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Tuesday, December 07, 2004

New York City Casino

Filters are for coffee makers. Not Toaster Ovens. Writing about my trip to New York is turning out to be much harder than I thought it would be. Because thoughts are flooding through my brain right now, and the only way I know how to organize my thoughts and feelings is to write about them. But, for me, writing requires honesty. So I'm not going to lie about this weekend. I won't make everything sound perfect, because it wasn't. I did, however, come up with a creative and completely original thought that summarizes my experiences in New York.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

Isn't that good? I should write a novel.

Yes, I drank a lot in New York. (Even though Posh didn't even have enough Makers Mark for a full shot) I partied. I laughed. I loved. I have lots of stories to tell, and I will do my best to recount them all here at Hot Toddy's Toaster Oven. That may take a few days.

The most important thing that happened this weekend is that I learned some lessons. For a flighty airhead, I sure do a lot of thinking. Even when I'm out drinking and joking around, my eyes are always observing and my mind is always working. It's both a blessing and a curse. Sometimes, even while laughing at a bar, I'm hurting inside. That which does not kill us, makes us funnier bloggers.

So, even while Michael Vernon was taking great care of me and Famous Author Rob Byrnes was making fun of me and Famous Boyfriend Brady was making me laugh (HARD), I was thinking and learning.

One of the highlights of the weekend was spending time with my friend, Lynda, who is an actor in New York. I met Lynda at church camp when we were 14 years old. She has been my constant and faithful friend for over two decades. We had brunch together. She showed me around her neighborhood, and we stared at the handsome Greek men together. We shared secrets and confided crushes. We laughed about mistakes we've both made. We, of course, talked about sex. On Saturday night, I had the opportunity to see her perform at The Producers Club. The rewards I reap from being her friend are immeasurable. Investing in Lynda is like putting a wrinkled dollar bill in the slot machine and winning the jackpot.

This weekend I realized that every friendship we make and every relationship we attempt to form requires that we gamble with our hearts. I am a man who bids high. Sometimes I bid too high, and I put all my chips on someone. And, very often, that bid breaks me and leaves me bankrupt. I met some bloggers this weekend who paid off in a big way. These are the people I will keep in touch with. I'll continue placing my bets on them and investing myself in them. They will know how much I appreciate them, because I will tell them. If I attempted to name all the people who warmed my heart this weekend, I fear I would inadvertently leave someone out.

I made a few foolish bets this weekend. Most of these bets were small and relatively safe and involved something simple like hoping for a smile or a kiss from somebody. A couple of my bets were much bigger and more significant. When the big bets didn't pay off, I was crushed. I hoped for a great conversation with someone I've cared about deeply, but instead felt ignored. I felt betrayed by someone I mistakenly believed had my best interests at heart. There was one point this weekend where I felt that I shouldn't place another bet again as long as I live. I hate to lose bets. It hurts, and it costs me a lot.

But now that I'm back home, I've realized that I am too much of a gambling man to stop betting on people. On Sunday night in New York, I stood in the piano bar next to my friend Lynda. With our arms around each other, we listened to the guys in the bar singing along with the music. My eyes welled up with tears. I leaned over to Lynda and whispered in her ear, "My dear friend, you have been on this road with me for a long time. From church camp to a gay piano bar in New York City, you've been with me all the way."

She whispered back, "And I will be with you for many more years", and we hugged. Then I ran over to Famous Author Rob Byrnes to show him the tears in my eyes. He had been hoping to see me cry all weekend, and I finally was able to give him what he wanted.

It sure is good to be home. In spite of going for broke this weekend, it turns out I still have plenty of chips left, and I'm planning on gambling all of them. I hope this lucky streak continues, because the wins far outnumber the losses.

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