excerpts from ibz, #4

Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Ibiza, Spain

We paid our tab and waved goodbye to our server at La Bodega, the tapas restaurant where we decided to eat on our final evening in Spain. It’s tucked alongside the Portal de ses Taules—one of the few entrances to Dalt Vila, Ibiza’s medieval walled city. Its location was convenient because, despite our charming server’s mandate that we didn’t order enough, we somehow managed to roll up the stone ramp to the outer bailey. It would not be incorrect to refer to us as literal balls of cheese.

This was our first time in Dalt Vila after the sun went down. There’s a commercial section right inside the fortifications with restaurants and kitschy souvenir shops and people abound. The streets wind around the ancient hilltop city and sometimes they just end, replaced with a stairway taking you up a level. We ducked out of the crowd on one of these stairways and climbed up, emerging on a deserted cobblestone street.

We meandered back and forth this way, up the medieval hill. With the exception of hoards of stray cats and a few locals—all of whom seemed to be taking one final pull from their cigarette before entering their homes—we were the only ones on the street.

—**********—

There’s a promenade at the top of Dalt Vila which overlooks the Mediterranean. Silhouettes of couples canoodling on the wall. The waves crashing against the cliff below. The moon illuminating the sea for miles out. It was easy to see how ancient residents of this walled city felt safe. What would they think of the horny teenagers (and adult gay men) making out here?
And the coconut ice cream?

 

excerpts from ibz, #3

Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Ibiza, Spain

We told ourselves we would get up early and seize the day… we didn’t.

Darling Lola Lorenza had scheduled a spiritual cleansing to be done at the house. A very real part of me wanted to stay and witness a spiritual cleansing because, well, I need all the help I can get. But there was a much larger part of me (literally: stomach) that wanted to answer the call of tostada con tomate.

🍅 Hola. Soy yo… 🍞

In the end my spirit retaliated anyway and popped the button off my shorts on the way into town. Because, croquetas. The faucet in the tiny upstairs bathroom above Croissant Show poked mi culo when I changed into a spare pair of shorts.

Las karma.

—**********—

Beach #5, Cala Carbo:  Back to where it all began. Our first beach in Ibiza when we came in 2015 with Raica and Nils. It sits in a protected little cove with what might’ve been the remnants of with an old fishing village. The beach is sandy, the water is green. We spent the early afternoon there: a few hours of swimming and dozing in the sun, listening to a Spanish guy speak on the phone to his friend.

Beach #6, Cala Comte @ Sunset Ashram: My favorite beach. Deliciously sandy. Honey soaked sunsets. We came back and went to the more populated beach that we bypassed with Raica a few days previously. I shared some lobster with Joao and we swam in the sandy water, making up stories about the island out in the distance, Illa des Bosc.

joe’s

The old Eesley Mill closes at nine o’clock in the evening. This is a shame because of the four bars in Plainwell, Michigan, it is the most palatable. It was a grain elevator from the late 19th century that has been converted into a brewery and is a reasonably charming place to grab some simple bar food and a nice brew. 

The 10th Street Saloon is no place for a couple of homos from New York to catch up with some high school friends, and Rhino’s is only marginally better, so that left Joe’s. 

Joe’s is a bar, of course, but it’s also a pizzeria. A no frills kind of place, frequented by locals. Mediocre food—you can get a better pie from Sheryl down the road at Pizza Hut—but the drinks are cheap and there’s a fine selection of beer. The local rumor mill states that, on at least one occasion, the owner of Joe’s peed on the Rhino’s building in retaliation for some offense or another. 

And so the choice was made. An evening of high school buddies and their significant others, packed together in a booth, sharing old stories (drunkenly misplaced baseball caps who found a new home) and what’s going on in our lives now.

And, perhaps, drinking a bit more than was originally part of the plan.

in conversation with e.k.h.

G: The barista at Water Street just gave me my coffee before an annoying woman who was pacing by the counter, I think on purpose. She ordered before me, and her drink was way easier.

E: Probably. That barista is the hero we all need at this point in 2016.

G: After I got my coffee she promptly chirped at the barista that her Americano was for here. She looks like a retired bank manager who liked to write people up.

