This episode begins on New Year’s Eve, because I am a garbage person and now apparently take four months to write. Defensive teenage girl voice: But a lot has been going on, you guys! Stuff that’s harrrdddddd.
Taylor Swift is embarking on a stadium tour this year and tickets to see her are roughly half my rent. For a low price of $10 plus tipping money, I went to a drag brunch at Union in which drag queens performed the “Reputation” album straight through. I think I got the better deal. Also, I love that album. Do not at me.
Sasha Cassadine was the emcee and went right up to our table and asked if I was feeling sexy! What? I told her I would have to drink first. “Wait, you need to drink before you feel sexy?” she asked me in front of the entire sold-out room, including an Instagay that I was engaged to at the time (buff and brunette) but I have since replaced him with another Instagay that is my future ex-husband (tall and blonde). “You don’t love yourself.” She then turned her attention to the companion next to me at a table of four. “Is this your man? Is he not making you feel sexy?” I declined to answer. This was UNCOMFORTABLE.
I was very nervous about the evening. I had asked for New Year’s Day off months in advance and was still scheduled to work! I asked a co-worker to switch shifts with me so I could come in later, but she declined. This is the same co-worker who I have switched with maybe eight times on her behalf, so no good deed goes unpunished. I wanted to go out and do something that wasn’t just The Saloon. Also, New Year’s Eve last year was when it all fell apart, and January 2nd was the day I was supposed to fix everything, and that didn’t really happen. (The opposite, really). I am being cryptic and annoying again, so my feelings can best be expressed by Taylor Swift lyrics.
But you weren't thinking
And I was just drinking
Well he was running after us, I was screaming 'Go go go!'
But with three of us, honey, it's a side show
And a circus ain't a love story
And now we're both sorry (we're both sorry)
I need to stop before I do the entire freaking album. DON’T THINK I CAN’T DO IT.
I decided to go to First Avenue by myself for a Flip Phone event with Raja and Raven of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame. I checked my coat and then realized my phone was in one of the pockets, and I had paid $10 for express coat check and was worried I would have to pay again to get my phone! I walked in circles having a silent nervous breakdown for a good half hour. I didn’t know anybody. Why was I so insistent on going by myself? I should have just got a hotel room and stayed by myself like I originally planned.
The guy at the coat check stand ended up being very nice about the whole thing, and I left shortly after 11. I saw Raja from the first floor, and regretted being too anxious to enjoy the moment. Everyone at The Saloon was blowing up my phone, including my roommate and The Broski(™), and I didn’t want to wait outdoors in line in the bitter cold. One year, Erin and I went to a James Bond theme event at Solera (R.I.P.), and we had to wait outside forever, and then another forever to check our coats, and finally a European man mesmerized by Erin’s cleavage let us put our coats in the utility closet.
Broski walked in just as I did, having attended dinner across the street, and he wasn’t wearing a jacket despite the subzero weather. “What is wrong with you?” I chastised, both giddy and nervous that it was now going to feel like we were attending together (we weren’t). Then he broke out in his Donald Trump impression, and I was disgusted enough to stop compulsively rubbing his hands in failed attempts to warm him up. The night wasn’t about him, anyway. He was there to be with other people and so was I. (He would leave my life again shortly thereafter anyway, our friendship never safe from circumstance or the telephone game) Joey was there with his boyfriend, David; Steve and I were to be there with our posse. When I briefly kissed someone at midnight, I was grateful for the recognition that 2017, my thirty-first year, my most painful as an adult, had finally ended, and I vainly hoped that my self-destruction would be over.
In the immortal words of Akon, I’ll be the reason for your pain, and you can put that blame on me.
I got in a stupid drunk fight with Steve about oxygen and then I missed the New Year’s Day Comedian brunch for the second year in a row. At least this time I was missing it because of work.
Here were all my bullshit experiences as to why I quit attempting life:
-My therapist moved to Green Bay and I resisted the idea of giving her the information of Joey’s relatives and my college bestie Stephanie. I never went to my follow-up appointment because my father was in the shower (I was staying at his house because it's closer to the clinic) and I looked like crap and didn’t want to show up disheveled and that was my excuse. I have yet to find a replacement. I told myself I was fine, even though my mother and Steve both told me I should reconsider.
-I had a half-birthday which was another reminder that I am closer to death.
-Erin moved to Europe in January, but we were able to celebrate the Golden Globes together, where we also mourned The Star from “The Star”, written by Mariah Carey and Marc Shaiman, losing Best Original Song. Sooooo goooood!!!
-I kept making plans with Jared and they kept getting delayed, in part due to our endless winter. Steve had to push my car at least seven times this year.
