10:33 AM: Wake up in Ithaca, NY. This is not my beautiful house. No, really, it isn’t — I live in Brooklyn, but ventured north last week to see some doctors re: a bout of Stomach Hell I’ve been going through. On that note, I venture downstairs to take four (4!) pills, three to right the S.H. and one for my brain. I feel like a senior citizen, taking so much medication. Lament the lack of reaping sweet AARP discounts and collecting social security.
I’m staying with my new parents during my time in Ithaca. (When my biological parents failed to re-sign me upon learning I’m trans some 18 months ago, I became a free agent and instead signed with a pair of benevolent middle aged queers I met while still in college at Ithaca, because when life gives you lemons you make a new family.) Breakfast of eggs and toast.
11:10 AM: The pill cocktail causes some intense dizziness. I take to lying horizontally and attempting to read until the dizzy spell dissipates. The book of poetry I’m in the middle of is “How it Hurts,” by Timothy Furstnau, which is terrific. It’s and largely sourced from various pain assessment questionnaires and GRE prep books, which are essentially the same thing. Very dizzy still. Not much progress is made on the book.
12:03 PM: Have showered and shaved. Don blue jeans and a white t-shirt, because it’s Spring, dammit, and this is the uniform I’ve chosen. Also, because white V-necks don’t touch my neck, which jumps high on the list of ~fashion~ requirements when you’re growing an Adam’s apple.
Exchange a flurry of texts between local Ithaca friends. A pal who works on a farm has prior obligations to go contra dancing — she elaborates, “fancier square dancing,” — but another friend is playing a show tonight at a local eatery with the best name on planet Earth, Waffle Frolic. We agree to meet there ahead of the show.
12:53 PM: Three consecutive emails from publishing start-up boss. (I contract for said start-up and a Planned Parenthood affiliate, managing their digital media like the cliché millennial I am.) Try to resist the urge to procrastinate emails by fucking around on Twitter. Am moderately successful. Respond to said emails.
1:23 PM: Lunch. Soup! Revel in the realization that Stomach Hell has subsided enough for me to enjoy my testosterone-enhanced appetite once more.
2:00 PM: Respond to second round of start-up work emails and head off to the nearest CVS in search of shoe polish. I’ve gotten into the habit of wearing black dress shoes sans socks in the summer months, and in an attempt to rationalize this gross abuse of footwear I force myself to at least waterproof and polish them, as though this compensates for wearing them to, say, Seaside.
2:40 PM: Walking back from CVS, shoe polish successfully obtained. Run into a cadre of nine-ish year old girls selling lemonade on the sidewalk. I give them a dollar in exchange for a tiny cup — significant markup from their $.25 asking price — because none of these girls have memory of living in a world where the president wasn’t a Black man and the apparent Democratic nominee a woman so they probably genuinely believe they can do anything when they grow up, and also because they’re cute as shit.
2:42 PM: This lemonade tastes like they straight-up squeezed a some lemons into a cup, end of recipe. I drink it all anyway.
3:17 PM: Shoes shined, waterproofed and left outside to dry. Change into the first-ever pair of gym shorts I bought myself; for the last two years I’ve been living off a friend’s hand-me-down shorts. This is an undersold benefit of being trans and having friends roughly your same height — I’ve scored some truly excellent hand-me-downs from friends, particularly in college when people’s wardrobes shift along with their nebulous identities.
The flip side was getting to give away equally excellent hand-me-downs from my previous gender presentation to other friends, though my fairly gender-conforming younger brother made off with a considerable amount of my “women’s” clothes before I had a chance to give them away myself. In all fairness, he definitely looks better in those cardigans than I ever did.
It’s sunny, cloudless, 70 degrees. Head out to play tennis at the park with friends.
4:34 PM: I suck at tennis. Tennis is awesome.
6:05 PM: Dinner at a restaurant close to the park. I can eat an entire cheeseburger without feeling violently ill, life is full of joy and wonder — and also child soldiers, fuck — but man this cheeseburger is still pretty good.
