Love in the Time of Corona: More About Tater, “Thus, the Matching Hats.”

Tater just lay down for a nap. I’m so glad. He said he only wanted to take a short one and made me swear to wake him in an hour. I don’t know why. He doesn’t have to be to work until 11pm and we flew all day from New Orleans. He’s coming back into a shitstorm because of the heat. When we walked down the stairs onto the tarmac in Burbank today it was a balmy 112°. That causes incredible draws on the electrical system with everyone trying to stay comfortable in the heat and for many to actually remain alive in the heat. So, Los Angeles is having rolling blackouts during peak hours. I’m grateful that those peak hours have passed for today but I also can’t stand the thought of his working until 7am after the day we just had. I know I could do it if I had to. The Marine Corps and working in Entertainment has taught me that. But I’m damn sure glad I don’t have to work tonight and that feels shitty and selfish since he does and God knows that boy works so hard. He’s a union brother, IBEW, of my late father, Arnold Key. I loved my father very much and he was one of the most hardworking men I’ve ever known. He and Tater have that in common too.  Tater grew up on a farm in Idaho and he grew up Mormon. I have never in my life met a lazy Mormon. He’s a is a sailor too, and in that way a brother to my grandfather, Jesse Shelton “Daddy Shell” Williamson who fought the Nazis and lost half his when a shell exploded over the bow in North Atlantic in WWII. In part, our bond is through the military and even though there seem to be quite a few current and former military members who are confused about this, Petty Officer Second Class Barnes (I can’t imagine his being “second class” at anything. Silly Navy) We are both patriotic Americans and we are clear about what that means. We both understand that now, like no other time in history, we must fight for those without our privilege and no matter who you are, there are those who don’t have the amount and kind of social and economic privilege. Tater and I, especially as war veterans, are clear on where this nation has and should continue to stand on Fascism and Communism. I know that even though he was already off to a good start with the whole Idaho Mormon farm boy thing but the Navy must have reinforced his understanding of the need for ultimate commitment when the work is important. In the Navy his job to manage a nuclear reactor on an aircraft carrier. That’s a hefty responsibility for a young Sailor. He’s also one of the few people I’ve heard of who’s Military Occupational Specialty actually helped them get a job in the real world. He did go to school as well but the Navy gig with the big Boom-Boom-Glow-Hole probably helped get him a job managing the Los Angeles electrical grid in real time. (I am learning so much about power and energy from listening to him.) I’m antiwar and pro-military. I know that will for many seem like an absolute contradiction while others will completely understand. I love the Marine Corps and will until I die but I am sure I have more for my country, more for my oath, which I took to mean for live, since I left Active Duty. Pray God, don’t let any of this sound like a recruiting poster but for those who will allow it, the military can show you how you can go past your preconceived limits; sometimes this can be very positive, other times very dark, depending on the type of limits you’re passing. I see Tater work himself like my daddy did and I know that he does it for us, for me. All I can do in return is work as hard as I can and always remain worthy of that kind of love. Notice I didn’t say become worthy of that love I said remain that way because I think it was when I finally felt like I’d become the man of my dreams that Tater, my “long-delayed but always expected something that we live for” (that’s Glass Menagerie) finally showed his ass up. And don’t get sketched out by the “live for” bit because I still do live my life for myself and also for That Which Created Me but in fact Tater and I do live for each other in a sort of way. If you asked my partner what he wants from me, what he needs me to do, he’d probably say he wants to see me live; he enjoys seeing me live and I enjoy letting him watch me enjoy life and love nothing more than to see him happy. I’m reminded of when I was preparing to move back to Brooklyn after my father had died. My mother and our friend Shayna took me to the airport for me to go scout apartments. When I got almost to the airport door I heard my mother’s bellowing alto, “HAVE FUN!” and I have long since considered to be my mother’s chief prayer for me in this life. She wanted me to have fun. More than anything, she wanted me to enjoy life. I’m starting to feel like maybe my parents had something to do with guiding Tater across their wayward son’s path. Isn’t the way that whole ancestor thing supposed to work? 

The alarm just went off. Tater’s hour-long nap was over. But I went in and begged him to sleep just a little more. He agreed to thirty more minutes. I mean I can barely hold my eyes open writing this. He flew all day just like I did. Actually, he did get some rest because most of it he was asleep on my shoulder which I found to be very sweet but made the 300 pound Trumpster across the aisle uncomfortable. I’d heard his ass pucker a little when earlier, when Tater and I had just sat down in seats next to each other, the flight attendant said, “Gentlemen, you’re welcome to sit next to one another if you sleep under the same roof.” I just smiled at her through my mask and said, “We sleep in the same bed. Thus, the matching hats.” And she said, “Welcome aboard.”

The alarm just went off again. Don’t think it took me thirty minutes to write that paragraph (although I’ve had a few of ‘em). I putzed around with some editing up top. 

Okay he’s up and he’s not wearing much. I think it’s cuddle time on the couch in front of Southpark. I know, redneck romantic. But that’s what grown up little boys do when their not buzzing around Hollywood shirtless on their motor-scooters like  and heathens. And since likes it enough to sacrifice this last forty-five minutes of sleep for it. Let me get to it. 

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