Posts Tagged traffic
The idea that I was in LA for work completely faded from my mind, as did the trysts I’d met since my arrival. After meeting The Navigator, I was on cloud 9 since we hung out on the beach. He was an amazing guy, and I knew if we lived in the same city, we’d be dating.
Before going to bed, we exchanged a few messages around 2:00am. “Hiya handsome. Sorry for texting you so late. Just wanted to say hello,” he texted. I texted back, “Miss you lots. Can’t wait to see you again!” I didn’t care if I was being a bit aggressive; I was being honest. I had nothing to lose here, and I needed to get back to being more honest with myself and the guys I date.
The next morning, I woke up to my early alarm alone in my bed and immediately missed his presence. I quickly looked to my phone to see if I had a message. I did! “The pix of you on the hike turned out great! You look so handsome!” The previous night, we became Facebook friends. This wasn’t the text I was looking for, but it still made me happy.
I had a plan to go for a run that morning, and should I still have the energy, I would take a dip in the pool. I’d gone to the weight room and the pool the night before from 10:30-11:30. Even with all the guys I was spending time with, I was finding time for myself. I needed to get myself in line on this trip as well. I’d been floundering for far too long.
When I finished my run, I checked my phone, and I still didn’t have a message from The Navigator. I decided to take a dip in the hot tub to relax my muscles and take my mind off the excitement I anticipated all day. Finally, my phone lit up: “Morning! We have a call out for the next shift, so if there are no volunteers we draw straws. Keep your fingers crossed for me pal!”
My heart sank. There was no possibility he wouldn’t be joining me on the PCH until now. Now, I had to prepare myself for the idea this drive would be solo. If you recall, I HATE being alone. I don’t do well alone. I get depressed. This was one of the fears I had booking this trip, but I wanted to force myself to get used to it if I had to. I quickly responded, “Tell your boy to take one for the team. You have a hot date 🙂 Fingers crossed.”
I hopped out of the hot tub and made my way back to my room to shower and get ready for my road trip. I tried not to think about an empty passenger seat until I got another text: “:( Looks like there may be a surgery… If the owner approves the estimate, then it’s no longer a choice. I’m [Dr.’s] surgery tech. Still a slim chance :(“
I was now facing the fact I would be driving alone. It was supposed to be a nice day, so I convinced myself I would be fine. It was going to be an exciting drive up the coast. I was going to go all the way up to Santa Barbara and check things out along the way. I still wanted to see him, so I asked, “What time would you be done ish?”
He didn’t answer me immediately. After I packed my bags, I got another text: “I’m gonna stop dragging my heels. Everyone is looking to me. UGH!!! It’s another full shift, but then I have the next day and a half off. So, I’ll be off at 5:30.” I could accept that, but I asked, “Can I see you then?” He immediately responded, “I’ll hurry home as soon as I can… yes!”
I told him I was packing up the car and about to hit the road. “I’ll aim to be back in the area around 5:30. Let me know closer to then what’s up… Maybe we’ll just meet somewhere since I don’t have to come back to the hotel. Sad I’m not spending the day with you, but I understand completely… Looking forward to this evening!” I added. With that, I hopped in the car and made my way to Porto’s Bakery for an amazing Cuban Medianoche sandwich that was incredibly difficult to eat in the car, a chocolate croissant and an iced mocha latte. If you even happen to be in Glendale, check this place out. It’s amazing!
I drove all the way up the coast taking in all the sights. At one point, Highway 1 cuts inland. I wasn’t paying attention, and I ended up in the middle of the orange groves and strawberry patches. I watched the motorcycle gangs as I passed them with envy. I would have killed to have my motorcycle out there. I get out of the care until I reached Santa Barbara. I pulled up to the beach and stood up for the first time in a few hours. I stretched out and broke out my camera to snap some pictures. It was a gorgeous area, and all I could think about was living there. I could move to LA, marry an amazing man, and we could retire to Santa Barbara. That’s when my thoughts jumped right back to The Navigator.
“Santa Barbara misses you,” I texted him. I was still disappointed he wasn’t with me, but I wasn’t going to let it ruin my drive. I had a sick convertible, no real timetable, and the freedom to do whatever I wanted. The ride up did allow me some clarity. I cleared my head of all the thoughts of the past. Everything was forward-looking.
