May 03, 2013

footnotes from a vacation, part one

The cat found out first1.

Emboldened by distance and encouraged by the gentleman caller, I'd crossed a pair of Rubicons in typical late-gay-bloomer fashion: until that point, all my relationships had been monogamous (in practice, if not in theory,) and I hadn't gone in for no-strings-attached affairs, either. I had only fooled around with dudes who I'd at least spoken to before and intended to speak to afterwards, though admittedly that didn't always work out—sometimes it was me coming to my senses, though.

I walked home2 bearing a six-packand an equal or possibly greater volume of uncertainty, then proceeded to drink one of those beersfar faster than was necessary before simultaneously debriefing the dude5 and queuing up a list of songs to sing, loudly, badly, at aforementioned cat. I drank another one in the shower, music up loud enough that it could be heard above the water, then stepped out: clean, damp, buzzed, slightly hoarse, still unsure about what I'd done (aside from the obvious, though really that was more of a who.)

In retrospect, it seems a bit ridiculous: we'd established the framework, I'd been clear about what I'd be up to while out of town, and even when I asked, looking for an out, I received the same steady, patient encouragement I'd been given throughout6. Despite this, I sat down to add a couple more songs to a playlist, caught my own reflection in the screen, and asked the cat7 if I'd irrevocably fucked up a relationship with a man I was too busy telling myself I couldn't love to realize that I did.

The cat didn't answer in a way that I could understand, unless her nuzzling up against my calves was morse-encoded, and if that's the case I freely admit to having less of an idea as to what goes on, any more.

One of my hosts came home shortly after, and the rest of the day passed in the sort of blur I could probably reconstruct via forensic twitter and careful examination of message logs but won't, in service of vacation myths. Under the guise of a bar crawl there were fancy drinks (six through eleven, as it were,) a brisk walk past Super Sexe (with brief-but-necessary instagram stop,) and a final stop for bagels8 before returning to Parc-Ex, to hydrate and sleep, eventually.

We said our goodbyes underground the next morning, headed in opposite directions on the same subway line; back to work or onwards to further vacationing, respectively. One train, bus, and plane later, I landed at Pearson, sent off a quick landed-safely text to my folks and email to the dude9, picked an album I hadn't yet listened to10 and set off in search of my luggage. I got lost, as one does in unfamiliar airports, but made it to the carousels in time to see my flight's stuff spill slowly out onto the conveyor belt, all the while half-listening to some song about being saved from the grip of a mountain should a plane fall.

I stood spaced out and waiting, half-asleep and more than a little hung over; the singer geared up her longing a notch, and I was struck by a remembrance the last time I'd stood and waited for luggage in this particular airport, and the week that followed. I shook my head (as if these thoughts could be dislodged,) spotted my luggage, and went to grab it before beginning the bus-train-streetcar journey from Toronto's airport to, well, actual Toronto11.

1. predictably, the cat wasn't sure what I was up to: our relationship, thus far, having been that I gave friendly words and behind-ear scratches in exchange for good morning headbutts to the beard, intermittent purring, and, just once, a kneading that I was puzzled enough to record video of—to be informed later that it was a comfort-seeking behaviour. I sneeze less now, so maybe I was being given more than I thought, there.

2. Used here as a flexible, almost post-geographical kind of thing:
in Montreal, where Kristen will tell me off if and when necessary, it's in Parc-Ex, where Little India hosts the Greek Day parade and what it apparently the city's best souvlaki joint is a stumble down the block;
in Vancouver it's divided between the couches I wake up on with some regularity and where, you know, my mailing address is;
it's also wherever Rob is, largely due to his habit of welcoming me home whenever I see him, no matter where we are.

3. I stopped for beer, afterwards, at the same depanneur where I'd had a sandwich, before, and the clerk there (from whom I'd bought a different six-pack the day before, and had a brief but pleasant chat about trading Vancouver's rain for Montreal's snow,) cocked an eyebrow, as if he knew I'd been up to something in the time between visits but said nothing, blissfully.

4. making it number three on the day; numbers one and two having been consumed under the guise of testing the reasonableness of actually having a beer called a breakfast IPA for/with breakfast. The preliminary decision was that it was doable, since an earl grey-spiked beer combined both tea and toast, in a way, but further testing was necessary for a proper verdict.

5. all of our relationship discussions thus far have been via text message, involved some amount of nudity, or both; if for whatever reason our iMessage history gets PATRIOT ACT-d someone is going to have one hell of a time.

6. the man is a gem, if it wasn't clear.

7. in the way of things unthought until they were said and once said, unretractable. Long-time readers may notice a theme.

8. I have a photo of Kristen, full Asian glow in effect, biting into a sesame bagel around her wrist. I have no idea how we got there, and the more I think about it, the happier I am to let it remain a mystery.

9. I knew my folks would be awake and the dude wouldn't be; that I'd glanced at my watch, done the time zone math, and knew his routine well enough to make the adjustment was one of those things I figured everybody did (and found out later that it wasn't.)

10. I figured that two cross-country flights, one shorter one, and a bunch of unfamiliar public transit meant it was a good time to check out some stuff I hadn't heard before, both because I wasn't going to be doing a whole lot of acquisition but also because it made room for fresh associations. Sometimes this works too well, though: I can't listen to Janelle Monae's first EP without thinking of Edmonton.

11. While drinking a very large iced tea more quickly than was sensible and waiting to board, I looked one gate to the left and realized I could have flown directly to downtown Toronto; at the time I  recall wondering what my third questionable call of the day would be.