?

Log in

A brief pause for the holidays...

Thank you all for your nice comments, both here and elsewhere. Been taking a writing break for Christmas and New Years, will look to get back to it again soon.



Keep vigilant, there's still one more day to go!

How am I? [Part 3]

"...it was that very act of chanting it, in which grace and eventual nihil would be attained..."

***

So now here, we continue with the part about me trying to find work, and generally make my move permanent. I find it a bit difficult to start writing this section again because, after the catharsis of the last two entries, I do have to go to a dark headspace again to get it all out. After the initial honeymoon period, things actually did get pretty bad again for a little while. But, that's not where I am now! I'm in a good place.. So, if I can ask you to bear with me through some more pain for just a little while longer, I promise that this story does have a happy ending.

...as The Last Unicorn comes rising into my mind, to insistently remind me of what I already know, "There are no happy endings... because nothing ever ends!"

Shhhshhh! Quiet, you! I know that, I'm just trying to tell a story here. And the Story, and the Telling of it, is Everything. This one, at long last again, is a good one.

So, let's get back down into the shit again for it for awhile, shall we?

***

So... after a several long month euphoria of my being in The Bay finally starts to settle down, I do start to get serious again, and I am acutely aware that I am on borrowed time. Maybe a fair amount of time, even, but, certainly not forever. The money that I have left saved up is a finite resource, and it is slowly, slowly draining away... I figure that, at my current rate of expenditure, I maybe have about two years of runway in front of me, before I am absolutely and completely fucking broke, with nothing but the clothes on my back, my roomful or so of possessions, and all alone, with very few people that I know well enough that I think I could truly count on, in a dire emergency. Maybe that still sounds like a lot of time, but.. I lived through 9/11 in NYC, having recently lost my job at the time shortly before it, and, it took me more than a year of searching to find my next one there after that. Special extenuating circumstances, to be sure. But, that year, and my slowly mounting debt, really did put the terror of long-term unemployment into me. So, now I needed to get up off my ass, get a job, and my own place.

And besides, as regards to my friends that I was staying with, they have their own problems to deal with anyway, I don't need to be an extra intransigent burden to them, that is not who I am... (Remember, my whole sense of Self, and my Story, is still very fragile at this point. The couch-living bum-friend is just absolutely not something that I could tolerate to be. That would have been just yet another poisonous appendation to the whole "How are you / who are you? - boyfriend left / mom died / old washed up has-been / don't know who I am anymore / but now I'm that friend that lives on the couch" thing...)

It is not enough to just simply be here. The whole, holistic thing must be fixed. I am a strong, independent Coyote, and I must be self-sufficient. I must have my own place. And besides, I fucking miss Benny, who has been away from me now for three or four months, longer than we've ever been apart in our lives, ever since I found him in a tree in Queens back in 2004. If for nothing else at all, I need to get my own place, that allows pets, just so that I can get him back, I need him for my own sanity as well, besides just having my own place to call Mine.

My current (at this moment) housing situation aside, I have dealt with and had very bad experiences with private landlords before, and so decided that I very much prefer the corporate ones, who just want my check, will allow me my pet for an extra $50 bucks, will actually get things fixed when they need to be, and will otherwise leave me the ever living fuck alone about what I do within my own walls, or when, or with whom. So, after a couple of weeks of very thorough searching of various sites around the bay, I found and rented for myself a pretty nice one-bedroom apartment, in an Avalon complex in Union City. (There seemed to be a poetic symmetry there - my last, previous apartment was in an Avalon complex in Union City NJ!) Anyway, it was very nice, there was a swimming pool, and I even had my own little quiet private balcony on the top floor, overlooking the inner courtyard. Not the cheapest situation, to be sure. But, still more affordable than some other not nearly as nice places, in other parts of the bay. And yes, it would be shortening my above mentioned runway a bit more.. But again, we are fighting for the Healed Whole. I cannot be Alone, so physically and mentally, and be in squalor. We have to pick and choose our battles, and claim little victories along the way, progress inch by inch. It was a bit of a gamble, but for better or worse, I chose to claim that one. And now, also thanks to this, I was about to get Benny back with me.

***

For the last ten years, Benny had been my Familiar. My Golden Compass animal soul. The story of how I found him... how we found each other, for truly in fact, he called to me... Is chronicled here, here, and here.

 photo benny.jpg
Benny comes home in Queens

 photo dscn3506.jpg
Benny in a box! Held by my friend Satunian.

 photo dscn3487.jpg
Bath time!

 photo 8334031E-2172-4CBD-8F60-9389514658FD.jpg
I mean, some of you guys like shaved pussy...>.>

 photo afc369b8.jpg
What better place than here, from which to lick your head constantly non stop for hours, when you sit here?

 photo 67424526-D859-481B-9901-F26807071B64.jpg
Ah, I see the family resemblance!

 photo 8AE1C08E-6C96-44BE-8064-B8DDBA23356F.jpg
A boy and his cat.


Benny was literally a piece of me. I have had pets before, and loved them very much, but I've never had a bond with an animal like that before. He followed me everywhere, everywhere I went, always. He never wanted to not be in my arms, being held by me. He rode around on my shoulders on command. In fact, it was him doing that when we first met, on his own initiation, that his how he claimed me and melted my heart forever, in the first place. He loved belly rubs. What other cat tolerates, much less loves, belly rubs?! He played fetch! By this I mean, I had a little rubber super ball I got for him; I would throw it, he would tear off scrambling away after it, catch it, bring it back to me, drop it right at my feet, and start MEOW MEOW MEOWING at me, until I threw it for him again! I've got a cat that fucking plays fetch! How amazing is that?! :) And, I remember his little triple hop-jump, that he would always do from the floor, to my knee, up to my chest, and plant his forehead right under my chin, give a little *huff*, and start nuzzling me and purring forever. That little jump like a fingerprint, a signature unique to him, always identical every day for 10 years. I still feel it like a muscle memory sometimes, when I sit down in my chair...

***

So, I've got my apartment now, I drive back up through the redwoods to Eureka one day, and go to retrieve Benny. Strangely, he doesn't come to me right away when I get there.. [huh, that's odd..] and I have to chase him around a little bit to pick him up, like he's not aware of me or something. But, after a moment when I finally have him in my arms, it's like... this whole wave just comes over his body, he completely relaxes, and he's nuzzling and purring so hard again into my neck, it's like we'd never left at all.

I bring him back home to Union City. Awesome! Home, get. Cat, get. Bay, get! Time now to look for a new job.

...

This is very hard, apparently.

So... I don't know if you've ever watched the HBO show, "Silicon Valley". But, it is absolutely 100 percent accurate to how a lot of living in the bay as a tech person is like, with very little extra caricature for humor even needed. I'm sure that that show practically wrote itself. In fact, a number of my friends here had a very difficult time watching it, for just how painfully true to life it was for them. It's kind of fucking hilarious. But, here's the thing.. It's all very true to life - if you're from Linux land. And, I am not from Linux land, I am from Windows land. I'm sure that there are Linux jobs all around in other parts of the country. (I wouldn't know, I didn't have to, look.) On the east coast and elsewhere, There's Windows jobs practically falling into your lap all over the place. But out here, in this very weird little bizarro reality bubble, that script is flipped, and there's some Windows jobs, but otherwise, it's Linux Linux Linux all over the place! And programming, specifically. Whereas, I'm more of a scripting, and sysadmin sort of guy.

And also, in kind of a particular thing, called "Application Packaging". Basically, you know how when, you install a piece of software, and it goes, Hi! I'm such and such program! Where do you want me, what options do you want, etc? So, somewhere at the company that made that piece of software, there lives an Application Packager who put that thing together for you, making sure that all the files and registry entries get where they need to go, and mix and matching all the features, depending upon what input you give it there. In larger corporations, which ingest many different types of software, and have thousands of users for whom this all needs to get installed to, there also lives a kind of equal but opposite Application Packager. Those Packagers will pick these things all apart again, massage them to the specs of what the corporation actually wants, rather than to the many assumptions often imposed by the original packager, and send them out automatically over the network to all the users, so that all they notice is "Oh hey! I've suddenly got a new icon! Cool!"

There is a lot of finesse and art to this, as every single package from a different source is kind of like it's own little puzzle box, that you have to tease apart, and figure out all of it's own little tricks and idiosyncrasies. It was the latter type of Application Packager that I was in NYC. And, it did very very well for me. I was making over 100K a year, and that's not even counting my yearly bonus, stock options, benefits, etc.

Now.. for the Bay, in many circles, that kind of range could maybe be considered average.. Those sorts of Linux people that I mentioned can command far, far more. Way out of my league. And, there did not seem to be nearly as many of my sorts of jobs out here, as there were back east, anyway. Plus... Though I had gotten very good at what I do, it is a fact that... My company hadn't really changed how we'd done things for the entire seven or eight years that I was there, and, there was a good deal of technology that had moved on, and I had not yet.. For the simple fact, and it's not a great one, that I had not been forced to.

Now. I am very, very good, if I have a need, of taking some new thing that I don't know and have never seen before, reading its manuals, playing with it, figuring it out, and pretty quickly gaining a usefully functional mastery of it.

For example: One day during this early time at the new Union City apartment, I landed an interview with Dell, to become basically the technical lead of their whole global imaging unit. (Dell! That would be amazing. That would totally be the kind of Bay Area job that I would love, and would suit me! :D) As it turned out though, they wanted someone who did not only Application Packaging, but, also MDT (Microsoft Deployment Toolkit), which, basically does what I do with applications, except it does it for the whole Windows operating system. Need 20 or 200 or 2000 new computers, fresh from the factory, to get all loaded up with Windows and ready to go? This is the tool that's going to do it for you. But, I didn't know MDT at all. I'd never used it, never seen it. I'd never had to. That was some other guy's job, in my old company.

Now, fast forward to later on here, when I did finally land the job that I have now. When I first got there, one of the things they asked me was, what can I do to help them with imaging their new computers? They were still using Imagex, a very old and outdated disk sector cloning program, or else, just installing them all by hand. So I said to them... "Well, have you heard about MDT? It's really all the rage these days for this kind of thing, don't you know?"

So I sat down, downloaded the software myself, read all the manuals and various help blogs I could find. And, within less than two months, I went from knowing absolutely nothing about it, to standing up two servers for it, had the whole thing running from soup to nuts, at both our east and west coast offices. And we could blast out a hundred new machines in less than an hour with this, just as easily as we could a single one, no matter the make or model. Just choose a page or two of options I set up, push the button, and less than an hour later, they'd all be fully installed and configured, joined to the network, and ready to hand right over to the users. The company loved what I did so much, that they then asked me to demo it and build the same thing for one of their subsidiaries that they owned.

While I was there doing that, I soon noticed that, hey, why the hell are we never getting windows patches on our machines, what is up with that? And they, like, had no clue. I did some poking around, and discovered that someone, way back in the day had sort of set up WSUS patching server, way back in their XP days, left it on autopilot, and never looked at it since. It wasn't even collecting Windows 7 patches at all, much less anything else, and that person was long gone. Same thing with Group Policy. Who maintains it? Why is it doing this and this, not that and that? "Uhhhhh... We don't know!" Ok, so I'd never touched any of those things either, but, I then read those manuals, pretty much redesigned all of that shit for them from the ground up, and now I'm the person that knows the most about it in the company, and anytime someone has a question about it or needs help to do something with it, they come to me.

