Thursday, June 22, 2006

Breaking My Fast

I finally made it through the end of my fast! I feel quite good, though I'm still a little tired. I've been trying to catch more sleep while doing this thing, but of course one thing or another has kept me from going to bed as early as I'd intended. I ended up losing 12½ pounds and 3 inches from my gut.

So far I've kept somewhat to my after-fast eating plan. (I have to confess that I broke down this morning and had a cup of coffee. ^-^; ) I had the orange juice for breakfast, but I decided to up my caloric intake today. As part of my plan to swing right back into exercising, I'm going Hiking with Homosexuals tonight, and I need enough fuel to make it. (I'll still be consuming less than 1000 calories, however.) For my morning snack I had my orange, and I'm still having the vegetable broth for lunch. I've decided to have a Robek's for my afternoon snack to bolster my energy, but I'll continue to have only a salad for dinner.

Morning Mass

I woke up late this morning, so I ended up at the 8:05 a.m. service rather than the 7:00 a.m. one. The gospel reading was Jesus' revelation of the "Lord's Prayer," and the insights offered by the pastor in his homily got me to reflecting on the meaning of the words.
Our Father, who art in Heaven,
hallowed be Thy name

In his sermon, the priest pointed out that the word "our" means that God is not my Father or your Father but everyone's. "Whether your Chinese or Russian, baptized or unbaptized," we are all children of God. And as such, we are all brothers and sisters. No one, and no one religion, has claim or dominion over God...God has dominion over us. As I've said before, my antinomian belief system doesn't include the idea of "one true faith." I practice mine because it is what I know, not because I think it's the "correct" one.
"Every god ever worshipped devoutly in the hearts of men is the one true god!"
—Roderick MacLeish, Prince Ombra

Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in Heaven

Putting God's will before our own is a difficult concept for the norms of our culture. All in all, I believe that the American emphasis on the individual and individual rights and freedoms is a good thing. Unfortunately, it also breeds an attitude of self-centeredness and self-entitlement at the expense of others. (Just take a look at people's cell phone habits—one of the reasons I don't own one.)

The Pentagram, a five-pointed star and mystical pagan symbol, is a non-Western illustration of this concept. The proper positioning of this symbol has a single point facing upwards, just as the proper positioning of the cross symbol has the horizontal bar closer to the top. An inverted pentagram with two points facing upwards is as evil a symbol as an inverted cross. Each point on the star represents an elemental force: earth, fire, water, air & spirit. A single point at the top represents the spirit being paramount over the four mundane aspects; that is, spiritual growth and wisdom and balance are more important than physical needs and desires. When you invert the pentagram, you're placing your own selfish material gain over the greater good.
"An it harm none, do what ye will."
—The Wiccan Rede

Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass
Against us

The first line simply asks God to provide for our basic needs, and it harkens to my mind the idea of "Live simply, so that others may simply live." (OK, it's a bit trite to quote bumper-sticker clichés, but it really is apropos here.) We live in a culture of consumerism, yet simple vanity isn't the only good reason to reign in our frenzy of acquisition. The documentary "Affluenza" makes the disturbing observation that if the entire world consumed at the same level as the United States, the entire earth's resources would be depleted in a matter of years.

The prayer goes on to remind us that our forgiveness from God depends on our ability to forgive others and underscores our sacred duty to one another. There is a parable in the New Testament about a king who sought repayment of an enormous debt from a man. The man begged the king for patience since he was unable to pay, and the king took mercy on him. He didn't give the man more time, but cancelled the debt entirely. Then the man went to a servant of the king who owed him a small sum. He throttled the servant and demanded payment. The servant begged for mercy, but the man refused him and had him thrown in prison. When the king found out, he was enraged that one who had been shown such compassion would then fail to offer it to another. He had the man imprisoned and tortured until his debt was paid. Jesus concludes with, "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart." (Matthew 18:23-35)

Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.

I have a knack for temptation, especially since tend to actively seek it out. As my grandmother used to say, "Those who go looking for trouble usually find it." I don't consider my plunging into sex and drugs and alcohol a sin in itself. But they are self-defeating behaviors keeping me from becoming the man I want to be.
For Thine is the kingdom,
The power,
And the glory, now and forever.

