weekend surprises


-- चार हजार दो सौ पचास --

A whole lot happened over the weekend and I don't have a whole lot of time to tell about it today, today being one of the few days a year where I have a tight deadline on ad keying. But I'll do my best.

Friday was monthly Happy Hour with Laney, at which both Shobhit and Sachin joined, as they had spent the afternoon together, Shobhit helping Sachin with his house search. They got back to Seattle well in time to join us, and were in fact the first to arrive at Queer/Bar. And, Sachin got the phone call that the offer he had made on a place in Kent had been accepted, right before Laney arrived. So really, the vast majority of the conversation over dinner and drinks that evening revolved around Sachin's home purchase, as Laney, although she left it five years ago, has spent a lot of years as a mortgage broker (and was ours in 2007, in fact).

Under normal circumstances, Laney and I typically hang out for Happy Hour for as long as three hours, but after arriving at about 5:45 on Friday, she was all set to go by 7:30. Whether she was exhausted by Shobhit's typical overbearingness regarding what he thought Sachin should do regarding the home purchase, I don't really know.

I do know we had a bit of an issue at Queer/Bar, which tried to charge us full price on several of the entrees we had ordered, which we have always gotten half price in the past for Happy Hour. True, as they pointed out, they did bring us separate Happy Hour menus with only starter food items on them. But, the regular menus still had the note on them that all food -- that's literally what they said: all food -- was 50% off for Happy Hour. Somewhat to my surprise, it was Laney who caused the biggest stink about this, and not Shobhit. She actually walked over to where the waiter was discussing it with the manager by the register, and when she got back to the table she said in a sort of sing-songy voice, "I almost got pissed there." I mean, for sure, if the menu says one thing, they should honor what it says -- or fucking change the menus, right?

To our astonishment, after the waiter came back to our table in an attempt to clear things up, the manager came up to him and said, "You know what? It's on me." So then the waiter was like, "I guess we're covering it all." Then Laney, understandably taken aback, as we all were, pushed back on that -- we all were -- but, in the end, all we paid for was the tip, which was, as you can imagine, rather large.

Then we all walked out together, Laney headed home, and even Sachin broke off to find a bus stop rather than coming back to our place. Shobhit and I came back home and watched some TV for the rest of the evening. I had three cocktails and was rather buzzed.

It was around this time that I finally got as response from Ivan on Facebook Messenger to my question I sent him that morning, asking how his apparently very long day with Drew had been on Thursday -- his original plan had been to take the day off work that day to go to a Queer Pagans event where he would say goodbye to some friends there. But Shobhit texted me on Thursday, clearly after chatting with Ivan, that Ivan was going to spend the day with Drew in Port Orchard. At first I assumed he would still come back to Seattle in time for that queer pagans meetup, but when I heard him get in at 1:30 a.m., I knew he had caught only the latest ferry back from Bremerton, the midnight ferry. But when Ivan messaged me back, he said, I will have to tell you that in person. Whatever that meant, I did not know.

-- चार हजार दो सौ पचास --

And then, Saturday turned out way different than anticipated. After watching Friday's episode of Real Time with Bill Maher with Shobhit, I left at 3:15 to walk to Lower Queen Anne and take myself to see the live action Oscar-nominated shorts. I figured I would get back home that evening, write my reviews of the shorts, make myself something light for dinner, and have a quiet evening at home.

But, I got a text from Gabriel on my way to the movie: What're you up to tonight? I told him I was headed to the Oscar-nominated shorts but had no plans after that. An hour and a half later, during the movie, he texted me, You should come over.

I really went back and forth about this on my way home after the movie. Gabriel currently lives in Salmon Beach, which means even though Tacoma is thought of as a half-hour drive from Seattle, because you have to drive all the way through town in Tacoma to get to Salmon Beach from the freeway, the drive to his place is actually much closer to an hour. Shobhit clearly wasn't too keen on my leaving him alone for the evening, and when it became clear it would be just after seven by the time I even got home from the movie on the bus, I didn't think I could hack it. Two different one-hour drives in one evening, starting after 7 pm? The only way to make that worthwhile would be if I did not drive home until ridiculously late. So, I texted Gabriel saying I was sorry but I would not be making it.

