Monday, April 21, 2003

Can't You See She's Pooped?

Another one of those weeks where I need a vacation to recover from my vacation. After posting on Thursday, my life neglected to slow down... in fact it sped up just a little. Not that things moved fast, just that it was one thing after another after another, leaving me absolutely no time to sit and think and rest. On top of which, all of these things started rather early in the day, and I've been having an awful lot of trouble falling asleep at night lately.

Friday, I had to get up early to take Grandmother to her barium enema appointment. She was not looking forward to the experience one little bit, being quite consistently opposed to having anything put into her ass, especially something goopy and white (some people just don't know how to have fun). And though she found it disgusting to the nth degree, she decided when it was all over that the enema wasn't anywhere near as bad as the fasting that she had to do in preparation.

Grandmother isn't a big fan of the beverage, in fact she has to pretty much force herself to drink two or three glasses of water a day; so when she had to drink at least eight ounces of water or juice every hour on the hour for a whole day, on top of the mugs of clear broth she got to have for lunch and dinner, and the eight ounces of juice into which she had to dissolve the Fleet Phospho-Soda laxative, she felt like she was actually sloshing when she moved... and she moved often, so often that she considered bringing her television and some pillows and blankets into the bathroom and just camping out.

So after we were done in the Radiology clinic, we had intended to go out to lunch so Grandmother could have some solid food, but she was too tired and wanted to just go home to bed. I thought I'd like a nap, myself, but was unable to fall asleep or even get comfortable, so I got up again and ran a bunch of errands here and there... such exciting and fabulous errands, like going to Home Depot to buy rat poison (there's a critter in the attic, gnawing, I can hear it sometimes at night right over my head) and a halogen bulb for our side-yard floodlight.

One really cool thing, though: Home Depot has this new thing where you do your own check-out! You scan your items (there's someone watching to make sure you scan all your items), put them in a bag, zip your card through, pull your receipt out of the slot, and voilà! It was the coolest thing I've seen in a long time. For those of us who would just as soon not interact with clerks and salespeople, this is a great idea. I wish they had that at the grocery store.

Then I swung by Caroline's and picked her up for the evening; proceeded to my office to leave a check for the cleaning-lady and see if any packages had arrived (nothing, alas); drove through McDonald's for Grandmother and cousin Jessie (after twenty-four hours of juice and broth, what solid food does my Grandmother crave most? A crummy mass-produced burger and fries!), and then went out for dinner and walkies and a video with Caroline.

First we ate at Spettro, a favorite on Lakeshore, where Caroline decided to simply skip dinner and eat two desserts instead (she was having one of those days), apple crumble and crème de cassis chocolate decadence cake, while I opted for something healthy, the saffron risotto with asparagus and other veggies (no meat, I though I wouldn't miss it, but I did), and ogled our cute Russian waiter.

Then we walked around to Walden's Pond books on Grand, where Caroline bought a bunch of books for really silly reasons... such as an old copy of Bulfinch's Mythology (one of the most boring and vague compendia on Greco-Roman mythology and Arthurian folklore I've ever read) because she liked the color of the cover, or the paperback version of Dante's Inferno — not because it's one of the most beautiful pieces of poetry ever written, or because it's a cunning and fascinating dissertation on the nature of sin and the human condition, but merely because it's about death and Hell. Of course, I almost never walk out of Walden's Pond empty-handed, and this time was no different: I picked up three paperbacks that looked interesting, Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey, Two Symphonies by André Gide, and Mysterious Skin by Scott Heim. All of their covers were pretty, too.

Then we continued six or so blocks up the street to Silver Screen Video, the place I started going when I finally got sick enough of Blockbuster to try something new (about three years ago, Shiloh and I wanted to see Valley of the Dolls and Blockbuster didn't even have it). As usual I found a lot more movies on the Previously Viewed sale table than on the rental shelves, and so bought copies of B. Monkey (oh, how I love Jonathan Rhys Myers!), Murder by Numbers (ditto Michael Pitt), and Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills for $4.98 each, and of course a not-previously-viewed copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (at a retail price that I am too embarrassed to write down), while only renting Minority Report (which was much better than I expected, though perhaps a trifle predictable... or maybe that was because Caroline kept predicting the outcomes — out loud — as the plot twisted and turned).

