Behind the Eight Ball

8 Ball Cotati

I was introduced to the use of an "eightball" as shorthand for group sex back in Portland days by a coworker and friend who's now the kind of friend I only see every few years and have zero phone, email or social media contact with in the interim and yet when we get together we always decide plans spontaneously and easily, have the best time and can talk forever. There is no resistance, negotiation or competitiveness that I feel in NYC that makes me rigid and lash out.

Todd and I both worked part time in Portland and lived in squalor studios even though he was a decade older than I. He reminded me on this visit that he'd lived in his bathroom-less apartment for 18 years. Now he has a roommate in his 50s and doesn't work at all (courtesy of recent-ish inheritance of unknown quantity that I must admit makes me slightly jealous since I've never had an inheritance yet I have had a dead parent). This all seems fine to me, despite rubbing some people the wrong way on Facebook the other night when I posted that I can't date a man over 40 with roommates. I'm sorry. I can't. Not here. Not now.

I'm not naturally driven or ambitious (though I always have been and always will be judgmental) so I have to psyche myself out to survive here. Or rather, my version of driven and ambitious isn't up to NYC standards but would serve me just fine in a second-tier city. I'm also psyched-out.

Though I haven't spoken with James since November, and maybe never will again, which is odd concept I'm trying to figure out, he did say one insightful thing in an email when I was hashing out the details of buying this apartment. Because my monthly outlay was going to be so much lower than what I was accustomed to paying, he said that he could see me working less or taking a lower paying job i.e. that would be such a me thing to do, something he would never do or necessarily approve of.

It's not out of the realm of possibility (though I want to upgrade my kitchen first even if that's wasting money I should be saving). Maybe the past 14 years were unnatural, and now I'll just revert back to my true state.

Todd and I started calling each other "Troll" in the mid-'90s before the concept of an internet troll entered the everyday American lexicon. The name sprung from wanting to spend time in another's company but being anti-social and not wanting to appear clingy or overstepping bounds. "Are you going out for lunch? Not to be a troll or anything…"

I've not had a Troll in my NYC life, workplace or otherwise. The last time I was in the office, I was asked if I wanted to go grab a salad and I said no because that's how I am now. This coworker wouldn't talk about orgies with me anyway.

So, my friend had a friend some years ago tell him about a party and the enticement was that "there's going to be an eightball," which I would take to be a drug reference but Todd imagined it as slang for an eight-some, a notion that held more appeal than coke or meth or whatever.

I couldn't tell you what the impetus was for an eightball coming up in conversion with him, my sister and me over Thai food in San Francisco. But it did.

I also couldn't tell you what prompted my cousin's husband to mention the existence of a bar down the street from their house where we stayed two nights called The Eight Ball.

I did not have a chance to stop in for a drink, though it looked lovely. And according to Yelp, it may indeed be the place for at least a threeball.

In addition to the occasional pride of cougars, there seems to be a small OLDER swingers crowd. After being approached two times on two separate occasions, I shrieked like a monkey and scampered off to find the barrel of monkeys I came with. If you're looking for stiff drinks, cougar sightings, or a possible ménage à trois with some hippies, then roll on down to the Eight Ball!

And to think I missed out on all that.

Who knows what would've happened, frankly. I had forgotten that on the West Coast, and maybe the Bay Area in particular, my sister and I are occasionally mistaken for a couple. No, sir, we are cisters.

 (As an aside, I'm fascinated by how suddenly trangender issues have come into the mainstream. Like, say, if you're an elderly person living in a rural community who's never knowingly had personal interaction with someone transgender and now you use the wrong pronoun, you are an insensitive monster.)

This isn't a new development. I relayed an anecdote from a hundred years ago when my sister lit my cigarette out outside of Food Front, a coop in NW Portland (that randomly came up while chatting with Todd on this visit) and an old crunchy lady walking by stopped to say "That's beautiful."

If one needs any evidence of how quickly mores can change, gay rights to trans acceptance, nothing, smoking as non-deviant (never mind condoning teenage smoking) couldn't be more from another era.

Ok, that was all to provide context for why I was posting a photo of a bar in Cotati, California (and to procrastinate starting on my new project for work, which will no longer be my work if I procrastinate any harder).

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