Because that's who the fuck I am.

But, I am getting a little ahead of myself here...

***

But... Learning new things like that *does* take time and effort. And back when I was job hunting, I kept on running into all kinds of new things that I'd never heard of or used before, that the jobs simply had to have. Never quite found just the pure same niche as what I'd been in before. But hey, you know, that's ok, I'm adaptable, and I can learn, obviously. But, there's so much, that it was hard to know *which* particular new thing to focus on first, and try to learn. And very nerve wracking, when you're still feeling the time counting down, and your money going away, and you're trying to look for work, and also trying to teach yourself new things, and still not drive yourself crazy by staying alone in your own apartment the whole time. But, every time you *do* go out and do something, that is more money that you're spending, and, well shit, you just got this new call for a new interview tomorrow, and you've made *some* progress on the new thing you're trying to learn that they want, but, you're not quite there *yet*, and you're fucking hyperventilating panicking about what are they going to ask you, will it be *this* will it be *that*, which should you study? And whoops, you didn't get it, cause they did find something to ask that you didn't learn yet, and wasn't that a completely embarrassing and humiliating call, and don't you *totally* want to do another one again somewhere else a couple of days from now? Well, that's geat! Cause, you're going to have to, only this time, it's going to be about some completely different other thing that you've not quite halfway really learned yet, so better drop what you were doing with this first thing, and switch to that one instead right quick, eh?!

Fuck!

It's demoralizing. It's humiliating. And it really starts eating back all over again at the story of "How are you doing, who are you?" I mean, there were some days and weeks where I literally never left my apartment, because, first of all, doing so is spending money, and second, during the day, I would look for work. That was my "Job" Then in the evening, I would put that aside, and turn to studying new tech. Nervous, not just about figuring it out, but, also am I even studying the *right* tech, and that flip flops from day to day based on some new job interview dangled in front of my nose, that often doesn't even materialize anyway..

Oh yeah, did you fucking know that there are also JOB SEEKING SCAMS now??? Like, right up there with Nigerian Prince, who will give you millions of dollars, if you will only give him a thousand right now so he can fix his bank shit. Right up with "Hi I'm from 'Windows Tech Support', the internet has told us you have a virus, so here please install this actual virus from us right now, so that we can help ourselves to all your shit."

Along with those, there is now also the job seeking scam, where some guy named Bob or Joe from India (spoilers, preeeeeety sure their names are not Bob or Joe, but much more likely something like Ramananthapanthabanannafannafofansakaalimassishkadoodldeefjalskdfjalskdjflaskdjf*&%$. Sorry if that's racist, but no seriously FUCK those guys that do this..) So they'll have found a (possibly even real, somewhere) job in the Bay Area, and will purport to be a recruiting agency for them, trying to fill it. But as it turns out, all they really want is for you to give them your social security number, and various other bits of information like that, and, they are so so sorry, but they just cannot forward you as a candidate to the job in question, until you give them those things. At least, this is eventually what you glean, through all the horribly mangled broken english, that no self respecting tech company would actually ever allow to represent them if they were trying to find *competency*. Eventually, you can sniff these guys out right away, but at first I was just completely... SHOCKED that this was actually a fucking thing. Man... I'm just trying to find a fucking job. I just want to job, so that I can survive, so that I can live, so that I can rebuild my life. And I have to deal with all of that above stuff making it as hard as it already is, and now on top of it, I have to watch out for these vultures circling the pit on top of everything else.

"How am I doing?"

Well, you moved here, and that's great, but, your boyfrie- "You know what, fuck that guy, that's SOO old news now, whatever." Yeah ok well fine, but your MOM died... "... *head desks, sobbing...*" ...and you're here, all by yourself.

And you can't find a job. You're a failure, you can't actually hack it, not here, not with these people. In fact, in a way, you're only actually here *because* your mom died, if you think about it. And, you're all alone... Ok, sure.. you're kinda starting to make some new friends a little bit. When you do actually leave your apartment.. But, they're new.. delicate. Superficial, if maybe only just for now. None of them really know you. And, how are they going to get to? What are you going to tell them about who you are... Cause, see THIS *waves at these things*? This is what you got right now to try to do that with. And this is a FUCKING shit show...


***

I hate talking about myself. When the fuck, how the fuck did that happen? It's like I don't even know how to anymore...

"Hi, my name is Quentin... But enough about me! How are you, what's your story???" *sweat beading on my forehead...*

At least I have Benny...

***

So that's all going on. There was a reprieve for a little while, when my old company back east called me and said, essentially, hey man, we really miss you and need you, do you possibly think that we could bring you back on as a consultant, and you can totally do what you were doing for us before, remotely right from your own apartment there?

Uhmm.. DAMN RIGHT I CAN, SIGN ME UP!

So... that happened.. and.. it was good.. Stopped the bleeding of money, certainly, and, for being a Consultant, I was actually making *even more* money than I ever had in my life before..

BUT..! It is not a tenable solution. First of all, for being a consultant instead of an employee, it can end at any moment (spoilers, it did a few months later, when the company got bought out by a different one, and they immediately fired all of the consultants. And, incidentally by the way, when they did get bought, their stock suddenly skyrocketed through the roof. All of my stock that I had from my eight years of working there had never been worth anything, cause the price had always gone lower after I'd received it. When I'd left the company, rather than paying out of pocket to keep it, I relinquished it. But now... Through the roof. If I had stayed just one year longer as an actual employee and been able to keep it.. I would now have a couple hundred thousand more dollars, which I do not, at all.) *sucks teeth* But anyway...

As I was saying.. it is not a tenable solution. It can end at any moment. And.. It is still making me stay in my apartment all day. (Working from home sounds great, on paper. And it is, if you only do it a day or two. It's kinda shit though, I think, on a permanent basis.) And, it is of.. "Over There", it is not of "Over Here". It is retro. Looking back to the past. Not moving forward into the future.

So now, I was staying in my apartment all day. Doing a real job. At the same time, trying to look for new work. At the same time, trying to study and learn new things. At the same time, trying to have a social life. Let's not talk about me, let's talk about you.

Meanwhile, Benny has started doing this strange thing lately, where he.. basically keeps circling the whole entirety of the apartment in a slow walk, keeping close to the walls. He does this more or less continually, so there there is a like clockwork intoning of "boiyoiyoinnngg!" as he hits and flips back those little springy door stops things that are at the base of a couple of the doors. Also, he is starting to make a habit of going right up to, but not quite going in the litter box to do his business. Cleaning up his mess is becoming a thing that I have to do now at least several times a week. He never used to have to do this before. I am already frustrated and depressed, and this is just yet another thing that I'm hating to have to deal with. But, I love him to death, and I figure, maybe it is all just the trauma of the move across the country, and being away from me with those strangers for so long..

My previously mentioned new local three-month boyfriend one day suggests, "..is he blind?"

*heartstop*

Blind.. is he? That might make sense... That would explain why he keeps on running into those door stoppers, and even pacing the wall at all. He's trying to understand where he is.. And that would explain why he keeps on missing the litter box now. And.. why he didn't seem to recognize me at all when I picked him back up in Eureka, until I actually held him. I look at and take close notice now of his eyes, very carefully. His pupils are actually dilated like huge round saucers... not at all like the vertical slits you'd expect from normal cat eyes. Blind..? Yes, maybe.. But, how? When? Why?

He was jumping up on the dining room table at my Dad's place before we left there six months ago, and that was a new place to him, and he didn't seem to have any trouble getting around then.. Come to think of it though.. He was missing the litter box every now and again, after we landed in South City..

I take him to this veterinarian a few blocks away from my apartment. The vet that I am assigned is named.. Jill or Jen, or something. I instantly don't like her. She is obsequious as hell, fake and phony, and she speaks in this word salad that uses a lot of big sounding words, but is often kind of grammatically fucked, and does't really actually mean anything. A kinder, gentler Sarah Palin. But I'm here, so let's do this. I tell her my concerns. She says ok, well we're going to take his eyeball pressure and blah blah something...

I say blah blah blah, not because that's the word salad part. I say it because, she puts this tool of some sort, that actually is in fact designed to take a pet's eyeball pressure, puts it right up against each eye, looks at whatever readout it tells her, and pronounces "Nope, it's ok, he's totally fine!"

And I now know, later, that is is VERY MUCH NOT FUCKING FINE. IT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT FUCKING FINE IN THE SLIGHTEST, AND IT IS EVEN WAY WORSE THAN THAT!!! And we are right back very much now to the territory of medical fucking INCOMPETENCE, which happened with my mom, and the other half of THAT story, which I did NOT fucking tell, because of the absolute sheer fucking horror of it, and because I did not want for that to be the story that I told of my mom...

But here we are all over again, and this fucking bitch says that Benny is fine. What do I know? She's the expert right? Listen to your goddamned feelings more often, Coyote... But, still I take him home, somewhat relieved... After, that is, they have made me wait in the office for fully an additional half hour, for some reason, for the discharge paperwork, and meanwhile Benny, unhappy and wailing about being here in his cat bag for so long, has shit himself with diarrhea...

I take him home, clean him up, and nuzzle with him on the couch for the rest of the night.

***

So that's a thing. I'm still looking for new work, but, actually working, and, Benny is supposedly ok.

Then all of a sudden, a possible breakthrough occurs. I have been in touch with a friend here (since then moved away), who works at this awesome local internet tech company, with like, a bazillion other furries. No really, I've lost count at this point, but, I think it's really seriously something like forty other furries that work there right now. And it's high tech for real Silicon Valley type stuff. This would be an amazing dream job place for me to work at! And, as it turns out, they just so happen to need.. an Application Packager...

Now, the thing is, what they need is a Linux Application Packager, not per se a Windows Application Packager. And, in fact, they say to me, upon looking at my resume, that if they were remotely in that space, then they would pretty much hire me on the spot. But still, what they are really looking for, are people that can think and work in a certain way, and so, they are willing to give me a shot. They will give me a few weeks to see what I can learn on my own, and then they will test me. My one friend there that put me on to this give me a book on Python, a scripting/programming language that is commonly used in Linux.

Have I mentioned that I have never touched a bit of Python in my life? I think that I had not even heard of it before then, actually. I certainly had never done any Linux. I sort of maybe remembered a bit how to navigate the shell in Unix, from 20 years ago in the Rutgers student computer lab, when all I really did with it was browse Usenet.

So, the next day, after reading up on some things online, I've got a Red Hat distribution of Linux that I downloaded, running in a virtual machine on my laptop, and I'm starting to read the Python book...

And, it's going pretty well. It's making a lot of sense, nothing incomprehensible, I'm kinda flying through it. My friend had set a task for me. Write a program that plays Blackjack, incorporating a data structure to represent a single standard 52 card deck that we're all used to. And.. I fucking did it! And you could have as many players as you wanted, and it kept track of your winnings over multiple games, and everything. I fucking did it!

