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how to fk up your VALENTINE's day and another story about a modern gnostic and his perpetual failures, scott richard

how to fk up your VALENTINE's day and another story about a modern gnostic and his perpetual failures, scott richard

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come undone
duran duran

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i can be furious


in my life, i can become furious or infuriated by others.

and, in all fairness, it’s usually about A LOT more than what is merely taking place in the moment. that is, my memories of a thousand other moments suddenly raise their hackles against the actions of a single moment -- i don't forget what people say and do and when they lie or cheat, it's terribly obvious because my memory is so fking punishing and i can't forget stuff and i don't practice that stupidity of the FORGIVE AND FORGET idiots. they are so fking dumb.

in our society, this isn’t considered so darn acceptable. we cherish our liars and lie to live. we don't punish the mental crimes of those around us.

instead, we live in a society full of liars who ACTIVELY practice FORGETTING THEIR MENTAL CRIMES against others. they DELETE their memories of offenses they have managed to skirt past and then move on as though they have been TABULA RASSAed by some outside force. for them, they are starting fresh all the time as they actively PASS AWAY their actual memories.

so OFTEN my sudden outbursts of ACCUMULATED ANGER can often take these breezy DENIALISTS by surprise -- they've forgotten all the sht they've already been forgiven for and dash boldly into new sins..

we laughingly called this behavior DENIAL in the 90s. but were we being honest?
wasn’t it more that ACTIVE MEMORY DELETION is a form of lying? and that this ACTIVE DELETION OF MEMORY not only leads others astray, but leads the ACTIVE DENIER deeper into their own confusion of lies.

well, if you read my sht, you know that i’m a GNOSTIC. and, more than that, a MODERN GNOSTIC who KNOWS a lot about what has happened since the original GNOSTICS started their intellectual and spiritual quest to DISCOVER THE GOD WITHIN US.

in the meantime, a lot has changed, but the mission of this DISCOVERY OF GOD WITHIN US has never terminated. so, a modern gnostic is not so far away from the original gnostics. and the original gnostics were simple enough to love and adore and yet complicated enough to threaten EVERY social structure in operation at the time.

in short, gnostics only have TWO rules. These two simple rules are only there to lead us to the DISCOVERY OF GOD WITHIN US.
they are very simple rules for releasing this "god":

NEVER LIE, to yourself or to others
NEVER DO THINGS YOU DISLIKE/RESENT/HATE OR DON’T WANT TO DO.

that’s it.
and these two simple ACTIVE RULES, for they are ACTIONS, are much more complicated than they appear on the surface.

give it a try for a day.
see how many hours you can go before you LIE or DO SOMETHING YOU RESENT/HATE/DISLIKE/or DON’T WANT TO DO.

what you’ll see REALLY quickly is that you are ACTIVELY LYING about a crp load of dirty secrets about yourself. and REMEMBER THIS:

OMISSION is absolutely a secondary form of lying if it is used to MISLEAD, MISDIRECT, CONFUSE or MANIPULATE another person. and CHEATING is the IMMEDIATE CHILD OF LYING, so OBVIOUSLY, CHEATING is also not in the game. if you are CHEATING, you have already lied to yourself or others about why you are doing what you are doing. to cheat, you must already have lied. this is not only OBVIOUS, but often overlooked.

which brings me to my valentine’s day confession.
here’s a part of my life i have been overlooking…


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first off, i don’t like the idea of manufactured holidays. all of them are SUSPECT and OBVIOUSLY generated by the tiny iron fist of the USURER’s agenda. besides, i once had a special man in my life and his nickname was MR. VALENTINE because i’d never really had a “valentine” lover. and, as i’ve learned over time, it’s best NEVER TO HANG OUT with casual sex relations on important holidays of any kind.

why?
if you date or do things with people you don’t really know on these especially fabricated days of “importance”, you run the risk of having to remember the incidences forever in relation to the holiday instead of just a bad date that went sour. instead, you’ll end up with a weird Thanksgiving day story or “that xmas of dread”. so, as a basic rule, i don’t do casual sex stuff on holidays or days of celebration. it keeps my memories free from the ruin of conflicted or sideways circumstances. remember, i have a punishing memory that doesn't really forget things.