Gabriel replied that I should stay over; he needed someone. I told him I would talk to Shobhit, and, to Shobhit's credit, when I told him Gabriel was asking me to stay overnight because he really needed a friend, Shobhit replied,

You really wanna go? Maybe you should

And I said, I think I should, yes

So, then, the plan was set. I did hope I could at least talk to Ivan briefly before I left, and find out what the hell happened on Thursday. He also messaged me very close to the same time I was texting with Gabriel on Saturday evening, asking if we could change our previous plan of having our Sunday-evening goodbye dinner at the Melting Pot, saying he'd prefer to get pho' because he was trying to eat healthier and spend less. When I said okay, he replied, Thank you for understanding

And after that, because Ivan had seemed weirdly off when I saw him late Saturday morning -- we finally started watching the German show on Netflix called Babylon Berlin, which I only know about because Ivan himself brought it up months ago saying he wanted to see it, and then he proceeded to ignore it completely, looking at his phone for all three episodes Shobhit and I watched -- I messaged him back, Are you doing okay?

Ivan replied, Yes, why?

I said, You seem either down or sort of off today. Or maybe I'm misreading

Ivan: Well, something did happen on Thursday (not bad, but significant), but I have to tell you in person about that

Again with the "I have to tell you in person." What the hell? When I was texting with Shobhit yesterday morning before Gabriel woke up, we speculated on this. Did Drew propose to him, or what? "Not bad, but significant"? What the hell does that mean?

I really hoped I wouldn't have to wait until the next day to find out what this was about, but that's what happened. When I got home from the movie and immediately starting packing up to head to Tacoma, Ivan was home, but he was in his room with the door shut and the light off. I messaged him, Are you asleep? and got no answer. So then, on my way down to the car I messaged him, Well you’ve got me seriously dying of curiosity now but I guess you’ll have to tell me tomorrow. I guess Gabriel seriously needs a friend and now I’m headed to Tacoma to stay the night with him!

And about fifty minutes later, when I was nearly to Gabriel's, he replied with just, Alright

I thought a lot about this specific thing as I was on that drive on Saturday evening: my mind was consumed with concerns about three different guys in my life, all at once -- Gabriel, Ivan, and as always Shobhit, just because, you know, he's the husband and I'm always thinking about him in one way or another. In that particular moment, though, Gabriel was the one who needed me the most.

He was at home alone for the night, not doing well emotionally, but for the most part at least behaving pretty normally, probably because I was there to precipitate him behaving normally. I told him I was starving and hoped he would feed me; he threw together an almost comically elegant plate of food considering it was all leftovers: reheated pasta with fresh cheese grated onto it; a small chopped side salad with a chopped tomato on top; even a couple small pieces of corn bread. He also opened a can of Cranberry Mike's Hard Lemonade for me, which he opened before I had a chance to tell him I hate cranberry -- he had assumed it was mine already because no one else there drinks Mike's Hard Lemonade, I guess. I had struggled through about three quarters of it when I finally said, "I have a confession to make. I hate cranberry." So then he went through his liquor stores to see what kind of cocktail he could make, and he made me a lovely Tequila Sunset. I usually like my drinks strong but wasn't in the mood to get all that buzzed that night, so took it with a relatively small amount of tequila in it and that was fine, and even declined offers for another cocktail afterward.

We watched some of the Winter Olympics on his TV. We played a brief game of something called "Drawing Without Dignity, which is sort of like crossing Cards Against Humanity with Pictionary. (I did a very good rendering of "road head." My drawing of "butt cleavage" was beyond pathetic. But Gabriel got my rendering of "whorehouse" in a matter of seconds.) And after some time, we got into the shit he's going through, and he told me all about the relationship issues that had resulted in his spending the night unexpectedly alone -- or, alone until I came to give him company. Giving you any more details about that would serve no purpose, so I'm not going to.

I started getting really tired before it was even 11:00, and even after that, Gabriel himself started nodding off on the couch. That couch is incredibly comfortable and I was fine to sleep right there. I even brought my pajama bottoms! I had my blanket and went to sleep in the middle of the HBO comedy special for 2 Dope Queens that Gabriel put on.

