round trip to cvs

After the dream is broken, there’ll still be love in the world.

Two trains go directly between Charlottesville, which is station CVS, and NYP, Penn Station. I picked the wrong one. Well, it was beyond my control, because I had to be at New York University at 2:30 and the Crescent arrived at 1:46 p.m. and the Northeast Regional arrived at 3:20.

I did not get to the basement of Madison Square Garden until 3:36 p.m. I arrived at my 2:30 appointment at 3:45.

This was a business trip. Since it was in Manhattan, we figured any mode of transportation would have been better than driving. Flying seemed a little too expensive for a day trip, and I’m trying to avoid going to the Port Authority Bus Terminal again.

The problems began even before I officially left. The Crescent gets tied up with freight traffic before it gets to Virginia, so instead of leaving at 7:09, we left at about 8 o’clock. The Northeast Regional leaves Charlottesville at 8:53.

I don’t know we still wound up arriving after the Northeast Regional is scheduled to get to Penn Station. For all I know, it passed us at some point. Or it wound up being pretty close behind us. Or the entire passenger rail system went to crap on the day of my hometown’s 409th anniversary, July 9.

My boss and I caught the very end of the meeting before I changed into my suit (I brought a linen suit with me for that meeting, and I was going to wear it, damn it) in a restroom before the post-meeting reception.

Then we checked into our hotel room. At first, they tried to claim that we only purchased one hotel room. When they realized that mistake, they blamed it on the internet that didn’t work and it couldn’t be fixed until the next day because they “needed a part.”


After we went to our, thankfully, separate hotel rooms, we decided to just have a night out, since we couldn’t do work on a Tuesday. Good thing I didn’t have something crucial to edit. Oh. Wait.

Much like that terrible Myrtle Beach restaurant, I’m not naming the hotel.

We got dinner at Szechuan Mountain House, which mostly was delicious. I got a dish with cony meat. I had hoped it would be a grouper and not a lagomorph. It was a lagomorph, and some of the pieces of meat had tiny bones. After a while, it became hard to eat. The seasonings and everything else were fantastic. I would go again and do a better job of picking a dish.

Afterward, we walked around Alphabet City a bit. My boss lived there for a while and talked about things had have changed since he was there. We stopped at Ace Bar for a while, where we did not play any games (despite that being why we went there). Afterward, we stopped at Paper Daisy, where I had a dinner without bones. Then we got separated after ordering late-night shawarma from I don’t know where (and Google doesn’t either). It was on Allen Street. That’s all I know.

On Wednesday, I scheduled meeting one of Renée’s aunts at 1 p.m. because I left LSW9 there when we made a quick trip up to celebrate another aunt’s birthday in June. After needed coffee at The Bean and more Mediterranean food at Mamoun’s, we walked over to Sixth so our Lyft driver would have an easy time getting to Penn Station.

About 20 minutes in, I looked up and noticed we were on Madison Avenue.


Terrible annotation for effect. Note that Washington Square is off the map to the southwest and where Madison starts relative to Penn Station.

We got out of the car on THIRTY-FIFTH STREET and hoofed it to my wife’s aunt. I was late. So very late. I apologized over texts and in person and I’m certain she still is mad at me because it was a work day.

The train left two minutes early at 2:15 p.m. I was looking forward to getting into my apartment at 9 p.m.

But we were on the Crescent again.

Then we sat in North Brunswick, New Jersey, for 45 minutes. And then we got to Union Station.

Trains are electrified north of Washington. If you’re heading south, you have to wait a few minutes while the engines are switched out. Something was wrong with ours, so we sat. A train to Richmond came and went. I almost hopped on it. I tried to see if I could quickly rent a car. We sat for two hours. You know, basically the duration of the rest of the trip.

The duration of the trip back to CVS somehow took three hours. My Lyft didn’t arrive until 11:30 because who works for Lyft on a Wednesday night?

