09.03.03 - 12:11 p.m.
Well, I'm back.
Yesterday I was sitting at home in my underwear, listening to Keith Jarrett and staring into space, when the doorbell rang. I buzzed in the friend or postman or psycho killer or whoever it was downstairs. From the stairwell I saw it was two asian kids, guy and a girl. They told me they were doing an epidemiological survey focused on STD awareness in 18-36 year old males in the bay area. Would I like to answer some questions and get tested? They'd give me $40 and come back in another few weeks with the results, plus $10 more.
I was sleep-deprived enough to briefly entertain the theory that these kids were actually homicidal maniacs bent on INFECTING unaware householders using dirty needles, while pretending to be survey workers. I was forced to actually do a back of the envelope calculation to estimate the probability of this, and the result (about .00000000000001%) was low enough to convince me to go ahead.
I haven't been tested since A. and I went to the anonymous clinic in 2001. Since then I've slept with two other women, always using condoms with one, never using condoms with the other. I've also given and received oral sex from one other woman. I trusted all the women I slept with and as far as I know we were always monogamous in our time together. So I'm not worried about HIV infection. But at the same time, until you get back the results, there's always that gnawing fear. The whole network effect... if just once, just ONCE, your partner cheated on you, the exponential implications of this with regards to your risk are staggering.
It was strange to take their survey right after coming back from Burning Man. I was faintly embarrassed when they got to the drug section, since I had to answer "yes" to just about everything short of heroin and speed.
It was funny though, there was a section where they asked me to strongly disagree/disagree/agree/strongly agree with a series of questions about my support network-- people I could turn to for emotional support in times of crisis. I felt lucky to be able to answer "Strongly agree" to almost all questions like "There is someone who will always be there for me" and "I have someone I can talk to when I have problems".
They asked me to rate the quality of my life on a scale from 1 to 10. I said 9. It would be 10, but occasionally I feel an unexpected aching loneliness that I know no amount of sex or companionship can overcome. It's this feeling that every person is an isolated island and no one will ever be able to truly understand what it's like to be anybody else. I write these words and read other people's words and the feeling goes away, but never entirely.
My sleep cycle is gone to hell and I am on the verge of crying or laughing. BM2003 was if not the best week of my life, than certainly one of the best. All this ranking and comparing, what an unnecessary impulse. Suffice to say it was magical, it was an alternate reality. The anniversary of me & Az's first kiss was just.................... this will all have to wait. I am in love so much it hurts.
I want to show you pictures but the internet at my house is down. I want to tell you everything but the amount of stuff that happened from the night we saw Belle & Sebastian on a lovely room temperature night at the Greek Theatre in berkeley to the tuesday morning we arrived back in the east bay in Nick's airstream RV is hard to exaggerate.
Here is one image that I will leave you with before my heart veers out of sight. Me with a sledgehammer, whacking off the legs of a couch (bound for the dump) so we can fit it back in the truck. I take a mighty swing and smack the top leg DIRECTLY INTO the hole of the burn barrel ten feet away. Hole in one.
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