Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Never ti(red), inspi(red)!

Yesterday was World AIDS Day. I went to the AAAA's event at the Baranof. It was interesting to hear the different opinions and ideas on the matter. I tend to run with a more intellectual and/or open minded crowd, so there are some opinions and ideas that I don't hear. To hear someone speak plainly and simply about what he thought would be beneficial, without any sort of qualifiers like "according to (theory)" or "as I read in (publication)" this is the reason and this is what we should do. And whether it pained me or not, even hearing people say horrible stereotypes about "the homosexuals" and "the blacks" is pretty important. It is good to know what people think, not just people with the same educational background as mine, not just people with a similarly open mind as mine. It was also important to note that we got some actual numbers. How many people in the US have been diagnosed? How many people in Alaska? How many people in Southeast Alaska? Here, the attitude seems to be that AIDS or HIV aren't an issue. We feel isolated here, we live in small communities, we know everyone, and we often know everyone's business. Statistically speaking, yes, someone in Southeast Alaska would have AIDS or HIV. But it wasn't something I really considered until I actually saw a number, not just a percentage that one would assume. In Southeast Alaska there are 67 living with HIV/AIDS. Could be your neighbor, could be your friend, could be an acquaintance, could be anyone. It's here, and it's good to be aware.

The person at the event I couldn't really stand was Cowboy-boots Magee, sitting two seats down from a black transsexual woman, talking about AIDS in homosexuals and blacks and using a condescending tone of voice. It made me uncomfortable hearing him spout off ignorant stereotypes, I can't imagine how it may have felt to be in one or more of the stereotyped groups, sitting two seats away, wondering "can he not see me?"

After the event, which included a candle lighting, some speeches, and a discussion, Mr. CC and I went to grab a pint. We hit the 'Vous first and Ivan was there. Ivan is a crazy one, but he signaled that he'd be buying our drinks. We had our pints and then hit up the Alaskan, leaving a tip behind. At the Alaskan, we sampled some beers and then, having received the last of the keg of snowcap, I got my 3/4 of a beer free. While we were sitting here sipping on drinks, this short, rotund gentleman starts waving profusely at Mr. CC. Mr. CC asks, "Do I know you?" and Roland runs over and starts chattering away with a thick philipino accent about being in the Marine Corps "Pow pow pow" while holding his hands in such a way that it imitated holding a machine gun. He asked to buy a bottle of Patron Tequila and received an incredulous look from the bar tender. I took it upon myself to explain the "no more than two drinks" rule. He ordered the three of us shots of tequila. We drank. After more time than was necessary dealing with the heavily accented chatter, high fives, and back pats from Roland, we went out for some air and there met interesting character number two. This was no formal introduction, no, this was possibly more awkward than our interactions with Roland. This one, he was drunk and nigh incoherent. He asked repeatedly, since we couldn't understand, "How long have you been paid attraction?" and I still do not know what he meant. He tried to push Mr. CC and me together, at which point we had decided that we'd had enough fresh air.

Upon returning, we were again joined by Roland who now had it in his mind that Mr. CC and I were an item. Mr. CC and I looked at each other and I responded that "I claim no ownership of him." Mr. CC decided to play along with it and started telling Roland that I was his girlfriend, that I was a wildcat in bed, that I was a librarian and that he had to wear long sleeves to cover the scratches all over his body... Roland asked me if it was true, looking at me genuinely interested and looking surprised. Once we finished our drinks, Mr. CC and I decided to go join Miss HB and the other Americorps kids at the Americorps house. We had birthday cake and talked about life in Juneau. Small town, for sure, as one of the Americorps girls was talking about hanging out with Mr. JPB. After a bit, we left and I turned down an adventure. Miss HB had been told that it is prime planet watching time - Jupiter and Uranus are both close enough to be visible on a clear night. Miss HB, Mr. CC, and Mr. AA dropped me off at home and then headed to the Glacier to do some star gazing. Why did I choose last night to behave semi-responsibly? I could have gone star gazing at the Glacier.

Now I'm at work and I've been spacey all day. Overlooking little things, making little mistakes, and having nothing much to contribute. I went home on lunch and discovered the invitation to Miss MM and Mr. MM's wedding. It was exciting. It was addressed to Melissa & Guest. Like I'd have a date to a wedding... I can't even get Mr. CPP to actually commit to go do something with me because it is too much of a commitment (assumption). Oh well, I will rock that wedding single and in style. Even though I have to wear pale blue.

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