-- चार हजार दो सौ पचास --


-- चार हजार दो सौ पचास --

Gabriel told me yesterday morning that he often falls asleep watching TV in the living room, wakes up in the middle of the night before finally going to bed, and he did that again on Saturday night. Sometime around maybe 2 a.m., he said he woke up and looked over and thought I was some woman he didn't recognize laying on his couch. Ha! He had to go through the list: no, it's not Stephanie; obviously not Kornelija; not Shell -- until finally he remembered that it was me. Well, once I fell asleep at 12:50, I slept like the dead and did not wake up until I did so very briefly around 5:30, at which time I decided that was too early and went back to sleep. And then, even though it only meant having had six hours of sleep that night, I finally got up at 7:00. Gabriel later told me he had decided he would get up only when he heard me up and about, I deliberately went to take my shower and get ready before he got up, so he wouldn't wind up just waiting around for me for an hour. I was the one who won that one: Gabriel did not wake up until well after I was done getting ready.

Although Shobhit did help me go through a list to make sure I did not forget anything in my rush to leave Saturday night -- it's because of him I remembered to bring my glasses -- I did forget two things: my eyebrow brush (not exactly a big deal), and shaving cream. Surely Gabriel had shaving cream somewhere, but I did not want to wait until after getting ready otherwise to shave, so I did my best to create a lather with the body lotion in that shower, and I shaved with that. It was not ideal, but it worked.

Gabriel and I hung out for a little while in the morning, and he watched a soccer game on TV -- well, mirroring it to the Apple TV from his laptop because it was not playing live on any of the network apps otherwise -- and he made me tea and himself coffee.

Shobhit texted me several times in the morning about how he missed me, sending photos of himself with the cats. I texted him at 10:33 am that Gabriel was finally taking his shower and then we were going out for brunch. Shobhit also texted me that he would skip joining Ivan and me for dinner, "Else he might not be open to talking to you" -- we were still thinking there was something "significant" to whatever happened with Ivan and Drew on Thursday, maybe even something deeply personal. I actually thought this was kind of sweet of Shobhit. I liked the idea of getting Ivan to myself for our last dinner before he moves away regardless.

Gabriel and I headed out, climbing that steep trail out of the Salmon Beach neighborhood first, which is exhausting, and then I drove Shobhit's car as I followed Gabriel to where we were to eat, at a place called Montamara Kitchen. I don't know what the hell "Montamara" means but it just kept making me think of Montana.

And, when we got there, there was a minimum half-hour wait, maybe forty-five minutes. Gabriel put his name on the waiting list, ordered himself a coffee, and we walked down to the waterfront, and to Chinese Reconciliation Park, which was built as a sort of apology to what the City of Tacoma did to the Chinese, expelling them from the city in the 1880s. The photo at the bottom of this entry was one of the many photogenic spots in the park.

We also walked out onto a dock, and it was a beautiful day. When we got back to the restaurant, we ran into Gabriel's work friend Mandy, who I only saw in person once before, on September 4, 2016, when she and her husband joined us for snacks and games with Gabriel and Kornelija at their place. There was something a little awkward about that evening, as I was one of very few people who knew Gabriel and Kornelija's marriage was soon to end, but nobody else did -- certainly not Gabriel's work friend Mandy. But, I loved Mandy and thought she was awesome and fun; she felt the same about me; and we immediately became Facebook friends, and even later talked in a comment thread about making sure we got together sometime in 2017 -- which never happened.

I had even talked to Gabriel about this on Saturday night, so when we saw her at Montamara yesterday morning it was like, holy shit! She and her other work friend whose name I forget (Katie, I think?) had been seated at a two-person table; Gabriel and I were seated at the bar seating on the other side of the room. So, twice we went over to chat with Mandy, and we talked again about getting together sometime. Hopefully we can actually make it happen this year.

Anyway. I had an eggs benedict that was delicious and seriously filling; by the time I was having pho' with Ivan later for dinner I was still unable to finish the bowl, breakfast -- which I did not actually get until about noon -- had made me so full.

Gabriel really appreciated my coming down to keep him company Saturday evening and Sunday morning, and I even would have spent more time with him yesterday if it were any other weekend. But I had lots to do -- I still hadn't even had a chance to write my movie review from the day before. I had intended go to see the Animated Oscar-Nominated Shorts yesterday, and that ended up having to be postponed until after work today, which is fine.