So we're wandering around the video store, minding our own business, when suddenly we both catch sight of a beautiful boy. Black hair, gorgeous white skin and bright pink cheeks, glittering blue eyes fringed with impossibly long lashes. Superbly built on the ephebic line, with the cutest plump chest and melon-round butt, slender and meaty at once. His movements were so exaggeratedly sensuous and provocative: the way he walked, with his shapely buttocks shifting and swinging like a drag-queen on the make; the way he'd arch his back slowly to reach a DVD from a shelf; the way he leaned into a devastating contrapposto that would make Leonardo drool, with his neck arched as if to receive a kiss; the way he knelt in a phallo-worshipful posture before the gumball machine and licked his candy-red lips in anticipation, then inserted the gumball lasciviously into his wet mouth and delicately licked his fingers... he was just too much.

And no more than fifteen years old. Possibly fourteen. He was there with his mother. There is no reason for a boy that young to be that sexy in his movements and carriage. Caroline and I were absolutely wrecked, unable to tear our eyes from this boy Lolita, though we had enough presence of mind to pretend to browse the DVD shelves (I don't even have a DVD player) while we ogled. I am quite sure he knew he was being closely observed by an appreciative audience, or was at least imagining an ideal of an appreciative audience... there was an indisputable element of performance in his balletically slow movements.

Caroline and I both have a taste for teenaged boys, though I have never indulged mine (the youngest guy I ever had was 17, though he looked much older — all hairy and chiseled — and I was 19 at the time). And I share the information of this lust reluctantly, as I've found many people react to our pederastic urges with even more horror than is usually bestowed on my collection of taxidermied fashion accessories or Caroline's fascination with dead bodies.

I often find myself wondering about this horror. I don't really see that big of a moral issue with sexual activity between teenagers and adults... except when such relationships involve abuse. When it's a matter of the strong preying on the weak, of an adult luring or forcing a youngster into something against his or her will, I of course have a moral objection; but if a boy or girl is curious and an adult man or woman is willing to teach, or if the youth and the adult are approaching the relationship openly and with only pleasure or love in mind, I don't have a problem with it. I mean, the question of sexual maturity, of being able to make decisions about one's own body, varies from person to person, and has nothing to do with a person's legal age.

It's an issue of consent and predation, as far as I can see... the social proscription against "statutory rape" is, I think, what drives it underground and makes it shameful, so that I imagine the majority of such relationships are predatory, as only a predator who is outside of society and outside of the law would dare to indulge in this behavior. But to argue against this social proscription is useless: it exists, it is part of our cultural heritage, just like a thousand other things that make our Puritan-founded nation different from ancient Greece or what-have-you. Fifteen-year-old boys, no matter how sexually mature or sensually aware, are quite simply off-limits.

Not that I would really want one, anyway, no matter how erotically compelling. Teenage boys simply have no conversation. They are far too self-centered and unwise, too much ruled by their physical passions, too effected by unimportant events, too uncultured and unlettered and uninteresting. They need too much, and I am not willing to give in that degree. Besides, I'm not exactly the Daddy type, teenage boys simply don't dream about being taken over and cared for by a slack-chested 35-year-old drag queen.

So anyhow, to get myself back on track with my narrative, Caroline and I were pretty wrecked after that, stunned and wondering and a bit ashamed; we went home and watched Minority Report, and rather enjoyed it. Afterward, Caroline helped me prepare for a show I had the next day, for which I had done nothing preparatory whatsoever... I had no idea what I would wear, what I would perform, nothing. I had pretty much decided to wear the blue-and-silver ensemble that was still in my drag-bag from the last show, but I needed a second outfit that would go with it enough that I wouldn't have to change my shoes or my eyeshadow. After a useless interval of dithering about, I ended up with my grey-and-white dress with the cabbage-rose pattern and fused clear sequins.

Then I had to think up some music. I have lost so many CDs in the last couple of years. I used to have almost all of Ella Fitzgerald's studio recordings, and now I can't find any of them! The Cole Porter songbooks, the Rodgers & Hart songbooks, four or five compilation albums, all poof, gone! Then there are the Peggy Lee albums I couldn't find, and a whole bunch of other stuff that seems to have disappeared. It's one of the great curses of being sloppy, one is always losing things.

