Saturday, December 21, 2013

I Pitched a Tent at Rainbow Ranch

I had the opportunity recently to take a weekend campitng trip that I had arranged for some much needed rest and relaxation.
After being under a bit of stress it was either a camping trip or a faked addiction to heroin for admittance to a methadone clinic.

I had made up my mind to visit a gay campground, somewhere that might have activities and social interaction for gay and lesbians that enjoy the outdoors. After a quick Google search I hit paydirt with Rainbow Ranch. I was impressed at what a perfect name it was for a gay campground but nervous that it was not far from Waco, Texas. Waco is the world capitol of crazy cults and compounds that ususally come to fiery ends complete with raids operated by the US government.

Regardless of my fear of being abducted and forced to live as a sister-wife, I booked my trip. My friends asked what campground I was going to be staying at and I replied "Rainbow Ranch". Smirks and snickers soon became common place as I announced the name of the campground. I was quick to lurch into a well deserved hissy fit and insist Rainbow Ranch was in fact a real place and that "NO, they did NOT have rivers of glitter and pink unicorns that trotted to the beat of Cher songs!"

It didn't help when I would show my friends pictures of the campground, most of which were of the parties and social events that included either princess themed dinners or overtly masculine military style dance parties. "It's just a thing they do once in a while" I told them. "There is plenty of nature and fresh air and swimming and just laying around doing nothing. It's just what I need."

The day before I left for the campground I called the grounds office to make sure my spot was still reserved. I was given information for my space by a very nice older lady, at least I think it was a lady and informed that a campground potluck was set for the evening I was arriving and that I was invited. I thought that a potluck sounded really nice and would be a nice way to meet other people. I picked up some cookies from the grocery store bakery for the potluck and headed out.

The first indication that things were not going to go so well on this trip was the fact that the campground itself was an hour past Waco. Waco is not really the cultural capitol of Texas so I did not intend to make any stops. I drove past pastures and abandoned pickup trucks until I came to a desolate little haven of burnt woodland with a sign hanging next to the road announcing the entrance to Rainbow Ranch.

The campground itself was next to a lake that I soon found out had not been "zoned for swimming". There was an above ground swimming pool but I sadly learned it as well was not at the moment "zoned for swimming."

I quickly set up my tent and began to read when I noticed a middle-aged, somewhat stocky but attractive gentleman fishing near the pier. My first reaction was shock that the lake had actually been "zoned for fishing" and then of curiosity about this handsome stranger in his cute fishing attire.

I decided to casually walk over to the dock, where I would sit and read next to where the man was fishing. That was my plan to entice this man, sit and read. This plan was genious.

I soon noticed that the fisherman had a dog who would splash around giddily in the shore of the lake as the fisherman went about his tasks. It was a serene sight with the handsome man and his dog fishing in the sunset on the shore of the lake. As I am not a dog person I knew this would not be a problem as after we had fallen in love I could just ask that the dog be put down. If he loved me he'd do it.

As I sat against the pier with the sunlight painting the side of my face, I seductively would make eye contact when the man would look my way. It sounds romantic but as I had forgot my glasses in the tent, it was more like I was awkwardly staring in a way that said I might be crazy, or that I was in severe need of cataract surgery. It was during this creepster version of peekaboo that he finally yelled out in a masculine and powerful voice, "How's it going?" I replied with I'm good thanks for asking, how bout you? As he turned to walk towards me that's when I saw them. Both of them. Breasts. Yes, they were covered under a Khaki Bass Pro button down and looked as though they were being held down like they were middle-eastern housewives with a penchant for sassy backtalk. Yet, there they were. "Sure is a nice day we're having" the fisherperson bellowed. "yes it is" was my reply. And just like that, my fantasy of a hot fisherman was doused with a splash of reality. That reality was in the form of a 60 year old post menopausal lesbian. A lesbian with a very sexy haircut, had that haircut been on the head of George Clooney. This is the official moment I became invested in the upkeep of my vision.

I walked back to my tent and remembered the potluck. I thought it best to take a shower as all that sitting and reading had really made we work up a sweat.

As seven o'clock I made my way over to the campground community center, which in gay campground fashion had been outfitted with a mirrored disco ball, giant speakers hoisted on top of Roman Columns and enough glitter to make even Lady Gaga ponder the thought that it may be a just a tad over the top. Of course the phrase "over the top" means something totally different at a gay campground.

As I entered the doorway, I was met by a stick-thin circuit party looking boy with the word bottom written appropriately enough across his backside. I immediately assumed he had bought these shorts online because there was no way in hell a store within a 100 mile radius of Waco, TX was selling this item.