I got to the my apartment at midnight. I grabbed some fast food and, less than 12 hours later, I was on the road to Richmond. My boss and I scheduled two other business meetings on Thursday. It’s been nearly three months, and writing about this makes me tired.

And here we are. I’ll be able to talk about the weekend of Sept. 28 and include the wedding and I can mention seeing Pete in June, my wedding anniversary and the wedding I attended in the first part of that story because they’re somewhat loosely related. Other than a funeral, nothing of note has happened since that weekend, so we’re effectively caught up now.

Well, I still need to complete the album posts, but whatever. Oh, and I’ve just been playing Brand New Day by Sting a lot over the past three days. I inadvertently got After the Rain Has Fallen in my head and I forgot that I really don’t like Desert Rose.

But I digress.

May I never get this behind on posting again.

G Scott Smith

G Scott Smith is one of my favorite characters. Initially, he was going to be an insufferable hipster, but I kept making him more complex. His legal first name is the letter G. (He prefers no period, as it’s not an abbreviation, but goes by Scott.) He plays blues on a resonator guitar. He has a closet full of stingy brimmed seersucker fedoras. He drives a restored blue 1967 Mustang fastback. He wears $200 slacks. He keeps his hair cut like a 1970s anchorman. He’s a graphic designer. He’s happily married and is an expectant father. He has a ranch taste aversion. He really, really likes weed.

Oh, and he’s bisexual.

That’s been the case from the start. If you, for some reason, only read this for updates on my novel, you missed the whole me announcing that I’m bi thing. In Scott’s case, it’s not a plot point. He and his wife, Sydney, talk about it on occasion, but that’s about it.

I think that both contributed to the stall in editing and prompted me to move forward.

I think I was a little envious of Scott because saying it/thinking about saying it was a part of his story but that part was in the past.

And now that’s over and I’m on Page 244 of 291. Next is reading through it one more time, because I vaguely mentioned year ago that something about a character was problematic and I no longer remember what that was. The finish line is in sight.

Hiatus over

I’ve gotten back into editing Brown River Blues. How it happened is kinda funny (I’ll explain in the next post). Initially, I stalled out at one of the chapters that is outside of the numbering sequence. I have a few that are sorta interludes. They’re of varying lengths and add clarity to other parts of the story but you don’t necessarily need them for the overall narrative. Examples: There are a few newspaper articles and there’s a lengthy one that explains the death of a person that occurred well before the action of the story.

The one that tripped me up tried to do too many things at once. In the source material for parts of this novel, a novel I wrote in high school about high-schoolers, the character of Lorenzo had two best friends. I’ve always known that one of them would run away from home and make contact with Lorenzo on increasingly rare occasions. That happened between the source material and BRB. I felt bad about one of Lorenzo’s childhood friends being in BRB but not the other. I wrote the story of Gordon, but it didn’t fit anywhere except for in this spot where Lorenzo begins to repair his relationship with his dad. (Also, an unusual number of characters all have some problems with their parents, which purely was accidental and varies in degrees of severity ranging from murder-suicide to being helicopter parents.)

Anyway, I deleted Gordon’s story. I still feel bad about it, but everything flows better. Perhaps I’ll add it to the Seven Ninety-Two collection of short stories.

the longest vacation, part five: the vacationing

I don’t know why I just thought of this song.

Aug. 29 & 30

I apparently forgot to take photos this day. On the bright side, Google stalks me, so I know where we went. We largely hung out at the beach and ate locally. Breakfast was at the National House of Pancakes. I eventually got dinner at Big Mike’s Soul Food, and unlike the Restaurant That Shall Not Be Named, I enjoyed every crumb of that pork chop dinner. I mean to warm the food up when we got home, because my takeout was followed by a quixotic journey, but I couldn’t stop eating after just one taste.

I did a very bad job of illustrating that I physically was on a beach.

The next morning, we sadly said goodbye to our view and headed back north.