The virtuous, the kind, the just, the righteous will all have a share in the unfathomable splendor of God's infinite love for all eternity.
"The wicked shall be unmade upon the lathe of Heaven."
—Chuang Tzu, Book XXIII, paragraph 7
Feast Day of St. Thomas More

Today is also the feast day of Saint Thomas More. He was the Chancellor of England during the reign of Henry the VIII. Due to his allegiance to the Catholic Church, Thomas More refused to endorse the king's divorce and was eventually beheaded. These events are chronicled in A Man for All Seasons, a play by Robert Bolt. I read the play in high school, and it made an impression on me. It wasn't so much the details of the politics involved that interested me, as was the fact that Thomas More didn't back down from his convictions.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Prayer & Fasting

As forthcoming as I am about being a neurotic, substance-abusing homosexual, sometimes I get a little embarrassed writing about matters of faith. And that's a shame. Of course, being a neurotic, substance-abusing homosexual is fashionable. Being religious, not so much. Anyway, I personally believe that my feelings last night were a test of my mettle. A test of my committment to what I want to acheive. A test of my faith.

Today is the last day of my fast. I haven't been all that bothered by hunger for the past nine days. (At least not as much as you would think.) But I have been absolutely voracious today! Unfortunately, I can't just cut loose tomorrow, put on my eatin' clothes and inhale the refridgerator for a couple of reasons. First of all, I've lost a noticible amount of weight on this fast (which, along with cleansing my body, was the other half of the reason I did it in the first place). If I were to jump right back into an unhealthy eating pattern, the weight would simply come right back with reinforcements. My intention wasn't to crash diet but to jump start a healthy program of nutrition and exercise. I haven't had the energy to do any cardio while on this program, and I decided that strength training would be imprudent since I wasn't taking in any protein. On Friday, I'm planning to hit the gym running and attempt to replace the fat I've lost with muscle.

Second, when you fast, you're supposed to ease your body back into food so as not to shock your system. On Day 3 of the fast I was at the store looking for more maple syrup, and I started looking around for what I might start back eating. At the time, I told myself I was simply being prudent, but really I was damned excited at the prospect of food. The conventional wisdom for coming off the Master Cleanse was too slow for me. I mean I'm not going to spend ten day drinking nothing but lemonade only to drink nothing but orange juice on Day 11! Since I was trying to detoxify, I bought everything organic and came up with the following menu:

Breakfast - Orange juice
Snack - Orange juice
Lunch - Vegetable broth
Snack - Orange
Dinner - Salad

Breakfast - Orange juice + Protein powder
Snack - Yoghurt
Lunch - Vegetable soup with barley
Snack -
Robek's (Creatine/Trimbek/Protein boosts)
Dinner - Whole wheat spaghetti with tomato sauce

Breakfast - 1% Milk + Protein powder + Flax seed
Snack - Banana
Lunch - Cottage cheese
Snack - Serving of peanuts
Dinner - Chinese chicken salad

I wasn't able to get myself to perform my devotional last week, but so far I've managed to make it to church every morning this week. (At 7 a.m. Ugh!) And coincidentally, this morning's gospel and homily were about prayer and fasting. (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18) It's given me good opportunities for reflection, and I consider it part of the process with the fast.

A Word of Thanks

Thank you so much to my friends who took the time to write comments of encouragement on my entry from yesterday! I can't tell you how much it means to me.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

"Lead Us Not Into Temptation..."

My dealer called me and let me know that she has more Vicodins available. I'm on Day 9 of my fast, and it would be absurd to break down now and throw away everything I've struggled so hard for over the past week and a half. Pills would lead to booze (& cigarettes) which would eventually lead to gorging myself, which—in addition to breaking my fast—would be horrible for my body since I need to ease it back into food. Yet in spite of all this, I still can't see any real reason not to indulge myself. I remember a previous therapist telling me that I should follow the Alcoholics Anonymous principle of H.A.L.T.; that is, never let yourself get to Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. I'm four for four! And I'm only too keenly aware of the disastrous consequences of this mood.

