I got a haircut and color from Hair Ole on 18th Street for the upcoming Atlantis cruise. Since I am not working I figured I could go all out and do the bleach-tipped fauzhawk look I have wanted to try. I know, yesterday, but please let me have some fun while I catch up on trends.
Today is my day to fill out my absentee ballot for the upcoming Super-Tuesday primary election. I’ll support Hillary, as I am leery of Obama on gay issues since he found fit to pal around with a homophobic preacher to pander to the religious crowd.
Meanwhile Sirius OutQ radio is hosting what they bill as the first ever LGBTQ presidential caucus today, during Michelangelo Signorile’s call in show. However neither Hillary nor Obama will be on this, strictly campaign reps. This kind of setup bothers me because the campaign reps can pander as much as they like for now while the candidates can later distance themselves if anything too specific is promised. I’ll catch the highlights on the internet later.
My partner and I are about to embark on a vacation in the western Caribbean, on an Atlantis all-gay cruise. If you’re familiar with Atlantis you will understand that we’ll need a vacation when we return. If you’re not familiar with Atlantis let it suffice to say that this is not you’re great-aunt and uncle’s cruise. I’ve never been on a regular (i.e. straight) cruise. But unless that crowd is up partying all night poolside to world-class DJs, and making use of a totally different connotation of cruise, it can’t be the same.
Today I am channeling a crazed-Jane-Curtain-cokehead-grocery-bag-organizing persona as I get ready for this alleged vacation. I spent three hours in the fog-shrouded suburb of Daly City shopping at Target for door-decor. Now door decorating is one of the traditions of the gay cruise. (Does this happen on straight cruises?) Many cruise-goers strew their cabin doors with pictures, tchotchkes, bric-a-brac and anything that will creatively let passerby know something about them, or provide a quick jolt of entertainment as someone passes by. By no means does everyone participate in this but an amazing number do, especially given the amount of thought, shopping, crafting and packing that goes into a lot of these efforts. I had three qualities I wanted for our door – pictures of us and San Francisco, a message board, and something that would change each day. So I prepared a packing list for the door that included prints of both of us, postcards of San Francisco which I cut up into recognizable pieces such as cable car, Golden Gate bridge, a mini whiteboard, and lots of adhesives and velcro to stick things on the door.
We’ll be traveling with friends from San Francisco on the flight to Miami where we overnight before boarding the ship Saturday afternoon. We’ll be meeting up with another group from North Carolina on the ship. And we’ll certainly run into many people we know from San Francisco and around the country, since there are about 3600 people on this cruise.
A dear friend, who I won’t call old its just that our *friendship* is old, moved away to New England last summer. After she settled in to her lovely new house in a small town near Long Island Sound she set out to get herself a companion. A kitten in fact, an American Ragdoll that she took in and named Mariano after a Yankees ballplayer. I don’t follow baseball at all so I don’t know if this is a dead player from long ago or a current star, nor do I know what position he played/plays. So don’t ask! My friend is a native Long Islander and a longtime Yankees fan.I met Mariano when he was about six months old last November on my first visit to see my friend after the move. He was very cute, fuzzy and playful just like a kitten should be. A bit on the naughty side as well, wanting to play all night, and hiding among our feet as we stood around the kitchen. Clearly he was now the object of my friend’s deep affection, and this was the first time she had lived with anyone in a long time. Decades. Not since a roommate whom she had fallen in love with, unbeknownst, got married and moved out on her. I think she swore off love after that for a while. But this cute fuzzy kitten stirred up all the latent mother instincts in my friend, and no expense was spared to spoil little Mariano. And that was well and good.My friend called me this past week and told me that Mariano was dead. Just like that out of the blue basically. He had been sick for the last week, just a tummy ailment the vet had said, followed by colitis. Nothing serious. Then BAM he got a little sicker, the vet ran another set of tests and it was found Mariano had a fatal feline viral infection, incurable. He survived just a day after that diagnosis and then had to be euthanized. My friend is as grief-stricken as if her child had passed away. My heart goes out to her.
The novel, “The Known World”, follows the lives of several generations of free black families in one articular county of antebellum Virginia. The stories are interesting in their own right, but what strikes me most is again the spartaness of life back then, between about 1840 and 1880. This county was untouched by railroads up to the Civil War. As far as one could ride a horse all day was a very long way. People occupied their time by working, or pastimes that involved very little other than themselves and their own imagination. The bible was read because it was often the only book available in a family. Slaves of course were not taught to read and so even bible reading was not possible. Just singing, telling stories, whittling, walking, or chores. Even the wealthy free people had few options. It was a very long trip to Richmond which is the nearest city where one could go to a play or opera production. Something akin to having to travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles probably. Certainly an overnight journey. And one would not be able to make any reservations ahead of time, as this was before the telephone. One would have to send a messenger in to Richmond perhaps. The phonograph was not yet invented, so the only music was live performance, or perhaps a player piano or music box. The wealthy could afford more books. And could also afford lamps rather than candles, which would provide more light indoors at night.