Thursday, 20 November 2008 (watching the dark)
Stayed home today, which I probably should have done yesterday. Heaven knows I have enough sick time racked upand couple weeks worth of regular Paid Time Off, for that matterbut I almost never use it. It's all the rarer to use it when I'm not, like, hacking up a lung. I'm going to work tomorrow either way, though whether or not I'll be keeping my appointment with Cassiel remains to be seen.
I've spent most of the day on my laptop in bed, working over email with the Femmethology editor, putting the final tweaks on my essay. I guess that's kinda like relaxation.
Laura has a reading tonight. Even if I was healthy, I suspect I wouldn't go.
I cancelled with Cassiel, just to be on the safe side. It's not like a couple days off is going to add several inches back onto my waist, and I'd always known late November would be tricky.
Wednesday, 19 November 2008 (living in luxury)
Then there's illness, the possibility that hadn't occurred to me until I got home and realized that I was, um, ill. A bit of a cold, congestion, evacuating sinuses, the usual. Just in case, though, I got up at my usual time this morning and went to the gym. I felt fine during my workout, like I was sweating it out of my body (and mostly through my nose), but even after a decent breakfast and lunch, my energy level is dropping precipitously. I won't be going to Tyrol's spin class tonight, that's for damned sure. Straight home after workif not soonerand early to bed again. Wanna be well, please.
Tuesday, 18 November 2008 (wall of death)
At Panama Red Coffee in Concord, writing and drinking a Good Hope Vanilla Red Tea. I find myself in the Beast because Phoebe had a checkup at seven this morning at Saturn of Concordwhich she passed with flying colors, because she's a good little car and I'm now waiting for the Bay Bridge Traffic to lighten up at a little. Conveniently, there's a farmer's market setting up across the street, so I'll get some produce shopping done before I head back.
Last night was a one-off Monday Bad Movie Night, commemorating the thirty-year anniversary of The Star Wars Holiday Special. We showed the Rifftrax version of the show, since we know from experience that not even Bad Movie Night's best and brightest can suffice against the Special's overwhelming awfulness. But the Rifftrax version is hilarious, and even though the crowd was very smallmostly friends and family, with a half-dozen paying audience memberswe all had fun, which is the point. I'm not as much of a constant presence at The Dark Room as I used to be, which makes me feel all the more grateful to have the opportunity to put on such cockamamie shows.
Ugh. I'm exhausted. I didn't get as much as sleep as I would have liked last night, since when I got home around elevenwhich didn't helpthe power was off. I never sleep well during a blackout, partially because I'm paranoid about not waking up on time. (Then there's the weird phenomenon where my apartment always feels warmer when the power's off. It's not like I have an air conditioner or even a fan running otherwise, so I really don't know why that it is.) I got up at a quarter past five, which isn't unususal for me at all except that instead of going to the gym I instead headed straight to Concord, so my body didn't get its usual early morning cardio-kickstart. Then there's the fact that I didn't have a proper breakfast, at least what qualifies as a proper breakfast by my standards. (I had a Larabar while I was waiting for Phoebe to be worked on at the Saturn place, and then an apple and some grapes from the farmer's market as I drove back to work.) I did have my usual lunch, but there's no denying the fact that my energy levels are now dipping into the red, and going to the gym as I normally do on Tuesday afternoons doesn't sound good at all. My body's not up to the challenge. Hell, normally it isn't a challenge at all. I look forward to it. But I'm not now, so I think I'm going to take it easy tonight, and get to bed early.
Monday, 17 November 2008 (doing your conscience alarm)
Raphaela's in Hawaii, but as she'd requested before she left, I texted her a very short version of how last night went. She replied that she wants to me to email the full story of the weekend, which I intend to once it's all written out. Which may take a while.
Off to work with Cassiel. He's a sweet guy, but I don't see us developing the odd friendship Raphaela and I have.
Sunday, 16 November 2008 (the city of candles)
This weekend has been...kaleidoscopic. For want of a better word.