After I had my fill of Santa Barbara, I made my way inland to Ojai. I’d always wanted to check it out since I seen Brothers and Sisters. The family business was there and it always looked gorgeous on-screen. I climbed up one side of winding mountains and down the other. I pulled off the side of the road a few times to take in the beauty of it all and snap some pictures for posterity.
When I arrived down into Ojai proper, I was shocked by how small town it was. I was out in rural farmland. It didn’t quite feel like home because the geography was very different from home, but it was very nice to see this side of the West Coast. I called my parents to tell them I was searching for Nora (a character on Brothers and Sisters), and they both laughed at me. They’d forgotten I was out there for work/vacation, and they expressed their jealousy. I thought about my new friend as well, texting, “Ojai misses you too.” Finally, he responded. I knew he was busy working, so I was surprised to get a response. “What’s Ojai? Pic?” he asked. When I told him, he added, “I miss you :)” I was swooning a little bit.
I told him I was on my way back to LA and asked where he worked. He told me the name of the street, and I added, “Maybe I should meet you there. Then I’m not venturing that far from the airport.” He’d forgotten I had to catch a flight. I told him it would just mean more time we would get to spend together.
As I passed through Santa Monica, I reached out to him once again: “What’s the plan Stan? At Venice Beach. Was gonna drive down to Marina Del Ray… Could come out there and let me take you out to dinner.” I waited a long time to hear from him again. I even stopped at a Starbucks so I could park the car and walk around a bit. I ordered a coffee and walked out onto the pier in Venice Beach to take some pictures of the ocean. I still had a lot of time to kill, so I sat in the Starbucks charging my laptop while I wrote a blog entry.
Then I got a text from him I wish I’d never read: “Hey pal. I think I’m gonna have to skip hanging out. I’m exhausted. I just want to sleep. I hate to do that to you. I know you’ve been waiting. I’m not even gonna drive home. Gonna sleep at a coworkers place a couple blocks away. Didn’t really get to sleep before the shifts started. I had an amazing time with you and would love it if we stayed in touch. Hope you have a safe flight home and maybe I can come visit you in Jersey (hint hint) Muah handsome… Thanks for everything :)” I was heartbroken. All I could think to respond was, “Wish I at least got to say goodbye.” He quickly shot back, “I know. Me too… I’m just very tired.”
This wasn’t good enough for me. “Let me know if I can at least come and say goodbye. If not, it’s cool…” I sent in an attempt to strike and emotional chord. When I got no response, I called him – No answer.
He texted back, “Still at work. Can text, but not talk. I’ll call you at 5:30 handsome.” I would have to be patient. I know my usual aggressive style, so I tried to curb that bad habit. When the clock reached 5:45, I called him again — No answer. I texted him again, “I have the time to kill. I could come and say bye and you go to sleep. I get it if you’re too tired to hang.” More time passed, and I still didn’t hear from him. I was emotionally beginning to panic. I knew the time to say goodbye was going to come, and I tried to prepare myself for it. But, to not have that at all rocked me a little.
Now, I was grasping at straws. I changed course and sped back to downtown LA. I called him over and over again while I weaved in and out of cars. Maybe if I wasn’t so locked in on one thing, I would have realized I could actually deal with LA traffic with the skills I was exercising.
In a last stitch effort, I texted, “In the middle of LA hoping I can come say goodbye before I go to the airport. Please call.” Silence. He’d gone dark on me. I was so disappointed in him. I thought we shared something special. I wanted him as a friend, and he was abandoning me. I was being very selfish, but so was he. I admitted defeat and gave up:
“Heading to airport. Sorry. I wasn’t trying to make a big deal about it. Just wanted to give a proper goodbye, even if just for two minutes. Get some rest. Def stay in touch. Hope I made a good friend on this trip! You’re a great guy! You have a place to stay any time you want to visit New Jersey/New York! Would love it if you called tomorrow when you wake up! 🙂 Stay sexy!”
