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The Gary Project - Day 5
Posted:Jan 22, 2021 6:56 pm
Last Updated:Jan 22, 2021 6:57 pm

I’m having a hard time writing today down. I’ll try to stay within the lines, but I am so pissed off from this morning.
We went to my gym this morning since I have a pending project at work. Walked in, Gary was next to me. I told him we were going to start with the StairMaster today. My gym has four of them, three of them were being used.

“I can wait. You can start.” He said.
“Then wait for you? It’s ok. The one on the end reading her book will give up hers. I’ve played this fiddle before.” I said and walked to the end one and announced loudly,

“JoAnne, put your book down and get your ass off that machine so I can exercise with my friend.”
The other two women working out on their machines turned their heads towards us.
“Why should I? I was here first.” She said.
“We both know you can walk all fucking day up those stairs if you have a book in your hand, and we’ll only be fifteen minutes. How long have you been there, thirty minutes, forty-five?”
“Over an hour, but who notices such things.” She smiled.
“It’s ok, we can do something else,” Gary says. I held my hand up to him.
“JoAnne, if your butt was any tighter I could use it as a crescent wrench. What would it take so I can use your machine for fifteen minutes?” I said.

She holds her book out to me, and I sneer at it as I take it. “Nicholas Sparks? Really? I don’t think you could pick a sappier author. I’ll do it, but I won’t like it.” I said.
“That’s the fun of it for me.” She said.
So I read out loud from page 354. I started with the line I blinked “Excuse Me!” and continued reading the page changing voices on the fly, going into narrator's voice, little girl voice, (But I didn’t know the character…supposed to be a man. Jeeze.) southern bell female dialect, deep voice man,…(Again..totally fucked that up.) and finished with the “I’m going to take that as a compliment” “It is” on page 357.

Everyone around us was laughing, except Gary, he looked embarrassed.
JoAnne got off the machine and got her book from me. “Fifteen minutes.” She said laughing. She went over to the bikes and started riding one.
We got up on the machines and exercised. I was feeling icky. Five days in, and he didn’t talk to me at all during the workout. I was tempted to bring him out of his shell but decided he must be thinking of something.

The last set done. “I have something I’d like you to give Susan. Come to the locker room with me.” I said.
I opened my locker and got out a plastic bag while he sat on a bench nearby. My gym, I could take a fucking shower, and I was going to. I took off my underwear, placed it in the bag, sealed it. I wrapped my towel around me, handed the gross thing to him.

“Susan wanted this. She used my own line against me when I said I don’t do anything for free when I asked for your schedule. As promised, I worked out for three days in them. I don’t want them back, and I don’t care what she does with them.” I said.
“I don’t understand.” He said.
“My guess is she smells them. She does that with my clothes when she picks them up in the bedroom. She doesn’t smell her own clothes. Why is your face all weird?”
“After we got married, she wanted me to… I told her that was gross and I wouldn’t do it.” He said.
“It was not comfortable for me. I don’t like putting on dirty underwear, but a deal is a deal.” I said.

“I guess that’s why she has your shirt.” He said.
“Shirt? What shirt?” I asked.
“The Army one. She wears it every night to bed. She does wash it.” He said as if that would appease me.
“Black letters on grey?” I asked.
“Yeah.” He said.
“When did this shirt first appear?” I asked casually, but inside I was fuming.
“That day you took her plant shopping. I’ll give this to her.” He said.
“I’m going to take a shower, then I’m coming over to your house for a few minutes to ask her something. I’ll see you in a few.” I said and closed my locker.
“She’ll be sleeping, but I’ll wake her before you get there.” He said as he left.

The water was not cold enough to cool my temper. That day, I had worked out, left my gym bag on the backseat in my car because her plants were in the trunk. The only time it was left alone was when I went inside the QT to get bottled water. I took her home, unloaded her fucking plants. I left.
When I was unloading my bag at home to wash my stuff the shirt was not there. I assume she stuffed my shirt in that overly large LVT she carries around. I was frantic. I went to my car to look for it. I went back to Gary’s gym to look for it. Not in lost and found. I called her and asked her if she saw it. She said no.

After that call, I looked in the trash cans in the locker room. Not finding it, I went through the dumpster in the back. I was there on a fucking Saturday night at two am looking for my shirt and finding used tampons but no shirt. I opened every bag dumped them, luckily it was only a quarter filled, still.

