thursday i found myself with a fever of 101° and it wasn’t just the sudden onset of summer here in portland, oregon. the weather here arrived right on schedule: july 5th, warm, cloudless, sunny, brilliant. if through the haze of my fever i remember correctly, the city seemed energized and active and happy. or at least that’s how i imagined it as i made my way to work. but honestly i don’t remember much about yesterday morning, about waking and preparing for work, about driving to the office, about sitting in the office for two hours before i had to make a hasty exit because i was sweating and shaking with chills and dizzy. i had found only an hour of sleep and felt crazy.
so i went to urgent care where the doctor discovered that i had a fever and was very dehydrated. waiting for lab results, i still don’t know what’s wrong; i expect just some sort of bizarre infection that only i could have stumbled upon during my oregon misadventures. in the meantime, i’m forcing down a bland diet of bread and attempting to hydrate myself with coconut water. should i choose to stand, my nausea keeps my body bent at a ninety degree angle as my head spins.
i am not sure, however, how much i can blame certain recent behavior on my intense illness. though i felt sick on the fourth of july, i hadn’t yet come to grips with my condition. puke and rally, right? i did not stay out late that night, but i probably should not have gone out at all. i held it together when mikiel and i showed up at a barbeque in the northeast where friends had congregated to watch magic mouth play. i was probably already a little feverish though; i felt a little lost in my head, unable to really keep up with conversation. but i had fun. i felt better than to be expected.
after this, mikiel, john, and i made our way to the block party being held behind biwa in southeast. djs. dancing. more friends. but i was finding myself exhausted and dehydrated. excuses, excuses. what excuse can i have for being rude to a stranger, especially a handsome young man flattering and flirting with me. this dude was very smooth, obviously flirtatious, and funny, however i kept trying to spin the jokes in an inappropriate direction.
at one point i think the conversation went like this:
he said, “you’re a very attractive guy. i think you’re the cutest guy here tonight.”
i replied, “ha. so you’re desperate to get laid tonight? i need a beer.”
i probably walked away at this point. i really can’t remember the end of our conversation, but the guy looked slightly disappointed every time i looked in his direction. and i looked for another drink.
that’s my problem: i’m always looking for my next drink.
my boyfriend and i broke up a few weeks ago; i’ve been drinking heavily and happily since then, keeping my hands and thoughts occupied. which has been successful. i lost myself in the revelry. but that’s all i’ve had thoughts for. when my friends and i visited seattle a couple weeks ago for gay pride, a couple friends of mine found sexy companions during the course of the weekend to keep them occupied. sunday afternoon, eating ice cream on a sidewalk in capitol hill, they recounted their exploits and asked if i had found any special friend. i responded that i hadn’t, that i’d been on the lookout for my next cocktail, not just cock.
i then thought that a couple drinks before the car ride back to portland would probably make the trip easier.
part of the problem is that drinking is a lot more predictable than dating. at the time, the man at the block party seemed only to want to take advantage of me. i don’t want sweet words for a sweet hour late at night. i don’t want the pretense. a hook-up is fine, but i don’t want the song and dance around it. unemotional. uninvested. disinterested. i don’t think i can stand any sort of emotional investment, even knowing up front how false it is.
with booze, if i don’t like the salty dog i’m drinking, i know the gin won’t awkwardly insist on a second date. if the sweetness of this bourbon runs dry, there’s beer in the cooler.
now with my illness, i find myself on the timid christian diet: nothing spicy, nothing sexy. bread and coconut water. nothing alcoholic. it’s just me and my fever dreams and time to come to grips with everything. to sort it all out. i find the sobriety kind of frightening, but i’m sure my body will appreciate it.
wednesday night i dreamed of a cramped, damp castle on a rocky outcrop over the ocean, and an invading army unconvinced by my speech to turn away. and inside the castle i knew there were all sorts of false friends, agents secretly seeking my destruction. it was very game of thrones. external invaders against my own pathogens and the mind games of the dangerous liaisons already within the castle.