Sunday, Jan. 29, 2006
Dear Diary:

Hardest secret Iíve ever had to keep.

A few weeks ago, as the spousal unit and I were making supper, he asked me about my day. "Well, um," I told him, "I got an e-mail from someone who wants to give me as a 40th birthday present to a guy in Vancouver."

There was a pause as the spousal unit digested this nugget. I had some 'splainin' to do. And, well, before I knew it I found myself in Vancouver Friday night, sharing a condo with three handsome men Iíve never met before.

Let us just pause here and consider all the possibilities.

Ah, but this is my life. My universe is a cold, uncaring place, and thus all this male pulchritude was only interested in other male pulchritude.

It is hard not to be bitter sometimes.

The guy giving the gift is Freddie long time friend of the one, the only Queerscribe, the man who turned 40. Freddie offered to cash in some Air Miles, fly me out to Vancouver, and even open his guest room to me.

Yep, a guy who has never met me said, "Hey, let me fly you across the country and let you stay at my place for four days as my birthday gift to a dear friend."

I think "WHAT WAS HE THINKING?" is the only logical response to this sort of thing. There is no doubt in my mind that he will bitterly, bitterly regret those words.

Iím not sure just how much of a gift this is for Queerscribe. While Iím not a gay man, Iím guessing that the average gay man turning 40 does not put the words ď54-year-old straight womanĒ at the top of his Best Birthday Gifts Evah list.

It sure has been a fabulous gift for me, though.

The night before I left home the reality of what I was about to do really set in. Fly across the country, spend four days in very close proximity with people Iíve never met in my life and go to a birthday party where the only person Iíve ever met was the birthday boy.

Oh, but this could go so very, very wrong.

When I was a child there were encyclopedias of the human body that were made with a series of clear plastic overlays. Each time you pulled back a page, you looked a little deeper into the person, got a clearer understanding of how that person fit together.

I have read Freddie's on-line journals and Queerscribeís journals for over five years now so in some ways I know very intimate things about them, four or five layers into the person.

But Iíve only met Queerscribe once and never met Freddie and I was afraid that I might run into Internet Persona Syndrome, where there is a huge dichotomy between what's on the page and who the person really is.

Not to mention the fact that I might be a whole big plenty different from what they expected me to be.

Instead it has been as if we've known each other forever. I've had the very interesting experience of watching overlays fit together of getting whole new unexpected perspectives.

This internet is a wacky place, indeed.

The birthday party was fabulous and Freddieís partner in crime, Dave, has promised to grab some party pictures off my camera so I can upload a few of them here. My favourite part of the evening was the PowerPoint slide show Freddie had organized by collecting pictures from all Queerscribe's nearest and dearest.

The night before the party, as we were visiting QS, Freddie even managed to nick some pix from the QS private stash to scan into the show. Seeing QS blossom from toddlerhood to his teens right through to now was so moving. Meeting his family and hearing the ribald stories from exes-now-friends was a hilarious experience.

Seeing QS so calm, so happy, so beloved made my throat knot more than once. As his mom said, this wasnít so much a celebration of him turning 40, it was a celebration that we still have him with us. It was a celebration of the fact that not only had he survived a knife attack two years ago, but he survived the emotional bomb of a trial that did not grant him justice.

It was a celebration of the human spirit.

The internet has taken me in many unexpected directions over the last five years. Last night was something I will never forget.

Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities around, embraced by ocean on one side and mountains on the other.

Well, itís beautiful when it is not raining.

So far, in my two days here, it has not been raining 2.41 minutes.

Frankly, I think this is only fair since these Vancouverites are about ten minutes from seeing their daffodils blossom. I have already seen some early azaleas and rhododendrons in bloom. Yep, here I am at the end of January caressing plants that will not be flowering where I live until sometime in May.

Oh, it is so hard not to be bitter.

So, to summarize, I am 3,000 miles from the spousal unit, surrounded by unavailable male pulchritude, in a place where the sun donít shine.

And who says the universe doesnít have a sense of humour, eh?

--Marn

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