Tuesday, May 31, 2011

And the (Bubble) World Still Goes 'Round

So, that Family Radio guy, Harold Camping, was wrong. Well, okay, not exactly wrong, just off by five months, as he has been saying. The world did not collapse in chaos and destruction on May 21st, as some had fearfully believed it might. All of the good Christian people of this earth did not get raptured up to heaven, as some of the Faithful Followers had sincerely expected.

I had forgotten to watch for it. I had imagined it, days before, playing it out in my mind like a scene from the movie "2012." I already knew that I was going to be visiting my Aunt Pat in Palm Desert that day. I had wondered if I would still be driving on the 10 freeway at the moment Judgment Day began, the road crumbling beneath me near the desert windmills before swallowing up my little smartcar with me inside.

I had wondered if we would be caught off guard while at the movies, good and religious people disappearing in mid air - poof! - leaving behind their empty, flat clothing in the middle of a "Bridesmaids" showing ("That's not a very Christian movie to see!"). Would we even notice it in a dark theater, right before the Edward's buildings toppled over those of us Left Behind?

As much as I can let my imagination get the better of me, and as much as I gave the alleged end-of-the-world some thought, I wasn't close to what you could call truly scared or worried. If I were actually concerned, I would fret more about my pets (Did you know that there was a group out there promising to take care of pets post-May 21st if their owners did indeed get raptured? And that they accepted payments before that not-so-fateful Saturday? . . . I wonder if it was non-refundable?)

Oh. But back to my precious old lady pugs, and our darling baby feline. If the very foundations of our paved paradise were going to crack open and swallow us into fiery depths of hot magma, then I would want some sort of euthanasia pill or injection to administer to our furry babies. I wouldn't want them to have to suffer any fear or physical pain simply because their human companions had been blighted for deliberate sin. I can't even stand the thought of our surrogate children suffering a slow demise from hunger and thirst if their two dads weren't able to make it back home from the Judgment Day festivities.

When I returned from visiting my aunt that Saturday night, our house was still standing, and there was music booming from a party in the next block. A live band was playing, with vocalists singing in Spanish. I didn't understand all of the repetitive lyrics, but I heard a lot of 'Hallelujahs.' I suspected that the party had gathered in anticipation of the Rapture. If so, I wondered how disappointed those people were at the end of the night. And the next day.

It was anti-climatic, really. Not that I wanted the world to end. Lady Gaga's new album hadn't even come out yet, before that weekend, and that would have been sacrilege, darling, not getting to experience those new tracks. Have you heard her song "Government Hooker?" So 80's-esque!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Some Parents are Cool!

In the early 80's, Band Geek Friend, Bubba, suggested we go looking for part time jobs. The winter break was coming and we needed extra money so we could do some holiday shopping. We went directly to our local shopping conglomerate that included a Mervyn's, a Miller's Outpost, and a Baskin Robbins. Armed and energized with fresh ambition, and perhaps a bit of naïveté, we aimed to fill out applications in every store until we received the first job offer.

There was also a Clothestime, a trendy clothing store for young women. Since we were there we figured, "What the heck?"

"What . . . ha ha . . . positions are you applying for?" the lady behind the counter asked us.

"Oh, being a rude person like you," Bubba calmly replied before I followed him back out the door.

That was before either of us had come out. Today, almost thirty years later, I received a message from High School Friend, Brenda, who shared an interesting update. Her husband had used a birthday shopping excursion with their daughter as another chance to try to make more sense of the social world in which we live (as she so beautifully described). He mentioned the young, gay men on staff in the women's clothing stores. Their daughter, who had just turned 12, was genuinely surprised. "Really? I thought that they were just really good dressers."

Also, today, my niece's mother asked me if I had seen the new shopping bags for Hollister. I hadn't, so she sent pictures to my phone, pictures of two male models lying next to each other on the beach. I think it's interesting that you can't actually see the whole picture at once, just sections of it on four different sides of the bag so that the models' faces are on opposite sides, although their torsos crisscross in between . . .

"Mom, you know only teen girls and gays shop there, right?" my 16-year-old niece had asked her.

I'm such the proud uncle, proud that she gets it! (Hollister certainly knows their target market) Her 13-year-old step sister's response, however, was "Eww, gross!" My niece's mother used it as an opportunity to teach her that choosing one's sexuality is as realistic as choosing one's eye color.

Too bad Bubba and I aren't young enough to apply for the same part time jobs now in these clothing stores. We were a little ahead of our time, maybe. And Clothestime? I can't even remember the last time it was still open.

Tolerance in 2011 - on sale now!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Welcome to Peter's Retro Discoland!

Part of the problem with getting older is that it becomes more difficult to find a good dance club that plays satisfying music, satisfying to my aging ear, at least. I know: my life is a constant trial! But as BFF Kathy had once said, "I need a place where I know and recognize the songs so that I can enjoy myself."

There are plenty of gay bars/dance clubs to choose from, in and near Los Angeles. So, I am forced to admit that my age is a major part of the problem. There are simply not enough retro nights at bars on the weekend.

