Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The End of the Road: Some Reflections After Nearly 20 Years Living in Gary-World

I've been pondering what it is I want to say in this follow-up entry to what I described in my previous entry about being attacked last night by my one-time, long-time best and now ex-friend Gary.

That previous entry was written when I was still rather out-of-sorts, barely even remembering that he had attacked me -- specifically, violently shoving me downstairs at Nellie's last night, sending me hurling onto the floor about 10 feet away.

(Yes, I'm sure it's on surveillance tape, and I'm sure nothing would make M. WADE Tipamillyun, his beloved Crow, and that crew happier than to have access to the tape and do a mash-up of it because that's how gay men are. Imagine the meanest and most vicious sorority house at F-U State filled with 19 to 21 year old girls, except the girls are all 25 to 40 year old gay men.

Then they wonder as they get into their 40s why life makes no sense. But I digress ...)

For starters, I've no idea what prompted Gary to attack me. We had met about 90 minutes earlier at a bar/restaurant called The Pub and the People at R and North Capitol Street to see someone who works there (I'm not going to get into that).

Earlier, I had met my dear friend Quill in Bethesda and Mon Ami Gabi for lunch and then returned on the Metro into D.C., going (for the first time ever) to the NoMa-Gallaudet U station (a bit apprehensively, since this is where young thugs prey on folks).

However, it was brilliant daylight on a pleasant April Sunday and all was fine.

I actually had a nice time at the pub, talking to this person. At some point, I texted Gary and he came by after racquetball -- one of the 15 or so different activities in which he is involved that collectively form a semi-permanent rotation schedule for his week, season, and year.

We soon drove over to Nellie's. I'm not sure how long we were there or what it was that I said to set him off. Now I don't doubt that I probably made wiseass remarks. I also think we were with a third person, but I don't really remember. Instead, I just remember Gary -- the one who purportedly has no temper and whose ass everyone has tiresomely kissed for the entire 20 years I've known him -- violently shoving me as he did and being on the floor and suddenly Brett (the manager) was there.

That ended the night right there.

I sort of remember walking home, leaving him some voice mails and texts that I won't repeat here.

(There was never any question of striking back as he is much stronger than I am. Furthermore, I simply cannot fight, and it's not just a question of being as short and small statured as I am. I simply don't know how to do it. A 12-year old girl could probably take me on -- and a 10-year old one from Anacostia. And I know that.)

The bottom line is that I have wanted to break things off with Gary for a number of months now. We have zero in common -- the weather and text quoting Golden Girls lines notwithstanding -- and I just find myself annoyed at everything he does.

Gary and I were once very close friends, having met nearly 20 years ago in September 1996 at the University of Maryland, College Park in what was then called the Meteorology Department but is now the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science. (Back then, it should have been called the Department of Sino-Computerology and Indentured Student Servitude for the Sake of Searingly Arrogant, Lifetime Tenured Professors Who Couldn't Give a Shit If You Learned Anything and Intentionally Made It Far Harder Than It Had To Be.)

The whole thing was part of the student loan-fueled Big Academia Racket, but again I digress.

In those days, I lived in College Park and he lived in Berwyn Heights, and we would drive in his old Mustang (or maybe it was the Beretta) into D.C. via Rt. 1 / Rhode Island Ave. and go to JRs and sometimes the old places that existed where the baseball stadium is now located.

Over the course of 20 years, there has been many ups and downs in that friendship but we've never actually had a rupture and he certainly never attacked me, although there have been a few instances of this kind of eruption.

Things have always come to Gary far easier than for me, in particular in his social life where everyone just adores him and thinks he is (to use the British expression) the bee's knees. I cannot relate how many times we have gone out and guys will literally stand between us -- their backs to me -- as they try to chat him up.

He would get to hook up with his choice of guys, although he was always very choosy about that and actually seldom did that. (He actually hooked up with MH's awful ex-boyfriend about two years before that unholy alliance union came to be. B. actually told Gary could date him but not with that car. Sounds about right.)

Gary and I traveled well together -- such as on our annual summer trips to the Jersey shore and admittedly odd snow trips to Buffalo -- and there were times over the years when we would take long weekend walks. However, starting about 10 years ago, he developed a whole new life that centered on numerous other social "nodes" -- frequently involving people either I never met (or was not allowed to meet, such as his current boyfriend) or that I had met and absolutely couldn't stand (such as that whole Boston / Watertown crowd).

These social nodes include the Prince George's County bowling crew (and Gary as the de-facto adopted white child), the sundry gay sports leagues including racquetball and softball, the Nellie's crowd, the Town bear happy hour crowd, among others.