All of this meanwhile, while still actually doing my "real" job, remote to my old company. And yes, really doing it, not slacking off. I proceeded further along in the book... At some point, the book started using the example of programatically manipulating the ID4 tags of MP3 files. (The files that contain the metadata of the songs - Title, Artist, Genre, etc. like that.) The problem was... that apparently, at some point in time between now and back when this book was actually published.. it seems that the standard structure of ID4 tags in the world had changed, and so, the examples in the book no longer worked, because the assumptions that they were coded to were no longer true... Now the thing about me and learning this kind of stuff is, I need to see a working example. I need to actually go through it, and watch what it's doing, and see the actual success condition in action. That's how I learn. And, that wasn't working for me here anymore, with this book. I still had about a week and a half or so, until I was going to be tested by the company. I decided to go out looking for help from, where else, the local furry community that I was meeting and trying to become a part of.

I had seen, through one of the area mailing lists, that there was actually a local Python study group, which had been formed and was run by this one guy out here. He was even, at the time, the boyfriend of this girl that was friends with my three-month-boyfriend. So, basically right in the middle of these new social groups that I was trying to become a part of. "Great!" I thought. I will ask to join his group, and try to get some help and advice from him on these parts where I'm getting stuck. I found his messaging handle, started up a chat with him, introduced myself, told him I was a new guy that had just moved to the area, and that I would very much like to learn at his feet, please. And then he asked me, "So, why is it that you're interested in learning Python in the first place?"

And me, amazingly still being somewhat bright-eyed and bushy tailed, not quite having the last little bit of naivete and trust burnt out of me yet, said to him... "Oh! Well, I've got this job interview coming up with [Such-and-Such], and they know I come from Windows land, but they're giving me three weeks to learn as much Python as I can, and see how I do. Can you help me please? :)"

And his response was: "Oh... [Such-and-Such is] hiring? Interesting..."

... A cold pit forms in my stomach, amid the vague further statements of uhhh yeaaaah suurrree come by sometime, etc...

So that goes nowhere, and I try to brush it off in my mind. I keep on studying on my own, and I eventually get over most of the problems I was having, but my momentum's a little rattled. Finally, I do in fact have the interview and the test. It's a bit difficult and nerve wracking, especially because there's two people completely watching me and everything I'm typing into my program, as I'm writing it for them and testing it. But, still I do decently ok, and again, this is with *never having done this before* until the three weeks prior, and I feel like if I was immersed in it full time, I would have no problem excelling at it pretty quickly. I thank everyone there for their time, they do the same for me, and I home to await hearing the results.

A week or two goes by. Finally, I am told that, though I was a little rough, yes they were impressed by what I did starting from nothing like that. They are considering their options however.. At the moment, the choice is between me, and... one other person.

One other person, who suddenly appeared for an interview...

...I don't know who it is.. my friend that works there won't tell me. But, yes I do.. I know exactly who it fucking is.. A few more days go by, and they tell me the bad news. Thanks for trying, but in the end, they went with the other guy, who had more experience. I dig and dig and dig with my friend, until he tells me. Yes... It absolutely is that other guy. The guy that I asked for help. The guy that didn't even fucking know there was a job to interview for, until I asked him for help on it. And he just helped himself right to it, instead.

I am in a nest of vipers...

I have moved myself all the way across the country, away from everything and everyone that I've ever known, and I'm all alone here, my mom is dead, I have few friends, and the new people that I have been trying to become a part of just stabbed me in the fucking back. I am seriously in shock and panic. I have been told by people that, a major difference from the West and East Coast is, on the East Coast, people will be very direct with you. You will always know where you stand with them, good or bad. On the West Coast though, they tend to not like confrontation, so they can be all smiles up front, but it may be phony, and they'll just undermine you in the dark, when they think they can. Maybe this was part of that. Maybe, what, I don't know... maybe everyone that I have met out here so far to this point is this way. Maybe none of them are really my friends...

So go my thoughts, at that time... I am very thankful, now, to be able to look back and see that this is not at all the case... But, that one guy.. almost completely destroyed the whole idea of the Bay for me.

To You who did that. You may never read this. But, I don't really give a fuck, even if you do. You are a piece of shit. It doesn't matter if you were more qualified than me or not. You almost certainly were, that isn't the point. I had a shot. And I really needed it. And I came to you for *help*. You didn't even know that job was there, if not for me. But you sure knew I was going for it, through asking for your help. And you just took it for yourself instead, and never even looked back. You have never once apologized to me. Acknowledged what you did, at all. I hate your fucking stupid doughy face. And I am so fucking sick of, in the few times here and there that I am still forced to be in your proximity, going, "Heyyyyy.. heheheeyyyyyy, buddy, how's it going? *awkward side hug*" which I had felt forced to do for awhile, not feeling like I knew which end was up with anyone anymore, for a good long while after that. You almost ruined the whole very idea of the Bay for me. Fuck you.

At least I can say, no matter what, that you will always be You. And that, is the worst possible insult I can think of.

***

[We'll end part 3 here. I must talk about Benny next. I want to be done writing the bad stuff now, but, I cannot just gloss over him.]

How am I? [Part 2]

So, I decided to move to California.

Rex had said to me, in some of our few post-break-up conversations, that he needed to "go on an adventure" to go find himself, basically. There was some tenuous fiction maintained for a period of time, that this was all part of some grand over-arching plan, that this was for Us, so that he could go become who he needed to be, in order to come back to me one day. By this I mean, these were not things that I made up in order to console myself, these are things that he actually said to me. Not that I didn't jump at the chance to believe it, for awhile. It was the only hope left that I had to cling to. And, maybe he even somehow meant it, at the time that he said it. Or, maybe it was just what he said to placate me the best that he could, while he went kay-bye. *shrugs* It doesn't matter anymore.

But, it was fucking insidious, you know? Doing that. It was actually way worse then just outright telling me we were done forever. Cause in this way, he still kept me strung along. I dunno why.. Available maybe, in case he changed his mind, or Atlanta didn't work out after all. But, it did not let me move on. It stabbed me in the heart for him cheating on me and running away with that guy in the first place... And then, it sliced open my stomach, pulled out all of my intestines, and strung them up in a tree with me dangling beneath it for ballast, for putting in me the idea that I should hold on. That this was for US. That if I were to now say no, go fuck yourself forever for doing this, then... it would be my fault that our story would not have a happy ending, and have us come together again. MINE! Are you fucking kidding me right now? Who the fuck would do that to someone that they supposedly loved?

And, who the fuck would believe that shit?

Hi. My name is Quentin.

 photo 4389BD44-E612-4921-9BED-031F1F58C22C.jpg
I just slid my dick down your throat... And you thanked me for it.

...

Ok, well then I'll just sit down over here then, shall I, while you go... do.. that?

It took me almost a year of non-stop trying to... square.. that story.. And in the end, I just could not do it. I finally finally wised up to the bullshit that it was, bullshit regardless of whether he himself even believed it or not, and called it for what it was. He lied to me, he betrayed me, that was a line crossed that could never ever be crossed back to where we used to be anymore.. because, because of him and and all of this, that person that I was, back there when I was with him, does not exist anymore. I am now only me.

Figuring out again what that was, however... Whoo boy...

"Hi, how are you doing? {who are you?}"

Well, um, hmm... I'm a person who is/was something of a furry celebrity of prominence, more known than many, anyway, who projected an air of pridefullness and confidence, and who kinda tended to brag a lot, about how awesome my life was, and how happy I was. I mean, a part of that was the showmanship "give the people what they want" sort of thing, which I mentioned in part 1 - rubbing my dick in the face of the haters. But, for additionally having made my relationship so public as well, and incorporating it as a part of my cult of personality, then so too was the breakup chained to all of that, and laid bare for all the world to see. Just simply because there was a breakup, and how it happend, well... that kinda must put the lie to all those wonderful things that I used to say.

"I'm a foolish, prideful, gullible idiot, who cries every day now, and everything that I believed in was a lie... Hm? Oh, yes, thank you, I *can* see it in your eyes that you're at least glad that you're not me right now. Totally - I wish I wasn't me right now, either."

Fuck...

***

Hurr hurrrrr.. hmmm...

Oh, you'e gonna go on an Adventure, are you motherfucker? Yeah? Ok, well, you know what? That sounds just great! I'm not gonna sit on my ass wasting away here, I'm gonna go on a motherfucking adventure, too! BAM!

 photo B79EDA4C-C434-47AC-90A5-789BB02DC43A.jpg
I will diminish, and go into the West.


And so it was then, that I started having the epiphanies about fixing the Story of my Story, and how to do that. I wrote the story about that, again linked in part 1. Finally, a year later after it actually happened, I got to start mourning my breakup proper, at last having truly acknowledged it. And, I decided to move to California. Making that decision was great, and really did for the first time in a long while, give me a sense of hope, and something to strive forward to. But, how to actually do that, that was still another matter. I did not want to do what a lot people did (and, kinda Rex himself did this too, for that matter) - just pick up on a whim and move with nothing, no foundation. I wanted to do it right, carefully, with planning and forethought. I wanted to have a job lined up, I wanted to have a place to live. I was accustomed to a certain level of lifestyle, back on the east coast. I was making more money than just about all of my friends that I knew (and so yes, there was a certain element of 'status' about that as well, with regards to the rest of the things I already said before, about my furry character. What can I say?) But also.. I wanted to be safe. I had just lost the person who was the closest, most important person in my life, who I'd thought was the *most* in my corner. At least he had his new guy, in Atlanta. If I did this thing, it would be totally alone, and on my own. Not knowing anybody, no one to help me.

(Yeah? You think you bad? Watch *this*, motherfucker! This is how this shit's done!)

I wanted to have enough money to do all of this, and still have a safety net, in case anything went wrong. And, that meant savings. Lots and lots of trying to keep savings.

Saving means not going out and doing a lot of things. Every extra thing you buy or trip you take, is that much farther back you're keeping yourself away from your end goal. Not taking trips, and buying things and doing things, however, is a great way to make yourself feel even more depressed. Especially when you're already hurting from a loss, and you're feeling awkward and alienated from your former social life. You go to work, come home, stay in your apartment, go to sleep, repeat. Every now and then you'll splurge on something, because you just fucking have to for your own sanity, and it's good in the moment, but you still kind of regret it later.

Other outlets had faltered, as well. The furmeets I had finally, after so long, already kind of let fall by the wayside, awhile before. At first, because of a break-in and robbery of our apartment, perpetrated as it turns out, by a once-friend, who we'd met and who started being there, through our open invite policy in the first place. I don't even want to get into all that anymore. But after all of this, I kind of just didn't feel up to having them anymore, anyway. I was no longer the smarmy but friendly, cheerful upbeat host. I just did not have it in me anymore.

And, I stopped writing of course. What else was there left to write about?

So, the next two years or so were very stagnant and depressing. No real outlets, not a lot of joy, certainly not by past standards. It is soooo... hard... when you are not where you want to be yet, but, you still cannot be anywhere other than where you are right then. You are Inbetween. You are Nowhere. Of course I did not have all the things of California that I wanted yet, but, also.. I started to feel like, anything else that I did on the east coast just.. wouldn't matter anymore. Make a new friend here? Why? What will it matter? You're just going to have to leave them soon anyway, and then you'll just be sad about that. Certainly, certainly don't try to start a new relationship, if the chance for it even arises. Cause then, you're either just going to leave them too, or you won't.. But, for not moving, you will have failed in your big life project that you set for yourself. You will give up and just do nothing, after all of that effort and talk. You will remain a failure in your own eyes, if nobody else's, and that will make you become no good for anyone, anyway. Plus you'll still be around all the old bad memories you were trying to get away from. It's just... Ugh, it sucks!