-I missed Ron.-I love Ron, I would tell myself when pouting. He was the perfect person to drunk text because he was not emotionally invested in me and lived two hours behind.
-No, I do not love Ron, at least not that way. You can’t just love someone because they’re beautiful and full of life and think you’re funny and write “Hahaha” instead of “lol”. If he lived here, I would go insane. Even more so
I graduated from my debt consolidation program but then did not alter my spending habits and felt like I was right back where I started!
-I became the kind of drunk I never thought I would be. I was never a mean drunk. A drunk, sure, but I was always fun and could talk to anybody. I became the drunk who screamed and yelled on a nightly basis, to myself or to others. One night I fell down in the bathroom and cut my head on the toilet and because I saw blood, I was convinced I was dying. The neighbor came downstairs and I didn’t even need stitches. The scar is still there and it is lightning-bolt shaped. It’s like if Harry Potter grew up to be a bitter alcoholic and also accidentally drank a potion to make him resemble Ron Weasley.
Danielle, my favorite astrologer on Twitter, once wrote that “the things that trigger us are the parts that have not healed yet”. The excellent astrologer Chani Nicholas wrote in my horoscope that I had to decide if being happy was more important than being right. The latter was my downfall. I had spent far too much time and energy convinced that my feelings were not warranted or valid. I sat down and shut up and got kicked when I was down. The situation quelled and the bridges were mended, but the feelings of resentment, embarrassment, and ANGER were still penetrating the surface.
|The world is LuAnn.|
I think we all just want to be heard. A raving lunatic screaming his head off at two in the morning is the same person who just needed to be told during the day, stone cold sober in the springtime and crying in his car, that not everything was in his head after all.
I have been so cryptic since this all started (Sunday, July 31, 2016, at approximately 11:10 A.M. in the young men’s department at Nordstrom; if this was gay Clue it would be The Broseph at the Mall with the Bombshell) and writing less and less, because it wasn’t just my story to tell. “It isn’t about you,” Reid would tell me, and maybe that was the problem.
But if you’re interested in a fictionalized and stylized account of dramatic shenanigans in a comedic play about growing older, evolving friendships, and gentrification, please come see Welcome to the Gayborhood in the Minnesota Fringe Festival this August. I am hosting auditions on Sunday and I haven’t even started writing the script. /shamelessplug
Oh, and guess what else happened? I GOT THE FLU!!!! Me, who has the immune system of a toddler! I first sensed it the day before Valentine’s Day, but I was booked to appear at a speed friending event hosted by Misha Estrin (later to be a City Pages cover story!). I told him I wasn’t going and was gonna go to the Minute Clinic, but the show was at LUSH which I literally passed on the way to the Minute Clinic, so I bit the bullet and went! The event was fun and I got to listen to a speech from Sen. Scott Dibble, meet the talented photographer Brent Dundore, and even do some speed friending myself! I left early, though, because I wasn’t feeling very friendly, and also because I was pretty sure I was dying.
When I woke up the next day, my body knew, and she was crying. I called out sick and went to the Minute Clinic, where the kind of cute doctor didn’t think I had the flu but if I really wanted, he could go ahead and test me. So they stuck the giant Q-tip up my nose (not a good time), and it turned out I had Infleunza B! Influenza B is a rarer strain and only affects human and seals, which explains why I am always reaching out my arms and clapping.
The pharmacy technician did not help matters as she rang up my Tamiflu. “You’re what, 32?” she asked loudly.
“Thirty-one,” I said with more salt than anticipated. My Instagay crush could have been nearby!
“Oh, you poor thing,” she said. “When I was thirty, I had the worst flu of my life. I thought I was gonna die!”
I sadly told Steve that I could not attend our Valentine’s Day show starring legendary female entertainers CeeCee Russell and Chad Michaels, who I had planned to reminisce with about Denver during our meet and greet session. “OMG,” Steve texted. “I can’t believe you’re ditching me.” I wasn’t ditching him because of a better offer, I was ditching him because I was sweating and shaking at the same time! Can you imagine if Chad Michaels became deathly ill because I gave her the flu? My reputation would never recover as fast as my organs hopefully would. She’s even tinier than I am! The timing was horrendous, and thankfully, Steve was able to go with Reid, instead -- sick as I was, I should have been thoughtful and given Steve a lot more notice than three hours. I would have got a flu shot earlier in the year, if I could turn back time.
I stayed in bed for three days straight. It was horrible! Poor Steve was assigned in the role of caretaker, which basically meant burying me in blankets all day and turning the heat up to 100 degrees. After the second day, I realized this was too much of a burden to place on one’s roommate and went to my mother’s house because she is a nurse.
“Enjoy your youth,” I would whisper to Steve as he left for work. “You’re too young to spend all your days taking care of me. I’ll be fine.” Then I would roll my head to the side and rehearse my imminent death.