Gary never once introduced me to someone that I actually ended up liking. By contrast, I introduced him to multiple people with whom he became close friends. (Maybe that says something more about me, but I'm not going to ponder that now.)

(Let me caveat that by saying I did like J. all those years ago. This was a person that he really liked and they would hang out in the clubs -- especially Nation -- back in the day (and I started to do that, too). This was one of those rare situations that actually ended badly for him. I remained friends with J. for a while until he got married to a highly unpleasant woman and vanished onto some suburban Northern Virginia lily pad.)

Finally, there is all the alcohol-centered social life.

In general, I cannot have socialize with so many professional (indeed, world class alcoholics) and the substance abuse is also rampant. I can't be around that. I have my own demons, especially the drinking part and all the trouble it has caused me. Having ostensibly best friends like that just isn't going to work. (This is also why I had to stop hanging around a certain neighborhood establishment, half-bar, half-trap house that it is.)

It dawned on me today while talking to my co-worker and friend Jonathan that if I were to quit drinking substantially (or entirely), I would actually have to move out of D.C. to the Maryland suburbs (Bethesda, is my ideal). Living around Dupont Circle and not drinking simply doesn't make sense as a concept to me.

I know that's odd.

As for my friendship with Gary, there were other things I really did not like -- such as the Giant tangerine code thing (a sort of "skeleton key" that allows you to purchase any item for 89 cents because the company's system does not recognize that particular product code).

I think his moral assumption is that if there is a flaw in a system, you are foolish not to take advantage of it because others will.

There was also that time when he found literally $1,000 in cash on the floor of the building where he works (and which has a small bank in it). He saw a man come flying frantically down the hall -- obviously because the man just realized he had lost his cash he had just withdrawn for whatever purpose he needed it. Gary just kept the money.

I don't like those kinds of ethics.

I hated how my social schedule, such as it was, always had to bend around or toward his -- and how that would invariably lead to him hijacking any given night's doings. Gary only does stuff for Gary, and while maybe that's unfair to tarnish him with the same brush that most gay men (myself included) do, it just is so damn in-your-face.

Then there is the telling you whatever he thinks you want to hear at that point, none of which though has any bearing on objective reality. That used to be a much bigger issue in the early days of the friendship.

I remember the angriest that I ever got was shortly before Christmas 2002 when I invited him to accompany me to the JRs holiday party (yes, another frickin' JRs story). We were driving in from Goddard (where I worked at the time) on the BW Parkway and then to New York Avenue.

Gary had other plans for the night but instead of just telling me, he pretended that his car was developing serious mechanical problems and was going to have to drop me off and get the problem fixed. Instead, I stormed off -- walking the last two miles or so down New York Avenue to R Street.

That sucked.

Such a classic Gary move. Problem was, I've always been able to read him like a cheap Danielle Steel novel in an airport lounge.

While I always envied how easy he seemed to have it, there were difficulties such as the sudden death of his father last year from a massive stroke and all the endless issues with his mom. (Gary and I were similar in that we were raised for a time by our grandparents -- me in New Jersey and him in South Florida -- and effectively being old children. He has a half-sister who is half his age, so he was raised as an only child.)

Gary was typically the one I would take to work Christmas parties and other such events since he is great in those kinds of social settings.

Also, when I had a severe abscess in early 2000 and very nearly died, he was very helpful in bringing me food and so forth. I appreciated that. (I still lived in College Park in that weird little upstairs room on Princeton Avenue.)

More often, though, I was just annoyed at him for doing what I would consider to be playing me -- saying whatever and then doing precisely what he wanted to, when and where. I called it living in Gary-World. But I suppose that was more my problem than his -- being jealous of how easy he seemed to have it.

He was Blanche and I was Dorothy, I guess.

Anyway, at this point, all of this is water under the proverbial bridge because the friendship is over for good.

We have reached the end of the road.

He can now join the Hysterical One and Wall-P (and Wall-P's shitty, self-entitled bourgeois crowd) as yet another failed friendship that I'm just glad is over and have more regrets than happy memories.

I deleted Gary's phone number from my cell, and I really hope he doesn't try to contact me.

With that -- unless circumstances warrant -- I'm not going to discuss him anymore.

As for my, not surprisingly, I got a late start. I made it to the gym tonight and had a semi-decent, multi-part workout. I came home and did a few loads of laundry and now I'm going to bed. I'm unsure if I'll update the blog tomorrow. I may just skip it until Wednesday night.



к.нео.физ.де.му said...

as i told you - i am really sorry it came to this.

i believe in time, though...

Regulus said...

Thank you, Mike.

I still need to post the pyramid picture!