1. No, not me. I’m still sober. Sobriety date: October 1, 1996.
It’s true, I’ve not stayed sober in the romance and finance programs. Very difficult. Very, very difficult. No masturbation. No porn. Writing money inventories… bloody nora. It’s the objectification and the intriguing that’s so bloody hard. No gawping or flirting.
So, we drove back from Provincetown. After witnessing our friend (poor soul) experience a catastrophic breakdown. A monumentally ugly relapse. Part prescription drugs, part menopause, part work pressure.
She thinks she’s a washed up actress, she thinks there’s no future. She never really got humble about her limited talent. She left LA with her tail between her legs. Some people say she was an LA hooker…. when things got tough. I don’t know about that. I don’t have an opinion about that. It’s okay by me.
Watching a friend fall apart. Blaming and resenting the world. Unable to look at her part in anything. Her responsibility. It’s everyone’s fault but hers. The sailor owes her money, the owner of the theatre will not speak to her, she’s lying to her parents so she can pay for a lifestyle beyond her means. Her neighbors are assholes. Her brother has no humanity, the woman who made a show with her last year is a ‘bitch’, the band she played with all last summer are insensitive assholes… they don’t know how to treat a real artist.
So much of what we learn in the rooms of AA, owning our part in any or all situations, keeping our side of the street clean, a quick apology when one is wrong. None works for her.
When she doesn’t get her own way she starts screaming. Now, she’s screaming at me. She’s screaming at my friend. Her rasping voice, her old lady petulance. She starts on me. Bad idea. She screams what people scream when they are full of hate, she’s raking up my past and remaking it to her own recipe.
Screaming. Screaming usually upsets me. If someone hits me… I want to hit them back but I’ve learned to do something recently, something that has profoundly altered my behaviour. I’ve learned to record everything. Any potentially difficult situation… I press record. I’m like Andy Warhol.
I find it so hard to keep my temper when my security is threatened… but I manage very well when I know I’m being watched. Even if it’s my own phone watching me. The tapes of her screaming are very sad. I couldn’t watch them for long. She’s screaming but she looks so fragile, washed up, isolated.
I stay out of her way.
Finally, she’s cruel to the dog, she didn’t know I was watching… I could see everything. I saw her sweep his legs from under him when he was suffering with Lyme disease lameness. He yelped as he slumped to the ground.
I say, “That’s not very sober… you have different choices here… you can do this differently... ” But she’s so consumed by righteousness indignation and I’m recording every word.
The aftermath of the great marriage equality win.
Gay pride started as a demonstration. A few brave people marching in the rain. My friend Rose Collis marched in the violent 1980 London Pride. The police arrested the drag queens and beat them up. Then they harassed those who tried to help. There were more police than demonstrators. That’s how dangerous we were to the establishment.
Some of us have been in opposition to the establishment for many years. Now we are not. We say, “We are just like you.” Some say, “We let go of being the other.” Some say, “We want what what you have but we are still unique.” If gay people truly want equality then invisibility is a byproduct of being just like everyone else.
If we don’t have the issue of equality around which to coalesce, what’s next?
Now we are equal do we need gay culture? Gay film festivals? Gay and lesbian bookshelves? Gay pride? Gay resorts? Gay AA? All of these conceits which used to be safe places for gay people to get together… surely we need none of them? Our aim, obviously, is invisibility. But for the affirming Pride Parade. No longer a demonstration. Always a celebration.
Only people in opposition to the status quo need demonstrate, need to ‘be seen’ as evidence that they exist, that they are no longer frightened or cowed by the establishment. We are the establishment, some would say we are the new elite.
Personally, I find the Irish Parade in New York very annoying. Why does it happen? Okay, so there are Irish people… and they drink a lot… and they wear green. Is that it for us? Is this what Pride becomes? We are gay people and we drink a lot and we wear rainbows… if we wear anything at all? Is that it? Just a rainbow side-show? For the entertainment of all. A flimsy excuse to get drunk, take drugs and get laid?
The bars and clubs fill with straight people because there are many more of them than us. The resorts are sold to rich straight people because there are many more of them than us. Soon everything we created to be safe, enjoy own special gay lives… will be gone. Is this equality? Is this integration?
The parade is just a parade of clowning gay men showing off their various pick up app related labels. The twink float, the daddy float, the bear float, the leather float. Maybe soon we will be represented by huge gay themed balloons… dancing merrily up 6th Avenue. Balloons that cannot upset the children or insult one or another young person whose ‘safety’ is threatened by the wrong word, the wrong intonation, the wrong idea of the past.