Justin's Life... August 23rd - 31st, 1999

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August 23, 1999 - Monday

6:01AM - Hawaii Time

Saturday morning, Larry and I woke around 5:30AM to get showered, dressed, and off to the airport by 7AM for the 8:30AM flight to Maui, Hawaii. (Apparently, the plane was away from the main terminal, requiring a bus to transport us to it, so the airline actually called to say that we should be there at least and hour and a half early.)

Anyway, we arrived at the airport at a little after seven, checked our luggage in at the curb, and proceeded on to the gate. The line was huge, but we waited and got our seats with no real occurrence.

The next thing I know, we're boarding a bus that looks like it came out of the movie Speed. I'd never seen a bus like that before, except in the movie Speed, so I had doubts to their real life existence, but here it was, at the airport. A bus with no seats and with two doors on each side.

So, anyway, after my brush with movie prop fame , we got on the plane and shortly thereafter took off (in coach).

When we arrove at the Maui airport, Larry quickly rushed through the terminal to find the luggage and to get to the car rental terminal before the others on our flight. Call me old fashioned, but my main concern was getting a lei. You get off the plane in Hawaii, you get a lei.

So, anyway, we got on another bus (of regular type) to go to the rental lot and I was a tad down already because of the lei thing. Nothing terrible, but I'm a romantic. We'd been in a plane for five hours, what were ten or fifteen extra minutes going to matter?

So, ANYway, we got the car and started our drive towards the hotel. Just out of the airport, though, we stopped at K-mart. Here we got a bottle of Malibu Rum and a bottle of Mai Tai mix, as well as two leis . Ok, ok, it wasn't at the airport, but it was darn close and I know that Larry got them for me... although he didn't quite know how important it was to me.

I was happy again and we were all lovey dovey for the rest of the drive to the new hotel. I say "the new hotel" because this was our first trip to Maui. I personally preferred the Hilton Waikoloa on the Big Island, but Larry wanted to try to Grand Wailea on Maui as he'd heard it was even better. The Hilton is nothing shabby to put it as a major understatement. With a boat or a monorail type tram to take you to your room, it's pretty amazing. Yet Larry'd heard that the Grand Wailea was even better and wanted to go there. I reluctantly agreed.

So, we arrived at the Grand Wailea and find that our room won't be available for another two and a half hours. It was 12:30PM, so it seemed hard to imagine that none of the rooms were clean, but we decided we'd look around the property to pass the time. Of course, the bellhops had taken our luggage at the door, but I'd kept my computer, backpack, and K-mart bags on the assumption that we were going to go to the room after checking in, so I was carrying around 20+ pounds.

This is going no where fast... so, speeding along, the place was nice, but it wasn't as nice as the Hilton. Furthermore, the place was too packed with people. Costing nearly $150 more per night and having a staff which didn't care, the Grand Wailea wasn't looking as great as Larry'd thought. So he called, made arrangements, and a short plane ride later, we checked into the Hilton Waikoloa.

And yesterday, we had a nice time at the familiar hangouts of the pool, Quinn's "Almost By The Sea" restaurant, and K-mart.

Hawaii 1999 - Days 1 & 2
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August 24, 1999 - Tuesday

8:08AM - Hawaii Time

Yesterday was just another nice day spent relaxing, not worrying about work or school or anything. We did meet Tony, a reader who wrote after I mentioned that I was going to Hawaii. He was a genuinely sweet guy and has potential to be a great man (He's only 18), but the only-gay-guy-in-a-small-town mentality has taken its toll. It's an odd phenomenon, and one that's not really talked about much, but a lot of butch guys loose a good chunk of their masculinity in some sort of self-fulfilling mentality whereby they believe that gay men should not be like straight men. He was on track and the swim team, which had given him quite a nice body, but he wore clothes that one would only find on a gay man. He lived with four other girls and when I facetiously asked if he did their makeup, he replied yes. Yet there's no reason for him to want to do their makeup or to live with four girls. It's hard to explain, but you could just sense that that wasn't what he wanted to do; that was what he expected himself to do. His self esteem wouldn't let him do otherwise.