That shirt… I have an emotional attachment. My friend loaned me that clean shirt because I worked CQ duty and couldn’t wash my clothes in time. Before I had a chance to give him the shirt back washed, we went on a twenty-six-mile hike before graduation. He broke his hip on it, but finished the march, and bleed internally to death on the way to the hospital.
They didn’t even let me go to his funeral. His body was shipped back to Ohio. Even now as I type this, I remember how kind that nineteen-year-old man was. I was having trouble keeping up the PT in the beginning because I was fat, but he inspired me. He worked out with me on our time off. Sat and joked with me while I was repairing PCs in the command. We shared many a pizza together and talked about our lives before the Army.

I remember standing in formation when we got news of his passing. I was like a zombie, went to get my washed clothes to pack, and his shirt was there. I didn’t know his family and somehow it didn’t matter. I got through the training. Then st my new station, I wore that shirt on Fridays for PT. Later, Saturdays when I went to the gym, just because Saturdays felt more appropriate.

I got out of the shower. Dressed. Got into my car and drove to Gary’s house. I had to force my face into something not angry. I knocked on the door. Nothing. I waited a minute. Took a few deep breaths. Knocked.
Susan answered the door, smiling. She opened the door wider so I could come in. I did. On that bitch’s chest was my fucking shirt. Her breath smelled like mint and her hair was brushed. I forced a smile.

“Gary said you had something to ask me? You’ve never been here so early before.”
I got closer, man, she was pretty. “How about you take off your shirt first?” I said.

“We don’t have much time, the will wake soon.” She said and pulled off the shirt. Her tits sure were nice, too bad they were on her.
I casually took it from her and whispered in her ear as I held it in a grip of iron. “Thank you for returning my shirt,” I said.
“What?” She said.

I turned around and left. She was standing on the front porch with her arm over her chest as I drove away.
I got to work. She called. I didn’t answer. I blocked her number. She lied to me. She stole from me.

The thing is, I’ve loaned this shirt out to a few women in the past. If they ask, I do. It’s comfortable, even all these years later. After all, Robert would want me to share. I don't tell them the story behind it until I ask for it back.

What a way to start 2021. It’s been a while since I was so angry. I am washing it tonight and wearing it tomorrow when I go to the gym.
I haven’t gotten a call from Gary or text. It’s not his fault. Sucks, it is hard work to find a male friend to hang out with. Most men don’t have my same schedule. I’ll have to think of something else to do with all this free time. I have Saturdays open now too.

( Confirmation 845529 )
1 comment
The Gary Project – Day 4.
Posted:Jan 22, 2021 4:17 am
Last Updated:Jan 22, 2021 8:43 am

I got the gym a few minutes late today and Gary was walking funny as we went from the cars to inside.

“What’s wrong with you? Did you work your legs yesterday?” I asked as we tagged in.
“I bought weight lifting shoes and I haven’t broken them in yet.” He said.
They looked like red leather topped shoes to . Broken in? Why do shoes need be broken in? Maybe I’m the weido that just buys shoes that are comfortable and look nice.
“Let see one.” I said and held out my hand.
He bent over, took off his shoe, handed it to . The bottom of it was hard leather, like a boot. Durable, great if you are doing squats I guess, but terrible if you are running, no bend in the foot.
“They cost two hundred. What do you think?” He asked.
“I think you should return them and get your money back. You are not going power lifting levels for months yet. We were going start the treadmill today, but we’ll go back to the elliptical. You can’t even walk in these.” I said and handed it back to him.
He looked disappointed. “What?” I asked.
“I told my wife I needed these shoes, and you’re telling I don’t. I don’t want return them because that means I made a mistake. Now I know how she felt about the watch.” He said.

“Watch? What are you talking about?” I asked.
“The watch she bought you for Christmas, and you wouldn’t accept it.” He said.
“Dude, I don’t know anything about designer watches, but that one looked more expensive than I deserved. Cartier?” I said thinking that was the brand.
“It only cost four thousand, and we could afford it.” He said.
“I won’t be trapped by a watch.” I said.
“What do you mean?” He asked.
“Do know why I am here with you right this moment?” I asked.
“She asked you spend time with me. That’s the only thing that makes sense. She feels sorry for me.” He said.

“Your wife loves you, she has told me that many times. Can we talk over there?” I said and pointed to the elliptical machines as I looked at the uncomfortable Rick behind the counter.
He tied his weird shoe back on his foot.
“Fourteen minutes, level two. We are just warming .” I said as we got the machines.
“I’m not normal.” He said.
“Yes you are.” I said.
“The first five years were fine, but sex just became boring and a chore,” he said.
“I’m not a sex therapist, Gary. We are here work out.” I said.
“No, but you’re a friend.” He said.

