Sunday, June 26, 2011


After the unqualified hysteria of the Pride Parade, my neighborhood is so blessedly calm and quiet, the soft li'l June breeze wafting so sweetly through my window, where I sit spliff-smoking and, y'know, blogging. Must I really slog through gay disneyland every year just for some homo action? Can't cute boys just come wafting through my window?

I do the parade thing pretty much annually, though I never really have what could be considered a Good Time; I don't travel with a gaggle, preferring (?) to hang solo and "people-watch," as I charitably describe it to myself. And indeed, there is always a surfeit of human spectacle, as some 500,000 people, half of them tanked on Four Loko, wile out on a short stretch of Halsted Street. I'm consistently impressed by the people who bring their young children to the parade--not because kids shouldn't be exposed to sexual diversity, but because Pride can be so extreme and debaucherous, on par with Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras. Impressionable as youngsters can be, you can imagine the lasting impression on a kindergartner watching, say, a fat guy with pierced nipples and superman underwear grind a telephone pole, coloring the kid's early conceptions of what the word gay might mean.

To be fair, the parade proper does put up a civilized front--waving politicians and corporate sponsors; it isn't until mid-afternoon, when the barricades come down and the alcohol is flowing torrentially, that the real freakydeak gets underway. I myself started early on the sauce, choking down cheap vodka+juice on the corner of Halsted and School for the bulk of the parade, hoping that the booze might lend me the bravado (otherwise sorely lacking) to come on to handsome strangers. But in fact it just made me sleepy, and I had to wander over to the lakefront and nap it off. Surprisingly sober and refreshed after an hour in the grass, I returned to the epicenter, where sheriff's work-crews were making an absurd attempt at cleaning up, poking with pushbrooms at the mountains of empty cans and worthless parade swag--beads, skittles wrappers, cardboard fans from Congresswoman Jan Schakowsy--while ever-drunker hordes still massed the parade route. Feeling not quite up to speed, I considered getting another bottle--maybe at thirty I'm too old to get drunk twice in one day, as I decided it against it and settled for banging on a newspaper box for an hour or so, my clumsy way of being festive, until the post-parade atmosphere started feeling desperate and I headed home...

No lessons or insights here--just a couple descriptive paragraphs and, soon, bedtime. I imagine Halsted Street is still bangin' at this hour, looking more and more Hieronymus Bosch, the cops losing their patience as the revelry begins to sour, and the thought makes me glad to be ensconced in my little apartment. If any cute boys do feel like wafting through my window, though, I'll be here, and I'll leave a little light on fer ya.

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