I've babbled like a nervous idiot a lot these past few nights. Even by my considerable standards.
Saturday, 15 November 2008 (a bunch of six-inch pieces)
it was so funny to see you again!
it was good to see you again, too.
Friday, 14 November 2008 (people like that)
Bunny and I had dinner at the Asian vegan restaurant Golden Buddha last night, then went to the Bridge to see Let the Right One In, which I enjoyed. All I knew beforehand was that it was a Polish vampire movie, and really, that was all I wanted to know. Did an hour with Raphaela's substitute Cassiel this afternoon, and this evening Bunny will be joining me again for the Queer Open Mic. It's nice to have a fan.
sometime after midnight
i'm really glad we met, sherilyn.
Thursday, 13 November 2008 (burning through it)
Zuki and Venice. That's who I was forgetting.
Wednesday, 12 November 2008 (some new language)
After the gym yesterday morning, I walked to Lyon-Martin for my followup appointment. (It occurs to me that I should probably call my old doctor's office to cancel my January appointment.) It was to go over the results of my labs, which reveal that I'm perfectly healthy. This is what my blood looks like, numerically speaking:
So, yeah. I'm doing all right, and there's no sign that I'm going my body is reacting negatively to my current level of hormones. Which I already knew. Cutting out animal products hasn't done me any damage, either.
After Tyrol's spin class tonight, I may or may not be joining Bunny at Ask Dr. Hal. Going home and sleeping may sound more appealing. Her and I are definitely (inasmuch as anything is ever definite) having dinner Thursday night, and on Friday night she said she'll be joining me at the Queer Open Mic, the first time I've been since October of last year. It's relocated to Modern Times, since the Three Dollar Bill closed its doors a few months back. Meanwhile, their feature for this Friday had to cancel, so Cindy (who left a few months before the Three Dollar Bill closed) and I have been asked to join the two current hosts for sort of a four-host-feature-o-rama. Sure, why not? Anyway, I told Bunny about it, and she said it sounded fun and that she'd totally be there.
I texted Devi. I have no expectations, of hearing back from her or anything else.
Meanwhile, I know what my big essay project will be for 2009. There's been one every year for the last few years. In 2008 it was the rejected "Three-Twenty-Seven-Ought-Five" for the queer divorce anthology, in 2007 it was the eventually-accepted "In the Shadow of the Valley" for Femmethology and in 2006 it was "The Slimming Effect" for It's So You. The next will be for an anthology Sadie is compiling tentatively called Whore Lover, an anthology of "non-fiction essays written by the non-paying partners (queer-trans-straight) of sex workers about their experiences and feelings regarding their unique position in the marketplace of love." I've got plenty of material, considering that nearly everyone I've dated from 2005 onward was either a former sex worker, was one or aspired to be one at the time, and/or went on to become one after we stopped dating. It was never part of any grand plan on my part, either. It just turned out that way. Vash, Ryder, Jezebel, Ennui, Hayley, Jarboe and Ripley spring to mind, and I may be forgetting someone. Hell, I could arguably reach before 2005 to Danielle or even all the way back to Josie. In any event, it should be a fun essay.
Tuesday, 11 November 2008 (beat the retreat)
Tuesday, November 4, 2008 was the first time I've voted Democrat in the Presidential election since the nineties. Usually I vote Nader (therefore ensuring that Bush gets into office, or so I've been told repeatedly by people who don't quite get the electoral system), but this time, almost without realizing it, I went straight for Obama.
After voting, I went to the gym, which was packed when I got there around half past four. Two of the half-dozen teevees pointed at the cardio area are always showing cable news networks, so there was no lack of election coverage, and all eyes were on them. But life goes on, and us vain little hamsters continue on in our wheels even as the world changes around us.
