Mixtapes for Hookers


An Election Day Story
November 6, 2010, 9:30 am
Filed under: gay, personal | Tags:

[nb: I wrote this Thursday on the bus, but haven’t been near any internet to post it until now.]

Two years ago, Barack Obama was elected President of the United States of America.  That was one of the saddest days of my life.

Not because of Mr. Obama; I thought he was reasonably okay then, and I think he’s delivered on being reasonably okay since then.  No, I was sad because my best friend and I chose Election Day 2008 to really dramatically stop being okay with one another.

This person wasn’t just a best friend.  Back in 1997, he was the first real-life friend I came out to.  We awkwardly lost our virginity together the following Valentine’s Day, while my parents were at Foxwoods.  Then we started dating.  Many mixtapes were made.  During college we broke up, but remained best friends, and we were even kinda-sorta in a pretend band together.  After college we lived together for three and a half years.  So, we had a history.

But on Election Day 2008, after 34 e-mails totalling about 13,000 words, our friendship ended.

At the time I was in what one might call a bad place; I had been forced out of my job by a maniacal manager and then denied unemployment on the grounds that I had left voluntarily.  That decision would later be reversed–yay!–on the same week that the aforementioned manager was escorted out of his office by the police and told never to return.  But that was all later.

I had no money.  My job prospects were bleak.  My grandfather had just been indefinitely hospitalized with a psychological condition that I didn’t even realize existed.  And it seemed seriously possible that John McCain might be the next president of the United States.

My best friend and I started fighting, sort of, a few nights previously.  He had ordered a large four-cheese pizza for himself, as he often did, and offered me a slice.  He was half-asleep, apparently, and also distracted by the next-to-last season of the X-Files, which he was watching on DVD for the God knows how many-th time.

The next day, I received an angry e-mail telling me not to steal his food.  He apologized, eventually, but in the meantime had accused me of making his life miserable in so many different ways that it was too late to get over it.  He accused me of having too many of my own things on the walls, for instance, when he had never made any effort to put anything on the walls himself.  And he was mad that I had bought our dining room set without consulting him, when actually the set–a gift my parents had bought me over three years previously–was chosen before he ever moved in.  (Also, my dining room set is indisputably awesome.)

I was not a perfect roommate–I’m terrible with dishes and sometimes months go by before I remember to look at utility bills and I am very hairy and sometimes that leads to shower clogs–but these weren’t the things he was complaining about.  I didn’t understand.  Instead hewas telling me I was impossible to talk to and always flying into aggressive rages.

He stopped speaking to me that day, except to let me know about bills.  He meticulously kept track of who was going to owe who for what until the day he moved out so there would be no hard feelings, but then he left owing me about $200, which he never repaid or mentioned from that point on.

When he moved out–three long, quiet months later–he moved around the corner, literally, so that I could see his kitchen from my kitchen.  I’ve heard from someone since then that he’s moved since then, but still only lives about three blocks away.

When he left, he made it a point to leave behind any presents that I had ever given him.  He also left behind a stuffed dog from his childhood and all of his sportcoats, which I to this day keep forgetting to donate, even though they’re actually pretty nice if you’re into thrift store sportcoats.

Crazily, despite our closeness and despite the size of the city we live in, I’ve only seen him a handful of times since then.  The first was at a fashion show at a vintage store run by a locally renowned drag queen of yore.  My friends and I were a few minutes late arriving, and we were hastily ushered to our seats.  Once the show started I looked up and saw him; he had cut off all of his hair and grown a beard and he was the runway DJ and he was also dressed like a priest and he was glaring at me.

I checked his Twitter later, to see if he had mentioned me since our split.  He had!  But only indirectly, to say things like “I’m so glad I can finally eat meat at home without being constantly judged!”  (This was funny to me; we were both vegetarians, and had been since the nineties, and he had never once mentioned eating meat again.  So apparently I’m telepathically judgy in addition to being a constantly angry.)

The last time I saw him was this summer, at the showcase for the local Girls Rock Camp; after watching six groups of teenagers perform songs that they had written two days previously, he delivered me a glare that would have impressed even the gaggles of teenagers, and then left without saying anything.

I had a dream once that we were friends again.  I don’t think my dreams really mean anything–the last one I remember was about roaches swimming in my bowl of Cocoa Pebbles, so I hope they don’t mean anything–but it got me wondering what might happen if we ever had to have a conversation again, at a party or something.  And I guess I don’t know.

The night Mr. Obama was elected, a drunk and possibly stoned friend of mine told me that I was at the bottom of a checkmark.  “Things are bad now,” he said.  “But then pretty soon you’ll be going up the other side of the checkmark!”  And for whatever reason, maybe because I was drunk, and maybe because I no longer had to worry about John McCain dying and Sarah Palin becoming our first female president, things felt better for a minute.


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