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[November 2001]

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November 2001

falling in love, a trip to LA, and my last month of living in the City

Best thing that happened
Falling in love with Hope
Worst thing that happened
The Liberal/National coalition got re-elected as Australia's federal government

U-Haul Sux!

Actually, it's a pretty close competition for what the worst thing that happened in November was. Dealing with U-Haul definitely caused me more frustration!

This e-mail that I sent to the wonderful people who volunteered to help me move says it all:

First, I advise you never, never to deal with U-Haul. I certainly never will again! I made a reservation with them for a truck over three weeks ago, paid them their deposit, paid them the "non-refundable" (we'll see!) reservation charge, and received the confirmation call from the dispatcher. A few days ago the dispatcher rang me to say that the truck was only available from 8 to 3, even though they'd already confirmed it from 9 to 5, hence my message the other day asking people to arrive early. Well guess what! I rang the dispatcher today just to check up on something, and they told me that the truck isn't available at all. They weren't even willing to ring around to see if they could get another truck from somewhere else; all they could offer me is some lousy pick-up truck to make up for it. Given the way I feel about U-Haul right now, I wouldn't be surprised if the pick-up truck had two flat tyres, a leaking roof and a dead joey stuffed into the glove box. When I rang their national complaints department (in my usual polite, cordial, but not-willing-to-take-any-shit tone), I got the runaround instead of any apology or effort to make up for their fuckup. Arseholes!

After I told them which orifice they could drive their pick-up truck into, I tried other truck rental companies. After hearing a lot of "sorry, we don't have any trucks at such short notice" and "yeah, we hear that about U-Haul all the time", I found that Budget down near the airport have a suitable truck available. Whew! Unfortunately, I can only have it from 7:30am to 2:00pm.

But enough of that. Let's talk about the good stuff!

Falling in Love with Hope

Some friends of mine have wonderful, sensual parties from time to time. I particularly enjoyed this one because I connected with mishalove for the first time since I was in a relationship with her. I definitely missed that!

But the thing that will make that night one of the most memorable was realising that I loved Hope, and telling her so at the end of the night. It somewhat knocked her for six... after all, we'd just spent the experiencing delicious debauchery, and even though it was a party of sacred and often loving steamy stuff, something as romantic as me admitting love after a long period of admiration seemed a little bit out of context. But it didn't matter: she appreciated the compliment, and after some cautious consideration, e-mailed me a response. This is what I said to her in reply, and shows how I was feeling at the time:

I could list all the reasons that I think you're cool and that I'm glad to have you in my life, but there are a lot of cool people in my life, and I don't say [I love you] to all of them. I'm sure part of the reason is that we've shared some emotional intimacy, and I know we can communicate about personal things, just like we're doing now. In other words, you're one of the really cool people I feel safe saying it to. But even that's not the whole story; I think part of it just comes down to plain chemistry. You stimulate me in as many ways as anyone could: your insight stimulates my mind, your beauty stimulates my eyes, your sex appeal stimulates my loins, your smile stimulates my heart, and well, something stimulates my gut so it feels like you're one of those good people that the world has the pleasure of having in it. I don't know many people who I can say all that about.

Having said all that, I can understand you feeling scared, and I would be happy to discuss your worries. I'll alleviate some of the potential ones now, though. First, just because I said that to you the other night doesn't mean that expect anything to be different next time we meet. I'm enjoying getting to know you, and I feel closer to you now than I did a fortnight ago, and I'd like that to continue, but no pressure. Also, I know how busy your social life is, and of course you live with [Sinboy], so even if we do get to be much closer, I wouldn't expect to see you every day or even necessarily every week. Every week would be nice, but my life's crazy as well, so I totally understand that that might not work for you. I try not to be high-maintenance. =) Finally, and actually, I don't have any expectations from you at the moment, other than that you continue to respect me. That mainly means that I'd like you to continue being honest with me, especially about stuff like this, even if you think I might not like what you have to say. But we've both read The Ethical Slut, and we've both been around people like [akienm] and the Rabbits, so I expect that's natural for you anyhow. ("[akienm] and the Rabbits"—sounds like a name for a 70s band...)

By the end of the month, though, we were well and truly in love. I've been in relationships where I could tell my partner anything and everything before (I try to make all my relationships like that, actually), but I don't feel as respected for doing so by anybody as much as I do with her. Even when I tell her things that I feel stupid about, she makes me not feel stupid. And she tells me those sorts of things as well, and appreciates that I don't make her feel stupid either.

We also have many dreams in common, and since in some cases one of us has already realised a dream that the other has, we've helped each other realise just how much is possible in life. Even the most unlikely-sounding things have happened, so why couldn't I live the Endless Summer, and still live in a poly household on at least one side of the Pacific Ocean?

We have some bad past experiences in common as well. We've both been feeling burnt by love for a number of years, me from M, and her from the quad she was in with Sinboy. It's making it hard for us to truly open our hearts to each other. But I think we're going to get there... pretty soon, in fact!

Buena Vista Park tree planting

On the 3rd, I did the last bit of community service for my current neighbourhood: I helped plant trees in Buena Vista Park. I learnt a lot about the park, such as the fact that it isn't a natural park—it's actually on top of what used to be a huge sand dune. This explains why the redwoods tend to topple over after they're a century or so old; they don't have any decent ground to root in.

But the tree I planted will hopefully be around for the rest of my life at least. I plan to come and visit it from time to time. It's nice to have put something that concrete into a place that was my life for a year. I hope to make it my home again some day.

