Sunday, January 2, 2005

And So It Begins...

Happy 2005, my darlings! May this year be filled with wonder and blessings for you! Or at least devoid of despair and hardships. I find that odd-numbered years work best for me. I was born in an odd-numbered year (1967), and I got sober in an odd-numbered year (1995). I also notice that years where I was dancing at midnight work well for me. Last year I did not dance; this year I danced my ass off.

Before I continue, I have to report that, while I am feeling much better about myself (thanks for the support, guys), I still haven't called "Gus," nor have I got his phone number from "Sol" or Shiloh or anyone else. I will, sometime this week... first I need to get Shiloh's phone number, which was in my old cellphone that I've lost somewhere in either my office or my car. I used to have his number memorized, it was a really easy combination, but I have learned too many other numbers since last I called him. Nevertheless, I've sent him an email and expect to hear back any minute.

But to pick up where I left off (with all the élan of a moldy old mop) last time, I spent the rest of Wednesday, most of Thursday, and much of Friday hating myself and/or wanting to crawl into a hole and die. But on Thursday, I talked to Shiloh and Zach at the gym, and I talked to some other people at a meeting, and I enjoyed some fellowship afterward, and I started to pull out of it. I still had this urge to flee, and not just the room but the whole state, to just get in my car and drive north until I encountered snow, and then stop wherever that was and check into a motel, there to simply hide for as long as my credit card would hold out (what stopped me, aside from family responsibilities, is that my credit card wouldn't hold out for even one night... after my Christmas shopping, I'm about two tankfuls of gas away from being maxed out).

But then Evan (AKA Miss Madasin Hatter) asked if I was going to the Living Sober New Year's Eve Dance, and, if so, if he could go with me. I had been sort of planning to go, as I have gone pretty much every year of my sobriety, but was also entertaining the idea of not going, to instead hole up at home with the Grandmother and continue feeling sorry for myself. But I felt like he needed to go, that he needed a safe environment on this most liquored-up of holidays, so I agreed to pick him up and take him to the dance.

I was still unspeakably depressed, though. This expressed itself mostly in my inability to decide what to wear. I considered going in drag, which always boosts my ego, perhaps wearing the fabulous new dress I got on my birthday (mauve chiffon with beaded flowers and a ruffled asymmetrical hem); but then there's all the discomfort of shoes and things which didn't appeal to me. Besides, it's sometimes awkward-feeling to wear drag when there isn't a show to perform in... it's like wearing a Halloween costume on Easter, it just doesn't seem appropriate somehow.

I also bought, on my birthday, a beautiful silver satin bowtie and waistcoat to wear with the new wing-collar formal shirt I got at the same time at Nordstrom Rack; I bought these with the intention of wearing them to the dance with my black suit. But when I tried on the ensemble, I looked a little too snazzy... I mean, the whole thing looked marvelous, the low-sheen jaquard-striped black wool is cut really well and doubles easily as a dinner-suit, the white shirt was dazzling and flattering with the silver satin waistcoat; but I'd come up with the idea of wearing formals to the dance before I got so profoundly depressed. By the time the dance itself rolled around, I was completely depressed and couldn't bear to draw so much attention to myself... this is not a formal dance, most people dress as they would to go dancing at a bar, so wearing formals would make me stand out a little more than I felt comfortable with.

So what to wear? I didn't think I would be any more comfortable in everyday-wear, jeans and a t-shirt or khakis and a sweater... complete anonymity would be even more ego-bruising than conspicuousness. And besides, that damned shirt and waistcoat had cost nearly a hundred dollars after tax (I thought the Chiarelli shirt expensive at $29.95 but it appeared to be exceptionally well-made, with real pleating and fold-over French cuffs; the De La Renta tie-and-waistcoat set didn't have a price tag on it, but the tie-and-cummerbund sets on the same shelf were only thirty dollars, and everything else in the store was on sale... so I was quite surprised when the boxed set rang up at $59.99). Not to mention that I'd been yearning to wear my English silver cufflinks with the rainbow stripes made of tiny colored-glass tubes, and the new formal shirt was the only shirt I owned with French cuffs.

