Out of Control
I walked by a school last week and couldn’t help but think back to when as kids all I could think about was one time of day. That for me was recess. A half hour to lose all control where all the kids would swing on the monkey bars, run as fast as we possibly could, play hopscotch and leave all our worries that we had in the classroom behind. Of course, as we get older the recesses become a thing of the past. Now, as adults we have traded in recess for extravagant vacations, spa treatments, booze and other ways to lose all control from our day to day lives. Which got me thinking…do we ever really gain full control of the life we are given?
I woke up on Monday, August 26th, knowing that this was going to be my last week where I could say that I was in my early thirties. I had been dreading this week ever since the month hit but I forced myself to get ready and face the day. I had just ended a great weekend actually that was spent entirely with friends and was completely grateful for the past year. I also was thinking about how I had that great first date with the fireman and was wondering when our next one would be happening.
As I began writing that day at my desk, I received a text message from the fireman that just said, “Can you talk?” He was big on talking on the phone versus texting, which was new to me but I certainly enjoyed the conversations we had. I told him that I was available and he called. He asked me how my weekend was and I told him. I also returned the question and he said he had a really nice weekend that was spent with his family. I could tell by the tone in his voice that I was going to be getting some not such great news. Finally, he took a deep breath and said, “Hey, you are a really nice guy and to be honest with you…I have been seeing someone else and want to give that a shot.” I replied with, “I really respect the fact that you even had the balls to call me rather than disappear or send a text. So, thank you. I wish you all the luck and have a great summer.” I hung up before he had a chance to say goodbye. I wasn’t pissed at all but I just didn’t need the “nice guy” talk. By the time I sat back down at my computer, I was totally fine and thought to myself, “What does a fireman from Staten Island have in common with a freelance writer from the city?” The answer is nothing. So far the start to this birthday week was not starting off as I had planned.
I told myself to just let the bad luck begin now and by the time my actual birthday rolled around that everything would be smooth sailing. When Wednesday had rolled around, I got another text message from a phone number I didn’t recognize. It said, “I know your birthday is coming up and that you will be on Fire Island. Maybe I will see you out there.” I responded with, “I am sorry but I don’t know this number.” Turns out, it was the guy with halitosis from a few weeks ago. I have this thing where I don’t program phone numbers in my phone unless you are a friend or family member. Great. Now on my last weekend on Fire Island, I have to now be concerned with running into him. It was bad enough that I knew Mr. G. was going to be there and did I mention that the fireman was ALSO going to be out there. It was right about then when I started to lose a little bit of control. I was giving these men way too much power and control over my weekend and I put a stop to it all in my head. I never responded to the halitosis guy and haven’t even heard from the other two guys. It was my weekend, with my friends.
The day had arrived, my 35th birthday. I woke up and surprisingly enough was feeling pretty descent. Maybe I had psyched myself out all along. I know it isn’t that old of an age that I was turning but we all are our own worst critic and when you examine your life we are never where we thought we’d be. I grabbed my phone and already had a slew of text messages, emails, voicemails and Facebook responses all wishing me a fantastic birthday. The love from everyone and everywhere was certainly there. I was leaving that day for Fire Island but had to put in a few hours of work. A sweet coworker of mine made me these delicious brownies that she calls, “Slutty Brownies” and she said she made an extra batch for me to bring to my house on the beach. The day was going smooth, there was no sign of bad luck and I was taking the 4:12 train out of Penn Station.
A few of my friends sent me text messages asking me if I actually made the train, which I successfully did. I was quite proud of myself. My last weekend on the island, I was traveling by myself and I was determined to not get lost, miss a transfer or have any debacles occur. I received another text message from a friend that was on the same train as me telling me to prepare myself to transfer at the next stop. Thankfully he sent that message because I had fallen asleep on the train and would have been confused. I grabbed all of my belongings, including the brownies and as I was leaving the train I was rushing to cross the platform for the connecting train and that is when it happened…I fell. I somehow managed to trip on my luggage and hit the ground with me landing on top of the brownies. I landed on them in a way, so the foil pan that they were in folded into a shape of a taco shell. Some nice man saw me fall and collected my luggage while I tried to salvage the brownies before the train doors closed on me. I made it to my connecting train but was both embarrassed by my fall in front of several gay men and the fact that my brownies were now ruined. I sat on the train heading to Sayville and I didn’t know if I wanted to laugh or cry, so I did a little bit of both. When I got on the van that would take us to the harbor and saw my housemate, he just laughed at my ordeal and that made me feel so much better.
When I arrived at my house, I was surprised by two friends that I had no idea were even on the island. We did our best to mold the brownies back into their original shape, it sort of worked and we all immediately started to drink. We played games while we waited for the other housemates to arrive and then went into town for the teas. After the dancing, we came back to the house to prepare dinner and I just looked around and was completely taken back by all the fantastic friends that were there. It was then that I thought to myself, “Hey, 35 isn’t so bad after all.” After the dinner plates were cleared, one of my friends took me into another room to chat, which I thought was odd but I was drunk and didn’t care. When we came out of the room, I was told to sit down at the dinner table. Another friend put a blindfold around my eyes and then I heard them all sing Happy Birthday. When the blindfold was removed there was a cake that read, “Happy Birthday Madonna!” I wasn’t even expecting any of that and so I blew out the candles and made that wish. The rest of the evening was pretty much a blur and passed out sometime around 4 a.m.
