Most summertime memories -- the good ones, anyway -- revolve around food, alcohol, sex, or a preponderance of a combination of these things. At least that's been my experience, anyway. And judging by the completion of Kaia's first week in NYC since April, I think that theory is accurate. However, having said that, I don't remember enjoying a week more since the last time we were together.
The weather in NYC has been oppressive; there's no other word that sums it up as accurately or as succinctly as does that particular word, and the combination of heat, stagnant humidity and no letting up of these two phenomena means that people are grumpy, tired and move slowly. So traffic has been worse, the subways are more crowded, people-watching is either for masochists or cheap thrills (or both, depending on your perspective) and the city is not a fun place to be, aside from the presence of my houseguest. Still, upon arriving home tonight, Kaia and I did a bit of cleaning out of my apartment and then decided -- sort of on a whim, actually -- to hit Bed, Bath & Beyond at 60th and 1st and do a wee bit o' shopping. The only real obstacle to us doing so was the fact that there was a medium-power thunderstorm hitting New York at precisely the same time we were a) hailing a cab; b) walking three blocks to the store; c) laughing while getting soaked; d) passing Scores and feigning deliberation as to whether we'd skip BB&B and instead hit Scores; and e) laughing and kissing.
We wound up grabbing over a hundred dollars' worth o' goodies, most of which included some accessory-esque furniture, a desklamp, candles and their various acoutrements, and a bouncy superball that resembled an 8-ball. I unpacked and set up the new lamp, which is far nicer than the one it replaced, and the rest of the goodies will be set up tomorrow after we collectively assemble, bag and haul away the crap from my place. We're about halfway there, but I can honestly say I can see the progress we've made thus far, and I'm looking forward to the remainder thereof; my place won't be featured in any Pottery Barn catalogs just yet -- in fact, the only pictorial my place will inspire will likely be a "Before" picture on "Queer Eye For The Straight Guy." However, it's getting there -- feng shui, uncluttered, comfortable and presentable. Nice.
Upon returning, we noticed that there were some e-mail and AIM messages waiting for us; because we each spend so much time online (both individually and collectively), we've retained some "hangers on," ie people that see us from time to time online in chatrooms. Another friend of ours, someone who is a real, bona-fide friend and with whom we have hung out a lot, mentioned to us that a guy she knows from one of the chatrooms we frequent was telling people that I was planning on proposing this week to Kaia, and that we had indeed gotten engaged and she was moving to New York to plan the wedding. I'm not sure if we have all the "facts" straight, but that's what our friend described to us. Since we haven't taken that particular step -- yet -- we were both amused on some level that this creative fantasy was being discussed unabashedly by someone who neither of us has ever met, nor do we know on any level. So as I relayed this news to Kaia, she hopped online and hit the chatroom which was originating this stuff and confronted the guy who was discussing our lives as if it was fact and he was somehow in the know.
The guy, it turns out, isn't a bad person, just sort of stupid; why anyone who doesn't know either of us -- literally, we had never even heard of this person, let alone told him our most private plans and/or secrets -- would openly discuss our lives was sort of disconcerting, at least on some level. However, after Kaia insistently but politely inquired about how he came about his info, it was made clear that he had dated an ex of mine -- I expressed my sympathies to him on this regard -- and he thanked me knowingly. Apparently, he had heard all about Kaia and I from this particular person, and subsequently he had heard lots more from other people about us both. Again, while he had heard about us from others, he hadn't ever had a conversation with either of us -- but since he had so absorbed so much PR from other people, I guess he assumed he'd join in and toss in a creative nugget or two. To his credit, he immediately apologized; and while his commentary, whether it reached one person or one hundred, is sort of insignificant (although Kaia made the excellent point that had I been planning to propose this week and she somehow learned about it online via an IM would have made for a very interesting proposal). In either case, she was more angry over being the topic of conversation than was I; I figure that if you as a couple share the bulk of your life online, eventually what you share -- whether accurate or not -- will be shared on some level as well by others. We're very discreet, except in our happiness; we're not jumping up and down on couches on nationally-syndicated talk shows, but if I had the opportunity to do so and it wasn't obvious, I'd probably do the couch-jump to let the world know my feelings for Kaia. But again, I think -- at least to people who know us -- it is obvious enough and what isn't said or demonstrated publicly or privately is irrelevant. I personally found it both curious and sad that people who never met or spoke with either of us felt it was appropriate to discuss our private lives. It's one thing if you're George Clooney or Charlize Theron; we are not, however, public figures and would not have expected people we don't know to care one way or the other if we're engaged, together, swinging or estranged. In either case, while I think Kaia was genuinely ticked off, I wasn't angry but wondered why this phenomenon continues. I guess at some point these types of incidents (and people) will abate; but until then, there's a reason why we opt for privacy even if people we don't know won't respect it, at least we know plenty about theirs -- not as if we want to, either.