Well, anyway, I drove Caroline home around 1:30 and stopped at my office on the way home to look for more CDs, and finally decided at the last minute to just do Liza's "Sing Happy" and Ella's "Ev'rything I've Got," two well-worn favorites (which were in my car, by the way) that I haven't performed in front of this particular audience yet. Between NA shows and Living Sober shows and Court shows and Galaxy shows, I have to keep the overlap in mind and remember which songs I performed where, so I don't repeat myself too much.

I got in bed at 3 a.m., and had to get up at 8 in order to shower and supershave, load my (thankfully prepacked) bags and chattels into my newly-cleared trunk, cross the Bridge to pick up Cookie and Lorraine in the City, drive to downtown San Jose, and get dressed and painted in time for a 2-o'clock curtain. We had a lovely drive down, we stopped in Burlingame or somesuch and got coffee, and enjoyed each-others' company as well as the beautiful weather. When we got to the Park Center in San Jose, we found the typical NA-conference strangeness... a vast cavernous room with two separate stages, both utterly enormous, with huge chair-ringed tables spaced very far apart, a tiny spotlight way the hell in the back of the room, and no clue where we were supposed to be and what we were supposed to do. It was super fun!

We got dressed in the ladies' restroom, which was huge and spacious but only had one mirror, a full-length at one end of the room; some others got dressed in the men's restroom, which was brighter and had more mirrors, but was more crowded and had less counterspace, and others got dressed in the ladies' or gents' restrooms at the other end of the conference hall that I didn't go into so can't describe. Chaos reigned in every direction, there was some confusion over the start-time, there was no lineup, there was no audience, all hell was breaking loose... again, typical NA-conference pre-show atmosphere.

Then all of a sudden everything magically came together and smoothed out and the show went on, only fifteen minutes late. The audience was pretty much all straight, they didn't tip, but they were terribly and vocally appreciative of every little thing. The stage was much too vast, standing dead center in a room that was far too vast, so the approach to the stage was a bit of a trek, but it turned out quite well once one got started. More typical NA-conference stuff.

Halfway through the show, we lost most of the audience. I had written this off as yet more typical NA-conference stuff, as the average recovering addict has the attention span of a four-year-old and so I am accustomed to opening to a full house and closing to an empty one, but it turned out later that one of the acts (a stand-up performance artist who does a monologue routine in the character of an old Irish drunk) killed the show dead with profligate and unacceptable use of the word 'nigger.' I learned from several audience members later that they had been so offended by this act that they simply got up and left.

But the people who remained were very into it, and we had a great time talking to all five of them after the show, signing their conference programs and sharing beauty secrets. Afterward, we went for a little walk around the conference center, posing for pictures with random strangers and soaking up all the attention a bunch of glittering drag queens walking around in broad daylight can handle (I took a few pictures, myself, but I haven't uploaded them yet, so you'll have to come back later).

So we strip off the paint and the restraining undergarments and get back into our boyclothes, then pile into the car and promptly get lost in downtown San Jose while looking for 880 North. We eventually found it and headed back to Oakland, enjoying ourselves immensely as we reminisced about this and that and dished the show.

We got back to my house, where a bunch of us were meeting to rehearse "Cell Block Tango" for the upcoming Living Sober Follies. We had been rehearsing at Ivy's and Lorraine's places, but I figured that since I had two of the cast-members with me, and the rest of the cast-members had cars, and since my living room is about the same size as the stage on which we would be performing the number (and incidentally larger than Ivy's and Lorraine's living rooms), it might be fun to have them all over for a last rehearsal.

As a bonus, while I had the girls in the house, I was able to unload some of my old clothes on them, things that were too big or too small or just not me. I always prefer giving old clothes to people I know instead of dropping them off with an anonymous charity in a big plastic bag. I also got to show off the sheer volume of my drag, which takes up a good portion of my basement and which I found vainly satisfying. The rehearsal went really well, too, we all feel quite confident that we will absolutely wow them.