He never called. When I got home, he never Facebook messaged me either. I was very disappointed. I wasn’t giving in that easily though. I texted him days later to see if he’d truly cut me off completely: “Hey stud. How’s it going? Just wanted to say hi.” I was happy to see a response some time later: “Hey 🙂 Sorry I didn’t say goodbye. I’m not very good at that type of thing. I know it wasn’t very nice. I had a wonderful time with you though. How is everything?”
We continued to text each other periodically over time. He even called me one day, but I missed his call. I hope I have a true friend in him. He really is a great guy, and if I can’t have him as my own, I’ll take him as a friend. I look forward to the day I can see him again. Maybe work will send me out there again. Maybe he’ll come to New Jersey for a visit. Maybe I’ll make a true pleasure trip out there and see him on my own. Who knows???Follow @onegayatatime
I had been scheming for weeks, ever since I found out Smiles was screening his movie in the Hamptons in conjunction with the annual film festival. I finally had my answer – He wanted me there.
I had a wedding on Long Island the following day, so it was convenient for me to head out there early to catch his film. I hadn’t seen it yet, so I was very curious.
Since I already booked a hotel for the wedding, I wasn’t exactly thrilled about dropping more money on another hotel room (if I could even get one with the festival). Then I had a brilliant idea. My great-aunt has a house out in the Hamptons. I emailed my cousin and asked her if she thought I could use her mother’s house for a night. I wasn’t looking to make a whole weekend of it. We literally just needed beds to sleep in and showers in to use in the morning. Luckily, my great-aunt obliged. I asked Smiles if he’d like to stay with us, but I didn’t get a straight answer. He was trying to find something closer to the screening.
My roommate was my date for the wedding (sad, I know, but this is the life you lead when you’re gay and single). I ran my plan by her, and she was down for it all. I left work early Friday, went to Hoboken to picked up her car and our bags, drove back into the city, and pick her up when she finished work. After that, we headed up to Mount Vernon to hit up my great-aunt’s house to get the keys.
Of course, this took forever! We got turned around twice and had to deal with Friday evening city traffic. I was starting to fear missing the beginning of the screening. When we finally arrived at the house to get the keys, I couldn’t just grab the keys and run. I hadn’t seen my great aunt since the funeral of my grandmother, and it had been years before that since we last saw each other. I knew I would have to sit and chat a bit. She was thrilled someone was getting use of the house and gave me long instructions on everything. Luckily, she is still sharp as a tack and after a short chat, she suggested we get on the road quickly so we didn’t have to sit in too much traffic.
We made our way across almost the entire length of Long Island before finally arriving at the bowling alley the film was screened at. We didn’t even stop to grab dinner, so I was praying this place had some decent food.
We walked inside and were greeted by Smiles. He and his crew were getting set for a round of bowling. My roommate and I took over the lane next to them to bowl a game or two before the film. Apparently, we made excellent time and even had some to spare (Get it? Bowling… Spare…).
Smiles looked very smart and was being decently affectionate. I wasn’t sure how the night was going to play out. I had a feeling it may be slightly awkward, but I wanted to be supportive. I talked to him before heading out there to see what the situation would be. I asked, “Will you be working the whole time, or is it more relaxed than that.” He explained he would get to spend time with me, and it would be worth it for me to come since I was already heading out in that direction.
While we were bowling, the alley owner’s teenage boy was hanging out with Smiles and his crew. He’d been with them all day hanging flyers around town. At one point, he made a comment to Smiles about his wife coming to the screening. Smiles told him he wasn’t married, and the kid immediately questioned himself and said, “Or girlfriend?” When Smiles shook his head, the kid replied, “Oh, or boyfriend or whatever.” Smiles simply replied, “Well… Him,” and pointed at me. I didn’t notice this happening, but Smiles made it a point to come over and recount the story for me.
The time came for the crew to start getting set up for the movie. My roommate and I finished our game and hit up the bar to grab some drinks and grub. From across the room, I watched Smiles greet some of his friends and chat with them a bit. When he finished, he came over to check on me and grab a beverage. He mentioned his friends and their names. When he said one name in particular, my ears perked up. It was his ex. I was very curious how that would play out since I know they are still close, but rarely get to see each other. He told us to grab seats since the movie would be starting soon, so we made our way over to the chairs and grabbed a spot.