More Divorce Paperwork

The next day, M visited me in San Francisco. We went for a walk around the neighbourhood where Masonic Avenue and Geary Boulevard meet, and went over our divorce agreement in a café.

I appreciate the effort that M's put into getting all this paperwork sorted out. She's messed a couple of things up, but overall she's taken care of the whole headache. All I had to do was read the agreement and sign it, and make a few trips to the family law court in Sacramento. Of course, part of the agreement is for me to take on a couple of thousand dollars worth of her credit card debt, so she's got quite a motivator. I don't really believe this is fair, but I've seen a family law solicitor, and he agrees with her that it's the only way that our divorce is going to stand up in court.

Just taking up that credit debt has been a challenge, because my U.S. credit history is only a bit over three years old, and nobody's bothered to look at my credit in Australia... until now. After a lot of faxes to various banks in Aus, I was able to come up wtih the paperwork to get the Community Co-Op Federal Credit Union in Berkeley to give me the loan I needed to pay off M's credit cards. And since it's a credit union, the interest rate isn't too bad either. Once I'm able to pay my bills online with them, I'll probably switch all my banking to them. It's just really good to be doing business there.


Dessert party

I had a "cooling down" party at my house in the Castro. I really liked the crowd that turned up, and a good time was had by all... especially me, since I finally got to mess around with Nikki a bit. She's the woman making the white chocolate liquor pie in the photos below, and somebody I've been lusting after for quite a while.

But the party satisfied even my less carnal desires, which were to have a bunch of my friends over at my house in the Castro for the last time. I made it a dessert party, and asked my friends to bring yummy desserts. They did.

The party highlighted to me that I'm going to miss this house, and definitely the neighbourhood. They were also pretty good housemates for the most part, but it was nice to have the whole place for myself for the last week. At last! I could walk naked around my own house again!

The second photo was taken by Hope. It shows, from left, Sinboy, Selena, Rob and MissK.

LA trip to see Shelly

A month or two ago, I met a woman named Shelly at bicafe.com. This month, I flew down to LA to visit her. This was the first time in some ten years that I flew to another city to meet somebody who I'd met online. Ten years ago it seemed like a very geeky thing to do, but today it just seems common and tacky.

Another thing that's changed is airport security. I don't need to mention how many annoying and often pointless security measures have been implemented since September, but at the airport in San Jose, I had to take my shoes and belt off before they'd let me on the plane, and I had to check my nail clippers. Sheesh, I could do more damage using a pen than I could with nail clippers! I really wish this country would get over its hysteria.

Shelly and I clicked extremely well. The sex was great, and I enjoyed going for drives through the desert with her. She lives in Santa Clarita, on the outskirts of LA, so the desert wasn't far. It was also fun to meet her friends, especially fellow Xena and Hercules fans. Some of them are shown in the tavern photo below. Unfortunately, I didn't get to meet the woman with the leather and chains.

[Shelly's friends in a tavern]

Yosemite with Hope

Although I enjoyed my time in LA with Shelly, I often though of Hope, and longed to be with her. A week later I got to do just that, since we went to Yosemite for the Thanksgiving weekend. (It meant I didn't have to deal with turkey, either... I hate Thanksgiving!)

It was a wonderful, wonderful escape. We stayed at the Yosemite Bug Hostel for two nights, and explored the park, which lived up to everything that everybody had ever told me about it. We hiked along tracks, took photos, spent one night totally drunk together and being silly, and got to know each other much better.

One of our common interests is alternative energy sources, especially for transport. We rented a Honda Insight for the weekend, which is a hybrid-electric car. There's a photo of me next to it below—eventually I'll write more about the car itself and include more photos. For now, in a nutshell: you put ordinary petrol in it, but it doesn't use much of it because it also has an electric engine that gets charged when you brake or drive downhill. The fuel economy was at least twice as good as any other new car, and it was a fun little car to drive. I want one!

Anyhow, Hope went into detail about the trip in her post to LiveJournal.com, so if you'd like to read more about it, and see more photos, click here, here and here.

[Mik on a rock in a river on the way to Yosemite National park] [Mik by the hybrid rental car] [Mik and Hope at Yosemite National Park]

Misculaneous Happenings

My housemates moved out a fortnight before I did, so I had the whole three-storey house to myself for a couple of weeks. It was nice to be able to walk naked wherever I bloody well wanted for a change, and it allowed me to have baths a lot more frequently.

At this month's Sheets, I met a woman named Shelley. Yes, this is different from the Shelly from LA, and different again from the Shellie who Hope and I had sex with at another party recently. This Shelley has a deliciously curvy body, and is a wonderful thoughtful person. She's also a massage therapist, and loves her work. Free professional massage from a lover? How wonderful! I'm really looking forward to getting to know her better.

A week before my own move, I helped the Tempest move her boyfriend into her flat in Hayes Valley, which is an area of San Francisco near where I live. The moving occurred late at night, which pissed off the guy's old housemates, but it seems like he was moving out because of issues with them anyhow. It was a fairly smooth move. Despite all the U-Haul crap, I'm hoping for a fairly smooth move myself next month. At least it will all be downstairs (from the 3rd floor of my current house to the lower-ground floor of my new house), and I've labeled all of my furniture so it should make figuring out where to put my stuff pretty easy for everybody.

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Mik Scheper, 19 February 2002
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