It was the first time he said that . Unconsciously I sped my efforts the machine.
“You’re smiling.” He said.
“I’m happy you called friend.” I said.
“Let’s get back . I’m not normal. I like see my wife happy and most of the time I don’t know how do it.” He said.
“You make her happy.” I said.
“Really? Did you see how we stared at each other at that coffee shop before you talked us? That’s our normal.” He said.
“That’s your choice. You just don’t know what other options you have. I just have more experience and you can attain that in time and practice.” I said defensively.
“You were not our first.” He said.
“First? Are we really doing this? Here?” I asked.
“The other two didn’t work out. One night stands both of them. We had great sex afterwards, well, not so great the second time, but it was ok.” He said.
“Where are you going with this?” I asked.
“You stuck around. At least until you left on your business trip. I was worried you wouldn’t come back.” He said.

I was still processing things. I looked at his shoes, and laughed.
The gym was starting fill . I started feel an itch between the creases in my legs my hips. It was strange sensation, but manageable.
The timer went off, we moved a different area of the gym next the benches.
“How much weight should I start for bench press?” He asked.
“Push . This is a baseline week. How many push ups can you do? I’ll demonstrate the pushup.” I said and got down between the benches and did a set of ten.
He got down on the floor and did good, and couldn’t finish a fourth.
“I suck at this.” He said.
“No, you lack experience. Did I ever tell you the story of when I joined the Army?”

“Twenty seven, fat, never did a single pushup and the first test, I almost did one.” I said.
“So they yelled at you and you got better?” He asked.
“No, my drill sergeant got down in front of in the push position as I stood and said, ‘you start your knees today and tomorrow. Push yourself to do as many as you can this way as often as you can, then when I retest you, I expect a better pushup.’ So I did, and days later I did , days later I did seven, days later I did ten but could have done twelve. You had do ten pushups qualify for basic training and I still didn’t qualify start until I could finish a mile and half run in time. They took me in and I didn’t even qualify to start basic training. I was a fat computer programmer that had a good social skill set is . Hadn’t run since middle school. Exercise, bah.” I said.
“I don’t see the connection.” He said.
“Well, here is the next part. I told myself I was fat and berated myself internally and maybe the guy next to was thinking the same. Later, the same drill sergeant pulled us out of formation, then he showed us a picture of a , weighing at least a hundred pounds heavier than either of us and said. ‘This was me when I started here. Work harder each time we tell you and with time, you’ll look better, you’ll feel better.’ I did eighty pushups years later the day I left. I gained experience over time.”
“Now?” He asked.

“I don’t know. I did them occasionally warm instead of cardio, and do them with a clap or offset arm heights. They are uncomfortable right now since my elbow injury, but ten is a good start. I’ll get better.”
“I just don’t have energy. I’m sure I have the strength do more.”
“Did you eat breakfast?” I asked.
“I was going wait until after the workout. I thought I would burn more fat that way.” He said.
I sighed. “Breakfast. Workout. Eat something afterwards. Rest. Wear the shoes you wore the last days, please.”
“Can we talk the other thing now? I really need talk about it.” He said.
“Can we get through two more exercises and talk in the car about it?” I asked.
“Deal.” He said.
So we did. It was longest I had ever gone before getting the life story of someone. Normal people unload on me in the grocery store, gas station, or social gatherings. I can add gym parking lot to that now. I told him to get therapy if he thinks he needs it but everything he described to me was normal. Couples do crazy shit the time and argue about of it. Normal.

I wonder why people make a big deal of their sexual preferences. I’ve known men that wear pantyhose, women’s underwear, and some that sniffed women’s used underwear. I consider those men normal. Have sex with lizards, I don’t care. I knew a guy got only climaxed when he was stabbed with a pin. He was a joy work with and interact at work. I remember him crying, wanting me accept him, desperate for acceptance when we were at bar after work. I don’t know if he believed I did accept him, and he changed jobs after he told . Even knowing that I would highly recommend him for any position he applied. Hard worker, great attitude with the customer…Jeeze. I wish I knew where to find him today.
Gary didn’t text me day, but that’s what I wanted, right? It doesn’t feel normal .

( Confirmation 424303 )
1 comment
Gary Project - Day 3
Posted:Jan 21, 2021 3:39 am
Last Updated:Jan 21, 2021 3:40 am

Well, texts from him last night. after I went bed. Improvement? Not sure.
Early morning workout with him. No interaction with any other people. Barely anyone there at 5am at the gym near him this morning. My normal gym is packed at 5am.