Two years like that. Fading, fading, fading down. The motor idle. The lights dimmed. They were, for the most part, very lonely and boring and the same, and so I will not spend very much time on them. Just a few things.

There are.. "news cycles" in regular life, just as much as there are in the News news. Celebrity fades, if it is not fed. People and paradigms and social media move on. Twitter eats Livejournal.

"Hi, I'm Quentin Coyote"

"Hmm, what? Sorry, never heard of you."

Hmm..! Interesting...

You know what..? This is a good thing though, actually. I'd been complaining about so many things that had been broken.. With this turn of events, I realized that maybe I could just simply slough them off entirely. That's what I wanted anyway, that's what I want! New life! Leave it all behind! Start over new..

***

"Ok, great! So, how are you doing? Who are you?"

"Uhhhhh... I don't know... I.. well, my boyfriend broke up with me.. and I'm moving to California! I uh... don't really have a whole lot more than that, yet.

"Oh.. Well, California sounds cool though! :) How long since you've been trying to do that?"

"Oh... A couple years now..."

Fuck...

***

So, two years of that. Not being Somewhere. Stuck being Nowhere. Trying to be Anywhere.

I did have one or two very short rebound relationships in there, but, that is what they were, I don't need to go into a soliloquy about what rebounds are, they were that. I hurt one or two people for it, that did not deserve to be hurt. And I am sorry. One person, who is still a very dear friend, did try to get with me during this time, very hard, and for a fairly long time. Even though he might have been very good for me if I had let him, I did not. Because, I did not feel good for anyone still yet, and I became absolutely terrified of doing that to him, too. It would have just killed me... Anyway, he is married now, to someone else. I love them both, and am very happy for them. I won't say that I don't know what I turned down, though...

Nowhere Man - The Beatles


There was another person during this time, Dexn, who, despite meeting me in... *this* state, rather than my prior glory, still took a liking to me, and I to him, though, the relationship was of a different character than what Rex and I had, or what my above friend wanted to give. There are different and even formalized forms for it in the Furry world, than what exists in most of the mainstream world. There may be non-furries that will read this, so, let's just say that it was more of a Mentor/Mentee kind of thing. But, that being said, in a lot of other respects, he became, for all practical purposes, my boyfriend for awhile. The total arc of this one was from late 2011 to, depending on how you recon it, May of 2015, but with a break of about a year in the middle, when I did move to California, and he stayed in NJ to be with someone else. So effectively, we were together, and then we broke up, and then we missed each other, and got back together again when he came out to California to be with me, and then, we realized that no, we were right to have broken up the first time. That's the very most bare bones summarization of it, though it was much more rich and complex than all that. But, I want to lay it all out here now, rather than break it up into the two parts that I would otherwise have to, later.

Suffice it to say, we were both very good for each other in ways, for a time. We both needed what we were to the other. He held me so many nights, when I was crying in bed over Mom, when that eventually happened.. Thank fucking god for him, I just don't even know what I would have done... But, we are on different journeys, want some pretty substantively different things out of life, and trying to force those two things to stick together, was just making us tear at each other too much. I still care for him a great deal, and I wish him nothing but happiness and success.

***

So, I'm still trying to save up to move to California. And then, my mother died.

I can't. I just can't. It's linked back in part one, and I cried my eyes out for two days writing it back then when I did.

...

"Heya, how are you, how's it going?"

"Well, uh... I'm a tired old beaten down furry has-been, who's boyfriend left him, and my mom just died, and I've been trying for two years to move to California, but I don't have enough money yet, and I can't seem to find a job out there no matter how hard I try, and I have no idea when the hell I actually can."

...

FUCK!!!

***

So yeah... aftermath aftermath aftermath later, from my mom passing, I do get a sizeable chunk of inheritance money, through the sale of my very same studio apartment that I used to live in, in Manhattan. (I would give it all back in an instant, in exchange for having my mom back, please thanks. No? Mm.) It was at least enough though, that... though certainly with fear about it and trepidation, I made the decision to go. Just go. GO GO FUCKING GO!!! I quit my job, said all my goodbyes, packed all my shit up and sent it over with a moving company, and made arrangements to stay for awhile with some friends of mine in their house in South San Franciso, at least long enough for me to get up on my own feet out there and settle in. I am immensely thankful to those friends for this too, I could not have done it without them.

So... After all this time... after two so very long, soul crushing years... I was finally free. On my way to my grand Adventure that I had conceived back in January 2011. The feeling was just... absolutely incredible.. So, so much just lifting up, falling away from my shoulders. So much more stuff, that I didn't even know was there, and could only now really see it, and start to understand it, for having its absence at last to compare things to. All of this stuff I wrote about those two years above? I mean, I knew it was bad, but, it was only now that I had the perspective to understand the sheer depth of it...

But now, it is just simply... (again, mom things very much aside... *wipes away tear...*) Gone... On my way now to California, with my cat Benny in tow!

Oh yes.. Have I not mentioned my cat Benny in this story, before now?

...

fuck...


But, we'll get to that...

***
***
***

CALIFORNIA, HERE I AM!!! :D

On June 29th 2013, in the wee hours of the morning, I boarded a plane in Newark, Benny in his cat bag with me, and off we headed to San Francisco! That particular flight was... beset with its own particular complications.. But, no matter! We're here, we did it! :D

When we landed at the airport, my friends Isaac (now Lucky) and Kane picked me up, and after briefly dropping Benny and my stuff off at the house, we all headed straight into the City and up to the Castro District, for the big Gay Pride block party. Did I mention it was Gay Pride weekend? Yeah, damn skippy it was! How ya like that for an entrance?! :D Straight off the plane, right up to SF Castro gay pride, rainbow flags everywhere, happy awesome energy throughout (and mmm mmm, what nice eye candy!) And oh yeah, we get off of the Bart train to go there, get back above ground, and what do I see when I look up right above me? We are standing in front of a little mexican taqueria named... are you ready for this? Taqueria los Coyotes!

TAQUERIA LOS COYOTES!!! :D :D :D

Do you feel me? Can you dig it? How fucking awesome is that?? :D

 photo 812AFC43-503D-4036-8525-C4602B4871B4.jpg
Coyote tacos are best tacos


And fucking A yes, you'd better believe that we came back and ate there at some point, and I love it, that place is great! But meanwhile before that, we went to some coffee place, met up with a whole bunch of the other local furs there. (OMG! New people! And it can actually matter if I meet them, and become friends with them, cause this is my home now, these are my new homies! :D) And so we do that, and it's a total blast, and then we all wander further up in a big group up to the Castro party proper, and there's just thousands and thousands of people and music and everything! And I look halfway down the street, and I see this bar there, and it's fucking called the Q Bar...

THE Q BAR!!! :D

 photo 6FC2EA9C-9642-4AB6-A502-EF72706EB5B1.jpg
Oh man, you knew I was coming, and you gave me my own bar? Aw thanks guys, I love you, you shouldn't have! :D


Oh yes..

And, this bar is right next to a pizza place called... Escape From New York Pizza...

...

BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! XD XD

*wipes laughing tear away* But yeah, oh man... It was all just so incredible! What an amazing time. And, I did it! I made it here! I can still do things! :D

***

The next several months were kind of a whirlwind of just one new amazing adventure after another, after another. I made the rounds of all the various different furry social groups and events. Went to Chicken, went to Bowling, the Furries in the Wild rave picnic up in the Oakland woodland hills. Went to Half Moon Bay, and the ocean. (Spoilers by the way, the beaches in SF are.. not warm, lol. Nobody warned me about, and I did not expect that. I had pictured all these scenes of rolling waves and surfer dudes and all of that, but, that stuff is apparently all down in Socal. So, when I showed up for the first time in swim trunks and short sleeves, and everyone else around me is wearing sweaters, that was a little awkward.. and chilly, lol. But, s'all good. It's still very pretty, and I've learned to roll with it. (The Bay's "micro climates", a term I had never heard before, are pretty fascinating actually.)

 photo 56F5FDFF-E329-4D8D-B545-4AC03EB7BAC9.jpg
West. Side.


Oh yeah! Also, very shortly after I landed, as it turned out, there was this major heatwave all across the whole country. Checking twitter, everybody from everywhere was complaining about how sweltering it was, how they were just dying if they stepped outside from their air conditioners. Everywhere that is, except for one place... Someone posted a picture of a heat map for a particular day at that time, for the whole country. This was like, literally just after I'd gotten here.

And, here it is:

 photo A214E8AC-08E1-4278-97BE-174AD90B6A9E.jpg
Mmmm... My favorite temperature... ^.^


Hehehe... I posted that, and all my friends back East were all like, "Augh, FUCK! YOUUUUUUUUU!!" Lol...

But yes.. More things! Went to Napa Valley, got into a bunch of wine tasting stuff.. Drove all the way up through the red wood forests. Went up to Eureka one time, to drop off Benny for while, with a friend there who agreed to take him in for awhile until I got my own place, since the place where I was living in South City didn't technically allow pets. On my way back down, I totally found that place where they have the giant living redwood tree that you can drive your car through! I'd heard about that thing since I was a little kid, and here I was actually driving through it! :D

Oh yeah! That's the other thing, with some of the money from the apartment sale, I bought myself a new car! I had not owned a car in the last, like, 18 years. Never really needed one, and in fact, they are kind of a hindrance when living in NYC proper. And the subway system gets you pretty much anywhere that you want to be.. As long as where you want to be is in the city. Going afield of there was not very easy for me.. And, that was another thing that made me feel kind of isolated, in those last two years. But now, I could go anywhere that I wanted, whenever I wanted. I didn't care, I would drive 5 - 6 hours, just to see some new person place or thing! Total Freedom! It was wonderful... Many days, I would just pull out google maps satellite view, look over the whole bay area for some land mark that look interesting, and just drive out there to see what was there.

Other days, I would just simply walk around our own neighborhood, and just... revel in everything. I mean seriously, just look how beautiful this is! This was all right outside my house!

***

So yeah... total honeymoon period. Everything that I had wanted, everything that I dreamed it would be. Beautiful and happy. Thrilling! Serene. At peace.

I even fairly quickly found a new boyfriend for awhile. Only lasted about three months, but it was very passionate and intense. Had a bunch more adventures with him, too. Went camping by the ocean one weekend. Had to do this whole long two hour trek in, carrying all of our stuff. Set up camp right in this protected alcove around the bend from the ocean, barbecued our own food, slept under the stars, and made even more new good friends, who are still so to this day.

He was a little bit crazy though, and, after not too long, I realized that I needed to slow down an probably put the kibosh on this, for my own good. I know that I'm finally in my Xanadu now, but, I do need to keep an ear to the ground of reality. After the mini honeymoon of him, within my larger honeymoon, some large pools of darkness within him became apparent to me, and he was starting to drag me mentally to some bad places. And so, still highly alert and sensitive to not wanting to fall back into the kinds of mental abyss I'd been in back east, I broke up with him. And, the usual bits of fallout from that kind of thing, ensued. But, nothing too major that I wasn't able to recover from pretty quickly on my side, anyway. Yes, of course, I know that it's easier for me to say that, being the one doing the breaking up, that time. But, there it is. There were definitely some good times there though, and I don't regret the experience.