which is why i fell into this whole fiasco quite by accident and subsequently can’t help laughing at myself for every single step of the way.

and worse, i immediately started to have this realization the moment it started to happen so it was a bit like a watching a movie and being the camera itself. and the director. and the audience. and the screenwriter.

this was oddly satisfying in ways i still can’t really understand, but allow me to step back in time…

several months ago i began to realize that my casual sexing with other men was having more repercussions than i was giving it credit for in my own personal life. because i’m a gnostic, there are no moral prohibitions outside of the two CODES OF CONDUCT that give us the power to pursue the DISCOVERY OF GOD WITHIN US.

besides, i try to be a seriously upright guy and all about CONCERN. CONCERN is more than CONSENT. it is not about laws. it is about PEOPLE and truths. CONCERN is an idea which includes CONSENT. but unlike CONSENT, CONCERN FKING HATES lawyers and believes people’s hearts must change. changing the fking laws that make more jobs for lawyers who then help bad people make more bad is what CONSENT is all about -- fking lawyers, the intelletual and spiritual half-breeds and terrorists of america.

plus, the idea of making an advantage of other people is not only ANTI-AMERiCAN, it’s a pathetic response to the notion of DISCOVERING THE GOD WITHIN US.
it’s antithetical to that discovery, in fact, which is why LYING is the PRIMARY TOOL OF LAWYERS and crooks like our president and his MICHAEL COHEN buddy that protected his assets for the past ten years. fking anti-americas pukes.

plus, as a modern gnostic, CONCERN is the spirit of our existence. that is why we become gnostic — to let the god out, not to let the god in. CONSENT is about letting the god in, CONCERN is about letting the god out.
think about it…

anyway, i have been very lax about interviewing men or asking a bunch of questions before sexing around with men in my past and it even still makes me uncomfortable to pry...

sex is more like racquetball for me. and that’s been the beauty of homosexual sex for me since i decided nine years ago that “relationshipping” with men just wasn’t my jam. now it's just sex. it's a physical activity.

so for me, casual sexing has just been about sex and the "don't ask, don't tell" areas of morality have been in play mostly.

and why not?
for me it’s not about babies or anything emotionally attached to an imaginary future. in fact, it’s just about having sex and enjoying the company of another. person in the moment. some people call it sport sex, but honestly, it’s mostly “sex to avoid attachments”.

and this kind of sucks after awhile because it’s not fun to constantly be engaged in the pursuit of sex. it’s supposed to get easier as one ages, so there’s always that. but it doesn’t really get easier. it’s an acquisitional affair that needs constant renewal.

it's HUNTING and hunting is a tiring affair that only yields your next meal...

plus, experience kills the spirit of adventure. the act of making fantasies come to life has a way of killing the power of the dream. too many people want “their dreams” to come true, when in reality we know that dreams take place somewhere else. “dreams coming true” is supposed to be a dream we all have. but at what price?

which leads us back to our story:

so when i got an invitation from my talented friend, i said yes. after all, he is a classical musician and works full-time bringing to life the delight and wonder of that world of music with its expensive tickets and plush seats. the invite was to attend a concert featuring mozart and a west coast premiere of a musical grad student type’s work (sidetone -- do you really get to call things “west coast premieres” just cuz? don’t you have to have HAMILTON credit to banter such phraseology around? something more than just pride? is this essay a WEST COAST PREMIERE, for example?).

now one thing about me that you might not know is that i can’t stand SIT-DOWN ENTERTAINMENT. please don’t invite me anywhere where the first we do is “take our seats”. i'll say no.

in fact, i won’t attend ANY events that imprison me into an assigned seat. if i can’t roam, i’m not going. so forget about movies and plays and concert events and ANYTHING that forces me to be confined while being entertained. i simply won’t do it.

and this was my first mistake.
i CHOSE to participate in something that i really didn’t want to do. you see, gnosticism isn't rigid. you can make as many mistakes as you want. it's on you.

plus, besides not wanting to sit down for hours, i don’t resonate with classical music. classical music is an expression of sound that i admire and can imagine its effect in its own time when radio and recorded sound were non-existent. i can imagine hearing the work of mozart in his day (should i be so lucky!) and my empty head becoming so full of sounds and wonders!!! how amazing his work would be. but this is not the case. i grew up on heavy metal and punk rock and ska music. i believe in DANCING, not sitting still.

