Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Random Moments

Note to self: make sure you get to a park at sundown so you can see fireflies, and hear crickets. Sure, they go on all Summer long, but the fireflies at least tend to peak right around now, so if you want the best show, make it happen. You've gotten in the habit of making sure not to miss violet season (though it took a few years), now you need to do the same with fireflies. Parts of Central Park are safe after dark, and Fort Tryon is even better. For now, don't expect to go to sleep listening to crickets though. That's one pleasure that will have to wait for a while.


Dear Working guy on Hudson Street,

What was that thing you were carrying yesterday? It was longer than the width of the sidewalk, seemed to have upholstery on one of the sides then metal on the other. At first I thought it was some part of a very long bench, but now I wonder if it was meant to fit around the corner of a wall somehow. It obviously was very light, since you carried it easily with one arm. But here's a thought; maybe while you're carrying something that long, you might want to think twice about ogling some strange woman's ass as she walks away from you. I know a good ass should always be acknowledged or you lose your man parts or something, but still. It was almost a Laurel and Hardy routine when you swung around and blocked the entire sidewalk, almost knee-capping me in the process. So you might want to watch that, 'kay?




While walking through the heather garden at Fort Tryon (one of NYC's little gems), I found myself so happy to see bees. I couldn't be sure they were honeybees, in fact they probably weren't, but I was still glad to see them. I've learned since this whole "disappearance of wild honeybees" debacle came up that in fact they aren't native to North America, and were seriously damaged years ago by a parasite anyway, so losing them isn't as dire as it was originally made out to be... but I still felt really happy to see them. I've always liked them, but now they seemed that much more precious. The cliche of them being industrious really does fit, but in watching them, they also just seemed cheerful as they worked. So brisk, buzzing around, dancing on the heads of each flower, they just seemed happy in what they were doing. I know, I know, major anthropomorphizing: my point is, watching them made me happy. They also seemed to be focusing that day on the lavender, which was a choice I could hardily endorse.


It's been nearly three weeks, but I wanted to talk about my experience at the GLBT Pride parade. One highlight for me was meeting Big Daddy blogger Joe.My.God, who I've been reading more or less on a daily basis for a few years now. He had mentioned he would be at the corner of Gay and Christopher, so people should stop by to say hi. Of course once I got there, I had the same problem I do with any celebrity I meet. After I gush a bit ("I love your work!") I don't have anything else to say. The problem was compounded in this case by the fact that Joe was surrounded by hordes of guys, all whom, it became very clear, were also bloggers, but bloggers I had NOT been reading, so I'd really have nothing to say, unless I wanted to lie ("as long as there absolutely NO follow-up questions, I love your work!"). At the time this felt like it had the making of a major social blunder, so I decided not to linger.

But that isn't really the story I wanted to tell. One of the fun things about the Pride experience is that it starts as soon as I get on the train. I look around at my fellow passengers, sussing out who is going the same place I am. Especially getting on in my Harlem neighborhood, it's fun trying to guess who of my immediate neighbors wants to make this a part of his/her day. I assume one can tell I'm gay from space, so I'm always a little surprised when people don't guess it (it does TOO happen), but I'm thinking today it would be hard to miss unless one were seriously naive or in denial. You know, lots of earrings, necklaces, bracelets, even an anklet (gift from Friend Kate), sleeveless shirt to show off my tattoo (not the non-existent biceps), I don't know, it just seemed pretty clear. The same was true for lots of my fellow passengers, and of course the crowd got bigger as we moved south.

Somewhere south of 42nd St, a guy got on and sat across from me. Heavy-set, dressed in long pants, blue blazer, open collar shirt, he doesn't look dressed for work but he also doesn't look dressed for the parade. Unless it's a costume and his float has a Gilligan Island theme or something, but barring that, I'm figuring, not on his way to the parade. But he keeps checking me out. Especially if anyone stands between us, he periodically looks around to see if I'm still there. In fact this is some of the clumsiest cruising I have ever witnessed. He's not even pretending; sure he's reading a book, but when he looks up for me, he moves his whole head, even his body if he needs to see past someone else, then when he sees me, reassured, he goes back to his book.

When we get to 14th St the hordes disembark, so I'm on the stairs to the street before I realize he's directly behind me. "I hope you have a fantastic day," he says. "Thanks, you too," I reply. Now on the street, he says, "I'm J____."
"Nice to meet you J___. I'm Patrick."
He tells me about the party he's going to which is a graduation party for a friend who just got her second Masters, this one in Social Work ("Good for her," I say. "Yeah, she's a really good person."). Then, with no transition whatsoever he tells me he can't wait for his wife to get back tonight, and he'll be really happy when his daughter gets back at the end of the summer. I never learned where she was or what she was doing, but since she was all of 13 years old (I did learn this), I assumed it was some sort of extended Summer camp. J_____ proceeded to wax rhapsodic about how much he loved her, and how wonderful she was, and how he knows parents always say that about their kids, but he thinks that's as it should be, and she really is the joy of his life. Okay, so if this is a pick-up it's the worst one ever. I'm assuming it's not, even if he tells me two more times that he hopes I have a fantastic day, it's clear he knows where I am going, and he hopes it will be fun. I really don't know what he is up to.

I can't say I ever got a good answer to this. At some point our paths parted, I went one way, he went another, wishing me once again a fantastic day... and that was it. Maybe he's a major closet case wanting to make some connection, ANY connection with another gay guy, just had to protest his straight bona fides first, and was hoping I'd make a move on him. Sorry J____, that ain't gonna happen. Maybe he's just one of the world's most socially awkward straight guys, who just wanted to let me know he was down with ma peeps. That's nice, it really is, but still, why, out of all the obvious queers getting off at that stop, did he pick me? I tend to get approached by awkward strangers quite a bit, actually. I think it's because I look harmless. So maybe that was it. I don't know. It was an odd, but rather touching start to my Pride Parade experience. I hope he had a nice time at the party, got to see his wife that night, and they called their daughter. I hope that really was what he was looking for.


Jeff Wills said...

I hope so too, Patrick, but it can be tough to resist the Lacey magic. At least he didn't invite you to the party.

Out right, anyway.

Patrick said...

You're a doll. Though the gay men -and casting directors- of New York don't seem to have any problem resisting. Gotta work on my mojo. Gotta find my mojo. Gotta confirm I, in fact, have a mojo. I'll get back to you on that.

I hadn't considered that he might have wanted to invite me to the party. I think, though, he was really REALLY committed to me having a fantastic day at the Parade, even if he never mentioned it specifically. But like I said, I was never clear what he wanted, assuming he wanted more than to say hi.