Sunday brunch with SBX, her parents: Colin & Mary, her older daughter, The Haze [young Ola was chilling with a local gal-pal], and next door neighbor Helen [w/her two kids], was a successful affair. Wine helped relieve the strict European table manners and I got a much better vibe off of SBX's parents. Conversation flowed more naturally and I split the difference between my less than posh demeanor and keeping a chin up and flying straight. Suffice to say, the afternoon went quite smooth as we ate, drank, got merry, shared campfire stories, and puttered about the house. I ran book, music, and Radio Shack errands with Colin, and later on, acted the bumbling buffoon at hopping about on The Haze's new birthday pogo stick. Biked home when SBX split for her yoga class, and I met up with Mike & Marie for some good home cooking and an episode of THE SOPRANOS [which I've only ever watched one of previously and it did nothing for me]. Chalked up the mellowness of the entire day to easy living and the splendor of familial acceptance. Something I hadn't felt in SBX's home until today.
Feeling under the weather on Monday, Tim H. called me with a bone to pick. He's tired of SBX projecting her insecurities about Mr. Ex's alcoholism and abusive/violent behavior onto Tim because he tends to get his "drink on" on a regular basis and gets a tad surly in his own rights [a personal demon I have come to mollycoddle], but never ever harming a gnat in the process. Seeing as how SBX never invites Tim to any of her social gatherings, even though Tim has been a prince around her kids and, up 'til now, played "uncle daddy" far better than I have been able to muster the few times he hung out in Prospect Park with us, is causing a rift. I admitted to the problem and agreed that I needed to have a big discussion with SBX about this matter, but not until I could create a solid foundation to stand on and fight my battles first before taking on others. One day at a time.
BLUE RIBBON chef, Chris Pollack swung by my apartment and dropped off special tickets for the Blue Ribbon 10th Anniversary Party at Irving Plaza, for me and SBX to attend. We got there @10PM only to come upon a huge line that ran around the block. The very reason I don't go "clubbing" anymore [actually, I rarely ever did] because of crap like this. Long lines, inane bouncers, expensive door cover and drinks, and the assholia that inherently ingrains the club scene, makes me sick. Always has, always will. Anyway, once we got in and passed the first ring of Hell, the place was hopping with cheesy/fun dance music, free gourmet food & drink, and flowed with free champaign. I don't drink the fizzy so SBX grabbed two for herself while we headed up to the balcony and surveyed the party. The place was bouncing as we peeked and poked, wondering who we'd bump into? I thought there might be the slightest chance that we would see my ex gal-pal/SBX's ex-best friend, Boo, but more likely to face SBX's Mr. Ex, because he owns and runs a successful downtown restaurant and hangs with the Blue Ribbon folks on occasion. The evening went by sans any ex-conflicts as we drank whiskey and gin, danced to George Gilmore & The Giblets, hugged and bugged out with old chums from our Nick & Eddie days. Besides hanging and laughing with Chris P., we saw Adrees, Mike, Scott, Eric & Ellen & Bruce Bromberg, James Shrum, Berton, Sean, "Yamez," Clem, James Savoca, and Roger Howarth [my old N&E busboy who quit to become a pop soap opera star named "Todd Manning" on ONE LIFE TO LIVE]. SBX and I had a really great night shaking hands with the past and getting nostalgic. The only bummer was riding a taxi back home with her and having to split ways and crash into separate beds. Arrrggghhh! It will change. It will be right. Someday.
Tuesday night locked in my neo-station with the SBX Clan as SBX took her family [kids & parents cum grandparents], me, and her good friends Meredith & Jason, to dinner at BLUE RIBBON in Park Slope. It was threatening to rain as I arrived a smidge late to a table full of welcome smiles. Ola and The Haze gave me those "knowing" winks. Looks that I suspect SBX and I will be getting a lot of now that "they know" about our hanky-panky, however defined that may be in their young minds. It's very cute and quite adorable. It's like a new game we get to play without rules and query. It just is and allows us to sally forth sans curtains and masks hiding romantic intent and family agenda. We get to breathe a little easier. I grabbed a glass of crayons so that me and the girls could draw on the paper table tops. I drew each of the girls as they drew what they could. The Haze shows true talent and Ola is in a perpetual dream state. Very different people, these two kids are. Dinner flowed and jokes cracked. I insisted on Heinz Ketchup to go with my $60, shared steak and Colin almost choked on my desire. Ribbed disgust passed between us as we warmed to each other's culture. I figure the first time you can "dis" or make fun of your significant other's parent/s and vice-versa and make a joke out of it, is a good sign for acceptance. Jason and the girls wanted to see Blue Ribbon's incredible kitchen, so I asked Berton to show us downstairs where that shifts chef took us on a culinary tour of the entire cooking facilities, an environment that would make Martha Stewart shellac her panties. Dinner turned into dessert and SBX was extra lovey-dovy with me. I think that she's been wanting public adulation as much as I, in front of her family, and after almost a year of hide-in-seek romance, it was about time. Goodbye's were said and I was back on my bike in the pouring rain, home.