By the time all the girls got underway and I found myself alone, it was getting on in the evening and I was exhausted. I read some email and caught up on a few blogs, then got into bed hoping that I would fall immediately to sleep and get a good night's rest. Of course no such thing happened. Not only did I find it impossible to get to sleep before 1 a.m., (instead I watched Murder by Numbers and read a good chunk of the novel I'm currently working through, Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, of which I am somewhat dubious, as I fear no book could ever live up to the legendary praise I've heard of it), but then Grandmother had the temerity to wake me up at 8 a.m. the next morning.

Despite all my protestations that I was having a terribly busy weekend and wouldn't be able to help her, Grandmother went ahead and scheduled a family gathering for Easter. We didn't have to do any cooking or cleaning, as my uncle Junior would bring the food (fried chicken from Merritt) and aunt Terry brought drinks and cousin Kellie brought paper plates and plastic cups. It should have been terribly simple, but Grandmother of course had to get the entire house clean, including mopping the bathroom and kitchen and vacuuming all the rugs. Since she wore herself out from cleaning the kitchen counters and sink, and sweeping the bathroom, she got me up to finish the labors.

I should point out that I hate mopping, even more than I hate washing dishes, even more than I hate rabbits, even more than I hate Bush. Whenever I wield a mop, I remember my first stepfather beating me when I mopped the hall wrong when I was seven or eight. Nobody had told me how to mop, he just gave me a mop and a bucket and told me to get to work. When the mopping didn't get done properly, since all I knew about mopping was to swish the mop back and forth and dip it occasionally in the water, little realizing that there was a scrubbing motion needed and mop-wringing to be done, I got a beating. Eventually my mother showed me how mopping was supposed to be done, and I finished the job. But ever since then I've hated mopping.

Mopping was one of my jobs with my step-mother, too; for years we lived in this horribly ugly townhouse that was wall-to-wall linoleum in every room, so mopping happened a lot. And though we used sponge-mops and time-released thrashings weren't involved, I still hated every minute of it. When I gained adulthood (or what passes for it) and entered the food-service job market, I would do almost anything to avoid mopping at the end of the day... of course, I often got stuck with it, especially if I was working with girls (who are supposedly too frail to lift an industrial-sized string mop).

So there I was at eight on a Sunday morning performing the chore I hate the most in the bathroom and the kitchen, after six hours of sleep after a long day of performing and rehearsing and driving long distances (after five hours of sleep the night before), in preparation for my family gathering to celebrate a Christian holiday on which I do not receive gifts (the only reason I tolerate Christmas), and at which we would be eating fried chicken and potato salad (which I don't especially care for) at eleven o'clock in the morning (before I even had a chance to eat something proper for breakfast). "Disgruntled" doesn't even begin to cover it.

Eventually it was time to go to my Musical rehearsal, and was I ever glad to get away from the house. I enjoy my family, but not on a Sunday morning when I'm really tired. Rehearsals went well, we worked on some difficult songs and accomplished quite a bit, and then did just enough dance that I felt like I got some exercise without actually making me any more tired than I already was. I considered doing some shopping while I was out in the City, but after observing the amounts of money I spent last week, both on eBay and in the shops, I thought twice about it and decided to just go on home, where I watched movies with my nephew (he's on Spring Break now, and is staying with us rather than lurking around his own house... I think he and my sister are not getting along well), my new Harry Potter video and the USA Network miniseries, Helen of Troy, which was historically rather questionable but definitely a winner on the beefcake front... gotta love a hunky man in a chiffon miniskirt.

So that brings me once again fully up to date. I am having dinner with Shiloh and Zach this evening, and am going to my half-sister Becky's graduation on Friday, then I have the Living Sober drag show on Saturday and another Musical rehearsal on Sunday. The work week might be especially busy, or it might not. Hopefully I'll survive.

And hopefully I will be able, sometime in the near future, to move out of this rather boring (for me) diary-style recount of my many doings, and actually do some good analytical and thoughtful writing again. Maybe I should solicit for topics of interest? If all else fails, there are always survey memes, aren't there?

By the way, I just got an email that tells me I've been Googlewhacked with the term "necrophile sinus." I find that pretty funny. I don't understand the whole Googlewhacking thing, but I do enjoy a good two-word absurdity if someone else will think of it for me.

Well, without further ado (finishing this post up twenty-four hours after having started it... it's now Tuesday, and I've already had dinner with Shiloh and Zach... and enjoyed it immensely), here is your beefcake for the day:

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