Saturday, April 13th, 2013
I woke up, post-migraine. Anyone who knows chronic migraines knows the day after feels similar to being leeched. You are drained. The light sensitivity is gone so you can open your eyes, but your energy is nil. I woke up and had to use the toilet. Trent advised to bring our own toilet paper. I trudged through the lawn chairs and empty beer cans to the port-o-potties, with roll of toilet paper in hand, a respectable distance from our tent.
We didn’t want to be too close, for obvious reasons. And we didn’t want to be too far … for obvious reasons.
Two young gentlemen cornered me on my way back from the toilets. Both handsome. Both young.
“Can I ask you why women are walking around with rolls of toilet paper?” Pierre asked.
“Do you really want to know?”
“Yeah,” Pierre said.
“Because all the toilets are out of tp by 10am. Why? Because women hover over the seats so they don’t have to touch it and spray over the entire toilet then neglect to clean up after themselves.” I looked at them and saw their chiseled faces wrinkle and contort. “Do you wish you didn’t know?”
“Yeah,” Pierre said. “You are the first cool person I met.”
Pierre was black. Is it relevant to note his race? It is, only because I had been yearning to have a love affair with a black man since before I moved down from Washington. I have had one-nighters in my early twenties, but those are so brief they almost don’t count. A few fantasies led me to the thick lips, especially how they would feel enclosed over my clitoris, the gorgeous blanket of dark chocolate skin and the body of someone who is built but without it looking so forced he was disproportionate. Black men are strong and wide because their bodies allow them to be. White men will expand beyond the width of their heads or shoulders, and look short but wide. Black men fill out perfectly. Pierre was too young for me, but let’s face it, so is my boyfriend Michael. “Where can I get your face paint?” he asked me. Oh yeah, I remembered, I was wearing face paint from the night before.
There I was, just woken from a migraine MDMA sleep, baggy eyes, uncombed hair, toilet paper in hand, and this perfect man was trying to make a connection 5 feet from the toilets. I wondered if he would seduce me. “134th Street,” I said. “I’m the one with the shitty car next to the Mercedes.”
The cars are parked in a line, and each line is given a real street name, with a street sign similar to what you see on your corner. This way you can find your campsite in the cluster fuck of luxury cars and campers.
“Good Morning, Trent,” I called into the tent.
My car was full of food, needed tools, gear and everyone’s clothes. If I had a dollar for every time someone said, “Can you pop the trunk?” I could pay my rent. I also allowed people to charge their phones from my cigarette lighter until someone left the car keys turned so long, the car died completely. Ruffling through the mess of a car, I found Trent’s vodka bottle of urine. He used it to relieve himself while we were trapped in traffic.
“At some point, can you pour out your urine? At your leisure, of course,” I moved a few things around. “I have French bread for you.”
“I always find the curious ones that keep saying I am straight. Girls think I am gay. I want them to think I am straight,” he said. Trent is definitely a gay man, one who has fucked both women and men. There is a strategy with him though, on flipping the converted, the unconverted and those on the fence. He wants everyone on the fence to be uncertain. Partly, it is what I identify with. I admire that quality, though I don’t push the same way he does.
We dragged out some lawn chairs and sat up as the morning shook open, like an egg cracking from the inside, bleeding more and more light. We all drank beer for breakfast. No one was there to judge us. No roommates, no lovers, no one. Do you know how wonderful it is to start your morning with a beer? It makes your feet tingle and your face lift. To just do whatever the fuck you want to do without judgment is liberating. I was watching myself, however, because Pierre would be around and I was determined to keep monogamous. I would not fuck things up with Michael. He was the best relationship I had. He cared the most.
We watched the birds form migration patterns overhead. Somehow, in the chaotic mass of driving in Thursday night, we were lucky enough to park next to a few homosexual men: D, Haute and Kev. Gay men just suit me. I can’t say why for certain, I just feel the most comfortable around them. Maybe because sexual competition and sexual conquest are a complete non-issue. Maybe because they suffered to establish their identity and won all the trophies I carried with me: a personality, a sense of humor and a case of beer. Maybe because they carried the same nicks and scars; the fear of rejection, the alienation, the feeling of being unwanted. Whatever the case, I felt lucky to have them there, with their cooler of beer, their sleek sunglasses and perfect hair. They leaned back their heads, smiling, letting the desert sun cover their faces with heat. I fell in love with those men that morning.
I think they were all accountants. They behaved like playful men and once in a while spoke of work as if it was a burden. Kev was a large, bald, black man. The first night we were there, he was waiting for his boyfriend who hadn’t arrived yet. He looked straight-laced, but when he was drunk he wanted to collpase in his tent. Trent and I were chatting up D, who is a physically averaged-sized Caucasian guy, around my age, with sandy hair and a party beard. D is one of the most perfect human beings you could hope to meet. He was good-looking and kind. It was easy to talk to him because you never felt like he would turn and roll his eyes. He just smiled and exuded warmth, no matter what type of fool you wanted to be that night.
