January 8th, 2005

Southern Country Charlotte...

Joe called at around 10:00. I was still in bed, but not asleep. We made plans for them to pick me up around noon, which they did.

In the meantime, I watched this most fabulous movie, I think it was on HBO. It was "Kingdom Come." It so reminded me of a black version of Sordid Lives, and it stared a ton of black women whom I just love. Whoopi Goldberg was the star, and unfortunately, I don't know any of the other black women's names, but I'm sure I'd recognize several of them if I did know their names. I'm going to try and remember to look it up on the Internet when I get back. I would even consider buying this movie.

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We had lunch at a Tavern in "uptown," which other than sitting in the smoking section was quite nice. We split a big plate of nachos for an appetizer, which was delicious. The chili even had no beans. I had a club sandwich with slaw instead of fries. Joe had a pizza. Richard had a Roast Beef sandwich.

About halfway through the meal, I realized I didn't have my phone with me. We walked outside, to go across the street to a little shop, and I bent over Richard SUV and covered the window with my hand to block the glare, and looked for my phone in his back seat. "Dang it, I don't see it in there."

"That's not my car," Richard said. Laughter all around.

We walked through the little shop, which had furniture, knickknacks, cards and magnets, soaps, plates, glasses, etc. I liked two magnets, one which said, "Never eat any more than you can lift." I can't remember now what the other one said. I bought a tube of "Long Dong" lip balm for Erin.

From there, we went to White Rabbit. Richard needed a "personal item" in there, which he bought discretely, and we all just browsed around in there for a while. They had a copy of the 4-DVD set of the first season of Will & Grace, which I got on that auction site for $27.95 for $44.95. With shipping and handling, I paid about $35.

Richard and Joe were spending more time than I needed in there, so I walked next door to the GLBT Community Center. I know that the Executive Director resigned several months ago, maybe even more than 6 months ago now. The hours on the door had been erased, and a hand-written one with the current hours was taped in the window. The place looked empty, and the door was locked. Oh this is not a good sign, I thought.

Just as I started to walk away, a guy, whom I hadn't even seen, came from behind the counter in there, and unlocked the door. His name was Tom, and he said, "There's so many different kind of people walking by here, and I'm not a big guy at all, so when I'm here alone, I just keep the door locked until I'm sure it's okay to let someone in."

This is not good, I thought. It's not very welcoming at all.

"Well I'm glad I passed whatever test you use to decide to let people in," I said, jokingly, but trying to make a point, too.

We talked for just a few minutes. I asked if there were any events happening there this weekend, and he said no. He told me about a recent fund-raising art auction event they had had there. I asked if they still had books for sale in the back. The last time I was there, they just had a rack in the back by the water fountain.

"Oh yeah, but I don't have the combination to the lock that's on the door to the library. Again, not good I thought. He explained that a lesbian group that was renting an office recently said they wanted a smaller office, and they had switched their office with the library. The combination lock on the current library is from when they had that office, so they had the combination and he didn't.

I get the distinct feeling that this community center is not at all thriving. It really makes me wonder, if in Raleigh, where the GLBT community seems even more apathetic, a community center would ever have a justifiable ROI.

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at the ABC store, where I bought some CC. Just as in Raleigh, that ABC store's cash register system is antiquated. You know it is when they swipe your credit card, and you hear it get an outside line, dial, and connect to authorize your card.

Richard and Joe dropped me off at the hotel, where I napped for a couple of hours. For dinner, I ate my half of Club Sandwich I'd taken home for lunch.

I showered at about 8:30, and walked over to the Eagle at about 9:00. The lesson was advertised as being between 9 and 10, and it started at about 9:10. Unfortunately, they were teaching the basic two-step, and after a while added a couple of turns. I just watched the lesson. I was hoping to learn a new line dance, but the entire hour was spent on the two-stepping lesson.

At about 9:50, Nick and his date, Corey (I believe was his name), a very handsome guy, arrived. I danced several dances, but other than meeting "Margaret" briefly, while trying to figure out how to turn on a fan early in the evening, I again spoke to no one all night. I danced Schottische twice, both times with Nick (he leading), since his date/boyfriend didn't know that dance. They do that dance a little bit differently there. Instead of the grapevine, they do four extra steps backwards. These are the dances I can remember doing: Rocket (twice), Midnight Waltz, Cruising (which I did by myself in the middle while everyone else did a partner dance to it around the outside of the floor), Bayou City Twister, Tush Push (Twice), and The Train. I may have missed one or two.

Again, I left there just before two and the lights. I managed not to shop back in the room. I booted up my PC, and listened to Vince Gill's Souvenirs through my headphones as I feel asleep. I woke up at about 3:50, and turned the laptop off.