Discover more from Justin Is A Single Christian Mother
Closer, Closer, Closer
Just because you have access to information doesn't mean you need it.
Alexa, please play “Murder in the City” by Brandi Carlie, because I thought I was going to get murdered in the city.
I was talking with my boyfriend in the park this afternoon, and I was saying how much the internet scares me. Growing up, whenever anyone would ask about God or the afterlife, the adults in my life would fall back on the same refrain: God is so large and all-knowing that our minds can’t comprehend it. Well played, adults who are equally baffled by God. But I called bullshit on that. How can anything be so far-reaching that the human mind can’t handle it?
I didn’t understand. Not until later. Barring God appearing before us, the internet is the closest thing we have to omnipotence. You can know almost anything by logging on and searching long enough. But that’s a dangerous power to have—one that I’m not sure we are equipped to handle. As it turns out, a constant flow of information can drive you mad. Or at least scare the hell out of you.
That takes us to 2013, when I lived with a group of Mormons in this gorgeous house in Arlington. I loved that house. It had this incredible back porch with string lights hanging over it. Looked like an episode of Brothers & Sisters come to life, and that went a long way. I had a thing for Matthew Rhys back then. This was a house I had dreamed of living in my whole life: beautifully decorated with all these tasteful home improvement hacks around the place. If I’ve learned one hard and fast rule in my life, it’s that there are two only two groups of people you can trust with DIY: Mormons and lesbians.
When I moved in, the guys weren’t forthcoming about the fact that they were Mormons, but I wasn’t forthcoming about how I was gay. Or a chain smoker. Or how I preferred to leave leftover pizza out on the counter at room temperature. We all overlooked some paramount details. After all of that came to light, I noticed that I saw them around the house less and less. We worked out a schedule where we didn’t see much of each other—that left Mondays and Thursdays open for me to watch TV in the living room, alone.
One night, I was watching Dancing with the Stars, back when Brooke Burke Charvet was still hosting. I’m sorry, but Erin Andrews never had the right to host that competition. I believe I can trace the rise of American extremism to Erin Andrews taking over as post-dance interviewer. I am off track, I apologize.
While I was watching Amber Riley cha cha cha, I was also on my phone participating in the great American past time of trying to find homosexual companionship on an app. Following my standard strategy of sending out about two dozen “hey man” messages to an assortment of nice faces and nicer torsos, I put my phone down to see how Amber scored. Three nines on week one while dancing to Little Mix. What a talent.
I looked at my phone again. The thing about Grindr is that you can see how far away people are from you, down to the feet. I had no fear about messaging someone 400 feet away because you can’t be certain which direction I am coming from, right? That’s the insurance. But as I bounced between Twitter and Grindr, I noticed that someone’s distance estimate kept shrinking. What started as 2 miles became 1. One mile became thousands of feet. Again, surely nothing to be concerned about, but it’s unnerving nonetheless. Alone in the living room, Dancing with the Stars ended and all of a sudden, a blonde man with a rugged jawline had entered the “hundreds of feet range,” which is when the panic set in.
When it comes to fight or flight, I’m a fighter. That’s mostly because I don’t have good history with running long distances. I’m willing to bet more on hand to hand combat, you know? Looking at my phone, this man, who never responded to my “hey man” message was 96 feet away. There was no time to run, even if I wanted to. I looked around and the only two weapons at my disposal were a lamp and a Book of Mormon, and I can’t be sure why, but I grabbed the Book of Mormon. To err is human; to defend your life with a Book of Mormon is divine.
Ninety-six feet was too close for comfort, and after deciding that wielding a holy text was my best strategy, there was no time to check my phone anymore. Lights appeared in our driveway, but I couldn’t decide if it was better for me to sit or stand. So for about thirty seconds, I did this squatty dance over the couch, holding the word of the ancient prophets who once chilled in America.
The door opened and one of my roommates appeared. Behind him, a blonde man with a rugged jawline. I started to laugh because what do you do with this? My roommate said, “Hey Justin, this is my friend.” I kept laughing. “Hey man,” he said. I laughed harder. “Are you reading the Book of Mormon,” he asked, and I’m not sure why, but that question sobered me up entirely. With an straight face, I told them, “I love it.” He and my blonde friend went upstairs after that, and I never saw him again. The Grindr guy, not my roommate. No one died.
A couple months later, the house made a decision that I should probably move out. They called and left me a voicemail while I was on a work trip in California, and I left at the end of that month. That was probably for the best. I have not been on Grindr in a long while, which I suspect is probably for the best, too. Partly because I’m in a monogamous relationship but also because these minute details of our whereabouts, the answers to life’s great mysteries, our every thought—we don’t need access to all of them.
Let some things remain a mystery, Roman. And keep a legitimate weapon nearby.
Anyway, in other news, here’s some stuff from my world this week