Left with no choice but to seek an immediate turtle-neck followed by medical attention, I checked in to the walk-in clinic down the street and prepared myself for the worst…
As an undiagnosed hypochondriac, I am no stranger to the Canadian public healthcare system. In the last five years, I have spent just as much time (if not more) sitting in waiting rooms as I have racking up expensive tabs at the bar. Equipped with a triple-venti-non-fat-half-sweet caramel macchiato and the latest copy of Details, I took a seat next to the least contagious looking person in the room and made myself cozy. The nice lady behind the desk informed me the wait would be anywhere from one to seventeen hours, so I knew I was not in a rush.
Looking around the room, most inconspicuously I might add, I checked to see that all the usual suspects were in play. To my left was the clever teenager, whose questionable cough and over-protective mother had managed to get him out of the class for the afternoon. His fictional symptoms were no doubt incurred by a grade eleven chemistry test he failed to study for. Further down to my right was the classic Kerrisdale house wife, whose brand new Michael Kors bag bounced furiously up and down on her two anxious knees. That, combined with the speed in which she was turning the pages of last year’s Vanity Fair led me to believe she had come to refill her prescription of diazepam. And in the seat next to me (the well-dressed and diseased homosexual), was a cute young mother and her baby boy.
The boy, whose name I later learned was Tommy, could have not been a day over one. Tommy was dressed in a fabulous pair of Osh Kosh B’Gosh denim overalls that were copper-snapped over a red plaid shirt. He looked like a little lumberjack and his outfit could only be described as ‘Paul Bunyan Chic.’ If I may take these next two lines to talk about myself, I will remind you that I have been trying for years now to bring back denim overalls with absolutely no luck. Apparently there is an unspoken reservation of the clothing item for painters and children under five: a complete injustice if you ask me.
Well, as I sat there, I tried to lose myself in my magazine but Tommy was entirely too distracting. He had shuffled down from his mother’s lap and crawled on to the floor in front of me. Surrounding him on the ground were several wooden blocks from a play-set that his mother had given him. They were each cut in to a different shape and were meant to be matched up with a carved-out board conveniently placed in front of him. With one swoop, Tommy grabbed the round shaped block and tried placing it in the square hole. Not only was the block the wrong shape but it was also much too big in size. When it didn’t fit he tried again with the same hole. Minutes passed and it was clear the laws of basic geometry did not phase the child. He was not going to give up for all the cheerios in the world and I admired his determination.
Like Tommy, I too had a problem to solve, and could not make the puzzle pieces fit. I knew that Meryl Streep was punishing me for having Breakfast at Tiffany’s but I did not know why. Suddenly, it occurred to me that this was not the first time. Flashing back three years, I realized every other time I have had gay sex I mean Breakfast I have ended up in a hospital waiting room. The revelation hit me like two bottles of red wine on an empty stomach and I began to feel nauseous. It was clear there was a direct correlation between my sexual and medical histories, but I was still unsure what that connection was.
Was Meryl Streep actually punishing me for lying in bed with another man? Or was there something else making me sick all this time?
I knew that if I was ever going to get to the bottom of this I would have to go deeper (tee hee). Massaging my temples, I thought back to what I learned in intro to pysch; but alas it was no use, because every possible answer I came up with was multiple choice. Like Freud’s before me, I was left with no choice but to conduct a case study of myself. If I wanted to know the reason why I got sick whenever I had sex, I was going to have to trace back my homosexual history in detail; and I knew that was not going to be easy. “Sigmund Freud you bitch,” I whispered under my breath, “I’ll show you polymorphously perverse.”
As it happened I did not get off to a good start. I was unable to recall my sexual experiences with other men between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one due to the simple fact I was too drunk to remember. During those years, the only time I ever came remotely close to touching another man’s penis was after I successfully blacked out. In order to begin my case study, I would have to skip ahead to the age twenty-two, and the first night I lost my religion.