Luna

In April, Honey and I stopped by a local Honda dealer and purchased our first new car – a 2016 Civic. We went knowing which color we preferred (Cosmic Blue), but the dealership didn’t have one in stock with the package we wanted. After driving an identical car of a different color and settling on a price, they placed an order for one and told us it would be built the first week of May.

I received a call on my birthday telling me the car had arrived, but since we were out of town on vacation, it was a few days later before we were able to pick her up.

She is exquisite. We chose the upgraded package which included aluminum wheels, a large touchscreen control panel, a sunroof, better sound, and an advanced safety system called Honda Sensing that utilizes multiple cameras to avoid rear-end collisions, prevent lane and road departures, and keeps our car at a safe distance from others when we are using cruise control.

We are thoroughly enjoying our new ride, and the fact that she is getting around 37 mpg is an added bonus.

We named her Luna.

Luna

A moment in time

I just spent a couple of hours scanning some old photos, and looking at pictures of myself from 20+ years ago always leaves me feeling a little depressed.

PhotoScan (94)I look at that young, innocent face and I feel a mixture of jealousy and remorse because he has his whole life in front of him and doesn’t even grasp the significance of it. He doesn’t understand how beautiful he is, and how much his life will change over the next few years.

He has no idea that twenty years later he will be staring at his own photo thinking about how fast the time goes. Or how quickly looks fade and bodies fail. Or how he might have done this thing differently or that one the same.

He is just thinking about how the photo will turn out, or some boy he likes, or what he’s going to do tomorrow.

If I’m fortunate enough to get another twenty years, I’m sure I will look back on this time in my life with the same envy and the same feelings of melancholy.

I guess I’d better start posing for more pictures.

 

Shattered sanctuary

The first time I walked into a gay club, I fell in love. Not with a person, but with the realization that I had discovered a place outside of my own home where I could really be myself, completely uninhibited by the expectations of the straight world.

And let’s be honest, there isn’t anything much better than being totally present and comfortable in your own skin.

I could wear makeup and tight clothing without anyone batting an eye. I could hold hands with and kiss whomever I wanted without worrying about offending the sensitivities of a heterosexual. I could follow my female friend into the ladies’ room simply because she didn’t want to go alone. I could lose myself on the sunken dance floor as the pulsating beat of “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails and the flashing strobe lights hypnotized me.

After two decades of learning that I needed to be on guard almost every moment of every day, I had finally found a place to relax and just be. In this sacred place, we were normal and fear was a distant memory.

Most people recognize the horror of what happened in Orlando last weekend when a heavily-armed shooter massacred 49 young men and women at the gay club Pulse, but I am not sure many understand the impact this will have on the gay community at large.

The survivors of this unimaginable event will probably never feel safe no matter where they are, and although the LGBT population in this country is know for being resilient, I would venture to say we will never feel completely at ease in a gay establishment again.

Terrorism won’t win. We will still gather for our parades, our drag shows, and our Saturday evenings with friends, but the one public place we could be completely ourselves has been violated, and our fearless refuge is no more.

Meeting Hillary Clinton

Sunday evening, while watching our local news channel, I learned that Secretary Hillary Clinton would be visiting a restaurant the next morning that was only about 20 minutes from my home. I turned to Honey and suggested he stop by on his way to work, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to go myself.

I saw Mrs. Clinton in my area in 2008 when she was competing with Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination. We stood in line forever before going through intense security, then stood for an even longer period as we listened to introductory speeches from local politicians before finally getting to see Hillary give her stump speech. After she finished and made her way along the front of the crowd, I got close to her, but not close enough to shake her hand or do much more than call her name along with the throng of people around me.

Monday morning’s experience proved to be much more personal.

Honey and I arrived at the restaurant about an hour before she was scheduled to appear, and the parking lot was already filled to capacity, with cars beginning to park in the lots of neighboring businesses. We entered the restaurant to find it was already standing room only, and decided to hang out near the main entrance so we would be guaranteed close proximity to her when she arrived.

Secret Service agents soon appeared and announced that this last-minute stop hadn’t provided them with the time to make proper security preparations, so they would be checking people with metal detectors in order to keep Mrs. Clinton safe. After putting officers in front of the exits to block anyone else from entering, they began wanding the inside occupants.

Several minutes later, we were instructed to move away from the door and stand in the aisles between the restaurant tables. We grumbled aloud, thinking we were going to miss our chance at getting a handshake. Around 45 minutes after her scheduled appearance, Mrs. Clinton walked into the building.

After greeting the restaurant owner and posing for a photo with him, she greeted the crowd and gave a very short speech. She then said she would be greeting everyone. We were ecstatic!

She worked her way through the crowd, laughing and posing for photos, all the while surrounded by national press and security. She was extremely personable, and also much shorter than one would think. She was wearing a pink pantsuit with a scarf tucked into the neckline, and I would describe her as downright grandmotherly. In a cute way, of course.

When she finally got close enough for us to talk to her, Honey introduced himself and then me as his partner of 11 years. She was delighted. He asked if she would pose for a photo with both of us, and as we positioned ourselves, she said she loved the Hillary signature pin I had attached to my jacket. I handed my camera to Alison Grimes (!) who had accompanied Mrs. Clinton on her visit, and we posed for a couple of photos.

Hillary was beginning to move to the next guests when Honey stuck his phone into the air to get a selfie with her in the background, and she unexpectedly leaned in for a few more photos. After he told her he was honored to meet her, and I told her to stay strong, we moved out of the way to make room for other people.

It was only when we got into the car to drive away that it sort of sunk in how incredible the whole thing was. I know a lot of people despise Hillary Clinton, but regardless of what you think of her political views or personal history, this is a woman who was the wife of a very popular governor, First Lady of the United States for two terms, senator from New York for 8 years, and Secretary of State under President Obama. She is one of the most recognizable and powerful women in the world, and I feel very fortunate to have had the pleasure of meeting the person I hope will become the next President of the United States.

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