|Photo Credit: The Cork and Bottle|
I wanted to go do as much stuff as I possibly could. Why else, I reasoned, was I putting myself through that hell? But the hours they gave me kept decreasing. One thing I could do was go to SF Gay Pride.
My sister was cheerleading for a competition team that performed at the parade. My mother was buying a hotel room for herself, my sister, her friend, and for my friend from high school. He was the 'superhomo' on campus. Flaming gay. In the GSA. I was openly bi, but not flaming. In fact, most people still don't usually believe me. -_-
Mom invited me to come along, but I didn't want to have to deal with parking in San Franciso. So I worked it out that my friend in the Bay Area would car-sit for the night, and we would take the bart to the City. She had a date, and I went to the pink party. I met up with Superhomo, and we went out on the town. He had a few friends there that he knew some way or another, but they were all men and they all kept going to gay male bars. I really wanted to find a woman to at least make out with. But Superhomo has never cared about getting anyone else laid but himself. I have known this for years.
He and one of his old friends developed some drama, and so he walked off to the hotel room. His other friends didn't really care at all, so they just went off by themselves. I just went along on my own. I went to a wine bar and ordered sangria, which was a mistake. The only woman I met had a boyfriend and wasn't poly, and I had a horrible hangover the next morning.
The girl looked like some kind of psychonaut fairy. She had magical green eyes, and pink ribbons in her hair. I roughly remember her talking about how her and her boyfriend were staying in an abandoned house like 5 blocks away. I was so very intrigued. We had a bunch of interesting charecters come stop by to see us. One person informed us that he was an electrical wizard who was 'connected.' Dude. Totally. *nods head*
|Photo Credit: sf.funcheap.com|
Eventually the Psychonaut Fairy went back to her boyfriend, leaving me to wander in and out of bars drinking more and more. Eventually I had to find my way back using the map from the hotel. I didn't have a smart phone at the time, and the battery in my 'dumb' phone was actually dying. This was bad because I also didn't bring the charger. And I had to call my Bay Area friend the following day to have her pick me up at the BART station near her house. so I turned the phone off. I wandered around the streets drunk off my ass figuring out my way in a city I was pretty unfamiliar with. I asked a homeless guy for directions. I gave him a cigarette. The advice lead me in the right direction, thank the Gods.
I passed out on the floor of the over-crowded hotel room. I didn't even get to see it in the light because it was after 2am by the time I got back, and I didn't want to wake anyone up who had to be up early tomorrow.
When everyone woke up, I felt horrible. My head was pounding from the too-sweet sangria I had drank after drinking so many gin and tonics at the gay guy-bars. The others left and let me stay until check out time - 8am. The earliest check out time I've ever seen. But I also didn't want to miss the parade. I soldiered through it.
As soon as I was back in the fresh air and got some food down (avacado on a bagel from a coffee shop), I felt more invincible. I found interesting things to fill the time while waiting for the parade to start. Last time, I was watching the parade with friends. I went off by myself just to satiate my attention deficiency, but I had something ancorhing me to one place for the majority of the parade. This time, though, I kept wandering up and down the streets, finding the best place as circumstances changed.
There were a lot more people this year. And there were a lot more people on the sides of the street selling alcohol or jello shots who clearly did not have a liscence to do so. I saw people selling weed fruity-pepples treats. It was very similar to what I saw at 420 on Hippy Hill. It's like a little cottage industry pops up around these types of activites in SF simply because the cops don't seem to hold them accountable for breaking the laws.
The crowds grew and grew. After the parade, people were still doing lots of stuff. I took myself out to several different restuarants. It was like the best date I'd ever taken myself on! It reminded me a lot of Buring Man, but with money. It was probably just my state of mind that made that happen. I went to dance areas, and at once such place even saw two co-workers dancing together. I thought they were both just friends partying, but eventually found out from a mutal friend that they were actually lesbian lovers. So sweet.
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I took a trip to leather alley, watching anxious and excited at the demonstations they had there of different sadomasochistic scenes. It called to me so very much. I wanted to be dominated so badly. I am very masochistic, and seeing it embraced in that little corner made me feel so very alive. I asked one of the booths if I could get whipped. They paired me up with someone, who went over the basic stuff - like safe-words, my lack of experience with this-kind-of-thing, and what kind of experience I wanted. I was kind of unsure about that, but she gave me options to chose from, which helped a lot! For the first time, I went topless in front of a large crowd. So empowering. And I felt the excited tingle on my back for days afterwards. It was so fucking new and scary and exciting and hot.
|Photo Credit: leatheralley.net/|
One of the restuarants I went to was an all-vegetarian thai or vietnamese place (I can't recall which), that didn't sell alcohol, but was right next door to a liquor store. They allowed you to go buy a beer next door and drink it. So that's what I did. When I was in line there, it was so hot, and I could finally smell the result of my walking in the California heat all day. This extremely drunk girl (who would have been much hotter if she were more composed) was in line in front of me. When she was done with her purchase, she turned to leave and, seeing me, stopped dead in her tracks. She looked me up and down, then leaned in slightly and gave an audible sniff.
"Girl, I ain't gonna lie, you stinky. You pretty cute, though."
She walked out the door and groped my ass as she passed by. I was so shocked I just laughed and paid for my beer.
All day, I knew I had to eventually meet up with my mother. She would be my only option to get back to my car, at my Bay Area Friend's house - since my phone was totally dead by then. But there were SO MANY PEOPLE, that it took a long time before I ran into someone else who knew my mother and texted her for me.
By the time I met them at the hotel, the crowd had gotten unimaginably huge. You couldn't walk anywhere without having to completely squeeze through. The streets were literally packed like sausages. That's where I learned that something horrible had happened. Someone had fired a gun into THAT CROWDED of a place, not too far away from where my sister, her cheer squad, my mother, and Superhomo were all conviened. They were all in a post-traumatic state, and so the crowded trip back in the car was a bit tense. Especially since I did stink so badly. I had even tried to rinse my sweaty pits off, but that didn't seem to do me any good.
|Photo Credit: virgosveryowndaily|
It was such a relief when I got to my Bay Area Friend's apartment, and my car was in the parking lot, and she was in her apartment, having been worried about me. It filled me with the sentiment that "all's well that ends well."
I was looking forward to the upcoming 4th of Juplaya, but was still unsure if I was going to go. I didn't have anyone to go with, and work kept getting in the way of my plans - which, frustratingly, was the whole reason I was working! To fund my adventures!
But after this trip didn't turn out as planned, but still turned out well when I 'went with the flow,' I decided that I would figure out a way to go to the playa twice this year. Maybe it was greedy; but after the last time I had been to the playa for Juplaya 2012 had ended up disasterously, I wanted to give it a chance to redeem itself. I wanted to give myself a chance for redemtion. That trip seemed to be the catalyst that tore my life apart. It made me realize that things were not working. A few months after that fateful trip, I had no choice but to rebuild what I thought about myself.
This year needed to be healing. It needed to be a contrast from last years. It had to show me that I could carry on. I could keep going. I didn't want to give in to sorrow and give up my traditions. The playa had several times freed me! I had faith that it could help me feel free once again.
I was still too nervous to meet other people. I didn't really know how to initiate a conversation with people. No matter how comfortable I felt around people, I didn't feel comfortable getting to know them. I supposed that they would have no reason to want to be friends with me. But Gay Pride helped me enter the right headspace for the playa. I had fun, was independent, and adventurous.
|Photo Credit: sf.funcheap.com|