I’ve been keeping a diary since the fourth grade. Which means that I’ve been keeping a diary for 14 years. Which means it’s been 14 years since I imitated William Hung during a year-end in-class talent show. Grace be to God, I bang no longer, perpetually grateful it wasn’t caught on camera by an ex-Errickson Elementary School classmate cash-strapped enough to sell the documentation, rightfully ruining my career in the event it ever begins.
Moral of that story: with any luck, we grow. And no place better chronicles such growth thaaan…? Bingo! Having never gone much longer than a few months between entries, two-thirds of my life have been essentially mapped out. The emotional trajectories of late-childhood, puberty, moving away from home, my first love, my first, second, and third unrequited love—it’s all there. My life, detailed in chronological order, there for me to dive into whenever I’m feeling like I’ve lost touch with my traumas. In and of itself, pretty traumatic. But also enlightening. Cause it’s never what I wrote that really touches on what I was feeling. It’s what I didn’t write, what was left unsaid, that which can be read between the lines. Again, traumas. ‘Tis a fickle thing.
So, it’s on that very note that I present this sampling of a journaled year in the life. Filled with job interviews and trysts and time spent in New Jersey, all of which are enough to make a man out of any boy. Though I guess only 2018 can know that for sure.
January 6, 2017 — Boston
But I am embarrassed by my two total shifts at Lansdowne. Not because I was awful at the job—which I was. But because it took such a fucking lapse in my self-awareness to ever think that Lansdowne—LANSDOWNE—was a place where I’d be able to serve others (spiritually) and serve myself in any sort of authentic way. A sports bar, for Christ’s sake. I can’t even explain what it was like when a coworker walked past me and I finally read what was on the back of our uniforms. “Don’t Be a Pansy. Order a Jameson.” Eek.
March 2, 2017 — Brookline, Massachusetts
And then, per the advice of the girl behind the register at the Booksmith, I sent a resume to the owner, as well as a cover letter. Which was Hello, Dolly!-themed. Don’t know why I do these things to myself.
May 15, 2017 — Boston
And then it was off to the Baseball Tavern. Nick and his Entourage of Darwinian Excellence had basically rented out the basement so loads of kids his year were there. As per usual, Kyla, Sarah, and I took our post next to the sternos.
There was also this stranger of a girl there named Brooke, friends with no one but chatting with ANY one. Just shy of level with the bar, Brooke asked Honora where she was from. To H’s response of “Boston,” Brooke asked, “But, yeah, like, what state?”
May 23, 2017 — Watertown, Massachusetts
And what with my experience tending to Hilary’s life, I’ve been saying for a while now how much I’d enjoy being a personal assistant. For a writer, no less! So, ignoring the fact that owning a car was a “must” and that she was 78 years old, I reached out and we set up an interview for that following Wednesday.
“Who are you again?” she asks as I let myself into her home, the door on the left labeled with a taped piece of laminated paper that read, RESTROOM.
I took the 57 to the very last stop and walked to her home from there. Just about a 40 minute commute. I was also ridiculously dressed for one of the, like, 9 warm days 2017 has offered so far. I was in that faux-cashmere-y gray sweater of mine, dripping sweat. Shorter and older-looking than I expected, she got straight down to business.
“I’ll have you sit…there,” she said, motioning toward one of her couches.
It was a nice place. Like the Charmed house. Victorian looking. Books everywhere. She asked for another copy of my resume and, for once, I had the foresight to come prepared. She was really complimentary of it and liked my cover letter too (which was Joan Crawford/Mamacita-themed…again, Brian, why?). And then came the question I was waiting for.
“Oh, you don’t own a car?”
“Dang it,” I replied.
And that was the end of that. She’d just undergone cataract surgery and apparently can’t really drive. She gave me advice in the form of telling me I should write about dog walking for the Boston Globe. Yeah. She then said her husband was looking for someone to help with gardening. I let myself out. But not before realizing I left my phone on her couch and had to ring her doorbell to retrieve it. Oy. It wasn’t an absolute no, though. She said she was interviewing other candidates this weekend and that she’d be back in touch by Monday. But I don’t know. She mentioned at one point something about taxes that still needed to be filed. Can you imagine?
May 26, 2017 — Toms River, New Jersey
My sister was watching some TNT show with Ellen Barkin and literally more product placements than I’ve ever seen in any single program in my entire life. When explaining why she loves the show, she said it’s got her three favorite things, “Drugs. Crime. And hot guys.”
June 18, 2017 — Roslindale, Massachusetts
Time got the best of me so I only let him watch half-an-episode of Scooby Doo! before tucking him in, giving him some options of bedtime stories from his bookshelf. He nixed it at first but ultimately went back to a title I’d already offered—about a separated mama and baby elephant. I was just about LACTATING. He was being so sweet. Patted him on the head and set up a chair right outside his bedroom door, waiting until he fell asleep. Sat there for longer than I needed to but I couldn’t help it, it was such a gentle, calm little moment. Not altogether different from the way mom always describes her experience with breastfeeding.
June 20, 2017 — Chicago
I got an update that my terminal had changed so I was running through a packed-to-the-gills O’Hare while listening to “The Louvre” for the very first time and my nipples got, no joke, hard during that guitar part at the end. Ended up sitting on the ground in line to board for, ultimately, a 10:30 p.m. flight, eavesdropping on a conversation between a woman who works for cemeteries and an uber-douche who’d been screaming at his daughter over the phone for the past half hour.
“Forest Hills Cemetery?” The Douche said. “That’s a nice place to get put down.”
