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The Artist as a Young Dork

The Tattooed Monk’s friend’s recent death seems to have triggered a wave of questions regarding his true calling in life. Monastery? Or a spiritual life in the real world? I’m biased, of course. Though I’d love a retreat-style vacation spent visiting him at whatever tranquil place he selects, I’d rather he just stay nearby and help tend to MY needs.

However, I’m beginning to wonder if it shouldn’t be me sequestered safely away from the world; meditating, harvesting grapes, and feeding the stray dogs drawn by my Saint Francis-like calm. ‘Cause I’m ready to run.

Roommate #1’s sweet dog Fannie is driving me absolutely nuts. He leaves her in a crate, because she’ll chew anything in reach, but as each day passes she becomes more restless, not less. She barks, she whines, she cries, she moves the crate around the room. That’s only one member of my four-man, four-dog, one-cat house. Did I tell you, I’m kind of an…introvert? Got some boxes? I’m ready to pack.

Work is worse. All those trainers, all those troubled dogs. Loud dogs, grumpy dogs, nervous dogs, sad dogs. Watchdog dogs. Don’t-leave-me-alone dogs. Let-me-piss-on-your-dog’s-bed dogs. I-know-you’re-working-but-I-gotta-scream-in-your-ear dogs. I-know-you’re-working-but-my-mom-left-me-alone-and-I’m-your-problem-now dogs. Ahem. Sweet lord’s creatures, you know I love you. But can’t you be more like Louie? I need some rest.

My lack of schmoozing abilites at Friday’s informal bloggermeeting kept me glued strangely to one spot at the Pilsner, a Juice Squeeze in one hand, watching theothersbuzzaboutwithimpressivesocialdexterity. At one point I stood alone, convincing myself to look more relaxed, damnit, and the moment hung like a drunken wasp filmed in slow motion, and I set my empty bottle on the bar and slipped out into the drizzle and the dark. Dearbeautifulbloggers, forgive me. Try me in a smaller group; I promise to behave.

Meanwhile I’m caught, continually, stuffing my heart down my sleeve when I hang with Ski. He had me speak at a meeting he runs Saturday night, and as an introduction he said “Michael is a dear friend of mine, whom I love very much, and I love hearing what he has to say,” and how big do you need the wall writing written, Mikey? Give it up, let him love you in his way.

I spent the afternoon today with another friend, eating omelettes on his back patio in the sun, our dogs sniffing for bacon at our feet, us human folk sharing tales of death. The deaths of each of our mothers, that is. A week apart even. We made each other cry talking about the final days, and we made each other cry paraphrasing the authors we quoted at their services; me, Manuel Puig; he, Virgina Woolf. He’s handsome and smart, and since our friendship began with sex, an ongoing mutual desire colors our times together. Yet he’s happily partnered, and good to his boyfriend. So we keep that under glass, each of us taking our turns admiring it’s complicated shape. I’ve changed. I don’t play with the sharp edges, I don’t tease. I leave, wanting it, letting it sleep.

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