And so, before we head back to the mainland, Larry and I are going to buy him a pair of blue jeans and a t-shirt. He wasn't objectionable to the idea, and I'd dare say that he much enjoyed our company: I just think that he's never really had any normal guys who happen to be gay give him any attention, and he's starved for affection. That can be blamed on our culture; a perfectly fine guy starved for affection when there's absolutely no real reason for him to be.

Hawaii 1999 - Day 3
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August 26, 1999 - Thursday

1:23PM - Hawaii Time

Yesterday, just to do something, Larry and I drove to the other side of the island. We looked at various tropical trees and lush green landscapes before arriving at the mall in Hilo. It wasn't a big city mall, for sure, and the Glendale Galleria has about five times the selection, but the drive itself was the main consideration, not the destination.

Anyway, on our way back, I suggested that we give Tony a call to see what he was doing for the evening. A few hours later, we got a voice mail message: "Hi, Justin and Larry. This is Tony. Um, Karen and I were thinking since tomorrow's the full moon, tonight is going to be pretty bright. Um, there should be a pretty nice night tonight, so we were going to go down to Kua Bay and maybe get some food and stuff and hang out on the beach, maybe take a moonlit dip or something, and we'd like you guys to join us..."

That sounded like a nice beach type picnic, so we called Tony to say as much, and a few hours later, he and his friend Karen were here in the hotel lobby. After we met them there, we piled in Tony's Jeep and headed on towards Subway before heading to the beach.

When we got to the actual road to the beach, it was amazingly rocky, and the rationale for having a Jeep on the island, which Tony had explained earlier, was immediately obvious. Bouncing down the rock road, we eventually arrived at a flat landing area to park the car and got out. We then walked down the moonlit, lava rock path for about five minutes towards the ocean until a sandy beach appeared from seemingly nowhere.

After placing a blanket on the sand and sitting down, we talked about nothing in particular while simply enjoying the quiet serenity of the moonlit beach. As opposed to worrying about hot sand and getting a sunburn during the day, there was no worry whatsoever. The lack of lumens, save the moonlight, gave the area a magical quality and being close enough to see one another but dark enough to not entirely make out complete facial expressions, the aural part of the world which is often ignored came to the forefront.

Before long, we broke out the sandwiches as well as the rum and pineapple juice. Karen had none. Tony had less than a shot. I'd already had some rum and Pepsi at the hotel, so I had none. And Larry had about a shot and a half. Then, once we were done eating, Tony dropped his shorts to reveal his grey boxer briefs and headed on to the water with Larry, who'd put on his swimming trunks.

Karen and I, too, headed towards the water's edge but I was still wearing my denim shorts and shirt and she was still wearing her street clothes. She wasn't going in the water, but as I intended to wade near the shore, Larry suggested I drop my shorts and wade only in my boxers because the waves would almost certainly get my shorts wet. Not being bashful about appearing in my boxers, even in front of a girl, I went back to the blanket, took off my shorts, and revealed my Dr. Seuss boxers .

Not one minute after I got to the water's edge, Tony said I should come on in and proceeded to drag me into the water. I honestly resisted as best I could as I hadn't intended on getting fully wet, but it was no use, I tumbled over and was soaked.

Now completely wet, I either had the option of staying in the water and hoping to warm myself or going back out on the beach. I certainly wasn't going to walk the water's edge as I'd originally intended with my clothes wet, so I opted for staying in the water and my teeth began to chatter.

Before long, maybe ten minutes after I was pulled into the water, Tony and I were goofing around and I decided that I'd forcefully take his underwear off and leave it back at the shore as retribution for dunking me into the ocean. Needless to say, he resisted, but I got them half down around his knees before giving up.

He pulled them back on, and said something about how it wasn't fair for me to take his underwear off without me taking mine off. He came over, five feet or so away, to where I was in the water, and proceeded to remove my boxers. I did not resist.

With my boxers in his hand, I went back over to where he was and again tried to remove his boxers. This time, I encountered no resistance as well.

He was now completely naked, as he'd removed his shirt sometime before I initially tried to remove his boxers, and I was in my shirt only. We played in the water like kids for a bit then he said something about how I should take off my shirt. I couldn't see a reason why I shouldn't, so he helped take it off as well.

