July 15 1998, Wednesday
got up early this morning from beneath the bushes that had served as my ceiling. The very first thing I did was devour the last of the leftover pizza. There was a lot to eat. Killing time waiting for the Angell Hall computer lab to open at 7:30am, I read some WCBN promotional literature and drank weak coffee from a coffee vending machine.
At around 10pm, I got an email from Kim saying she was expecting me to call her, so I went out to find a phone. That's when the ordeal began.
The phones I found at the University of Michigan were clogged with people using or waiting to use them. And then I stumbled out onto the streets of Ann Arbor.
The streets were mobbed with humanity. The bright Hawaiian shirts, the fat asses hanging out of god forsaken shorts, the bad hair. This was white middle America come to invade Ann Arbor to maybe buy some nice pictures of barns and pretty flowers. What loathsome creatures, and walking slowly six abreast in my fucking way. I quickly gave up on biking through this madness when I found I could scarcely walk. Or breathe. I'm being melodramatic, but this is how I felt. Naturally, there were no phones to be had. People like these make lots of phone calls. "No dear, I'm at the Art Fair! I know I should be at work, but it's the Art Fair!"
The closest available phone I could find was at the Fleetwood. Every time I go to the Fleetwood, I find a new reason to love that place. Incidentally, some local stalker of mine posted a homemade "Gus Promotional Flyer" outside the Fleetwood the other day. It features an image from my home page and my URL in big print (but no tear-off URLs). The first time I saw it I nearly killed myself dashing into the Ashley Street to get away.
I arranged with Kim to come to her place and meet her. We had plans of driving to visit another of her aunts today.
im was looking especially ravishing today. I mean, she seems to be able to read my mind concerning what appeals to my fetishistic interests (since I've never discussed them with her). She suggested I could take a shower, so that's what I did. By the way, she took my confession of having camped out last night remarkably well.
Not long after I'd gotten out of the shower, I was back in the bathroom for some reason when I heard someone come through the downstairs door and up the stairs. That could only be one person: the jealous former boyfriend Paul.
As he walked into the main room of the apartment, he missed me peeking at him from my bathroom vantage point. I heard Kim saying hello and quietly telling him I was in the house. Then I could hear him growing angry. His voice never became too loud, but it had a wavering quality that suggested both anger and extreme sadness.
"Why did you have to go and disrespect me?" he asked numerous times.
Kim had a firmness about her that she'd lacked during the first Paul altercation. She told him he was being ridiculous, that she should have the right to bring anyone she wants home, especially someone like me. From there she launched into a series of lies, saying, "My relationship with Gus is no different from my relationship with Missy. It's not like we're fooling around; there's nothing sexual between us whatsoever. He's just a friend. I can have friends over, can't I? Gus camped out last night and I told him he could use the shower!" Her voice was so convincing it was enough to make me wonder if the past three days had all been some sort of wonderful dream.
But this didn't take away from the fact that I was in the bathroom. "There's another man in my shower!" Paul whined. "You've never brought guys home before," he added.
While Paul was on the phone, I put on my boots and slipped out the door. Kim told me to meet her across the street at a breakfast place she frequents.
In the restaurant I ordered a cup of coffee. Eventually Kim came and joined me. She said she'd managed to work things out with Paul. He has supposedly found a place to live and is moving his shit out today, though he'll probably stay at Kim's place tonight. He's agreed to try to be "friends," though he admits it's hard to suddenly see guys coming over.
Kim ate her eggs over easy (blech!) and I had a bowl of chili with big red kidney beans.
fter breakfast, Kim headed back to her place and I waited in front of the restaurant watching her interactions with Paul, who was loading up his rusted out old car. When he drove off, I joined up with Kim.
I'd emailed Kim a picture of herself, the same one I'd included in the entry for the 12th. But being an AOL person, she was naturally finding it impossible to view the image (a lousy little 10K JPEG). She wanted me to help her. So I climbed behind her computer (a very impressive Pentium-powered laptop) and found a back-ass way to view the image (actually what I did was download another copy from my musings website, something she knows nothing about).
