October 2000


You know I’ve realised that I’ve fallen into a habit. It has to do with lunch. Most people when they go lunch either arrive with friends or arrive alone and the scan the hall for their friends. When I enter the lunch hall, however, I automatically search for the nearest empty table. I’ve been doing this for two years. How did I get here?

What can I do tomorrow to make things better?

Make the most of tomorrow’s LGBT meeting.

I need to feel twenty. And I’m going to start by taking a page out of Sarah’s book – go to New York.

* * *

Well it’d been several days since I wrote those three paragraphs. The second meeting went very nicely. We adjourned early because there was a ‘frat party’ at a queer friendly ‘fratority’ that we were invited to. I went with three people who I’ll call Taylor, Jon and Helen. It was pretty surreal in the frat house; the party was in a fairly cramped basement with a low ceiling. One of the more amusing things I remember was the girl at the door asking the mandatory question ‘Are any of you law enforcement officers?’ to which, of course people would answer yes.

We ended up leaving the party after a fairly short time and walked to the car park. Taylor was kind enough to offer me a lift home and also gave me his views on frat boys. I found it interesting that he considers the institute of the fraternity both homophobic and homoerotic. Apparently a lot of fraternity members have gay experiences and even come out when they graduate. Almost makes me wish I could join (although I’m not sure they’d be too accommodating to a black person).

I realize that I haven’t talked too much about what I exactly I’m doing here in NJ, I’m not really sure why. I have learned though that research (why I’m here) is a very different beast from school or a job. In college or work, you usually know what it is that you’re supposed to do. You may find that you have considerable leeway on how you get the job done, but you normally have a job to do.

That is not the case in research.

One of the problems I had when I first arrived was that I was 100% sure what it was that I was supposed to be doing. Things were ‘ill-defined’. At first it was really frustrating. Then I realised that this presented an excellent opportunity for me to spend this time doing something I wanted to do that was a bit different from what I might otherwise have attempted. So now I’ve got the idea and I’m going to make a presentation to the research scientists I’m working with here. This will probably happen early next week. In other words I’ll be able to tell you what happened by the next column.

Still on the subject of work, I’m a bit concerned that I haven’t received my pay check for this month yet. Early last month I got a phone call to say my check had arrived but it’s now midway through September and I haven’t heard anything yet. I guess I’ll have to go down to the appropriate department and find out what’s going on. In the meantime I’ll just have continue messing around with the HP Pocket PC I’ve been asked to write stuff for. Word to the wise, choose Palms over Pocket PC devices. Many Pocket PCs aren’t even wireless so you basically need to connect it to your PC if you want to browse the web. In addition, they basically rig the machine so you can only go to web sites that the manufacturers want you to (so they can sell you stuff). I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being forced to visit someone’s web site.


This could just be me, but there seem to be a large number of… ‘well built’ guys in the US, at least in NJ. I was walking home from work today when I saw a well built guy and I couldn’t stop my eyes from lingering as I walked past. We made eye contact and then he stopped and asked me if I was interested in attending a Christian meeting. Before I knew what was happening I heard myself actually agreeing! I’ve never thought with little Eric before. Anyway I gave B. my phone number and instead of enjoying the season finales of Angel and Buffy, I will be with a group of people who aren’t exactly known for their tolerance of people like me. What the hell was I thinking?

Well this America thing is supposed to be about trying new things.


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