I wish I had someone to talk to and spend time with to sort this out. Every time I've sought treatment for narcotics addiction, the healthcare providers always commented on my "poor social support system" if it were a conscious choice. This blog might give people the wrong impression. I'm not some skulking social misfit. I'm actually an affable, gregarious person. My sister once told me she envied that large circle of friends I had in high school and college. But as an adult I've found it more difficult to find my social niche, and it's been particularly difficult here in Los Angeles. I wish I could be one of those guys who can cruise around WeHo and find a whole group of buddies to hang out and hit the clubs with. But I don't make fast friends. I make firm friends and inspire a great deal of loyalty. So I have my support system. It just happens to be spread out across the country, which doesn't do me a whole lot of good these times when I'm feeling an immediate need for companionship.

So here I am, struggling with my desire to hold my resolve and my desperate need for instant gratification. We'll have to see who wins. Thanks for listening.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Locked in the Gaze of Other

I love every single person who reads my blog. I hate knowing who they are. I want my writing to be pure and unrefined, not something distilled through the filters of the Superego. I want to be mad and unapologetic, without feeling the appraising eyes of not-me like a hot wind on my shoulder.

I spin around and around and around...dizzy...giddy...desperately searching, hoping, praying to God for solid ground, only to have the floor fall out from underneath me once again. I think my therapist is hinting that I should simply embrace my destiny of solitude. I'm an inverted ego with no proper match, no fitting partner. The only attachments I could form would be a perversion of interpersonal connection, an abomination of romance, a blasephemy of love.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Letting Go of Pride

There's a priest at my church who really gets on my nerves. I can't say exactly what bugs me about him. But I do find him slick and insincere, and his nelly voice makes me think that he's a closet case. Plus he's so bourgeois! My point is, though, when I let go of my pride and my sense of superiority and my snap judgments and simply listen to him, I always seem to hear something personally relevant. For example, today he mentioned the fallacy of praying to change God instead of asking God to change us. That's certainly something I'm frequently guilty of. I guess it goes to show how often we spot-reject things that actually might do us some good.
"I'd like to pray an ecumenical pray right now. Whether you're a Christian or a Jew, Catholic or Protestant, it goes to the heart of every faith: Lord, change the laws of the universe for my convenience."
—Emo Phillips
"Meet Your Mate the Catholic Way"

I would love to meet a boyfriend period, but I'd especially love to meet one who would go to church with me. And it would be amazing if I actually met someone at church. This fast I'm on has me so tired that last night I went to bed at about 7 p.m. As such, I was able to get up in time for the 10:30 a.m. Mass, instead of hitting "last-chance Mass" at 5 p.m. I parked on the street, and as I was walking toward church I noticed this really handsome guy about my age. He was wearing shorts and a workout shirt (Nike crap, no less). So I didn't figure that he was headed to church. He was, however. (Not that I'm one to talk...I was wearing jeans.)

He sat across the way and a few rows ahead from me, and I did my best to pay attention in church and worship, not lust after this man. Did a pretty good job of it, too. Today is the "Feast of Corpus Christi," and it was a long Mass. You have to understand something. I'm a Catholic. We're required by our faith to go to church every Sunday. That's why the dress code is more lax than in Protestant churches. (Too lax, though, if you ask me. Especially in Los Angeles.) That's also why Mass hardly ever runs more than an hour. So after the service had run an hour and a half, the pastor announces that we are going to process around the block, since the Pope encouraged all parishes to mark the feast day in this way. So we all schlepp out of the church and start walking behind the tabernacle.

I didn't exactly run to get next to the good-looking guy, but I did make an effort to time my movement so we ended up that way. We both happened to notice a car that looked as if it were about to back up into a parked car. I took the plunge and intiating contact by remarking on it. ("That looks like an accident about to happen." Ah ha ha...Talk about Oscar Wilde!) He commented back, but then that was it. His pace began to lessen, and he fell behind me. I resisted the urge to slow my pace. I figured I'd made the first move, if he was interested, he could quicken his pace again. (If you knew me, you'd know how incredibly mature this is for me.) And he actually did quicken his pace, but he didn't speak to me anymore or make any sign of interest.

