It's pretty essential to hit Twin Peaks Tavern as soon as the weather starts to get beautiful in the spring. I'm trying to surround myself with sweet, tender, and joyful things, and middle-aged gay men who get my ABBA allusions fit the bill to a T.
The seat I prefer there is at the window that looks out over the Market/17th town square; this is generally where the naked people hang out, though I haven't seen them since the "no nudity" ordinance was passed. Maybe I just haven't been lucky. At Twin Peaks you can surround yourself with a fort of tapestried pillows while you people-watch. It's a place where friends meet, so there is always someone laughing.
Basically for a few months now I have been completely retreating into an online world, and it is a place that is getting more and more negative for me. Now I have to relearn having real friends and going to real places. No dank dive bars for me this week. Cue "Melt With You" on the overhead sound system, Twin Peaks, and keep them Irish coffees flowing.
On Facebook I have a second community that has been taking up nearly all my free time. I have never met any of these people in real life, but I "dated" one of them for three months, have shared incredibly private things with others, and have had to block a few people out of sheer disgust (and a few have blocked me, too). The community is Annette's Debates and we come from all walks of life and have all political beliefs and we fight like donkeys and elephants. I of course like the ones who can take it as well as they dish it out. I have made friends with rabidly right-wing people whose opinions are repugnant to me. For them I am also one of the few "libs" (as they call me, or "libtard" if they are feeling feisty) whom they have gotten to know as well. So in that sense it's a kumbaya paradise.
But I have decided to take a week off because I was starting to feel depressed, and I couldn't be sure if the bad feelings were from all the negativity I stirred up in myself daily by arguing with people over food stamps, abortion, Muslims, and public schools. Here I was getting into it about issues that none of us could do much about, especially by fighting about them online. I would sit at home in my easy chair and just hash away all day long, which is the same as sitting there doing nothing all day long. I stopped calling my friends back. I stopped emailing people. I just worked and argued.
My rule for this week is no politics and I will only have Up With People conversations. Also, total immersion in countercultures is essential: Gypsies, tramps, and thieves. And gay men.
The other loner next to me was reading Lean In, the book by the COO of Facebook that is about women in the workplace. If I were to spark up a conversation with him it could very easily get political. Two other guys who were wearing loafers with crisp jeans were leaning into each other and discussing a mutual friend. Actually it seemed more like a frenemy, since they were ripping him to shreds. It was negative, so I was drawn to it: "Whenever he comes over it's all about Jeremy," said the darker-haired guy. "Christ, I just had my colon thing and he's talking about how he lost his parking spot." The two went on and on like this for about an hour. I listened periodically but I realized that I would be doing the same thing if I had met with a friend here. We would talk about our inner struggles but it would also inevitably foray into so-and-so and their fucked-up whatever. Oh my God. Maybe my obsession with on-line political arguments is actually healthy? (I'm not ragging on friends and acquaintances, after all, just Congress. Maybe there's a finite amount of negativity in everyone's lives and it just finds different outlets?)
The last big brouhaha I had though was with conservatives who thought it was OK that a man with Down syndrome died at the movie theater. He had refused to leave his seat so the police were called. They handcuffed him, took him to a jail cell and left him face-down. He suffocated and died. I was appalled and saddened, but the right-wingers thought the police were just doing their job. "Why did the parents let their violent retard of a son go out by himself?" said another. My blood pressure raised and I had to slam down my laptop. It took me a few days to stop being disgusted with people who might actually think something like this was acceptable.
So, I am on a break. I am out in public, enjoying life. My pillows surround me and I can see all the cute doggies that pass by on leashes. Sure, Jeremy sounds like a total douche. And I cannot believe he said that to Raoul. But I decided to stay out of it. I was better than that. Above it. Think clear, feel clear ... breathing in and out. Puppies and sunshine.
Damn I was bored.