From the Ashes, a Fire Shall Waken (I Hope)

I don't feel like this right now.

I don’t feel like this right now.

I watched Summer Storm, a German entry in that gay coming out movie subgenre not too long ago and was not impressed. It’s not a bad movie, exactly, but very rote and predictable. What’s worse, it’s distracted, focusing the lion’s share of its attention on the least interesting character in the movie. I don’t have to do any research to know that the filmmaker is gay, because only a gay man would think a twit like this one is worth making a movie about. Tobi is a young rower about to spend a week at rowing camp with his best friend Achim, during which the two will bond with their fellow rowers and (Achim hopes) get into the pants of some of the nubile young athletes from the women’s team. You can see where this is going, right? Tobi forces himself to date a girl, then realizes that he has no feelings for her, then experiences intense and inexplicable jealousy when Achim starts getting lucky with another girl. I wonder what that could mean. Late in the movie, when the boys’ coach says, “Why is everything about being gay?”, I at first thought it was a self-referential joke on the part of the screenwriter. Yes, coming out is difficult, but it’s also simple. You open your mouth and say, “I’m gay.” Achim’s struggle is far more interesting, when you get right down to it. He falls in love, then is pulled away from a girl he cares about when his BFF–whom he loves, but in a slightly different way–starts acting irrationally. There is, as expected, a great deal of young male flesh on display in the film, and I’m not complaining about that, but what could have been a slight-but-charming coming-of-age story becomes a mere mediocrity. It reminded me of Queer as Folk, the American version of which I used to check out from the library and watch whenever my family was out of the house. Once I got over the shock of seeing gay guys live such normal, healthy lives (seriously, I was fourteen; at that age, it fucking rocked my world), I grew bored with the show’s need to declare itself as “the gay show” at every opportunity. You’re here, you’re queer, and we’ve all gotten used to it.

You’re probably wondering how I’m doing after last week’s bad news (in which I found out that I was going to have to find another place to live by January). I’m doing…better than I could be, I suppose. I still haven’t forgiven my roommate (whose name is Robert, because I’m just angry enough to use his real name here. His partner’s name is Felix. Both of them are assholes who suck donkey balls. There, I said it). I may or may not have spat on Robert’s toothbrushes on the night after he emailed me telling me he wanted me out of the room even though we were getting along great, then gone through the refrigerator and spat in all of his items in which I didn’t think it would be noticed. It’s hard for me to stress just how difficult that day was. I smashed up a chair in my rage (it belonged to me, so I wasn’t damaging anyone else’s property) and resisted the urge to pour salt in the pitchers that Robert uses to water his plants on the grounds that the plants hadn’t done anything to me. In case anyone is worried, let me say that I haven’t physically attacked anyone since high school, and in that isolated case, not only was the guy taunting me, but I didn’t even kick him that hard. So I’m not at risk of doing anything I’ll regret, unless you count thinking somebody who doesn’t give a shit about me gives a shit about me.

“Never give up” is shitty advice if you take it at face value. Some people assume it means that no matter how many times you fail at one particular thing, you should keep doing it over and over again. That’s idiotic. What it really means is that you have to be able to move on. If you fail at one thing, try something else. That’s my housing situation in a nutshell.

My father said that 90% of success is showing up. I believe him. Really, I’m quite good at showing up. It’s the remaining 10% that baffles me. There are no two ways about it: the last six months have been rough. My stress levels have shot up to heights I didn’t think they could reach. I’m still standing (barely), and when I tell people that I don’t know if I’ll even graduate, they say, “I think you’ll graduate.” That’s what I’m afraid of. On one hand, I like to pick one thing and commit to it, but on the other hand, I hate having to deal with that thing once I commit to it. Perhaps lots of people feel that way. But I often wish I could take off and spend a week or two living in California for no reason except to get away. Is this what adults think about when they plan vacations?

If I want to stop going to class, I will. Of course, I have no plans to do so, but I could if I wanted to. That’s the point. Robert decided he didn’t want me renting a room from him anymore, and told me so. It’s shitty, but it was his choice, not mine. When I got the news, I almost felt like some part of me that I didn’t even know existed had been ripped out. It just hadn’t occurred to me that he would do something like this. Sometimes I feel like my housing situation is a series of failed relationships. I keep meeting someone I like, and they keep dumping me, for one reason or another. Sooner or later, somebody sticks, right?

I have two finals tomorrow. I doubt I’ll do very well on either of them, but I have studied, and at a certain point, I have to let go. Either way, I’m not losing too much sleep over it.


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