So we all get back to the church. And there's more praying. Finally the priest wraps it up and dismisses us, but then the choir leader get up and announces a final hymn. I noticed that handsome was ducking out the back along with a lot of others. (We're almost at two hours by this point, mind you.) I always stay until the last song is sung and then clap for the choir. It's a lot of work, and it's not as if they get paid. Yet against my better judgment I left before the final hymn as well, even though I had just been praying for the strength to embrace God's plan for me. I know I was hoping this guy would chat me up, or invite me to coffee, or something. But of course he didn't. Pathetic.

Friday, June 16, 2006

My Social Life Is More Unfabulous

I just got back from the Los Angeles premiere of The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green. I was driving down La Brea the other day when I happened to notice the movie poster at the Regent Showcase Theater. I've known about the Ethan Green comic by Eric Orner for years. It's a funny look at the foibles and follies of the title character's quest for love while casting a critical eye on gay politics and culture. The movie is a live-action version of the strip.

The next day at work, I tracked down the official web site and was pleased to find I hadn't missed seeing it. While I was at it, I cruised over to the web site for the comic strip. (It's not as if I was getting a lot of work done anyway.) There's an e-mail link for the creator Eric Orner, so I decided to send him a line. I congratulated him on the movie and told him that I'd certainly be going. I also mentioned that I once waited on him a few years ago when I was the manager at Talking Book World. I was tickled when I received a reply, and even more so when he offered to put me on his guest list. I'd e-mailed him from my "Michael St. John" account, and it attaches the links to my blogs in every message. So when he sent me a second e-mail saying that he'd read some of my blog and that I wrote "fluidly and intelligently and with a lot of humanity," naturally I was thrilled.

Before I'd received Eric's e-mail, I had called and left a message for massage boy, inviting him to go to the film with me. So when I replied to Eric's message, I told him I couldn't take him up on his generous offer, in addition to thanking him and telling him how kind he was. It would have been rude of me to try to get another invite for my friend, and it would have been even ruder to call my friend and say, "Fuck you, I got a better offer." As it turned out, the masseur was working and couldn't go. So I was able to RSVP and get put on Eric Orner's guest list.

I never go out, let alone get a special invite to a premier. So I went the whole nine yards. I got my hair cut, got the car washed, ironed this shirt I stole from a fuck buddy over a decade ago, etc. I don't know what I was expecting. (Actually, that's a lie.) So I get there, and I am indeed on the guest list. I walk in the theater and almost pass out from the smell of popcorn. I'm on Day 5 of this stupid Master Cleanse, and I'm practically feral with ravenous hunger. (By the way, all of those stupid, bloody hippies who testify to this fast all over the Internet and claim that you don't feel hungry are lying!) I bought a $3 bottle of water and then found a seat. The place was packed with cute gay boys, but I ended up sandwiched between two, not-exactly-gorgeous het guys, surrounded by their women. C'est la vie.

The movie itself was a lot of fun. There were, of course, a lot of hot bodies on the screen. (This is a Hollywood movie after all, and a gay one at that.) I saw a lot of myself in the character of Ethan Green, particularly when he was distraught and kept crying to his long-suffering lesbian friend about how he's "self-destructive." That could of been me and my best friend from college Julie.

After the film, I managed to come across Eric Orner outside the theater, and he chatted with me for a few moments. He was standing with a couple of friends, and I was feeling a bit awkward. I can be clever and charming, just never when I want to be. For example, I did talk to my ex- on the phone last night, and he did tell me to tell Eric that he thought he was cute. Unfortunately, when I delivered this little conversational gem, it came out sounding rather foolish. Oh well, I suppose I can always fall back on my looks. Regardless, Eric was extremely gracious to me. He was complimentary and supportive of my writing, which I thought was touching. Then I took my leave. He said I should continue to e-mail him, and I plan to. He seems like a great guy and an interesting person.