I’ve been racking my brain on remembering what Russ taught me years ago on building my confidence teach him.
I can’t really follow the same path for Gary. I do remember the pain of it. Probably a thousand different rejections, tens of thousands of insults I endured, but it created something the men I work around me don’t have.
I not good at comebacks for insults, probably because I’m not interested in verbally hurting anyone. I might have gone down that path, but Russ’s words about people that throw out insults are trying make themselves feel better but are cutting their soul in the process. I still don’t really understand his meaning. The email I got yesterday has me wondering, why is this person angry when according the other people involved I make them happy. Society norms I guess.
I used swear in traffic, but when I had a , that stopped when my started repeating what I said. I wish I could take those words back…Jeeze. My mom should have warned . How come they don’t hand you a manual when you have a ? No wonder the world is fucked from the start. If I was in charge, first thing, a class for Dads on how change a diaper. I think I fucked a whole box before I got it right. Second class, examples of following your around for decades so they don’t kill themselves. try very hard kill themselves.
I must be broken. I know this is strange, but I miss the pain of those times. around people talk about being happier, and I want be in more pain? I want feel the strain in my body, a strain my mind, strain in other things.

His quietness today reminded of the times I was that way in my youth, thinking I wanted fix things my own. I was too proud to ask for help and silently suffered as my life spiraled out of control. His life seems controlled from the outside, except I didn’t answer his texts this morning when I woke. I decided to wait him out this morning, and he said when we were about to part ways “Same time, tomorrow?” I used it as an opening.

“Sure, bring a protein shake for afterward. You ok?” I said.
“uh…No…I did like you said and blocked my Mom. I feel weird like I’m letting her down. My cell feels dead in my hand. She would text me almost every hour I was awake.” He said.
I got out my cell, texted him quickly as he stood there, “You had a great workout today. I’m proud of you.”
“I’m right here.” He said defensively as he read.
“Would it be the same if I told it to you in person?” I asked.
“It means more in person.” He said. I'm not sure he understood the irony.
“I’m here in person, and the texts you sent me last night I didn’t answer,” I said.
“You read them this morning. Now, they don’t seem important.” He said.
“I’m proud of you. We are days in now. It would be a good idea monitor how much pain you feel after these workouts. Chart it every four hours, from one to ten with your workout log. “I said.
“I don’t understand. Chart my pain?” He asked.
“Yes, like right now I feel like a one since nothing is sore. If my muscles were sore the time and I hated moving, that would be a ten.” I said.
“I feel like a I guess. What’s wrong?” He asked as he looked at my face.
“I was aiming for a two for this week for you,” I said.
“The stuff we did Monday didn’t till yesterday. Yesterday’s muscles, I don’t feel anything, yet anyway.” He said.
“It’s ok, we’ll go lighter than I planned anyway just be sure. Small steps start.” I said.
He nodded and we went our cars. Once I was in my car I texted him as he drove away. “Hey, I farted. Good thing you are not riding work with .”

At lunchtime, I got a LOL response. I laughed, when I got my first cell phone decades ago, my ten-year-old explained what LOL meant. “Dad, everyone knows what that means.” She said. I miss that kind of pain too.

( confirmation 246597 )
1 comment
Christmas lights – Next year, I’ll be going out of town
Posted:Dec 10, 2020 2:41 pm
Last Updated:Dec 12, 2020 9:42 am

