Daily Archives: April 17, 2006

Chocolate City

4.14.06 The day after. Woke up on adequate Friday at a reasonable Hour. 9AM is reasonable for me. A mellow morning, did some errands, got bagels, got papers and had some coffee. Watched Ellen on TV. The usual quietude. Time crawled. Chatted online with the usual suspects in the North New Jersey chat room and also the District room in Washington DC on Gay.com.

I was immediately hit on as soon as I got into the District room. I begged off stating that I was only looking for gay bars in DC that allow cigar smoking. I heard they existed and I wanted to go to one. I did get the info and thanked whoever it was that gave it to me.

I was told the DC Eagle would be probably my only choice. That was cool with me. I was also told that the Fireplace, Omega and the Green Lantern were good spots with Omega heavy on the brothers.

Soon after getting that information and killing some time it was onto a bus to NYC to get on another bus and go Greyhound to DC. I met Bill in the queue and we got onboard and settled in. Bill rode for free since he knew the secret bus drivers handshake. We sat together as the bus was almost full.

A true Busman’s Holiday

That was a sight. 2 big guys like Bill and myself, in 2 seats designed for guys smaller than us. We looked a pair in our leather blazers. I didn’t have anything to eat for the ride and it promised to be an uncomfortable couple of hours. Bill was nice enough to give me a few bites of his Subway sandwich. Thanks to the bus driver who had to make a bathroom break, I was able to get a hotdog and disgusting fries from Nathan’s at the Walt Whitman Rest Area. Leaves of Grass, indeed!

A very fast few hours later, which involved was running lines with Bill on the bus and probably sounded rather odd to anyone overhearing, we made it to Washington DC. As soon as we left the station we were warmly greeted by someone looking for change, and isn’t that the reason a lot of people come to Washington DC? To make change in their government?

Alas, I didn’t have any change to give. Bill and I walked over to a taxi stand. 9 dollars later we were in downtown DC where we found Billie hanging out waiting for us with 2 of his buddies from the parking garage around the block from where he works.

And how Billie’s dreads have grown. Not long like Michael Rose from Black Uhuru, but long enough to be the African princess I’ve always known Billie to be. Billie of course looked great and was as sociable and hospitable as ever. It was great to finally introduce Bill and Billie to each other. Both had heard enough of each other and even had spoken on the phone and now finally they were meeting face to face.

Bill likened it to going home to church, meaning that Billie was quite a spiritual person and Bill feels he’s been lacking a bit in that department. We wandered around the city for a bit before deciding to have some food at David Greggory’s, a restaurant he ate at before. Very nice place, retro-forward design they call it. And it has nothing to do with David Gregory, the former guitarist from XTC.

Billie had a steak, Bill had salmon and since this was Easter week on the 4:30 movie, I had half a rack of lamb. Also had a raspberry Cosmo with Billie and then 2 Amstels. Great restaurant and great atmosphere. Retro Forward!

It seems like every time I come to DC I am in a gay bubble. They certainly do seem warmer and more inviting and lacking in attitude like New York. But isn’t that always the case? Actually I can only compare Washington DC and San Francisco to New York City, and NYC always comes in third place.

Maybe it’s because I’m fresh meat. Or perhaps it is they who are the fresh meat. Could be a combination of the two. I don’t know but I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth, or in the ass either.

We came back to Billie’s house, so tastefully decorated and clean despite Billie saying it was a mess. I’d like to think if Billie comes up north to Hoboken Bill and I would have enough advance notice to really clean the apartment or save up enough money so that we could bribe Julio and Stine enough money to vacate his apartment so Billie could stay there.

4.15/16.06 We all slept like logs and I woke up to a very good morning with a very happy beginning courtesy of Bill. Billie had to go to work for a few hours and left Bill and I in the house alone. Very nice way to start the day. I recommend it. After that I went and had some coffee while Bill lay in bed with his laptop. I tried cleaning up the desktop on Billie’s computer and also tried to fix his printer. Paper goes through with nothing printed. Out of my realm.

