Sunday, June 26, 2005

San Francisco Part #2


I woke up at about 6am (yay EST!), read for a while, and went to sleep for a few hours more. It was nice. We lounged about the hotel room until we made it out the door at about 11am. The plan for the day was: 1. walk up Powell to Fisherman's Wharf to check it out 2. walk to the Ferry Building to eat in the Japanese deli we saw 3. take the BART to the Dyke March.

We accomplished all of these things. The walk up Powell was longer than we expected, but we walked by Union Square and saw all of nice shops (I went to Lush and got shampoo... yay!!!), as well as Chinatown and the cable cars. We also walked up a number of somewhat large hills and noted that everyone was parked with their tires pointed in the appropriate direction. This was impressive to us.

Fisherman's Wharf was interesting, though we were mostly there to scope it out for our Alcatraz tour on Sunday. We got Ben & Jerry's, which was delightful, and walked the Embarcadero back to the Ferry Building. (To put this in a little perspective, we started at Pier 41, and the Ferry Building is just past Pier 1.) On the way there, Alicia dropped chocolate ice cream on her "I heart Michigan Vaginas" shirt. This seemed like fate. (Some background for you: When we were at the 89X show I somehow ended up with nacho cheese, the scary orange not-real-cheese kind, all over the front of my shirt. I think it's permanently stained now.) We're pretty sure that there is a higher power that does not believe that we should wear these beautiful shirts. That aside, we decided we needed to wash it out. The only public toilet was closed temporarily, so we snuck into a restaurant (with the help of the hostess) to wash it out. It worked pretty well. We made it to lunch and then took the street car down to the Castro. We got the kids fare on the street car even though we tried to pay the full fare. The driver told us we looked like angels, and that we only had to pay $1 for both of us (instead of $1.25 each). It was nice.

We walked from the BART station to Dolores Park, the start of the dyke march, and had a fabulous time. There were lots of performers, speakers, and, of course, dykes/lesbians/dyke-identified-bi-women/dyke-identified-trans-women/excitement. I bought a shirt and am still really excited. The theme this year was "Dykes Across Borders" which I really liked...

The most exciting part, at least for me, was the breast self-exam. Six women on the stage took off their shirts and demonstrated how to do a BSE and how to help your partner do one. It was fabulous.

Unable to participate in these things in a purely participatory fashion, I suggested that Alicia and I volunteer to decorate the truck and hold the banner. The truck decorating was moderately exciting, but holding the banner was the best.

The dykes on bikes went first, and they were so cool. Not so cool that I want a motorcycle, but cool. Then came the cable car filled with senior dykes (can I just mention that the "Old Lesbians Organizing for Change" are really cool...) and other folks who couldn't walk the parade route. After the cable car, the truck we helped decorate drove, filled with sound equipment and people dancing.

After the truck, Alicia and I, and about 6 other volunteers, carried the "San Francisco Dyke March 2005" banner. Then came thousands of women. It was fabulous. After a number of blocks (okay, most of the parade route, but not all of it) of being surrounded by a number of women marching topless, Alicia and I decided to join the crowd. I was sort of hot anyway, and it was really fun to walk around without a shirt on. Nice and cool.

The Dyke March ended in the Castro, and the truck parked to play music in the street. We dance for a little while, put our shirts back on, and went to find another bathroom. We walked around, got soft pretzles, and then walked back to the BART station. We were tired and while we made it until around 9:30pm or 10pm, we were exhausted.

San Francisco Part #1


After a delightful Thursday night in Ferndale with my mom, we left at 5:15am to get to the airport and catch our flight. What mom may have noticed when she checked her e-mail, however, was that our departing flight time had been adjusted at the same time that our returning flight time was adjusted, and we were, in fact, leaving at 6:15am, not 6:50am. While this error on my part nearly cost us a day of our trip, we ran through the airport (me almost in tears) and caught our flight with 3 minutes to spare. After that, our flight was relatively uneventful. We did, however, have a flight attendant with a freakishly loud and annoying voice. When the woman sitting at the end of our row told her that she didn't need to shout she responded, "I'm sorry, but this is my normal speaking voice," only nasal and loud, really loud. I tried really hard not to laugh until she was out of hearing distance. Unfortunately, assuming that she spoke so loudly because she couldn't hear well was the wrong assumption, and I'm pretty sure that she heard, even a few rows back, Alicia and I laughing uproariously in solidarity with the woman on the end of the row (who was also laughing). The flight attendant was not as polite during the latter part of the flight...

One point I forgot: as we were getting off of the plane from Detroit in DC (where we changed planes), the flight attendent (a different one...) told us, upon asking to which flight we were connecting, that we "might want to kick it up." As we were walking in the airport I repeated it, sort of to myself, to laugh a little more. Alicia, who was carrying the luggage (rolling it behind her really, but nonetheless, taking care of it), thought I was talking to her. We both laughed a lot once we realized that I wasn't being an inconsiderate jerk and that she wasn't just offended for no reason.

