Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Missing You

On a much lighter note than yesterday...

I miss Buffy.

I only started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer while it was in its first season. The name always kept me away even after I had heard that it was a good show. I had caught snippets here and there but never really kept watching. But then, one day while flipping channels, I caught the beginning of an episode where Buffy finds her mother dead on the couch.

I couldn't stop watching what would turn out the be easily the best episode of television that I saw that year and ranks in my favourite of all time. After that, I couldn't get enough. I rented the seasons I had missed and caught every week.

It was remarkably well written. Each year had an overarching story behind it that would wrap up at the end of the season (unlike Lost (or Twin Peaks) that continue with the same mysteries and never really resolve a thing). The dialogue was great and the ideas were always interesting (LOVE the musical episode - brilliant). And things did not always end well for the main characters - when Tara got shot through the chest I could barely breathe from the utter shock).

But Buffy and the Scoobies are gone. Gone and I have yet to find anything that gives me the same pleasure as those 60 minutes a week.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Head First into a Wall

So I live on the ground floor of a duplex in the gay village of Montreal. The main reason for getting this place is a huge backyard. Unfortunately when Bud and I moved in last year, the yard was a jungle of weeds. Some were literally (I am not exaggerating in the slightest) taller than me a 6’2”. It was horrendous. Along with all the weeds, there was garbage, pieces of old buildings and just a general wasteland littered all over the place.

Bud and I (well, okay, Bud basically did everything) cleared out the yard until only dirt was left. Since we don’t own the place, we didn’t want to put in sod, so we bought seed and planted the grass. Came up well. Bud then planted about a hundred bulbs to come up this spring.

Now one side of the yard is a brick wall that is the back of a bar located on a street perpendicular to ours. On this wall there is a fire exit. Now this is the only fire exit for this bar. The bar is permitted to use this exit out of the courtesy of the landlord. There is nothing on the land registry that gives them this right and if our landlord wanted to seal it up, he could. This would effectively close the bar down.

Well, over the past year, people in the bar have been using that door. First it was coming in the yard unbeknownst to us, but this spring they proceeded to destroy a lot of Bud’s tulips. Of course we were furious. Spoke to the landlord and I asked that he instruct the owner of the bar to either put a bar on that door that would set off the fire alarm if opened or else we would seal it off. And then the bar would have to close since they do not have an emergency exit.

Look, I have no problem with people destroying the yard if there is a fire. Of course not, but when someone extends the courtesy to have this in place, you don’t go about abusing it. And that is just what happened. Last week, I got a call from Bud at work. The bar owner and the property owner were in the yard as Bud was reseeding the lawn. Bud told them to leave and they proceeded to claim that we had to keep the door area clear and that they were entitled to use it.

Bud put the owner of the property on the phone with me, and I proceeded to explain to him that he had no right but that this was just a courtesy to them and that while we had been very patient, this was now getting ridiculous. He thought he had a right, so I told him to verify with his own lawyer, since as a lawyer myself, I had checked on this. He accepted it and signed off.

A couple of moments later Bud calls back. The owner of the bar (with whom I did not speak), on his way bar into his bar, tore up more of the flowers and then started to rip out the flower beds themselves. I was flabbergasted. I had just explained that I could have them shut down and he wants to antagonize me? I just don’t get it – oh the Quebecois sometimes live their lives as if they are the only people who exist and we are just bit players in their grandiose tales. So I told Bud to call the police.

The police came by and said they would speak with the bar. The next day the police returned. I explained the situation and the police officer (very cute by the way) said a fire exit was necessary. And I responded, “I know. If I want to seal it off, it would shut them down.” I stated that if the bar was concerned that we were blocking the exit or in some way doing anything that was dangerous to their patrons, they could call inspectors or the police, but that they were not the enforcers of this matter. I offered to show the police the title report to indicate that the bar had no right of access. After looking at it, the police said they would go in and advise the bar that we could shut them down if we wanted to.

And since then, the glorious yard is calm. I am just so confused that someone who relies on the kindness of strangers would have the gall to pick a fight that they cannot win.