After an hour on my wheel and showering, I returned to the office and had a sammich and a bowl of veggies with hummus for dinner. (There are two things which I probably eat too much of these days: Silk Live! Plain Soy Yogurt and Trader Joe's Chunky Olive Hummus, especially when I mix them with my beloved La Costena hot sauce, which is every single time. I'm getting into shape and I'm getting smaller, but I have my indulgences and I ain't starving myself, that's for sure.) I then headed to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for their big, allegedly non-partisan election night party. Bunny was already in what she described as a very long line at the Yerba Beuna when I left the office, and Sadie was supposed to be showing up there eventually as well.
I could see Bunny inside when I arrived, but couldn't join her because the line was down the steps and around the corner. The long wait she'd descibed earlier hadn't dissipated. It wasn't too surprising, since the event promised free pizza after eight. That didn't sound so great to me, but no doubt it was a siren song to many others.
Standing in front of me were a couple of kids, in their early twenties at the most, a hippie girl and slightly less hippie-ish boy. The girl, who was either slightly buzzed or just really really happy, turned and asked me why I was standing in line. There was no hostility in the question. If anything, it bordered on existential. Why here, right now, and not somewhere else?
I told her I wasn't really sure, that was I meeting some friends, but normally I loathe lines and prefer not to stand in them. She found this acceptable, then asked: what's your real name? Why the "real" qualifier was necessary is a mystery to me, since I hadn't told her my name at all. (Alternatively, it's not a mystery. She worked out that I was a tranny, and figured that I had a boy name as well as a girl name.) I told her my real name is Sherilyn, which it is, and offered to show her my state ID. She seemed to believe me.
We chatted for a while, including her getting into a real meeting of the minds with a Communist who was working the line, offering copies of the People's Weekly World. Gotta hand it to the Commies, keeping the faith even on Election Night.
The kids asked me about other events happening in town, and I mentioned that I'd heard there was a big street party brewing in the Castro. After asking me exactly how to get to the Castrowhooboy, I'd had a hunch they were out-of-townersthey asked me to come with them. I briefly considered it, but decided not to. First of all, absolutely nothing would happen. The girl was kinda cute, but she was clearly with the boy, and I was not her type. (Which is logical, since I'm not anybody's type.) And I didn't like the idea of abandoning both Sadie and Bunny, even though I was beginning to have my doubts that Sadie would materialize. So I declined. When they wandered off shortly thereafter without even saying goodbye, I knew I'd made the right decision. Besides, sooner or later whatever minor novelty I held would have worn off as it inevitably does. Sooner, most likely.
A few minutes after they disappeared, Bunny emerged from Yerba Buena. She'd had enough, and it didn't look like I was going to make it anytime soon, so we decide to walk to City Hall for the Proposition R press conference. (Prop R was the half-serious measure to rename the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant, calling it the George W. Bush Sewage Plant. It was expected to be trounced.) Along the way, Bunny asked me how things were going with Laura. I told her the truth: they weren't going at all. Her and I will be casual friends, and that'll be that. You can't dodge (or get hit by) a bullet that's never fired. I ruminated on the mathematical possibility that I may never be in a relationship again. It's not that I'm opposed to the idea, but rather, there's no telling what the future holds, and one potential outcome is being single from here on out. It's just a possibility which I have to accept along with all the others.
Not realizing that the Prop R gathering was outside, and down the street a little, Bunny and I went inside City Hall to a large room with a few dozen people watching McCain speak on teevee. After about a minute or so, I realized it was his concession speech.
That was how we learned Barack Obama won.
I have to admit, McCain's concession speech was gracious. I never disliked him personally, in the way I found previous Republican candidates and Presidents distasteful. But I was more than a little relieved that he didn't win, either.
Bunny and I went back outside and found the Proposition R people, a small crowd including Peaches Christ (who I know exists, but don't know personally) and Chicken John. Chicken told us that, as expected, the propisition isn't going over very well. They hadn't really expected it to, any more than Chicken had expected to actually win for Mayor last year. Great if it happens, but not strictly the point, either.
