Justin's Life... May 11th - 30th, 1999

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May 11, 1999 - Tuesday


You know, I figured someone would have a problem with the last entry. No longer would I have the right to call myself "normal" or something like that... and, per my thoughts, I got an e-mail this morning with the subject of "Long time reader EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED"

This time it was my use of the word "husband" and the conept of marriage.

I responded to his letter:

Edited As To Be Coherent Without Reprinting The Original E-mail
You wrote, "I will be married someday, but it won't be the type of "marriage" you claim to have." which indicates that you haven't considered yourself married before. Coming from that viewpoint, yes, my life and marriage may seem less than the happily-ever-after version to which you're accustomed. But once you get into a long term relationship, where you consider yourself married, you'll realize that things aren't always like you were told as a kid. Sure, your mom and dad may appear to you to be as perfectly, simply happy as The Brady Bunch, but just as there was a lot going on behind that show, there's a lot going on in the lives of your parents of which you're not aware.

Larry and I are married because we take care of each other, because we love each other, because we're inseparable. Our days and night practically exist just to share them with the other. But marriage does not bring blinders to the outside world. You've confused marriage with what happens in the movies and movies are not real life.

If you think that married people, especially guys, don't think others are attractive after getting married, you are completely mistaken. Why do you think the number of divorces per year is nearly half of the number of marriages? How can approximately 2 million people get married each year and 1 million get divorced if everything is as cut and dry wonderful as it is told to you? They can't... because life is never as simple as it's presented.

We are dynamic creatures, with ever changing lives. Finding someone else attractive does not negate my feelings for Larry. In many times, I find that finding someone else attractive often strengthens our relationship when that someone turns out to be less than I hoped. It makes me realize even more how great a catch I have with Larry. But life is not a children's book... or a grown person's movie. Life is infinitely more complicated.

Truly loving someone does not mean possessing him. "How can he encourage you to do so if he loves you?" He "encourages" me to do so BECAUSE he loves me. We are finally at a point where we're secure in our value to the other. That's an amazing feeling. Truly loving someone means ordering him a pepperoni pizza if you're a vegetarian, not trying to get him to convert. Cinderella and Prince Charming never had to deal with those issues. Once they'd found each other, the story was over. The same goes for Romeo and Juliet and Jack and Rose (of the movie Titanic). Wouldn't the story be oh-so-different if they'd lived? We idealize romances that took place for very brief times... but just as that puppy love that you and I've experienced when meeting someone new wears off, so would their love have changed.

"The People Vs. Larry Flint" is a love story. My life isn't quite like that, for sure, but my point is... it's a love story. They loved each other. Their lives were for each other. And sure, it's a movie, so things are still far less complicated than in real life... but it was a love story, full of sex with other people, and drugs, and pornography, and everything else you can think of. But look beyond that, and it's a love story.

Anyway, my life is infinitely more complicated than a two hour movie. And infinitely more complicated than a mini-series. But there's absolutely no doubt in my mind as to the place Larry holds in my heart. Playing with Buzz Lightyear doesn't mean Woody's no longer loved.


What I do think is curious is that both the "normal" letter before and this one about "marriage" were written by people who have never been in a long term relationship. Life ain't like the movies. I could write a story here and make it so incredibly real that you'd never doubt it for a moment, but fact is much more interesting than fiction.

"I will be married someday, but it won't be the type of "marriage" you claim to have" sure does sound like something written by the religious right, too, doesn't it? I mean, my marriage isn't a marriage, but a "marriage".

May 13, 1999 - Thursday


In about two hours, my parents, my brother, and his girlfriend arrive from Kentucky. It's my dad's very first plane ride, so I wonder how he's doing right about now. I mean, he said he was going to be fine as he's 63 and if it goes down, he's had a full life, but I have to wonder if they've hit a particularly bad spot of turbulence along the way and he's changed his mind. I'm sure he hasn't, but... it is sorta koool that he's coming for my graduation ceremony, which is tomorrow. -- I still have to attend one more semester, but the ceremony only occurs in the spring.

Anyway, in all five years of living in Boston and Los Angeles, this is the first time he's visited. Due to his being a horse trainer, most of the summer is spent at horse shows and the winter was never really great for travelling. Of course, visiting Boston via car from Kentucky isn't something too uncommon, but it never happened.

So, I'm pretty psyched about him visiting. And yes, it's also nice that Mom, my brother and his girlfriend are visiting, but it's not the same. Mom's been here several times before, and my brother and his girlfriend are largely coming to see California... but Dad's getting on a plane, something I thought he'd NEVER do, just to come visit me... to see ME graduate. I so want to show him my world and make him proud. I mean, I know he is proud... but I want to show him the big school I attend, the nice house that I live in, my office, etc.. (I am entirely self-supporting, by the way, but explaining that is best left for another day.)

