Friday, October 2, 2009
What's Been Happening
The last day of September was cold, cloudy, and stark. Robust wind blew through the Fall leaves as cold mist fell all day upon the school. It’s the kind of weather that we didn’t get last year until November, but we’ve had consistently autumn-like conditions since the beginning of the month, conditions that have grown stronger with time.
Every year, including 2008, I felt as if I were grasping at straws, clinging desperately to every small sign of Fall, looking for the scarce indications that the season had come and deifying the few I found.
This time, though, it’s the real thing.
If this continues, I think it’s entirely conceivable that we could have snow in October.
I’ve enjoyed feeling this change on campus, walking to class in a soft jacket as I pass trees that are beginning to burn yellow and red. The thing is, it’s actually been cold, not just cool enough to justify wearing a jacket, but cold enough that you need to wear a jacket. Natural beauty and seasonal cheer (at least from where I sit) have been abundant on campus.
Other things have been more mixed.
I’ve made an active effort to become more involved with gay people here, and my efforts have met some success. The thing is, while I have made some friends, I’m not “in” yet. I’m still really new to everything, but I figure that the type of people who’d withhold their companionship or make it conditional aren’t really the ones you want to be hanging out with anyhow.
I’ve met one of these already: his name is Flamer and he lives down the hall from me. At first I thought he was cool. I approached him outside of Student Newspaper, where he works in the advertising department, and asked for his advice. He subsequently accompanied me to a meeting of Gay Club and then invited me several days later to a get-together in his apartment.
That’s where the trouble started.
As you know, I have an extremely low tolerance for alcohol, and after a margarita, a Mike’s Hard Cranberry, and half a beer, I was lying on the floor murmuring for water. My stomach was on fire, the combination of drinks make me nauseous. I headed to the bathroom and waited by the toilet until the sensation passed, responding that I was fine when Flamer knocked on the door to ask if I was alright.
When me stomach had settled and I came out of the bathroom, everyone else but Flamer was gone.
“Where is everybody?” I asked.
“They were tired,” he said. “They went home.”
“Oh,” I said, legitimately confused even in my intoxicated state.
Something about the empty apartment felt abrupt, artificial. Why would they just leave? I said my goodbyes to Flamer and rebuffed his attempts to walk me home, telling him that my dorm was all of thirty feet down the hallway and I was capable of making it there myself.
I got to my room, but something still troubled me.
“What if,” a paranoid corner of my brain asked. “Everyone is really back there and he just ditched you?”
I figured I was probably being insane and almost didn’t indulge the ridiculous suspicion, but something made me walk back down the hall, where, to my shock, I heard laughing voices coming from his dorm room.
When my fist rapped on the wooden door the talking quickly ceased, replaced by frantic whispering. I pretended to have lost my cell phone and then stood there, angry and hurt, as he went through the mattresses looking for it for about two seconds before explaining that he was tired and he would “search in the morning.”
No doubt he didn’t want to keep his guests waiting. It would have been rude.
This incident displeased me so profoundly that I said nothing more to Flamer, save to call him and let him know how much he’d upset me.
I planned not to speak to him again until, through circumstances I couldn’t control, I wound up at his apartment again. I’d planned on heading to the club with my Gay Black Friend, but when several people who were to accompany us dropped out, he suggested that we instead hang out in the dorms, in the room of a mutual friend named Flamer.
I reluctantly agreed, and for a good part of the night thought I’d been wrong about Flamer. He notably failed to offer me alcohol despite the fact that everyone else was drinking, but plied me instead with delicious cake.
When I asked him if we could stop by Campus Diner for some food after walking Gay Black Friend home, he agrees, at three o’clock in the morning no less.
Now, I have a very fast metabolism and that cake had gone straight through me, building up a pressure that felt unbearable by the time we reached Campus Diner. Once we got there, I hurriedly relieved myself, and five minutes later emerged to find Flamer waiting by the water fountain.
“Real cool, dude,” he said, his face an annoyed mask of disapproval.
I assumed he as joking so started to laugh, but he interrupted with, “No, seriously, that wasn’t cool,” as if reprimanding me for a racial slur. I was so stunned that I could think of no response until we were standing in line, when I turned and asked him, “Are you kidding right now?”
“No,” he said. “The etiquette is that you wait until you get back to the dorm.”
“Okay,” I replied. “Maybe you should just leave.”
He objected that he’d promised me he’d stay and that he didn’t want to look “like a dick.”
I assured him that he wouldn’t, and he departed.
We haven’t spoken since, and I plan on not dealing with him anymore, but I hope he has occasion to be rude to me one more time so I can really blow up on him.
Other than that one bad example, people have been mostly friendly. This weekend I may hit Marble City with Gay Black Friend and some others, and I was invited Wednesday night by another group to go to a gay bar, but I sadly had to turn them down because I had class most of the day on Thursday.
Bad things may happen, but they won’t knock me down. There is disappointment and perseverance: the first one is bound to happen, but the second eventually overcomes.