Friday night. No Johnny Kemp. In Hoboken. Bill on the couch watching yet another episode of Law and Order. Me sitting in front of computer writing. Today was officially St. Patrick’s Day. In NYC that means a major parade. I walked up Fifth Avenue, the parade route before the parade started. Usually there are tons of firemen and bands standing around waiting for the parade to start, but being before 8:00 am they weren’t around.
I wore a greenish suit, a black tie, and a scarf that I bought in 2001 when Bill and I were staying at the Empire Hotel by Lincoln Center. We would make time to get away from prying eyes and ears in Weehawken. We had a good deal on the room. Something like 125.00 for Friday through checkout on Sunday. We wandered around midtown that year together, watching the parade. We both bought Kelly green scarves with the word Ireland and the Irish flag on it. So long ago.
This year, I walked alone mostly, wearing the scarf for the first time in five years. I was going to play My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Loveless’ but somehow it wasn’t on the Ipod. Too bad. They were an Irish band. Then I was going to play the Stones. A touch of rebellion. Greatest Hits of course, when they were still rebellious. But after the first chords of ‘Street Fighting Man’ I wasn’t feeling it. I decided on the B-52’s ‘Wild Planet’ Really a great record. My brother Frank reminded me of it a few weeks ago.
I’m sure someone in the B-52’s had some sort of Irish pedigree. Not that it mattered. I am usually proud of my Irish heritage on this day. How could I not be? It is everywhere in NYC. The green stripe painted along the parade route, shamrocks aplenty. I walked around the Public Library to see if the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization, ILGO, were being arrested because they wanted to march under their banner. ILGO is proud of being Irish. The Ancient Order of Hibernians are not proud of them though.
The leader of the Hibernians was in the papers this morning, comparing ILGO to the Ku Klux Klan or Nazis. ‘Would a black parade allow the KKK to march? Would a Jewish organization allow Nazi’s?’ Who the fuck would want to march with stupid pig headed assholes like this anyway? Unfortunately most of the spectators would side with Hibernians. I grew up hearing there was no such thing as a gay Irishman. Despite the existence of Oscar Wilde and a few others I’m sure. They want us in the closet. They want the closet nailed shut. And they wouldn’t complain if it was pushed off a cliff.
Oddly enough in Dublin, Gays and Lesbians and probably Transgendered folk are allowed and welcomed. Must be a European thing.
A bit fuzzy brained this morning after a few pints with Juan last night. We watched My Name is Earl and The Office. Juan made for good company last night. What a great guy. I don’t want to sound corny, but I see a lot of myself in him. Only he’s way cooler than I was, and is ready to admit that fact.
I remember in the 1970’s, my mother allowed my brother Brian and myself to take off from school and take the bus into the city to see the parade. We were joined by some of Brian’s friends. Immediately after leaving the Port Authority, Brian and his pals made a beeline to a liquor store across the street and bought bottles of Blackberry Brandy. Brian offered me some and I took a sip, believing it was like candy as Brian said. It tasted sweet but not my cup of tea. Still isn’t.
Somehow we made our way past the whores and junkies and whathaveyou and made our way to the parade. We made it to Central Park and Fifth Avenue. In the park we could see the cops on horseback charging crowds of drunken teenagers. I snuck into the Plaza Hotel and used their bathrooms. I wondered if any of the Beatles used the same urinals. What do you want from me? I was a kid.
I made it back to Brian and his pals, drinking their brandies. The parade was the same then as it is now, cold, sometimes sunny. Bagpipes, fife and drums and cold ruddy faces. Somehow between looking at this, looking at that, I lost sight of Brian. I found his friends who could care less where Brian was. I don’t think I got scared, but I didn’t want to hang around Brian’s friends without Brian.
So I knew where the bus terminal was, 42nd and Eighth Avenue. I knew that I was at 63rd and Fifth Avenue. Somehow I did the math. Little me, really innocent looking wandering and weaving my way through the lowest caste of Manhattan in the 1970’s. No one tried to kidnap me or entice me into doing things much to my dismay. I might’ve had a return ticket, because I doubt if I had any cash.
I made it up to the gate and there Brian was, crying and certain he was going to get killed for losing his little brother, the baby of the family in midtown Manhattan. That’s probably where I got the idea of being kidnapped or enticed, from my family. I think even back then, if it frightened my parents or if they were against it, I wanted it. My father saw some of that low life scene from commuting to and from work. Perhaps he skimmed on top of it. Brian’s gratitude was shown by smacking me for losing sight of him. Him, with the blackberry brandy breath.
I don’t think we told our parents about that adventure. Brian out of fear of my parents, me out of fear of being clobbered by Brian.
It wasn’t clobbering time today. And no blackberry brandy either. Just fuzzyheadedness left over from Juan’s St. Patrick’s eve visitation. I had an interview with an agency at 1:00 and was okay by then. Breezed through the interview, was charming and looked professional in that greenish suit. I think I only wear it on March 17. It’s a two-button suit and I think it makes me look sloppy and fat.
After the interview I had a Padron and walked parallel to the parade. I got a phone call from Song. He made it to NYC. We hung out for a little while, he’s another nice guy. We watched the parade together, took some snaps. Then it was back to the drudgery. I asked him up tp the office for a cup of coffee but he didn’t want to.
It was also 4:00AM for Song since he’s been living in Sydney and only just arrived in Eastern Standard Time last night. So he was off to who knows where. I went back upstairs and watched the clock move. Oh. So. Slowly.
Received an email from surprisingly enough, the Persian Bitch. It read as follows:
Have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
That’s it. The whole message. I mean, what the fuuuuucccck?
I know we’re supposed to be making an effort to get over the shit in the past and I’ve been doing my bit by avoiding her completely. She realized that she has no friends really anymore. So she turns to me? What the fuck?
I had to reply.
Thanks and the same to you.
Wrote it in a green font. But man was that odd. I did show it to other coworkers, the friendly ones. They laughed. I laughed. But seriously, WTF? Did someone slip me a blackberry brandy?
Now, hours later, Julio’s here on his laptop, Bill sits next to him on his laptop, I sit here on my desktop. The future I suppose. It would get weird if we just start chatting online.
Have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day in cyberspace!