Anyway, I cleaned my office, straightened the bedroom, and am getting ready to go pick them up. It's going to be a fun week.

May 17, 1999 - Monday


My family arrived fine from Kentucky and I've hardly taken a break since. From the airport, to Hollywood, to Universal's Citywalk, to Las Vegas, to the ranch, and to Beverly Hills, I've been driving until I can't drive no more.

Graduation was, for the most part, depressing. The hoards of fraternity and sorority members enjoying sitting with all their friends made those of us with no real college friendships feel like some magical part of college had been missed. After walking around looking for ANY one on which I could latch myself, I found Ilya, a guy from my communication technology class. He, too, didn't fit in with the Greek crowd and so I followed him as we got in line and eventually sat in the seats for undergraduates.

Forty-five minutes or so later, we walked to the stage and Professor Soreno called our names as we walked across and accepted an empty diploma cover from some unknown administrative figure of the school. We got back to our seats, looked over the covers a bit, then decided to leave... while the last names were being called.

Normally, I would have graciously sat through all the names, but the ceremony completely lacked order and our exit wasn't going to make any difference to anyone. I mean, the names of the undergraduates were called according to the order in which they sat (not alphabetically), and parents were interspersed in the aisles with the students. Others were leaving, and frankly, we were just tired of listening to names of people we didn't know.

So, anyway, Ilya and I parted ways, with me saying that I had a nice time with him in class this past semester, and that was that. I met back with Mom, Dad, Larry, my brother and his girlfriend, and off we went... to where, I completely don't remember.

May 21, 1999 - Friday


We're in La Jolla, and Dan's supposed to be coming over tonight. He and Larry arranged it while I was busy with the family last weekend (more on that later)... and I must admit that I'm a bit nervous about his arrival.

I would guess it's because the gay world is so full of flakes, but even considering he left a message on the machine at 5:49PM, I still think he won't show because I called back and talked to his machine a few minutes ago. I mean, the more logical part of me knows that he will... but... I haven't really been able to read him too well via e-mail after the other weekend, and so the low self-esteem part of me thinks that he didn't really enjoy meeting us.

I admit it, I'm used to guys saying that they think I'm cute... so when one doesn't say that, I wonder what's "wrong". I wrote e-mail to Dan earlier this week, about how it would have been nice to have him and Larry in Vegas, and I again said that I thought he was cute. That, taken with the diary entry earlier, definitely let him know that I thought he was attractive, and he said "[I]t really made me feel special to see me in your diary." so I know he read it. But I've yet to hear even one utterance of attraction in the other direction. Yes, I know that's shallow to some degree, but I'm human... and like I said, when something like that doesn't happen, I have to wonder.

He did say, both in person and in e-mail, that "it was really special to meet you and larry" so maybe I'm just being paranoid... but it is sorta unusual when you tell someone that they're cute and they don't say something back.


He called. He'll be over shortly.

May 22, 1999 - Saturday


Well, Dan arrived, and shortly thereafter we all walked to a Chinese restaurant near the house. We talked about various things, like his work, Larry's work, and my school, and then came back to the house around 10PM where Dan announced that he was tired, from being on east coast time (as he'd been on a business trip all week and only arrived back in California yesterday afternoon). He said he was off to bed, and so he headed into the master bedroom, got down to his t-shirt and boxers, and crawled under the covers. -- I knew he was staying the night as he'd asked Larry if overnight gear would be appropriate.

By the time I got into the bedroom, a few minutes later, Dan was 95% gone. Then, this morning, he got up around 7AM to go run with his running group. Needless to say, I was still confused as to my status... and even timidly broached the subject before he got out of bed this morning. His response was that guys his age for some reason get the stay away vibe while guys older than him don't. That seems true to form in the case here.

But, as Dan was getting ready to leave, he asked if Larry and I were going to be busy the rest of this weekend and said that he might give us a call later, depending upon his schedule. He had no reason to say that other than wanting to be around, so I'm just going to go on faith... or at least try my best, to think that he really does like us. I mean, why else would he talk about coming back later today if he didn't want to, know what I mean? I just have to realize that not everyone expresses himself like I do. I will admit that's one of my problems. I do tend to the see the world as "what I would do if the situation was reversed"... but it's taken me 23 years to get to where I am and my path, I'm sure, while similar, was different than most others.

May 27, 1999 - Thursday


Back to graduation...


After the actual ceremony finished, Mom, Dad, my brother, his girlfriend, and I got on a tram and headed back to the parking structure while Larry went back to work.

I know we did something that afternoon following the parking structure, but the next thing I really remember is dinner at Wolfgang Puck's on Citywalk... and then Friday night, Larry stayed in LA while I drove everyone else to Las Vegas.

