chanel treated me, like to the Guinness and shrimp dinner at one of my favorites, otherwise I would have easily gone over my limit, but let’s not talk about that.
Speaking of not talking about it, I’ve got a date tonight. Remember that guy that I thought rejected me after I told him what I did for a living? You know, that good-for-nothin’ two-bit whore. Um, well, it turns out that he was in Vegas for a few days and too busy to respond to my email. I may have overreacted, sue me. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again.
Speaking of doing it again, next week I’m meeting up with that guy I got a ticket with on our last date. He texted me the other day and asked if I wanted to hang out. We’re gonna play tennis. I know we had our differences, but we also had a lot in common. Who knows, maybe I can get a friend out of this? When I asked him which court he’d like to meet at he replied, “I can go to your place and we’ll take it from there :).”
I’m not going to overthink any of this. I’m just gonna grab my broom and dust off the cobwebs that are dangling like feathers from the ceiling.
I met Chanel my freshman year of college, back when I was still tricking people. We’d spend many nights in her room drinking screwdrivers and downloading songs from Napster. One night we got super drunk and ended up making out under the table in the lounge. Afterwards as I walked her to her room she said, “I don’t want it to be weird tomorrow.” And it wasn’t. We carried on as though nothing had happened. That’s what I loved about her; she never pressed issues or made things awkward. For me it was great because I never had to answer questions, for her it was torture because she never got questions answered.
She’s been dating this guy for 3 months now. He’s our age, tall, handsome, has a wicked sense of humor, and is sociable in public. He introduces her to people at parties as his girlfriend. She’s been on sailing trips with his family. They’re pretty serious, well, except for the intimacy. The furthest she’s gotten with him is a kiss, and that’s only been twice. She thought she was going to get some that one time he spent the night at her house. When he offered to sleep on the couch she said, “Don’t be silly. You can sleep in my bed.” He said, “Thanks,” and then crawled in, rolled his back to her, and fell asleep. She looked at him like, “What?” and then watched Chelsea Lately for a bit before turning off the light and going to bed.
Is he or isn’t?
He’s not a strong Christian but comes a family with values. His brothers all have girlfriends but his last relationship was 10 years ago. He’ll change the station when a good pop song comes on and likes to go for long bike rides. He wants to be a firefighter and lived abroad in Indonesia for 2 years.
Is he or isn’t he?
She asked my opinion and the only advice I could give to her was to ask him about it next time things turn cold. It may be awkward but at least she’ll get answers because right now the only person who knows is him, and that’s not fair to her.
My gurl Chanel is driving down from the Bay Area to stay with me for the next 3 days. I’m still trying not to spend any money this month (last night was comped) so I’ve budgeted $150 for the entire staycation… I’m as broke as Suga T but it’s all good because there’s plenty to do in Los Angeles that doesn’t require spending (except, of course, on gas money).
…a bartender that we’ve both dated but neither was fortunate enough to ever see naked. He hooked us up with top shelf liquor for free. It’s uncomfortable for me to talk to him, especially when he’s in his underwear, but I sucked it up for free booze.
We also found a guy I used to work with but haven’t seen in over 2 years. He, a breeder from the Midwest, and I, a gay male from Earth, used to have a good relationship and often shared stories about farming. He’s now bartending at the hottest gay club in town. The thing that annoyed me was how he made it clear that working there wasn’t anything special.
“Yeah, so I’m probably gonna be out of here in a month,” he said as he poured me and Ronnie each a double Grey Goose rocks.
“Really?” I said slightly annoyed. I’ve discovered that any straight dude who works at a gay bar and openly complains about it is normally a homo. “Don’t you make good money here?” I asked knowing damn well that he easily makes $300 a night.
“Oh, it’s great! But I’ve got better things coming up involving modeling and acting,” he said as he counted the drinks in his head. “No charge, babe.”
“Cool,” I said as I tipped him 300%. ”Good luck, babe!”
At the last bar I met a reader named DK who recently broke up with his boyfriend and wants to write about it. He asked me to read it first to make sure that he’s not "throwing him under the bus. I want to make sure my culpability is all in there."
Ronnie fell in love for the 432nd time. He met the most handsome front desk manager at the gym and swore they exchanged eyes in the sauna. Desperate to get his last name in order to Facespace stalk him, but too embarrassed to ask, he requested that I call and investigate. Bored while waiting for the results of my mole analysis, I obliged.