As much as enjoyed going out and seeing the movie and meeting the strip's creator, I was feeling quite low as I drove home. Whenever I'm at a "gay" function or place, I always feel like such an outsider..."three parts dead, an alien, a yokel in Athens. He had no business here." (E.M. Forster, Maurice) I never feel as if I fit in anywhere. It's bad enough feeling alienated from "normal" society; it's even worse when you don't feel you belong with those who are "your people." I dunno, it's just one of the things that makes me so goofy. Plus it was kind of a let down to go from a rare social outing back to my grotty little apartment. (I seriously need to clean this place up!) It took all of my will power not to succumb to disgust and indulge one of my vices. I really wanted a drink (or six). Or a cigarette. Or some pills. Or even some fucking food! Fortunately, I distracted myself by writing this and have things much more in perspective now.

A Little Bit of Politics

In the movie, the character of Ethan says that he thinks commitment ceremonies are "lame." I couldn't agree more. I think marriage and weddings are fabulous! But I hate this whole "separate but equal" doublespeak for homosexual unions. If you're getting married, then call it a marriage. If you're not committed enough to use the word, then don't get married! The only thing that bugs me more is the term "life partner." If you're dating, you're each other's boyfriend or girlfriend. If you get engaged, you're each other's fiancé. If you have a wedding, you're each other's husband or wife. Simple as that.

"I dunno, I just think fags should shack up."
—Scott Thompson, Kids in the Hall

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Aftermath...And Then Right Back At It

As you can tell from my last post, I was rather out-of-sorts after my Friday-night adventure. I was so depressed on Monday that I felt I would never recover. But of course, as the week progressed, I started to feel better. I know when reading my writing, I come across as a dreary, gloomy bore. Believe it or not (for most of you, I'm guessing "not"), I'm actually a lot of fun to be around. I constantly have to deal with the anxiety and low mood that my cross-wired brain pumps out. But the "real me," the true nature of my personality, is actually quite friendly and upbeat. For example, I joke around with my co-workers all of the time. (Too much, when it comes down to it, for a professional office.) In spite of my problems, when I get close to people, I tend to keep them as friends forever. I'm still in close contact with someone I met in the fourth grade.

So after my brief Mardi Gras, I decided it was time for the asceticism of Lent in the form of the Master Cleanse fast. I was planning to add a devotional to this; that is, attend Mass every day for a week to pray about my life. After all, "as long as the rope is around my neck, I might as well jump off the horse." (Jim Davis, Garfield) My intention wasn't so much to seek forgiveness (given my obsession with divine punishment), but to ask God to give me the strength to become the person I think He wants me to be. Though as things proceeded, it didn't really work out that way anyway.

First of all, even though I began to feel better, I was still drinking every night last week. I was still very low, even to the point of being passively suicidal on a few occassions. I never heard back from the handsome guy I gave a ride to or the guy from the bathhouse. I'm ambivalent about their lack of communication. Yet I suppose it's all for the best. Then on Friday, I went to my dealer's apartment to pay her the remaining money I owed her for the pills. She offered to sell me her last four Vicodins...and I accepted. I told myself that this was a last fling before I buckled down and moved myself forward.

I didn't do anything crazy. In fact, I just stayed at home and worked on my apartment a bit. The problem arose over the next couple of days, as my unnaturally bouyed mood slingshot back into an even lower one. I had intended to start the Lemonade Diet on Sunday but didn't, though I did go to church and confession. So I resolved to start it on Monday along with my daily Mass devotional. While I did manage to start the fast on Monday, I couldn't get my ass out of bed early enough for church, and I finally decided I was asking too much of myself. I'm going to try the whole ten days of this diet (and so far, so good), which means it will spill over into next week. Perhaps I'll try to do the devotional then.

