Monday, October 24, 2011

More camp tales

I know a lot of you guys are going to be sick of me ranting about summer, but I am not even close to done talking about it! Especially now that one of my summer interns has now become a permanent fixture in my life as an intern during the school year too, I gotta write the origin story, right?

I guess (at least at the beginning of the summer before our crazy economic disasters) the economy must really be getting better because this summer my program grew way larger than anybody ever thought it could. None of us were prepared for it and because of that, we lacked the staff to deal with the numbers coming in. My class alone went from 25 students the first week (the previous summer averaged 14 a session) to 40 for my other session AND they added 2 more sessions so I was teaching EVERY SINGLE WEEK!

At first I was nervous but I quickly realized that this was the kind of situation where I really thrived! I love chaos and planning things on the fly! I wasn’t going to have the time to hire and train any new staff for my sessions, so I requested I take on a couple of “interns” from my current class and have them help out since they already learned my teaching style and the basic curriculum.

When I asked for interns, I had already decided on the ones I was going to take with me. Things really started snowballing pretty fast way before I even asked them if they were even available for the entire summer! Obviously I asked the two guys that I have mentioned previously in my camp posts, the gay guy (who will now be known as Allan) and my partner in insomnia (Ben). They both had an entire summer full of plans, but they also both realized that they’d be stupid to turn down the opportunity that I was offering them! University credit and the honor to be in my presence, who the fuck could say no to that!? Obviously nobody, that’s who! At which point, I had me 2 new interns.

3 days after our session @ UCLA ended, the guys were spending the next 4 days at my house to get ready for assisting me and teaching my intense course load! Brad was in SB visiting family so we had a good time getting prepped for all the craziness that was in store for all of us without bothering him. It was awesome knowing that I had a great team where impressing me was their top priority! By the time our first session as a team had begun, registration had been capped at 64 students and the main office had hired 4 more guys with editing skills to assist with my class. I have NEVER ever EVER taught such a large class in my life! We were so HUGE that we needed to have the classroom in an auditorium instead of a normal classroom! Even then, 70 computers in one location was so difficult to set up that it took an electrician and half the UCSD tech support team 3 days to get everything set up.

I am not going to lie; it took a few days before I was able to find my rhythm. The thing that really shocked me was how awesome my interns were! Both Allan and Ben were not only great leaders, but they were also so knowledgeable when it came to technical issues about skating, filming and editing! I originally chose them because I KNEW they were smart, charismatic, and great leaders, but the most important thing was that I genuinely liked spending time with them. I knew they were going to excel at this, but I was just really surprised at how fast and organically it all came together.

Allan really was the superstar of the summer though. From the very first moment we walked into our massive lecture hall, he was in his element. While I was busy freaking out in the corner, he was starting icebreakers, meeting students, and getting a feel for the experience and skills of the students. By the time I got my nerves in check, he’d taken notes on dozens of students that really helped me break down the class into smaller more manageable groups. After an hour Allan had become completely indispensable to me.

There were a million things that could’ve gone wrong that first week. With 64 students there’s very little that could actually go right. But thanks to Ben and Allan I was able to achieve all of the goals I set for my class and myself. At the end of our session I after I was finally able to exhale and really take in all the craziness, I really began to appreciate everything that they were able to contribute and how in a lot of ways they made it all better!

It was in that moment where I stopped looking at Ben and Allan as my students and I began to appreciate them as my peers, my friends. And that’s when I did something I wasn’t expecting myself to do. I invited them back to my house for a special dinner to meet Bradley. I make it a point not to discuss my personal life in detail with my students. It just doesn’t seem appropriate to me.

I hate how no matter how I try and present this I always feel like it’s some kind of HUGE production. Everybody is just always sooo shocked that I like to stick dicks in my mouth that it always comes off as a much bigger deal than it should be! Ben played it cool, but Allan, not so much. Gays can be so freakin dramatic sometimes. Allan just felt a little upset because he’d spent the last month confiding in my about being gay and such and I guess he thought I should’ve shared that I was too.

Obviously after Allan stopped acting like a drama queen he was actually pretty excited. Sometimes being a butch gay guy who likes to surf and skate and spit and scratch inappropriately can be lonely. Not because we don’t exist, but because identifying each other is pretty much next to impossible unless we are constantly announcing it to everybody who walks by. So in moments like these where we can actually connect with each other, its really special.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The thing about Eddie...

Eddie was my first love. I met him 16 years ago in middle school in art class. From the moment I saw him I was in awe! Aside from being the most creative and talented artist I have ever met in real life, he just always seemed so cool and aloof (that’s a horrible word for what I am trying to describe, but it’s the only one I can think of right now!). All through school we were never particularly close because we had a VERY VERY different set of friends, but I have always had a whole lot of respect and admiration for him because he’s just that awesome!

It took 11 years for me to finally make the first move on him. And after that it took less than a week to know that I had fallen hopelessly in love with him. He came back into my life in a time where everything seemed to be falling apart. He taught me to love myself and he showed me that it was possible to be gay and be happy. We had a year and a half of absolute bliss together, then I broke his heart. I was 20 and I had finally accepted that I was gay I wanted to go out into the world and be gay and do gay things and I couldn’t do that with Eddie. But even more than that I realized that I thought of him as my mentor more than I did as my partner. I have spent my entire life looking up to him and learning from him; being gay was just something else he taught me how to do really well.

Even after I ended things he loved me enough to let me go and he became one of my best friends. I whored around for a year and I even told him about some of my more unbelievable and exciting exploits, and he listened. Then I met Bradley. My love came a lot more gradually this time, but when it did the first thing I thought was how I could never explain this to Eddie. Even though neither of us had ever said it out loud, we both thought that after I got all this out of my system I would come back to him.

Obviously I eventually bit the bullet and told him. As I did I actually got to watch his heart breaking as I stupidly tried to gently explain that I was in love with somebody else. That was almost 5 years ago. It took him a long time before he started to put himself out there again. When he did, it was never anything serious. Then six months ago he met this guy. By the third date I could tell that things were different with this one.

At first I was relieved that he’d finally moved on and this was his chance to be happy again! He really deserves happiness because he’s the most amazing guy ever! Then out of nowhere I started to feel these mild pangs of jealousy. Eventually I really started to dislike this guy that was stealing Eddie from me, and these feelings really started to confuse and upset me. Intellectually I knew that this was a good thing because not only did Eddie deserve to be happy, but also I had no desire to be in a relationship with him, so there’s no reason to be jealous! But emotionally I AM JEALOUS!

Everything about this guy pisses me off! From his overly macho cocky ex-marine attitude to his stupid snarky sense of humor, all I ever want to do is pick the hugest fight with him and then knock him out! It’s really hard to hate this guy too. He has a great personality, he makes an effort to be friendly with me (even though I can see that it kills him to do so) because he knows how important I am to Eddie, and most importantly he makes Eddie happy. How can I hate anybody that makes Eddie as happy as I know he deserves to be!?

But still, I AM JEALOUS!!! What the fuck is wrong with me!?