Interesting Times

Shopping and Drinking:
Further lessons in Impermanence.

If by drinking we were referring to alcohol with this topic selection I was never much of an over-the-top imbiber despite my Irish heritage but I did enjoy a frequent vodka tonic and often found the buzz very enjoyable. It also made the company of some others in my social life much more tolerable when alcohol was part of the mix. Oh and of course would gay bar cruising have been at all feasible or at least remotely enjoyable without a few drinks under one’s belt?

Not being particularly adept at the art of semi-inebriated cruising is the reason I suppose I was attracted to the bathes. Though I would certainly on occasion go to the tubs having partaken of some hallucinogen or the other in the 1970’s my preference was to be totally sober. A state I found much more facilitating for lining up a good fuck or two.

I haven’t had a drop of alcohol in the past five or so years related to my pancreatic issues. These problems seemed to have started with several renegade gallstones that found their way into my main pancreatic duct. If you have never experienced it pancreatitis is something to be avoided at all costs. I have a niece who has experienced both several natural childbirths and bouts of pancreatitis and she is adamant that she would always take the childbirth over the pancreatitis if given the choice.

Having my gallbladder removed seemed to only partially address the issue, so blame stared to fall on the years of HIV meds I have been on. The choice there is pretty clear – learn to live with and adjust the meds or slowly cash it in. Since alcohol is the greatest of all pancreatic irritants that seemed a small sacrifice to make.

Two things about my lack of alcohol consumption though have surprised me. The first is how little I seem to miss it especially the further in the past it is. The second is I have come to realize how very little sense others are making after a few drinks. When I am around friends and they are drinking, and I am not, the whole scene often becomes nearly unbearable after a few hours. Were the conversations when I was drinking as boring and banal as these discussions now seem to be by about 9 PM and a couple bottles of wine later? What is pronounced with great gusto as profound after having had a couple drinks really isn’t as erudite as it might seem sober!

When it comes to shopping this falls into the category of “didn’t get that gay gene either” for me, sort of like Opera I guess. When I think of shopping I know that can apply to all sorts of stuff but clothes come to mind. I have never been much of a clothes’ horse as any one who knows me can attest and in part I blame the fact that I am really quite colorblind. Oh and I am quite a lazy fuck really and spending time searching for clothing that matches and in fashion falls into the category of watching paint dry.

These days comfort takes preference always and that means loose fitting shirts and pants with an elastic waistband. I haven’t worn a belt in years. My work life can happen in scrubs, the greatest medical invention of all time. I really only wear scrub pants everywhere, that is except when sleeping. I have slept nude since college.  I learned the freedom and joy of nude sleeping from a straight college roommate my first year in the dorms when he would most mornings wake up having kicked off his covers and sporting a delightfully erect penis – good morning indeed.

Again thanks to years of HIV meds and the resulting metabolic syndrome I have an inordinate amount of belly fat. Before you say just put down the Ben and Jerry’s I would gladly point out my skinny face, extremities and less than bubbly butt. I am not really overweight at all it is just a distribution nightmare.

In an attempt to try and further weave in the element of impermanence to this piece I am going to delve into what was truly an existential crisis I had last week after reading a piece on global warming a Buddhist writer named Zhiwa Woodbury had posted on a great site called ECOBUDDHISM.  Despite the snow in Denver in the middle of May, not a particularly unusual occurrence actually, a long list of really unassailable facts presented by Woodbury results in his final conclusion, which is that “the great anthropocentric dying is upon us – and our condition is terminal”.

After reading his piece I was nearly overcome with a sense of hopelessness. A very unusual feeling for me since I have been at least partially successful at incorporating that whole Buddhist meme that we really need to focus on the moment and that pondering the future or even sillier the past is really just a recipe for suffering.

I have for quite sometime believed that the human race is going to be a short lived evolutionary digression but that Gaia, life in some form, would persist until perhaps the sun burns itself out in a few more billion years. Part of what bummed me out so about the ECOBUDDHISM piece was his strong case for the whole show unraveling in just a few short decades perhaps while I am still alive. Again, still a strange reaction on my part especially in light of the fact that I have lived with HIV for more than 30 years now and much of the past 25 year spent working in an AIDS clinic. I have looked death in the face more times than I have cared to and somehow managed to keep my head above water throughout it all. I need to explore and write on this further so you can expect more tortured and twisted topic manipulation on my part as a form of psychotherapy at Story Telling.

I guess I just find it incredibly sad that this beautiful planet and our incredibly unlikely existence on it are so being disrespected. Perhaps that is the inescapable nature of being human at this stage of our evolution: if we only had a few more millennia to get our act together. There is plenty of blame to go around and I’ll accept my share. My personal, really rather pathetic response to the impending sixth great extinction seems to be turning down the thermostat, driving a fuel efficient car, walking whenever I can, recycling, oh, and of course less shopping.

 

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