What do you do here?
That was a question I've been asking myself for ages. Inside my head I was understanding him completely, yet all I could muster was how nice it is that Long Island has the beaches and Fire Island and well, you know. I wasn't even convincing myself.
The guy was a late twenty-something from New Zealand, working as an architect in the city, and I'd been chatting with him on the dock at Cherry Grove waiting for the ferry to take me home on Saturday night. It was his first time on the island ever. He'd gone with some work friends of his that had abandoned him there.
The half-hour or so that we chatted on the dock and then during the ferry ride afterwards was the lone bright spot on a night that I would have been better off staying home. I'd had the best night of the summer there the Saturday prior and I guess a re-creation of the same was a long shot to begin with.
The dude, Collin I believe, was a Long Island novice. He knew nothing of it except that you had to travel two hours through it just to get to Fire Island, which he didn't seem to care for very much anyway. Forget about knowing where or even what Patchogue, the place where I live, is.
He asked the same question more than once, and each time he asked it only brought me to the same place I've been in my mind for the past eight-plus years.
Long Island is a beautiful place. It's got its own multitude of sub-cultures and beautiful spots. But it's a big, spread out place, a place where you go to settle down in your own little nook or cranny and hang with the people around you, raise your family, take care of your house and...I'm not really sure what else. It's definitely not a very exciting place to be single, especially gay and single.
I've been thinking a lot these past few months. Those of you who read me already know that. For the longest time I've been yearning to be where life is, where I could just leave my house and not be alone, or even where I am alone and am given opportunities to not be. Get it? I dunno, a lot of people around me don't seem to.
So I am finally beginning to formulate a plan in my mind. When I visited Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago I fell in love. Philly is like a smaller, more open-spaced New York with a lot of life and a thriving gay community. A year from right now I'd like to be preparing for that change I've been talking about, a move there.
Of course, Philadelphia doesn't compare equally to New York, my city, the Center of the World, but I'm figuring it's the next best thing. Hopefully the job opportunities are ample, as well as the housing, and it's certainly more doable than NY.
Of course there is one thing that can keep me here and that would be if I found someone to make me not want to leave, which seems unlikely. Even the few I've met this summer, and it has been an active one, haven't panned out into anything meaningful, even the dude from the ferry ride the other night.
During his and my conversation, I was trying to help him find a way to get back to the city. He'd thought he'd just take a taxi, which would've cost him about $300. I checked the train schedule...nothing. I offered him my couch and a ride to the train station in the morning and he seemed grateful.
The conversation throughout was really easy and nice, and In the back of my mind I thought, hmmm, who knows? On the upper deck of the ferry, he leaned over and kissed me before snuggling up next to me, and suddenly the night seemed like it was going to be a different kind of special than the previous week. Then his phone rang.
It was one of his friends who had abandoned him. It turns out they waited for him on the other side. He smiled as he told me, understandably relieved, and I was relieved for him. The ferry soon pulled into the station and we got up to get off.
I walked in front of him through the crowd as we disembarked and then I let him pass me once he saw his friend. That was when he turned into an asshole. Where I expected him to turn and introduce me, maybe exchange numbers, he kept walking with his friend, ignoring me completely. To him I was no longer there.
I actually had to walk past them at one point on my way to my car. He was in animated conversation with his pal, still without any notion that I was ever there. I walked past, head down, no words. It wasn't worth it! All I could muster under my breath as I walked past was the word dick!
Though the guy turned out to be a complete, mean jackass, it was still an opportunity. That doesn't happen too often here, and when it does, it's usually in the summer on Fire Island.
I need to have more opportunities like that, chances to meet people, and hopefully more that have better results. It's not going to happen in my yard or at the mall or supermarket, but even a trip to the coffee shop in the city will offer me more opportunities.
I don't have much hope that anything's going to happen for me in the coming year here, but you never know. If not, hello Philadelphia!