I slept for a little while on the plane, but Alicia only closed her eyes for a little while. Nonetheless, we were awake and excited when we finally got off of the plane in San Francisco. We had an eventless BART ride to our hotel. It took us a while to find the entrance to our hotel, however, as it is located at the intersection of three streets, two of which dead end into the third. While the street address is on Mason, there are two entrances, neither of which are on Mason. One is in the back of the building (which is unmarked on the side facing Mason) behind the parking lot. The other is on Turk, a smallish road that seemed so unimportant at first glance. Now that we know how to get in, life is good.

After some showering and unpacking, we decided that we would walk to the GLBT Historical Society to check out some photography exhibits they had. We had an address on Mission, and naively assumed that it would be in the Mission as well, near all of the other queer stuff. We walked from our hotel to that point (about a mile and a half, would be my guess) only to discover that when we found Mission St. (we walked down Market to look see what there was) that we were at the 1700 block looking for 657 Mission. It was, in fact, the opposite direction from our hotel. This is what Ann Arbor teaches you: everything queer should be located in a small little ghetto, not spread about the city. This is what San Francisco teaches you: do not assume that you know your way around a city you have never visited. We walked back up Mission St. and found it. The photo exhibit (Many Dykes, Two Photographers) was good, as was the exhibit about queer athletics (Sporting Life: LGBT Athletics and Cultural Change from the 1960s to today). They also let me use their bathroom, which was soooo nice of them.

Since we had some time before the Trans March was supposed to happen, we walked up to the Ferry Building to see the water. It was nice, and we got to walk through the downtown area a bit more. We made it, ate some dinner (tasty Mexican food...), and hopped on the BART to the Mission. (We decided that our four/five miles of walking were enough...)

The Trans March was exciting, though we didn't actually march. We stayed to watch the speakers, performers (yay drag kings!), and of course, the crowd. There was a pretty good turnout and we had a good time. At about 7:00pm however, Alicia and I were both feeling tired. It was, after all, our first day in Pacific Time, and we got up at 4:30 to be ready to leave for the airport. We came back to the hotel, read and watched TV for a while, and feel asleep at about 8:30pm.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Why don't I have more upper body strength?

This past Sunday, the 5th of June, was Motor City Pride. This day of LGBTQIA celebration takes place in my happy hometown of Ferndale. Yay Ferndale. It would seem, as Ferndale is my hometown, that I would have no trouble arriving on time, or at least within a reasonable margin (plus or minus 15 minutes). As fate would have it (and I don't usually believe in fate, but Sunday tested my lack of faith), however, I did not arrive at Pride until well after 3pm, with the ETA in Ferndale en 11am. Here is why:

When Alicia and I got out the door, it was approximately 10:30am. We knew that we were a little late, but only about 15 minutes. My mom and Mr. Dave were expecting us between 11 and 12, so we weren't too concerned. We walked over to my parking space, got in the car, and tried to leave the city. And by tried to leave the city I mean that we quickly realized that the Ann Arbor-Dexter Run would do it's best to thwart this plan. While I have nothing against runners, in fact, some of my best friends are runners, I do not care for the organizers of this event. They had blocked off all of the Main St. intersections except for Huron, and only one side of the Summit intersection was open. Now, it may seem very obvious, knowing all of this, for those of you who are veteran Ann Arbor drivers, that the easiest way to get onto M-14 from my parking space on First St. was to cross Main at Huron, take Fourth to Summit, and get onto Main and then M-14 from there. There were, however, no signs indicating that this would be the easiest route, or even indicating which intersections would be blocked off. As such, it took 45 minutes of driving around looking for an open intersection before we finally found a cop/coordinator who acted as though I were so silly for being confused but eventually told me which intersections were open. So we made it out of Ann Arbor.

Mostly... I think that we had probably effectively passed the city limits, we had passed M-23 and were almost at the Ford Rd. exit when we heard an interesting noise. Sort of thumping, sort of grating, sort of not promising in terms of our chances of making it to Ferndale. We realized almost immediately that it was the tire we had fixed with Fix-A-Flat (which works fabulously in the short term)... I pulled onto the shoulder and we got out and looked at the tire. It was oh-so-very flat. I called my mom to let her know that we'd be a little late, as it was 11:15am at that point. She expressed some doubt that we would be able to remove the lug nuts, but I wanted to give it a try. We had everything we needed except for biceps of steel. We had the car on the jack (not all the way, you're not supposed to do that until the lug nuts are off), the wrench out, the spare tire in the back, a bottle of gatorade to help us make it in the blazing sun, and a magazine to read after we realized that we needed my mom to drive out with Mr. Dave and a can of WD-40. I was standing on the wrench when I realized that those stupid nuts were not going to move on my watch.

Once Mr. Dave (and my mom, of course) the tire came off with ease, and the spare went right on. Upon closer examination, we saw that a tiny flap of tire had ripped off on three sides, letting all of the air out of the tire. We made it to the tire store somewhat near my house, got a new tire, picked up a cold 12-pk of Molson to thank my mom and Mr. Dave, and finally got to pride.

It was great.