Arriving at around 1:30AM, I found that the two rooms with two beds that were guaranteed with a credit card were no longer available. Apparently, the Four Queens (the only downtown hotel I found with availability) had just disregarded those paid reservations. Indeed, they had them on their computer, but I was told the only rooms that were available were small and had one bed each. The consolation, reducing the rate by $20.

Graciously, I took the keys to the two rooms and was told that a housekeeper would bring some blankets and a pillow to the room where the three of us would be sleeping so that I could sleep on the floor. I was tired; I didn't want to argue, so I said ok and we went to the room.

It was small... unbelievably small. The foot of the bed was literally less than two feet away from the wall, and upon further inspection, the bed wasn't a real bed at all, but in fact a Murphy bed, one that folds up into the wall.

Like I said, I was tired, but my brother and his girlfriend wanted to go out and gamble. So I left a note on the door telling the housekeeper to leave the blankets and pillow inside and went with them down to the casino. We went to a few different hotel/casinos, played a few slot machines, then ended up at Binion's Coffee Shop. It was then, I remember, that my brother told me that my eyes were bloodshot.

So, we ate, or rather, my brother ate while we had dessert, then we headed back to the room. It was now around 4AM, and the note was still on the door. Inside, there were still no blankets or pillows, and there was certainly no couch for me to sleep on.

So I went downstairs, back to the front desk, and told the lady behind the counter that this was ridiculous. I'd skinned my leg walking around the corner of the bed in the renovated closet that they were calling a room, and no one had ever come to bring blankets or pillows. I said that I'd tried to be accommodating, but this was too much. She was sympathetic and said that although no one had ever called it a renovated closet before, she knew what I meant. She said she'd call and have someone from housekeeping up there right away, and I asked if I should complain to someone in the morning. She said yes.

A few minutes later, a housekeeper arrived with a roll away bed (The lady at the front desk had said that there were none available.), and I squeezed it into the room and went to sleep.

The next morning, around 7AM, I got up and headed downstairs to talk to the manager. I had to get in line.

After the lady in front of me finished, I told him what had happened. He was a complete ass. The notes detailing my room fiasco from the lady working the night before were in front of him, but he simply said that the hotel guaranteed me a room and I got a room. I explained that I was certain I would have been charged had I not shown, so how could the hotel not keep the room that was guaranteed. He didn't care, so I responded that I was going to check out and he said to bring down the key.

Fairly pissed at such non-concern for a patron, I went back upstairs and started calling to see what else was available. My brother and his girlfriend had really liked the look of the Luxor on the way into town, but when I checked a few weeks before the trip, it was $200 per night. Given the circumstances, now, though, I called them up and charged reservations for two rooms. Check-in time was 3 o'clock.

I went downstairs, checked out, and then drove to the Rio where we had breakfast at the buffet. From there, we went to Caesar's where my brother bet on a horse race, where Mom adored the sky-like ceilings, and where Dad played the slot machines. Then at around 3:30PM, we checked into the Luxor and found huge rooms with amazing views. (The Luxor is a pyramid shaped hotel with no center supports. The walkway in front of our rooms looked directly down into the space below. On the 21st floor, in a room with Mom and Dad, our view was especially impressive.)

Shortly after checking in, Mom said that she thought we all needed some separate time, and that I needed to take a nap. My brother and his girlfriend went to their room to order room service and do what kids do, Mom and Dad went to the casino to gamble, and I went to the spa.

Later that night, before dinner, I ordered a pay-per-view movie and it screwed up. I changed the channel, then changed it back, it started again. Not wanting to pay twice for a movie I couldn't see once, I called down to have at least one taken off the bill, and I received no flak whatsoever. A very courteous voice assured me, Mr. Clouse, that it would be taken off the bill.

Sunday morning, when I checked out of the rooms, one charge for the movie appeared, as did one credit for it immediately thereafter. Sure the room cost a lot more, but it was so nice to feel like my business was appreciated.

Anyway, we stopped at the Rio once more for the breakfast buffet before heading out of town and on to the ranch.

May 30, 1999 - Sunday


The Monday after Vegas, my brother and his sister got on a plane at LAX to head back to Kentucky. Mom and Dad stayed until Thursday (the 20th), and it was a lot less taxing with just Mom and Dad here, whom I knew I didn't have to entertain as much as my brother and his girlfriend. Nevertheless, Monday was a further tour of LA, Tuesday we all went to La Jolla, Wednesday morning we played in the ocean before returning to LA to buy a TV for my graduation present, and then Thursday it was off to LAX so that Mom and Dad could fly home.

But it was nice... nicer than my dad ever imagined. They're even talking about flying back for Thanksgiving. Being all cerebral, I'm really happy that he got to see this part of my life. Larry said that Dad was busting with pride when I was at graduation, but I just know that my life both amazes and pleases him.

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© 1999 Justin Clouse


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