***

Oh. Oh yeah! "Hey, by the way, how are you, how are you doing?"

"Hmmm.. You know what? Fucking great! :D I moved myself all the way here to California to start a new life, and I've already had all these adventures, and I fucking love it! :D"

Hey, alright...! That's pretty great, actually. Definitely a major improvement!

***

So yes! Definitely good stuff. So alright, cool, savor this for awhile, just let it flow over you, run with it and be at peace... But then... once you've taken these moments for yourself.. You do still need to get back to the reality of finding work, getting your own place to live, and really planting substantial roots here, to make all of this permanent. Time to find an apartment, and time to actually get yourself a job. Remember, you still had a hard time doing that, when you were back east. Should hopefully be easier, now that you can just go to a place on a moment's notice for an interview.. But yeah.. Now you really fucking need to make this stick...

And here, we will end for now on Part 2, and continue on to all of that stuff, next time...

How am I? [Part 1]

Aroo.

Mmmm... It feels like.. you know that scene in The Watchmen, where the owl guy goes in his basement, and pulls off the tarp of his old flying machine that's been gathering dust forever, stares at it awhile.. then goes to try to have sex with what's her face, but it's all awkward and he can't get it up for awhile... So then they have to go out and fuck some shit up like the couple of bad motherfuckers that they are, and then they get back home and it's all like, BAM - UNGH UHHHH YEAH!!!?

Yeah, it feels kinda like that in here to me right now.

So, let's see what we can do here. I feel that it is, at long last, time to put a bookend on a story cycle of my life, that started back in 2010 or so. I did this once before, with the story of my coming out as gay in high school. Once upon a time in my life, for many years, it was the only story that I ever had to tell about myself. Then one day... it was just time for that to no longer be my story. So, I wrote it down, in here, the very best and at length that I could, and then... Just like that, I never felt the need to ever tell it verbally again. I would refer to it sometimes, as needed. (For instance, if you're new to me and curious, here you go.) But, that's about it. And, good riddance, indeed.

Well, I think that is about time, and that I am finally feeling capable of doing the same kind of thing, with a particular arc of my story, that I have been struggling with since that above mentioned time in 2010. And that is... the Story of my Story. So... in order to do that, I must do a little more recap here... So, back in January 2011, I started trying my really hardest to find expression for the pain of the current, at the time, state of my life (and, little did I even know back then, what more pain was yet to come still.) But, back then, I wrote this. (And, that one really is important, it is the start of this cycle that I am writing of here, so, if you're bothering to follow along at all, I implore you to go read it again now.)

So, with that in mind, the journey has been... fixing my story. Finding a new one again. A better one.

***

"What's your story, man?" "What's the deal?" "What is up?" "Hey there... how are you?"

"How are you?" can be such a terrifying question... It forces you to examine all of your insides, and produce some kind of coherent narrative about the state of your being to another person. It insists that you must take up a bunch of disparate, all jumbled up events and facts, and string along a story together from them. We do this, because the other person simply wants to hear the story we choose to offer, so that they can know Who We Are. That they may know Us. So, in this way, our Story is in fact our Identity.

Well... what the fuck do you do.. when so many of those events and facts that you kind of have no choice not to incorporate into your story, your identity, are simply painful and bad? I mean, you could try to leave them out, but then, you yourself know that the story is not true, or at least not fully so, and so you feel disingenuous about yourself, and that feels terrible. Or else, you just go for it, and you feel the wretched horror coming out of your mouth, and you see it creeping into the face of the other person that you're talking to, like, OMG aughh! Back button, hit the back button!! Sorry, my sympathies, but didn't sign up for that, sorry I asked!

I mean, just look what happened when a friend that I hadn't seen in awhile asked me if I was ok, at FC Frolic one time.

So, being asked how you're doing, and not having a good way to talk about yourself that is positive, is just, really demoralizing, and kind of self-reinforcing, and is a really hard spiral to get out of. And, to do that... is precisely the journey that I had set myself to, over these last several years, before and since moving to the Bay.

What I think that I have been finally figuring out recently however is that, because of all of this, it was making me so afraid to try to tell my story anymore, and so... I had just simply stopped doing it, at all. And.. because I had stopped telling it.. it was never ever getting out of me. It was always just, all of it, sitting right below the surface, never being released, and so therefore never making any room for there to start to be a different story in the first place. In the same way that telling a story too much over and over (like I used to do with my highschool story back in the day, keeping me in that loop of a rut), I went too far the other way here, and just... stopped talking about myself to people at all, or trying to, anyway. Trying to flip the conversation as quickly away from myself as I could, and on to them instead - much much safer... Until, it seems like to me now... I almost forgot even how to anymore.

I certainly stopped writing here in my livejournal since forever, and, it was always that very writing in the first place, this Voice that I'd found I had inside of me, that gave me an Identity in the furry world, and made me a Name that people knew all the way across the country and even beyond, at least in the circles that I cared about the most. Writing is who I am! It is how I found my best self! It is only there, that I could truly unleash my most raw pure inner being, which is always ALWAYS, at every moment, just so... FRAUGHT with emotion... that if I try to channel it in this way, to this degree, through verbal speaking, I more often than not just get all choked up on my own words, and sound like a stupid fucking moron. But no... with at least the little bit of a safety net here, with a little more time to choose the right words, over which my brain is already racing past at a million miles an hour in the ether of purethought.. here I can truly fly, and even let you see it.

And I stopped. I fucking stopped it. I'm a Writer that stopped fucking writing.

Well, it is time now, at long last, to fix that. I have talked enough for now, about the Meta of the story. It is time to update you all now, on what the story itself is. Here is the string that I wish to spin, tying together all of the disparate facts and events, over the last few years of my life.

***

Let us do back up for a little bit though. I don't want you to think that it has all ever been doom and gloom all the time, for it most certainly has not! Let's turn the dial back, and just recap briefly, quickly, all the time that led up to beginning of this arc.

So, back in 2001, living in NYC, after lurking in the shadows for some years, I took my plunge and entered the Furry fandom for real. I went to my first convention (Anthrocon), I made a ton of new furry friends, in actual real life, no longer online, and discovered amazingly, for really the first time in my life, that I was not so alone in this world, after all. I quickly decided that I wanted, I had to, find all the other furries like me, that maybe still did not know this world existed, that thought they were all alone, and bring them, too, into this light and warmth. On Thanksgiving of that year, I threw a big potluck party in my tiny Manhattan studio apartment on the Upper East Side, and like fully 40 people showed up! It was just truly amazing. For as huge a city as NYC is... there just really were not many big meets going on at all. That one became the first.

Very soon after, I started throwing a big open invite meet, in my same tiny studio apartment, every single Wednesday, for the next 8 years, hardly ever missing a single one. (Around midway in there, I did move from Manhattan to Queens, but we kept on right up with it there.) Every now and then, we would intersperse this with various excursions around the city. *I* did this. I made this happen. But, I was never just doing it for me. I was doing it to find the others. To find You. To find Me. To find all of Us, and bring us all at last together.

And eventually, I started writing about my personal life experiences with all of this, with all of you. Here on my livejournal. On April 28th of 2003, so it tells me. Back when every furry in the world was also on here. I found that I had a taste, and, apparently, a knack for it. In fact.. you know what? Most of those subsequent eight years are locked away now, they are only for me anymore. There are a few exceptions here and there. But here, I'll unlock my very first journal entry. I would have been... 27 then. Ahh.. look at how young and innocent I still am.. <3

It's funny... I say there that I couldn't really see myself doing very many updates. I then almost instantly proceeded to ramp up to the point that I was doing one or more, often substantial update, just about every day. For eight years!

Through that, and reading other people's journals, I slowly started growing my social network afar from just my local environs of NYC. Started talking to people from all over the country, and eventually even Europe and Australia. And then one day, a very curious thing happened. I was at some very far away furry convention.. I want to say that it was FC 2004, in California actually.. But I could be wrong. But anyway, somewhere a long ways away from home. And anyway, I was walking around somewhere, talking to one of my local friends that had come as well, and then all of a sudden.. this guy that I'd never seen before is about to pass by, notices my convention badge, totally does a double take, and goes, "Oh my god, you're Quentin Coyote! I read all about your furmeets that you have in NYC!"

And he was just like, all so happy and exited about it, like he couldn't believe I was standing right there in front of him, and all kinda bashful and nervous about it. And it was funny to me, and flattering, but also embarrassing and weird, and on the inside I was probably just as nervous about it as he seemed to be, but he probably couldn't see that from the vantage of the pedestal he'd just plopped me right on.. I really really wasn't sure what to say or do, I never expected anything like that at all ever. I was just some guy, like anybody else. And yeah, I did these events, and yeah I wrote about them. I was somewhat aware that more and more people were reading me, I suppose. But, this just started happening more and more, and eventually... yes, I got used to it. And came to expect it as completely natural, even. And also yes, I will not lie.. I completely fucking loved it.

Multiplying this even further of course... was the fact that my character was a freaking Coyote Pimp! Now... those of you who know me really really well, will know that that actually comes from imagery from the movie "Xanadu". Which, if you've ever seen it, you know that it is completely campy and silly and cartooish, and... lighthearted and sweet! It is about making your dreams come true!

"WHAT WE HAVE MADE IS REAL!!!"

Go download the soundtrack right now, and listen to it, and sing it at the top of your lungs in your car like a huge faggot, cause all of it is amazing and magical and sublime!!!

 photo 947D21C2-AA89-45F5-B68F-8836B1C55F6F.jpg

 photo 632AAF0B-2271-4016-9445-E8696D209AE1.jpg



But of course, that is not what all people saw... A lot of people looked at my character, took it to mean the more traditional form of that sort of imagery, I suppose (and ok, I guess, to a point, I cannot really blame them.) But anyway, they saw that, like, oh, you're a big pimp huh? Big NYC man all full of yourself and shit, and etc. etc. And so, a smaller subset of people decided that they knew exactly who I was without ever even meeting me, and that it would be fun and fashionable for them to hate on me. That... was particularly frightening and scary, disconcerting, and I really didn't know what to make of or do about it for a long while. Eventually though, that kind of faded into the background noise as well, and, though it was a bit of a defense mechanism, I just decided, well... Give the people what they want! And for those sorts of people, I kind of just cynically started playing up into it.

 photo CA5EE8FE-0E90-409D-9C90-F51A884EA7BA.jpg
If the world's only gonna see a fox as shifty and untrustworthy, there's no point trying to be anything else.



(I include that last Taylor Swift one also, by the way, not just because of its face-value subject matter, but also because there is a truly wonderful riff on it in The Magicians series on the SyFy channel (which sadly, youtube does not seem to have). The main character there incidentally, just so also happens to be named Quentin. What's not to love? ^.^ A great show, check it out!)

But ANYWAY...

But yeah! So, now I've got all of this going on in my life, and I'm kind of this furry celebrity wherever I go. I am King Furry of New York! And whenever I walk into a room party at any con anywhere, it's alll "HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEY!!! QQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQQ!!!" From all the people that I know, and do not know, alike. It was wonderful, magical.