Also in the small crowd is a casual friend of Bunny's, a tall girl named Ronnie with longish brown hair and glasses. Bunny introduces us, and Ronnie says that she's seen me perform a few times. (I get that a lot.) Ronnie wandered away a few minutes later, and I said to Bunny: i have to get this out of my system: damn, she's cute. okay, i'm better now. Bunny replied that she was certain that Ronnie was a dyke, and what's more, she was fairly certain that Ronnie was single. At least, she'd never seen Ronnie with anyone. Hrm. Okay. Good to know.
Chicken John accompanied Bunny and I back inside City Hall, just in time for Obama's victory speech. Like everyone else in the room (not to mention millions of people all over the world), I got choked up and teary. I hadn't felt anything this close to patriotic or even hopeful about America in a very, very long time, if ever. I realized it was the opposite of how I felt on September 11, 2001. I didn't cry at all thenI never shed a single tear over The Great Overshadowingand I mostly dreaded the outpouring of false, oppressive patriotism which I knew would follow. (I wasn't wrong, either, and unlike those flag-waving hypocrites, I voted. I've been a voter since before it was cool.) But now, I was feeling good about the country. It was a strange sensation.
Chicken gave Bunny and I a lift to 16th and Market. After briefly checking out The Lookout (which is way too small and cramped for me even when it isn't packed with drunken, newly patriotic revelers), we walked down Market to Castro. The streets were still open to traffic, but it was a party atmosphere all the same, cars honking, people screaming and chanting obama! obama! obama! I mentioned to Bunny that I wished my mom could be there to see it all. She's easily the biggest Obama supporter I know, and that's saying a lot because I move in a heavily leftist milieu. (One might argue that true leftists supported Nader, but the rules seem to be changing, and San Francisco's always done its own thing.) I called when when we got to the big street party at Market and Castro, so she could hear the celebration which she'd helped create. I don't know if anything of the sort was happening in Fresno at the time, but I have my doubts. Actually, there was probably something happening in the Tower District. But nothing like this.
It was a fairly standard San Francisco street fair, with the streets blocked off, cops afoot, and a stage with a ginormous screen showing election coverage. (Though most street events don't have the election angle, it's true.) For as happy as everyone was about Obama being electedand the word isn't "happy" so much as "ecstatically delirious"there was an undercurrent of anxiety about Propsition 8, the anti-gay marriage iniative, which appeared to be winning, which meant gay marriage would be outlawed. But, still. Obama won!
Flags continued to be waved unironically. It was such a strange feeling, to see the American flag and not be troubled by it. The Castro Theater's marquee displayed probably the single most unintentionally apropos movie conceivable: Milk, about Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office. It was a reminder of how far queers had come, and how far we still had to go.
Someone had a Sarah Palin pinata, which I couldn't help but notice was also smoldering. So, they were beating and burning her in effigy. Yeah. Huh. Wasn't so sure how I felt about that. On the other hand, for as happy as I was that Obama won, I was almost equally glad that Palin was about to leave the national consciousness. Already, the possibility of her being vice president was starting to feel like it had been a fever dream.
Making our way through the crowd, Bunny and I encountered Ronnie again. Ronnie said she wanted to get coffee, so I accompanied her as Bunny went off to find a friend who was supposed to meet her The Bar On Castro. Bunny knew that I was interested in Ronnie, and encouraged me to pursue her. Which I would have done anyway, but it was good to have the blessing of my platonic girlfriend for the evening. And what an evening it was, a palpably historic moment, everything changing, the energy of possibility in the air. Why not go for it?
So, as Ronnie and I winded our way through the crowd, I said: i hope this isn't too blunt, but, are you seeing anyone right now? She said she wasn't.
So far, so good. well, would you like to have dinner sometime?
She replied: wow. this is kind of out of the blue, but...sure! let me give you my number.
As it happens, I already had a pen and paper ready.
Our mission completed, Ronnie and I circled back around to Bunny at The Bar On Castro, where her other friend had never emerged. The three of us decided to walk to the Mission, which qualified as "homeward" for at least two of us.