While I was online, I thought I'd show Kim my art. She took one look and was completely blown away. I mean, we're talking here about a revolution in her understanding of me as a person. Up until this point, she'd felt a certain carnal attraction to me, and she'd experienced an increasingly emotional bond based on sexual compatibility and my ability to communicate in logical English sentences. But this only proved that I was worthy of her time. It didn't show me to be remarkable in any way. Now, though, she could see I'd actually put a lot of work into painting. I wasn't just another "yeah, I'm an artist too" kind of guys. I could actually paint beautiful pictures. Another thing that struck her, she said, was my modesty. I'd only mentioned being an artist in the most casual way. I guess she thought I should have jumped up and down more when I said it. In truth, the only reason I'd even told her I'm an artist is to give her some idea of the way I spend my time without confessing to what I actually am: a completely unemployed computer geek and online gossip monger!
After I'd given Kim a complete tour of my art, I noticed a qualitative change in her behaviour towards me. She'd been affectionate and even lust-filled before, but now suddenly she was dreamy in love. I could see it in her eyes. This had a feedback effect on my passions and I started wanting to just ravish the skeleton right out of her. At a certain point I actually needed to take a masturbation break to relieve the painful congestion in my testicles. I mean, it was serious, folks.
The key to the romantic trick I'm playing on Kim seems to be the gradual revelation of increasingly interesting qualities. Having been sold pretty much on physical appearances alone, she finds every additional positive attribute arriving like some fresh and wondrous prize.
oon we were on the road heading northeast to the Detroit suburb known as Farmington Hills. That's where Kim's aunt Bettie lives. Bettie used to be quite the party girl some years back, doing all the crazy party things that made the 80s as surprisingly bearable as they were (if you remember the 80s, you must have been poor). Now Bettie has married a respectable older businessman and has completely settled down. She still drinks and smokes, but the genuine crazy days are officially over.
Farmington Hills is basically a series of new subdivisions populated by the nearly biblical exodus of middle and upper class people from the ruins of Detroit. The first thing one encounters at Bettie's subdivision is a gatehouse. You talk to the guard. If your story pans out, he'll raise the gate. Otherwise, you're expected to get lost. It crossed my mind that it takes a certain kind of mindset to deliberately live behind a gate like that, but then again, these people are the scared ones. They left Detroit seeking security. I'm sure that gatehouse looks very reassuring when they come home at night. In discussing this with Kim, she was very understanding of the need for a gatehouse. The very mention of the word "Detroit" seems to set her on edge.
ike all houses in the development, Bettie's was large, modern, and fully-stocked with all the latest gadgets, gizmos, art and accoutrements. It wasn't as over-the-top as Kim's mother's place, but it didn't lag far behind.
Bettie herself is a calm and somewhat cynical blond woman in her 40s. The whole time we were there, she eagerly fetched us things to eat or drink. Unlike most people her age, she didn't screw around trying to interest us in orange juice and tea. Out came the gin and the vodka and before we could finish a glass she was off to fix us another. We could have drunk all night had we wanted to; the liquor cabinet was endless. But the thing about romantic evenings is that there's no strong desire to drink very much.
and you want to screw,
and when you do
the evening's through.
Bettie also made us a little salad & dip plate. She was a most gracious hostess.
Kim was still on some sort of high from having seen my art, and she desperately wanted to show Aunt Bettie. Since Bettie already had a super-nice Aptiva computer with modem, but no internet provider, all I had to do was a little basic phone work to get her up and running on the information superhighway. Bettie supported the idea, though she expressed nervousness about her level of computer knowledge (next to nothing). I assured her it would all be easy to learn, saying that if my mother could learn, she certainly could too.
I called around to lots of ISPs. I also called a computer store for ISP recommendations. "I like you already!" said the guy at the computer store a few sentences into our conversation, when he realized I wasn't a complete neophyte. But an awful lot of ISPs in the phone book now had disconnected numbers. The great ISP shakeout, the same one that cost me my job, has apparently wreaked havoc nationwide.
One of the numbers I called was completely wrong and rang a phone at a Chinese restaurant.
But I was only able to get through to Bignet.net. They faxed me the relevant forms, which Bettie and I filled out and faxed back. Eventually I had all the info I needed to get up on the internet. But by now it was dinner time and we had a date to meet up with Kim's mother and Stepfather at a nearby Mexican restaurant.
