I am writing this post at 9 pm, somewhere outside of Richmond, Virginia. I’m almost in my eleventh hour on the train, and we are running horrendously late, so we’ve got almost seven more to go. I stupidly got on the train with a small bag of snacks and zero cash or booze, so it’s going to be a long ride that feels even longer.
Can I tell you what transpired in my last night in Charleston? After having a homemade lasagna dinner with the parents of my CS host at his childhood home, we zoned out and watched television while I pounded vitamins because I wasn’t feeling well. But I didn’t want to deal with more rejection, so I briskly hugged him goodbye and walked out into the night. Charleston is not a big place, and I ran into several people I’d met during the weekend. That was kind of nice. A little before midnight, I decided it was time for my second dinner and a game of pool, so I paid my tab and went to migrate to another bar, when this old fortune cookie fortune fell out of my wallet: Everything is coming together.
At the bar I met a sweet guy who works as a lawyer for the ACLU and we bonded while waiting almost an hour for the food he ended up paying for, and talking to a big white guy who doesn’t believe that mankind has any impact on climate change. I thought ACLU was charming and intelligent—everyone knows I have a weakness for Southern boys—though he was not a boy at all, probably a good fifteen years on me. When we left the bar and he invited me back for a nightcap at his place. This led to an hour of the following inner monologue on repeat:
I shouldn’t do this. Stranger. Rental car. Hotel. Not my city. Makings of a disaster film. But that’s not reality! This is reality. This is a nice, sweet man who works for the ACLU. I’m not afraid of him at all. I actually really like him. I trust my instincts. Or are they really my instincts? Am I just drunk? I don’t think I’m drunk. I’ve only had seven drinks over as many hours. See, that complex sentence structure shows just how lucid I am. But what if I regret it? What would I regret? Am I just being paranoid? I hate not trusting someone who seems totally trustworthy. It makes me feel like a paranoid, crazy freak. Seriously, you should just go home. But where’s the fun in that?
He was staying at a fancy hotel downtown, and hadn’t even checked in yet. It was two a.m. and I looked like hell, and when the concierge asked us if we needed one key or two, I suddenly felt like a prostitute. Hotels do that to me. We went upstairs, had a brandy, and I started to leave because you know how I feel about hotel sex…
So I am thinking about dissolving this blog because I think it’s gotten way too personal and I feel like it’s apt to cause more problems than it solves, mostly because it doesn’t really solve any problem other than the satisfaction of my gratuitous, self-obsessive impulses.
After a few hours of sleep, I suddenly woke up and realized I had to leave right then if I were to get done what I had to get done—buy cartons of cigarettes, get back to my host’s apartment to pick up my stuff, and get to a café to download some work files—if I wanted to make my train. When I got to the lobby, I was greeted by three staff members, and for the second time in several hours, I felt like a whore and was so flustered that I ran out the wrong exit, cornered myself in the hotel garden, and had to pass them all again on the real way out.
I thought about him in the back of my mind all day, and regretted only one thing: running out on him this morning. He looked so confused. I don’t know where this flight syndrome comes from, but I find it very hard to fight. Then I convince myself that I was in love with them, and I feel tragic and infantile and pathetic. It’s one thing to want what you cannot have, it’s another thing to prevent yourself from ever having what you want.