June 27th, 2004

I Was the 2004 NYC Gay Pride Parade

Well, sort of. I got up at 9:30, showered, packed, and went next out for breakfast. Right outside the hotel door, 52nd street was blocked off and the street was lined with floats for the parade that started at noon. People weren't in them yet. There were folks hanging around some of them putting last-minute touches on them. I stepped into the 810 Deli for a bite. I had planned to get French Toast, but the place was jammed, with no seating, and I decided to get an egg sandwich to go. I also got a toasted bagel with butter for plane.

I stepped back outside, unwrapped my egg sandwich and decided to take a walk up 52nd to see the parade. It occurred to me that this was sort of a "parade in reverse," that is the floats watched me walk by instead of the other way around. I was struck by the diversity of our community. The first five floats were church floats, which always reminds me of how arrogant many of these so called "Christian churches" are whose congregations, for the most part, consider us "heathens." Oh well. Wasted energy getting riled up about that. Can't do it any more. I can only feel sorry for them, and pray for them.
There was one float that said, "The Largest GLBT Synagogue in the World," which I think was from the synagogue that Sarah Seigel attends.

There were floats for the Gay Men's Chorus, a gay soccer team, a day spa, many of the bars in NYC, several local radio stations, and a curiously odd float by Altoids -- advertising both Altoids Mints and Altoids Gum, which I have never heard of. Guess it was a successful advertisement for them.

I finished my parade, and returned back to the room to check out. Going through the lobby on my way back up, I noted a line to check out/in. Up at the room I tried to checkout via the television, but when it brought up my room account, it had the name of some, presumably, Hispanic person. But, since it had a zero balance, which is what I expected, I hit the "Continue to Check Out" button. I got an error message that it wasn't possible to checkout this way at this time, and to please checkout in the lobby.

There were only three people ahead of me in the line, and it moved quickly. My balance was indeed zero, and it took less than a minute to check out.

I walked up to 53rd, turned right, and took it to the EV subway station near 5th Avenue -- the same place from which I arrived on Friday.

There was a little drama on the metro, as some detour was in effect, and the person who was telling you what to do was hard to understand. I decided to just "go with the flow" (not much choice at this point), and noted the stations as we passed them. It explained some of the confusion about my arrival -- I just hadn't waited long enough to get off coming in. The street numbers go down, then jump a big bit, start back up high again, and then start going down. The next time I do this, I really need to get a subway map before getting on the train to follow along with the stops.

As it turned out, on about the fifth to the last stop, the doors opened with the announcer again saying something about a detour and a shuttle, and then I saw a hand-written sign on a piece of paper taped to one of the beams in the station saying that the Shuttle went to Jamaica Station, which was where I was going. I hoped across the platform to the shuttle, which just happened to be there right at the moment. Whew.

At the Sutphen Station, second to the last to the end of the E-line, I got off the train, and followed the signs to the AirTrain, which takes you to JFK. All without incident, Friday in reverse, knowing what to expect. Another fine $7.00 trip instead of a $45 one. :-)

I checked in at a kiosk, so not wait whatsoever. There was also no line at security, and that went smoothly. I arrived at gate 40C at about 10 after noon, and caught up today's journal entry until about 12:35. My flight is at 1:10, and so far, "on schedule."

I checked in with Robert, and he was just leaving Charlotte by car. We'd be getting in to Raleigh at about the same time. We had both decided that we weren't going to go out to Steve and David's party in Hillsborough. Robert was going to take a nap, and I was going to "unwind."

When I landed I had a voice mail message from Steve, asking about going out to Flex later tonight. I rang him back later, and we agreed to meet out, but that it would be late, and he would call me when he was close to being ready.

I checked my U.S. mail, and my e-mails, and pinged Gregor on AIM. The response said that my message was being forwarded to his mobile device. I said, "Are you at Third Place?" About 45 minutes later he responded that he was. I asked if he'd be there a little longer if I came out. He said yes.

I ran down there, and we sat and chatted for about 1.5 hours. Great conversation, as usual. I was joking about nonchalantly pickup up several copies of The Urban Hiker (which currently contains my story), and sort of flicking them on each table opened to page 33, and then just sitting back and glance around to see who was recognizing that one of the authors was sitting among them. LOL Delusions of grandeur.

Steve called at about 8:50 saying he'd be at Flex between 9:30 and 9:40. I ran home first, and then out. He arrived as scheduled. We caught up, talked junk, and listened to a few songs of karaoke. Then Steve said, "Can I talk you into Snoopy's and Legends tonight?"

We decided to go to Legends first. The new "video bar" was open, so we checked it out. Arthur B. from the Helpline was there, and I said hello. The bar is little, but nonsmoking, which was great, and smelled so new. They have plans to expand it already putting a dance floor in it. Cool.

There was an "early" drag show (11:30 instead of 12:30), which we watched. That one big blond girl is good; we both liked her.

This very drunk, or high, or something Rod Stewart looking guy did some dirty dancing with us, and later Steve asked me if I would be upset if he left with the guy. "No problem," I said, and meant it. It was late for a "school night," and I was ready to go home.

Later about 1:30 or so, I think, Steve called me to tell me that things had gone terribly wrong at the guy's hotel room, but that he was okay. Hated to hear it. Glad he was safe.