E: She’s probably had an urban garden space since 1973.

G: I’m cackling.

I snuck a picture and texted it to Erin.

E: HR Manager

G: Assistant*. But wielded more authority than the regular manager anyway, because of her haircut. Free reign to write up whoever. Untrammeled power, at Denso Manufacturing.

E: Also because she’d been there for 45 years, and ain’t no 24 year old communications major gonna take her job. She looks like she would have a smug smile every time her manager had a question that she knew the answer to.

G: And she didn’t attend two years of business classes at Davenport to be upstaged. Total smug smile. Unmoving hair. She was born with that haircut.

E: Had it since the age of seven.

G: Sells Avon and uses the money to buy religious presents for her grandchildren.

E: But then gives them a dollar in their birthday cards, too. Knowing full well a dollar ain’t shit.

excerpts from ibz, #2

Monday, July 18, 2016
Ibiza, Spain

Beach #2: The Tropicana. We went with Lola and met her cousin Juliano, who looks like a blue-eyed Javier Bardem. Gruff, but pleasant and kind in that way that Italians are (they know a guy!) At the end of the day, they just want to look after you and make sure you’re having a good time. This is why I love Italians.

—**********—

Beach #4: Sunset Ashram, Cala Comte. I needed to pick up a blanket for Erin and Carolyn. I sort of assumed we would swim at the beach right there, the one Joao and I slipped into in the middle of the night last year while cocaine-fueled, middle-aged Germans danced to electronic music above. But Raica took us on a short walk to another beach that sat down in a cove — private, more intimate. There were a bunch of naked people. It was perfect.

The beach itself was a little rocky, but once you got in the water? Only sand. Finally!

We swam and watched the sunset. It’s totally cliche to call it breathtaking, right? But that is the simple reality. Watching the uppermost tip of the sun sink below the horizon has this way of taking everything out of you in a single whoosh. And when you recover, and the sky quickly changes color, you feel this connectedness to the earth and for a (very) brief moment you turn into a total goddamn hippie. I haven’t felt that way too many times, but this island (and Cala Comte in particular) seems to bring it out.

It’s ethereal; it’s mystical; it’s calming.

I close my eyes and blue spirals fly everywhere. That is, of course, a terrible explanation. But it’s all I’ve got…

Why always blue?
A deep, dark blue.

—**********—

Later that evening we hung out on the balcony. Conversation that was simultaneously breezy and deep. We shared memories from the year before. This is a group with whom I have memories! They’re special, these people.

And slowly the group of five dwindled down to a group of two: me and Joao. We were still on New York time. 4 a.m. — completely relaxed, completely not sleepy.

We played music for each other while the trees rustled around us, trying to decide on a wedding song. Tom Waits, maybe? Radiohead?

Let’s see in two years.

virg’s

Diane called me: “Are you and Joao taking pictures on the side of the road? We just drove past and thought it was you.”

“Yep, that would be us,” I said as I hopped over a massive snow pile to get back to the car.

She cackled and hung up the phone.

But, seriously? Virg’s Barber Shop has sat on Red Arrow Highway for decades, probably, and today is the first day I’ve ever noticed it. A small, cinderblock building with an unconvincing sign in the window: ‘Open for Business.’ It was everything Instagram dreams are made of.

Meanwhile, Joao photographed an auto dealers sign that said “Lube Express.”

obrigado pela lição, putas

I was receiving top notch lessons at the dinner table. Blue Ribbon Sushi. Along with Natalie Portman and Laura Prepon, neither of whom offered their support or encouragement.

“Eu gosto de peixe,” I said, proudly displaying my new and sophisticated command of the Portuguese language. “Eu gosto de chocolate.”

“Say ‘eu gosto de buceta,’” Raica prompted.

“Eu gosto de buceta!” I said, flinging my wrist like an Italian. It came out so naturally. “It has gusto!”

They snickered across the table.

“Say it again.”

“Eu gosto de buceta!!” I said with joy.

More snickering.

“WHAT?!” I cried. “What does it mean?!”

“I like pussy.”

“Oh…” Well once more for good measure, then.

“Eu gosto de buceta!”