After three days of slumber, I felt recovered enough to go to bingo with Joey and his sister! And I did not win and I think I overdid it, because then I felt like crap for the next week but I gutted through it. I had already called in sick three days in a row! My voice got extra raspy and my stomach looked the flattest it had all year.
I was able to check off “stage mom” on my list of accomplishments when Reid made his stand-up comedy debut! Sarah McPeck has hosted The Big Fat Comedy Hour at LUSH for over a year now (a year is a huge milestone for any club show), and one of its features is “Virgin Sacrifice”, in which someone performs stand-up for the very first time. Previous sacrifices include improvisers, radio hosts, and drag queens. Reid had always expressed interest in the art form, and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity. We worked on his routine for a solid month. By “we”, I should stress that he wrote all of his own jokes. I was just there to help him bounce off ideas and decide the best order. He was doing a three-minute set and it reminded me of my ACME comedy contest days; three minutes doesn’t give you time to flirt with the audience and do the “Hi, how y’all doin?” routine. You have to be brisk and punchy with your material. Selfishly, it also helped me make sure our routines weren’t too similar! We both date younger men and had jokes about younger men not realizing we’re losers (but he is a daddy and that’s a whole different complex and another can of Flintstones vitamins). I paid someone twice my fee to record me for YouTube but I am too technically illiterate to upload it. Such is life. Reid did great, by the way! I sat behind my parents and even they were laughing! I thought he did a really good job of being self-deprecating, true to himself, and walking that fine line between racy and vulgar.
I had a tearful reunion with Jared on St. Patrick’s Day. I hadn’t seen him since November! He got off the train and yelled “RHODA” and I jumped in his arms and we walked to Sean’s apartment in the north loop. It was great to see Sean and Casey. I had attended their mutual birthday party with Steve and Charlie a few weeks prior, but I was too anxious to enjoy myself. It was a stupid anxiety about nothing. You should see my nails. But, wait, you can’t see my nails, because they’ve been tattered to the base. I bought Christian Dior nail treatment and still haven’t opened it. Will I use it before the coconut oil I bought for whitening my teeth two months ago? Tune in to find out!
Dane and I went to the casino with a bunch of people from high school! We are at the weird age where I’m not sure if people can still get it. Child, all of them could! The boys and the girls! But I’m also at that weird age where it’s not really as fun when the boys flirt with me. I brought my laptop to write my script but I got there late and spent way too much money and got sad about stupid stuff. (And I was late getting to the pool because I wanted to shave my chest for some reason) But the water slide was fun! I was in third out of fourth place in bowling but then Dane beat me in the very last frame because brothers will always be brothers.
Were I still in my narcissistic mode of pretending life was a sudsy primetime soap opera, I would entertain previews in my head of Loring Park: The Farewell Season. Maybe I will move a block away to Jared’s old building. Maybe I will join Diva in the North Loop. Maybe I will even move back in with my parents! If I do that option, it won’t be like last time where I do it “just to land on my feet”, because when I did that, it took me four years. I was a different person then. Children, Loring Park itself didn’t start until I was 25! That is barely younger than Joey and Jared now, and a year older than Steve! For the longest time I excused my excessive bar-hopping as “making up for lost time”, but after six years, how much time did I really need?
I loved my little green house in the middle of the street. I will never forget my surprise party thrown by Steve, turning away from everyone so they wouldn’t see me cry. My get-togethers before Thanksgiving. My Pride parties, which weren’t luxurious at all -- a tiny backyard, one bathroom, it’s not like we had a pool or a huge deck or anything -- but in my heart they were because I cultivated a life for myself with such a variety of people that I loved very much. The random kikis at 2 in the morning. The mouse that I named Rascal! Okay, maybe I won’t miss Rascal. Or his less cute siblings.
Of course, it’s not like I’m dying, I’m just moving. Three years ago my grandparents helped me move in, which is just embarrassing. Jared and I still worked together. I had just had my heart broken, again, by the same dude, but this time I had deserved it and was good with God, and the world was still full of possibility. And my age had a “2” in front of it.
My father fell ill the night before Easter.
He looked so terrible that my mother drove him to the hospital and they left bingo
It has been a month and he still hasn't come home yet. I stay over at the house
quite often and every time I hear a car drive by in the wee hours of the evening,
I still think it is going to be him.
It is one of those awful things that makes you put things into perspective. You
think your parents are ageless, and that, by extension, you are, too.
We expect him home in a few weeks. He will always be more famous than I am.
He has received cards from everyone at Big Louie's and from relatives far away
because Grandma Shirley is the original Facebook. Things have not been
the same without him.