Saturday, I woke up feeling actually pretty good. So, I took that energy and went for a run along the beach. When I came back, everyone was just waking up and we didn’t have all the time in the world for we had to get ready for this annual drag party that was thrown every year during the Labor Day weekend. I had never been to one before and wasn’t sure what to expect but several of our housemates were participating and I decided to do it as well. I brought my only drag outfit I had from the city…Wonder Woman. It was very comical seeing everyone transform themselves while we drank wine and after a few hours it was time for us to walk over. We finally arrived to the hot, humid and sticky party. Everyone’s make-up was running down their faces and most men didn’t even bother shaving their faces, they just had a wig on and a beard. It was hilarious seeing all of these men dressed in some great and some not so great costumes. Our crew didn’t last too long, maybe an hour and a half before we decided to leave. When we got back to the house, of course, we had to do a photo shoot on the beach in all of drag garb. Once that was done, we all jumped in the shower and washed that make-up off of our faces. I thought for sure that after the drag party and all the drinking we had already done that we would be lying somewhat low that night. Turns out, we all got a second wind and got ready for the teas. We did low, middle and high tea. We were all in excellent spirits and everyone just had the look on their faces of pure enjoyment. I didn’t care about any of the men out there. I was having a ball. Actually, a few of us were losing control, maybe it was me J We got home, had our dinner and changed once again for we were going back into town to the Pavilion because we were dancing!!! We danced till our feet couldn’t hold us up anymore.
I decided to leave on my own from the dance club and just have a few minutes to myself to cool down and maybe even gain some of that control back. As I was walking home and catching my breath, I ran into this guy and in my drunken state we started talking to each other. He asked me if I wanted to go back home with him. I was reluctant to do such an act because the last time I did that, it ended on not such a good note and I was 35 now. No more silly mistakes but my last tequila shot overruled my thought process and I said, “Sure. Why not.” When I got to his place, I realized that this wasn’t an actual house but it’s where all the bartenders and employees on the island reside. When we got inside his room, there was an actual bunk bed. This was quickly becoming not my finest decision. He slept on the top bunk and so I followed him. As my feet went up each stair and began to sober up, all I wanted to do was go home but it was too late. After all was said and done, he asked me to stay the night. I told him that we could sleep for a bit but I really did need to get back home. He assured me that his bottom bunk mate would not be returning for a few hours (as if this scene couldn’t get any worse). Right before he drifted off to sleep, he asked me my age and I told him that I was 35 and it was my birthday weekend. He said, “Happy Birthday. You look young for you age. Oh, by the way, I snore really badly.” Well, I am not one to snore and so after about an hour or so lying there wishing I could either just fall asleep or figure out a way to escape, I decided that my only plan to get the hell out of there was to just get up and leave. I could see through the curtain that the sun was starting to come up. I wanted to leave before his bunk mate returned and so I slowly took the guys arm off of me and decided to not make so much noise by using the stairs to get down and instead I would try and hang off the bed until my feet touched the ground. Well, once again, I made another bad choice and missed the ground and landed on top of all these dirty clothes. It woke the guy up and he asked me why I was leaving. I told him to go back to bed and I’d see him later. He said, “Look for me at the Canteen, I make the coffee.” Ok. So just to recap all that I had just done…I found this guy on the boardwalk, go home with him and he sleeps on a bunk bed and shares a bathroom with several other queens, now he is telling me that he makes coffee. I just grabbed my shoes and walked barefoot as fast as I could. I saw another housemate of mine on my way walk of shame and we walked home together and laughed at our stories. I got home at 6:00 a.m. and forced myself to fall asleep.
By the time Sunday had rolled around, most of our house was pretty much shot from all the partying we had done over the past several days. I was personally exhausted and didn’t leave the house once. That evening though, a friend of mine, who is going through his own personal life adjustments, said something that hit me hard. I was bitching about turning 35 and he said, “You can’t get upset over something you have no control over.” He was absolutely right. I can’t stop my actual age but I can prevent the aging process. I can’t control how things turn out with men, career or finances but I can prevent bad things from happening in those areas. It wasn’t about control but rather prevention.
When this past Monday rolled around and I said goodbye to the house, to the beach and to the summer season…I couldn’t help but get excited for what’s ahead.
We may never gain full control of our lives and that’s ok. Because in life, there are no challenges that we are faced with that is insurmountable. Maybe losing control sometimes is the equivalent of our childhood recesses. Regardless of the cards we are deal with sometimes, we must always remember the universal law that we are never given anything more than we can handle. Sometimes the cards will force us to withdraw and other times we win that hand. Either way, we simply just have to trust that we all have some control in life every now and again.
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