heart beating, palms sweaty as I make my way into the diner to ask for Mystery.
literally, her name is Mystery.
it causes me to wonder if I am really looking for Mystery, or is this an example of trying too hard to fit in with the....
well, the weirdos.
i feel like it's the latter.
i ask the hostess in a hushed whisper for what i came in search for. she rolls her eyes just enough that i notice. i follow her back to the kitchen.
Mystery! she shouts. i am startled. then, a short, average looking, dark haired, twenty something year old pops out from behind the kitchen wall.
yeah?, she asks as i glance at the name tag on her chest, Mystery, it reads.
um, I'm looking to meet a.....um, a group? i was told to ask for you.... i stutter.
she rolls her eyes enough that i notice. then, silence.
um, you know?..... i continue like an idiot looking for words that are not there. more silence.
you mean the group for people with alternative sex interests? she shoots the words straight at me.
i breathe a sigh of relief at her boldness, thankful my conversation with Mystery is no longer so mysterious and is soon to be a memory.
over there, she points to the other side of the diner where a group of about 30 average looking strangers sit at tables pushed together. eating, talking among themselves.
i head over to the group of people from different walks of life, but tied together through the common bond they share. as a stranger looking in, i wouldn't be able to guess what that bond was, except, i did know. the common bond was the reason I was why here.
no one looks up from their plates of greasy fried food and cups of coffee.
in this moment i am beginning to get the feeling that this wasn't exactly what i had hoped for when driving to the diner just ten minutes earlier.
clearly, i am trying to penetrate a group that is bound together through a fierce love of whips, latex, and ass plugs. not the type of group to be terribly open to outsider penetration without some hoops to jump through first.
i find a table with a few empty seats and sit down. i take off my coat, situate my bag on the back of the chair. once again, my heart is thumping away and a lump in my throat is forming making it difficult to think about speaking.
what do i do now? i wonder to myself wishing for some sort of weirdo welcome committee.
hi! says the thirty something male directly in front of me. i soften a bit at the first kind word said to me since walking into the diner.
hi. i say in return. i meet his eyes, he looks into mine, then looks away. i think my tendency to look deep into the eyes of others is unnerving him, and i'm not ashamed that i like the way it feels to be slightly dominate with this man. it's a game i'm getting good at playing.
he explains to me that he isn't a regular in this group, but he is a big deal in his community back home. he starts to talk of who he knows and what he's done, obviously the subject he likes best of all, and i begin to feel boredom set in.
what exactly have i gotten myself into? i think. this seems to be just a random group of people with normal, dull lives that need some top secret sex interest group in order to feel some excitement to break up the mundane.
is this a reflection of me?, i wonder.
the waitress takes my order of stuffed french toast, and i pour hot water on top of the lemon slices in my mug. i take a long sip, drawing out this private moment, hoping to clear my head a bit.
i'm abruptly shaken from the clarity when the seat next to me is filled with a man who grabs my hand shaking it desperately. i'm new, he says, and i feel so awkward.
i laugh out loud. ditto, i say, relieved for a comrade.
yeah, he says. i'm not sure what i'm doing here, but i'm hooking up with this chick that likes me to spank her....hard......you know what i mean? i like it and all, but i don't want to really hurt her......god...it's so hot.....you know?......but I should learn what i'm doing.....you know what i mean? it's fun.....it does turn me on....she suggested I learn more....that's why i'm here.... you know?.....he chokes on his words like vomit.
i turn my head and loudly exhale.
this is when the conversation at the table turns to the use of stage names (after i was introduced to a few more people at the table, all using their sexy stage names meant to intrigue), and if they use their stage names to protect their privacy in the real world. this morphs into a conversation on if they share the fact they have a sexual pervert alternative life (i say this with love) with their families and friends that are not in the know. this subject perks my ears up because i find it fascinating where people draw their personal lines and boundaries and why.
i have to be very careful and discrete about what i share about this secret life, says the man across the table from me who first said hi. i mean, i don't want my parents to find out...his voice trails off into the unknown.
what are you afraid of? i ask. and then......silence.
clearly, i wasn't supposed to ask that.
i shift in my chair and ask myself why is this such a sore spot for so many?
i'm just too weird for the weirdos, i decide.
oh good, says the girl sitting diagonally from me. they're here! now these are the people to talk to about how the group works, talking directly to me and my comrade.
i glance behind me and a small posse of people, again, average looking, but with more black leather then the rest of the group enter the dining area. they begin to walk toward the other side of the room and the man seated across from me slumps slightly in defeat. obviously desperate for the leaders attention, the man whistles across the room to catch the larger leader mans eye, then waves. the larger man signals to his posse to follow him and they make their way over to fill the empty chairs at our table. the man across from me is pleased.
i get the quick feeling of, now this might begin to make sense, and again, loudly exhale.
i let the posse take their seats, look over the menu, and talk some niceties to the others before starting in on my direct questioning to these self-declared leaders on why exactly i was sitting in a diner full of these particular strangers at ten at night. i could feel my patience begin to wear thin.
after some talk on the ins and outs of how their group functions, i felt just as confused as ever.
what is this? i ask myself.
and then the light bulb comes on and it starts making sense.
just another social club.
just another reason for one of a kind, individual, unique mutations to get together and say "we".
it doesn't matter if you get to talk about jesus, the PTA, enlightenment, or nipple torture.
it's all social games set up to pretend this business of living is serious.
just another human attempt at spirituality without calling it spirituality.
which is fine. and, if that's what people want to do, then fine. whatever. i have no problem with that.
i just want absolutely no part, and my diner trip further confirms this within me.
i'm too weird for the weirdos.
so, the class you attended tonight? i ask the man across me. who taught it?
he points to a women seated in a booth across the room. fully dressed head to toe in black leather (pleather, perhaps?) with major cleavage bulging. this woman was the climax of my adventure.
i excuse myself from the table, saying my goodbyes. no one seems to care much, except for my comrade. now he's flying solo.
i focus in on my target, my reason for showing up and eating nasty stuffed french toast in a lame attempt to fit in. now was my time to get some mileage out of my evening. i had to make it worth it, somehow.
she sees me coming from across the room and shifts nervously in her seat.
excuse me, i say. my name is aubrey ixchel, and i understand you taught the class tonight? i was hoping to talk with you, if you don't mind?
her friends sharing her booth immediately vacate the premise without a word, and i scoot in right next to her.
uncomfortably close, but that was the idea.
looking deep into her eyes, trying to make some sense of who this person was, i just look.
she scoots back giving herself more inches of booth between us.
i ask her about the class she taught tonight, she doesn't say much.
i ask her about her personal experience in her field, she doesn't say much.
i ask her about her educational path, she doesn't say much, except that her dad sits on the board of directors at the school she went to. it seems to me that this is a big deal to her.
i ask her the name of her school she went to out of curiosity?
you crossed the line, she says.
oh, i say.
then i apologize.
i was just excited the conversation seemed to be getting some momentum.
she says, that's fine. i'm very good at keeping my boundaries.
clearly, i think. you are so tight no one's getting in.
i ask her who inspires her in her field, she says she's the only one.
and this is when i must give up. there is no point in sharing and caring with someone who is only about protecting themselves and their militantly defined boundaries.
my heart aches at this type of humanity.
i mumble some pathetic goodbyes. leave the booth, leave the diner.
never look back.
just another social club.
too weird for the weirdos, i say.
smile creeping up onto my lips.