Jeff: March 31, 2007

Jeff RothenbachIt has been a few months now, and this column seems to be winding down. We have unpacked, decorated and rearranged furniture. The house-warming party has come and gone. We have even celebrated the holidays in our new home.

Some days, I wonder when he is going to finally go back to his place. Then there are times when I can’t remember what it was like to not live with Rolf. Sometimes, I have the surreal feeling that the life I live is not my own.

I looked back at my earlier entries. In June, I said that West Hollywood “is like a porno movie with less sex.” That was written when I had only been a visitor. Now that I’m living here, I see that it is not quite accurate. Things are different depending on whether you are looking from the inside or the outside.

There is still a lot of adjusting to do here. My internal compass is still resetting (I leave work and go west, not north). The variety of stores is much different from the valley. To look at the businesses on Santa Monica Boulevard, you might deduce that gay men only eat, drink, buy glasses and have their clothes dry cleaned. There was a porn shop around the corner from my old apartment, so no difference there. When a neighbor has the audacity to leave a piece of furniture on the curb, it generally sits there for weeks until it finds its way to the trash, as opposed to being placed in another home within the hour. People have a yard sale because they are moving out, not as a second income year-round.

Within the first two weeks of the move, one or the other of us had met all of the other tenants in the building. Compared to four years in my last apartment where I never said more than a passing “hello” to any of my neighbors, this is a big step up. The couple downstairs has even been up to our place for two of our parties.

It is so nice to be able to walk to stores and restaurants. My mother thought I was crazy to walk places—“Why don’t you just drive?!?!” And everyone thinks I am the princess! From my old apartment, “stores and restaurants” would have been 7-11, two liquor stores, Del Taco, Pizza Hut and Coco’s. There were two bars within a block, but I really wouldn’t want to hang out in either one. However, I do miss the donut shop at the corner. The flower shop sucked.

There are plenty of places that Rolf and I walk to from home. It is very common to park our cars on Friday and not move them until Monday morning when we leave for work. We have certain favorites in the neighborhood. At a few restaurants around us, the staff recognize us, and I like that.

I also have come to enjoy that small-town feel of people saying hello when you pass on the street (And no, they aren’t all lecherous old men hitting on me). When we walk to the store or a restaurant, we see people walking their dogs or jogging. If someone was running in my old neighborhood, I would have looked past them to see who is chasing them (police, rival gang members, the woman’s husband, etc).

This is not to say that we are completely without crime. I came home from work one day to see that my box of cassettes was opened and thrown all over the garage floor. When I picked them up and put them back in the box, there were three empty slots. I don’t remember what exactly was in there, but I hope they got something crappy like that Sheena Easton tape I bought at Out of the Closet a few years ago.

Not all of the adjustments have been for the best. Griffith Park used to be a 25 minute drive almost entirely on the freeway. Now, it is 50-60 grueling minutes of city street traffic. As a matter of fact, most drives involve a lot of city street traffic because we are not next to any freeways, unlike my last apartment where I could see the freeway onramp from the front of the building.

On the plus side, cooking for two is easier than cooking for one. No, I take that back. The cooking is the same, but you don’t have to eat the same meal all week long when you have someone else eating it too. And Costco is much more manageable when someone else is helping you eat the five pound box of cereal.

We still have a few bugs to work out. I’ll try to stop picking food out of my braces and he’ll try to remember which knife goes in which slot of the block. I’ll try to sleep on my side or stomach so I don’t snore and he’ll try to push the dining room chairs in so I don’t trip over them in the dark. I’ll try to remember to clean my hair out of the shower drain and he’ll try to make suggestions that don’t sound like he is telling me what to do. And the list goes on.

But, at the end of the day, I come back to his (usually) smiling face and I know this is where I belong.

About

This series of posts was first published in 2006 and 2007. Jeff and Rolf are now happily living together. For those of you who have missed it the first time around and for everyone who’d like to read it again, here is the full story line in an updated format.

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