“Hello, thank you for calling We-Suck-Cox Gym in Century City. This is Sally, how may I help you?” the receptionist said.
“Hello Sally. My name is Jim. I spoke to a gentleman earlier named Larry.”
“Uh huh,” she said as though she’s heard this name a million times. “Larrrrry.”
“Yeah Larry,” I said. “Wait, what was his last name again?”
“Santucci,” she said.
“Yeah, that’s it,” I said. “Santucci. Well, I had talked to him about getting a memebership. What time do you guys close tonight?”
“10 o’clock but it’s better if…”
I hung up and immediately texted Ronnie the info. It didn’t take but 5 minutes before he sent me a full portfolio of this guy. God bless people in L.A. for being so marketable… Accessible? No, marketable. Either way, Sunday night we’re on a mission to find Larry. Or someone like him.
Jazz:We’ve decided on April because having it in August will cost an extra 6 thousand dollars. We found the perfect place, too. The problem is that it’s only available on the 20th.
Jazz:Well, do you think it’ll look tacky having our wedding on 4/20?
Me:No, not at all. Firstly, it’s the only date available so you have to take it. Secondly, it sounds completely different when you say April 20th. Thirdly, I don’t think anyone will even know what 4/20 means.
Jazz:Um, do you know who I’m inviting? I’m sure the only person who won’t know is my Grandmother.
Me:Well, at least every year when people are blazing up they’ll think of your wedding and how magical it was. Also, you’ll never forget your anniversary, unless of course you wake and bake.
NOTE:I don’t see any problem with having a wedding on April 20th. There are loads of other holidays that could be worse, like Christmas or Memorial Day. It made me think about what time of the year I’d like to get married. I think I’d like an August wedding in my hometown of Coupeville, WA. I’d have it at Sunnyside Cemetery which overlooks the prairie and Ebey's Landing. There’s a perfect little pull-out where I used to park my truck at night after work and secretly smoke cigarettes while dreaming of the day I’d get to escape. It’s funny how after all these years and adventures I’d like to end up back there to tie the knot. It's just so beautiful and historic, which oozes romance.
New No Doubt and I boner it! The best concert I’ve ever been to was No Doubt on their Rock Steady Tour. Not only did Garbage open, who rocked it and could have easily headlined, but it was the first concert that I got drunk at! My friends and I hid travel sized bottles of booze in our pockets and guzzled them in the bathroom. I had to push a million tiny Avril Lavigne look-alikes, all dressed in wife beaters and ties, out of the way in order to make my way to the front of the stage. I didn’t make friends that night but it was totally worth it because when drummer Adrian Young spit in the crowd part of it hit my face! Gwen has always been my #1. Love her more than Katy, more than Britney, more than Beyoncé, more than Madon… no, Madonna still reigns but nobody does California cool like Gwen!
It’s been 21 days since I quit smoking. I’m supposed to reward myself by buying something special but I think the smell of fresh air is good enough.
It’s also been 7 days since I deactivated my Facespace account. I’ve learned that the best and most mature way of dealing with anything Internet that makes you rage is to simply eliminate it from your life. It’s one thing to get angry when watching an innocent bus monitor get bullied by some 11 year-old scabs, but raging over the wedding pictures of a girl you went to high school with is just unhealthy.
“Ugh, she’s so annoying. It’s not gonna last. She only did it so her parents would buy her a house. And he wore a baseball cap in their wedding? Trash!”
What?! Where did I get off trying to rain on what was supposed to be the happiest day of this girl’s life? Was it jealousy induced? Maybe. All I know is that this (rage) was happening a lot when I logged in to Facespace so in order to stay true to myself I had to eliminate it from my life.
Today I’m celebrating being healthy. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go burn a few calories by watching porn.
Half way to the store I realized that I had forgotten my wallet on the counter next to the mail holder. I flipped a U-ey and sped back home. I only had half an hour before the store closed and couldn’t go to Ronnie’s apartment without the bag of ice I promised to bring.
I double parked and turned on my hazards. I jumped out of my car and darted towards my apartment. I don’t like going through the courtyard because my heavy stomping alerts the neighbors to my coming and going (the less they know about me the better) so instead I went through the tiny corridor on the side of the building. It was dark with ivy branches spewing everywhere. I smacked them away as I ran full speed. Just as I was about to turn the corner I was stopped by a giant, beady-eyed possum.