And that’s my rant for the day.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Word of Thanks

Today is the six month anniversary of this blog. Over the past half year I have made some interesting revelations about myself, come to a better understanding of what makes me tick, made some inane thoughts public, and generally scribed my life down into these pages. Like everyone else I have changed over this time as well, but one thing that has not changed is my commitment to writing here.

And it has not always been easy. Sometimes I have read over what I have written and been slightly appalled at myself, but its part of the journey I guess. I have been greatly surprised at how much this blog has meant to me. For a longer time I found great solace and wisdom in the writing of others but was always trepiditious about exposing myself in this way. But nothing could have prepared me for how much I rely on this space to reflect on my actions and my interactions with the rest of the world.

Looking forward to what the next six months bring and I want to thank all of you who have shared this time with me. I especially want to thank those of you have taken the time to make a comment here (well…after I figured out how to turn them on! ) and those of you who were kind enough to write me emails of encouragement. Your words, while occasionally difficult to hear (truth sucks sometimes) were always a complete pleasure to receive.

And to my fellow travelers in this blog world, thank you as well for your writings. So rarely do we ever verbalize the emotions and the perspectives that you all seem to be able to discuss in print. I remain fascinated and grateful for your sharing your lives with me.

Friday, May 19, 2006

What a Gay Wants


I was recently reading an article in an Australian gay weekly that discussed the idea of sexual racism. The gist of the article dealt with how minorities within the gay community are often slighted. And while I have no dispute with that element, one other part of the article caught my attention. There was a group that was protesting things like “No-GAM” (Gay Asian Males) notices on dating sites.

Now, back in the day when I was a wild single man, I used a variety of websites myself. And while I never went so far as to state on my profile that I wasn’t into any particular racial group, I also can’t deny that there are certain races (hmmmmm, Italians….) that I can barely resist and others that I don’t find sexually attractive. And one great thing about being a single gay man is that if you are looking for sex (and sex alone) other men don’t really have a problem with this. So I don’t really see what is wrong in spelling this out in the sexual arena. Perhaps this is in the naivety of a white guy, but if you not attracted to someone because they are short, blond, have hairy chest or not, have big feet, have a huge cock, like to dress preppy or happen to be a certain race, all of these things are the same. This is just a question of attraction.

To me, this is different from saying that you don’t want anything to do with someone because they are Asian for example. This is saying you are not sexually attracted to someone for that reason. I’ve been turned down because someone was into Asians and I didn’t think he was a racist for it. Just honest about what he was looking for physically in a person.

But then I got to thinking about whether this sexual attraction would preclude me from having a relationship with someone due to their race. And I have to admit that it probably would. I need to be sexually attracted to whomever I am with. Does this make me racist? I don’t think so. Just shallow. Very very shallow.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Black Comedy

Got the news yesterday that one of my best friends will be coming to Montreal for the Gay Games this summer. Stuart and I met back in 2002 in Australia. I had gone there on an exchange for school. When I arrived I stayed with a friend of mine for a couple days while looking for a place to live. Before I had left Canada I had set up a few appointments (thank god for the internet!), and I arrived at a semi-detached house early one morning.

The room for rent was a furnished one that was available for exactly the same amount of time that I was going to be there and the location was half-way between the university and the gay area. Perfect. Two other guys were living there. One was a stereotypical older queen (well, in his forties) who was a hairdresser. He would wake up in the morning and pour a glass of wine out of a box in the fridge and settle down for a day of getting plastered. And this occurred everyday. It was my first exposure to a true alcoholic rather than the binge ones that I was far more intimately familiar with.

My other roommate was to be Stuart. Stuart hailed from Zimbabwe, but with British citizenship, and was there on a working traveler’s visa for a year. Stuart and I hit it off right away. As we were walking down the street trying to get to know each other he asked, “What kind of movies do you like?”

“Black comedies,” I replied.

“Did you like How Stella Got Her Groove Back?”

I hit the ground, literally, laughing my ass off, “No I meant like satire,” I giggled out. And Stuart without any hesitation broke out howling at himself. I knew then that anyone who could laugh at himself like that was someone that I would love (Of course, I failed to realize at that moment that Stella was not even a comedy).