Monday, June 05, 2006


"Oh, I'll empty you
I'll empty you
As empty as a boy can be
As empty
As a boy can be…"
--Robert Smith of The Cure, "Icing Sugar"

I'm empty. I am a hollow man with an empty core that can never be filled, and that emptiness is the driving force behind my self-destructive behaviors. I try to fill it with drugs or alcohol or meaningless pleasures of the flesh that I regret even as I'm in the midst of doing them. When I was a child and adolescent, I was so full of my dreams and fantasies of the person I wanted to be and the things I wanted to do. Yet as I grow older, those dreams die and fade away, leaving a nothingness in their place.

Sometimes I can sense that the emptiness is going to become unbearable and overpower me. It is like an alien will, pushing me to act out in some way, to make some desperate attempt to relieve the pressure by any means necessary and at any cost. Last Friday was such a time.

First a little background: I went through narcotics detox again last February, and I had managed to stay clean for several months. My dealer's source dried up, and so she was no longer able to supply me with any Vicodins, which was a good thing. A few weeks ago she called me and told me that she’d been injured at work, so she had some pills available. Still I was able to resist. I couldn't bring myself to close that door permanently, but I put her off. I'd been going back to the gym and was starting to see some real results. In spite of this progress, a month or two ago, my alcoholism took off once more. It got to the point where I couldn't stop myself from getting drunk almost every night. I would have a panic attack at the thought of staying sober. It started to interfere with my workout schedule, and I was consuming amazing amounts of alcohol, even on nights when I had to go to work the next day.

So last Friday I could feel the emptiness gnawing away at me and my intense need pressing down on me like a weight. I made a last-ditch effort to derail the self-destructive behaviors I knew were coming by calling my friend Jonathan and asking him if he wanted to do something, anything, that night. Jonathan has a wife and two young children, so obviously most of his free time is devoted to them, particularly since he dotes on his two sons and is always trying to make "quality time" (to use a dreadful '80s yuppie term) for them. They were all planning to go to the "tot Shabbat" services at temple, and so he was unavailable to spend time with me. I'm a neurotic, and like most neurotics, I look to others to take responsibility for me. However, I have the presence of mind not to feel that my friend somehow let me down. He has a life and a family to take care of. He's not my personal emotional tampon to come rushing in at my beck and call.

My original plan was to go home, get drunk and go to bed early in the hopes that tomorrow would be a better day. Would've been a good plan, too, (relatively speaking) if I had stuck to it. Unfortunately, two-thirds of the way through my first 40 ouncer of malt liquor, I decided "fuck it!" I was gonna call my dealer and get me some pills! She wasn't home, so I drove down to where she works. While I wasn't dead drunk, the only thing I'm truly ashamed about is the fact that I drove even when I really wasn't fit to do so. She received me warmly, eager for the money I would give her, and gave me the keys to her apartment. I went there and retrieved the Vicodins and then went back to pick her up after she got off work. I agreed to take her to the grocery store since she doesn't drive, and as she did her shopping, I formulated the next stage of my plan. I was gonna get me a man!

By the time I dropped her off, I had basically sobered up from the alcohol, and the narcotics were pulsing through my brain. I decided to go to West Hollywood to "hook up." My intent was to cruise Numbers, a bar and restaurant that has a reputation as being a place where gigolos and tricks get together. I hoped I could trade what remained of my youth and looks for a nice older man who would treat me well and satisfy my need for physical contact. By the time I'd arrived, though, Numbers had closed, so I was forced to go elsewhere. I went to a couple of other places on the Boulevard, I don’t really remember which ones, and was about to give up and simply go to a bathhouse or sex club. Finally, as the night was winding down and the bars were about to close, I caught the eye of this incredibly handsome man. He had an adorable face and a fabulous body. We kept looking at each other, and I finally got over my worries that he was only looking at me 'cuz I kept looking at him. And his return glances only meant, "What the fuck are you looking at?"