and music has changed in the hundreds of years that have moved over those composers. so classical music is a fetish. it’s a historical regurgitation of time and place and effort. and i don’t really merge with it. plus, i didn’t know that the show was on valentine’s day. he just said “hey, come see my show on thursday.”

so i said HECK YEAH as a show of support. plus, he’s a damn sexy man in so many ways. so damn sexy...

then he said, “how many tickets do you want?” and i wrote back, “one should do it.”
and he wrote back, “it’s Valentine’s day.”

and i didn't write back, "fk!!" but that's how i felt.

right at that moment the “movie started”. and by movie, i mean that’s when i knew i was stepping off the path and into the melée of my own stupidity. right then i knew i was doing something i hated and resented. but i did it anyway.

now this handsome man is married.

i didn’t know this until one time we were in the full-on activity of sex and he shouted out some line like “fk that married ass!!” which literally made me laugh so hard it almost destroyed the moment. i had to assure him that that was his little secret and now it wasn’t a secret and it kind of stained me with its presence. and i get that a lot of men who like cheating would be super turned-on by the idea of playing up that fetish, but HONESTLY, i’m just too simple to get off on cheating and the anger that is invested in the hearts of those who cheat on a regular basis.

it’s not my business, however, to tell someone how to live their life. and for casual sex, i just look at the info people share and this detail was not something he had shared before. but we were already sex buddies at this point and back then i just figured that it was on him. i didn’t see myself in relation to the drama of his life. we had our little moments here and there and he had his full life somewhere else. so for me, his whole amazing life as a musician never had anything to do with me until he invited me to a famous men’s club in nob hill to watch him perform. this invitation had come with a story about the club and its history and its art collection. plus, he told me that i could wonder around the place while he was setting up and practicing for the show.

and it was a fantastic opportunity. all my life i had heard about this club. as a child it was shrouded in mystery and the forest in the club’s holdings is and was legendary. so i went and he was right. i was able to roam the place (no photos out of respect, sadly) and take it all in while he rehearsed. it was AMAZING. there were "posters" everywhere that are part of the historical legacy and they represent shows and performances that the club put on.

one could spend a whole career writing about these posters and studying them. it was like a genre of art and history that the club had created over decades. and these posters were hung EVERYWHERE on the five stories of the club.

there was an endless litany of famous authors in portraiture who had come and presented themselves as guest lecturers. there were posters from the countless annual events that the club has been doing for decades and all of it was a quiet homage to time and human endeavor and accomplishment. and the artists who made the posters were mostly genius. i was in awe and felt like i could be one of those artists, too. i love the layout of posters and the use of text and art in collusion. it was exactly my cup of tea and i spent an hour and half just using my eyes and wondering the hallway of the club.

later, my handsome friend played with the band at the "dinner show" celebrating oklahoma music and its contributions to rock and roll. it was a pretty magical evening all in all.

so now here i was perplexed by this new invite. fk. valentine's day. how shtty.

i still only asked for one ticket figuring it would be best not to get anyone else involved in the debacle. and this turned out to be a wise decision because when i showed up at will call, there was no ticket under my name. now i suppose most people would be disappointed to learn this but not me. the only parking i could find was almost over on market street and i’d had to walk through hayes valley just to get to the theater across from city hall.

i’d tried to make enough time so i could run to costco first and pick up my new progressive lenses. i’d told myself that if i ran a good errand and the show was boring at least i’d have my new glasses. but i was a bit late getting out the door and there wasn’t enough time to get down to costco and also worry about finding parking. plus, one of my favorite things to do is to park somewhere and walk a long way with my camera exploring my surroundings.

when the woman at will call said that my name wasn’t listed, i immediately had fantasies of being turned away so i could go pick up my new glasses. and this may sound trivial, but at this point i was getting eyegraines on a daily level from overworking my bad eyes. the progressives held out this massive carrot of encouragement for me to work again, so i almost didn’t even make an argument to the woman about the ticket but then i thought, you should try.

but the rub was that i don’t know this guy’s full name. i now his user profile name from the sex site. and ironically his user profile name is a twist off from his real name. i do one twist further for the document.

