"Darlin' you got to let me know, should I stay or should I go?"
This is literally the first summer in four years where I'm not out and about doing something. Whether that something has been organizing demonstrations, traveling around to different conventions, or working in NYC, it feels like I've been going nonstop for the past four years. Though nice to have finally slowed down to the point of enjoying myself here in Knoxville, you know I can't help but feel a little unproductive!
That's not the case anymore. I have quite a few things already under my belt as accomplishments, and some things that I will be doing to keep myself more entertained than the constant newsfeed on facebook (you know you need something to do when you've reverted to watching people's activity on facebook and feel comfortable commenting on it and liking it candidly).
The summer began with graduating. That's right, I have a degree! Sorry! A diploma. More importantly, my friend, Zach Grimac, threw a dildo into the crowd at graduation and hit the kid next to me in the face! It hit me in the leg, and my whole row laughed and screamed and we made quite the scene! It was amazing! I'm beaming with a smile just writing about it. Naturally, I took the opportunity to inform the woman organizing graduation, incidentally the woman who threatened my transcript and admission to Emory. She was petrified. Also, I did appreciate our class President, Sarah Stevens, spending a substantial amount of time in her speech talking about me. I'm not saying I feel like I should be commended for everything I've done, but I did represent that school in the White House. Just sayin'. Thank you, Sarah!
Afterward, it was just a matter of time before my friends and I were saying good bye for the summer as they all commenced with their plans or work and me with my little nothings. The days started to drip together and the nights were really drippy because of the heat and being outside for the fireflies and for the fun and for the moon. Mackenzie and Taylor and me, in particular, had quite the night in the field looking up at the sky.
That same night, me and Taylor were downtown. We ran into Josh Fillis, who lead us on a walk to South Gay Street. We sat and met Theresa, an ex-bougois living in Sterchi Lofts on a trip for a new life. She of course then attracted some random rough necks who proclaimed they were the best men in the world. They had credentials. They were in the military. One was banned internationally from Wal-Mart for stealing so much while working there. He's also a heroine trafficker. Mackenzie showed up after we all pulled together to walk some 40 year old drunk woman home, Kendal, who's daughter had just died. The entire experience culminated in my friends and these rough necks being invited back into this woman's loft, her explaining why there were so many blood stains on the floor (and why she liked them), and having a little bit of a sharing circle. "I think I need to go," I said after 20 minutes of it all.
"Oh my Gosh! You should come visit me!" is something I've said pleasantly to a many of my friends living farther and farther away from me without any real expectation of ever seeing them again. This is not the case with people in Berea, Kentucky. Just last week, a crew of Quakers came to visit. I showed them all around Knoxville, all my usual spots. I share this because I think people should do this! Maybe I'm more naturally of host, and I do love giving tours, but showing people Knoxville who have fresh eyes to it was really fun! It was also affirming for me to find that I am still excited by this city.
This weekend was an immense amount of fun! Patrick, Elliott, Darren, Brandon, Stefan, and Emily and I all went out to the club. Of course, the Cell is a seedy dark place that no one likes, but it's still my seedy dark place that no one likes (if that makes sense). These people are amazing. My advice? Make new friends, make new connections, and don't be afraid to have fun. Just go with it.
The same crew is going down to Atlanta this Thursday for a day trip. We'll have a lot of fun, laugh and squeal way too much for Patrick's taste, and talk about the world, and have a summer.
A summer is something relaxed. Something light hearted. Something meaningful. Something touching and moving and fun and exciting! A summer.
** GO TO QUEER EROTICA POETRY SLAMS, INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO LESBIANS ON THE STREET YOU DON'T KNOW, AND SPEND TWO HOURS WITH THEM.
** FIND PEOPLE THAT MAKE YOU LAUGH AND RUN WITH IT.
** ENJOY CREPES.
** DON'T FEEL LIKE YOU NEED TO COMPROMISE YOURSELF AT ANY POINT FOR ANY GIVEN PERSON TO MAKE THEM HAPPY.
** DON'T UNDERESTIMATE THE SMALL THINGS THAT HAPPEN.
** DON'T ANSWER BOOTY CALLS (I DIDN'T!)