The party atmosphere continued on 18th from Castro to Valencia, the horn-honking and the shouting and the dancing. It's true that San Franciscans love any opportunity to take to the streets, but there's something a bit more genuine at work. I can feel genuine elation, and a sense of a community (city? country? nation? world?) collectively exhaling. I heard a lot of people saying we did it! we voted him out! no more bush! Of course, Bush would have been gone either way, but the fact that McCain didn't win made it feel all the more real. Something else people were saying to each other was congratulations! It seemed to fit. We all felt like we'd really accomplished something, collectively, so why not congratulate each other?
The next street party we encountered (of surely dozens in town) was at 19th and Valencia. Given the demographic differences of the neighborhood compared to the Castro, it was unsurprisingly a different sort of crowd, full of hippies and hipsters. It also felt more spontaneous than the Castro party, since there was no stage and no screen, no barriers, and a far smaller police presence. It was probably an illegal gathering, strictly speaking, but what police were around simply made sure that frustrated motorists didn't plow into the crowd.
Flags were being waved here as well, and what's more, the national anthem was being sung without a hint or irony. For once in most of these people's lives, it actually meant something to them. It was a new sensation for me, too. It also occurred to me that it I might run into Vash, and I found I didn't mind the thought. What better time?
I began to consider the possibility that I was asleep, and this was all a dream. What really made me think that I was dreaming was the presence of Ronnie, that we were hanging out and I'd gotten her number, with the intention of going out at some point in the the future. There was no physical interaction between us, and looking people in the eye didn't seem to be a strong suit of her, but still, in countless dreams I've made it precisely this far, only to wake up and find myself alone. Other people get to fuck in their dreams, but no, not me, not with this brain and unconscious which is still afraid of being punished for expressions of desire. All I get is the unfulfilled promise of intimacy. At least, that's the case when I'm not having sex in real life. If I'm getting laid on a regular basis in real life, then it tends to enter my dreams. This probably accounts for why my dreams have been dry since I sent Ripley away in January.
We left the street party and headed to the Make Out Room, where a friend of Bunny's was working. We walked past Amnesia, where there appeared to be Sarah Palin-themed karaoke going on. Of course. People had to get it out of their systems, and this seemed I preferred this to the pinata effigy.
It was pushing midnight when we got to the Make Out Room. Bunny wanted to hang out with her friend for a while, but Ronnie and I were both ready to call it a night, so we said our goodbyes to Bunny (who was again subtly encouraging me to make inroads with Ronnie) and walked to Mission to hail cabs. Ronnie mentioned along the way that she was in the process of moving into the Richmond, and the corner that she mentioned was in the vicinity of Spices! II, one of my favorite restaurants. I decided to save that level of planning for tomorrow, though.
A cab pulled up, she said goodbye, and got in. No hug. That's very strange by California standards, moreso by San Francisco standards, and damned near unheard of for a pair of queers at the corner of 22nd and Mission. It's what you do when you've spent time with someone, regardless of how well you know them, or even if you're just meeting them with the intention of getting to know them. (I was still a notch above "rank stranger" to Laura when we hung out last month, but as soon as she arrived she hugged me, an electric rush that kept me going for a good long while.) I even got a hug out of Chicken earlier at City Hall, though it was more than a little begrudging, stiff and with a "oh, seriously? do we HAVE to?" look on his face. He was more than happy to hug Bunny, of course, because she's small and beautiful and obviously a girl, and by most standards I'm none of those things. Indeed, while I believe he likes me as a person, I don't think he really gets that there's a difference between me and Peaches. Most straight boys don't.
Oh well. Ronnie not hugging me didn't mean anything, and I was doing the right thing, taking it slow. Like I had a choice.
I called Ronnie the next day and left her a message, suggesting dinner next Tuesday (that would be the evening that I'm writing this) at Spices! II, in her new neighborhood. Besidesthough I didn't mention thisit's one of my favorite date-taking places. I've taken everyone I've seriously dated there at least once. Ennui and I had our picture taken there once, and they told us it was for a new menu or sign or something. I have no idea if it was ever used. I'd wager not. For as photogenic as she is, the pictures of us together never...quite...worked.
