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Dal Long

June 1997

Turning Points

I believe I ended my column last month rejoicing in the anticipated lazy bliss of summer. I spoke too soon. May is not quite over, and the summer already promises to be of those "crucial moments" of my life.

It appears I'm not going to graduate on time unless I manage to cram a few classes in during the summer semester and take a whopping 18 hours in the fall. So I'm now a reluctant summer student, killing myself over an interim anthropology course. The class meets for 4 hours a day for 3 weeks. It's nice to know it will be over shortly, but it feels so very wrong to be writing a research paper two weeks after final exams.

I quit my despised job at the seminary last week. I am now gainfully UNemployed. I couldn't bear it any longer. It was a very hostile workplace. I fended off too many crazed seminarians who wanted to convert me to hard-line Christianity. I'm working on a research project for the Behavioral Science Department at my school now in exchange for 3 credits. My assignment is to "examine the applications of western psychology to Middle Eastern people, identify problem areas, and devise therapies which will better reflect the cultural and spiritual values of the Middle East." Uh-huh. And they want this by AUGUST? Are they sending me to Egypt maybe?

I'm taking the Law School Admissions Test next month, so I'm studying like mad for it. I'm also preparing for the Graduate Record Exam in Psychology and sending out for application materials from graduate schools. Whichever discipline I'm accepted into first and offers me the best financial aid will determine whether I become a psychologist or a lawyer. Aaaughh! Stress! Stress! And somewhere in between all this stuff, I want to start working out regularly, build a personal home page, learn to play golf, travel to Las Vegas for my 21st birthday, go camping with a friend before she leaves for a year in France, and read that Anne Rice novel I got for Christmas. Hmm. What is it they say about the best laid plans?

And now on the more personal front:

I attempted to come out to one of my oldest and closest friends this month. I don't know what possessed me. Sue was bubbling happily about her new boyfriend, and I found myself unexpectedly telling her about my attraction to a shop assistant at a local coffee house. Sue is practically my sister, so I guess I impulsively decided she should know this little secret of mine. She freaked out for about a day, then told me via e-mail that she loved me no matter what, than I am the closest thing to a brother she will ever have, and I should do whatever makes me happy. I was overjoyed, but when I tried to talk to her about it a week later, she had a very different reaction. She said sharply, "For the sake of our friendship we will not discuss this further. I cannot believe you would play such a horrible joke on me." Joke? I was so shocked that I couldn't say anything at all. Maybe she just needs some time to adjust. Coincidentally, I told her about my bisexuality the day Ellen DeGeneres came out on her show. Theoretically, that should have been a good omen.

Last month, I mentioned a friend of mine whom I suspected could be gay. He's never displayed the slightest interest in women -- quite unusual for a straight boy of 21. Well, I gave him part of a story I'm slowly writing about a young man coming out to the woman who loves him. He told me it was "shocking" and refused to elaborate. The next time I went to his house a few days later, I discovered he had tacked this huge and awfully revealing poster of Jenny McCarthy over his bed. Hmm. Very unlike him. This is not a good sign for me -- and the timing of the poster's appearance is highly suspicious.

Taleesha's father died suddenly two weeks ago. He collapsed in a grocery store and died before anyone could summon help. Taleesha's holding up very well. On the outside, at least. I was scared to death of attending the funeral. I hadn't seen her family for 2 years. They think I'm a proper little shit. After five years of close friendship, her family assumed there was an "understanding" between the two of us and we would announce our engagement in a few years. Not likely. I sat with Taleesha during the priest's recitation of the Hail Marys, but I think both of us knew neither of us has a place in each other's world any longer. We've each changed too much. But this is not how we want our friendship to end. And so the Taleesha Saga continues...

A few weeks ago I visited a local coffee house with some friends, and the new shop assistant riveted my attention. I found myself staring at him the entire hour we were there. I promised myself I would definitely be going back there for coffee soon. Sans friends, of course. I don't think I've been so strongly attracted to a stranger before. I sort of shocked myself. I went back last week, and this time I actually spoke with him. He said, "Could I get you anything else with that?" And I responded, "No, thank you." Arrghh! Oh well. At least I discovered his name is Chris. Here's to next time...

As always, please feel free to drop me a line at dallaslong@dialup.websteruniv.edu, and I promise I will respond as promptly as possible.


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