Apr 17, 2016

Spring 2016: Doing What Straight People Do

Plains, April 2016

It's a "nice" day on the Plains.

You know: bright sizzling sun like an angry gash in the world, sky so blue and cloudless that it makes your eyes ache, endless horizon that makes you feel like you're going to go zipping off into the stratosphere?  One of those days.

I rush through my work and try to get to my car and get home before anyone can stop me.  But unluckily, I run into every straight person I know, and they all start the refrain:

"What are you going to do to enjoy the outdoors?"
"You should get outside and enjoy the day!"
"It's too nice a day to be cooped up inside!"
"Don't days like this make you just ache to be outside?"


1. The outdoors is not to be enjoyed.  It's to be traveled through to get to the things that are to be enjoyed.

2. Cooped up, in a low-heat, low-humidity, low-UV ray environment with optimal ventilation and light, a minimum of dirt, mud, ants, snakes, flies, mosquitoes, and mean dogs, and snacks, a bathroom, and entertainment nearby?  

I prefer rain, or snow, or at least some clouds.  No one orders you to "Get out and enjoy the day!" when it's cloudy.

In West Hollywood, nearly every day was "nice" -- we averaged 285 sunny days, 43 cloudy days, and 37 rainy days every year, and the temperatures never went below 50 degrees.  But we didn't "play outside."

In ten years I went to the beach three times, went hiking in Griffith Park once, and ate on those redwood picnic tables outside maybe six times.

In Florida, nearly every day was "nice," too -- there were 128 precipitation days per year, but the clouds usually rolled in and out during a couple of hours in the afternoon, leaving blank skies and blazing suns.  But, again, we didn't "play outside."  We went from air conditioned apartment to air conditioned car to air conditioned building.

It's only in the Straight World that people spend every possible moment outdoors.  Ball games, sailing, camping, skateboarding.  They even invite you to eat outdoors, shooing the bugs away from their hamburgers and hotdogs while their paper plates get buffeted around by the wind, as if it's a big treat.

And whenever the sky turns into a cerulean bowl and the sun starts to blaze in fury, they start the refrain: "It's too nice a day to be cooped up inside!  Why don't you go outside and enjoy the day!"

Ok, well, it's been almost nine years since I left Florida.  I guess I should try to assimilate.  What do I enjoy that can be transferred to an outdoor environment:

Going to museums and art galleries? No.
Going to the theater and the ballet?  No.
Watching movies and tv?  No.
Studying languages, history, and archaeology?  No
Reading comic books and graphic novels? No.
Touring old churches? No.
Working out? No.


I haven't been to a public cruising spot for 15 years, and I haven't actually done it outside, with the dirt and bug, for 25 years.

But if that's what the straight people want....

I check the online gay directories, and find three sites for public sex in Plains:

1. The restroom on the third floor of the library, with a 1 1/2 foot gap between toilet stalls.  No.

2. An adult video store with glory holes.  No.

3. A public park with trails through the tall tree, scrub, and mush.

Ok, I'll give it a try.

It's near downtown, along the river.  I drive over around 5:00 pm to get the after-work crowd.

There are five other cars, at least five people wandering the nature trails.  Will one of them be my key to "enjoying the outdoors"?

I walk briskly down the trail, past thin, barely-budding trees and prickly bushes.  When the trail forks, I take the left.

Car 1: A short, black-haired guy, college age.  I say "hello" as we pass.  He smiles and says "hello," also.  But that doesn't mean anything -- people in the Plains are polite.

Car 2: A woman with pink hair and a nose ring, taking photographs.

The left path ends.  I turn down the right.

Car 3:  A father and toddler-aged son, walking slowly and talking about nature.  I overtake and pass them, saying "Excuse me."

Car 4, or maybe Cars 4-5: Two high-school aged boys in t-shirts, laughing and jostling as they rush past me toward...the parking lot.  Could they have finished a hookup?

I return to the parking lot, take a drink of water from the fountain.  One of the cars is gone, but a new car has arrived.

I pass the Car 3 father and son again.

Car 6: An elderly fat man in white pants, walking so fast that he's wheezing.

"Nice day," I say.

"Got to get out and enjoy outdoors," he says with a leer.

There's Car 1, the short, cute college-aged guy, again.  This time I walk alongside him.

"Don't let it bother you," he says.  "That fat guy tries to hook up with everybody."

Ok, this guy is gay, and here for a hookup.

"Oh, I don't mind -- he's mild.  I lived in West Hollywood for 13 years -- we had some aggressive guys there!"

Mentioning West Hollywood always gets them interested.  "West Hollywood!  I'd love to visit someday.  Did you hook up with any celebrities."

"Oh, no one special.  Just Michael J. Fox, Richard Dreyfuss, Rob Lowe, and Leonardo DiCaprio," I lie.  "My name is Boomer."

"Michael."  We clasp hands.  "So, what's Leonardo like?  I used to have such a crush on him!"

Michael works in an office nearby, and often comes here after work to walk and cruise.  He's seen guys going off into the woods together, but he hasn't gotten the nerve to do anything himself.

It's not hard to talk him into an erotic encounter.  Not on the scratchy grass and mud, of course.  We go back to my apartment, where it's warm and safe.

I guess I'm never going to be that assimilated.

The uncensored post, with nude photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood.

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