There is Oil Can Harry's, close to Universal Studios. On most nights they play country & western music for line dancing. But Saturday nights are for disco night! And age is not an issue there. Yes, most of the patrons have been my age or older on the nights I've attended, but quite a few were much younger. It's about a 35 mile drive from home, though. I can't always get friends or even Domestic Partner to go with me.

I saw a Totally 80's night, for a local club, advertised on facebook. That's specifically what I was looking for! But it's held on a Tuesday night. I could still go, but the Sensible and Responsible Adult that I've finally become is reluctant to risk a lethargic day at work on Wednesday morning.

Lately, I've been thinking that I will just have to bring the dance club to me. I'll just have my own discotheque at home. Years ago (okay, decades ago, literally, even if it's only been a couple . . .) I went dancing with friends at the Coconut Teaszer in Hollywood, when it was at its old location. I loved that they had a huge window in the front of the club, like some one's living room window that you could look into. The exhibitionist in me loved that I could dance behind that window and be seen by people driving by or walking by on Sunset Boulevard.

Since then, I have always wanted to live in a house like that.

Our current home is in a quiet, suburban neighborhood. It's not the most ideal location for building dance hall dreams. But maybe some day, about the time I have my fourth novel published, and the film rights optioned, and a stage musical adaptation for one of them, then I'll be able to build a dance club in the front part of our dream home! I'll be able to sync up the iPod to play an infinite play list of my favorite dance tunes from the last five decades, and have a dance club the way I want it.

And you will too, the way you want it - you'll be invited! And I will take requests. There will be food and drink, and plenty of guest rooms for you to crash in and spend the night. It may take me another couple of decades, but keep your boogie shoes ready . . .

Monday, May 2, 2011

How to Make Your Partner Mad (or, Midlife Crisis #8)

I almost left. I was going to quit my job. There is nothing wrong with my job, not really, except for me. The pay is good. I genuinely like my coworkers, and I know that's not always easy to find in a work place. And the stress, consistent as it may be, is at a pretty minimal level.

But my numbers have not been as high as my boss would like them to be, for more than a few months now. I am weary of being so ineffective, and I was ready to leave. I came very close to announcing my two weeks' notice.

I wanted to give notice right after I was offered a sales position with a solar panel company. I also had an appointment for a job interview with a famous weight loss company (Kirstie, Valerie, Sara, and even Jason have been their celebrity spokespersons), just in case.

I hadn't said anything to Domestic Partner about it, not until the first job was offered and the appointment had been made with the second company. I opened up the conversation with, "I need your advice about something."

He was not pleased. His first response to me was, "I don't think you would do well, trying to sell solar panels." He became even more upset when I told him that the pay was commission only. I told him that was why I had an appointment with the famous weight loss company. He was not appeased by my back up plan.

I told him that if I was single, I would have jumped at the chance to take either job. I would take the risk without giving it much thought. But since I'm not single, and since I had to consider how the consequences would affect us a couple, I wanted to know what he thought.

Be careful what you ask for.

Domestic Partner told me, not unkindly, that he feels he has been carrying me for the last dozen years or so. That was not the first time I had heard him express that feeling. He just hasn't said it in a few years.

When we first met, I wasn't even employed. I had just been fired from my server job at the Olive Garden. I was performing as a Kit Kat girl in drag, in the musical "Cabaret," and I was making $7.00 per show. This was in the mid 90's.

Why did he want to continue dating me? Why did we stay together? I secured better, more consistent employment after "Cabaret," including another restaurant job and a Disney gig for their sports entertainment (cheerleader!). But I also went away on contract as a dancer, more than once.

Why does someone, knowing what you are and what you are not, want to stay in a relationship with you only to try and change you?

Now I'm just ranting . . . the changes that Domestic Partner wanted/wants for me have benefitted me. He is good for me. If we weren't together I would not have even gone back to school. My pending retirement would be even more pathetic than it already is.

As I have said before in this blog, he is my stability.

I asked him why he was so upset, why he was taking my proposal to change jobs so personally. Domestic Partner is only 51. He may have the opportunity to take early retirement in five years, so he is still waiting for me to catch up to him financially (and in other ways) so that he can afford to take early retirement.

So that he can afford to stay in a relationship with me.

Our conversation ended well. He said that when he retired in a few years, maybe we could consider moving to Hawai'i, as we have been talking about for a while now, and just rent a small place. If I want to change jobs, I should just wait until we move to the islands.

That made me feel very happy. It was a wonderful consolation prize.

Instead of giving notice I went to work the next day and told my boss, without going into detail, about the previous night's conversation. I told him that I had renewed commitment for my job responsibilities.

I turned 45 this past weekend. Maybe it's having another birthday that has been making me want to do something impulsive. So, instead of quitting my job, I got a haircut (I also bought my first smart phone, my birthday present to myself, after using the same flip phone for the last seven years).

I still think I would have rocked as a sales person at the famous weight loss company.