I did have a terrible experience on the drive home, though. This is a lesson you'd think I would have learned by now: I did not pee right before leaving, because I had already peed right before brunch. Bad Matthew, stop being a moron! PEE PROACTIVELY ALWAYS. All of halfway through the drive home, I was already in serious pain from having to pee so bad. And then? Bumper to bumper traffic once I reached downtown Seattle, so the last part of the drive that should have taken ten minutes actually took about twenty. I was groaning nearly to the point of screaming from the pain on my bladder every time I moved my legs or had to shift in my seat. It was beyond awful, and once I finally got home I had to -- what's the expression? -- piss like a racehorse. I felt like I could have filled a gallon jug. And holy shit, did I feel better after that.

-- चार हजार दो सौ पचास --

I thought I might wait to find out the story with Ivan over dinner, but I just could not wait. Ivan even walked out of the bathroom to greet me -- and ask how Gabriel was doing -- as soon as I walked in the door, but at that point all that was on my mind was peeing. Once that was done, I came back to Ivan's room, where he was in the middle of packing boxes I had offered to let him store in our storage space (he's storing quite a bit more than I thought he would be, actually, but I have no real problem with that; we can still make it work). And I said, "How long are you going to keep me in suspense?"

He giggled and came out of his room to talk to both Shobhit and me because Shobhit started asking about it too. And then the real story turned out to be a genuine disappointment -- nothing I found particularly exciting (or amazing or "significant" or whatever) at all. He simply spent the day with Drew on acid, and he didn't want to confess to having done illegal drugs on Facebook, hence "I have to tell you in person" -- the most weirdly paranoid thing I had ever seen him say. I mean, who gives a shit? Is the FBI going to come busting down his door? I don't think so.

Of course, this may mean that of all things I have ever written about him, telling it here could be what bothers him the most. I'm quite sure he doesn't read this anyway. Ivan isn't even his legal name; I've never used his last name (either his legal one or the one he uses); I don't think the FBI (or the DEA or whoever it would be) reads this blog either. In any case, that's why he missed the queer pagans event -- the trip lasted all day, and he was still experiencing it to a certain degree even after getting back late Thursday night, and he thought maybe there were still slight residuals of it on Saturday, when I had said he seemed kind of off. Talking about it yesterday, though, I said, "You seem much more yourself today," and he just said, "Well thank you."

I then went to the bedroom to write my review. Then came out and suggested to Shobhit that we watch my Netflix copy of Spider-Man Homecoming -- and, okay, it wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great either; no better or worse than the Andrew Garfield Spider-Man movies and definitively worse than the Tobey Maguire movies. Even Shobhit complained about this one being too "jokey" -- as in, sillier than the other movies -- although I felt that was sort of appropriate, for the first Spider-Man movie that honored the original comic about a kid who is actually in high school. Still, I hate the whole "Marvel Expanded Universe" thing and this one had way too much Tony Stark and Iron Man. I like Robert Downey Jr but, enough already.

-- चार हजार दो सौ पचास --

After the movie, I suggested to Shobhit we do the crossword puzzle at WashingtonPost.com. Ivan had suggested we go to pho' once it got dark, and we were about halfway through the crossword when Ivan asked if I was ready to go, even though it was barely in the middle of sunset.

Shobhit wound up not joining us still, even though Ivan's story wound up being revealed before we even left, because he made a huge amount of magi and had that for both lunch and dinner on his own. My conversation with Ivan turned out pretty personal and intimate anyway, just in the reverse direction -- me being more open to him than usual. I talked both about how much I'll miss him, and much more openly than I tend to about how gorgeous and hot I think he is. I remain amazed at how it just rolls off his back; he doesn't care. I got much more bold than I ever had before (I even told him that while I will miss him terribly, it will also be good for me to get used to not having the constant distraction of the hottest thing on two legs walking around my house; he just laughed and said, "Well, thank you!"), and he just took it in stride.

Later in the conversation we somehow got onto his OCD compulsions, including his completely irrational insistence on moving the handle on the front door several times before he leaves it, as though he's checking that the door is properly shut, even though the only lock is on the deadbolt and has no connection to the door handle. "I wouldn't want you to burn in a fire!" he said -- again, making no sense, but the sentiment was sweet. In fact, I said, "I still appreciate the sentiment, because it makes me feel like you care about me. I know you would never actually say that."

And he replied, "No, I wouldn't." He then tapped his finger to his temple and said, "But it's the thought that counts." Which, if you think about it, is tantamount to his actually saying that.

