Turning Left on Highway 20 East

WordPress, the software that powers this blog, has a small folder called “Drafts.” The drafts folder contains thoughts that got started but were not quite finished. Some of those posts sit days. Some of them sit for months. A few of them sit years. This post sat years.

If it had finished on time, I would’ve told you about a well-needed motorcycle ride. I was going to see my friend on a random occasion. I’d describe wanting to escape the heat of the East Bay for the refreshing ocean air along the north coast. I’d highlight things along the ride. I have the pictures from a reflective sunset on the beach that day. The narrative has long faded away.

This post is to my friend.

I’ve moved a lot, changed a lot, and have reinvented my life at least five times in very significant ways. You were one of the first people I met after coming out 10 years ago. We are still good friends today. I value those I’ve been close to a long time as we have seen each other evolve along the journey.

It’s just after midnight, and I felt compelled to finish this post. My buddy is moving east to the other side of the country, and I wanted to note a few of the things I’ve appreciated about his presence in my life.

In the early days, I remember you often spoke about “the joy of being gay.” I suspected there was a perverse smile behind those words. I didn’t quite believe you and was still reeling from the challenges of being newly out and suspicious of the world ahead of me. I needed to hear, however, that there was good in the days ahead from an actual person. “It gets better” videos only got me so far.

In equal fun, I always joked about never being in the same decade. Yes, you are 11 full years ahead of me. We will never have the first digit the same in our ages. The truth is, I really respect the wisdom you’ve gathered in those 11 years of your life.

You’ve invited me to be close with your family and have taught me much about connecting with my own family as a gay man.

You’ve challenged me to be a great photographer alongside the Oakland East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus. You had confidence that I could do the work and deliver a product the organization loved. I appreciated your leadership within the organization and the context you set for me to be successful.

CampCamp has always been a big part of your life. Thank you for the years of invitations, and I’m glad I went for the first time a few years ago. CampCamp opened up a new chapter for me in my journey out and prepared me well for my current relationship.

You’ve given me great advice when it comes to thinking about housing. As a native Californian, you understand how the market works here and gave me the confidence to take that leap. And yes, my realtor had me naked in the proverbial town square. I trusted her through it and now call this place home.

I’ve learned that there is wisdom in seeing the value in what you have versus chasing the next thing – professionally and personally.

I remember the conversations about the hashtag #YouAreBeautiful when life threw rocks at our individual journeys.

I’m appreciative of your guidance around doctors, electronic health records, and the medical bureaucracy. You’ve always given me sound guidance on what to say, to whom, and when.

Keto chicken soup. Full stop.

I’m good with the fact that one dog tolerates me, one dog likes me, and the cat effing loves me!

Whether it’s Mac displays, slow Internet, or the latest Google product advertised on Facebook and Twitter – armchair technology editorials are always fun.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say one of the fondest memories I have is our conversation along Interstate 75 in Florida. You took the time to hear me out. You took my life experience to heart and thoughtfully considered how to evolve your life.

I’ve deeply valued seeing you with your partner. I see your happiness and that extra skip in your step both of you lend to one another.

Thank you for helping me see well beyond my two feet. I know your moving geographies. I’m super excited for you and your partner about this next season ahead for you both. Your new location is good on so many levels.

If the pandemic has taught me anything, it’s making sure those close to me know exactly how much they mean to me. Thank you for the memories, and I look forward to new chapters ahead. Enjoy the drive across the country. Take in each moment together from that first left turn on Highway 20 east.

All the best to you both.

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