Monday, July 2, 2007

Harald

Saturday night, June 30, 2007. G-man and I are at 1181, a fabulously chi-chi gay bar about 10 minutes’ walking distance from our place. Although we’re still a bit spent from Friday night and making an appearance solely to buy our friend David a couple of birthday drinks, we end up having great fun.

David introduces us to his friend, neighbor and trustworthy dog-sitter, Harald, who proceeds to play the starring role of my evening. In a room full of Adonis-like men clad in check-out-my-pecs T-shirts, here’s this guy sporting a look I can only describe as Grunge-meets-cowboy-meets-irony. Black and white checked flannel shirt, raggedy blue jeans and a huge silver belt buckle with the word “redneck” embossed on it. I like him instantly!

“Pleased to meet you, Harald.” I say. “I’m loving that belt buckle!”

Some time later, G-man and I are sitting on a couch by the window, and I say to him “That Harald seems like a cool guy.” No sooner do those words come out of my mouth then who should walk over from across the room and sit down next to me…

“Hey there,” I say, “I was just saying to my husband that you seem like a cool guy, and now here you are!”

Harald smiles and explains that he's only here for David's birthday; he doesn’t usually come here. Neither do G-man and I – 1181 is a nice enough place, but definitely an S & M (*Stand & Model*) bar, a little too scenesy for us.

I ask Harald what he does, and he tells me he’s just quit his 18-year retail management job and plans to get in his car very soon to drive across Canada. “OMG,” I say, “where’s your drink so we can toast to you?” Harald explains that he doesn’t drink, but he’s a major pothead. “I’d much rather be sitting around a campfire smoking a doob with my friends.” I enjoy that kind of scenario myself, but I’m also enjoying this.

We talk about writing and travel and travel and writing. Harald says he plans to journal his coast-to-coast journey, and I really, really hope he does. I write down my blog URL for him on a bar napkin and encourage him to visit and leave comments. After all, I enjoy blogging, but I don’t want to be out here singing my little one-note song to nobody. I ask Harald’s permission to write about him on planetpapillon, and he says “Sure!”

Eventually I excuse my self to visit the loo, and after that decide to step outside for a smoke. A minute later, Harald and his friend Joey come out.

Harald smiles at me and says “Hey darling! Wanna come for a little walk with us?”

“Fuck yeah!”

So the three of us walk around the block, enjoying the herbal enhancements and almost-warm evening.

We talk about everything: How most families are fucked-up in one way or another, but we love them and need them just the same. Harald tells me he no longer speaks to his father; I say I’m sorry to hear that. “Don’t be sorry,” Harald shrugs. “It was my choice. Everything in life is a choice. The man had every opportunity to give me what I needed, but he didn’t step up. So now I choose not to include him in my life.” Harald’s mother sounds awesome, though. Basically has the attitude “Be as gay as you like. Live your life. Just don’t share details I don’t need to hear!”

We talk about how I wrote 150 pages of a novel 2 years ago and one day simply couldn’t do it any more. I realize now, I explain, that I’d lost interest in writing that book because (as I once told someone) “I was pulling it out of my ass instead of my heart.” I explain that my motivation had been all wrong. “I was trying too hard to be marketable, trying to capitalize on the whole Chick-Lit publishing sensation started by Bridget Jones’s Diary and the like.”

Back in the bar, David and his partner Blair are just leaving to go dance. Harald, G-man and I talk a while longer and then say goodnight as well.

On our way home, G-man and I stop at The Soho, a very festive beachfront pub. We enjoy a nightcap and laugh our asses off because the DJ is playing Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline, and the crowd is actually singing – no, shouting – along. So cheesy, you can’t not love it!

Then we go home, spark up a pinner, hit the couches and listen to Dead Can Dance. Fall asleep with clothes on. S’alright.

I wake up on the couch around 8 and can’t get back to sleep, so I write about my new friend.

Safe and happy travels, sweet Harald...

4 comments:

The P said...

that's charming little story!

Papillon said...

Thanks, the p!! Harald is a charming guy, so the story was easy to write.

Kiwikaz said...

Great piece to read Lillers ... Harald sounds like a fab guy!

Kiwikaren said...

My comment come with a wrong identity ... scary!