17/10. Would oceanfront resort again. (But closer to downtown next time.)

On the drive down, I noticed that we passed the town where my fraternity brother, minister at my wedding and former roommate Drew lived. So I visited him and posted a picture on Facebook to make everyone envious. I don’t think anyone has seen him since maybe 2015.


We also stopped in Raleigh on the way back to see Falyn, Isaac and John, but I have no photo proof. She basically dared me to stop by and I did. Because of course I did. I’m Elliott Robinson.

You’ve probably noticed that going to Raleigh would have made no sense from Myrtle Beach because my dog was in Hampton. There was one more thing we had to do before getting Missy.

Aug. 31


There was a promotion at our nearest SoulCycle, in Arlington, and I went to Georgetown to get my mom’s birthday present while I waited for my wife. Then we got the dog and rested at home until Sept. 3. I kinda missed this, the whole epic road trip thing. That was the old me, the me I felt I lost over the years of having horrible work schedules or not caring about whether I got enough sleep.

He’s to epic road trips and getting enough sleep.

the longest vacation, part four

This was supposed to be our last full day. Instead, I extended our stay until Friday. I regret nothing.

I’m not ashamed of how much I’ve played this song.

Aug. 28

Oops. I do regret something. On Aug. 28, 2019, I had the worst steak I’ve ever had in my entire life. It wasn’t rancid or anything. It was just cooked in a impressively bad fashion. I nearly spit it out. I ever send food back, but I nearly sent back that garbage. It was not medium rare like I ordered. It tasted like it was steamed. It was tough. It was woefully underseasoned. And don’t get me started on the abomination that was supposed to be pancetta macaroni and cheese. I usually name the places we go in my travel posts, but screw this place. Screw this place so hard. Never mind that all of the seafood was cooked well.

Yep, still angry about that more than a month later.

Anyway, before I was insulted by a dead cow, I got the sunrise over the Atlantic I’ve been looking for. Despite spending more than half of my life within two miles of an east-facing major body of water, I’ve never seen a sunrise over one. I tried once in high school, but we had been up the whole night and were facing the wrong direction.

So, within weeks of seeing the sun sink into the waves as I crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel after celebrating my aunt-in-law’s birthday in New York, I got my sunrise.

The forecast called for rain that day, and I rained to the point that we bought an umbrella while we were at the outlets. I essentially overhauled half of my wardrobe and retired my Pulp Fiction wallet.

Don’t worry. I’m still a BMF.

The rainy day was short-lived. We walked around downtown for a while and also headed out to the Second Avenue Pier as the sun set.

Additionally, we finally went out for drinks beyond the hotel bar, and I also decided that I wanted a lot of drinks. Because vacation. Since everything is Tropical Sugar flavored, I couldn’t fall asleep. I wandered around the beach near our hotel deep into the night and then slept for a part of the night on the balcony for the ambiance. I managed to take one picture that was somewhat close to decent while I walked.

A creek enters the Atlantic here, and I forded its sandy delta. For the second time during this time off, I had hoped that any accident would be fatal because I would otherwise be killed.

I did a good job of hydrating, so our new last full day wasn’t miserable.

the longest vacation, part three

I didn’t have my phone with me for the first half of this day because we were at the beach.

To be honest, I spent a lot of late August/early September listening to a lot of Pretty Lights.

Aug. 27

Clouds thwarted my attempt to see sunrise on our first morning. I woke up a few minutes before sunrise and decided to stay up for it. I had hoped the clouds would burn off or something, but all I got was dark clouds gradually becoming brighter clouds. After that, I set an alarm for the next morning, headed off the balcony and went back to sleep.


Despite the clouds in the morning, it turned out to be a pretty nice day.

A very, very nice day.

And you could tell how relaxed I was.

Remind me again of why I used to hate going on vacation?

