ALL JUST PEOPLE
When I was a little boy, my dad sent me on a cross-country teen tour with two bus loads of Christians. We were to camp-out for six weeks as we toured the rough and tough corridors of our great nation. On the day I departed, he gave me a Swiss Army Knife and five $20 bills and said, “This needs to last you all summer.” When I asked him why he was sending me away, he explained that I was too sensitive and was spending too much time with my mother. He said this would toughen me up and make me less of a sissy.
Our first stop westward, was somewhere in Ohio or Indiana… where I had to feed my chubby Jewish body a candy bar or would have died of starvation. When I reached into my pocket for the money, I realized that I would have to break my first $20 and before long they would all be gone. At that moment I decided to not spend any of that money on food, and just eat what the Christians served me, when they served me.
Through the course of that summer, I only ate salads, cereal and broiled steak and chicken and lost a ton of weight. It was the first time I had ever been thin and attractive to others. With my face narrow and my body slender, the only part of my body that remained fat and juicy were my lips. Apparently, not only were the girls attracted to them but so were many of the boys.
My orientation was clearly in preference and adoration of women but there were a few flattering and uncomfortable moments in dark corners of back woods campgrounds that I had to assert my natural inclination. As I got older and always being a part of the creative community, I grew to accept and appreciate all beings for their own freedom to live their life in any way that made them happy.
I grew to manhood with my big fat lips and dramatic personality only to meet many men and women who preferred to have their romantic relationships be with people of their same gender. I eventually became an honorary Lesbian, was invited to their parties and into their community, and found them to be the most evolved among us humans. I also have had many friends throughout my life, who were gay and enjoyed discussing with me, the nuances in art and design, inside secrets to cooking and baking, and which hand creams were better than others.
This past weekend I had an opportunity to visit a huge block party, the day after the largest Gay Pride parade in the state of Florida. I got there early as temperatures were forecast to exceed 100 degrees and I didn’t want to be around when nudity would almost become a necessity. So I strolled into the event snapping away at what ever potential thousand word shots I could gather. It all started with this lady carefully sucking on a butt with a long ash. I think she was one of the event coordinators and I couldn’t tell if she was straight or gay but had my theories.
Down the road was a booth selling replacement windows. They got a very poor response from the crowd… though with the vendor’s sales pitch, you’d think the whole crowd there that day would respond positively. A man was standing out in the street, flagging down those walking by, shouting, “Excuse me are you a HOMOwner? Are you a HOMOwner?” I had to be the guy that went up to them to suggest a different tactic.
I said…“Hey fellas… why don’t you try, “Excuse me… do you own your own home” or “Are you a landowner”. It amazed me that they had no clue they were putting the Homo in Homowner. I also started to notice all kinds of strange and bizarre innuendos. Like the logo for this company looked to me like a pair of breasts. Suddenly I became painfully aware of all the booths making subtle sexual suggestions throughout the whole flamboyant festival.
Everywhere were couples of inconceivable shapes and sizes pairing up like lovers do.
Behind the gay frivolities were businesses being conducted as usual. Not everyone embraced the philosophy of acceptance, as was noted on the face of this fellow standing outside his Adult Living Facility home grabbing a fag… I mean a smoke.
In the dark corner underneath one of the many pop-ups, a man stole a kiss from his husky voiced partner. They were both wearing matching beads if that tells you anything.
And in the booth next door, the Transgender Tallahassee group offered support and contact info to those of like mind.
Two girls stopped me in mid-stride. “Hey mister, what’s the most exciting thing you’ve ever done?!” I immediately thought of a few peak experiences I’ve had with some treacherous sociopath ex-girlfriends. Then, I recalled one of my great fearful fantasies of my youth, that two beautiful women would offer me goodies in exchange for some life threatening illegal act. Would I be able to say no? Then they confessed they were selling Sky Diving Events… and proceeded to use their feminine wiles to get me to sign up.
Thank God I’m 55 and eating a freshly made Belgium Waffle while sitting in my La Z Boy chair and taking a nap afterwards, has more appeal to me than jumping out of a perfectly good airplane… even if it was sold to me by two delicious and persuasive nymphs.
The clever ads continued. Forget about the standard promotional offers… wear a rainbow mask and invite patrons to fall in love with their pool again and teasing readers with, “Pass the Big Toe test….” must be far more effective for this crowd. Just off the top of my head I could think of 6 or 7 ways to say “get wet with our pools…”.
And in the next booth over, a grand resort hotel was inquiring if passers-by had “entered yet?” At this point my brain was on fire from the heat of the day and the endless puns for alternative lifestyles. That’s when I found the booths with the vibrators and the leather. The headline on their big ad in front of the booth was, “Tell Your Girlfriend I Said Hi.” Yep, it works for all orientations… stirring up jealousy toward a machine that can do what no human can of either gender.
I guess stirring up was a poor choice of words…
There was also a non-stop series of fund-raising and charitable efforts within many of the booths. Who can resist bobbing for boobs or balls for the right cause? Just think, for a $20 donation you can get within an arm’s length of something… according to the poster.
I saw a couple of guys walking. I wondered if they were gay or if they were just friends. They do have the tell-tale signs of intimate lovers… matching hats, matching shirts not tucked in, only one was wearing sneakers and the other sandals… with that I concluded they couldn’t be lovers.
Then there were two girls walking. Sure they were holding hands, but they weren’t wearing matching outfits or matching shoes… therefore they couldn’t be lovers… could they?
One of the funniest things I saw were all these women passing this ripped guy standing in front of his booth… and not one woman turned to look at him.
This very tall gentleman stopped me to tell me I wasn’t wearing the symbol of diversity… and handed me some colorful beads to put around my neck. As I turned to get a picture of him… I saw another couple walking and holding hands… clearly they were gay… but wait… the shoes, the ankles, the butt… maybe they weren’t gay at all; one of the he’s was a she!… I think she was a she. Clearly the heat was getting to me.
I was soaked with sweat, the sun was high in the sky and birds of prey were out. Time for me to leave I thought.
On the way back to my car I saw a couple heading to the block party I had just left and asked them if I could take their picture. They replied that I could as long as I supported the arts. To which I replied, “of course… and if you give me your email address I’ll even sell you this picture.” As I situated them and their jewelry product display, as they stood their with their matching Joan Jett T-Shirts and matching sneakers, I felt the love between them and took the shot.
One made the jewelry and the other helped and they loved each other like two close beings on this planet who had found their ideal companion. I didn’t see gender, I didn’t see assumed social rules or biblical threats… just two people, wanting to be together, highly evolved, sharing time … and how could that ever be wrong.