Like a yo-yo at the end of its string, I snapped back. I double Lutz-ed like Kerrigan and flew into the wall, smacking my knee. The pain wasn’t as hideous as the creature in front of me exposing its sharp teeth while hissing. Possums could easily pass for what Satan’s butthole might look like. I took a breath and gathered myself. I was in a hurry and not about to let some rodent get in my way.
“Alright Hissers, just play dead,” I whispered.
“Hissssss,” he replied for the 2nd time.
“Fine,” I exclaimed and ran in the opposite direction.
I was thinking about calling animal control to come and capture Ol’ Hissers but then I thought about how it might have a gang of babies hiding in a crawlspace somewhere waiting for it to get home. I swear, though, if he tries to stop me from using my secret route ever again I won’t think twice to pick up that phone and have them come haul his ass off to the incinerator.
Me:(blushing yet smiling) What do you mean, “really”? Yeah, I still work there.
Him:How’s the writing going? You still doing that Rooster’s Tail blog?
Me:Actually I started a different one.
Him:How many followers do you have?
NOTE:It’s always about the followers. Last night while at the grocery store I ran into a regular of mine that I hadn’t seen in over 2 years. He used to come in with his then-girlfriend (they were long term, possibly engaged) who was a lot more serious than him. He was the type of guy who spoke with such enthusiam, even if it was about waiting in line at amusement parks, that the vein in his neck would pop out. I liked his passion, especially since he was attractive and tipped well. He was now with a new girl (younger than him), had dyed his hair, and was married. He had changed so much in the last 2 years, which is why I felt slightly embarrassed telling him that I was still working at the same joint. Instead of trying to justify things I simply gave him the URL to my blog... Who knows, maybe I’ll get a new follower?!?! Eeeek, fingers and toes!
There are some things in life I’ll never learn to correct no matter how many times I do them, like holding the Yoplait container away from me when opening it so that yogurt doesn’t squirt on me. As I’m shaking it I tell myself, “Away. Hold it away.” Sure enough the next thing I know I’m licking yogurt off my shirt.
My sister-in-law and I can have hour long conversations that range from who was heard having sex in their tent during the family camping trip to which Kardashian couple will be next to split (I’ve bet her a plane ticket to anywhere that Kourtney and Scott will last longer than Khloe and Lamar). These conversations normally irritate my brother so this weekend whenever we’d start up on one, he’d grab his Jack Reacher novel and burry his nose.
My brother is similar to that Jack Reacher character in that he’s always investigating things. He doesn’t snoop, which is completely different, he’s just good at observing the exposed. Within 5 minutes of being at my apartment he had asked about the gap under the front door, the crack running from the ceiling down the wall, and the aluminum lined single-paned windows. He’s an engineer so I suppose these things catch his eye.
“Um, I’ve never really noticed,” I said as I rubbed the scab on the back of my head that I got earlier from snagging my fingernail on a mole.
The other night when we were destroying Sunset Blvd we somehow ended up at the exclusive, members only Foundation Room. My sister-in-law and I sat at the bar discussing Adele’s pregnancy out of wedlock when my brother wandered off to investigate the Prayer Rooms (dimly lit alcoves covered wall to wall with Gujarat fabric). I don’t know how, maybe he noticed that something didn’t line up, but he discovered a secret door that led to a windowless room. Inside were 4 linen-covered dining tables with a woman sitting at one of them counting a stack of money. Where did she get that money? Did she kill someone for it? Did she steal it? Did she have sex for it? He quickly closed the door and raced to find me.
“Hell no I aint going in there. I’m in no mood to end up in Mexico three days from now in some room with just a mattress and a bloody sock in the corner,” I said. By the time he convinced an Australian dude to lead us inside, the room was empty. As we stood there laughing at the absurdity of it all, a different door opened and a man dressed in a black bellhop-like suit appeared. We all stood there frozen.
“Who are you guys?” he asked.
Luckily I didn’t try to throw a chair at him and run because the gentleman, a server named Juan, explained that this was just a private dining room reserved for VIP guests like Elton John and such. The woman from earlier was a bartender counting her tips. Mystery solved.