Now, completely naked in the moonlight in the water, with Larry and Karen at the shore aware of what was occurring in the water yet unable to clearly see our naked bodies, even if it had been day, we proceeded to grab one another and pull away. An adult version of cat and mouse. Grabbing the mouse, pulling it towards you, then letting it slips away only to grab it and pull it towards you once more. Needless to say, while the cold water had seemingly removed one (err... two) parts of each of our anatomies, another part was in "full force" .

We played naked in the water, under the moonlight, for around twenty minutes if I had to guess the length of time. Occasionally, the two (err... Larry) on the shore would yell something about hard members or anatomical disappearing acts due to the cold water, but for the most part, they continued to talk to one another while we played. I yelled a couple times for Larry to come into the water himself, but he would not, saying that he didn't want to get that salt water grime on him.

We eventually got dressed again under the water before walking back onto the beach, but once we were near the blanket, I jerked Tony's underwear down again. His butt was showing, but as I said before, it was too dark to make out anything in detail. He again responded something about taking my underwear off and as I was completely wet and had a towel wrapped around me, I figured why not. He stuck his hands up my towel, pulled off my wet boxers, and then tried to pull off my towel, but I managed to keep it. I put on my blue jean shorts without my underwear, further towelled off, and the four of us piled back into the Jeep.

Here at the hotel we said good-bye and I came back to the room and took a shower. It was a nice time. The moonlight, the being naked in the ocean, the secluded beach. It was all mystically innocent and fun.

Hawaii 1999 - Day 5
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August 29, 1999 - Sunday

7:13PM - California Time

We're on the plane back to LA, and I'm ready to be back. Hanging out with Tony was nice and his continued precense gave the trip an unexpected bonus, but days of doing nothing but sightseeing were starting to take their toll. As I've said before, I don't shut off... so a week of relatively little work or structured activities is about all I can take.

Anyway, the vacation is now over: We'll be back in LA in about two hours, and school starts tomorrow. I still have no idea what I'm going to do about that French class, but that's another story.

Right now, I'm more focused on my reaction, or non-reaction, to my mother's phone call right before we checked in for this flight. It started, "Clay" and I knew from the tone of her voice and from her word choice that something was wrong. Something big had happened. Someone or something was dead.

I immediately thought it was my dad... but before I could think that for more than a split second, the words "Chris was killed" came through the phone. Her brother, my uncle, was killed in a car wreck. She didn't know much more than that; her other brother had called her to say that Chris's ex-wife had called him. Apparently it happened this afternoon. Mom was crying. I didn't know what to say.

I patiently and near silently listened as she told me what she knew and then I said that my phone would be off for the flight but that she could call and leave me a message. "It'll be ok" I managed to trail out as she tearfully said good-bye.

How was it going to be ok? He was dead. His new wife and three year old son were now on their own. Her brother was dead. There's no "getting better". No doctor's going to fix that. He's dead. And although I felt a sense of respect for the mourning and a sense of pain for my mom's pain, I personally felt nothing.

My uncle's dead and I feel no sorrow.

We were a close family as kids. My cousins and I would spend Sunday afternoons at Granny's after the entire family went to church. My mom's three brothers would go with their wives and kids, my mom and dad would go with my brother and I, and both my grandparents would be there as well. Afterwards, all the kids would play while Mom did laundry in the basement (as our house didn't have city water). Granny would fix dinner and the whole lot of us would eat in various places around the house as there were way too many to sit at the kitchen table table.

Speed forward ten years.

My grandfather was dead, my uncles were divorced, and my cousins had gone to pot, both figuratively and literally. Moreover, in varying degrees, my uncles had taken their own parents down with them. Without the guidance and resolve of my grandfather to keep them on the straight and moral path, they picked my grandmother clean as though she were nothing more than food for vultures. The house and farm in which those childhood memories were made was taken by the bank due to her signing a loan on which they carelessly defaulted. She was forced to move into a painfully small rented house without a car. They stole her social security checks. They left her in the house without food. They didn't visit her in the hospital, yet one even moved into the house and stayed there with his also wayward son... contributing nothing, running up long distance bills, letting the phone be cut off... yet he had a relatively high paying job at Toyota. They were as low as you could get. Absolutely worthless.