so there i was not being able to come up with anything more than his first name and she’s looking at me and i’m looking at her and the concert is starting in twenty minutes so it’s not like i’m going to call or text anybody for confirmation and i’m getting excited in my own head about going to costco instead of being trapped in a music hall on valentine’s day with a bunch of NPR-looking listener types in the audiences.

so i tell her i’m just there to support him and that it’s not a big deal if there isn't a ticket and then another man gets involved and a little red flag goes up in my mind. there is something about him that signifies something i don't get. but it's a red flag.

and the red flag says: wait, there is some kind of collusion going on.
but i have no idea what that means, so i note it.
and earlier i talked about DENIABILITY.
for me, i don’t instantly deny stuff. i save it. it can be looked at later if it’s saved. and RED FLAGS don’t always look red at first. sometimes, it is only in retrospect that we see how blatantly red they really are and always were. i know this from way too much experience.

and the red flag was in something these two were sharing. the way they were talking it was like i was not the first person with this exact problem. something had taken place or was going on and they knew something. anyway, the new man takes over things and he gets me a great seat right up close to my friend. i’m literally in the third row of this gilded theater with murals and gold and all the high fallutin finery of the wannabes. it’s stuff i can’t stand, the sickness of the middle class and all its desires to love itself somehow.

and the show starts and it’s good. they are great. and classical music amazes me. there is so much work to make classical music. there is so much to remember and execute. and it feels like that to me. it feels like a day’s worth of chopping and stirring and mincing and boiling and mixing. and each element is literally enmeshed with all the other elements. it’s a medley of formalized codependency.
yay!
mozart!

plus my friend looks great on stage and this is not how i know him at all. i know him better without his dapper clothes and it’s strange to see him in this situation again — a master musician of extraordinary talent. it’s a far cry from the racquetball courts of my bedroom..

when i was young i went to music shows a lot. when i was 22 i made a list of all the shows i could remember and there were over 300 shows that i’d been to at that point in my life. later in 2007 that list had grown even more in the 20 years between. and i’m sick of this kind of entertainment. i get restless. i feel that life is elsewhere. it’s outside, on the streets, passing by. and i long for the streets and the places where we are not so sheltered and given over to our passions and our luxuries. and i feel out of place.

i do not belong in these music halls of the rich. i do not hone and vibe with this sentiment and this kind of being. i want to smoke pot and have a coffee and be boring. and then i want to run along. and to make matters more strained, the guest composer’s WEST COAST PREMIERE piece was stuck quite UNADROITLY between two works of mozart.

the work was spare and needy. it was anemic and any glints of sunlight which could find a “body within” quickly disappeared into the emptiness of the work. and i couldn’t help thinking about the movie Amadeus when mozart is criticizing Antonio Salieri’s work and saying it has too many notes. how exactly opposite this bleak and barren cine-mato-graphic piece was with not enough notes to find itself. and thirty minutes of this was enough to rip the skin off a frozen breast of chicken meat. what a relief when it ended. the audience literally CHEERED with glee that it was over.

but when the piece was finished the handsome bearded young composer took his applause from the audience and my friend warmly embraced him and another little red flag went off. as if there were more collusion in world of music than i had imagined. they did actually look they'd be good lovers together and there was a familiarity that made me think so. perhaps they are? makes sense to me.

now there were two reddish flags for me to contemplate as the house lights went up for the break.

during the intermission i debated my options: run! should i stay or should i go? the ancient CLASH dilemma.

and this was a good one. the weather report basically was guaranteeing rain by nine. if i left now i would beat the rain. alternately, costco was already closed or closing very shortly so i couldn’t pick my glasses up. i decided to stay for the second part.

and it was relatively painless. and again, the quartet was amazing. such master musicians. to be able to jump from such painful modern music and play it perfectly and then switch back into mozart was stunning. plus i’d never seen all the new page turning technology and musical notebooks they use now. and that grand piano must’ve cost a half a million bucks. it was better than a high-end luxury sports car and looked stunning. it didn’t hurt that the GENIUS behind the piano was killing it. she literally hit every note with the precision of a machine but poured her heart and soul into it.

