Monday, July 17, 2006

No pain

The gay pride parade downtown was a hoot. It wasn't as big as the one in Denver, or so I've been told, but it was fun. They started and ended with DOB (dykes on bikes) and there was even a drag queen on stilts. I got a necklace thrown from one of the floats and made a friend when someone stopped and asked me if Poor Richard's sold Arizona teas. I said yes and handed him my spare. He thanked me a couple times and then came back after the parade and thanked me again. He was cute, sweet and a bit of a flame, but he was nice. We sat outside Poor Richard's for the parade and lunch and afterward went inside and sat in the shadier and cooler patio for a while. We sent inside in the back to soak up a little A/C but they asked us to leave because Otis was not allowed to be there. Otis is a near toothless Pekingese who is just as adorable as he can be. He's is Bill and Bear's son and he decided I was okay, begging to be picked up and lying at my feet whenever I was near. He has this one little bottom canine sticking up out of his mouth that makes him look like a furry redneck (and much cuter version of Dallas Dave).

Braving the heat, we all went down to Acacia Park. On the corner of Platte and Bijou a group of thumpers (bible thumpers) harassed everyone walking past. One guy was dressed as a monk and the rest were garden variety nosy Nells spewing hate and the message of damnation. Went well with the sky of brass and the breathless heat. The thumpers weren't just harassing gays, transsexuals and the people who accept and love them but Muslims, Buddhists and every other faith and religion but their own and they were very vocal about it. Bear looked at them, smiled and said, "Jesus loves everyone." They responded with, "Jesus doesn't love you and God will see you in hell." I thought Satan would be the one greeting sinners in hell, but I guess I was wrong. Bill argued with them and the rest of our group didn't even see them. I was later told it's a mind trick that helps you walk past a manure pile without seeing or smelling it.

Colorado Springs' finest were stationed at all the corners around the park and manned the barricades as we walked past them and into the park. Acacia Park was a seething sea of people, color, sights, delicious scents and music. Everything from leather and chains to frillier concoctions waving in the hot fitful breeze decorated booths and people. Goths tattooed and wearing black clothes and easter egg hair color in everything from rigid spikes and multicolored wisps and feathers walked side by side, and sometimes hand in hand, with Rocky Horror doubles and rainbow clad run of the mill people. Lesbians of every persuasion, drag queens, trannies, Native Americans, gay men, straight men and women and families with children talked, laughed, smiled, ate, drank and enjoyed themselves. The atmosphere was pure Mardi Gras without the Hurricanes and 500 flavors of Daiquiris. Music thumped and swirled in eddies on quixotic furnace breezes under a sky of pure Colorado blue burnished by a blazing sun. Food and drink, laughter and excitement, happiness, and acceptance wrapped us all.

Bill and Bear towed me from booth to booth looking for a booth with the tools and pigments for another makeup rape but that didn't last long. We stopped at the Stonewall Democrats booth and when I looked for them after talking with a knowledge and passionate young man about politics they had disappeared. I later found out they were drawn by the irresistible lure of hand fans decorated with Joan Crawford's Mommy Dearest best. I found a seat near the stage and watch several acts and a rainbow of people from every walk and situation in society. The air was an intoxicating mix of the heady scents of food, exotic and familiar, and sound. From hip hop and ballads to Rocky Horror and Native American dancers jingling with bells, every musical persuasion was represented. A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll and a whole lot of shakin' and fun going on.

As things wound down, Bill and Bear appeared from the west side of the park through a sea of faces, Otis trotting dutifully alongside, and laughing and talking with a woman. Her name is Pru, short for Prudence, and she was originally from Vermont before coming to Colorado. Pru follows the Red, or Native American, path and she is a serious minded and fascinating woman. We headed back toward Poor Richard's for drinks (water for me this time and lots of it) and conversation in the patio. Bill came through a little later after a trip inside for refills with news that the oh, so elusive Cathryn and Nancy Jo, an elegant, graceful and true Southern Belle of the Old South, were out front and wanted us to join them. It was cooler out there and shadier so Nancy Jo's alabaster skin wouldn't be assaulted quite so viciously by the hot ogling glare of the sun. We joined them.

It was interesting to watch the group come together. Eddies and swirls of conversation rose and fell around the three tables with pushed closer until the conversational tides carried us to two separate tide pools. Nancy Jo, Bear and Pru were discussing fashion and clothes (had to be since I definitely heard the word "shoulder pads") and it turned out I wasn't far wrong. They were discussing younger days and drag fashions and experiences. The other tide pool was awash in talk of science fiction, cars, edged weapons, old movies and science fiction television shows. Turns out Cathryn and I have a whole lot in common, which resulted in our spread out group becoming two groups of three when she joined Bill and me to discuss our passions. We nearly talked the sun down and finally headed toward home around 8:30, the boys dropping me off at my place and ferrying Pru home before they took Otis and his traveling water dish back home to Grazie.

When I arrived home, the landlady was sitting on the porch with one of Elizabeth Young's books drinking a glass of beer and laughing out loud while Pastor lounged nearby. We chatted for a few moments and I took the stairs back to my cozy and still breathlessly warm home.

After hitting the bathroom and feeling lighter by a few pounds and a gallon or two of water and Arizona mandarin iced tea, I called my mother and told her where I'd been. (She worries when she doesn't hear from me frequently, thinking I've died or disappeared for good) After a short harangue from her about never accepting "those people" and how I was aiding and abetting their sinful choices by being friendly and tolerant, we agreed to disagree and said goodbye. At least she didn't hang up on me as she has done uncounted times in the past.

What amazes me most is that anyone can still be so close minded and prejudiced. Like I told Mom, I like people because of who they are, not because of whom they choose to love or what they do behind closed doors. It's none of my business what they do or with whom they do it. I can't hate a person without cause and being different and out of the Moral Majority Religious Right mainstream isn't a good enough reason. I saw people of every size, height, shape and color enjoying themselves and having a good time. I'm glad I was part of it.

But what I'm really glad about is that after all the walking and standing and being on my feet for the better part of nine hours, there was no pain. My legs didn't ache and my feet didn't feel like they were buried in white hot spikes and coals. This morning I expected to pay the price for my excessive exercise but when my feet hit the floor nary a winkle of ache or pain did I feel. I really need another pair of these Nike running shoes.

ADDENDUM:I forgot to mention that my arms are a little darker due to the sun and my face has a healthy pink glow. No, that doesn't mean I have a sunburn. However, it does mean my blue-grey eyes are more turquoise this morning. I also discovered that exercise does indeed help with the battlefield Mother Nature and Father Time have made out of my body and I feel surprisingly good. Of course, it could also just be that it's cooler today and I'm wearing fewer clothes despite the painters who are climbing their ladders and peering in my windows today.

That is all.

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