Oy Vey

Sleep, sleep, sleep has been a grand struggle for moi (me). Rather, than having beautiful dreams about being tackled by the Magic Mike cast, winning the lottery, and having dinner with Jane Austen, they typically take an unexpected detour.

Algebra class, a maze full of cucumbers (I cannot stand cucumbers), and being stuck in an elevator, filled with my most hated nemesis are nightly nightmares. Call it a side effect of Prozac. I call it a sleep disorder.

Waking up isn’t the easiest, even on glorious Spring weekends. This quirky night owl only has one lustful thought on his gay brain (yours truly). Coffee, I want coffee. When life give you nightmares, give it the middle finger by enjoying life’s simple pleasures, especially coffee shops.

Living dangerously close to one of New York’s finest coffee shop, serves as a daily motivation for leaving my apartment on weekends. It’s the lovable space with hip baristas, who know my order and delicious bagels, which cure morning hunger.

Coffee, coffee, coffee, I rushed over to the coffee shop for the am caffeine fix. Opening the old wooden door, my heart sunk faster than quick sand. My beloved coffee shop, where I spend quality time with books, lots of books, had been invaded.

It was a suburban/zombie invasion. Kids on scooters, mombies yelling at their little shits, a strange form of pig Latin being spoken between four year olds, and of course, the oblivious dadbies complaining about their dad bods, while noshing on large croissants. It was my worst nightmare.

Like a brave warrior trapped in Satan’s arm pit, I didn’t let the invasion keep me from a hot cup of Stumptown Coffee. Visibly irritated, the yelling and Pig Latin speak killed a well earned caffeine buzz. Taking out a book, my soul and imagination wandered off from the zone of typical comfort.

Orange juice spilled. Screaming only intensified. The dadbies and mombies became even more oblivious to the nightmarish situation. “I’d rather be in algebra class, right now.”

When one of the mombies suggested the kids go back to their apartment for a play date, misery retreated. A parade of strollers and  miniature scooters parted ways with the coffee house confines. Tranquility hovered over my head, like a stormless cloud. They were gone. I could enjoy my book, bagel, coffee, without wanting to jam pencils into the ears.

Alas, it wasn’t a nightmare, but reality. A second invasion of mombies, dadbies and their spawn arrived. Staying brave, their presence did not detour me from my coffee shop. Thanks to the magics of an iPOD, I finally drifted into 90’s alternative rock, rather than irritating speak and sound effects.

Gay guys can’t get pregnant. Thank God! Certain people are equipped with patience. If someone wants a family, it’s their choice. I’ll just pass out birth control, in the meantime (not to be a party pooper or anything). I like my coffee without screaming kids. That’s why I live in New York City, it never gets noisy or obnoxious here, never (insert, sarcasm).

It’s Raining Glitter

“Mama, I’m not pretty enough to be a drag queen.” Much to my school and family’s shock, I didn’t grow up to be a drag queen. Pretty heels, fluffy dresses and lavish wigs didn’t quite appeal to a boy, who digs for his wardrobe in a pile of wrinkles clothes.

Predictably, the idea of drag queens remained fun, energetic, and admirable. While at the Strand bookshop (here in NYC), I found holiness. “Howdy, RuPaul. It was a miracle, a RuPaul prayer candle. It would be perfect to ship over to dad’s house, as a care package.”

Giggling, I (mentally) time traveled back to Christmas time at our family home in California. Father and I have opposing tastes on television shows. He prefers news and the History channel. Old sitcoms and reality shows (yes, I’m embarrassed to admit it) keep me flying across the country to watch television.

Our TV tastes reflect are diverse personalities. Dad is a marine, level headed and not neurotic. Yours truly is a bit eccentric, neurotic, oh and gay, very gay. When daddy and I agree to watch a TV show together, a drag queen gets her wings.

It did happen on a fateful and very starry night. “That’s a real lady. I don’t believe that’s a drag queen,” proclaimed, dad. The film credits to John Water’s “Polyester” bursting into the screen. Divine (one of my most famous drag queens and an icon) was the star.

As a huge John Waters fan, I found it humorous to expose daddy to a raunchy and very campy cinematic experience. Daddy repeated those faithful words, “I don’t believe she’s a drag queen. She a lady, look at her.”

“Daddy, it’s Divine in the starring role. She’s the most famous drag queen of all.” After a few glasses of wine, he glared into the screen, “oh shit, you’re right. She’s so convincing.” Laughing hysterically, culture shock rocked our family room. Daddy was enjoying John Waters’ filthy humor as much as his gay son.

Proudly, he became an instant John Waters fan. Months later, I stood in front of the RuPaul prayer candle. $18 for this? Do I really want to buy it? Convinced by dad, it was purchased. A few days later, it was shipped to California, along with a Rubik’s cube, paper dolls, and Andy Warhol knock-off portraits.

Gladness bestowed a glittery heart. I loved home. While other boys had to pretend to love football, I could watch campy films with dad and not hide my oddities. Normal is boring. A bloke in high heels and lavish wigs is not.

Coffee and Prozac

In high school, my trousers would never fit correctly, which, created a wedgie, a terribly obvious wedgie. I could throw a coat over it during winter, but my bum was unavoidable. The terribly cruel kids in high school nicknamed me, “the never ending wedgie.”

Wedgies were out of style by 1999. However, days of fantasizing about graduating high school and being an accepted freak of nature never died out, passed 1999. Uncovering my tribe became a monumental dream. I’d be the toast of the art world, an Oscar winner and Pulitzer Prize winning author.

Fast forward, if you attempted to find my art at the cinema, a museum or indie bookshop, then disappointment would engulf your soul. Although, I wrote many stories and even written the first draft of a novel, I still struggled to get my art into the world. In fact, as a thirty year old, feelings of awkwardness and aloofness never left.

More surprisingly, I was feeling out of place in New York City. Twas the geographical location, I ran away to not be an outsider. As my thirties progressed, not only was it rigorous to develop a writing a career, but change was needed, and inevitable.

New York’s stifling sidewalks were suffocating. Therefore, escaping became the dream. After failed attempts at moving to Los Angeles and Portland, escaping disappointment came in reading books.

Randomly, I sought to find the right career path. Reading and writing were the only hobbies, which tickeled my fancy. How could I make a career of that? Then, I remembered high school and the fine literature digested. Randomly, I decided to become a high school English teacher. Along with academia, I decided to make a bold step, geographically.

Upon taking my morning breakfast of a coffee, bagel, and Prozac, I checked on my frequent flyer miles. Bravely, I researched how many miles would be needed for a one-ticket to Southern California.

Having more than plenty of miles, I booked the one way ticket from New York La Guardia to Ontairo, CA. By June 1st, New York would be another chapter in lie, albeit, a very interesting chapter. Soon, Riverside would become my bohemian enclave.

With only two months left in the Northeast, I brainstormed a bucket list of experiences, still needed to be had in the city. After living in New York, on and off for nearly a decade, there wasn’t much left. Coffee shop adventures, book shopping sprees and walks in Harlem were more thrilling than a visit to the top of the 30 Rock.

Waiting out the move proved most difficult. In many ways, I was stuck in my old life, but change loomed nearer and nearer. Impatience hindered enjoyment, but attempted to be a happy (as happy as a cranky New York resident could aspire to be).

Escape through the written word became most beneficial. Would I survive the next few months of waiting? of course. Ironically, the place and institution I desired to escape turned itself into the dream of the late 2010’s. Only, I would avoid all trousers, which gave me never ending wedgies.