We finally ventured away from the Ocean Reef Resort at about 5:30 p.m. The night before, we also grabbed some takeout from Sol y Luna and the décor compelled my wife to suggest that we start our evening there.

Afterward, it was my pick. I wanted to go on a Ferris wheel. I don’t know why. We researched one of the multiple ones we saw while riding around and went with SkyWheel. The sun set while we were on it.

We then walked around the boardwalk for a bit before going into an old-timey arcade.

We very briefly thought about going to a bar. Briefly.

the longest vacation, part two

Welcome to Post No. 2,300! Remember when I used to mark every 100 posts? That was 300 posts/nearly exactly four years ago. (Do you remember when I used to average about 180 posts a year?) When I hit 2,000, I decided to switch to marking every thousand. So, at this rate, expect that when I’m in my early 40s.

But I digress.

I played this song multiple times a day for like a week in early September and haven’t listened to it since.

Aug. 26

North Carolina is large. I keep forgetting that. It’s less than 1,000 square miles smaller than New York and nearly 10,000 square miles larger than Virginia. I’m reminded of its enormity when I decide to go somewhere there because it’s just the next state over. And then the ride is slightly shorter than a trip to New York because the far southeast part of the Tarheel State is as far from Charlottesville as Brooklyn.

Our voyage through North Carolina on our way to South Carolina took about an extra hour because because we had to go to Hampton first to drop off Missy. It was our belated fifth anniversary trip, and getting Missy into/out of (semi) public spaces always is a thing because she does not like other dogs.

We went to Myrtle Beach because my wife used to vacation there with her family and liked it. I was just ready to go on vacation overall because of a large project that ate up my life for a good chunk of the year. While I was at the racetrack, I felt relaxed in a way I hadn’t felt in years. I knew the newsroom was capable of running for a few days without me, so I seldom thought of work. I purposely did not bring my computer. It was fantastic.

The sunlight was perfect when we arrived.

We had a room with an ocean view.

I resolved to see the sun rise one day before we left.

Due east is slightly to the left of our balcony.

We almost immediately went to the beach.

My mom’s comment upon seeing my getup (not seen: my second pair of customized Chucks): “Well, that’s your husband.”

I’d didn’t know how much I missed the Atlantic. Growing up in Hampton Roads made me take it for granted. Although it was great to be back, I was missing the Blue Ridge the whole time.

I’ve always wished the Chesapeake Bay was clearer. This photo does no justice to the water because the sun was setting and I never got more than my ankles wet this entire trip.

And then I discovered the resort bar.

I’ve had enough coconut-flavored drinks to last a lifetime.

Because we’re wild and crazy thirtysomethings, we capped off the night with a trip to Target. I now own about three pairs of shorts. The taste of the weather I had before the sun set made me reconsider my exposing my calves moratorium.

the longest vacation, part one

This is my favorite song of the moment. It does not go with the theme of this post.

Since the beginning, I used Roman numerals for all of my trips. I jammed two, technically three vacations into the nearly two weeks I had off in August, so I initially didn’t know whether to label this xxii; xxii and xxiii; or xxii through xxiv. I’m going to count it as one, as it was contiguous time off, but I’m going to break this into parts.

Aug. 23 & 24


It’s Year Two of being Lamborghini VIPs. This time, instead of heading back 15 miles to Danville this time around, we decided to camp out with the other fans at the track. We’re thinking about making this a largely yearly tradition and getting an increasing number of fraternity brothers joining us, regardless of whether we get to go to the fanciest of the hospitality areas. This year, we did get a third brother to come and almost had a fourth.

The first order of business was setting up the tent, and I’m glad we did because it unexpectedly rained a lot the first afternoon.

Not pictured: The rain.

That night, Beanie showed up, joining Butler and me. Then, since it had dried out enough, we went exploring the campground. Our first stop was a Tiki bar we noticed the year before. After that, the night devolved into going to several party sites, riding precariously on the backs of souped-up off-road vehicles and entirely too much alcohol.