And things continued on like this, as I said for like a full eight years! Such a huge change from the nerdy, lonely, sensitive, picked on outcast that I'd been throughout much of high and grade school, as noted in my first linked story above. Sure, there were some ups and downs along they way, but overall, what an amazing new life I found myself in, that I could have never imagined once upon a time.

One day in there, I met Rex, my boyfriend for the next three years - the man whom I thought would one day be my husband, and be with me for the rest of my life. I have never thought of anyone else that way, not like that, not to that degree, before then or since...

Forget the world... I was on top of the Universe. I thought I'd found happiness and enlightenment, before. Rex showed me new things and took me to new places, made me feel whole worlds of warmth and connection and understanding and truth, that I never even dreamed existed, let alone ever had any inkling of how to get to.

***

And then, three years later, he cheated on me for three months or maybe more, right under my nose (a pretty accomplished feat in itself, considering that we had a for the most part open relationship), and ran away to Atlanta with this smug self-important asshole. Guess he'd really learned what he liked, by that point... Anyway, though I "technically" was the one that broke us up after I found out about it, he'd already all but done it long before, in deed and thought. I didn't even know how, or why, I was alive anymore, for a very long period of time after that. I am not a suicidal sort of person, and I still would never really have done that I don't think, but... man I sure did not want to be alive any more a lot. It was the worst pain and loss that I had ever experienced in my entire life...

...Up until that point... Again... see my third story I linked above, about my mom passing.

But! I will not belabor all of those particular things anymore, they have been belabored long enough. I just want to pause a moment, to take a look back and go, "See? Before the end there, those were some really incredible times that you had there. Years and years of them! Anyone should be so lucky." It is not by any means all doom and gloom. It was all beyond my wildest dreams.

But then, yes.. After that, for climbing so high, the fall was terrible. I will also not belabor it anymore, either. There we go. Again, that is just the start of this arc of my saga. The Story of my Story, as I have linked in my second link at the top above.

At long last... the stage here is set. And, I want to finally write the story of all of the things that have happened since that time. Here is the time where, I basically stopped writing anymore for the most part, my mom passing away (gee, great) aside. This is where the Story had stopped and become stagnant again. Not that many things did not happen, of course, just, merely that I stopped writing about them. And so they have stayed in me. Stuck in a chapter of a story that I did not particularly like telling to people, because of where I was then in my "Hey, how are you doing?" status, as mentioned above.

It also did not really help at all that, at about exactly this same time, Twitter became super popular and started eating livejournal, as more and more furries moved away from it. I followed as well...

...

HOW MANY GODDAMNED FUCKING TWEETS WOULD THIS BE, THIS STORY THAT HAVE WRITTEN HERE NOW AND AM MAYBE NOT EVEN HALFWAY FUCKING FINISHED WITH YET, HUH??? FUCK! YOU! LITTLE RED 140 CHARACTER TWITTER NUMBER COUNTING DOWN TELLING US TO STOP SPEAKING, EXPRESSING OURSELVES, SHOUTING OUT TO THE WORLD WHO WE TRULY ARE, NOT SOME CHEAP SHITTY FINAL FANTASY 7 CHIBIFIED CARICATURE OF OURSELVES! YOU ARE THE FUCKING DEVIL INCARNATE! YOU ARE THE ORWELLIAN 1984 "DUCKSPEAK" LANGUAGE, WITH IT'S MAIN FEATURE BEING MORE AND MORE WORDS REMOVED FROM IT EVERY YEAR, SO THAT PEOPLE CAN NO LONGER EVEN THINK OF COMPLEX CONCEPTS ANYMORE, NO LONGER HAVING THE FUCKING WORDS WITH WHICH TO THINK ABOUT THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE! FUCKING! KILL! YOURSELF!



***
***
***

*breathe in...*

The Story continues, now, at very long last...

"How are you doing?"

"Well, so I've decided that I'm moving to California..."

***

So, I decided to move to California...


[You know what, I'm going to end this entry here now, and start a chapter two over the next several days, as I have time. Here is at long last the logical break I have been trying to get to, to tell the story that I *really* want to tell, after all. So, here you go, here's your intro. Stay tuned for more.]
So, I started scrolling through my friends list today, in the first time in forever, and I started thinking to myself, ok, there is one feature that twitter has that I wish lj did, and that is a "like" button, so that I can make my friends aware that I have read and acknowledged their posts, quickly, without actually needing to come up with something to say.

And then I thought... Ugh, no! That is *exactly* the goddamned fucking problem, and what twitter has done to us - is slowly, subtly, make us stop actually speaking to each other. I *want* to speak to you guys, I miss you!

I just started writing this out on a whim, whereas I wouldn't have even bothered on twitter, and oh my god... it feel so good! Fucking. more. to. come!

[addendum] Oh, and look! I can actually come back and make fucking edits if I fucked something up, or come and add more things if I think of them later! And, any comments you guys might make, that I might want to come back and reminisce about years from now, will still be right here, instead of lost to the ether after a few days forever. Fucking epic! who could have thought! :D

[addendum 2] So, I discovered that lj does in fact have a like feature.. But you know what? I have decided that I am not going to use it. If I want to make it known that I have appreciated something that they have said, then I am going to do so by actually saying something to them, and giving them a real comment.

How ya *like* that??? ;-P *drops the mic*

Wow, a lot more than I expected..

Heh, ok.. not quite so dead as maybe I thought. That's good to know. Thanks guys, I appreciate it.

I have a story/life update in mind that I wanna try to do over the next couple of days. It may take a bit, cause I wanna do it up right, so please bear with me.

Aroo?

Curious if anyone still reads this thing anymore?

Some pictures from the bay!

So I took a little stroll the other day to see what I could find...

The hill out back photo 2.jpg
Here's the hill directly behind my house. I wanted to see if I could get to the top

on approach photo 3.jpg
after walking around a little while, I finally found an approach up

 photo 5.jpg

 photo 6.jpg

hilltop flag photo 4.jpg
Ah, here's the flag we saw from down below!

 photo 7.jpg
And way down there somewhere, is my house. Across the way, those are the mountains you can see from my front yard! It's pretty magical stepping outside every morning. :)

 photo 8.jpg

 photo 9.jpg

 photo 10.jpg
Ooh, and coming up over the rise, what do we have here?

 photo 12.jpg
check out that view!

 photo 13.jpg

 photo 11.jpg
The bay in the distance. All of this only took about a 15 minute walk. I love it here! :D
So day two for me in the Bay now, and I just want to try to get out a few thoughts of where I'm at now.

The folks back east, and/or that I've known in general for a long time, know what a big deal this move has been for me, and for how long. Been a day dream since about '04, but been a singular focus since '10. I won't belabor that too much anymore here cause, I have for such a long time, and, that's in the past now! The move is... done. *laughs* Wow, the fact that I can actually say that for real is so mind blowing to me and it's still just sinking in.

Suffice to say that, yeah, it's huge.

But I want to talk a little bit more about some moments and things going through my mind, while I was actually on the flight over here yesterday morning. This move has been, for several years, the thing that I strove for, the Future, That Thing that kept me going through some pretty dark times of the past.

Lol... the irony is, it can be pretty damn scary, when you actually finally do achieve something like that, that you've been reaching for for so long. Cause it's like, what if it's not what you thought it would be? What if it's just the same, or a step backwards, from whatever was before? And what else do I do with myself now, now that I finally "grabbed the brass ring"?

So I had some moments of quiet freakout in my own mind, in the five hours it took to fly from NYC to SF yeserday. I'd gotten up at 4 am to get to the airport, after really not having slept at all anyway, cause I was so wired up about everything. I said some last, Poignant Things, to my dad, on the drive to the airport. Just in case, somehow god forbid, I never get the chance again. (For those who are new to meeting me, my mom passed away this passed September. We don't have to get into it again now, but... it was bad. I wrote about it in a story submission here a couple of months ago, ("Release"). Anyway, so that stuff's going through my head. And then I'm at the airport, and I have my cat Benny with me in his carrier, and getting through all the checkpoints and what not with him was a freaking traumatic nightmare for him, and thus for me.

And THEN... finally on the airplane itself, I am sat in the window seat, and trapped there by this non-english speaking asian lady, and her like 2 year old child, who would not stop screaming and kicking and throwing things and banging his toys on the tray table, and carrying on this way the ENTIRE length of the trip. And, he would push both of his feet hard against my leg, and go STAMP STAMP STAMP STAMP with both of them against me as hard as he could... And... the fucking mother... didn't do anything about it at all, whatsoever. Didn't look at me, didn't say she was sorry (or try to pantomime whatever equivalent) didn't acknowledge my existence at all, just thought that her hellspawn was about the cutest thing ever and could do no wrong, and how could anyone else possibly thing otherwise either?

And I've got my cat on the floor at my feet, and I'm also at times having to, *my-fucking-self*, prevent this kid from stepping or falling on Benny's cat bag. -.-

And this is all happening, and I'm looking at the mother, and in my head I'm just like... really? REALLY? Are you really fucking kidding me lady? And in a more upwards direction, I'm going really? REALLY, Space Coyote? *This* is gonna be the experience that you subject me to, in what is supposed to be the happiest day of my recent life? I'm supposed to be sitting in my seat with a big shit eating grin on my face, and so happy for being on this plane, and so proud of myself for finally making it happen. Not, never, no way... *THIS* other bullshit, instead. The reality of the moment did not, shall we say, match the fantasy, whatsoever. Eventually, after being kicked in this way multiple times, I addressed the mom directly, and asked her to please keep his feet off of me. This succeeded in getting her to remove them *that* particular time. Not the next and the next and the next when he did it again. Finally, through it's presumably horrible decorum to take such matters into your own hands in any normal situation like this, I just started brusquely shoving his feet off of my leg *myself* whenever he would do it from that point, and that seemed to get the mom to sort of start to get it. If you're really not gonna do it lady, then I sure as fucking will.

Anyway.

So it is in this state of affairs that I proceeded across the country for five hours, *trapped*, leaving everyone and everything that I know behind, and I'm tired and miserable as fuck, I haven't slept in god knows how long, and I'm scared that my cat is not gonna surive all this, how could I do this to him, much less me, and I quit my stable, secure job, my *career* that I've had on the east coast for all these years, and my "project" for my future, the parts that I've known how to do anyway, are over now, and I maybe I really don't know what the fuck I'm doing from here on out, now I'm totaly winging it, and maybe it's gonna crash and burn... And I'm thinking back, to all of those months and years before, back in time, dreaming of this then future moment, when I will have finally succeded and been on my way the bay. And those fantasy day dreams were of course *nothing* like this hellish actual reality.

Maybe it will *all* be like this. That was all dream and fantasy, and this is the real fucking world, where dreams to not come true, and people die alone in the ditch. I have ruined my fucking life... *crying... fucking CRYING to myself for much of that plane ride. *THIS* plane ride, the one taking me to the bay...*

***

So. All that stuff is past too now, and water under the bridge. I bring it up in such excruciating detail here now, only for this reason...

So that, by juxtaposition, I can exclaim to you all how ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL AND GENEROUS AND KIND AND TERRIFIC that every one of you over here has been to me so far!!! Really, I just cannot thank you enough - once I actually got off that fucking plane and have been here among you, every moment has just been magical, and as good or beyond anything that I could have ever hoped for. I've just been so happy, and cared for and looked after, newly befriended with open arms.. You guys in the bay have been just simply amazing, and I cannot thank you enough! *HUGS ALL!!!* And I so look forward to meeting more of you and to getting to know you all better, and taking part in all of the amazing things that are going on here all the time.