When he sat down, he sat with his other friends. I wasn’t jealous. I knew he didn’t get to see them much, so I would take a backseat on this one (however, a small part of me was very disappointed after driving over four hours to see this). I watched the movie intently, but I have to say, I did glance at Smiles and his ex in front of me to see the body language happening. Again, we weren’t in a relationship yet. We weren’t even dating yet. We were just seeing each other, or at least in my mind that’s how it was defined.
Part of the way into the film, I was shocked to see Smiles on the screen. I knew he was a producer of the film, but I had no idea he was acting in it as well. I was very proud of him and the great job he did. The film was great and surpassed my expectations — Totally an indie film I’d rent at Blockbuster, not some NYU student project.
After the film, my roommate and I made our way back to a spot at the bar to grab another drink. After chatting with his friends some more, he came over to me, apologized to my roommate and asked for permission to steal me away to introduce me to them. I’m sure my face lit up like a Christmas tree. He was acknowledging me to his friends. FINALLY! It was the validation I was looking for after the birthday party.
However, when one of the friends asked how we met, Smiles turned to me. My head immediately went to Grindr and how I didn’t want to say that. I could have said we met through a mutual friend, but I said, “I’m going to default to you on this one,” and turned to Smiles. He paused a minute and replied, “We’ve gone out to dinner a few times back in the city.” It was interesting to see him struggle with the answer as much as I had. After a short while, the friends had to be on their way. A band was beginning to play, so I called my roommate over and stood by her with Smiles and some of his crew. Later in the night, I learned the man I thought was his ex simply share the same name as his true ex. I felt a little more relaxed for some reason.
Periodically we showed signs of affection towards each other, such as a subtle hand hold or a glance. It was nice. It was still nerve-wracking because I didn’t know what he was comfortable with yet. We weren’t defined, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t overwhelm. That happened in the past, and I didn’t want it to happen again.
Smiles directed me to speak with the director of the film. She and her friend wanted to know if they could crash at the house for the night as well. This was the first conformation I received of Smiles coming as well. Until then, he hadn’t given me a definitive answer. I explained to the two girls, I hadn’t been to the house before and wasn’t sure of the bed situation. However, they were more than welcome to join the adventure. When the band finished, we made our way to my great aunt’s house.
The drive was nice and cut through some cute towns. When we arrived, Smiles said, “Do the Bouviers live here?” in a reference to Grey Gardens. The exterior of the house didn’t look to be in great shape. I was a little worried. When we got inside, I was pleasantly surprised to find the house in more than decent shape. It was very large and slept about sixteen comfortably. All the girls got their own rooms if they so chose. Smiles and I would be taking the master downstairs of course.
We immediately settled in. We talked a bit, and I came to find out he wouldn’t be able to grab brunch with us in the morning. He had to get the rental car back to the city by noon. I was very disappointed. Everything I planned so far had worked out perfectly. The screening. The house. My plan to make it a quick little getaway with him was failing. After brushing our teeth, we climbed into bed and cuddled a bit until we dozed off.
When we woke around 9am, I tried to get a little frisky. I reached my hand down and gently began to try to excite him until I was gently pushed away and told he was exhausted. I admitted defeat and disappointingly went back to just laying next to him. Me ego was a little bruised.
Shortly following, we both got out of bed, and he got dressed and packed up to go. I said goodbye to the bunch and tried to find something to entertain myself until my roommate woke up…Follow @onegayatatime
After meeting Sexy Eyes for coffee, I continued on to my planned date that evening. I picked up a guy on Grindr one morning taking the car service to work. It was complete chance this happened. Normally, my driver takes the Lincoln Tunnel, but because of traffic, he took the Holland. I was particularly bored that morning, so I pulled up Grindr to see what would pop up. Once I was in New York City, I noticed a guy who had a great smile. I messaged him my standard, “Hey stud,” but I also added “Great smile!”
We began chatting a bit after that and he quickly found a spot amongst my favorites. Over the course of a week, we would chat in the evenings. Many times he’d be walking home from being out somewhere and pull up Grindr to pass the time.
