Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pride and Shame

In case you haven't noticed yet, a large portion of my friends are gay. This may be a result of living in San Francisco, working in PR for 3 years and frequenting Cafe Flore...or it may just be that "the gays" are more fun. Regardless, I'm in deep.

In celebration of Pride weekend, I decided to head over to the Dykes on Bikes parade and support the ladies. I knew it would be a spirited event since I had been the year before with my mom and dad who happened to be in town for Pride weekend. (Note: My dad was so into it, he wanted us to march as a family behind the parade of topless women on Harleys, but my mom put the kabash on that one.)

While I was waiting to meet up with my friend, I was chatting on the phone in front of the Safeway at Church and Market. Suddenly, I felt something sharp on my HEAD. Within seconds, all sorts of possible explanations went through my mind. Was someone trying to get my attention with a sharp fork? Was I hallucinating that I felt something? Did a squirrel just drop from a tree above me?

Just as my heart stopped racing, 3 men wearing pastel-colored muscle shirts began cackling loudly. "What WAS that?" I asked them, still shaking. "Damn, girl! A huge bird just landed on your HEAD!" "Oh my God!" I exclaimed, walking towards them, fully expecting the supportive responses I've grown accustomed to. You know, something along the lines of "You OK, baby girl?" Instead, they continued to laugh and then one of them yelled to the gathering crowd, "That's what happens when your hair looks like a NEST!"

I was speechless. I was mortified. I was....betrayed by gay men? How could this be? OK, fine, it was windy and my hair may have been a bit, um, messy, but don't they know that I'm one of them? Well, not really, but kind of. I could think of nothing else but the tearful, dramatic speech that Grace gave to the gay men of New York City after she was mistakenly accused of being a homophobe due to bad editing of a comment she made on Jack's new talk show.

Grace's speech from Will and and Grace, Season 3:

"Shame on you! Bad queens! Bad queens! Do you even know who you're booing? I have been devoted to you for decades. When I was a little girl, I showed you mine when you showed me yours. Even though you didn't care... When I was in high school, I showed you mine when you showed me yours, even though you didn't care. And when I was in my twenties, I slept with you, even though you still didn't care! (crying) And now, you sneer at me at the Chelsea Market, and you-- you throw macaroni salad at me on Christopher Street? (SOBBING) And it's so not fair, because I love you people! I have always loved you in a very unhealthy way. For my own personal development, now love me back, damn it!!!!"

Since I was so stunned by the betrayal, I didn't pull it together in time to make my own speech. But better late than never, as they say, so here's mine:

"Shame on you! Bad queens! Bad queens! Do you even know whose hair you're calling a nest? I have been devoted to you since I moved to San Francisco in 1999 and got that job at the PR firm...where my friend Justyn painstakingly educated me on all things queer. I've served beers to drunk, naked men in dog collars during the Folsom Street Fair when one of my friends needed an extra set of hands at The Power House. I've shaken it to technoMadonna at gay dance clubs in Istanbul and Bangkok (where, mind you, I was the only woman on all 5 floors for the entire night). I was a bridesmaid at a same sex wedding at City Hall where I waited in the longest line of all time in HEELS. I've even held a joint birthday party at the End Up on fag Friday. Hell, I once gave a dyke a cup of corn starch from my pantry so she could experiment with hard packing...or was it soft? For the love of God, I was the one straight person in the LGBTQ group in grad school and so WHAT if I only joined so I could meet fun, gay men to study with? I love you people and if you ever betray me again, I swear I'll stop performing those Best in Show monolouges that never fail to cheer you up when you need it most.

Did you say...Geodesic Dome?

photo: Amy's tube of "travel vegemite."

So my mates from down under came and went. They overcame their jet lag like champs and dove right into the game. Chris had been here before so it was nothing short of heart-warming to watch him show Amy around the city. (He was here visiting me for 6 weeks in November/December of 2005 during which time I gave him an excellent education on SF livin,' as far as I'm concerned). I felt like a proud parent when he told me he took Amy to Dolores Park AND Hot Cookie in the Castro one day while I was at work--atta boy.

Speaking of Dolores Park, my two guests tried to order sandwiches at the Dolores Park Cafe...only to be misunderstood 3 times in a row--poor peckish little things. Apparently, "takeaway parcel" doesn't quite communicate food "to go." Another accent barrier that I find rather amusing is that they can't use automated phone systems here in the States. Whenever Chris tries to call the airline to deal with his "return ticket," the system asks him questions like, "Did you say...unicorn?'" Well, not quite that bad, but BAD.

Anyway, the kids from down under had a good time in SF. I'm hoping they forgive me for organizing a surprise party for them at Zeitgeist. Surprise! All my friends are wasted and making poor attempts to imitate your accents.

Am I wrong, or does accent imma-ty-tion just nevah get old?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Summer Guests: Round 1

I am about to embark on a long run of playing San Francisco hostess. In the next few weeks, 6 close friends will be in town, all of whom will try to get me to stay up late on weekday nights. I will attempt to hold strong against their pleas, but it's hard when you know it might be a while until you see these people again. And, (insert other excuses why it's OK to stay up late on work nights).