I introduced myself and told the man-boy that I was given instructions to bring a food item for the potluck. I held out two huge cartons of the bakery cookies. The response I received was: Ahhhh, wellllll, hmmmmm. The pondering and confusion on his part explained the errant fashion choice he had made in dressing for this occasion.

Well sweetie, see,,this is a private party. He whispered the words "private party" as to not embarass me in front of anyone, even though we were the only two people in the vicinity.

"Well I just assumed after the park ranger told me to bring a food item and invited me to the event and that I was welcome." I tried to explain the situation as best I could. "YEAH, uh huh, I see....NO it's a private event" he whispered private event again as though a line of people were behind us and I was so embarassed to have made such a mistake. I was now seriously beginning to worry that the half dressed man before me had mistaken the event for a Presidential fund raiser or the Annual Metropolitan Museum of Art Gala as to assume there was a level of importance to a potluck guest list at a run-down gay campground sitting adjacent to a toxic lake in the Texas backwoods.

I decided to say thank you and leave it at that. Even at the shittiest campground in the world, I cannot be a part of the "in" crowd. As luck would have it I was assigned by the park ranger, otherwise known as the head lesbian dressed in camouflage, to pitch my tent in space number 32. Space number 32 was exactly 75 feet from the community center, where right at this moment the worlds most exclusive social event was now starting.

I lay in my tent devouring cookies and washing them down with lukewarm beer,this being my dinner as I had expected to be partaking of gay potluck delicacies.

The party was really starting to ramp up now and the giant speakers had been moved outside and were pumping out jet engine level dance tunes. I decided to try to sleep and put in my earplugs. The earplugs didn't seem to help and the music was only getting louder. As mad as I was because of the noise, it was kinda hard to be upset while listenting to Abba, Dolly, Cher and Madonna who were being remixed into a collage of excitable dance songs being blasted into my face.

I was about ready to get up to complain when a techno version of "Dancing Queen" began to play. "OH I LOVE THIS SONG" I thought. Fifteen minutes later, enough was enough. I crawled out of my tent and stomped the 40 paces over to the community building. When I entered I was astonished at what I found. There was no crowd of fun loving gays, only the circuit boy dancing by himself and holding glowsticks under a mirrored disco ball. Apparently the party had been over for about an hour but he had continued to entertain himeself with sassy gay dance anthems.

I apologize for entering the restricted, guests only area and kindly asked if he could turn the decibel level down to say the equivalent of maybe a series of screeching jets breaking the sound barrier into supersonic booms. "OK, sweetie, I'll be sure to do that" he said,,"You'd better go cause this is kinda a private.....well you know." Was he serious? Was I being punked? Was Ashton Kutcher going to jump from behind the penis ice sculpture and scream "WE GOT YOU, WE GOT YOU GOOD, YOU JUST GOT PUNKED BITCH!" Alas this did not happen. I left the circuit boy dancing under the disco ball, apparently turning down the music was not the first priortiy in this matter. I crawled back into my tent and entually found my slumber as a reggae version of "I Will Survive" gently lulled me to sleep.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Peace, Love and Misunderstanding

In third grade I asked my friend  how babies were born.  I honestly don't know why I asked, it wasn't like I would ever want any or be in a position to possibly create one, regardless I was curious.   He told me that a woman and a man go in the bedroom and put their metals together.  I didn't ask any further questions and for the next two years I just assumed my parents were created much like the action hero Iron Man.  Later, I would have an AHA moment in realizing he was saying "middles"  and not "metals".  Thus began my life as witness to the misconceived.

A few months ago my friends Nicole, Pam and I were taking a day trip to San Antonio to a restaurant that is a favorite of mine.   I like them so much that I "liked" them on my Facebook account and they sent me a text for a free appetizer. Got that?  If you liked them on Facebook,you got a free appetizer.  Easy enough to understand for your run of the mill ten year old, complicated quantum physics like science for Nicole. 