“If we crash this thing, I hope I die because, otherwise, my wife will kill me.”

The next morning, we definitely dragged a bit. We caught some of the practice runs and early races. We also caught up with some of the people we met the night before. Their night wound up being a lot wilder than ours, including a dude who work up in a strange person’s camper and had to retrace where some of his valuables were.

Prototype cars.

Along with needing to be around for the big race on Sunday, a constant, overwhelming urge to go back to sleep and the chilly temperatures after the Friday rains, we took it easy. We didn’t make it to 1 a.m.

Aug. 25

Gradually, the sun came out, but the previous damp conditions mad the track slick in spots. We saw a lot of vehicles slide off the track during the races. The races were pretty good overall, though. And, as usual, the hospitality area had amazing food. I’ve been trying to eat a lot less lately, but I ate a lot during that trip. I also walked a lot, so there’s that.

After learning that once can rent a Lambo for less than a golf cart at the track (RENTING A GOLF CART IS FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-ONE AMERICAN DOLLARS), we headed for home. I was happy that it was early because It would be time to hit the road again in a few hours.

I apologize for this posts being a bit short on words. By the time I catch back up, I’m going to be talking about the first full week in July. And then I need to reference June when I finally get back to last weekend.

family weekend

It’s weird how something that looks so unfamiliar feels so much like home.

There only are three buildings in this photo. Technically, two of them were there before I graduated, but they did not look like this.
This view and what’s directly behind me, Santoro and James River halls, are the only things that look they way it did in the 2004-2005 academic year.
At least Rita’s still is there.

Last month (which seems like a century ago), I went to CNU Family Weekend at Michael’s request. His sister was supposed to come with us, but she decided to hang out with friends after I bought tickets to the football game. Michael’s in the and he wanted us to see him perform.

He’s down there somewhere, Part One.
He’s down there somewhere, Part Two.

There were a few musical performances, so I only got to see him in person for about two whole minutes, but he knew we were there. We spent most of the day on campus, including visiting where we first met. The doors were locked, since it’s no longer an academic building, so we couldn’t go in. Additionally, exactly where we first met is now a server room. This was good enough.

Ratcliffe Hall.

Oh, since I haven’t posted any photos and such in a while, I haven’t cut my beard in more than a year, and I got a backup pair of glasses for when I don’t want to put in contacts/it isn’t advantageous to have contacts in. Of course the frames are orange. They’re also an Easter egg.

(Also behold how blind I am.)

Anyway, it felt so great and comfortable to walk around the campus. There was a brief moment when I forgot I wasn’t a student. (I had a work assignment due over the weekend and I tried to remember what class it was for.) As I said before, it makes me very happy that Michael is there. CNU wasn’t my first choice, but so many things in my life would not have happened if I didn’t not wind up in Santoro 202 in August 2001.

Despite the changes, the New Great Lawn does look pretty at night, though.

Go Captains.

i can’t think of a title that feels right

Monday afternoon, I did what I thought I’d never officially do. Or at least until I got out of journalism.

Until Monday, I only had two secrets left, and one of them wasn’t mine. My sister Theresa told me something when she effectively was on her deathbed, and that secret dies with me because I made a promise to her.

As for the other one, it only recently started gnawing at me. It was in part because it was the only thing left unsaid. I mean, if you’ve read this from the start, I’ve gone into great detail about discovering that the person who molested me when I was a child was serving a life term in a Florida prison (once my third secret), my college partying, getting food poisoning, my yearslong quest to win back the woman who is now my wife, being in such distress because of the conditions of my first journalism job that I had a minor mental heath crisis and then my really big mental health crisis in 2012.

Now that I’ve clumsily ripped off that bandage, it seems ridiculous in retrospect, especially for one of my reasons to leave it unsaid.