I'm here now, I'v finally made it Home. And, it really has been feeling like the home that I always dreamed it would be.

The project is not over, I've still got a long journey ahead, and a lot of stuff do now, to more fully establish myself here for real, in the way that I need to be. But, I know that I really can do it, after all... And it's because YOU guys are here with me. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, and, I'm so looking forward to keeping on getting to know you. Thank you for welcoming me home! :D

Oh yes, and also Benny as well, who has been happily purring on the couch here the whole time, and if nothing has even happened at all.

<3 <3 <3!
Quentin

Release

A great book, therefore, is in part an act of deception, a tissue of lies: a trick. Indeed it plays the fundamental human trick of finding, or discovering, or imposing, meaning in the senseless, pattern in chaos, fish and princesses and monsters in the heavens. That act of deception is at root a self-deception, conscious and unconscious, and without it life would be -- life is -- a terrible, useless procedure bracketed by orgasm and putrefaction. Small wonder that we should have come, therefore, to revere the One who perpetrates that lie, who embodies the contingent, and in so doing, lends it the appearance of necessity. His name is Trickster.

- Trickster Makes This World


First there was the Dance. It is always the dance... is it not?

Frolic! Ahh, Frolic... here it is now, the main event. The party that everyone has been waiting for. Two full floors of light, heat, sound, and lifewave... that intangible energy, that... Thing which we share, which has drawn us all here together, from all over the earth, from all walks of life... Furry. In a world full of so much confusion and uncertainty, we know who we are, and we have found each other. And tonight, we wish to revel in that connection as never before. Tonight, such revelry will take place in a club in downtown San Jose, called The Agenda. (Mm. The Furry Agenda? I lol'ed) The club is only a couple of blocks away from the main convention hotel of Further Confusion, and sits right next to another fairly epic looking club right next door, also with various bars and restaurants and things all around. This is a major nightlife hub for the locals (non furries), as well. Many of them are out and about in their Saturday night best, dolled up, pimped out, dressed to the nines. But tonight, the Furries are the rockstars. Heads are turning everywhere we go. Our energy is palpable in the air, Electric... everyone wants to be at Our party. We acquire many admireers and followers. The line into the club stretches around the block, big bouncer guys at the door, frisking and giving full pat downs to everyone before granting entry. This is actually a little bit comical, seeing them doing it on fursuiters. But, this is serious business. Rockstars.

And inside the club... Joy! Life! Celebration! Music playing, base is pumping, drinks are flowing, bodies jumping... the place is packed wall to wall with Us... And, it's like that first time for me, all over again... way back in Anthrocon 2001, when I first saw... this, realized that I'd found my people, and first heard Coyote's call... Any bit of residual problem and burden or woe just got set down. And, here I am again. I think to myself... My life is wonderful, amazing! How could I ever have a care or worry in the world, when I have all this? No matter what else may happen in the day to day, I can still always have this. I will always have this! This life, this connection, these people, for ever and ever for the rest of my days. I can always still come Home.

I'm starting to feel my coyote pimp, supremely at ease, and in my element. Chest puffing out, but loose, relaxed, and eyes alert. I grab myself a drink from the bar, and find myself a corner from which to sit and observe for awhile. I like to people watch. Stretch out with my thoughts, kinda... see what's going on with everybody. I particularly like atmospheres such as this, for the music and the lights and the beat kinda gives everyone a base sinewave, upon which to synchronize. There is no more powerful feeling, than the cascading energy of a Connected crowd. A friend passes by, notices me, says, "Ooh, well you're looking suave as always." "Always. ^.^" I reply, with a yotewink, and a tilt of my glass.

Later on, I get a phone number from someone, that I'd casually met the previous night. Cute. Nice butt. Seemingly good sense of humor. Seemingly rather... flexible... *eyes up and down* Maybe I will talk to him again, at some point in the future. Maybe I won't. Maybe nothing will come of it, at all. But... Ooooooh, riiiiiight! *That's* how this is supposed to work! *smacks own forehead with paw!* Yeah! Meet someone in real life, make quick ten minute assessment of them, find it positive, *then* get to know them better, later. Not, spend months and months online getting to know someone "so well", only to find when you actually meet that you'd each rather claw your own faces off rather than having to deal with each other. Yeah! Fuck you Internet, thanks Real Life! It's been so long, I'd sortta forgotten about this other method. Thanks for the reminder! :D But, I digress...

***

I'm on the dance floor now. Jumping and moving with the crowd. Paws in the air, like I just don't care! The sine wave connects us. I'm really feeling it. The whole room is feeling it. I'm moving through the room, stopping liberally to bump and grind with various bits of sexiness. Life is great. No worries, no cares... everything is perfect.

By these days, I have now refined my Coyote "fursuit" down to only my mirrored aviator sunglasses. They're all I need anymore to be enveloped by the full coyote, as I have written about elsewhere before, should I ever want to "retreat" inside myself, let the shell of my body run on autopilot for the world, while internally I just relax, let go, and "wipe my brow" as it were. Not needing to worry about too much scrutiny from the outside. It's a very Zen-like thing, I sometimes think to myself. Most of the time, at this point here now tonight, they are just resting above my head, I don't even have them down.

And I'm riding the high of this room, and all of the sights and sounds and energy is assulting my senses. I am drinking every last drop of it in, groking it all. And another friend that I know sees me there in the crowd, and he comes up to me, with one of his two mates, and they start to dance with me as well. And we have this cute little threesome going on there, in the middle of the floor, and we're at times grinding, and at times laughing, and at time talking (well really, yelling to each other, cause everything is so loud. :-P )

...

And then it comes...

A look comes over my friend's face. Intent has sprouted. I'm still dancing, and mostly still Everywhere right now, but, my yotie senses are tingling. He wants to fix me in a Moment. A moment that I don't know what or why, but, I'm not so sure that I want to be in. He stops dancing. He comes in close to me. Sympathy(?) and concern start to seep from his eyes. And he says to me, "Hey, by the way... Are you ok?"

"Huh? What? Yeah, I'm great! :D " I say, still feeling the room and dancing.

The Concern ramps up, and he adds to it with an arm outstreched, and a paw laid upon my shoulder tenderly.

"No, I mean, are you really Ok...? It's been a long time since we've really talked..."

...

Woah woah woah... What???

The infinite probability wave that I'm riding colapses into a single point, and now I am just in this Moment, and no other. His eyes are like the cones of two tractor beams, pouring fourth their terrible, awful, sympathy... that the entity of my consciousness cannot escape, pull though it tries every which way. Panic. Hyperventillation in my chest.

What? WHAT??

Aviators down *clang!*

Stop looking into me. Mirrors. Youuuuuuu... see yourself, right now. See whatever the fuck it is you want to see. I need to process this place now, wherever the fuck it is you've decided to fucking drag me.

My jaw is on the floor.

There is a wetness at my eyes.

I rub them with my paw, pull it away... tears.. Wha- WHAT? I'm fucking crying?? What did you just do to me???

Am I ok?

Am I ok...

...

Well, let me see...

I'm at one of the biggest fur cons in the entire world. I'm at the best party at said furcon. I am in *the* place, where pretty much almost everyone of relevance to my life either is, or wants to be, right now, doing exactly what I want and love to be doing, sharing in this comraderie, happy, energetic, smiling, laughing, dancing, feeling so alive...

Am I ok...

Well I mean, I WAS ok... to really really the best of my knowledge, until you asked me that, Commander Buzz Killington!

And yet, you choose *this* moment, while all of this is going on, to look me in the eyes with your terrible sympathy... and ask me if I'm ok.

Well... CLEARLY if you need to do that, then... that MUST mean that there is something about me, even so, right now, which must be screaming out that I am, in fact, not ok. Right? I mean, why else would you fucking ask someone something like that, right now?

Power Word Kill.

In the same flash of that first instant, I find that I am now suddenly running diagnostics, doing internal inventory of all the reasons why I would or should possibly not be ok. What is it, where is it? What is the thing that made you say that? Do I have some kind of huge neon sign that says "DAMAGED!" burried in my chest, all Tony Stark-like? That everyone else but me can see?

Seriously, what else do I have to do at this point?! How much do I need to dance, how much do I need to laugh, how much do I need to party, how much do I need to give, how much do I need to help, how much do I need to write, how much do I need to FUCK... before I am simply allowed to be ok again?

Somewhere in my head, sort of above and behind my right shoulder, Space Coyote is laughing at me...

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!! AAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! XD

Yes, Coyote. Thank you. You're right, it's very funny. It's fucking hilarious. I get it. I always get it.

Asshole.

The diagnostics report comes back, and dumps its results in my mind, a scatterd heap to sift through. Again, all of this all at once, still all in that same first micro-instant. Three years ago. All the drifting for a while afterwards. Limbo. The struggle forward. Building anew.. (But I'm here! Right now! So close... And all that shit's been old news for a good while now, anyway...) Mom... MOM! Mom... lots and lots of Mom...

Mom is gone...

The potential of Mom is closed, and all that remains now is what Is, what has been, what is fixed in time, forever.

And all of the things that I might have still wanted to say, to do... all of the things left that she will now never know about me, that I will not get to share with her, if I ever could or would have... And why, oh why didn't I visit more, and god, for fuck's sake, how could I have forgotten her last birthday last year..? And then all of those last few weeks at the end, and everything that I, *I* had to do, and see, and hear, and decide, that I can now never erase from my mind, cause dad was losing it, and no one else could, and I have to manage *MY* feelings, and Mom's feelings, and everyone else's feelings, and still somehow have to try to find the capacity to manage the actual situation, and I can't cry, I don't have time to cry, I have shit that I have to fucking *do*...

Fuck goddammit! I need a fucking cigarette...

I rush downstairs to go outside the club, no doubt confirming the answer for my friend's question in the negative, and prompting him to be even more concerned and sympathetic. (Every time I see him for the rest of the night, I am terrified of him, and do my best to avoid him.) I get outside at last, pull out my wallet, gingerly open it, and in the one particular compartment, stare protectively at the single strand of silver hair that is there... that, just a few months ago, I noticed, and furtively snatched up like a diamond from a particular bed pillow, when all of the rest was already gone...

***

"Hi Quentin, this is your mother (and, I think you have my name and phone number!) Uhmm... Just give me a ring, when you have a chance. I love you. Bye."

This is the only recording of my mother's voice that I have. It's now a sound file, saved somewhere on my computer. It's the last voice mail that she ever left me. She'd already been in the hospital for some time, but it was while she was still lucid, and before fatigue, and her body shutting down, started to take her mind. But not long before... Only a day or two. Then, there were one or two text messages, that... were not so coherent. I... didn't save those. But, that's when I knew... This time... Of all the times throughout my life, with her... This is the One. This is the Last. Suddenly, I had to be there, full time.

But, this clip... this ten seconds of wave pattern... I have now played over and over and over again... Analyzing it in my mind, down to the microsecond. Searching for Her. Feeling for her personality, her essence, her soul. Everything that she ever was is in this clip. Her intellect, her wit, her humor, her warmth, her thoughtfulness, her love for me... Mom.

It is precious treasure.