He seemed like a very level-headed guy and I enjoyed our chats. We had a few things in common, but our conversations were never very in-depth. In my typical fashion, I asked him to go out for a drink sometime. He graciously obliged. When I asked him for his phone number, instead I got his email. He wasn’t comfortable giving me his number before we met. I assured him I wouldn’t stalk him, and he could trust me. But, I wasn’t going to pressure him into giving it to me.
On a Saturday evening, I sent him an email: “Not to be too forward, but would you have any interest in coffee or brunch tomorrow? Like meeting new people… Pretty chill… No expectations. You just seem, like a cool down to earth guy…” He replied back, “Normally I would say yes, but I actually have a full day tomorrow starting at 10 until late night. Sometime during the week would be better, this is an unusually packed Sunday. ” The response was promising, so I would just have to be patient.
I was running a few minutes late for the date, so I sent him an email telling him I would arrive about five minutes late. I got to the bar at 8:05 and sent another email letting him know I was standing outside with an umbrella and a blue shirt. After twenty minutes and no word from him, my patience was waning. I began to wonder if I was stood up. I texted the guy who cancelled my OKCupid friend date earlier that evening to see if his interview was over and to see if he wanted to hang out since I was still in the city. I was about a minute from walking the block to the PATH to head home. I also had the prospect of meeting Sexy Eyes again that evening in the back of my head.
Just then, a man with an amazing smile emerged from the bar to greet me. I had no idea he was inside this whole time. He apologized for the confusion and told me he could explain. While he was standing at the bar, a man approached him and began chatting with him. All “Smiles” could think of was how much this guy didn’t look like his Grindr pictures (thinking he was talking to me). The guy happened to be there on a match.com date and confused Smiles for his date. After chatting for about ten – fifteen minutes, they realized they were talking to the wrong guy. Smiles hadn’t wanted to be rude while they were talking, so he wasn’t checking his phone. At this point he saw my emails, and he came outside to retrieve me.
I grabbed a drink, and we stood in the corner chatting a bit. The conversation started off VERY rocky. I didn’t know what to say, so I said, “So how was work today?” He replied, “That’s what’s going to break the conversation. Haha. Work was good,” jokingly. The conversation was much easier after that. I learned he was against Grindr in the beginning. His friend encouraged him to download it and use it. His response was, “If I want to take a guy home for a hookup, I can just go to the bar and get one. That way I can see him and feel him up (as he reached out his hand to feel up my chest) before I take him home. Why would I need a digital version of that? That’s not what I’m looking for.” I couldn’t agree more with his sentiments. He told me after begrudgingly downloading the app, he actually had gone on a few dates from Grindr. None were spectacular, but they were adequate enough to keep him on it.
While we were talking, he warned me he had to leave at 9:00 because he had dinner plans with a friend. I wasn’t sure if this was the real deal or if he was using it as an out because he thought the date was going so poorly. “I originally thought an hour would be enough time for us to meet for the first time,” he said. I barely had a chance to meet him, let alone get to know him in the half hour we spent together. I was very disappointed. He was very cute, smart, established, successful, funny, active… Everything I look for in a man. I wanted more.
After we awkwardly closed our tabs, we walked outside. The date ended with an awkward hug, and I said we should definitely try to meet up again sometime soon. He seemed a bit nonplused, but he certainly didn’t shoot me down. I left the date wondering if I made a bad first impression and if there was anything I could do to repair that.
Later that evening around 11:00, I sent him an email stating: “Let me start off by saying your smile pays off even more in person! But anyway… Great meeting you tonight. Hope we can meet up again some time soon…” And in a follow-up email, I sent, “And my number’s ###. Use it.” He seemed to be very good about checking his email, but I wanted his phone number. It offered the option to call. I would get it if he chose to text or call me.
That’s when I finally got a response. “Easy big guy. Good morning. Haven’t had a chance to get into email yet today. Enjoyed meeting you last night, maybe Sunday we can catch up again for a little longer?”
I felt like a fool. I immediately replied, “Sh*t! I knew I jumped the gun! haha Sorry bout that. I should be around Sunday. Hit me up and we’ll figure something out…”
I was elated. Apparently I didn’t make that bad of a first impression after all. He was interested, and now I had something to look forward to. Who knew what Sunday would bring?…Follow @onegayatatime
Time away. Time away from work. From stress. From my relationship problems. Time away from N. I just needed time away to escape it all.
