During slow weeks my mind drifts to absurd places. The other day, contemplating what could well be termed emotionally masochistic areas of my life, I considered that maybe I should just eliminate contact with all gay men, as a way of clearing my head and figuring some things out and starting afresh as I enter my second half-century. It would be like taking no grades at my college (something that is still possible there), as a way of examining just what significance grades do and don't have to me, as a motivating factor. (Turns out: none whatsoever!)
The first flush of contemplation was somewhat heady, in a spiteful sort of way (as if I were packing up my bat and ball(s) and going home so there), but that lasted only about a second until I started to consider what this would mean and who I'd have to cut out of my life to do this (not to mention that fact that I'd either have to move or otherwise break off contact with my landlords). The first problem was that I actually had to *think* about who this would even be, and think hard, and I kept missing entire swaths of people. I mean, there's my sysadmin friends and my Morris friends and my shapenote friends and my band friends, as well as other groups both categorizable and uncategorizable. The notion of a particular defined group being my "gay friends" is completely invalid. It doesn't even help to think of, say, the friends I first got to know through an online gay and lesbian Usenet newsgroup, since significant numbers of that crowd aren't gay anyway.
For that matter, it doesn't help to think of going to the Eagle as a place where I see my gay friends, since I don't think of those folks as my gay friends but as my Eagle friends. Hmmm... I suppose that's an easy point to argue against, but it's not as if I walk into the Eagle and think, "Ah, here are the other homos!"
Ok, the whole thing wasn't serious at all from the beginning -- it was just an expression of exasperation. But still.
Then I looked over my livejournal friends list, which is a group of whom the vast majority are people I know in real life and consider friends to some degree. I noted that fully two thirds of the people on that list are gay. Now, I certainly write about gay things here now and then, but if I look at my entries for the last four months only yesterday's and today's are about gay issues in particular. Eliminating gay people from my life would be like trying to remove a tumor that has worked its way all through the brain. In other words: We call this inoperable.
How and when did this happen, that my gay life and my life in general became so inextricably entwined that there is pretty much no distinction? It's like the realization I had my third or fourth month of college that for the first time I knew other Jewish people whom I did not meet specifically through the synagogue. That was a major thing.
I know why this happened: Because I made it so quite consciously from the age of 17 (and it wasn't always easy, particularly in the early years). Here we are, 33 years later, reaping exactly what we sowed. I just never considered the obvious notion that once I went down this path there would be no going back.
I think I just need to eliminate *particular* gay men from my life.