Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Plus ca change...

I started yesterday in San Francisco with an lemon citrus body wash from the Hotel Vitale that was so aromatic that I almost choked-- then ended the day with my sister wearing some kind of hair product that was so peppermint my eyes felt like they'd been singed and the back of my throat itched. A lot less calories than a bowl of Chunky Monkey for dessert, I'll give you that.

I read this morning in an account of life for the gay community in New Orleans by Rex Wockner that if just 2,500 people around the country were to give $20 each, they could save the Lesbian and Gay Community Center of New Orleans --which I doubt is likely to see much in the way of funds from Washington to keep the doors open. Perhaps some of those financial wizards in LA could work their magic on New Orleans behalf, or gay community centers around the nation could get the word out. Donations may be made out to and sent to LGCCNO, 2114 Decatur St., New Orleans, LA 70116.

My favorite tofu scramble at the Bagdad Cafe on Market Street in San Francisco is no more. After reminiscing about it for years, and holding other restaurant's similar dishes up to it and always finding them lacking, I've fallen victim to that time-honored practice of harboring not a false memory, but clinging to the memory of a past I assumed still existed in some other universe.

This memory did not center on a single dish; it was just a good meal in a pleasant cafe, one always anticipated with delight that never failed to deliver. Always a great spot for people watching the passers-by on the busy stretch of Market Street --especially with the nearby gym.

No degree of fondness for The City could hold time in check. True to form, The City upholds it's longstanding allure from afar. For years, I have told friends it was virtually an obligation for gay folk to have a period of habitation in San Francisco. Permanent residency is not expected --nay, it is far too difficult for many and just plain not suited for others. It is a life-altering experience, though, a form of living the expat life within the United States. Folks around the Bay Area both intramuros and extramuros rather acerbically and usually good-naturedly jibe that not everyone who comes here is cut out to live here.

Like so many gay ghettos around the country, SF has long been a mecca. San Francisco offers a magical allure that makes it such a popular vacation place as well as a place to live.

Lemme tell ya, no matter how many weekend visits to The City one makes, trying to live there day in and day out the same at all. It is not as easy as it would seem--indeed, it can be confusing and to more than a few not worth the effort.

Not readily acknowledged is that many who come to The City with their psychological baggage in tow, which tarnishes the experience of living there considerably.

That isn't meant to discourage anyone from making the attempt, but to temper one's expectations and fervor of going there. Living in The City won't fix some damaged people, yet for all that it still provides an incomparable experience one is far more certain to regret only if it is never attempted.

I ought to insert here that I'm not alone in my family in experiencing the jolt of change in The City. We all had our points of reference -- as with the seismic faultlines-- moved from what they were (or as we remembered them to be).

Not many gay folk have had the priviledge that I've had of actually being in The City with my family of origin, having a meal on a bustling main street of the gay ghetto a mere few blocks from the world's gay Greenwich meridian.

So, like the Port Deli before it and so many other personal landmarks of life in The City, the present becomes the past, as it always has and always will.

This morning, I did get to lead the meeting at the alano club, as the "guest out-of-towner," although I'm not exactly a visitor without ties to SLO. It was a nice meeting, much more homey than my regular morning meeting, but rustic enough to make me appreciate and look forward to my meetings back home.

The meeting helped to return perspective to my life, sobriety and the holiday-- which is what it's purpose is whether it's in the Tenderloin or in Beverly Hills, right?

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