One of the reasons that I never officially told anyone that I was bisexual was because I knew I had to deal with the crap that came with being a Black journalist and I didn’t want to be the bisexual Black journalist. Unless I dated a dude and had to then constantly go through the whole spiel of “no, I’m not gay.”

I’ll wait while you all pause for a second and read that previous paragraph again.


Anyway, I’ve known ever since I went through puberty, so this is year 25. Until about 11th grade, I went through varying degrees of denial. I told a select few people in high school and then added it to the list of things I just would not talk about, like my political views, because of my choice of career.

And then I fell in love with a girl and decided it wasn’t really necessary to say anything because I wasn’t going to mess around with anyone else while I was dating her.

Here’s a good place to pull out an aside!

  • Bisexuals exist. There’s a B in LGBT+, and it doesn’t stand for bacon. Bisexual erasure is a major problem. I’ll get back to this further down, but that was a deciding factor for this announcement. I’m in a heteronormative relationship, and that does not mean that I was just going through a phase.
  • It doesn’t mean that I’m indecisive. As long as she puts up with this and all the other reasons I’m a weirdo, we’re in this for the long haul.
  • Bisexuality doesn’t mean you’re hypersexual. I don’t want to “experiment.” I don’t want a threesome, and I don’t want anyone on the side. Bi people are fully capable of finding the one person they want and sticking to them. I found someone, and I want to stick with her for as long as she’ll have me. All those Medium posts or whatever from people “mourning” a part of their identity that they “lost” once they entered into what outwardly looks like a monogamous straight relationship just miss being promiscuous just like all the other gay and straight people who have no business trying to give someone monogamy when they know they’re incapable of it.

And that more or less brings us back here. Because I was in a heteronormative relationship, it morphed into me not mentioning it unless a very pointed question was asked. Surprisingly, it rarely happened despite me having a purple velvet blazer, a shimmery grey blazer, a rose-print sweater and other interesting shirts and shoes over the years.

I erased myself, and it felt increasingly burdensome as bi people gained more exposure among media beyond the stereotypes that reinforced the erasure.

And Monday happened at the convergence of a story that isn’t mine to tell and Twitter being pretty heavy handed with Bi-Visibility Day. I should have had some discussion first and probably should have made a version of this post, but on my work Twitter, I said something along the lines of “If my wardrobe never tipped you off, guess what?” And then, on Facebook, I said I’m nearly 40 and no longer care about your opinion and then posted a GIF of Detective Rosa Diaz from the 100th episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.


Another contributing factor was that I think I missed the window of bringing this all up earlier. It took me a few years to see an LGBT reporter who was “the LGBT reporter.” But I was so deep into my whole I don’t need to say anything unless I get serious with a boy that I remained silent.

I got pretty close to not caring and blurting it out in the summer of 2011, but Tropical Storm Lee struck the Hopewell News and delayed my departure to North Carolina. My plan was to get a comfortable enough distance away from everyone so that I didn’t have to deal with any blow back. Because, you know, with the whole erasure thing, I didn’t know how anyone was going to react.

I was afraid then. I was afraid in the seconds leading up to me nearly being crass online about this. I’m still afraid. There’s a handful of people on Facebook I excluded. I’ve noticed that I’ve periodically checked my number of friends to see if it’s gone down. I’ve winced at incoming calls and texts from friends and family. I briefly thought one of my closest friends blocked my number. (I was told through his roommate’s phone that his cell was just out of commission.) I’m waiting for all of the assumptions that are going to come, along with me being the Black editor of a publication that literally just emblazoned “truth, community, equity” on shirts.

But, overall, I don’t feel any different. I mean, you know everything else. I don’t have Christmas lights I was waiting to wear after this. I already was being myself. I might be a bit more vocal about some LGBT+ issues and call out bisexual erasure like racism, but that’s about it.

Anyway, here’s the Wikipedia entry on bisexual erasure. If you want more scholarly works, there are footnotes at the end.