I also told him I was thinking I would make my first solo travel somewhere a weekend trip to Vancouver, sometime after he's settle in, later this year. He immediately seemed pleased by this idea. "We can go ice skating," I said, which we have talked before about doing in Vancouver sometime. "Yes!" he said. He also talked about how he looks forward to finally getting a bike when he lives in Vancouver, and I said I could perhaps rent a bike and we could take a bike ride together too. He really liked this idea as well -- and now, actually, I'm thinking about how maybe I could actually take my own bike up to Vancouver, on a bus or the train or something. Or maybe just renting a bike up there would be easier, I don't know. In any case, as I said to him, having this idea of visiting him in Vancouver later this year as something to look forward to makes it a lot easier to deal with his leaving now.

In the meantime, it will be good, potentially, for Shobhit and me to have the place to ourselves again. I mentioned to Ivan that Shobhit and I have not had the place to ourselves since we ended the long distance thing. At first Ivan said, "Well, that was only about a year ago." Sure, I said, but think about this: Shobhit and I haven't had the condo to ourselves since 2010. That's nearly a decade. 80% of a decade, anyway -- one month shy of eight years, in fact, as he first moved to New York in March 2010. I'm looking forward to getting back to a living situation for a marriage the way a marriage should be.

So then, after I couldn't even finish my medium bowl of pho' -- I had the best service ever after many times getting shitty service at this place; when I asked for no cauliflower or broccoli, they gave me a bunch of extra tofu and carrots, making it seriously filling -- I said to Ivan, "Well, I was going to ask if you wanted to go get Hot Cakes, but then you had that banana." Earlier in the afternoon, he had sat down to eat a caramelized banana as a snack. And when he had asked that we bail on the Melting Pot idea, he had suggested "either pho' or Hot Cakes" -- and although I had said okay let's get pho', I still thought maybe he could do both.

I didn't really think he'd go for it. But he sat there with changing expressions on his face, clearly considering it. And he said, "How about we split one?" Perfect! That was always my preference anyway. Those desserts are ridiculously rich.

So, we walked from The Pho' on Broadway and down to Hot Cakes on Olive Way, where it was surprisingly busy. Ivan still found us bar seating, and soon enough we were both blown away by how delicious the Peanut Butter Cup Molten Cake with ice cream we were sharing was. I was excited to be able to get this, because Shobhit hates peanut butter and would never share that with me. And both Ivan and I commented on how glad we were we were sharing it, it was so rich. Also, I paid for the dessert for us. I once bought Tommy dinner and had never done that for Ivan, so I figured this was the least I could do -- also, and I didn't actually say this, but as sort of a thank you for being both a spectacular roommate and a really good friend. The Pho' was a fraction of the cost The Melting Pot would have been anyway, so buying dessert was really not that big a deal.

And then, what might actually be the most incredible thing of the entire weekend: while Ivan and I were eating the molten cake, he asked me what time it was. I was like, "Don't you have your own phone?" And he said -- he forgot it at home! My mouth was agape. I said that might be the most shocking thing I've ever seen him do, given that he's looking at his phone virtually every second of every waking moment (except when he's with Drew, the only time he goes hours with no Facebook activity). So after that he kept making quips about how he couldn't wait to get back home to look at his phone.

We came home, and Shobhit went searching for a movie to watch. He's watched this HBO movie from the nineties that he thinks is hilarious -- he's watched it three times! -- and keeps wanting me to watch it, so we watched about half of that before I got too tired and said I would finish it later. I thought it was . . . relatively funny.

Ivan had said he would like to take his first round of things down to storage that evening, but he still hadn't told me he was ready to by about 9:45, even after he took a break from packing to go work out in the gym downstairs. So finally I asked him if he still wanted to do that, and he did, so within a few minutes I helped him take down one medium-sized box (which he carried), a suit cover carrier with apparently several of his nicer clothes in it, and a shoe box. I already knew from experience when he took storage down after moving out in early 2015 that he needed me to get the tricky padlock open.

He seemed quite appreciative of my allowing him to keep a bunch of his stuff in storage while he does this couple of months of traveling. He thanked me twice -- both right after locking up the storage unit, and again once we got back to the condo. And then I went to bed.

-- चार हजार दो सौ पचास --


. . . I guess I still wrote more than plenty today, didn't I?

[posted 12:22 pm]