“My goodness it’s toasty out there. Be sure to bring water with you on that hike to the Lake.”
This is the kind of heat advisory where the news people come on television and say:
“If you go outside, you’ll die.”
They keep telling us all to check on the elderly and the homeless and the small waifs outside running through traffic. Now, of course, I’m worried about everyone walking the streets. I keep thinking I’m going to get in my car to go to work, and the pavement will be lined with various homeless 9 year olds withering away with melted faces and crippled knee caps.
I’m officially terrified.
The car my theatre rented for me has air conditioning.
The air conditioning in the car broke 2 days ago.
There I was, driving to work, sweating like an old hooker, and as I approached Shakespeare Theatre and the millions of wack jobs who apparently are immune from 102 degree heat pacing up and down the Pier like lemmings, I was confronted by a large woman with an even larger sign.
The Gay Games are in town. This is the Gay answer to the Olympics.
I really had no idea what a big deal it was until I started seeing signs and posters and billboards scattered throughout the city. They’re everywhere. Busses, trains, the tops of buildings, I think I even saw a gay blimp not too long ago. Those gays. They really know how to throw a party. So, political questions aside, I was certainly not in the mood to be stopped by a large woman in white and pink terry cloth shorts stopping me from entering my air conditioned theatre. But there she stood. Directly in my path, eyes flaring, and red hair jutting peculiarly out of her Walgreen’s pony tail holder. As I slammed on the brakes, she crept closer to me. She was holding a huge white sign that red:
“AIDS is the answer. Go Home.”
First of all: AIDS is the answer? I couldn’t figure that one out. And second of all: “Home” was misspelled. It actually read: “AIDS is the answer. Go Hone.”
Go hone what?
I actually had to read it again. I sat in my car, sweating and dripping, and wiping my forehead, and I stretched my neck out the open driver’s side window to see if I had read that right. Then I remembered: The Gay Games. She’s picketing the Gay Games. She’s on a political quest. Albeit, an illiterate one, but a quest nonetheless.
I turned to the left and I saw her small, sad pathetic gaggle of Homophobes cluttered and drenched on the sidewalk holding various signs and screaming and shaking their fists. There weren’t many of them, and it was actually a little sad. I thought:
“Gee. This is a movement that could use a fundraiser.”
But the terry cloth lady approached my car, and my brain began to freeze. I’m usually pretty good with confrontations, but I was dying from the heat, and I had a matinee to do, and I really just wanted her to either step aside, or do something, anything, with that awful rat’s nest she called a hair-do.
She walked slowly up to the front of my car, and leaned her big bosom on my rented hood. There was a terrible look in her eyes. They gleamed and were twisted a bit. There was something ghostly and empty. It wasn’t like she as filled with hate, it was more like she was devoid of purpose. Like she was desperately trying to fill something and she couldn’t figure out what it was. Her mouth slanted to the left and there was a smear of pink lipstick that, because of the heat, now began to melt a little off the left corner of her mouth. Her skin was bad, and her brow furrowed and clenched itself into a mania. With the addition of the steam rising up from the morning pavements and surrounding her bizarre features and her flaming red hair, I suddenly felt trapped in a John Carpenter film. She was absolutely terrifying me.
Then, out of nowhere, came a cop. He whisked her off to the side, and screamed at me to move on.
I did. Gladly.
I keep seeing that woman’s face. Her rage didn’t seem true. It didn’t seem full. It seemed ghostly. Vapid. Like a huge field with nothing planted. The heat only added to her indignant attitude and her lost, lost look that she tried to turn into fear. Intimidation. But with no back bone. It made me sad. I wonder if that lady went home and thought she had done a good days work. Was she fulfilled? Did the ends justify the means? What was she hoping to prevent?
AIDS is the answer.
How awful to have to live with that. What kind of God would subscribe to such a thing?
Maybe she just went home and sat in her air conditioning and waited until she could paint another sign that had no misspelled words in it. Or maybe she’s taking care of her kids and is waiting for them to get home from school so they can all picket together at the opening ceremonies.. Oh God. I hope it’s not that. I really hope it’s not that.