Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pride - the block party

Saturday morning, I started squinching my eyes at the sky and compulsively checking the weather. It was the day of the Baltimore Pride Block Party and, like every other day this month, it was raining. Not just raining. Pouring buckets. But, I was going to the block party. I would simply need to re-evaluate my outfit.

Originally, I had planned a fun lady liberty outfit with a Hitachi Magic Wand as torch. But, I wasn't taking any chances with ruining my display Hitachi. Or wearing a dress that would stick to me like saran wrap when wet.

After checking the weather a few more times and giving the sky a lot of cross eyed looks, I put on my favorite Dykes In The City dress, a pair of matching rain boots, wrapped my cards in a plastic bag and set off for the block party in my (surprise) jeep wrangler.

By the time I got there, the sun was out, the sky was blue and I was sweating in my boots. If I wasn't wearing plastic boots, I can guarantee you, it would have been pouring.

I trudged up the hill and over a few blocks to the party.

First I went and found Niki and the DITC booth. It was two o'clock. People were pouring in. And some were already drunk. The block party is a big drunk fest. It is absolutely not a family friendly environment (the festival on Sunday is very family friendly). Or a place that's safe for folks who don't like crowds. Or who don't feel safe being around drunks. Which may sound like I don't like it. But I love it. I especially love Lesbian Land.

Lesbian Land is an oasis at the Block Party. Directly down the alley from the DITC booth there is a parking lot full of lesbians, cars, beer pong (why? not sure), tents, grills, music. And lots of lesbians. And their friends. It's a gay tailgate party. And it's no where near as crowded as the main area.

I found my friends R1 and R2 (how on earth did we find people before text messages?). They were hooked up. In chairs under a tent. With a cooler full of beer. They promptly handed me one. I sat down and looked around. R1 offered to take some of the promo cards and pass them out. I sure as hell wasn't going to object. She darted off with the cards. R2 manned the grill. I drank my beer. And geared up to pass out cards.

Passing out cards and talking to strangers is not my favorite part of my job. It's fine once I'm doing it, but it takes some psyching up. Because, it involves talking to strangers. Strangers make me a little nervous. Especially when I'm walking up to them and shoving commercial propaganda in their face uninvited.

By the end of the evening I had (R1 and R2's help) passed out almost 2000 cards. No one bit me or growled at me. And then I got to hang out. Which meant hanging at the DITC booth with Niki and Denise, D's partner and sister, Niki's mom, and our friend Foxy. We saw people we hadn't seen in years. Wandered to the end of the street and found a dance tent. Danced. Laughed. Remembered when I sat there in front of City Cafe the year I was on crutches and my roommate had a camelback full of margaritas. The year that Foxy was flirting with that one girl with the hat on that corner by the alley. The year that we met Ducati Girl right there.

I was hot, sticky, tipsy and wearing rain boots. And I was surrounded by some of the people that I love the most in the world. People who have known me for years and love me anyway. And I was happy.

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