***

I'm sitting by her bedside with her in the hospital. She'd been here now for... two months? After what was supposed to be a simple, in and out, heart arrythmia treatment, which she'd driven *herself* to the hospital for, did not go so well... and an artery ruptured... and they spent the rest of the night pumping... literally fifteen units of blood into her, while they'd tried to repair it. Things just... went down hill from there. But, that is already a lot of... bio things, and if I tried to sit here and relive and describe all of the bio things that I had to quickly crash course learn about to a pratically Doctorate level and, and... WITNESS, and bear hearing her cries of pain over, and... intelligently and pragmatically while I'm trying not to break down crying and freak the fuck out, DECIDE shit about when she couldn't anymore.. Well, then we'd be here all night. Or 2 - 3 weeks, as it turned out. And I can't do that anymore. But anyway...

But, for now, I am here at her bedside... I've gotten here first this morning. When I first walked in a little while ago, she was awake, and alert, lucid and calm. "Oh, hi there!" Her eyes lit up at seeing me. "Hi mamma." I come over to hug her gently and kiss her forehead. She's been here so long now, in this awful place. She is, as would be expected given all the circumstances, commensurately disheveled. But, she is still here, in all of her wonderful, defiant, Her-ness... Looking at her silver hair, I can still kind of detect the remnants of the rather jaunty perm treatment that she'd gotten herself, not long before all of this happened. I might be getting this wrong, but, it kinda reminded me of sort of this... retro hip, like... 1920's Flapper style, or something. Despite everything, it brings a slight curl of a smile to the corner of my mouth - a reminder still shining through, of normal life with her.

We talk for awhile. She tells me that, not long before I came in, that she was dreaming.. And that, in the dream, she thought that she was dead. And, she... made peace with... God... The Universe... Everything... Whatever. And that she was ok. And then she woke up, and she was still here...

We know. We both know. There is no use trying to hide it, or lie to each other about it. That would be dishonest, and the opposite of genuine connection, which is what we both dearly want with each other. We talk for awhile longer. I tell her about how... my whole life, when she's had her many health episodes... I felt like I was always kind of raised to ignore it, to not worry about it, she'll always get through it... cause otherwise, there were just always so many that, if we cried over every one, we would always all just be nervous upset wrecks about it. But... I've always known, ever since I was a little kid, that one day, the Last time would come... And, I don't know... I HOPE this isn't it! *Hugs tight* I love you so, sooooo much! But, I can no longer just bury my head in the sand anymore. Not now... Not like this.

Eventually, she falls asleep. I just sit there and... watch her for awhile. All my love, all of my memories washing over me. I must have fallen asleep, and leaned my head down on my arms there, on the hospital bed railing. The next thing that I'm aware of is the feeling of her hand upon my cheek. I open my eyes, and I see her looking at me, her love for me reflected right back at me, and she says, "Oh baby, please don't give up! A miracle could still happen... And you're right! I've always beaten these things before..."

And I smile, and I want to laugh, and I'm crying all at the same time, but also I want so desperately to believe her, but, I just know that this time it isn't true... and fuck fuck FUCK! I want to project that belief, and that encouragement for her back in my own eyes to her, but I can't cause we know it isn't true, and I can't lie to her, and so I smile and nod, but my eyes are sad and tearful, and I see her see it, and fuck goddammit... But, she knows it's true too, and I see that too...

She falls asleep for a little while again.

The next thing I know, she kind of bolts awake. But, this time, she's either... out of lucidity, or still dreaming a bit, or something. She has this almost... childlike quality about her face now in this moment... innocent. A little girl again. She turns her head, sees me, and in this almost... wondering, maybe even slightly exuberant voice, she says to me... "Is it Time yet?"

And I'm lauging and crying again, but right now she needs me to be the adult Protector, so I pull the skew towards the laughing, the love, and the careing.

"Yes," I say, the words catching a little in my throat, but with as much kindness and assurance as I can muster. "It is Time."

"Oh..." she says. "But... Isn't it too soon?"

More laughter from me, this time all genuine.

"Well... It's always too soon..."

She ponders this for a moment, in her little girl-ness... Then nods sagely, and drifts back to sleep.

***

Some time later. A week? Week and a half? I don't know, it's hard to keep track anymore. Too many horrors, too much pain. Also, the pain of false hope. A rally. Suddenly, we think, or are told, or are advised, there is actually stuff that can be done. (Please don't let me, whoever is there with me at my time, go through all this. Please don't do to me, what I did to her, and now can never undo, and will never know if it would have even made any difference at all, if I'd done it sooner or more or better. She asked me, when we heard all this stuff, "You mean, I still have a choice?" "Yes. Emphatically, cause of all this new doctor blah blah blah stuff, yes." "Good! Good. That's what I need to hear more of." Ok mom, then I will try. I will really, really try. I was only doing, at the time, what I thought was best, with what I knew at the time. I really really tried. I tried so fucking hard... I'm sorry...)

She's come awake again finally, after being put under for another surgery. This time, to insert a feeding tube into her stomach, cause she'd pretty much stopped eating entirely for about the past three weeks. And, her body needs food to heal itself, right? She's starving to death, and her body is eating itself now. This is my logic, in concert with what the doctors are now saying and giving options for, and so this is the decision I make when she's not lucid, and convince her of in the very fleeting few moments still, when she is. Months from now, well after she's gone, I will learn that this whole not eating thing, is actually an extremely common phenomenon in people who are dying. It is not a cause, it is an effect. But, here we are now, still fighting the inevitable, and prolonging the suffering for it.

She hears my voice, coming down the hall, looking for her in the recovery room. I hear her in turn, disoriented, but, latching on to my presence. Calling out to me, "Quentin! I hear you! Oh, I hear you..."

I come to her, and hold her hand, squeezing gently. The doctor there tells us that everything with this particular thing went well and as expected. She'll be able to start to get nutrition into her soon. Mom is coming more awake. She looks down at the clear plastic tube protuding from her belly. Mutters under her breath, "I feel like I'm a science experiment..." I tell her, I know... I'm sorry, but, this is supposed to make her better, like she wanted. More muttering, then kind of more directly to me, "I'm so tired of all of this. Can't you just go find a knife or something?" Defiant, fire. Classic Mom. I actually laugh out loud, despite myself. "No, I can't just go find a knife or something!" "Well, why not?!" More laughing from me. "Well, you mean besides the fact that I don't particularly feel like going to jail for murder?"

More muttering. "You know, you're killing me here with all of this stuff..." Me: full Coyote laugh. "Well... Yannow... you're telling me that I'm killing you, but a second ago, you were asking me to try to find a knife to go do exactly that. You really need to make up your mind here, ya know?"

Humor. That was the appropriate reaction, right? Cause it's funny...

***

One of the last times... She's asleep, and I am again laying my head down on my arms, on the bed railing over her. Just looking at her, watching her sleep. Her face is calm now. Not in any pain. And... I am just... such a little boy again. Somehow, though I'm looking down, looking up at her. looking up, through time. I'm so small... and she is so tall above me. And I am full of awe, and wonder, and love for her. She made me. She loves me. She would do anything for me, ever... She always has. She is one of the very few people on earth that, no matter what, no matter when, no matter where, I know without any hesitation, that she would always be there for me... care about me... help me... love me.

*I'm frightened* *How will I survive in this world without you?*

I must have fallen asleep.

Again, I am awakened by the feeling of her palm upon my cheek. I open my eyes to meet her's... full of all the love, and warmth, and concern for me in the universe. Lucid. "Are you ok?" she asks...

Am I ok?

Despite everything, my heart flutters, and I feel a smile and a laugh coming on, as I wipe the tears from my eyes.

Even after all of this, here, now, like this... All you can think of is to look after me? Ask me if I'm ok?

I let my laughter out for her, and tell her that yes, I'm ok... I think for a few moments longer, and then I say to her as I smile, "You know Mom... I really love how, even now, like this... you can still be the best Mom in the whole world, ever."

Again, her fiery defiance, as she turns away, and mutters to herself under her breath.

"Well, why can't I be?"

*smile*

"You can, Mom. You totally can. You always are. And don't ever stop, cause, I love every bit of it..."

***

Don't ever stop.

I love you.

I will always love you.

Rest, in peace.

***

I'm back upstairs in the club again now, finally. Stitting on a bench in a back corner somewhere... brooding... staring angrily, forlornly, at the multitude reveling before me. Chin in my paw, scowl on my face.

Am I ok... Am I ok...

Fuck you.

How *dare* you ask me if I'm ok, here, now...

Am I ok...

What does that even mean? What is ok?

Does "Ok" mean, being in a Place? Belonging somewhere? I thought that I was in a Place, once, some time ago...

"One characteristic of Trickster is, he has no Place. Fish belong in the water, birds belong in the sky, etc. But, Trickster has no home..."

That phrase has vexed me, and caused me some amount of sadness, when I first saw it, and whenever I have come around again to ponder it. But...

But, for having no Place, no fixed way of Being on his own, Trickster is adaptive, and can move at will through all of them. When the river dries up, the fish will die. But, Trickster will learn the new Place, will survive, and will thrive."

Mmm... Indeed.

What else... What else we got here...?

***

Mmm. Let's step over here for a minute. Haven't been over here in awhile.

Hey, you. Yeah, YOU!

Haven't talked to You in quite awhile... neither in person, nor just in my head anymore, in a good long time now. Maybe, I do still have one or two things to say.

And yes, let's just get this first part out of the way.

So first of all, once again, fuck you. Fuck you for leaving me. Not only for the way that you did it, but, for doing it at all. My first, best student...

...and, my Teacher as well. When I was still a poor one myself, uncertain, insecure... excited but frightened, holding on for dear life as we discovered the secrets of the universe together. I don't know if I'm better at it now, but, I'm trying... I'm always learning. I wasn't ready. I didn't know who I was anymore, without you. I think though, that I've been finally getting a handle on that now. Ironically... it may be that, you didn't know who you were, without me anymore, either... and you had to go and figure that out. I understand that now.

I know that you loved me, once anyway, that you never wanted to hurt me, and that you were just as confused and frightened in your own way, about your own things, and, that you were just simply trying to do your best that you knew how to, with what you had, and with what you knew at the time.

I forgive you. I hope that you're doing well now, wherever you are. I hope that you're happy.

I'm sorry for any way that I hurt you, during, or since, too.

***

I'm going to die one day.

I'm going to die one day, and then all of my stories will end...

I already know what it's going to look like, too. I will be drifting off into some kind of... non-lucid otherwhereness... And I will be seeing whatever it is that I see there, experiencing whatever I'm experiencing, talking to whomever I will talk to... like mom was.. And I'll be doing that, and suddenly I will go.. Man, what a story this would make! I gotta go write this stuff down, I gotta share this with the everybody! But, I will never get to come back out, to do it. My Last story... I will tell only to Me.

Will I die alone? *sob... moment of melancholy*

*No*

*You are never alone. You are surrounded, litteraly and figuratively, by people that love you, and care about you. You are valued. You will be missed. You will be remembered and loved, by people that you loved, who mattered to you.*

Always.

"Let there be light..."

***

The music is playing, the crowd is dancing... and it at last, once again, contains among it, a certain particular coyote...

Oh. And, by the way?

Yes, I'm ok.

Thanks for asking.