7:17 PM: Arrive at Waffle Frolic which, for those of you playing at home, is an establishment that sells a variety of waffles. (Through a very tenuous connection — my co-producer’s high school friend’s cousin co-owns the shop, which is just enough of a relationship to parlay into a begrudging favor — we convinced them to sponsor a TV show I co-created in college, and as a thank-you we named a main character “Waffles Frolic.” They did not sponsor our second season.) Apparently it is Waffle Frolic’s fifth anniversary since opening, and this show is their birthday party.
7:25 PM: The show starts. It dawns on me that I misunderstood Josh, the friend who invited me, when he said he was playing a show tonight. I assumed he was somewhere on a lineup of three or so bands; his only bandmate, Derek, asks Josh “Nine-thirty?” to which Josh nods. Derek leaves the restaurant. Fuck.
The first act is a solid songstress-with-a-guitar who performs a terrific cover of “Summertime.” Following her is a rapper in a knee-high leg brace accompanied by DJ so pale I find myself mentally referring to him as “that stoned ghost behind the macbook.” They are just okay.
8:40 PM: Have been bamboozled into hearing an a cappella act. Leave the venue space and order a waffle in protest.
9:12 PM: Correction: I’ve been bamboozled into hearing two a cappella acts.
Like a rare species of freshwater fish, a cappella cannot survive outside a very particular environment; namely, college towns. I have no quarrel with the genre in general, but I like to be forewarned re: impending a cappella acts so I can get into the proper headspace, which is full-on high school theatre geek enthusiasm for all music everywhere. Squashed between hip-hop and experimental R&B acts, this pep proves difficult to muster.
9:34 PM: Pale Blue Dot, Josh’s band, finally performs. They are weird and great and don’t have an album I can link you to, I’m sorry, I’m so, so fucking sorry I let you down, again.
10:06 PM: The show ends and people begin milling about, deciding where and how to get intoxicated. Josh agrees to meet me and a small cohort at our friend Andrew’s apartment after returning his equipment (which includes a gorgeous Fender rhodes he values more than his kidneys) home.
10:47 PM: Have arrived at Andrew’s place for purposes of intoxication and find myself starving. There’s a taco shop right across the street but, his girlfriend Victoria warns me, they don’t season their meat, and “the chicken tastes like nothing.” Much discussion among the group re: “fucking white people” and “that’s not what a taco is” and “fucking white people.”
10:57 PM: Surrender to the siren call of tacos and arrive at the taco shop, which shall remain nameless. Discuss A Day To Remember with the cashier, who wears a shirt from one of their tours, but when I mention when I last saw them he says it makes him feel “fucking old.” He looks maybe a year older than I am, tops. Spend the remainder of the time spent waiting for my tacos in silence.
11:14 PM: Return to Andrew’s apartment and immediately consume both tacos. Victoria was right; the meat tastes like nothing, but they attempt to make up for this Boston Market bullshit with scorching hot salsa. It almost works.
Discover two cats live here, named Root and Crow. Root immediately gets himself stuck behind some furniture. Josh arrives with brass monkey materials, because he is a leader of men. Brass monkeys are distributed, and we discuss logistics for a cross country road trip this September.
12:16 AM: Polaroids from a housemate’s trip to Ecuador and Andrew’s band’s tour are examined and discussed. Brass monkeys are consumed. The cat frees himself from behind (or possibly inside, hard to tell) the chair. Victoria falls asleep, and the guests take our cue to leave.
Outside is still alive with drunk college town energy. A bar formerly called “Moonshadow Tavern” has recently rebranded itself as a nightclub and actually has a roped-off line of people still waiting to gain entrance. Further down the street, posted up outside the lone bar that caters more to townies than college students is a local street magician. He’s not particularly good at magic, despite being at it for as long as anyone can remember, but his persistence in using the same line day after day — “Wanna see some magic?” — has earned him a certain level of credibility. I avoid him nonetheless.
Pass two guys who greet each other “happy 4/20 weekend,” which I’d forgotten about until that moment. A Jimmy John’s delivery car idles, empty, outside a hallway house. I reflect on today, the first in a few weeks I haven’t felt sick, and feel both gratitude and kinda tipsy.
12:31 AM: Arrive home and promptly swallow brain pill part II. One Queer Parent is still awake, and we stay up talking for some time.
Something like 2:00 AM: Fall asleep with the lights still on.