Sunday, May 4, 2014

Something's End, Part 1


I have been giving a lot of thought to endings lately.

I believe I have been giving a lot of thought to endings lately because for me, a lot of things have been ending lately.

Relationships done. School finished. My lease ended. “Lesbians in My Soup”  ending…

So much around here has been going, going, gone.

Then this morning, which was Sunday morning, I was out on Montrose Boulevard, dumpster diving like I do every Sunday morning. I had just come up for air with a box fan in my left hand and a brown corduroy Stafford suit jacket in my right. I admit that I was really pleased with myself because, I mean, who wouldn’t be? A brown corduroy Stafford suit jacket goes with almost anything and it can be casual or  formal.

And that was when I saw it. Across the street.

I saw that old office building at 3400 Montrose.

It was going, going, gone. How had I missed it before?

Not to go all sentimental and metaphorical on you, but 3400 Montrose looked like my life has felt lately. I sort of am  3400 Montrose, you know?

You don’t  know?

Well, let me tell you about it…

*           *           *           *           *

When I was twelve, my parents died. Both of them died, just a few months apart. I was less than pleased with the proffered stand-ins and I decided to take my chances on my own.

I stayed in cars, in alleyways, in upscale downtown condos with owners that showed up so rarely that they might as well have been my condos.  

I lived like this for years.

One night, some fellow street urchins and I were in the parking garage for 3400 Montrose. It was late, and we were urchining, getting stoned and skateboarding, and then getting more stoned and trying to skate some more.

We did this all the time in those days. Typically, the evening would end when everyone either passed out or else got injured or both, and we’d all wind up sleeping right there in the parking lot in a big dog pile.  

Now, 3400 Montrose was a bit of a cultural landmark, a stoned-faced, Fifties-era high-rise that housed most of the LGBT and AIDS organizations in town as well as a rooftop jazz club. There was also an African art studio on the first floor that looked cool as hell but never seemed to have a single customer.

The owner of 3400 was an absentee landlord, a cheapskate, and a crook, so in lieu of a guard or security cameras or, I don’t know, operational locks, he had Tommy. Tommy was this middle-aged drunk living rent-free in the building while he waited for his stomach cancer to kill him. Tommy made sure that nothing ever went down at 3400 that might result in the cops showing up.

But we were there, the urchins and me, and we were stoned and we were skating, and well, I guess Tommy was in a bad mood or maybe his stomach cancer was worse than normal that night.

Tommy started yelling at us. He said we had to leave, and he looked as though he meant it.

Everybody left but me.

And if this Sunday morning was the end of something – and it was the end of something – then that night way back when was the beginning of it.

You see, I have been giving a little thought to beginnings lately.

I will be back soon to tell you the rest of the story… [To be continued!]


41 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! I am never sure how much I can throw at readers before breaking a story up into pieces. I erred on the side of caution and laziness here.

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  2. I'm so curious what will arise from the rubble. But I am disappointed in the end of Lesbians in My Soup. Not that I won't follow whatever new venture you have, I just know I'm too lazy to treat my follow list like 3400 Montrose and demolish fallen blogs (that metaphor fell apart more quickly than...damn, I lost my train of thought). Your urchin years give me anxiety even knowing that you are a functional adult today. Don't let young you get hurt!

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    1. I'm not sure I like the Young Katy character and might kill her off.

      Would that create too much of an aura of fiction around the entire blog?

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  3. My heart...it is breaking. I certainly hope one of tne new beginning you are thinking of has something to do with you writing something I can read. I impatiently await more story...

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    1. Hi, Melanie!

      My, um "decision" to start a new page was brought on by Google's inability to provide me with any explanation about how to keep my domain name.

      I'm using it as an opportunity to start fresh and regain my edge.

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    2. It's nice when someone notices! :)

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  4. It's a rotten business to make your readers read the endings first and leave the beginnings for the end. Rotten, rotten business. (I'll be back later...for the beginning.)

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    1. Haha!

      This is one of the reasons I don;'t write longer pieces very often. Things tend to get convoluted pretty quickly... (also, as Bill points out below, I often don't finish the longer ones...).

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  5. Whenever you do these multi part articles I keep wondering if you'll ever finish them. Your record on this point isn't much to write home about.

    On the other hand, it gives you incentive to continue with this blog, so that's fine.

    Some things go on unchanged.... like readers who actually care for you. Remember that always.

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    1. One ting I like about doing short, multi-part stories is that it allows me to leave out the parts I don't want to write.

      With most storytelling, I've always felt as though there were parts that are obligatory: Absolutely needed to the story, but not really much fun to write for that reason. Perfunctory.

      You know, like how ALL of "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith" was? You already knew pretty much everything that HAD to happen in it, and it should have kicked ass, but... Eh.

      Anyway, with multi-parters, I can completely leave the perfunctory parts out by changing my angle of telling the story.

      Hopefully, I'll be able to keep finding cool new ways to do that...

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  6. " I'm not sure I like the Young Katy
    character and might kill her off."

    If you do, make sure her demise is entertaining. A deathbed speech would be compulsory.

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    1. I would also need to commentary about what a cool woman she could have grown up to be. In theory. Who knows what she could have become?

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  7. "I have been giving a lot of thought to endings lately" - I blame the internet...