Following work that Friday, I hit the road to the Jersey Shore at 1:30 with one of my best friends, D. We were getting a head start on the mass exodus that happens every weekend in Hoboken. We really lucked out and didn’t hit any traffic. My stomach was very gracious for this because my hangover was just starting to kick in. I woke earlier that morning, and I was still drunk. I walked into work with my sunglasses on and asked everyone to leave me in peace if at all possible. My wish was granted. Now I was stuck in a car and the positive effects of the alcohol were wearing off.
I thought my conversation with N ended for the day when I signed off Gchat. We had a decent chat, but things certainly weren’t casual yet. Exchanges were still slightly awkward, especially since I tried to drag him to my bed the night before.
However, N wasn’t done talking to me apparently. About half way down to Belmar, I received a text from him. “How was your half day? Are you dts yet?” I read it on my phone and grumbled out loud. Even though I was the one who made it awkward the night before, I didn’t even want to think about him. I turned to D, who had just been filled in on the details of the night before, and I told him what the text said. I asked him what I should do. He said, “You’re trying to put distance between you two right? Then ignore it!”
I took his advice, and I was happy about it. I put the phone back in the console and continued to suffer through my hangover in silence. However, the silence was broken ten minutes later when I received a call from a blocked number. I picked it up and of course, no one was on the other side. I wondered if it was N. Was he calling to see if I was ignoring him? I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of knowing he was getting to me enough for me to ignore him, so I thought it best to respond to the text. “Half day was necessary. I was still drunk at work. We’re still in the car…” After that, I got radio silence.
An hour and a half later, I received another text from N asking about traffic and our time of departure. I simply ignored this one. I was going to let him hijack my weekend. It would just ruin my weekend with my friends if I spent all my time texting with the guy I just “broke up” with. After some more time, N felt the need to inform me his roommate was down the shore as well. At this point, I was very short. I simply responded, “I know. We’ve been texting each other.” I was hoping he’d get the hint that he was not included in the nights festivities and his services were not needed. He either got the hint or found something else to entertain his time.
At this point, D and I had been drinking for a few hours. We were both six beers deep. D was starting to feel drunk, but I felt NOTHING. This was a typical occurrence for me. I have a very high tolerance, but I was hoping to get drunk. I turned to D and said, “I think I may switch teams this weekend.” I knew I wasn’t going to find a guy down at the Jersey Shore — not in Belmar anyway. I figured why not find a pretty girl to flirt with and see where things go. Not like I’ve never been there before. D laughed and I could see the excitement in his eyes. He knew if this was going to happen, he was going to have entertainment for the rest of the night. He had a girlfriend who was on her way to meet us, but at least he could watch me hit on hotties.
There was one particular girl I was watching from afar. I liked her interaction with her friends. She was participating in their festivities, but always kept herself slightly detached and available. We made eye contact once or twice, so I promised myself I would talk to her once I was properly lubricated. I would never get the opportunity, however. The group of them walked outside into a torrential downpour of rain. In the next minute, I found myself very attracted to her. Her solution to the rain was to rip off her dress, crumple it in her hands, and sprint through the rain in her bikini. She gained major cool points right then, but it was too late. She was gone in a flash (or should I say splash).
Over the next few hours, I switched from beer to vodka sodas and got properly wasted. My sister and K arrived, shortly followed by D’s girlfriend. We were all having a blast. We were at D’Jais afterall, so my fist was pumping hard. I danced my ass off, stuffed my face, and went back to the sh*ttiest hotel I’ve ever been to with D and his girlfriend.
On the way back to the hotel I checked my Grindr out of curiosity. No quality bites, as I expected. One bite I wasn’t expecting was from N. I checked what the message said. “Having fun finding ZERO gay men in the Belmar/Manasquan area?” I immediately rolled my eyes. What was he doing!? I tried not to think about it and laid my head down on the pillow and fell asleep. He wasn’t worth losing one minute of sleep over anymore.Follow @onegayatatime