There’s nothing like a nice swift kick to the ego to put things in perspective.

Allow me to explain…

The place where I hang my hat in order to drown my sorrows isn’t what you would a call a “pick up” joint. For the most part, the crowd consists of regulars who have known each other for years and over that time have become something of an extended family.

So there I was nursing my Beam and Bud and chatting up a few of my friends about my lack of success in the dating area over the past few years. I guess I was hoping to find myself some degree of sympathy but since both of them are happily married my laments were falling on deaf ears. They both chimed in with their thoughts that until I started to expand my horizons things likely weren’t going to change. They further stated that everybody at the bar knew each other too well and the prospect of that changing was damn near zero.

As I was sitting there pondering that over in my mind the bartender came by with a shot of Beam and placed it down in front of me. I gave her a look that said I didn’t order anything and she replied:

”That came from the girl at the end of the bar, she thinks you’re cute”.

I looked at my two buddies and wondered aloud if they were setting me up as some kind of joke. The timing was just too perfect. After receiving their reassurance that they weren’t trying to pull a fast one I glanced down to the end of the bar and saw the “source” of my good fortune.

She looked to be about thirty five with short blonde hair and looked awfully cute from a distance. I’m pushing fifty six and it took me awhile to muster the courage to walk down there, introduce myself and thank her for the drink.

So, I gave my friends a little shit about my luck finally starting to change and strolled down to the end of the bar as proud as a peacock. With renewed confidence, I stuck out my hand and said:

”Hi, my name is borgo and I just wanted to thank you for the drink and get to know you better.”

Or something to that effect.

Upon further inspection (and much to my delight) she was a lot prettier close up than she was from a distance. She had these pretty green eyes and smile that immediately melted my heart. I thought to myself that the stars had aligned and my losing streak with women was about to become history.

She extended her hand and said:

”Hi, my name is Carly but I think you made a mistake. I didn’t buy you a drink.”

I got this look of confusion on my face and immediately thought that my friends had indeed decided to have a bit of fun at my expense. I shot them a dirty look but then she said.

”My mom did, she’ll be right back.”

Well, to make a long story short and not to be too offensive but when her mom returned I swear she had to be at least seventy. She looked like she spent way too many hours under the tanning bulbs and her skin had this leathery look that reminded me of an old baseball glove.

I was always raised to be a gentleman so I started chatting up the two of them. Nothing too detailed, nothing too deep. After about fifteen or twenty minutes I reciprocated their gesture and ordered a couple of drinks for the three of us. After polishing that off I decided to go outside and have a much needed smoke.

I met my buddies outside and told them of the circumstances. After laughing their ass off (after all, what are good buddies for) I went back inside and took a peek to see if they were still there.

I was greeted by the sight of two empty barstools. I asked the bartender where they went and she said they had settled up and took off. I resumed my usual place, ordered another round and just stared at the television set alone in my thoughts.

Over the past few days the story has gotten some play at the bar and has been the subject of some good natured and much deserved ribbing. Like most bar stories it’s been repeated and enhanced and over time will slowly fade away into oblivion.

Still, even though my ego took one right in the nuts, I can’t help but be a bit flattered.

Who knows?

Maybe next time things will be different.

I keep accidentally staring people down.

Earlier, when I was feeling sardonic, I posted a rant in short fragments in the catbox. I was complaining about being in Burlington, about Vermont, about spending a birthday with only one person who knows who I am and surrounded by a strange town and stranger people. I decided I wasn't doing that whole self pity thing and stopped talking.

I'm still not doing that whole self pity thing. I'm just working through the fact that my head's feeling like a cement mixer stopped on the highway, everything I've been carrying with me slowly solidifying, slowly going to waste. I'm just working through the fact that I am six foot three and strongly built, yet people keep running into me while I'm walking, pressed up against buildings, down new sidewalks. I'm just working through the fact that, for someone who is not a fan of his home and for someone who, as a 15 year old, was already spending multiple months in one stretch living away from his family, I'm homesick for the first time.

I'm working through the fact that although it's only been three hours since I've spoken to anyone, it feels like three days.

I've spent the last two and a half hours sitting in a library, writing and reading e2. My sister - the only person I know living in Vermont - is currently having an orientation at the hospital she's volunteering at. She has to get blood drawn in two days, see if she has TB. That's about the only solid information I've gotten from this trip.

I was thinking about the whole alone-on-a-birthday thing while walking through the town earlier. The snow had started coming down for real, and I was walking up Pearl Street with no idea where I was. I decided I didn't really care about it. At home, all that I'd do for a birthday would be see the same family I had seen every other day, get congratulated for managing to not die for another year, and then go on with my life. I didn't think I was missing anything.

I still don't think I mind being away from home. I think I just don't like change. I've never not been home for a birthday before, never not lurched into a dark kitchen at nine in the morning. Change is the devil you don't know, the rapid choices that make up a life. Change is stressful. This was change.

Recently, two of my friends started texting me for advice. I don't know when I became the advice guru. I don't know shit, I just have pretty lies. One friend was asking about what she should do with someone who didn't care about her as much as she cared about them. The other asked about how to deal with a friend who was causing too many problems in her life.

I had a hard time not copying and pasting my advice from one to the other. I told both of them that the first step had to be to tell the other person. That they had to be the change. That their options were either to try changing everything and play it as best as they could, or keep living a life that just wasn't doing it for them.

I also told both of them about how I am shit at taking my own advice. For the past five years, I have been in the closet about being gay.

I understand I have to be the change. I understand that my options are to try changing my situation or keep living a life that honestly just isn't fucking doing it for me anymore.

But change fucking sucks.

Humans inherently fear change. So far what they've done hasn't killed them, so why not keep doing that?

I know that I need to make a change. But for now, it looks like all I'm going to be doing is getting too deep into my own problems while lost on cold walks in a strange state.

I was also thinking about just what that change would do to me. Would being more honest mean that I would suddenly become a different person? Did the fact that I was walking alone make me suddenly hold myself so much more flamboyantly?

I didn't think so.

Then people started bumping into me.

I don't hold myself like a dude. I walk with legs close together, bend and hunch myself. If I wasn't 6'3" and fucking huge, I don't think I would have survived high school. And yet once I started being a little more honest with myself, I started getting hit.

So there's that.

On the other hand, I am still 6'3". Just because people don't act like it, just because I don't feel like it, doesn't change that fact. And that gives me hope.

After all, when people run into me, they fucking bounce.

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