I wound up on the porch, drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and reading the gay newspapers from a few weeks before. Talked with a few of Billie’s neighbors, Jackie and Peggy who both probably wondered who this white man was hanging out on their neighbors porch with the neighbor not around.

A muggy day in DC with the sun beaming. Once again I’m looking at the environment through tourist eyes. Same thing happened in San Francisco with Bill and I both thinking we could easily relocate there. I don’t know if Bill feels the same way about DC though. It seems to have a very visible gay community, the restaurant we ate at was gay owned. Of course there are lots of cute guys. It really is a chocolate city. I don’t sense any of the tension between races that occurs in New York.

Then again, these tourist eyes….

Neighbors have conversations yelling to each other over yards and fences. Lodi used to be like that. A real community where every one knew each other and communicated. Doesn’t happen in Hoboken much. Perhaps it once did.

Many birds sing in the trees. A neighbor just yelled about almost being hit in the head with bird crap. He was laughing and the birds kept singing.

When Billie returned from work we all wandered about the Washington Mall, looking at the World War II Memorial as well as the Washington Monument and the big favorite, the Lincoln Memorial. Ol’ Abe is still the big draw. Lot’s of tourists wandering around and yes, we were tourists.

We took a few pictures, everyone pleasant in DC, which once again puts New York in a bad light. People say ‘Hello’ or ‘Excuse Me’ rather than the customary New York greeting of ‘Get the fuck out of my way!’ We braved the crowds and climbed the steps, watching a Park Ranger lecturing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial about the dreams Lincoln supposedly had a few days before his assassination.

After that we had a late lunch at Mr. Henry’s on Capitol Hill. Another gay friendly establishment, which contained up to date gay newspapers. It was standard pub fare, burgers and Guinness. Once again there was a race between Billie and myself to see who could pay the bill first.

I won this round with Billie cheerfully cursing me out for it. We had to make it back to the house because Billie had a financial advisor scheduled to stop by. Billie is buying up property in his neighborhood and plans to renovate the house next to his to rent it. Yes, Billie is becoming a land baron (ess).

It’s a great neighborhood that he lives in. He grew up there and all the neighbors stop and say hello. In the back of my mind there is a germ of an idea to move down to DC and rent it out. But it’s just a germ of an idea. My tourist eyes, my love for Billie and my lust for the men of Chocolate City guide my dreams on that one.

After the financial meeting we got our act together and headed out for the evening. Not as immediately as that of course. There was some farting around and by the time we were actually ready it was 9:30 and we still hadn’t eaten. We tried looking at a few menus but now it was after 10:00 and the rolling up of some sidewalks had begun.

We drove around some more when Billie remembered Georgia Brown’s restaurant, which featured fine southern styled food. We had a leisurely dinner while chairs started to be put away around us. Afterwards we were walking towards the car when Billie suggested a walk by the White House.

Driving past White House

Dark Washington Monument by car

An interesting request which was easily completed as we were only a block or two away. We wandered over to Pennsylvania Avenue where the lights were out in the people’s house. It was eerily quiet and only one police officer was visible. Of course there were probably others in the trees. We walked back through the car through Lafayette Park where 22 years ago I had my first psychedelic experience, with a different moron in the oval office.

Billie asked where to go and I suggested the DC Eagle. He hadn’t been there in ages but was game. It was now midnight, and both Bill and I were in our leather blazers. Seemed apt. At the door of the Eagle was a handsome muscular black man in leather gear, checking ID’s. The first floor bar wasn’t too crowded and I asked if cigar smoking was allowed. Not allowed, but encouraged actually.

We made our way up to the second floor where Bill and I lit our cigars while Billie sat next to us at the bar, scoping out shirtless men. We sat having beers, vodka rocks and a ginger ale smoking cigars and looking at men when a fine specimen of a man appeared directly opposite from me. 6’3” or so, tall, dark with a shaved head and muscular wearing a leather vest. The type that once you laid eyes on him, you wouldn’t be able to take your eyes off him. Bill noticed and Billie definitely noticed. I drooled.

