Saturday, June 19, 2021

personal essay, week 2

Frog prince twins sipping gin and snorting Torchy's. Mind meld magic in the grass outside the party. Sick so special man yr movie's really arty.

 We blew by SXSW. Full contrarian status, I refused the widely used abbreviation, "south-by," and ran around shouting for weeks,* "We're going to southbee! southbee!" Big business tech tycoon nightmare carnival took over the whole town. When I lived in Austin, I hated the whole racket -- the traffic, the tourists, the lines, the logos, the litter, the excess. Well of course I still hate it, so even though I was ecstatic that we had been invited, I was determined to fully embody anti-SXSW values whenever possible. I stayed up late making homemade paper business cards. I insisted our crew get matching jean jackets, the Ghost Fleet. 

 We trash talk, we lip lock, we jaywalk for miles. We dumpster, we long fur, we sweet meat and smiles.

 You know, of course, it turned out to be a lot of milling around, as is the case with so many conventions. We ate cole slaw sandwiches inside a massive, empty sound stage while the adults had barbecue. We became festival friends with a woman whose movie, in the “Midnights” category, was about a female necrophile. Before the premiere, we visited the new GOAT YOGA studio in same dang strip mall as the movie theatre. You can't make this shit up.** 

 While the world hurdled ever onward into the lie of neverending capitalist death show, I found myself surrounded by my best friends, my very favorite people, love bugs I've known for decades and buddies I’ve known only briefly, together, sharing visions, feeding on each other's passion, running from the juggernaut and WINNING. Day drunk, sun spilling in, what a ride. Somehow my favorite people, my best loves, all in one place at the same time. The overwhelm - the too muchness of it - the bigness of us made small by the drone. 

We blew through. We dropped seeds, sequins, swears wherever we flew. 

Hot ass spring in ATX. Maybe jean jackets weren't a great idea. It's too fucking hot yall, let’s head to Barton. Maybe that was when we melted totally. By now, we were mostly liquid anyway -- fat water, craft beer, mimosas, mangada raspas, that local soda pop. Less water more syrup. When we melted the earth soaked us up, hydrating worms and nourishing dandelions. We became the spreading seeds and the breath of trees. Formless, restless, always moving. Too much! The sun sighed low, no, this will never do, and restored form to me and you. We woke drought dry on the shoulder of the road, picked up our bones and carried them home, if homes can be places that we'll never own. Wet down yr heavy and hand me yr heart. You never know where these things go in the dark. 

And now here comes Husky. He's in the movie actually, he's a “major character.” His company paid for him to be here. They're in the business of recruiting social media influencers, your basic "middle man" between specialized subscription service and a youtuber whose purpose in life is to open boxes on camera. We weren't in his database of potential influencers -- he checked. 

The mood shifted a bit. Oh yeah honey kept partying hard. Probably definitely too hard. We stayed up stupid late. So late, the buses stopped running and the app-taxi ride from Cheer Up's back to Brentwood was exorbitantly expensive. At the time, party buddy with a salary style, Husky insisted on footing the bill. He disagreed with himself in the morning.

We made it work, though. We are a loving bunch of ghosts. Breathe into us, we'll bring you in. Well all things must pass. One night, already too late to be awake, me and Rex and Husky were chain smoking on Laylee's tiny patio, as we had been doing every night as if we lived here now - on this porch, own this and every night. Husky started talking about oh who knows what, but he landed on.... privilege. And how he, a white working class cis gay man, is no more privileged than anyone else, certainly not other queer people, nor trans people, nor people of color. This was physically intolerable for Rex, who retreated immediately. I tried to temper Husky's argument with various examples. It was only right that I bear the burden of this "teaching moment" certainly…. Yes? Drink to this. Let us find each other under water. Let the sun sparkle broken glass over what's left of us at the end of this. This - night, thirst, despair, seeking. We all want to belong. Let the smoke curl around you and give you a new name. Husky lit the candle, the brilliant gem at the tip of a cigarette, and I rolled it down his whiteness till there was nothing left of him.

* A blatant lie, I was sick in bed right up till the drive out. I remember packing nasal spray.
** Yesterday at the doctor's office I saw a promo for "paddle board yoga," surely another Austin, TX phenomenon. I can't tell which one is worse. Probably the paddle boards because I don't get to imagine white ladies downward dogging into goat shit.

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