So now Chris is dead, and I feel no sorrow. In my eyes, he was dead a long time ago. I have to even wonder if its worse or better for his young son to not know his father. Someone has to be really fucked up for someone else to wonder if his son would be better off never knowing his dad. And I don't for a second think I'm being callous or cold-hearted. I felt bad for Jim The Red Head from Vermont and for Jim's brother when Jim's brother was killed. His wife hired a hitman to kill him, and the hitman shot him point blank in the head at a Blockbuster parking lot. I'd feel absolutely no sorrow for her death. And in my eyes, what my uncles did to my grandmother isn't a whole heckuva lot different.

August 31, 1999 - Tuesday


Yesterday was the first day of school, and it was rough. Getting the first course syllabus, I all too quickly realized that this semester would be a repeat of the last and the one before that and the one before that and... You get the picture.

Another paper that doesn't matter in one intsy tensy way. Another group project that will be forgotten as quickly as it's submitted. But more importantly, yesterday I realized that not one person would miss me were I not going to school. Three damn years and not one person would care if I weren't there. If that were the case in a job or a relationship, I would have been gone a long time ago. Who stays somewhere were their presence does not matter to anyone after three years?

I did talk to and introduce myself to a fraternity guy I sat next to, but his prospects for staying in the class looked dim. It was filled to capacity and his name wasn't called on the roll. He was standing in line to speak with the professor as we left, but with my luck I'll never see him again. (Of course, that's saying nothing of how he'd disappear after the semester was over anyway, which has happened each and every semester with "friends" I've made at USC.)

So, anyway, I got home and thought about school. Did I want to go? Did I want to stop? Would I even graduate AFTER this damn semester? Or would that French class hang over my head? Is it a neverending cycle?

No answers to be found, I decided to write Dad an e-mail and ask him for his opinion. I knew Larry's, and I knew Mom's would be whatever I wanted it to be, but my dad went to graduate school to become a doctor and never used his degree once in his career as a horse trainer. I thought about calling, but I wanted to get it all written out:


I absolutely positively hate school and am finding it hard to motivate myself to continue. Like today, it was the first day of class. I went there, sat through the reading of the syllabus, and wondered why I was there? I've been at that school three freakin' years and not one person would miss me if I were gone. Not one damn person. If it was a relationship or a job or anything and no one would miss me if I were gone after having spent three years there, I'd most certainly leave. So why am I staying at school? Why am I miserable? Why am I near the point of tears thinking about going back? Larry seems to be wearing the go-to-school-no-matter-how-much-you-hate-it blinders and my talks about not going, especially in light of this wouldn't even be my last semester because of the whole French thing, go completely unheard.

So I tried to think where I could get some advice from someone who cares, who has a degree, and who knows me. My words here aren't really capturing the degree to which I HATE USC... but I think you know that if it weren't a serious issue, I wouldn't be writing this letter.


My words didn't capture how much I hate USC... so I called and told Mom I needed to talk to Dad. That's a rarity in and of itself, but I'm sure my voice revealed the seriousness of it as well. She asked, "What's wrong?" and I broke into a sobbing mess, saying "I hate school" through the tears.

Her immediate response was for me to not go and then Dad got on the phone. He, too, said that I shouldn't go if it was making me that upset, and I explained that Larry thought I should go and he explained that I had to do what I knew was right, that I was a grown man and could make my own decisions. We talked for a while, with me crying most of the time, until I said I should get back to work. They'd both told me what I needed to hear. That it was up to me, and that they understood. Dad explained how my brother was worried that he didn't go to college and how Dad told him that he could always go if he wanted or felt the need later. That idea had never really entered my head. I mean, it had but I "knew" that if I didn't go now, I'd never go.

I decided I wasn't going to go this semester and probably not ever then called Larry to tell him as much. He said that he didn't think that's what my Dad said and asked if I wanted to conference call with him. I said "ok" as I knew that's what Dad did say. Of course, Larry answered the phone saying something like, "You didn't tell him never to go back to school, did you?" and my dad agreed. This time around it was that I should take a semester off and then return to finish out and get my degree. That's not what he'd said when I talked to him half an hour earlier. This semester or next semester, there's no real difference. The first time around he said that everyone already thought I'd graduated anyway as I did the ceremony, that I was making a great living, and that it didn't matter to anyone whether I graduated or not.

So, anyway, I don't know what I'm doing. I'm going to class tonight and taking it from there.

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© 1999 Justin Clouse


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