Stuart grew up in Zim in a very precious and well-off life. His family owned a number of farms and he had many servants including the head lady Margaret. He even took a plane to school. Oh, rough life. This was before the change in political climate in Zim that saw his family lose a number of farms through “re-patriation”. For his birthday, I got a shirt made for him that said across the front “I had a farm in Africa” (to ape “Out of Africa”). Before I gave it to him, I hesitated. I was after all poking fun at the loss of property that his family owned. But my darling Stuart saw the humour. In fact, he ended up wearing it everywhere and became quite a pick-up shirt for him.

But what truly characterized the difference between my youth and Stuart’s was the story of when he first went to London to go to school. Stuart arrived and eventually found that he needed to do laundry. But he sat in front of the machine and realized he had no idea how to operate it. Calling his mother in Zimbabwe, Stuart asked, “How do you use the washing machine?”

“Oh,” his mother replied, “I have no idea. Margaret!”

Friday, May 12, 2006

My Passage into India

In response to a previous comment, I thought I would give a little discussion about my life in India. I know that I have mentioned that I had lived in India a number of times, but I have never really gone into any great details.

For a number of years I had wanted to go to India. Part of this stemmed from a personal challenge. I had always heard that traveling in India was the hardest place, so I thought if I could do it there, I could handle anything. And it was also a yearning to experience a place of true history. Where I grew up, if a building was 50 years old it was considered an historical landmark. In India, I knew that I would be confronted not only by centuries of history but by a culture completely opposite of my own.

And so I decided to save up and when I was 26 I went. And I went alone. Now I have traveled before with others and by myself and they are two very different experiences. When I travel with someone there is a shared bond that inevitably develops as well as an enjoyment of being able to discuss what we have been through. Being on your own though forces you to meet other people and provides an enormous flexibility. My big plan about India was that I was just going to stay in places until I wanted to leave and then just go off somewhere else.

But I also wanted to spend time living in India not traveling around. I didn’t want to just try to see as much of the country as I could, but to experience life there.

I arrived in Bombay well after midnight on scorching hot day. I had been bumped up to business class on my Singapore Airlines (got to love them!) flight and so the juxtaposition of that luxury to the devastating poverty floored me. The airport has the look and feel of a 1950s swimming pool. A layer of grime coating small tiled walls. And I was quick to learn that this grime was everywhere.

A city of 10,000,000 people with almost as many cars all driving with leaded gasoline. The air pollution coated everything with a layer of soot. By the end of my third day in Bombay, all my white clothing was grey, my spit had turned to black and the back of my throat burned from the pollution in the air.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

The trip from the airport to the more touristy area of Bombay was about a 45 minute drive through shanty towns of the barely living. Dogs were constantly running by the side of the road and oddly enough they all looked the same. In fact, for the entire time that I was in India, I only saw one breed of dog! And the drivers were absolutely crazy. Traffic lanes were non-existent and the air pollution was matched by its far more evil cousin – noise pollution. Instead of our rigid rules of the road, the Indian driver lives by the single Gold Rule – He Who Drives the Larger Vehicle has the Right of Way. And so horns honked incessantly to warn other drivers of an approach, a turn, anything. The cacophony of screeching horns would prove to be a braking point later on. But at that time, I was too fascinated by the excitement of this new world.

We finally made it to the hotel that I had booked for my first two days. Stepping out of the taxi the sidewalks were covered with the homeless sleeping where they could and the rats that ran rampant over their slumbering bodies. I made my way into hotel and tried to sleep.

The next day went I awoke, the heat was beating down inside my room. The ceiling fan sputtered around and I quickly got dressed in shorts and a T-Shirt. As I walked from the hotel in search of a restaurant I couldn’t help but notice that everyone kept staring at my legs with an expression of utter astonishment. I later learned that only small children wore shorts and to see a grown man wearing them is like seeing a woman in her forties with pigtails! But I was blissfully in ignorance and off I went to begin what is still in many ways a defining period of my life.