Queer Eye came to the rescue, though... I remembered a favorite episode with an incredibly hot guy whom Carson dressed up in a black cashmere sweater with a white French-cuffed dress shirt from Ralph Lauren. I figured I could wear the dress shirt and the cufflinks comfortably if I dressed them down with a sweater and corduroys. But what sweater? I have three black sweaters, but they're all cotton and a little too casual; I have a cashmere sweater, but it's beige, and some dark lambswool sweaters in burgundy and brown, respectively; but really, a black wool sweater was what I required.

So off I went shopping on New Year's Eve. Macy's, fortunately, was having a fabulous sale, and so when I was unable to chose between a ribbed crewneck and an unribbed vee-neck, both of finespun jet-black Merino wool by Alfani, I could afford to buy them both. Since Alfani is an in-house brand, and then all the men's sweaters were 50% off, and then almost everything in the store was an additional 10% off, both sweaters set me back less than the tie-and-waistcoat set from Nordstrom Rack.

When I got home, after picking up some Chinese food for Grandmother (she always stays home on New Year's Eve and takes phone calls from her children and grandchildren), I started making myself as pretty as I could without recourse to makeup and a wig.

I had a nice rest in the tub to open all my pores and soften my skin, and gave myself a bit of a pedicure (though not much of one, since I'm still not as limber as I could be and my feet are awfully far away) and soaked my face with alpha-hydroxy exfoliating lotion. Then I showered, shampooed and conditioned my hair, and sloughed every dead skin cell (and a few live ones) off my face with an apricot scrub. Afterward I shaved, then had a Noxema facial while flossing and brushing my teeth, followed by a green clay firming mask while I ironed my shirt (I'd had to wash it, it was too scratchy with starch). I combed my hair, moisturized thoroughly, oiled my cuticles, spritzed on a fresh white-linden-and-tabac-blond scent, and was ready to go.

The outfit worked really well, ths crisp white and the soft black, with the pretty cufflinks and my ivory moon-face pendant and two well-chosen CZ rings; my skin positively glowed, and my hair looked terrific — I have to say that, overall, I looked pretty damned good... possibly the best I've looked in a long time (out of drag, that is). I rather wish I'd taken pictures, but then I wouldn't have looked as good in the pictures (I never do look very good in pictures I take of myself) and that would have seriously dinged my little shreds of hard-wrought confidence.

So off I went to pick up Evan, but he wasn't home when I got there! His mom told me he had been delayed and would be home shortly, so I sat in the car and whiled away the time... first by looking for my gloves (which I couldn't find, but I did find my paisley bronze silk velvet scarf, which I promptly put on), then by looking to see if I had any clear nail-polish in the car (which I didn't), and then by making phone calls. Mostly I left messages, as very few people were home, but I talked for a long time with one of my oldest and dearest friends, Indigo, who was in Seattle with his boyfriend, and that cheered me up amazingly. He always lifts me up, I wish I'd gotten hold of him sooner in the week (we've been playing phone-tag since before Christmas).

Evan arrived in due course, and off we traipsed to the City. We were too late for the meeting before the dance, but despite the rain and the traffic, we got across and found parking in plenty of time to walk around a bit (the rain had stopped by then) and have dinner at the Cove Cafe before the dance (I had an utterly divoon shepherd's pie, one of my favorite dishes, and Evan had a cheeseburger... you know you're in a gay restaurant when smoked Gouda is one of the cheese choices).

Talking to Indigo had cheered me, but Evan cheered me even more. I don't know if it was the fact that my depression simply passed off, or if it was the joy of being dressed well and eating good food, or if Evan's gloomy visage leeched all the sadness out of me (he was feeling rather glum, but even without feeling glum he often looks kind of like an El Greco saint, sort of long and pale and droopy)... whatever it was, I started feeling fairly happy, perhaps even a little giddy.