Ronnie called back a little while later. We confirmed the dinner plans for Tuesday, November 11, and engaged in other various forms of small talk. We asked each other questions, and answer. So far, so good.
I found myself feeling good about things. Obama was elected President, and I had a date lined up. I had no expectations that it would go anywhere, but if we did start dating for real, we'll have a hell of a "how we met" story. All is well with the world.
After Tyrol's spin class that evening, I had a voicemail on my phone. From Ronnie. At first, I thought to myself, yay! she's reaching out! Then I listened to it. She said that she'd been thinking realized she really has to cancel on dinner, because she has a crush on someone else, and it would and it would feel weird to go out on a date with somebody else, but she wanted to thank me so much for asking, she was incredibly flattered and I'm so cute and it's the first time in a long time that anybody's asked her out on a date, and it really really meant a lot to her, so thank you and bye.
At first, all I could think was: you have a crush on someone else? so do i. what's that got to do with anything?
Well, then. Wow. That was quick. An epic date fail in less than twenty-four hours. I guess that's the best way for hopes to die, while they're still in the most embryonic stage. Which doesn't make it suck any less. Another stillborn.
She did say that it was out of the blue, and I can't deny that, but what the hell? Sadie was making out with strangers and getting laid by one of them around the same timeeven as Proposition K, the whore's-rights measure for which she was literally the poster girl was being defeated in the pollsso why is it so damned wrong for me to simply ask out a girl whom I've only just met? It's not wrong, not really. It's just that, like so many things that are okay for other people, it somehow goes beyond the pale when I do it.
I texted Sadie, who said she was home. Presently, I was sitting in my car, a block away from Chicken John's place. I was supposed to meet Bunny there for the revival of Ask Dr. Hal, but being in a room full of people for a show sounded really horrible, so I went over to Sadie's and vented on her shoulder.
I wasn't upset at Ronnie at all. Surely, she'd done the right thing. If she didn't want to go out with me, even once, then it was best for everyone that she didn't go through the motions. She probably saved us both the trouble of a very awkward evening. It's just...gah. Really? It has to go like this again? At least with Devi, I got in a kiss and some low-level snuggling.
We spent a good hour on her front steps, waiting for Cesare. I've been getting to know him these past few months through various productions at The Dark Room. He's a really sweet guy, one of the few straight boys I know who gives good hugs. I reflected back on Ronnie not hugging me. I'm healthier and in better shape lately than I have been for a long time, but at the same time, it feels like I'm getting increasingly untouchable. Maybe my time is done, and the drought is permanent. So be it.
As we waited, Sadie occasionally told me to fix my posture. My arms and legs were crossed, and my head was down. It was what felt natural.
Cesare arrived, and I played him the voicemail. He hugged me long and hard (if you'll pardon the expression), and told me that he could tell she was torn. She was doing the right thing, but on some level she wished she didn't have to. That helped, a little.
When I returned to Phoebe, I sat and cried for a while, mostly out of frustration.
I guess it's no surprise that I find myself strongly tempted to write Devi. Haven't heard from her since April, when she said she was swamped but would get in touch with me when her schedule cleared up. Seven months later, I can safely assume that if there's any ball left, in it's my court. As it always has been.
I wrote Devi, replying to the last email I received from her in April, and it bounced: the account no longer exists. So unless I can find the card she gave me with her phone number way back when, which I kinda doubt, then I guess that's that. Unless...
Well, heck. Her number's still in my phone. It's a different phone than I had back then, but when I got this one they were able to import my Contacts, and I never did erase her number (Ripley and Vash and Jezebel are all still in there as well), so there it is.
Half past ten on a weeknight is a bit late for a text message, especially for someone she hasn't talked to since April. Tomorrow, then.