Monday, August 24, 2009

Again, already? Damn it...

So, I'm another year older. Fucking hell, right? How did this happen already? And so quickly?

I blinked and we were already half way through 2009. I turned my head and it's the end of August, my birthday came and went, and summer is close to done. I half expected Christmas to be in my hallway when I opened up my apartment door this morning, and no doubt every friggin Target from Boston to San Francisco already has their fake trees lined up and ready to sell.

Time is a real tricksy motherfucker. It can be your best friend when you acknowledge and respect its power and influence, but it can also shove your face in the mud when suddenly you realize another year has passed and you struggle to think about where the hell it all went. Days can feel long, yet weeks whiz by. Seasons sometimes feel too long or too short, yet the months skip along merrily at their even pace, forcing me to flip my calendar to the next half-naked NYC Fireman of the Month. I want to really enjoy that calendar, but just when I feel like I've developed a good relationship with Mr. August, I have to prepare my goodbyes to him and start chatting up Mr. September. What a slut.

I've always said that I want to age gracefully, and I think I will for the most part. Our youth obsessed culture makes it difficult to really embrace getting older, however, I'm bound and determined to enjoy it. Naturally, I don't want any wrinkles, I want to superglue my hair to my scalp, I want a steady 5% bodyfat ratio until I'm 90, and if my penis shrinks, I'll just die.

In thinking of aging gracefully, I'm reminded of an experience where I did absolutely nothing of the sort and put "gracefully" on the shelf to replace it with "wrathfully".
I was on vacation in Florida for "Gay Days" in Orlando at Disney World. That's an entirely separate blog all together, but for the sake of setting the scene, look at the above pic and just imagine many hundreds, likely over a thousand, half-naked gay men sunning themselves by the hotel pools during the day, running amok at a different theme park each night, circuit party dance music piped in from everywhere, and mixed drink stations every 200 feet. Mind you, I don't typically find myself mixing in these crowds, but for the sake of experience I thought I might give it a go one year. It was an absolute blast.

So, it was a hot, sunny, Saturday early afternoon and I was in the pool wrapped around this blond guy who I met while down there. We floated in between all the other boys who were paired up with other boys in similar fashion and we sidled up next to this cute couple. One was very young and had himself wrapped around the other, probably in his early 30s, both floating along and giggling flirtatiously. They were lovey dovey and we thought they seemed fun so we struck up a conversation with them.

Right off the bat, the first (and only) icebreaker used was the "Guess How Old I Am" game. Blondie and I each took our guesses and were pretty spot on, the young one was just barely 21. They each looked at Blondie and guessed somewhere in the appropriate age range, maybe flattered him with a year or two off of what his actual age was.

Then, the twinky 21-year-old turned to me and began assessing my face, so I smiled and asked, "Okay, so how old do you think I am?" He kind of cocked his head to the side, squinted his eyes and pouted his lips, synapses trying so desperately to spark something inside his vacant brain. He shook himself out of his "thinking-mode" with a little jolt and a roll of his eyes and chirped, "Oh I don't know...thirrrtyyy...four?"

I was 26 years old.

In my head, I drowned him.

In actuality, I squawked something completely nonsensical, splashed him, threw out a profanity or two and then told him to get fucked, which, in retrospect, wasn't any kind of insult because that was the whole purpose of the trip for him.

Attempt at aging gracefully: Failed.

It will happen. I have my anti-aging night cream at my bedside, but I've also got a decent head on my shoulders which I hope will steer me into truly enjoying the coming years of adulthood. The decent head must, however, retain all hair for this mission to be successful.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The L Train Circus

So for anyone who is unfamiliar with New York City, the subway system here is vast. The MTA subway map is a web-like explosion of twisted and winding colored lines that someone, somewhere decided made sense a long, long time ago. If ever a group of people were to artfully portray the subway map somewhere, it would likely turn into a giant rainbow orgy.

You get all kinds on the subway and frankly, if I ever need a shot of writing inspiration, I know where to go. The train line where my judgy and voyeuristic eyes are most routinely spanked is the L train that runs east to west along 14th Street in Manhattan and also out to Brooklyn. It's like the circus. Except the circus cheats you out by only giving you three rings to watch stuff from your seat way back in the stands. On the L train, each train car is like its own ring where you see up close, and at times detrimentally, the most mind-boggling displays of some of New York's most interesting clowns.

Did I say clowns? I'm sorry, I meant weirdo hipsters.

What are some of these people thinking? I try not to let myself get annoyed and just enjoy the show, but there are times when the urge to ask someone, "What the fuck are you wearing?" just consumes you. There are times when it can be really fun and unapologetic gawking is completely acceptable. There are also times when, no matter how hard you may try to avert your eyes, like a bad car wreck you can't help but look...and then go into full-on judgypants mode. Plastic, colored glasses, skinny jeans, greasy hair, obnoxious jewelry, and way too much plaid are just the tip of the iceberg of the folks who corral themselves into the Brooklyn village of Williamsburg and the Lower East Side of Manhattan...both conveniently located right near that fabulous L Train.

I get it though. Like animals, we travel in packs, we play with our own kind, and we live in the same areas, and Williamsburg and the LES exemplify all of this quite nicely. Basically, you can't swing a dead cat in either of these places without hitting a least a dozen hipsters. Now, don't misunderstand, they're a perfectly nice cross-section of the New York City population, quiet, exclusive, and pretty passive. They have their coffee places and their dark, moody bars, and they laugh and have fun just like the rest of us. They just have an appalling sense of style that has infected their entire identity.

My love letters to each gender:

Dear hipster girl: Large, colored, plastic horn-rimmed glasses are not cute. They're particularly not cute with any "vintage" onesie/belt/legging combos, and little pink plastic barrettes. Please take care not to bludgeon the general population's eyesight anymore. P.S. Stop playing with black hair dye.

Dear hipster boy: Burn all of your skinny jeans. They're terrible. They look ridiculous and flatter no one. Ever. Eat a hamburger and wash your hair. Get your hair cut first, actually and have them shave off that fucking mustache while they're at it.

The picture at right is a great example of what one might encounter. What you regrettably can't see is the excessive gold jewelry and the plastic hair accessories. It gives credence to my judgments. It absolutely permits nearly every rational thinking individual to ponder, "But why?" Let's be real though, I think that while most of us can agree that her outfit is abysmally bad, who here can't possibly get a giggle at the guy's expression across from her who is no doubt receiving a nauseating, assaulting view of something much worse. Personally, I was caught in a fit of quiet laughter. I think I probably looked like I escaped from a mental institution...whatever, a few cocktails will do that to you.

In continuing with humility, I might add that today, I'm wearing a pair of jeans from 1994 because I have yet to do laundry and I look like Medusa given that I am attempting to grow out my hair. Why the attempt at long, you ask? Like any other yuppy male schmuck, I'm feebly trying to hold onto any remnants of hair and youth before it's all gone...which I'm sure someone on the subway must have been thinking when my mane temporarily blinded them as I passed by to take a seat.