The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Flashback Friday!

Today will afford me and [Kid 3] a little mom and kid bonding time that we don't usually get. Highlander is working until 8PM, [Kid 1] has a LAN party (which has been cancelled and rescheduled like 3 times) and [Kid 2] is going to a birthday party for a friend. And not that it makes any difference, but it's a gay friend. I have absolutely no problem with her attending the party. I note it only because it put me to mind of a few parties (hosted by gay friends) that I attended during my college years (and shortly thereafter). Particularly one friend that I cherished during that time.

Maybe more now.

I met Chick (that's her real nickname, btw), in the fall of 1980. Another friend, Michelle, had invited me along with her to a neighborhood bar she frequented. At 18, I was sure I'd be carded, but she convinced me otherwise. In all the time I went to the Hideaway...and I'll tell you we were way up in the triple digits here...I was never carded. The place closed not terribly long after my 21st birthday. Ironic, huh?

In any event, Michelle and I used to hang out and shoot pool at this place and Chick was also a regular there. She lived a couple blocks from the Hideaway and was a drummer in a local band. She was about 3 years older than I was and I thought she was just about the coolest person I'd ever met.

She was at nearly a foot shorter than I was and had very dark cropped hair and glasses. She was smart and funny and politically savvy. I loved talking to her about lots of different things. Plus she was always so generous and caring and kindhearted, and so passionate about her music...and life.

At the time, she was engaged to a pretty nice guy and they had an awesome apartment. Of course, I was still living at my folks' house and spending the occasional night on Michelle's couch, so an awesome apartment was nearly any one that didn't have a parent in it.

I didn't know what Chick did for a living (thought I know she wasn't a dealer), but she ALWAYS had money, and she always had pot. In those days, I wasn't as judgmental of the weed. I wasn't competing with it, I guess. Also, from time to time, I was known to enjoy a little of it myself. Chick was the only person I ever knew who used strawberry rolling papers. Which may be more information than I want to share here. Let's just say that seeing a pink joint was all every sense of the word.

Not long after I met Chick, she and her fiance' split up. I remember sitting out in her car, parked in front of the Hideaway talking. I remember telling her I was sorry to hear about the break up and I remember her turning to me, putting her hand on my arm and telling me that she had done it. That she'd called off the wedding because she realized she could never truly love a man. That she was gay. And I remember exactly how I felt.

It was the first time I'd ever really known a gay person. I remember my brain cycling the facts that I truly admired and respected and LIKED this woman and that none of that was at all changed by her sexual orientation. I kept trying to see if I felt at all threatened or repulsed by her admission and I didn't. I wasn't sure if that should surprise me or not. I remember, too, wondering if she was telling me this because she was "hitting on me", but I think that was just because I hadn't been in the situation before. We had been friends for months, at that point, and we remained friends for years after.

I say "we remained friends for years after", because Chick was killed in a car accident in the late 1980's. That memory is the only sad memory I have of Chick. And it's a pretty sad one. Most all of my memories of Chick are good ones.

Memories of her and my (then) boyfriend, Rob, sitting at the bar critiquing the women in the bar. "Ooh, look at the legs on that one!", and "MAN, I'd love to get me some of that." Rob was always fond of Chick. For him, I think it was more because of the hope of getting two women into bed with him. I think Chick tolerated him because she liked me. But the two of them together were ALWAYS entertaining.

Memories of she and I sitting on the couch in her new apartment, after she and her longtime girlfriend split up, cracking up as we watched a cocaine-induced Baron hanging window blinds and unpacking boxes for hyperspeed. I knew how badly she was hurting and it was good to see her laugh.

Memories of her rescuing me from the Hideaway one fateful night when a guy I'd broken up with didn't want to take "see ya" for an answer. Her leading me out of the bar to her apartment, where I poured out my heart to her about how miserable that guy was making me, and then we both poured a lot of bourbon and coke.

There are so many memories that I could share with you about Chick, but this post would be much longer than I had intended. Because, where this started was with [Kid 2] attending a party for a gay friend. I've been to a few parties thrown by a gay friend. My, oh my, were they some interesting soiree's!!

Chick (and her girlfriend 'Katie') first introduced me to this song (and I will admit it's disturbing how 80's...among other things...the video looks)...

They played it at every party.

For their male friends.

And also for me.

Nearly immediately, I liked this song. I always associated it with Chick and Katie and the fun I'd had at their parties.

Generally speaking, Rob and I (and later Baron and I) were the only 'straight' couple at these parties. Most of the time, there were about 8-10 couples at their apartment. Once, I arrived to see a very tall, youngish black woman, which a much older white man. Then I found out that the very tall, youngish black woman was not so much a woman after all. He was seriously working that black leather skirt, though.

They were always very nice people. Funny and intelligent and definitely stylish. I always felt more than a little out of place, but Chick always did her best to include me. She'd always introduce me to people and urge me to grab a drink and dance. While I can't say that I "looked forward" to Chick's parties, I can say that I always had fun when I went. And I always came away with a story.

None of which involved gay naked twister. They were regular parties. Parties like everyone else had at the time. Music and snacks and booze and usually some drugs, if you were into those things. People just enjoying each others' company in a very free environment.

The party-goers always seemed so open and nonjudgmental, and that always impressed me. Perhaps it's all about being "out", I don't know. Chick had always been a bit of a rebel, herself, but always so certain of who she was.

[Kid 2]'s social is in a public venue, so the alcohol and drugs should be eliminated from the formula. Plus, things are quite different in the world now...twenty plus years later. The stigma of being gay has not been eliminated, but it has been lessened.

My own children look past those things to know the person inside, and they accept people for who they are, not what "club" they are in. I couldn't be more proud.

I hope she has a wonderful time tonight. A little part of me wishes I could join her. And play "It's Raining Men" for them...;)

This weekend will be marked with picking up our wedding rings, teenagers spending the night at our place, and, from the looks of it, about twenty eight loads of laundry. Possibly twenty nine. As there is rain in the forecast, it's likely something indoors will work better anyway.

So you guys have a great weekend for us, okay?

Oh, swing by and say "Hi" to Tony, if you get a chance. 'K?



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