August 24, 2006

My Trip, Airport Security, and the Terrorist Threat

I’m packed and ready to go. I leave in an hour, but a bit worried about the flight. I’ve packed all my toiletries in my luggage. The only carry on item I have is my laptop. The new restrictions don’t bother me. They’re necessary. However, I am concerned that The Office of Homeland Security hasn’t done much about checking luggage before it goes into the hold beneath passengers. I’ve googled “luggage in the hold” and got information on Rapiscan, a company that makes machines for screening checked luggage. But, what exactly has the Transportation Security Administration done to make sure all hold-destined luggage is checked? Is this a LOOPHOLE in security! I have done a good bit of research on this question and it doesn't look good.

As to the rest of the trip, it should be easy. I will drive myself to the Palm Beach airport, a 9-mile drive, and park the car in long-term parking. My bag is one of those things that have built in wheels, so I have little or no totting to do. The walk will do me good. I do have one layover in Atlanta. Once again the walk will do me good. I just hope everything is on time, and I don’t have a mad rush between flights. My old legs can’t handle a pell-mell dash across Hartsfield-Jackson International, jumping in and out of that tram system. Adam said that Philadelphia International entails a lot of walking, but he will meet me at the luggage pick-up area and help from there.

One friend here at the condo said, “Aren’t you afraid?”

“A little, but I refuse to allow the terrorists to prevent me from seeing my grandson,” I said.

“Well, he said, you won’t catch me flying any time soon.”

And, with immobilizing fear such as that, unfortunately, the terrorists have won.

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August 21, 2006

Proposed Visit to Rehoboth Beach, DE

Adam and Stephen have been on two dates since the one I reported here. Evidently things are progressing extremely well, and a friend has lent them his place in Rehoboth Beach, DE this coming weekend. They’ve asked me to go with them. No, begged is more like what they did. "Three's a crowd," I said. But, they wouldn't let it go. Anyway, I’ve checked flight schedules and ordered my E-ticket.

Cape Henlopen September 2004
This is a photograph I took two years ago at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

I fly to Philadelphia Thursday. Adam will pick me up at the airport after school and drive me to his house. We will gather Stephen and his things Friday after they are both done work and drive to the Beach, about a 2 and 1/2 hour drive. We will have but Saturday and Sunday at the beach. However, I will stay on at Adam’s house until the following Thursday, August 31st. I am so happy for them both, but especially for Adam.

Stephen is a dream, and he adores Adam. He is the epitome of the three essential S’s, "sweet, smart, and sexy." If I weren’t Adam’s old fart granddad, I’d make a play for Stephen myself. A not so brief description will show you why. Stephen is square jawed with hazel bedroom eyes, high cheekbones, and a crop of thick black hair that always looks a bit messed-up. He works out 4 x’s a week – has one of those slender wasted, perfect V latissimus dorsi things going on in the back, brick hard abs, and has generally a beautifully proportioned male body, including the part we gay men are most hung up on - just enough body hair where appropriate, smooth bronzed summer-skin, and a butt that invites stares from passers by, both men and women. Of course, my dirty old fart brain is hung up on physical beauty when Stephen has so much more to offer. He’s one of the few people on this earth who are beautiful inside and out, and, (good God!) - he’s intelligent and cultured too. I’ve spent time talking with him about one of my pet subjects, classical music, and he held his own, sighting particular passages that are favorites of his from Mahler’s 8th Symphony which just happens to be the one piece of music guaranteed to give me an orgasm when orchestra, organ and chorus get to screaming and throbbing at the end. I’ve wondered if Adam didn’t coach him about my crazed Mahler mania.

Anyway, Adam is foolish if he doesn’t grab and hold on for dear life.

(P.S. I'll deal with worries about flying in my next entry, Dear Journal.)

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August 16, 2006

Peter’s Sexuality

I woke early yesterday and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I got up just before sunup. I had a cup of coffee and decided to take my morning walk early. I walked to the nearby marina, and sat out on one of the docks. Someone has conveniently placed several benches on the docks, and I had a beautiful view of the steamy Intracoastal Waterway. Pink wisps of mist curled from the water’s surface in the defuse light of sunrise, and a few pleasure boats filled with folks going fishing were headed to the inlet. I must be honest, it was hot and humid, and I was uncomfortable. Most of my peers tell me they won’t go outside unless they absolutely must during the long summers here. While I’m not foolish, and I don’t go out in the middle of the day if I can help it, I do go out as much as my old body will allow. After all, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. Anyway, after I was thoroughly damp, I got up and walked back to the condo. The grounds of my complex are green and full of lush tropical growth because they are watered with an automatic system every day, rain or shine. So, I always take my time because I like to look at the coconut, royal, queen, butterfly, Manila, and other palms, the flowering plants like birds of paradise, red crinum, and Persian violets. It’s a feast for the eyes that I never grow tired of. As I slowly climbed the stairs to my condo – I hardly ever take the elevator - I bumped into my hunky young neighbor, Peter, who was headed to his car. We stopped, exchanged pleasantries, and rapidly moved on to more interesting topics of conversation. I happened to mention that I was reading My Life, by Bill Clinton. So, Peter told me that he is reading a mystery, Boy Toy, a gay mystery I might add by Michael Craft. I recognized it right away because I had bought the book at Lambda Books in Rehoboth Beach, DE, two years ago. Thus, Adam, Stephen, any I guessed correctly. Peter is gay. Hurray for gaydar!