Later that night, as we sat at Mel’s Diner with bloomin’ onion spicy dipping sauce all the way up to our second knuckles, my brother insisted that something else was happening in that room besides fancy dinners. I agreed.
Me:What?! You’re telling me that the next president of México not only killed his wife, but he also can’t read? ¡Qué chismoso eres! (putting up my hand) Just stop.
Rolando:(slightly entertained but still serious) Te lo juro.
Me:Well then, I wanna be the president of México.
Luis:Ha! The first female president.
Me:Very funny Luis. No, I’d be the first gay president.
Luis:They’d kill you.
Me:¡Ay Dios! Entonces no... So how long are my fries gonna take?
NOTE:México is going through some interesting stuff right now with their presidential election. The boys in the back-of-the-house have been telling me for some time now how corrupt the government is there. Well, today especially, I guess I should be thankful that I live in a country where my vote counts. However, I'd move to México in two shakes of a lamb's tail if it meant I could marry a vaquero and raise the children while he tends the ranch.
My vacation officially starts today. Even though I leave tomorrow to drive down to San Diego to meet my brother and sis-in-law, I don’t work today and have a ton of things to get down before tomorrow:
Get my oil changed. It’s a 2 ½ hour drive south and the last time I changed it “Teenage Dream” was the number one song in Amurika. I’m sure the mechanic will mention something about the ABS brake light being on but I’ll tell him “next time pal” because I really don’t want to put any more money on my credit card. So if my brakes go out on the toll road and I drive into the Pacific Ocean please tell Mom I love her and give my iPhone to Jose at work who has been trying to set up some sort of sexual favor in exchange for it. Wait, I’d probably have the phone in my hand trying to record the accident as it happened, so just tell Mom that I loved her.
Buy a new pair of Chucks. I wore my last pair on the camping trip and they got soaked. I wrapped them tightly in a plastic bag and put them at the bottom of my suitcase. By the time I unpacked, 2 days later, they were moldy and stinky.
Go to the gym.
Go to the car wash. While I’m there I’ll use the free vacuums to clean out all the cigarette ash that didn’t get flicked out the window properly from when I was a smoker and I’ll also re-tie the muffler so that it’s not rattling. I don’t want to scare embarrass my sister-in-law when I come roaring into the hotel valet.
Put the finishing touches on my resume and send it off to a friend of a friend who might be a good connection for a job outside of the serving industry. I need out otherwise I’m going to have a meltdown.
Go to the grocery store. I’d like to have some food in the fridge for when they come back up to L.A. with me, especially a few Coors Lights. My brother is on vacation and he’s going to be wearing his “Beer! It’s what’s for dinner” shirt. His wife hates it but knows how happy it makes him so she allows him to wear it once a year while on vacation, otherwise it’s stuffed at the bottom of a box tucked away in the garage.
Hit the laundromat. I’ll be crashing on the couch and giving them my bed so I wanna make sure there aren’t any drool stains on the pillow cases.
Quick cleaning of the apartment. Typical stuff like spray Tilex mold and mildew remover in the shower, soaking the shower head in CLR cleaner to remove the rust stains, apply Resolve carpet cleaner to the area next to the door where I take off my shoes, dust the window sills, and scrub off the marinara dots from the kitchen floor.
It’s been one week since I quit smoking. One of the many things I miss about it is the ability to excuse yourself at the bar if you get stuck talking to a corpse or need to escape any drama that your friends are stirring up or simply to have a moment of silence to think about the stripper you just saw do a crotch-rocket down the pole and land on his testicles. Whatever it may be, those 5 minutes away to clear your thoughts are the most therapeutic moments of the night. It was tough last Saturday when I went to the Abbey with some friends and couldn’t sneak out for a puff of clarity, but I managed.
I’ve been researching tips for quitting and one of them is to mark each day off on a calendar. Experts say it takes 21 days for a new thought pattern to become automatic, which is what’s required to eliminate a habit. They suggest rewarding yourself after each week. The first week something simple like buying that Hawaiin shirt you’ve been eyeing at Walmart. The second week something a little more valuable like treating yourself to some nachos from 7-11. For the third week something extra special since it’s day 21, like a carton of mother fuckin’ Parliament Lights… Oh boy. Strong girl. Strong girl. Strong girl.