The night before, Kev was in the tent screaming for D. I slinked up to the tent and looked in to find the middle-aged, grown man on all fours, screaming “D! Come to bed! D!” He was drunk.
“Kev, we are talking to D right now. Can you close your eyes for a little bit and then when you open them again, D will be there. Does that sound ok? Do you think you can do that?” I said.
“Yes. Ok.” And Kev fell asleep.
Sober, Kev was the type of guy you would hire as a lawyer, accountant or police officer. He was strong, secure, big and confident. I like seeing people like that reduced to a toddler. There is a genuine spirit there you don’t often see.
Haute had joined us Saturday morning because of work. He was Asian, perfect “gay” body, I guess you could say. Androgynous. I always find that to be the ideal: the best of masculine and feminine worlds. Haute is a true one-of-a-kind. He will roll his eyes. He will act miserable in the heat like a Southern Belle used to being waited on with clean napkins and seeded grapes. He will shoot a witty remark as sharp and cruel as any professional stand-up comedian and not flinch. And when you make him laugh … you feel like God.
It was a good gathering.
We watched the frat boys walk to and fro like they too were on a grassy runway. The white boys with shoulders too big, heads too small, shorts too low, no body hair, no obvious flaws: boring. The gay boys were taking the bait, though.
“Do you think he is gay?” someone asked, as a red-haired frat boy strolled past.
“A gay ginger is like a unicorn,” D said.
We were next to a huge SUV with several white kids and one token black guy, who looked fucking miserable. They were loud and obnoxious. They played drinking games I didn’t understand like beer ping pong and whatever else. UCLA banners on the car and on their covered picnic table. It seemed like they didn’t have to worry about a thing.
They clustered in front of their SUV drinking beer and maybe nursing a hard bottle of some kind. A couple leaned against the hood of the car. The tall, boy with a baseball hat kept staring at me, while a blonde, thin, tan-bedded girl hung on his arm. A short, Asian boy with a UCLA baseball hat tried being the joker, hosting, encouraging drinks and performing for them. The rest stood there, dumbfounded. They were so young.
The boy kept staring at me, and Trent whispered in my ear, “He keeps looking at you.”
“Probably because he is bored with Barbie,” I said. Then I licked the end of my water bottle and slowly poured it over my mouth and chin. I buried the nozzle of the bottle into my mouth and throat and coughed up an ounce of water over myself.
My group of gay boys giggled.
It escalated. I spread my legs, and fanned over my crotch to his direction. Anytime he looked over, Trent squealed excitedly. Barbie looked on disapprovingly and hung harder on his arm. The poor boy didn’t know what to do. He looked back at his friends, providing them a one-word response. Never a smile. Never a chuckle. Nothing human.
Trent tipped me off to whenever the boy looked back at me. This time, I slipped my bare breast over the top of my strapless sundress and moaned.
My boys cackled.
As conversation carried on, and I covered myself, the boy looked harder and harder at me until we eventually held eye contact.
“Oh my God, he is looking right at you. Oh God!” Trent said.
“This is awkward, I don’t know what to do,” I said.
Straight-faced, sunglasses and with a hat, the boy stared. When the couple said their goodbyes, fist-pumped and proceeded to walk past our campsite, arm in arm, Trent whipped me around and pretended to pump into me from behind, ending with a squirt of suntan lotion all over my back.
“Oh God!!!” I moaned. “HARDER!”
We had to wrap things up. I wanted to see the Violent Femmes at 6pm and we needed to find more drugs.
Sal kneeled by my side. In broken but heavy English he said, “That is the sexiest show I have ever seen.” I laughed. You see, I am just a comedian with a nice body. I only mean to be funny. I only dream of being sexy.
A girl from the black SUV crawled over to me drunk. “I love gay rights. I heard them saying bad things but I don’t believe it.”
I shrugged and took a slug from my beer. “Ok.”
From time to time, girls will do this. They get sloshed, crawl into my lap and confess lesbian experiences from college. I don’t know what they expect from me. Do they think I am a lesbian? Do they want advice? I am never asked a direct question so I just let them prattle on and on until they go away. I find the misdirection boring.
The crowd from the SUV tried talking to us. I was buzzed and not interested, but Sal and Fernando lit up. “I have never felt popular before!” they said. We had stepped out of line. Our clothes didn’t match. We weren’t nervously trying to fit in. We invented our own lives and in that life, we were new. We didn’t echo style, words or dreams. We were individuals. We were born and alive.
“Welcome to life after high school,” I said.