Monday, July 07, 2003

Why doesn't anyone call July 4th by name anymore?

This question just popped into my head as I prepared to write an entry for this past Independence Day weekend.

The holiday fell on a Friday this year and, knowing I'd never make it through the long weekend with my sanity and/or my bank account intact, I was so glad when Tim called from Ocean Beach to ask if I wanted to come down for a visit. Weekends are hard enough - all that silence, that void sucking out the loneliness I try so hard to suppress (nature abhors a vacuum) - but three-day weekends are an enormous bitch. This one was typical.

So, I headed down to Ocean Beach Thursday night. Why wait, I figured. Tim and I have known each other since high school (around the time the dinosaurs became extinct) and we really enjoy each other's company. We have a strange friendship. After all, he's gay while I'm straight. He's extroverted while I'm introverted. He's talented while I am GOD.

He brags while I'm modest.

He's the kind of friend who will ask a question about some personal, bodily function and, rather than be disgusted, you'll give an answer.

Since I went down there on Thursday after work, it wasn't long before the two of them (Tim and his boyfriend, Axel) were fast asleep. Sleep wasn't coming on to me, though. It was about as frigid as a school marm in the golden age of television and about as distant as Rosa... the whole time I knew her. (Update on her? There is no update on her. She hasn't called, written... nothing. It's pretty obvious how much she wants me around.) I wasn't going to be sleeping any time soon. I must say, though, being one of those weirdoes who lives without a television, it was mighty nice to have a TV to watch. I saw an episode of The Great Race (or something like that) and loved it. I also saw an episode of The Family Guy - and I must now stop myself from buying the DVD. (What can I say? It was funny!) But by about 1am, I decided to get up and go for a walk. Tim lives very close to the beach and I was able to walk on the beach (it's open 24-hours/day - can you believe that?!) beneath the starlight. There was the Big Dipper. I looked at it for a while... looked at it and felt a cold hand clutch my heart as I remembered how Rosa and I would look at the stars. I swore a bit under my breath and started walking again and returned to Tim's place a couple hours later.

The next morning, Tim and Axel snuck outside for a cigarette. I got up and asked, "Were you guys quiet because you thought you'd wake me up?" Yes, they were but I had yet to sleep. Thankfully, though, after Axel took off to the airport (he left on a mini-vacation of his own) and Tim went to work (shop smart, shop Pet-smart!), I caught a couple hours of shut-eye.

I woke up in a sauna. I didn't realize Tim had a sauna... and that it doubled as his living room... It was quite humid. But I relaxed. I read. I watched some TV. I went for a walk. (Yes. I like to walk.)

Tim came home at 7:30 that night and started getting ready to go. It was July 4th and we headed down to the beach for the fireworks. Ocean Beach is an interesting community; I'll give them that. They're also a bit whacked. But in their wackiness is the reason why I like them. Tim and I sat on the beach with about 50 million other people (in a community of just a few thousand!) and watched the city's firework show over the ocean, people launching illegal fireworks out to the ocean (with not a few veering into the crowd), people lighting legal fireworks on the beach, millions (okay... maybe 60) surfers bobbing out in the water as we did the JAWS theme... hoping, and the city's few cops shake their heads and say "Oh well." I miss the "Oh well." As soon as people in Huntington Beach started being arrested for drinking a beer on their own patio or lawn, I wondered where that "Oh well" went. It's alive and well in Ocean Beach. Maybe it last a long, long time.

After the show (fireworks, etc.), Tim and I went back to his place and started to get drunk. We like to stay in practice getting drunk for those times when we're in competition or even have to get drunk professionally. We got a great deal of practice that night. Around midnight, rather than vomit we decided to walk to the beach... I've never been drunk on the beach before. It makes maneuvering through the sand even more interesting. Then, Tim suggested that we take our shoes off... you know, because it still wasn't hard enough to walk. I don't know if he felt like he was going to fall into the water and be washed out to sea only to wash up at San Onofre as if I needed more problems but I did. Then, we walked back up through "downtown", yelling and laughing. All that was missing was a verse of "How Dry I Am". That night I didn't get to sleep until the sun was up... which was the next morning.

The next day, well, it took a while to work through the hangover. Then, we read the first scene of the new play, This They Call Freedom. That was a total of 13 pages - and I can't say that Tim didn't laugh at one joke... because he did... laugh at exactly one joke.

This is where I begin to worry. This new play is a political farce and, while I know that Tim is not politically aware enough to be considered ignorant (sorry!), he does have good comic timing. Sadly, though, I don't know if the new play does...

Now, the weekend is over - three more days I got through. This entry isn't going to have a nice, tidy ending. Sometimes, I feel as though I'm clawing my way through my life, trying to get to my death so the pain will be over. That's the kind of shit that hit me when I got home... but it was also hitting me as I walked alone during the weekend or when I tried to sleep... and didn't. But I am always grateful for my friends who try to help me through.

I hope your 4th worked out well.

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