Bob Fingerman's BEG THE QUESTION signing on Wednesday at Jim Hanley's Universe went very well. A cavalcade of indy/alternative and mainstream cartoonists showed up to snag the extensively revised collection to read it's majorly tweaked revision and to find out what finally happened to MINIMUM WAGE protagonists, Rob Hoffman and Sylvia Fanucci! I picked up some new comix and bought SBX Bryan Talbot's tragic tale of sexual child abuse; A TALE OF ONE BAD RAT. Marcela Trujillo showed me pages from her amazing new project which blew me away. Her art is like a cross between Julie Doucet & Joe Sacco, and the subject matter was very metro-sexual. After the signing, a bunch of us [including SBX, Evan Dorkin, Nick Bertozzi, Bob & his wife Michele, Ivan Cohen, Jeff Wong, Joey Cavalieri, Doug Brod, Mike Pearlstein, Steve Korn, Jesse Fuchs, and Karl H., went down the block to an Irish pub called PG Kings for celebratory dinner and drink. SBX and I split the pub early to catch up on private time, now that her parents were back in the UK.
Thursday was a full day for inking the final two pages of NIGHT FALLS...#1, and drawing a quick illo for a new Tim Hall piece for BIG NEWS. A story called "Christmas, Bloody Christmas" wherein Hall kills pulp noir detective, Mike Hammer while exposing his deep dark, homosexual secret. Mickey Spillane would have a problem with this, me thinks! Hall told me that he was planning on running a regular column in UPWARD, another monthly newspaper for homeless people by homeless people. He's calling the column "On the Futon, a Diary of a Breakup." His diary. His break up. Last March, Hall crashed my futon for a month or so after leaving Vanessa W., and kept a harrowing journal of his days, his feelings, our super silly bachelor hi-jinx and rapid Nerve.com dating, and kept devastating accounts of his failing marriage. Yeah, this should make all those derelicts happy as they paint the windows black, pull out all the clocks, and reach for the oil and razor.
Friday is my One Year Anniversary w/SBX. I drew her a little special something of us in a card with dazzling words featuring a b&w photograph on the front of a romantic couple from the 50s, framed by the skyline of Paris. We met up at her office after I dropped off the final ten pages for NIGHT FALLS...#1 at Marvel where I got ribbed by my editor Andrew Lis, for my tardiness on the book. I equated this winner of a project with fine wine and told 'em where they could shove it - sideways. Scored SBX an orange ATARI t-shirt with the logo all jazzed up in blue plastic glitter, a bag of baked chocolate w/nuts from a local Cobble Hill bakery, and my snazzy card made for sweet and simple celebration as we sat outside in the ides of 34th street with hot cups of complimentary coffee from Pret-a-Manger. Good news was: we made it a whole year together under difficult circumstances. This was a marking point, indeed! Bad news was: we couldn't celebrate w/a dinner, wine, and dance, because she had to do her monthly Food Co-op duty directly after work! SBX had fucked up and forgotten to switch shifts. She felt guilty. Stupid. Bad. I felt slapped. Red in the face.
I hopped the F-train back home, boiling about SBX's "responsibility" to the Food Co-op taking precedent over our first anniversary together. Mike Hueston rang and we stepped out for whiskey at ALMA, a Mexican restaurant/bar on Columbia Street, while SBX worked a cold cash register for organic health food nuts. Drink and lawyer shoppe led to romance woes. Not to dis the company of my best friend [since we were 12], but I sat there sipping amber gold and sucking in the rancid fumes of cigarette smoke for what could be the millionth time, when I would rather have been sucking in the gasps of my girlfriend, sipping in her love loins, and celebrating our anniversary on Cloud 9. No secret there. It kept picking at me. I couldn't wrap my head around SBX making such an egregious error. Marie showed up and it was our turn to play pool. I used to play fairly well, but these days, I'm lucky to bank an easy shot. If bars weren't filled with disgusting nicotine exhaust and the usual static from local boneheads and bananas, I'd frequent the game more often. As is, I skip the sport and play pocket pivot at the seat of my computer when bored. Yay, internet. The shame. Cell phone rang and SBX was just getting her kids to bed post Food Co-op duties. I got a little nasty in my tone with her and we launched into bitter war. War turned into bike ride to her abode. Trying to make the best of things, SBX greeted me w/a smile and was trying her best to salvage the night and we managed to do just that. Took some convincing, but her beautiful letter to me and her gift to pay for my ticket to Paris this coming X-mas, was above and beyond. She was making the guest room bed for us to revisit. Like that very first time, when she was so bold and beautiful and I was so stubborn and reckless. The sheets that started this sexy mess. The gold and red glimmer from the lava lamp lit our backs as we took our union to the bridge and up another level all together.