    An example; Nuts magazine is folding up. The latest sign that weekly magazine publishing is struggling to make ends meet in a digital age. Moreover, good news coverage seems to be thing of the past

    Also, my little world is changing. The rice paddy next my house is being fill in to build new age bungalows. Which means there will less critters to entertain me and the dogs. However, I don't think my wife would use "entertain" when it comes to critters.

    the clash of two concepts - "the end is nigh" and "yin and yang"

    BTW - I will be linking to this post (my next Friday)

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    1. I think that the internet uses something akin to dog years.

      Basically, one year in human years equals 10 internet years. If something goes for a year without changing in my everyday life, that's okay. If something goes for a year without changing on the internet, it means it is hopelessly outdated and has let time pass it by.

      I hear that The Drudge Report - which hasn't changed since about 1997 - is an exception to that rule, but frankly, I haven't been to The Drudge Report since about 2006, so who knows?

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  8. Today my wireless router came to an end. So, I'm totally relating to this. Okay, so it's not really the same. I was just trying to connect on some level.

    Jay

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    1. It's all the same thing.

      I had to throw out an old comforter a few months back and started thinking back on everything the comforter and I had been through together.

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  9. I'm just impressed that you used the word "urchining" as a verb. I'm gonna urchin all over the place after this - someone get me a skateboard and some ditch weed! That should hold me over until the next post. Maybe.

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    1. I stole the word "urchining" from the pilot of "Moonlighting."

      Seriously.

      Look it up.

      I'm recycling Bruce Willis jokes from 1985.

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  10. Hmm, can't wait for next part. As I told you before you should sell your autobiography. Hollywood would eat it up . School is over so are you planning to take that bar exam?

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    1. My latest degree is not law. I collect degrees I'll never use, and in this case it was Theology.

      I'd sooner do brain surgery on myself than say I'm a licensed attorney.

      Actually, self-brain surgery sounds fun.

      Trepanation for everyone!

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    2. People who really have good grip on morals, fairness, empathy and compassion don't want to become lawyers. And soooo we have lawyers like we have today.
      The same kind of people in India, doesn't want to work for government or become politicans.
      I am just waiting for a day when people label themselves as doctors and pilots and have youtube in brackets. Not just Bachelor/bachelorette contestants.

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    3. Law was great fun to learn about. It just doesn't seem like much fun to actually do.

      I'm really more about learning cool things and twisting my brain into knots than i am accomplishing anything in life.

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  11. So what do they teach in theology exactly? I'm curious.

    You'll need someone to anaesthetise your scalp ace saw your skull open. After that your brain is all yours. Since it can't feel pain you can do as you like!

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    Replies
    1. It was at a Catholic seminary, if that's helpful at all.

      I ended up learning an awful lot about a) the really BAD years of the Church between 1850-1950;
      b) the 4th century desert monks and saints that basically created the theology behind modern Christianity; c) the Church/State issues internationally; and d) the weird parts of the Bible nobody reads.

      It was fantastic. Way weirder than law school.

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    2. After spending years in catholic school, I don't even know whether there could be something left out to read more about Catholicism.
      Ofcourse we never ever read about Hitler or holocaust in schools, but our regular history lessons had chapters about Church, Renaissance, Martin Luther and the teacher who taught us Catholicism and moral class had to teach history too. Sometimes back to back. Tough job.

      I would sign up to learn norse, greek, celtic mythology but I no one can force me to take a degree or sign me up to attend classes regulary.

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    3. I love mythology, but the thing with Christian theology is that people take this stuff really seriously. Living in the American South, learning Christian theology is sort of like learning Spanish: You need to learn it in order to understand what your neighbors are saying.

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  12. I'm going through some major endings and new beginning right now too. It's all good stuff but still very stressful. Change is always stressful. I don't do well with change.

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    1. I am pretty good once I see and acknowledge that it's happening. It's that initial denial that is stressful.

      I might do so well because my life sucks so badly most of the time that change offers me hope of respite.

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  13. Heavy stuff. But you are an amazing story teller.

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    1. Thanks, but if I was that good of a story teller, I would have written the second half of the story by now.

      I will. These things just take time, i guess.

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  14. From now on whenever you do one of your mutli-part stories I am going to wait until the second part comes out, read that first, and then come back to read the first part.

    Also, I hope some day you become a really famous writer so that you can be on Charlie Rose and he can ask you how much of this is really true.

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    1. Now that I think about it, this one might have made more sense read like that, since I sort of started at the end.

      I don't think my life is that interesting - I just tell it well. I used to tell stories that the people who were there with me would hardly even remember happening, but it would sound interesting when I told it. I've made the most subjectively of a life that's hardly registered a blip on the event meter.

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  15. This is sad because Diane and I made some memories at the rooftop jazz club. I wonder if they've torn down Marfreless now?

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    1. I have heard of the Marfreless but have never been there. The funny thing is, a priest in new York asked me about it when I told him where I was from. I thought it was strange at the time, but never followed up to see what the hell the place is/was.

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    2. It's a place that plays classical music where couples make out in dimly lit places. It's pretty cool actually. They also provided a list of foreign movies and where they were playing. I got reprimanded a couple times for getting a little TOO friendly with my high school sweetheart once. Haha. I loved it!

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    3. I'm going to have to check it out and see whether it's still there.

      I doubt I will be making out with anyone, though.

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    4. You never know. There might be someone there for you. It's an unusual place.

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  16. Fortunately for me, I'm reading this while the second part is already released. So, I'll see you in a few moments in the comments section of Part 2.

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    1. I'll see you there, even though you take all of the element of anticipation out my blog my stopping by occasionally to binge read.

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