“I had my cats cremated,” said Morticia, shortly thereafter.
July 1, 2017 — Brooklyn
Off to the subway in the rain. He walks like a ballerina which I adore. The Boston Ballet’s practice space is in the South End so I see ballerinas walking to the Buttery for lunch all the time. And I NEVER tire of it. With their hair slicked back and their Stan Smiths, walking down the street like newborn horses. So clumsy. So regal. Posture so perfect, they’re almost leaning BACKWARD as they’re moving FORWARD. Their feet slapping on the ground, ankle-TOE-ankle-TOE, like some swollen-footed 17th century Dutch housewife. I could go on. Regardless, he walks like that. I was very into it.
July 2, 2017 — New York
Mine and Julianne Moore’s go-to pizza place on 13th Street and 8th Ave was closed for the weekend and it all began to feel like some sort of a massive test, spiritually speaking.
Read the Sofia Coppola feature in the Village Voice on a park bench in Washington Square. An old lady at one point turned to me and asked if I was a New Yorker to which I said, “No,” to which she responded, “You’re excused.”
July 8, 2017 — Gilford, New Hampshire
The neighbors next door were having a party for the wife’s retirement so we made an appearance. I don’t think they care for me, what with all the summers I spent tanning on the back deck, blasting God-knows-who’s gayest hits. Also in attendance: Elise, their 10-year-old granddaughter. She was super outgoing, doing gymnastic tricks to which Shannon and I responded, soused, with cartwheels of our own.
“Did I give Elise sex advice last night?” asked Shannon, the following morning.
July 15, 2017 — Boston
He was watching Good Times when I got to his apartment. Hearkening back to a childhood spent watching Nick At Nite, my corny-ass joke equating myself to Natalie from Facts of Life got a genuine—almost SURPRISED—laugh from him. He told me I was like a “cartoon character” not just once but twice. Makes a boy feel sexy. I set my glass down on his table and he scooped in with a coaster. We’re all caricatures of ourselves.
August 12, 2017 — Boston
Spent too much money on a car to deep-ass Jamaica Plain for an interview with [REDACTED]. A kid my age interviewed me. I’d creeped and seen we had a few Allston-scenester friends in common. He was dazed in that Emerson Student kind of way and I thought it went horrendously. Like even the final fun question of whether I had any special skills, I botched. I said “cooking” to which he asked, “Any particular kind?” to which I said, “Well, I watch a lot of Barefoot Contessa so, ya know, Hamptons-y French.” Hamptons-y French. I was interviewing with a NON-PROFIT, for Christ’s sake.
September 1, 2017 — Somewhere, on a MegaBus
Finally got on the bus at like 11ish. Was able to evade sharing my row with anyone. For the first leg of the journey, anyway. There was a stop in Secaucus, of all godforsaken places. But not before we stopped at that mysterious Connecticut Burger King that’s proven to be the de facto rest stop of any and all MegaBus journeys along the eastern seaboard. Those poor employees. I just envision them waiting at the windows for the buses and cursing to themselves as they yell to their colleagues, “INCOMING!”
October 17, 2017 — Philadelphia
I made it to three classes at the Yoga Factory in Rittenhouse. Googled “free yoga” and saw that they were donation based, which was close enough. Went to my first one on Tuesday—a class that, online, said something about breaks every 15 minutes for essential oil application. I showed up and the Vyvanse-incarnate instructor, Torie, was absolutely confounded by my not bringing a towel. Little did I know, I’d signed up for a high-intensity-intervals-yoga-pilates-fusion class. Taught in a 105 degree studio. I was dripping sweat and shirtless and the class hadn’t even BEGUN.
October 18, 2017 — Philadelphia
Conversation was all too easy and we ended up hanging out for like four hours. He had a GREAT laugh, super earnest and his entire face blossomed every time. A Gemini…who knows nothing about astrology. Maybe that’s for the best.
Incidentally, I should just accept at this point how much of an airhead I can be. We were talking about old ladies who grocery shop at his store in the morning and buy a single banana at a time.
“God,” I said. “It must be so nice to have a grand total of, like, 79 cents.”
“79 cents?” he said. “Bananas are 19 cents a pop, Lucille Bluth.”
I LOL-ed but, still, lots of that. When we addressed his interest in filmmaking, I said how much I’m into movies as well. To which he asked if there were any particular “directors” or “movements” I like. Uh oh. It’s like the “What kind of music are you into?” question. My brain shuts the fuck down. I rambled something along the lines of “movies with women in them.”
December 12, 2017 — Brookline
And then she went on to say how she hopes all our kids become friends too and it was all so cute and earnest. But all I could think about was that “Fresh Air” Greta Gerwig interview when she was promoting Frances Ha. How she talked about that decidedly-twentysomething notion that your friends are your family and always will be. I didn’t say anything but still. I can be such a Scrooge.
December 23, 2017 — Somewhere, on a Concord Coach Lines bus
Speaking of sad, I saw Call Me By Your Name last night. Solo. Which is what I wanted, for my first viewing in particular. Made me horny—for SUMMER. Christ. So sumptuous. So much flesh. So much mirror-placed-to-my-FACE. Though, admittedly, I do find Armie Hammer’s voice to be one-dimensional. With that one dimension being SMUG. But shit if that last shot of Chalamet staring into the fire didn’t throw me for a loop. Walked home, in the sleet, naturally thinking about He Who Serves As a Ripe (Peach!) Comparison For Oliver. On another note, the movie more than corroborated my belief that clothes look irredeemably DUMB on Very Tall Men. Boo hoo.