On the drive over, we went down a gravel road cutting through swath after swath of subdivision, though these subdivisions were not accessible from the road we were on. Kim told me the road was some sort of designate scenic road, though it might well have lost its designation what with all the development. I said that I thought it was a crime to allow this sort of suburban sprawl, that all the money being spent turning cropland into condos would much better be spent making Detroit a liveable city. Kim laughed at me and told me I didn't understand, that Detroit was an unredeemable hell on Earth. I could detect a snappy rich-kid tone in her voice and I found it somewhat repulsive. It made me long momentarily for my Charlottesville friends. I'm sure Jessika and Morgan Anarchy would be perfectly happy to rent a $1/month apartment in downtown Detroit.
hen we arrived at the restaurant, Mother and Stepfather already had the chips and endless margaritas coming. Mother was kind of tipsy and rather friendly. I sat beside her, and she kept seeing to it that I always had a margarita in my glass. Most of the dinner time conversation concerned Bettie and Mother's mother (Kim's grandmother). Grandmother is an interesting story. She started out in an immigrant family from Sicily, moved to the south, gradually becoming a respectable (but, from the description of things, somewhat snooty) southern belle. Now, though, she's old and infirm, living in a fairly posh retirement community and fading gradually in the twilight of her life. Her ankles and feet have been disfigured from the ravages of osteoporosis and obesity and now she can hardly get around at all.
When we weren't talking about Grandmother, Kim would try to impress her parents with facts about her new boyfriend. "You should see his art, I mean, it's really amazing. He told me he was an artist, but I mean, you have to see it!" She also wanted me to talk about my Dad's esoteric work for NASA in the late 60s. I can just imagine the thinking going on here. Kim knows her mother only too well, and Mother has already clearly demonstrated to me that her main motivation in life is to surround herself with only the highest quality of good things. Surely Rocket Science looks good on any prospective boyfriend's pedigree! Of course, at this point, the mere fact that I am not Paul is probably enough cause to celebrate.
And that's just what we were doing.
fter stuffing ourselves on a great variety of Mexican food (though some was really Tex-Mex), Stepfather paid the bill with a single crisp hundred. Then we all headed back to Bettie's place to get up on the Internet and have a tour of my art.
It took a little while (an embarrassingly long time, I must confess, considering I'm supposed to be an internet expert) to get that damn Aptiva online. But when I did, when I got to my art website, the oohing and ahhing began anew. It was a little more than I could take, especially the gushing Mother subjected me to, but what can I say, I was a hit among the gentry. Of course Kim was trying to sell Mother some of my art, though I wouldn't say Mother is exactly the kind of person who goes for the things I paint. I'd say I'm a little too dark for this fancier of freshly-painted white walls.
Mother and Stepmother bid us all enthusiastic goodbye and headed back home. Kim and I gave Bettie a very preliminary internet lesson on her computer, but when I realized I was working with someone who was unfamiliar with the concept of scroll bars, I reassessed my earlier expectations of success.
Kim and I went out on the back porch and smoked a little pot. It made me kind of sleepy, so I sat in front of the tube after that watching nature programming. It was at this time I realized the obvious fact that all creatures needed to have some sort of aggression in order to keep from being eaten, even the most gentle animal imaginable, the Manta Ray (which on the teevee tonight looked like a massive space craft with docking shuttlecraft - the Remoras).
The pot had the opposite effect on Kim. Suddenly she wanted to jump around and play. She played tag with Sophie the Schnauzer briefly, came over and fluffed up my hair a few times, and ended up running for awhile on the motorized treadmill. "This is kind of dull," she observed.
im and I had a whole guest room to ourselves when it came time for bed. My observation from this phase of the evening: sex in a totally dark room is a little too much like masturbation for my liking, especially when you have to be quiet. Bettie's husband, you see, is a traditional, conservative Irish Catholic guy, and he frowns on the sorts of uses Kim and I have been making of each other here in our unmarried state. Bettie had advised us to "hide out" in the basement and not reveal our presence lest it raise his moralistic hackles.
Rory has a new entry. Yay!
one year ago
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