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August 13, 2006

Finally, I feel alive again.

I have recuperated from the bug I think. I started taking my morning walks again. I even did my weights yesterday. The weights aren’t heavy, ten, twelve, and fifteen because my old joints and muscles just won’t lift more. I bought twenty pound weights two years ago and I try using them every once in a while, but so far, it’s no go. I have to admit, I can actually lift them in front of me, and do a few curls with them, but the shoulders hurt so bad when doing them, that I haven’t been able to make myself try a full set. I know they say, “no pain, no gain,” however, I’m not talking about soreness here. I’m talking actual joint pain, you know, like sharp, knife stabs. Ah well, I guess I could increase the number of sets I do with my ten and twelve pound weights, and do a single rep with the fifteen several times a day, to try and strengthen the muscles to the point where the muscles are helping the joint do the work. Yes. I’ll try that.

I’ll call Compass to resume my volunteer work today.

Writing to you is such a help, dear Journal.

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August 10, 2006

Seniors Helping Seniors

I attended the “Seniors Caring for Seniors” meeting, and was welcomed with mostly open arms, though several people wouldn’t talk to me. A few others seemed weirded out. I wonder if I’ll have any of those on my calling list. I guess most of us in the geriatric set were around long before anyone was willing to think about a gay identity as anything but bizarre and / or even out of the question. Paul CadmusThe Seven Deadly Sins comes to mind though these paintings contain the gay master artist’s knowledge about the range of malevolent possibilities for the self ho matter the sexuality.

Getting Over the Bug

Went for a short walk this morning before the heat got really bad. I’m still weak and didn’t last very long. Got about 200 feet from my building and had to stop to sit on a bench. After 5 minutes sitting I got up and headed back. I hope stamina returns soon.

Adam Called

Seems he and Stephen had dinner out last night. Adam says they had a good time, and that it was like a first date. He’s been a good boy because he wants to win Stephen back. However, he has got to understand that promiscuity has consequences that run the gamut from getting AIDS to ending up single for ones entire life. I suppose the latter is not necessarily negative because I’m sure in the vast universe of human sexuality, there are those who are better off on their own. Never the less, I hope Stephen makes Adam wait for a while before giving in. Of course, I’m making an assumption. I haven’t talked to Stephen since he left South Florida so I don’t know whether he’s forgiven Adam, and whether or not reestablishing their relationship is even in the cards.

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August 07, 2006

This narrative is about male sexuality among other things.

Having been so sick this past week, I am once again reminded of my mortality. Thus, before I die, I would like to state the reasons I write this blog. I shall continue to enumerate these from time to time, and begin today with the most important.

The production of the body of work for Isaac Stolzfuts’ Journal has demonstrated over time that the consideration of my life, my art, other artworks and discourses described here helped to clarify and make possible a conceptualization of and imagery about sexuality that are not determined by the heterosexual versus homosexual dichotomy alone. One of the premises of my entire project is that there is a need to create such a body of work, one that demonstrates through critical practice that a fictionalized narrative about sexuality can be more convincing than the prevalent cultural myth about sexuality that victimizes the lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered person (hereafter referred to as LGBT person).*1 I cannot help but make the following observation. The slayings of Matthew Shephard in October 1998, Billy Jack Gaither in 1999, Arthur “J.R.” Warren in July, 2000, and Gwen Amber Rose Araujo in 2002 among many others, reinforce my argument that the use of outmoded classificatory systems by social, governmental, and religious institutions in the United States does denote and stigmatize sexual identities and contributes to the victimization and murder of LGBT people.*2

1 I define “critical practice” as the artist creating works based upon a reflective process that is thoroughly integrated with the productive process and that results in the construction of a personal cosmography that is present in the works of art.

2 Warren was triply stigmatized. He was gay, a black man, and had a disability.

August 04, 2006

My Good Neighbors

One benefit of being ill, if it is possible to have such, was that I discovered the kindness of my new neighbors. Peter called this past Sunday to tell me that he had been in touch with my grandson Adam by E-mail, and to thank me once again for Adam’s and Steven’s E-mail addresses. I sounded so terrible on the telephone that he asked me if I was okay. I told him of my stomach virus in the shortest possible terms so that I could make one of my numerous trips to the bathroom. That afternoon, Peter’s mother called to make sure I was okay, and to tell me that she would stop by with a container of strained chicken broth. Thereafter one neighbor or another called morning, afternoon, and evening to make sure that I was okay. One of my geriatric and single peers explained during her call that there is a group of us here that regularly check in with one another lest someone should be extremely ill and need help. I said that I would like to join, and so I will be attending meetings once a month. I will be added to the telephone list, and I will be given a list of 3 to 5 names to call regularly during the next month. I understand the names change regularly so that we can become familiar with more of our neighbors. However, in order to avoid any sexual misunderstandings I will come out to these folks at my first meeting. I know it will make some of them uncomfortable, but that can’t be avoided. Such is life. We, all of us, myself included, need to be confronted by our prejudices, especially when we don’t recognize them as such.

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August 01, 2006

The Bug!

So sorry not to have written, dear Journal, but I’m sick – some sort of
virus – and I haven’t been out of bed except to crawl to the bathroom. I haven’t been to the doctor because I can’t get the energy to leave the condo. I have been keeping myself fully hydrated, so I don’t think I’m in any terrible danger. Just have to live through this mess. I’m just thoroughly done in. More later.

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