He was joined by the brother who checked our ID’s and I dreamt of being the meat in that pumpernickel sandwich. Of course nothing happened except for their images being burned into the hard drive in my skull.

Bill was disappointed since there was no dance floor and the music was nothing but dance tunes. I told Bill to dance anyway but he wasn’t into it. It was odd with the thump thump thump of the music and nowhere to move your feet. I just sat smoking my La Gloria Cubana Series 7 while Bill sat and had two cigars, which was odd since he doesn’t smoke cigars as often as I do.

DC gay bars are so integrated which makes it not at all like New York. Seems easier to make friends in Dc rather than New York. A more welcoming and friendly attitude. None of the racial bullshit attached.

We sat and smoked and watched the men. We couldn’t watch anymore eye chocolate, actually I could, but it was getting late. We split without any phone numbers or hook ups but enough fodder for erotic daydreams.

We woke the next day, Easter. Billie set about making a big southern breakfast with scrapple, grits, scrambled eggs and mimosas and tons of coffee. Billie and his neighbor had a slight blow up over the fact that Billie didn’t want to have dinner with his family he wanted to hang out with us. Wanda, who Billie grew up with, was planning on going to dinner with Billie’s family and she tried to browbeat him into it, which wasn’t a good idea because you can’t make Billie do anything he doesn’t want to.

Wanda gave a nice Easter blessing before breakfast, wishing me well at my new job. Awfully nice. I love these people.

An argument between siblings during which Wanda backed down. We did have a plan to get some things for Billie’s computer and drove off. Wanda called us while we were on the road, feeling abandoned after abandoning her plan to have dinner with Billie’s family. We turned around and picked her up next door to Billie’s house. It was very familial with Billie and Wanda continuing their argument earlier with Billie admonishing Wanda about canceling her dinner plans with such short notice. We got the computer supplies and then headed off to go bowling which was Bill’s idea.

We had a nice dinner at Clyde’s next to the bowling alley. I had more lamb, this time a lamb steak. Tis the season ya know.

At the bowling alley we registered our names on the screen. Wanda, Tasha, Cindy and Judy. It’s a long silly story that I won’t get into here. It did raise a few eyebrows when the guys in the lane next to us saw a woman and three guys but the names on the screen were all female. They were also impressed that Cindy and Judy were decent bowlers with Judy propelling the ball around 24 miles per hour.

Very tolerant. Dave. Rob and Clay were the guys next to us and couldn’t help but laugh at our names. After three games I averaged about 120. Wanda did good considering that she had never bowled before. Billie did ok too. But Bill, or was it Judy, did the best.

We left around 10:00. Billie and Wanda had work and Bill and I were leaving Chocolate City.

A bus ride home. After a weekend of sunshine, it was pouring rain. A dreary sendoff but actually probably would’ve have been harder if it was sunny out. We rode to work with Billie where we met up with Wanda. They arranged for a breakfast for Bill and myself as well as packing an extravagant care package for the bus ride home.

Hugs and kisses on the sidewalk as Bill and I got into our cab to the bus station. Sad to go, but made promises not to let so much time pass before we meet again.

The bus was crowded but Bill and I were able to grab aisle seats next to each other where we sat comfortably. We ran some more lines probably alarming the fellow passengers. As we left DC and headed home the sun came out and we were able to see Linden and Elizabeth in all its refinery finery.

Made it to the Port Authority and came home. Set about doing laundry and getting ready for my debut on Wednesday. Julio came up and watched the Sopranos and Big Love, like we had never left.

I miss DC, and I miss Billie and Wanda and all the people in Chocolate City. We had a great time. Bill is a great travel companion and I’m glad Bill and Billie got along famously. We need to go again. Lot’s of love and kisses for Billie. And Wanda too.