Stories of my friends: Matt

When Matt Wayne agreed to let me interview him, he was lying in bed, wearing a flannel button-down and watching a John Wayne movie, a departure from his usual fare of 30 Rock reruns.

“Right now?” he asked. “No.”

“No, tomorrow night. After dinner.”

“OK. Sounds good. Nice look, by the way,” he said, nodding at me.

I was wearing a black t-shirt, underwear and a towel on my head. But what he was referring to was how I held my dog in front of my crotch in a show of modesty.

You see, Matt and I were lovers nearly a quarter of a century ago. But our relationship has relaxed into something more closely resembling that of siblings. He lives in my house and I occasionally yell at him. It works for us.

Matt showed up here in late October looking for a bed and a shower. He had recently sold his salon and was traveling the West, sleeping outside and bathing in rivers. I had an extra room and running water, and was happy to accommodate him. He has been here long enough now that I call him my roommate. He’s clean, he cooks and he’s quiet. Frankly, I hope he never leaves.

But, today he flies to Cuba and will be gone for 3 weeks.

So I asked him why.

Me: Matt, why Cuba?

Matt: I am super excited to get out and be in completely foreign environs and to be cut off from communication and distraction from devices. I want to just focus on what’s going on around me, try to find a close connection with the culture. I want to meet new people. I want to hear, smell, touch, taste and see the country of Cuba.

Me: I get that. What about when you return?

Matt: I’m planning to mingle on the dating scene a little bit, and then go down south to White Sands National Monument. It is a monster trip to get down there, though.

Me: I thought you were going to get into politics.

Matt: There’s a lot of stuff to do. I’m going to go to Portland a lot and explore dating and explore the resistance movement. And gerrymandering. I have the time to get active, so I’d like to do that.

Me: So, you’re staying in Oregon, then?

Matt: I have a picture on the wall. I guess that’s a pretty big thing.

Me: It is. I’m glad. How do you feel about socks?

Matt: I love socks. I like to wear socks and slide around on wood floors.

Me: Say something nice about yourself.

Matt: I’m flexible.

Me: Mentally? Not really.

Matt: Physically.

Me: Do you have any regrets in your life?

Matt: I should have asked more questions.