The dance itself was great fun. The music was good, I saw many friends, I got a lot of complements on my outfit in general and my pendant and scarf in particular, and I managed to get myself started dancing early on in the evening.

I often have a hard time making myself dance, I usually feel so foolish, and will only dance if someone makes me. But I was standing there trying to recognize the song that was playing and wondering what the hell had happened to music in the last twenty years, when I suddenly remembered a lyric from Shirley Bassey's "History Repeating": Some people don't dance, if they don't know who's singing / Why ask your head, it's your hips that are swinging... so I just said "Fuck it!" (as I've been recently advised) and went ahead and danced.

I figure, I'm a drag queen, I can dance to anything; besides, there were enough people dancing badly nearby (and by "badly" I mean clumsily and off-rhythm... there's no wrong way of dancing, so long as you're enjoying yourself) that I didn't feel so self-conscious; I know I'm a reasonably good dancer, but I'm not spectacular, and you know I always feel silly doing things at which I do not excel.

Well, anyway, to cut this story down a little (it's far too late to make it short), I had a perfectly marvelous time, I danced until I hurt all over, I laughed and hooted until my face ached, and I eventually had to strip off my sweater to tie it around my waist because I sweated enough to make up for three missed gym visits. In between twenty-minute bouts of terpischorean effort, I took breaks outside to cool off and talk with various friends. I called Grandmother shortly after midnight, and danced a little bit more before the dance ended; after that, I hung around and chatted some more while they cleaned the place up. Then I took Evan home, got myself home safely, and fell into bed with a grateful and happy sigh. It was a banner New Year's Eve, so I feel like I can reasonably expect a banner year to ensue.

New Year's Day, I intended to take down my tree, but instead I alternated between the television and the computer, where I was enjoying Most Sexy Guys' free porn day, where the pay-access pages were open to non-paying members, as well as reading through my own archives trying to get a feeling for the tone of last year's blogs in hopes of writing a "Year in Review" post (but I was undone by my own verbosity, I only made it through April after several hours of reading). I was going to do some updates to this page, as well (I have pictures of Madasin and Indigo to add to the cast column, as well as some new links) and upload some new wallpapers to Webshots (they just deleted my entire Celebrities section for supposed "copyright violations," which I have finally learned how to circumvent)... but I just didn't have the energy.

And then today I woke up really early (8:45 am!) and read for an hour or so before I got up and made coffee; since then, I've written all of the above (it's now tea-time as I write this sentence, some six and a half hours after starting), browsed some beefcake, read my daily blogs and a few more chapters of my current book (Ngaio Marsh's Dead Water), snacked on three or four different things at different times, put through a couple of loads of laundry (napery from Christmas as well as a sweatshirt that got left outside in the rain and smelled all musty), and came up with three or four more ideas for Worst Luck (which I updated a couple of weeks ago, but no one has commented on it) which I think will work nicely once the narrative works its way around to actual salient details.

The tree is still at its station in the living room, taking up too much space and smirking at me. I've wanted to take it down all week, but left it up because I traditionally take it down on New Year's Day; but then the Day came and I didn't have the energy to tackle the beast... and the beast knows I don't have the energy to tackle it, and now it is mocking me.

But I'll have the last laugh, Herr Tannenbaum! I'll strip you and cut you in half and drag your sorry spruce ass out to the curb by Wednesday morning, when the Oakland Scavenger Company does its first pickup of Christmas trees. See if I don't!

Pardon me... I'm feeling a little light-headed just now. I think I'll take my tea-time break, and maybe even have some tea. I have some chocolates that need to be eaten before I go back on my diet tomorrow, so I think some strong tea and some chocolates in bed will suit the occasion admirably.

Again, Happy New Year to you!

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