45554_aafd8ed98befa3d1ec68fc8a4ba7efa6_0504103a098d70298fa7446ce398b2a0Armenian Hostage Crisis (Part 4)

My money-sucking car issues have landed me, in a circuitous sort of way, on Skid Row.

Literally “on” Skid Row.

Turns out Skid Row and the Los Angeles Greyhound Bus Station share the same zip code and, unfortunately, I’m becoming all too familiar with the Greyhound bus station these days.

This time, my second sortie there in six weeks involved an unplanned stroll through the aforementioned world-renowned homeless enclave.

To back up a moment: after 81 days at my mechanic’s auto shop waiting for a new engine, my Volvo was up and running again, bestowed a second lease on life.

Or so it seemed. That lease turned out to be short term–a total of four days to be exact.
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royalty-free-gamble-clipart-illustration-442188The Armenian Hostage Crisis (Part 3)

Some people take a vacation from their jobs. I took a vacation from my car problems.

Yes I was excited to visit a good friend who had just moved to Miami, a place I’d never explored before and was anxious to see.

But I was just as excited to get away from my Volvo XC90, which hadn’t been operational in 61 days. I also wasn’t going to miss “Papa”, the Armenian mechanic I trusted to install a new engine over two months ago. Today, he’s more like my captor than my mechanic.
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slomo(In my daily pursuit to ignite the second-half of life, I came across this. It’s a 16-minute short film (link below) that’s turned heads at film festivals, and now I know why. If you ponder mid-life questions, you might want to watch. You’ll thank me later.)

For John Kitchin, practicing medicine no longer satisfied him. His Ferrari and his 30-acre ranch, populated with exotic zoo animals, no longer fulfilled him.

He left work each day asking himself: “How much of what I did today promoted me financially? And how much of it promoted me spiritually?”

Over the years, the answer became more and more about promoting himself financially.

It made no sense. He was working to support a lifestyle that didn’t make him happy. So he reset his priorities.

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IMG0001The reason I came out of the closet on the day that I did — Mother’s Day, 1996 — had less to do with me or with my mother and everything to do with an innocent third party named Mike Regan.

I’m reminded of this story because I’m attending Mike’s funeral this weekend. He died at 73 after a long illness. The story of his role in my coming out will live probably as long as I do. And he loved telling the story. I probably heard him tell it a hundred times. I will try to do it justice, here, although I wish he were still around to do it himself.

Mike liked to joke that he “out-ed” me, although that’s not really true. Outing someone involves malicious intent and there was nothing devious in Mike’s role. He was an advisor and a counselor, not to me, but to my mother.

A little background.

I met Mike and his partner Steve Hermann for the first time in a hospital room in Scottsdale, Arizona, following my mother’s hysterectomy surgery. They sat one side of the hospital bed and I was on the other. I remember shaking hands with them for the first time, reaching over my convalescing mother to do so. (That’s Mike, pictured above on the right, and Steve, with my mom, at a cocktail lounge, not the hospital room!)

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smoking on bus

The Armenian Hostage Crisis (Part 2)

I’m not now, nor have I ever been, a prima donna.

But, was there a time when Greyhound bus travel was beneath me?

Absofuckinglootly.

Why?

Because (the logic went) bus travel is something poor people do. I’m not poor. Therefore the notion is preposterous.

Well, here I am. It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day. It’s a new life.

And I’m on a Greyhound Bus.

I love experiencing new things, but Greyhound bus travel never made my bucket list. However, due to new world realities, here I am. This is a financial decision, plain and simple.

Whenever I hear “Greyhound Bus” I think about the guy who stabbed, killed and then decapitated a total stranger sitting next to him a few years ago.

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Broken_CarPart 1
“God save the queen,” my friend shouts, driving off in his Jaguar, leaving me at the Greyhound Bus station in a rather seedy part of downtown Los Angeles.

Very funny. I get the joke. I won a costume contest 20 years ago dressed as Queen Elizabeth, a fact my Jag-driving friend finds extraordinarily funny, and references frequently.

But there’s a double meaning to his queen quip. He’s known me a long time, since the days when I had some money and spent like I had a lot of money. The days when I wouldn’t have dreamed of going the cheapest route, unless it was also the fastest and sexiest route.

And now, in a very different time and place, he was dropping me off at a Greyhound Bus Terminal. Why? Because it was the cheaper of my two options. It was by no means the sexiest option. In fact, “Greyhound Bus Terminal” and “sexy” may be the most polar opposite concepts known to man.

The reason I’m at this Greyhound station epitomizes my riches-to-rags story . Thank you in advance for allowing me to stretch way beyond the definition of both “riches” and “rags”. I’m trying to illustrate a point here.

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bandaid images
It’s Valentine’s Day.

Bah humbug!!

This is a perfectly fine holiday if you’re in a relationship. But when you’re single, it’s like being Jewish on Christmas. It’s a holiday for other people.

With no disrespect to my Valentine’s Day date tonight (we met very recently), I’m left thinking mainly about my exes today. And of my late partner who died of AIDS in 1998. (I don’t use the term ex when referring to him, it implies a breakup. We were partnered when he died and very much Valentines!)

I propose a supplemental holiday to Valentine’s Day. Call it Ex-Valentine’s Day. Or X-Day, if you happen to be spelling it on a cake.

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