Pam and I explained to Nicole that if she "liked" this restaurant on Facebook, she would get a free appetizer and then we would all get to share it.  When we explained this, Nicole's response was "why would we get it for free?"  "Because you liked it on Facebook" I replied.  Nicole cocked her head to the side like a bewildered Labrador retriever and we followed up on the explanation.   "They give you a free appetizer when you like them on facebook, we would all share the appetizer, after you have done this."   Still confused Nicole continued with her inquiry into this mystery "why would we all get it?" she asked.   We wouldn't all get it I explained,  I was now somewhat perplexed and losing my patience with having to say the say thing over and over.  "we would all just share the appetizer after you have liked them on Facebook.  We don't want to order three appetizers, so we will just share yours."   "It's free for me,,why?" she asked.  "GODAMMIT Nicole"  I was officially raising my voice.  "Fucking because you liked it on Facebook that is why."  She looked down for a bit, which was probably not the best thing to do, as she was the one driving us to San Antonio.  A few seconds passed and in my mind I was saying 'don't you dare ask again, Nicole, don't you do it.   To her credit she did wait a few moments and timidly responded with "I just don't see why we all are going to get the appetizer."    Pam and I looked at each other.  I began a tirade of rants and spewed threats for about 4- 5 minutes, until I just tired myself out.  Pam being the level headed and calm one in this group took over.  "Look honey,  don't be embarrassed by what I am about to do.   I am going to explain this to you like I would a second grader.  If you go onto the restaurant's Facebook page and click like, they will give you a free appetizer.  Maybe a chips and queso,  maybe sliders,,,you get the idea.   You would get that appetizer for free at the restaurant.  We would all take a bite of it, otherwise known as sharing.  sound good honey?"  Nicole nodded her head, but as I sat there steaming, I knew that crazy hippy still didn't know what the hell we were talking about.

Confusion and Misunderstanding seem to now be a normal part of my day.  I have a friend who I now know very well and we get along great, but when I first met him I was enamored.  Daniel is absolutely gorgeous and I was in awe of his physical beauty. Seriously I found myself at a loss for words.  I would stammer and trip over sentences as if I were  playing Jodi Foster's role of Nell, from the movie "Nell".

I should have said things like "It's very nice to meet you."  Instead I puked out something that sounded like "me like you face, I choke you and is good?"   I didn't really want to choke him,what was I talking about.  stupid idiot, get it together.   He's just a man.......a drop dead gorgeous God-like man,whose  eyes I could swim in for days.  I would continue this awkward fascination upon several meetings to follow.   Each time I opened my mouth to speak or stared at him like a crazed stalker it came off as if I wanted him to be a personal sex slave and live in my basement.  For the record that was not the intention, no harm ever came to Daniel and to this day he is free to come and go as he pleases without the fear of physical restraint.  Does that mean I can't have a life size doll of him , complete with hair samples and fingernail clippings?   No it does not.

A recent attempt to communicate and to understand came straight from the heart.   This attempt was filled with good intentions but fell like a stone.  A stone in a lake of awkward creepiness.

I tend to be a very emotional person.  I even watch those YouTube videos that show military reunions or unlikely animal friends that have recovered from serious injury, just for the sheer pleasure of getting a good cry on.   Feel free to try this yourself by adding in a pint of Ben and Jerry's and you will know what my Friday nights consist of.  

At work , I had recently found out that Dixie, our Administrative Assistance had lost her father.  We had all signed a card for her and I don't come into contact with Dixie on a regular basis so I assumed providing grief counseling by myself would not be needed.

We were having a potluck a week after her father died and I was looking for the meeting room in which we were to dine.  I spotted Dixie in one of the kitchens in a separate wing of our building and asked her where the room was located.  She gave quick and concise directions to our room.  I should have said thank you and continued on my way, but something inside me, definitely not common sense, said "Kyle, stay,  stay and ask about your coworkers dead daddy".   So I did.  I offered a quick condolence and explained that I was sorry for her loss. "Thank you very much." she said.  This is the part of the story, where I should now be walking away.  "NOT SO FAST" the voice in my head said.  "Really dive into this persons loss and continue with an uncomfortable situation for her.   "I just know it must have been a huge loss and wanted to say again we were sorry to hear of it."  "Yes,,,well,,thank you for that and I appreciate it." and she then intentionally broke eye contact with me.  The rational side of me said, "this is where you turn and make footsteps in the reverse direction.  Just leave while your have a tiny shred of respectability left."  The  sassy black lady inside of me said, "Back that thang up.  Get on up outta there before you make a fool outta yourself."  The menacing voice inside my head said, "Press on Kyle!  Really make sure she knows you are concerned and sorry for her loss.   Don't leave until you know she is ready to go on with her life!"   In the next five minutes I am pretty sure I attempted to bear hug Dixie while singing the gospel song "Amazing Grace."   I am now not allowed within 200 yards of Dixie, which make work tough sometimes.

I truly believe that for most people, this sea of life that we are in tends to be smooth sailing, for me it is that awkward moment when it is really quiet and your stomach sounds like a dying whale.