Tomorrow, my friends Chris and Amy arrive from Sydney! You may remember them from such excapades as Lauren's Extended House Guest With The Exciting Accent and/or New Year's Eve Down Under. They'll be passing through SF twice this summer--on either end of a wedding in Toronto. Hooray!

As I type, they are on the plane, sitting together. If I had to guess, I'd say Amy is currently flipping through a fashion magazine while drinking a glass of wine. No doubt Chris has a beer in hand as he reads a series of newspapers with his iPod on for background music. In about an hour, he'll start working on the best man speech that he'll be giving at the wedding next week. I can just hear them talking to each other in their adorable Aussie/Kiwi way.

Chris: Aymee, we're on holid-ay!
Amy: Yes we aaaahh, Chreees!
Chris: Looks like I need anotha beeha.
Amy: We've been in the air for 10 meenuts!
Chris: I know, flight attendants ahh a beet slack ta-dy, ay?

Monday, June 11, 2007

When Nouns Become Verbs: A Theory on Etymology From a Girl in Pink Taffeta

Warning: If you are not a self identified grammar geek, you may be painfully bored by the following post.

I have a theory about the English language. The theory posits that nouns act as verbs when no verb exists to adequately describe the action of that noun. Example of nouns that pretty much own their own verbs are as follows: snakes ---> slither, horses ---> gallop and soul dancers ---> boogie.

On the other hand, some nouns have no choice but to double as verbs in order for people to effectively communicate their meaning.

Examples include:
  • Google (as in "Let's Google the 13 colonies since I just lost a bet on which states were in the mix.")
  • BART (as in "Parking downtwon will be hell. Let's BART to the restaurant.")
  • Oh, and a friend of mine in DC recently used JDate as a verb, which I found hilarious. Something like, "Wait, I think I know that girl. Oh, right, my roommate Jdated her a couple months ago."

    The theory also proposes that the reason some nouns don't have dedicated verbs is that those nouns became popular before any matching verbs had a chance to evolve (e.g. Google). Rather than work around such limitations which would necessitate the inclusion of extra words (i.e. "Let's conduct a Google search to find out...."), we English speakers create shortcuts that work for us. Why? Cause we're lazy bastards and who's gonna tell us not to?

    The reason this is on my mind as of late is that a certain verb has evolved in said manner within my personal vocabulary and I'm a little embarrassed about it. Having participated in quite a few weddings, I've found myself rocking "bridesmaid" as a verb. Usage examples include but are not limited to: "Sorry, can't make it that weekend. I'll be bridesmaiding for [insert bride's name]." And, "Damn, all this bridesmaiding is exhausting."

    Now that I'll be a bridesmaid for another good friend (give it up for Ms. Dayle) this verb is back in play. No doubt my first email to the other bridesmaids will close with something along the lines of "Looking forward to bridesmaiding with you girls." Is that so wrong?

Saturday, June 2, 2007

The New Girl

So, I'm now the new girl in the office. You know, the one who has to ask questions like, "What's the process for reserving a conference room?" and "Would you please send me the template for that?" I feel like there should be a special awareness pin for people starting a new job, like there is for people fighting diseases or participating in "The Great American Smokeout." That way, everyone who comes into contact with that person would be aware of what they've been dealing with all day and would then be really nice and understanding.

Noticing your special pin, your cashier at the grocery store might inquire how the new gig is going while bagging your items, someone on the bus might stand up so that you could have a seat after another exhausting day of navigating the unfamiliar shared drive and bartenders everywhere would give you free drinks and sympathetic smiles. I mean, if there's a pin for "Children with Allergies" and "Multiple Chemical Sensitivity," there should definitely be one for "New Employee." And now that I think about it, there should also be one for people on The Master Cleanse, but that's another story.
One challenge for me when starting a new job is to restrain myself when it comes to ordering desk supplies. Since I can get lost in the order supply book the way other people might get lost in page turning murder mystery, I really have to work hard to stay focused on the actual necessities. It's just so easy to go overboard when flipping through page after page of exciting art supplies...all for FREE! Maybe one day I'll get married and register with the office supply book. Until then, I'm only allowed one glue stick.
Note: this week is National Headache Awareness Week. For reals.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Home Again

It seems like every time I come back from a trip, the weather in SF is foggy and COLD, which makes it a million times harder to readjust. Last time I had to buy a space heater of questionable quality--this time it was Uggs (confession: fake Uggs, also of questionable quality).

Luckily, my friend Marisa convinced me yet again to head up to Yosemite over Memorial Day weekend for the Strawberry Music Festival . For 4 days, we laid around in the sun wearing tank tops and skirts listening to bluegrass while hippie parents pulled their hemp-clad children around in wooden wagons. What could be better? Well, I guess something could have made it better, like if Eddie Izzard and Sarah Silverman had been there and wanted to pal around with us....and we were rich...and while we were gone congress passed a law making it illegal to put raisins in all baked goods.