And what happened next will have to wait for another day.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

On the way

I am the first to admit that I am still a bit of an adolescent even at my advanced age. Of course, I haven’t had to grow up due to having kids of my own or been forced into some realm of respectability. But I have been wondering about the path that I have taken. The thing is that here in Quebec people can go into law school directly out of high school. In the rest of North America you typically have to do a different degree first.

What this amounts to is that most people start their law careers when they are around 26 while here there are lawyers in Quebec that start this job at the rip old age of 21. To me, starting my life as a lawyer at 31 was early enough. And I honestly feel for these young people in many ways. My twenties were a time of enjoying university, traveling around the world and just generally getting into trouble. For them, it is long hours of hard school followed by long hours of intense work.

Now, my debt is certainly higher, and at their age my income was undeniably lower, but there is a huge drawback over trying to get life started so early. You tend to miss out on a lot of amazing things. And when you are younger you are ready to experience things that are not so pleasant to contemplate when you are older. Lets just say that there are certain places that I stayed at when I was living in India that I wouldn’t even consider staying in now. I guess I have become more of a princess as I have gotten older.

But it is difficult as well for me to accept sometimes that the path chosen by others is not the better one. I try to remain optimistic over where I have come from and where it has lead me to. I could started my adult life at a much earlier age, but so much would be different today. And I tremble at the thought of losing some of it.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Been having one of those very painful weeks. Bud has been gone since Friday and won’t be back home until Saturday morning. Crazy how a little absence can help you realize just how much you love, need, depend on, and value a person. All of my time at home right now just feels empty without him there.

And this is, to be honest, a different emotion than I have normally had with other men in my life. Typically, I have usually been happy to have a bit of distance every now and then with the person in my life. The freedom to be a slob again around the house, to watch what I want on TV, eat what and when I feel like it. All that crap. But with Bud, it is different and I truly miss him when he is not around.

Now you may be thinking, “Ah, he’s just saying this, since Bud will read this!”, but I have a confession to make. I was reading one of my favourite blogs the other day and he talked about how he and his bf got into a fight over what he had posted. Well, I am a little bit more shady in this respect. I have never told Bud about this blog.

Now, some of you may be appalled by my (in)actions here, but this blog wouldn’t be the same if I knew that he was reading it all the time. As I have said before, this blog was started as a way for me to organize my thoughts about different things and as a way for me to put into some concrete form the way I am feeling about things in my life and life in general. My decision to keep this an anonymous blog was because, knowing myself as I do, I thought I would probably engage in a lot of self-censorship. Its just the way I am – a little too focused sometimes (i.e. constantly) on what other people are thinking about me (See I am so self-centered that even when I am thinking about what other people’s thought are, they still involve me).

And part of this honesty is knowing that I am not going to have to explain myself to my love later at home. This is in many ways a diary and I want the freedom of that medium.

Would he be hurt if he found out? Maybe. Not by the content, but perhaps by its existence. But I guess my main fear of telling him now has to do with the fact that this has become a very important outlet for me. It has become a way that I can force myself to think about my own actions and have some wise commenters point out for me the basis behind some of those same actions. I don’t want to lose this blog because he is uncomfortable with it. I have seen a few of my favourite bloggers disappear due to conflicts between writing and the people in their lives (you know who you are), and I don’t want to have to deal with that.

And this is due to a realization about my relationship with Bud. We deal with “us” in different ways. Whereas I am constantly compromising things for his peace of mind or just for what he wants, any hesitancy or refusal to cave into those demands are often met by pouting or anger. (He is a bit like Monica from Friends when she said “Compromise is doing things my way”). And I don’t want to get into a fight over this.

But of course, this highlights a problem obviously that we have as a couple. And, what couple doesn’t have problems? Its not a major one, but it has been one that has arisen on a number of occasions. Its funny in many ways because when we first started dating, it was the opposite. Bud bent over backwards for me and would do anything for me – but now that has gone full circle to where even the slightest request for deviation from what he considers to be the proper path is met with resistance.

And I can say that this is not a major problem, because it hasn’t become one yet. But in all honesty, it could. We have discussed it a number of times, but, not surprisingly, nothing has changed. I guess its one of those situations where a number of small instances together or one large occurrence will bring on a cataclysmic result. And I don’t want this blog to be a part of that drama.
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