Posts Tagged coast

No Day at the Beach

For one, I was really enjoying the company of my new friend, The Navigator. Secondly, the weather was amazing. I couldn’t have been happier to be away from the cold weather on the East Coast.

Contrary to my plan, the weather wasn’t fully cooperative. The closer we got to the coast, the cloudier and colder it got. I didn’t care how cold it was, I was not putting the top on the convertible back up. I did, however, turn the heat up. That kept us cozy while we acclimated to the new weather pattern.

We drove around for a little before finally finding a parking spot. We walked to the beach, and we spread out the blanket I asked him to bring. He sat down, and he started pulling out the other provisions he brought — A bottle of Sprite, a bottle of Absolut, and some snacks and granola bars. I think I was falling in love. He was spontaneous and courteous. I added the provisions I grabbed at the gas station to the pool.

We sat next to each other commenting on how much the weather deteriorated and chatting about some of the surfers. We were among sparse company. The only other people brave enough to hit the sand that day were the surfers we both scoped out.

We relaxed and the conversation from the car continued. He talked about his family and his background. I learned he was a Jehovah’s Witness. He wasn’t very passive in his faith either. He had the prestigious honor to attend a bible college in Brooklyn. While there, through a slip up, it was discovered he is gay. He was excommunicated from the religion and has very limited contact with his family.

My heart was breaking to hear this sad story. He was an incredible man for surviving all that, and even more impressive for his comfort telling this to virtually a complete stranger. I told him about my religion, and my new outlook on it. I told him about my conversation with my mother on Christmas Eve, even though it was nothing compared to what he went through.

As if his story couldn’t be more complicated, I learned his brother is also gay and struggling with his religion. He was actually finding men online and hooking up with them at rest stops until he was nearly caught by police. His brother chose to take a different route in dealing with this. The Navigator tried to suppress his homosexuality with the aid of his religious elders, but came to accept who he is. His brother was not as fortunate to have the mental confidence to know himself. He was going through conversion classes to help him become heterosexual. They were trying to brainwash him. My skin was crawling at the sound of this.

After leaving his religion, he moved around a lot. One move was for a man, but obviously that didn’t work out. He’d been in LA for roughly a year and was still settling in.

I was really enjoying his company. We took turns making trips to the restroom, and when he stood to walk away, I took the opportunity to check him out. In the back of my head, a voice was screaming, “Be careful! You’re on vacation. You can’t fall for another West Coaster!” My heart was not going to be so easily convinced. I was cautiously proceeding. I really liked this guy. If he lived in New York, we’d definitely be dating. He was just what I was looking for. A masculine man who had his life together and knew what he wanted in life.

When we sufficiently froze our a$ses off, we hopped back in the car and made our way back inland. While we drove back to Glendale, I realized I’d already used up all my condoms and almost all the lube. I would need to stop for provisions along the way, but it wasn’t going to be easy with The Navigator with me. I decided to stop at a CVS. While he looked for the bathroom, I looked for the condoms and lube. I told him I needed to buy sunscreen, which I did, but that was very low on the priority list.

When I finally found what I needed, I realized they were under lock and key. I had to push a button that made the announcement, “Assistance needed in the family planning department.” Family planning couldn’t be further from what I was looking for. The irony was killing me. As Broadway always joked, “Butt babies don’t live.” I wondered what I’d done recently to deserve this karma. It was going to be nearly impossible to pull this off without him seeing what I was purchasing.

Someone came to unlock the case, and he turned his head in an attempt to give me my privacy. That was long gone. I grabbed what I needed and quickly walked to the checkout counter. Of course, when I arrived, there was a long line. I took my place in line behind an old man and hoped The Navigator was still looking for the restrooms.

I was next in line. Maybe I was going to get away with this after all. It wasn’t in the cards for me. The old man in front of me was taking FOREVER! Every second that passed was nerve-wracking. I didn’t want him to see what I was purchasing because it may have been perceived presumptuous.

Just then, he walked up behind me. My cover was blown. I tried to hide the products in the crooks of my crossed arms, but there’s a really good chance he saw what I had. Of course, this was also the moment the next register opened up. I walked up and purchased my items. I paid, and we walked back to the car without mentioning what I bought at all.

We talked the whole ride back to his apartment. When I turned onto his street, he turned to me and said, “Sooo, do you want to hang out some more?” Without hesitation, I shouted, “Yes!” He asked if I want to go back to my hotel room and hang out, and I agreed that was a great idea!

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The Navigator

In my Grindr surfing, I’d hit up more than a handful of guys. I struck up a few conversations and blocked a few I wasn’t interested in, but since I don’t pay for Grindr Xtra (I refuse to pay for the service on principle), there were a lot of guys floating around my screen in no man’s land. I casually kept a conversation going with a handful since I’d be there a few days and wanted to keep my options open.

On in particular didn’t really stand out from the crowd. We had weak conversation going — Just the pleasantries. “Hey. What’s up? What brings you to Grindr?” etc.

When I woke, I called Hertz and confirmed they would be picking me up that morning to take me to the lot. A woman drove me while I chatted some more on Grindr. Of course, when I got there they upsold me: “My only compact is at the car wash. You can wait, or for $10 more a day, you can take the convertible.” “Sold!” I exclaimed. I was like a kid in a candy store. I immediately put the top down and sped off back to my hotel. I couldn’t wait to hit the beach!

While I ate my breakfast in the hotel restaurant, I continued to poke around Grindr. I had plans to go to the beach that day, but I would be returning in the evening. Maybe I could find someone to hang out or hit up the bars.

The guy I’d briefly chatted with the previous evening messaged me once again and said, “Good morning.” We talked about what we had planned for the day. I mentioned my plans to hit up the beach when he replied, “What time should I be ready.”

A huge smile lit up my face. “How bout now?” I quickly shot back. Much to my surprise, he was just as serious as I was. “I have a few errands to run, but I can be ready at 11:00,” he added. That was in a half hour. “Perfect. I just got back from picking up my rental, and I’m eating breakfast now. Shoot me your address, and I’ll swing by around 11:00 to get you,” I said.

I gathered my beach things, hopped in the car and sped off to pick up my beach buddy. When I arrived in front, I called him, and he came out. I had only seen a few pictures, but was pleasantly surprised that he was a masculine good-looking man. This was going to be a good day!

We introduced ourselves, and I thanked him for joining me. I immediately asked him if he knew the area and told him my plans to go to Manhattan Beach. He agreed that was the best idea, but told me he had no idea how to get there. I told him he’d be playing navigator while I drove.

We talked casually about our different and similar Grindr experiences. This guy was real. He was very open about things and seemed very smart and very savvy. The longer the conversation drew on, the more I liked this guy. It was an extremely risky move to pick a stranger up in a car and spend the day with him, but it was really paying off. For once, luck was in my favor.

I learned a lot as we drove to the coast. He told me all about his job and what he wants to be doing in the future. I told him about my job, and he asked a lot of questions. He really wanted to know the intricacies of my day-to-day. It was quite apparent we were both really digging each other, and the conversation was so casual like we were friends for years.

On top of it all, he was chivalrous and super sweet. Everything he said came with a gentleman’s tone. He wasn’t self-centered, and from the stories he told, I could tell he was a popular, well-liked guy.

This was turning out to be a pretty great trip, and I was just getting started…

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