I squandered a proportionate amount of time on Cooper. I had a lot of time ahead of me so I could spare the small donation I made to his endeavors. I won’t lie and pretend it didn’t provoke me to think of the many ways I deluded myself. He had some admirable traits but those were tempered by an unflattering tendency to sabotage others to advance his own agenda. It was hard to let go of the person I had imagined he was.
I was too young to comprehend the certainty that my body would eventually fail me and I would lose the strength necessary to pursue the life I loved. Conformity issued repeated invitations that I refused to acknowledge. I followed my heart. My heart was barefoot on a boat somewhere. An accident manifested reality, I fell at the marina where I was working. One of the liveaboards held a management position for Omni Hotels. He offered me a job. I bought stockings and pumps and joined the proletariat trudging to work each day.
Hotels seemed to be a haven for vagabonds. I was surrounded by kindred spirits. The staff was mostly aspiring actors and gay men. Misadventures and drama abounded. My best friend was Geoffrey, a mid-west, Baptist preacher’s son. We matched. He was shunned by his hypocritical father because Geoff was gay and I had been rejected by my mother because she was selfish. He was irreverently funny. I remained prone to bad judgment. He was instrumental in guiding me away from impending doom. I met a former Navy SEAL who slept in a tree in Coronado. He was the wrong man at the right time. Geoff’s talent for detecting lunacy saved me from an unfortunate weekend romance, in the tree or elsewhere. He suggested a cocktail before I was supposed to meet the SEAL. A cocktail in San Diego morphed into a night in Vegas as the loud, proud patrons of a Liberace impersonator. The ride back to San Diego was a hangover induced blur, Geoff observed, “You’re out of the trees, another disaster averted.”
Hospitality wasn’t a bad racket. There was opportunity for travel along with medical benefits and 401k. In spite of myself, I learned business applications.