Christmas lights – Next year, I’ll be going out of town
It is the season to be upset at decorating the outside of your house I guess. I’ve assisted, rather did the most of the work, of decorating four houses now. I’m not fond of being up on ladders or working in cold weather.
When I got back from Frisco that Friday night after Thanksgiving. I did my own house. I had my lights arranged for when I took them down last year, all on spools, and I tested the strands before I put them away for the year. Putting lights on my house, not really a chore. Putting them away is way more work, but it is easy putting them up the following year.
I keep them in four separate boxes, and I bought dedicated power cord extensions ten years ago, that I keep in their own box. I consider them my Christmas cord extensions, and they get no use during the rest of the year. I had no idea putting up lights was an all-day affair for some people. Took me about two hours, and that includes a trip to Lowes to buy some stables. I really thought I had enough of those, but that hiccup was fine. Plugged everything in, and “Bingo”…worked. Pleased, I took a picture, another year done.
I should have never taken that picture. I forgot how women are….
First, casually left my cell on a coffee table, next thing I know, the security guard is looking through my photos on my cell when I went to the restroom. Nothing on my cell bothers her until….”You have lights on your house.” She says.
“Well, yeah. I told you I was going home to do it that Friday.” I said.
“I want lights on our house, to surprise C******.” She says.
“This house is a lot bigger, did you buy the lights already?” I asked. She shook her head.
“What about measuring how many feet of lights you need?” I asked. She just looked at me.
“Power cords? A timer? Lights can get quite expensive depending on the type.” I said.
“You’ll figure it.” She said casually.
In my head, I knew I could, but this felt like a Segway into me doing all the work.
“I don’t want to put up more lights. I only live here half the time. How about I give half the for you to put them up?” I said.
“I know what you want. How about a trade….something you want, for lights on our house.” She said.
“How about I you for all the lights and you put them up?” I said.
“I know where she keeps her old lights, shouldn’t take you long at all.” She countered.
“Let think about it,” I said.
I was sitting on the couch, and she got closer….and rubbed up and down my crotch with her hand.
Thirty minutes later I was opening old boxes, in a euphoric state. That lasted until I opened the first box and pulled on a single strand of lights. They were all wadded together in a ball. Ugh, and the second box…and the third….the fourth….the fifth…the sixth…FUCK!
It took three hours to get the strands untangled. Then I plugged them in. Not LED lights, but old ones with lamps. Took another two hours to get three-quarters of them to work. No cords. No timer. I went outside to measure, steaming inside, and now hungry. I was confused after I took the measurements. I only needed one box for the trim on the outside of the house. Why the extra boxes?
No one was home now, so I left and got some lunch. Came back with some clips, and just started to hang the lights. Took about two hours. I went to Lowes to buy some cords and a timer. As it got dark, it looked great. I was pretty pleased with myself.
The across the street neighbor came over and talked to me about them. She is an older lady, in her seventies, and sweet. “They are beautiful, my Ralph put up lights on our house every Christmas.” She said.
“Well, if he needs help, I can stop by,” I said.
“He died from the Covid, three months ago. It’s ok, they just reminded me of him.” She said.
Something broke inside of me. I remembered my own grandmother, her first Christmas without my grandfather. As a , I complained to my Dad about putting lights on her house. My Dad acted like a zombie during that time. Everything he said was undertoned with sadness. I am embarrassed now, about my attitude then.
It was getting colder, but I offered to put lights on her house too. I was so glad her husband had organized like me. It took me only two hours to get everything up. The blow-up Lama in the front lawn made me feel better. He did something I had not thought of, a diagram on the inside cover of the box lid to show where the lights in the box went and the cords. Plus, the box cover to show what kind/brand of lights they were. Pretty smart.
I stood in the middle of the street, looking from one house to the other, and saw that the corner house had no lights on it in a street filled with Christmas lights. Strange, in this upscale neighborhood. I walked down to it.
I knocked on the door. A teenage boy answered. I talked to him, and he opened up his life story right there on the front porch. I’m not sure what I asked, but the talked about his parents that were at the hospital, not for Covid. His Mom has diabetes and was having her right leg amputated below the knee. His Dad was sleeping at the hospital and he just felt numb. I asked him about his Christmas lights, and he said his Dad and him did it every year, but probably were not going to do it this year.
“Let’s put up your lights, and talk,” I said.
So we did. Everything was done by Midnight. Not as organized, but not as bad as the second one I did. The seemed to feel better. I actually felt worse.
Worse? Yes. I connected to this stranger. He reminded me on how well adjusted my own were before they moved out. It appeared to me that I helped him be a little happier. Yet, I have not been able to do that for my own nineteen-year-old ? My own refused to help me with the Christmas lights this year.
I love Christmas time. The gaudier the decorations the better. No one was home when I got there. The security guard was at work. Secretary was away for the weekend visiting family. Twenty messages from the same guy as I picked up my cell off the coffee table. He could wait until morning or even later.
I am doubting my own social skill set. I am confused about how well I establish rapport with people I don’t even know, but my own …They are like aliens to me now that they graduated from high school.
Even my most recent enemy has turned a corner and has been nice to me. I wanted a nemesis, but not from my . I invested so much emotional energy into them the last twenty years that it feels like it was effort wasted now. My job is going great. Social life is great. Every woman in my life appears happy. The feeling of being a failure as a father from my two boys makes no sense to me. I hate it.
(Confirmation 303083)

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