Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Busy Weekend

Going into this weekend, I was already a bit tired. I think lack of exercise has caught up with me and I can't seem to shake the cycle. I had offered up my services as a volunteer at this weekend's Beastly Ball, but no one had called, and I was looking forward to maybe catching a movie and just relaxing. I had also volunteered to help a friend with a live broadcast, but hadn't heard about that either, and now was getting excited about the possibility of even 2 movies, and maybe calling a friend for a get-together.

I was getting ready to take Tracy to the airport Saturday morning just as the phone rang. The zoo. They heard I volunteered for the Beastly Ball, and could I please still help this evening. Of course. Now, the Beastly Ball is the best zoo event of the year, and volunteering is probably the only way I'll ever see this fundraiser, as even the discounted Docent rate is a steep $300 per ticket. So I really like to volunteer for it when I get the chance. But suddenly I was struck with a late evening and no movie/get-together. That's OK, I thought... I'll take it easy on Sunday instead.

I dropped Tracy off at the airport (she had to take ATA again, which BELIEVE ME was the last plane on earth I wanted to put her on... ask me for my ATA story sometime... I wish I had written it down when it was fresh, but when you have the option, DON'T DON'T DON'T fly with this hideous airline... After landing, Tracy confirmed this flight was barely better than our last experience, which isn't saying much). Anyway, I felt drained after dropping her off... I never like it when she has to go away, and she's had to fly quite frequently these days. But I pulled it together to run a few errands (including shopping for Father's Day, where upon finding the right gift remembered that I had also found the right gift a month earlier, put it away and forgot it was already at home). I left just enough time to dress for the zoo. On my last errand, my phone rang. My friend from the live broadcast. I admit I saw the number and debated picking up. I no longer wanted to do it. It's usually a really early morning, really long day, and I just wasn't in the mood. But a promise is a promise. The whole way to the zoo, I was cursing my weekend. I thought how I was never going to do these events again, how I always forgot they fall the same weekend as each other, and the same weekend as Father's Day. By the time I got to the zoo, I convinced myself that I indeed hated both events, I would do my duty and never, ever do either again.

I got to the zoo at 4pm. They told me 4. The orientation didn't start until 4:30, and then the group they put me in said they didn't need us until 6pm. I went around looking at the silent auction items and eating my "gourmet" boxed lunch (an oxymoron if there ever was one) killing time until 6. Then I proceeded to the new main entrance, currently under construction, but the site of this year's Ball. It was really neat to look around at this beautiful work in progress. But after a half hour of amazement, they notified us that they probably wouldn't REALLY need my group until about 7:30pm. I would have been really angry at this waste of my time if I wasn't so tired. I was thinking of all I could have been doing at home until this time... like sleeping. Especially knowing I would have to get up early on Sunday, too. I was really beginning to hate the zoo and the Beastly Ball. But once we got to work, I had a great time. The music (good music!) started, they actually had dancing this year, we greeted the guests, the setting was beautiful, and I even ran into a childhood school acquaintance. After the greeting, I got to work the live auction as a spotter, and 2 of my spottees were winners, so I really felt good! By the time the evening ended, I was inspired by the new plans of the zoo, the construction, and the beautiful evening and event. Yes, I really do like this event and, since I won't be buying a ticket anytime soon, I was already looking forward to volunteering again.

Sunday morning, however, I woke up in another great mood. This time, the whole drive to West Hollywood was consumed with thoughts of how I was never going to do this parade again. The zoo, yeah, I'd do that again, but never the parade. Too many things in one weekend, and I'd be home pretty late for Father's Day... again. By the time I arrived in the "no available parking" hell, I was sure I hated the Live Broadcast and the parade and the whole darn thing. But yet again, the Live Broadcast was in a different location and it was pleasantly better and more convenient than years' past. The Broadcast (from my perspective at least) went smoothly and quickly compared to previous ones, I got to be in very close proximity to Senator Sheila Kuehl, actress Jennifer Tilly, and writer/comedian Bruce Villanch. And of course, as every year, it was warming to be surrounded by thousands of people cheering gay people. The love and support around was in remarkable contrast to the normal day to day in the United States, especially under the rule of President "Let's Bomb the Suckers" Bush.

At the end of the broadcast, Bruce Villanch needed a short ride and they volunteered me and my luxury jeep. The short ride turned into about 20 minutes in the festival traffic, and I enjoyed Bruce and his companion's (partner? manager? friend?... I was never introduced) reminiscent talk of Los Angeles and his upcoming run of "Hairspray" at the Pantages. I also admit it was kind of a kick to have a few people do a double-take as I drove down the street.

And speaking of double take, I had forgotten that my friend was a twin. I never met his brother before, but at the broadcast it was obvious, and though I could tell them apart easily (aside from the fact they were wearing different shirts), I was mesmerized that their expressions, personalities, and even their voices were identical. I don't know why, but I got a real kick out of that. I think it made the day even more special and memorable. After the parade, we went out to eat at Hamburger Mary's. Following lunch with a spirited waitress who made us all try a drink called "Liquid Cocaine", a cross-dressing owner with a big blonde wig ala Marilyn Monroe, a fun group of my friend's friends, especially his twin brother's spunky girlfriend who was a fun conversationalist (and made me ponder the whole twin thing further... one straight, one gay... nature vs. nurture... hmmm...???), and a red patent leather stilletto high heeled shoe for the bill and tip, I felt much better about the day. Maybe this was worth doing again. After all, it is only once a year... and it was a lot of fun.

I got home by 5pm to have Father's Day dinner and, after a marathon viewing of Forensic Files on CourtTV, I passed out in anticipation of the coming work week. Busy weekend. Fortunately it's only once a year!


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