Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Night Out

A couple of weeks ago I went out. I needed to get out of the house and with a very nice tax return I felt I could afford it and I was long overdue for a night out. An artist whose work I have recently begun to admire was participating in a show in Long Beach, California and I wanted to go,  possibly to purchase a piece of his art to slowly begin to make my house mine. I invited a colleague of mine to come along for a couple of reasons: she needed a night out as much as I did; I wanted  her to see this artist's work; and hell, we'd just have a good time together.

We arrived at the gallery, a small performance space in Long Beach and went in. There were about eight or nine artists showing their work and we took our time admiring the various works and styles, including paintings, sketches, and photographs.

After about two hours, we felt we had finished with the showing, and as it was still early in the evening I suggested we go to a gay bar I knew in Long Beach. On arriving at the bar, a banner over the entrance declared it to be Bear Night. My friend was curious as to why they were promoting bears. I endeavored to explain to her what 'bear' meant in gayspeak, and then proceeded to explain 'cub', 'otter', 'wolf', 'chicken' and 'chicken hawk.' I was more familiar with 'bear', 'cub', 'chicken' and 'chicken hawk' as they were the more commonly used words when I was first out, and I did my best to enlighten her as the others were newer terms to me, having been out of circulation for so long and not remembering hearing them back when I was first gaily single and available, some twenty-six years ago.

We found a small table and a couple of short stools, more like ottomans, and sat down. As it was still early, there were only a few patrons in the bar. The others were also mostly mixed couples; women together with  men of questionable orientation. As the evening wore on, the crowd slowly increased and eventually we were sharing our table with others.

The first to join us was a male pair. I say 'pair' as they made it very clear they weren't doing each other. (Those weren't their exact words, but as this is a family blog, I won't quote them.) Even they were amazed they were friends as Noo Yawk had just moved here from NY a few months ago and Jersey, was born in New Jersey but his family moved here when he was a few months old, and they both were quick to point out most New Yorkers look down on New Jerseyites and vice versa. I never did find out how they knew each other.

My friend is a talker. She loves to talk to and meet new people and Noo Yawk and Jersey were easy prey for her as both were already under the influence, though of different substances; one liquid, one herbal. She soon had the run down on which bars in Long Beach were happening and which were boring, on that night anyway and what each of them was looking for that night. 

Noo Yawk wanted a "drive-by." I'm thinking sex with guns, because in my school's neighborhood a drive-by means gang shooting from a moving car, so duck and take cover. But evidently, in the new gayspeak, a "drive-by" is a one-night stand without talking; no names, no questions, no breakfast in the morning. Just doing it. Jersey was at least up for breakfast in the morning, but was more concerned about whether two gay men could have a bromance and proceeded to show us every picture on his smartphone of his intended, who was home watching television. NooYawk and Jersey soon left to check out the dance floor, patio and upstairs lounge.

One of the ottomans was briefly occupied by a man who seemed to be waiting to take off again, like a bird in flight, migrating around the club. Before we could initiate any conversation, he flew away.

Our next resident guest, Zoomba, arrived about thirty minutes later, seating himself right down announcing, "Oh, I just love to people watch, and I've been watching you two watching others. Now let's set the record straight. I'm gay and you are straight?" He said, pointing to my friend. She acknowledged. "And you're gay." He indicated me. I agreed. "I just love dancing, oh don't get me wrong I'm not here to pick up anybody I already have a partner and I am here just to meet friends and dance with guys but I always go home to my partner. Maybe some night we can all go dancing where do you live and what do you do?" And only then he took a breath. When we told him we both teach and where we lived, "Oh, my God, this is a miracle, I work with kids, too. This was just meant to be. Divine Intervention. We were so meant to meet. I have to go pee and then I'll give you my number and maybe we can all go dancing some night. I'll drive an hour and a half up to the Valley!" I deleted his number when I got home.

Perch migrated back to us shortly after Zoomba returned to the upstairs dance floor where the friends he had just met were awaiting his return. (An entr'acte?) Just as Zoomba had the energy to match his profession, Zoomba instructor/day care worker, Perch's energy also fit his profession, sales clerk and part time reader in a psychic book store. He enlightened us with his specialty, the Buddhist Tarot. I thought the Tarot was the Tarot. I didn't realize the Buddha had developed one as well.  While he didn't read for us at the bar, he did try to explain why that particular Tarot had appealed to him and what his life's energies were. And for the life of me I simply can't recall what it was. Or maybe the music was just too loud for it to have made an impression. Or maybe it was just something else....just can't put my finger on it.

By now it was late and I had my four legged children to tend to, so we left.

Well, at least I got out of the house, saw some intriguing art, and my friend and I were entertained by some interesting men. And the next time I hear of a drive by, I'll check to see if LAPD was involved and how the handcuffs were used.

Oh, I never did meet that artist, nor buy a piece of his work, yet.

And I learned that bars can be merely a source of entertainment, or a good source for future characters.

All in all, a great night out!

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