This weekend, I was camping at the California WorldFest in Grass Valley, and, as in the last five years, I had a real blast there. There were incredible musical acts from all over the world playing on a number of stages all day and evening, as well as amazing food vendors and friendly, laid-back people, not to mention sweet eye candy everywhere. All this in a nice, woodsy setting and at really a bargain price. I highly recommend it, and, of course, I can’t wait to go back next year!
I say this even though the toilet is a bitch for me to use and although I felt like a huge fool for not really knowing about the band Cake, which attracted an insanely large and intense crowd (even more so than when Ziggy Marley and Ozzomatli appeared in years past) on Saturday night (I did recognize two songs they played at the end!). I also regret not even saying hi to a very cute guy in a wheelchair (with a “Stop the H8te” sticker.....mmmm) who was there - yes, on Saturday night - even with my Vmax speech device. I was shy. I was scared - scared of rejection? or success?
Later, on the trip home, I thought about two other times when I didn’t speak up or did speak up.
For years and years - and this was before I had the Vmax - I attended an annual Quaker retreat. One year, the facilitator was a gay man who had AIDS and was greatly admired in the queer Quaker community. Throughout the retreat, he clearly avoided me. It didn’t help that I had a bad cold; I later learned that he didn’t want to get sick. A few years later, he died, and I have always been sad and, yes, bitter that I didn’t make a connection with this guy who is still talked about with remarkable affectation.
Several years later, the retreat was facilitated by another gay man who also avoided me. This time, I wasn’t sick, and, after two or three days, I confronted him. The next morning, in front of the group, the man explained that his father had been disabled and had abused him as a child and that I reminded him of this. It was riveting - extremely powerful and emotional (in a group that happened to be already convulsing with emotion). All I could say was that I wasn’t his father and that I loved him. For him, as well as for me and the rest of the group of about 40, much therapy was done. It felt like a huge piece of junk had been at last dislodged.