Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gay weekend

AOG, Valencia

This weekend I went to Valencia. It was a friend's 50th birthday and he and his partner were flying down from London to celebrate. I was really looking forward to seeing them. We used to go out a lot when I lived in London. We have, somehow, managed to remain friends in spite of the distances- geographical and emotional.

I took a train from Chamartin Station in the North of Madrid and, unfortunately, traveled all the way down facing backwards. Dizzy does not begin to cover it.

My partner came down from Barcelona with a friend who was visiting from New Jersey.

My friends also had another friend of theirs, from Venezuela, over. All in all we were all a very merry bunch.

We made friends very quickly, sort of like children do. I have to say that this does not always happen, but I am glad that it did on this occasion. We seemed to like each other and made each other laugh in the gayest way. It was like a movie sometimes. All we did was have a good time and laugh. So simple!

The city itself is beautiful. The last time I'd been there was in 1990. A different time. And then, I was there only for one day. Hardly time to see any of it.

We went to dinner to celebrate the birthday boy to a homestead-cum-restaurant on one of the rice paddies outside Valencia. Very traditional, so traditional, in fact, that there was a wedding going on too, where the groom was in full Scottish gear. Kilt and all!

So it went, my friends and I. Jokes, laughter, merriment. All fun. All gay. It had been a long time since I'd had one of these.

I suppose some people might wonder what I mean by "gay". I mean the ability to speak our language and know we are being understood. The ability to pinpoint cultural references old and new, classical and made-up, real and fake, and discuss them. The ability to make up a situation on the spot, and have everyone play along for fun. Mannerisms, words, expressions, gestures, borrowed, stolen, made up or personal. All in all, the ability to be yourself with your peers. Finally, peers!!

I remember in High School, back in Texas, how my classmates were my peers "in theory". In fact, I remember that back then I thought of very few people as being on the same mental wavelength as I was. None of them were, to my knowledge, gay. The ones who, sort of, approached what I would call peerdom, were one or two people in Drama class, one or two in French class. And the odd classmate here and there. I think it is a shame that I had no gay friends back then. It would have helped a lot. Alas, it was not to be.

And this past weekend was all about that. Carefree bantering. Jokes, applause, sightseeing, conversation, looking at people and being looked at back. I wish I had more of these. It is ironic, perhaps, that everyone who met up this weekend in Valencia lives everywhere except Valencia.

Maybe that was part of the magic?

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