I sat next to him and started to chat him up. Blah, blah, blah. Then we started to make out. The bartenders announce last call, and we polished off our drinks. He asked me if I had a car, and I told him I could take him home. We kept making out on the walk to the parking structure and in the car when we got there. He hinted that he might be willing to go to my place to continue our snogging and "do what comes naturally." Unfortunately, my apartment is still a complete train wreck, certain to make any sane man run screaming, so that simply wasn’t an option. As we were driving away, he asked me if my place was unavailable because I had a lover. I said, "Oh God, no." I then explained that I wouldn't be out cruising if I was partnered. He directed me to his place, and I parked on the street. I asked him if we could continue there, and he confessed that he had a lover. He told me "not to judge," which I guess was in response to my previous comments. I told him that whatever arrangement he and his lover had was between the two of them. I was just disappointed that we couldn’t go to his place. He mentioned that I was "exactly his lover’s type." I don't know if he was suggesting a three-way, which I would have pounced on, but he didn't really pursue that any further; so I didn't either. We started making out again. He took off his shirt, and I started kissing his amazing chest. He claimed that I was really hot and was making him crazy. I suggested that we go to a bathhouse, much cheaper than a hotel room, and we could make love in the privacy of one of the rooms. He said he was an interior designer and that he had a client meeting the next day. We made out some more until he finally said that he had to go before he did something imprudent, namely take me up on my offer and be a wreck for his meeting. I gave him my phone number and e-mail (of course), and he left.

The weirdest part about my encounter with this guy is that I think the lover he mentioned was a masseur I've seen before and even stolen pills from! I thought I heard him mention the masseur's name in passing, a name that is somewhat unusual. (Keep in mind that I was pretty fucked-up and unfocused at the time.) And the place where I dropped him off was quite close to the masseur’s apartment building. If it's true, this amazing coincidence really freaks me out. I mean I live in a city of over three and a half million people. What are the odds that I would randomly hook up with the lover of another guy I've randomly encountered? You have to remember that for a guy "who holds down a job and dresses" himself, I'm pretty majorly disturbed psychologically. Extreme coincidences feed into my paranoid-schizophrenic fear of solipsism.

So anyway, after this guy leaves, I'm all blue-balled and unsatisfied in my quest for a sexual encounter. Since the bars were all closed, I then decided that it was time to visit a bathhouse. I drove home and parked my car in my garage. I went upstairs and drank a little more, then got ready to go out again. I live up the road from a bathhouse, and so I simply walked down there. I'll spare you the details of my strolling around in a towel like a schmuck, stoned and a little drunk. After quite awhile, I hooked up with this blonde fellow. To cut a long story short, we went to his room and indulged ourselves in carnal pleasures. There was a lot of tenderness and holding, which is what I really wanted. I did top him, though. I was too far gone for my equipment to be of any real use, so I faked an orgasm to get out of it as gracefully as possible. We talked for a little while, and he told me that he'd recently moved to Los Angeles from Texas and that he's also recently "come out" as a full-time homosexual. He said he wanted to "date me." By this time (it was about 6 a.m.) I was feeling fucked-up, exhausted and drained. I put him off because I didn't know where my head was at. He was a nice guy, though. He was kind and didn't try to make me do anything I didn't want to do. I said, for now, I'd rather try being friends and see where that went. I gave him my phone number and e-mail, and he gave me his phone number and, for some inexplicable reason, his address.

We parted company, and I went home to catch a few hours sleep before I had to go to my retail job on Saturday. I went to work feeling like crap, as you can imagine. My original plan was to "party" with the first half of the Vicodins and then "use" the others to motivate myself to clean, do laundry, etc. However, by noon I was jonesing so bad that I shut down the store for half an hour so that I could go home and get my pills. I'd finished them off by the end of the day, so I went home thoroughly discouraged and disgusted. I crashed into bed, slept all night and ended up sleeping all day Sunday, while blowing off church and the gym.

Today I feel as if the world is coming to an end. My mind is such a maelstrom, I can barely catch a thought. Because I broke my vow to God to forego narcotics for at least six months, I feel that I must be punished. Even though I was completely messed up, I still followed the practices of safe sex in my dalliance. However, with my OCD acting as the glue holding this mad theory together, I'm convinced that the vengeance of the Lord at my weakness will result in my being positive. These are the insane demons I'm grappling with as I attempt to convince those around me that the façade of my normal life is real. I'm just so tired.