Saturday, September 12, 2009

Day one

It’s funny, because even at the house clubs, if they were gay that meant about 95% fags and maybe a few dykes or if they were mixed that meant straight with a few dyke or fag club kids there for the music, even if there were only six or seven dykes that’s who I became friends with, even at the places where everything was about attitude, which was most places except when it got late and then it was just about dancing, dancing to the sky with crystal in the air. But I was trying to tell you about Junk, which was really the only club I’ve ever gone to where it was everything for me at once -- I mean dancing, and politics, and sex. At Fusion, when I would do a bump of crystal and suddenly it was like I would never stop dancing I would never stop dancing I would never stop that brightness in my eyes until the crash, the crash was so hard it was like it would never again be possible to experience pleasure. But Junk was different, I went right after the ACT UP meetings, a bunch of us would go together and dance together and dance with everyone else and that was the thing, everyone danced with everyone and it was the reverse of the other clubs so maybe 95% of the people there were dykes and then a few fags scattered around, you kind of knew the fags were feminists or at least had some kind of clue because here they were dancing with the dykes and this was the only bar in my life where I actually went, and went home with people. There was even a point where I decided I would go home with someone every week, and it actually worked, for a little while at least, and I even met Chris there, Chris who was always eating whole cloves of garlic and he looked like the person I was trying to become and we made out on the dance floor and I went back with him to his apartment behind the sausage factory, they had to keep the windows closed during the day because otherwise the sausage smell would overwhelm everything and sometimes when I went over there, people would throw glass bottles at me, but maybe not really at me because they never hit me, or maybe one of them did hit me once and I just kept walking, I can’t remember.

But the rent was really cheap, $200 each although that wasn’t too hard to find in those days, but definitely hard to find in the Mission, which is where everyone wanted to live, I mean everyone like us. I lived in the Inner Richmond, and it took forever to get back late at night, I mean forever, but sometimes it was easier than getting home from Fusion because I wasn’t doing drugs, I didn’t even drink anything at Junk because it wasn’t just about the music it was about creating a life together, that’s how it felt. But I didn’t actually meet Chris at Junk, we met at a café down the street, but we slept together at Junk, I mean after Junk and sometimes he would twist his head around like he was trying to snap it off, he got kicked out of the house when he was 15 so he had more stories to tell, at least more stories about the past because mine were still mostly about the future, things I wanted to change about the world so you know the part about the stickers that said QUEER VEGAN INCEST SURVIVOR comes later, after I lived in the Mission so not much later, in those days everything could change in two months, I mean everything.

Like when I went to Washington, DC for the March on Washington in 1993 to do civil disobedience with ACT UP for universal healthcare and we expected hundreds of people but maybe there were only 41 or 42 but at an earlier demo I met this boy from Michigan and then we got arrested together, our first time getting arrested so of course it was kind of romantic, and remember how I grew up in DC, DC where suddenly there were a million gay people in white T-shirts applying for Community Clout credit cards and gays in the military was suddenly the big issue it was horrifying. But not as horrifying as growing up in DC because now I was just visiting and the amazing thing was that the freaks found one another, I mean we were so alienated that we went right up and said hi, I like your hair, I mean that’s what people said to me and I met Zee, my first boyfriend, the one I got arrested with, and JoAnne, who later became my closest friend, and even Chrissie Contagious, who was screaming naked from a tree.

And then after it ended, there were a few fags with suitcases, and more trash in the streets, and I was making out with Zee in Georgetown, right in front of the all-night restaurant where I used to go after clubs or warehouse parties in high school, remember People Are Still Having Sex? In high school, none of us were having sex that’s one of the reasons we need the music, Zee and I even went to The Vault, the same vault from my high school days and I still liked the music, actually it was better, and we were making out in Georgetown, two guys who looked like Georgetown University students came up and said what you doing? Kissing, I said, and went back to it, and remember how I said everything could change in two months, but sometimes it changed in two days. Or two minutes.

They sprayed something in my eyes and I was screaming it hurt so much I wasn’t sure I could see and we went into that restaurant, I was throwing water on my face it looked like spray paint that’s what I thought at the time and they said take this outside, the people at the restaurant. And then we were trying to hail a cab but they wouldn’t stop, and when we finally got to the hospital they made me lie down on the table and they put tubes in my eyes and pumped saline into my eyes for about 45 minutes to flush out the pepper spray, that’s what they said it was, they said it was a good thing I came right to the hospital because otherwise I might’ve lost my vision.

Later, but not much later, I mean the next day, my parents asked: why do you have to be so overt? Back in San Francisco, I did go to a Bikini Kill show once, everyone arrived early because the space was small and we were worried it would be too crowded -- everyone was waiting for Kathleen Hanna to get in a fight with some macho guy, they kept yelling KICK HIS ASS I hated fights it felt depressing. Oh, and then the other thing: is she, or isn’t she? As in queer. I liked the other band better, a Dutch band no one had heard of called The Dog-Faced Hermans, they were more melodic and for a while afterwards you would hear The Dog-Faced Hermans everywhere and everyone claimed they’d listened to them since day one.

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