i love talented musicians. they are living treasures. they must live to create. their life must be present. as an artist, this is not the same for us. we can hide out and bring our work to show. it is not the “creation” that is valued in art. it is the PRODUCT. but music is both product and creation. and this is brilliant to watch, to absorb. it was a treat. and then it was over.

as the house lights came up and the applause poured over the theater and onto the stage, i realized that freedom lurked just beyond the exit doors. but, simultaneously, i knew i should probably say my hellos and supportive congrats. weirdly, i don’t feel moved by performances very much anymore. i feel bored by the stationary and settled aspect of it. it does not lift me up. but i also knew i was surrounded by people who felt the exact opposite. so i attended to their emotions and listened for their words and did my best to feel the excitement that they felt.

in the lobby i could hear the rain pouring. this was going to be a rainy half a mile walk. but which exit should i go out? i was at the front of the theater on purpose at this point because i was going to skip the whole hello process. my experience is that most artists of any nature are scattered and flighty after giving it all up. they can’t process sht and are lost in this glossy haze of attention. better that they be lost in it than me. i hate that phase in presenting art. it’s fake and ugly and emotionally pretty and vacuous. such drivel makes me nauseous, but not everybody’s like me. some people bask in the after glow.

so i loaded my pot pipe and pulled together my rain gear for the journey and then realized LOGISTICALLY that i should actually go out the back exit that was closer to franklin instead of van ness. so i headed to the southwest corner of the building to avoid being rained on while walking around the building outside.

unwittingly, i was suddenly at the “performer’s exit”, which i guess is where everyone congratulates the musicians as they exit. and that’s when things started to click for me.

in a sort of unconscious way i started to see versions of myself in the hallway. there were taller versions, hipper versions, more conservative versions, but all of them were versions of myself in different form. or, i was a version of them. needless to say, i was not the only person that had been invited to the performance that night. in fact, he had clearly gone through his little black book of fk buddies and invited a ton of them. and we were all wearing the same jubilant smiles for his success. we were a gaggle of gay men who were all fking a heterosexually identified musical genius. FK!!!

me, i’m not a huge fan of surprise. instead, my mind thinks things like, “fk, you coulda gone to costco and you could be wearing your new progressives!!” my mind is very shallow and punishing.

ah, this was the look in that woman’s eyes at the ticket counter! how many will calls had he given out to dudes that looked just like me!? and then i show up and look just them but there’s no ticket in my name!?

and how they had then huddled and talked in hushed tones before the man had then so kindly helped me in a collusional way, a “knowing” way that had made me feel uncomfortable and out of sorts. now it was all starting to make sense and i was super glad that i hadn’t invited anyone, that this could be all about my awakening, my undoing, my shtty valentine’s.

and weridly, i’ve been in this kind of a setting before — when you’re face-to-face rubbing elbows with somone’s sex circle of friends. at least this time i was having sex with the said ring leader. once in manhattan i’d gone to a party and i was the ONLY person who hadn’t had sex with the host. that was really fkt up because that guy used sex as a tool for leveraging and everyone in the room had been leveraged at some lever or other. and the only reason i was the only person who hadn’t had sex with him was because i was in love with someone else. which had pissed the guy off to no end since without sex as his controlling device he had to just be my friend. ah, the humanity!! ironically and fatefully, it didn’t matter in the long run since the person i loved was cheating on me and my loyalty meant nothing in the end.

such is the life.

and stories like this don’t really have endings. it was a beautiful walk home in the rain. the streets were gorgeous with neon reflections and dancing lights. i have great gear so i was warm and dry the whole way.

this is the path of bad decisions and doing what you don’t want to do.

and i did brush up against him as i left.
he was shaking hands with one of his lovers from the group of lovers surrounding him.

and that was as close as we got that night — a one-sided touch. like that woman in the new testament fantasy who suffers from a blood disease but believes in heart if she could just touch jesus, she would be healed.

but there was no woman, there was no blood disease and there was no jesus.
it was all a fantasy.

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Photo taken on 14 February 2019 (© torbakhopper / Flickr)

Related tags :
 valentine's day, story, modern gnostic, herbst theater, classical music, review, mozart, quintet with pillars, essay, scott, richard, torbakhopper, san, francisco, california, city, street, photographer, scottrichard, sf
 

Valentines Day Photos