I had an awesome day yesterday. Craig and I have been waking up early to take our walk. I’ve decided to work out at school on Mondays and Wednesdays, so we were both up by 7 am. The B-12 gives me enough energy to be able to handle regular exercise again and the endorphins from the workout have me feeling, well, chipper. As I am renowned for being a grouch, I gotta say I’m pretty pumped about the whole thing.
Craig had an early doctor’s appointment, so we had to skip the walk. Usually, I feel like shit in the morning. Not so these days. We actually had some very, very nice romantic time this morning instead. I was really pumped about that, too. I love my Big Bear!
Working Out at the IMA
I knew the gym at the Intermural Activities Building (IMA) at school was very good. Back before I met Craig when I still lived in the U District, I used to work out there. Sometimes I went myself and sometimes with Simon or Peter. Simon and I were really regular one term. It was a lot of fun. But they redesigned the whole complex a few years ago, and now, as far as I can tell, it is a Temple of Male Beauty! We have the biggest weight room I’ve seen in my life, endless banks of benches of all sorts and eye candy galore. There are tall windows to let in lots of light and spotlessly clean. It’s pretty inspiring.
It’s weird. When I was younger, I don’t think I could have appreciated a place like that. I was too stupid to enjoy looking at the guys, and was intimidated by how in-shape they were. When you’re a young kid and not athletic, you keep away from places likes that. Now, I throw myself into it and enjoy it. I guess it comes from confidence. I know I’m good at things I’m gifted at. It doesn’t bug me anymore that I’m not nearly as good an athlete as a lot of the other guys there. Being there and working out makes me feel good about life. It’s weird, but I feel closer to God at the gym. My upbringing always had me separate body and soul. I don’t do that anymore. I'm a lot happier because of it.
I almost completed all the exercises on my list, but…
I Ran Into Johnny
John Marlow is one of my favorite students. He was in my political theory section in the spring of 2008, did really well, and actually had the guts to sign up for Arab-Israeli last autumn. On the second day of class, he told me what was I think the most inspiring and wonderful thing a student has ever told me. He told me he came out because of me. Seeing me be out in front of my sections let him know that he could be a normal guy and be gay. So he came out to his folks and everyone else.
When he told me that, I knew that I’d been paid back for everything I’d put into teaching. I knew I’d really helped someone. Everything from here on in is cream. It was probably the proudest fucking moment of my life.
But get this, not only did John come out, but there was another really amazing gay guy in that section named Sklyer. Skyler, like John, was an incredible student. I had two of the best sections I ever TA’d for that spring. A guy could never feel down teaching these guys. They really rocked. Well, John and Skyler apparently became a number that term! Guys are finding love in my class! And I’m not even trying. I had no idea that Johnny was gay at all until he told me that fall.
But it’s better than that. See, I did know Skyler was gay because I had bumped into him outside a coffee shop and he’d introduced me to a friend that he kissed goodbye full on the mouth. I may be slow on the uptake, but I put two and two together. Actually, I was really proud of them both for the PDA in an admittedly liberal, but still non-gay neighborhood. It was a memorable moment.
So I ask John, “Didn’t Skyler already have a boyfriend?”
John gets this sorta pissed look on his face and goes, “Yeah, I found out about him a few weeks into the summer. We had to get that settled, but he’s out of the picture now.”
Now Skyler and John are both nice looking guys. Well, the boyfriend was also pretty damned good looking. Plus he looked to be in his early twenties. Now John was 19. Now that gap is a substantial one as far as getting from the “boyish” kind of handsome to the “smoldering” kind of handsome. I think John is safely across the gap now (they cross it so quickly!), but he was pretty boyish that spring. So not only does he come out, but he beats out the more seasoned veteran to land his man.
I’m so fucking proud of him I could burst. I was nowhere near this cool at his age. Just ask Kirk.
OFFICIAL DISCLAIMER: None of these guys hold a candle to my Big Bear. He’s my beautiful one. But still, one can’t help but notice less impressive marks on the ole radar…
So anyway, they’re facing their first romantic hurdle. Skyler is Teaching for America this year. He’s off at an elementary school in Phoenix, where no doubt he rocks. He’s a born teacher; you can tell. But they’re doing the long distance thing. This autumn, John is off to Chile, where he will spend the term abroad speaking Spanish. He wants to get into Arabic though (God help him). We’re getting together for coffee later in the week.
So we yacked a little too much and I didn’t finish my whole workout. I hit the showers and then was off to teach.
My Class Is Beginning to Loosen Up a Little
Sometimes a class starts out a little stiff. First day was like that. Classroom participation is like hockey. You need them to pass the puck. The team dynamic always rests on personality and until they start talking, you don’t know their personality. First day was comparatively shy. But we had a good start today. I start Arab-Israeli with a sort of “theory” upload. In the first part, we try to understand the biological basis for bias by looking at the theory of small groups that has been derived from studying hunter-gatherer groups and comparing them to other primates in our evolutionary sub-group. Then we graft capitalism on to that model of human nature to see how it creates ethnic conflict. They’re beginning to take to it. It’s fun stuff.
I Bumped Into Shawn Lee After Class
Apparently Shawn’s class is in the same classroom as mine. He gave me grief over my Wings 2008 Stanley Cup shirt. We’re scheduled to get beers soon.