Monday, April 16, 2007

I'm schvitzing, already!

"She May Look Clean - BUT" copyright © Austin Cline.

I picked up a book at Barnes & Noble Saturday (I needed a treat after sitting through "Disturbia") entitled, "When I Knew." It's a compilation of sometimes funny, sometimes sad, stories of gay people (not all famous) and the magic moments when something clicked inside and they just "knew."

My favorite amongst the men was by Andrew Freedman. It happened in 1969.

"My father was watching the evening news. The announcer said that Judy Garland had died. I fainted. I was nine."

A close second was this "ah-ha" moment by Howard Bragman of Flint Michigan, again in 1969.

"I knew I was gay when the most exciting part of my Bar Mitzvah was meeting with the party planner."

Steve Kmetko (formerly of E-TV and E-Online), who actually got married before he realized what was going on with him, said these three thoughts popped into his head as soon as the nuptuals had been completed:

"1. I've made a terrible mistake. 2. Wasn't the wedding fabulous! 3. How am I going to get it up?"

The women's stories were no less touching and hilarious...

Sometimes we need more, ahem, concrete evidence of our gayness. Such as Jenny Allard (baseball coach at Harvard), who said,

"I knew in my twenties... when I kept waking up with women."

This one is from Tammy Lynn Michaels (no problem guessing what part of the country Tammy Lynn hails from):

"When I was six I loved my first-grade teacher so much I knew I would have to grow up to be a boy so I could come back and ask her to marry me."

How pragmatic is that for a six year old?

Then there's Elvira Kurt, who sure knew what she wanted:

"I was twelve. [,,,] 'The Trouble With Angels' was on again and I had to watch it!... and I suddenly knew who I was and what I wanted out of life: to be a bad girl who gets punished by a very angry Rosalind Russell."

Anyway, it's an expensive book (twenty-five bucks, I think), but funny and heartwarming. It was edited by Robert Trachtenberg and published by ReganBooks, a HarperCollins imprint. I recommend it simply for the joy of it.

I knew.... hell, I've always known. My earliest infatuation was with the school bus driver when I was six. I knew I wanted to be alone and naked with him. I just didn't know why. Yet. Then, over the years, there were lots of men I wanted to be alone and naked with. By then, though, I knew why.

Today's subject line, "I'm schvitzing, already" refers to the weather and not to me sitting around in a steam bath with a bunch of old Jewish guys, doing shots of vodka and kvetching about life in general.

Man, did it ever rain here. I have never, in my entire life, seen as much rain as I've seen in the last 24 hours (over 7" in NYC's Central Park). When I posted my blog yesterday morning, it was just raining badly. I went to that 12-Step meeting I mentioned and then quickly stopped by the the local Target ("Tar-Zhay", in NJ) to pick up a couple of cases of their flavored, bottled water, which I'm hopelessly addicted to, and then to head home. By the time I got to Target it was pouring. It was even worse when I came back out, 10 minutes later. I got home and the heavens really opened.

By 10:00 p.m. last night, the creek next to the house had risen at least five feet and was threatening to overflow it's banks. The phone rang and I thought, "Oh, great. Who wants to yak now?" But it was an automated message from the township asking me to not use the sewer system, if I could avoid it -- that the water treatment plant was being overwhelmed by the runoff from the storm drains.

When I awoke at 4:45 a.m. the rain was still coming down, although it didn't seem to be quite the deluge it had been at 10:00 p.m. That changed the minute I hit the roads to get to the Park and Ride where I catch my commuter bus. There were several "washouts" on the back roads and highways en route to the Park and Ride. Thank God I drive an Element. I felt sorry for the folks out there in regular autos.

What really surprised me, though, were the washouts on the NJTurnpike. I'd never seen that before. There were two spots, not far from Newark Liberty Airport, just past Exit 14 (the Airport / Holland Tunnel Exits), where the truck and car lanes re-merge, that were pretty much underwater. There were several Turnpike trucks and frontloaders standing by, I guess to try to scoop up the water that wasn't running off fast enough.

Despite all that, we were only about 10 minutes later than usual coming into Manhattan and, once again, the rains had abated somewhat by the time I hoped off the bus, at the corner of 53rd Street and Madison Avenue.

I understand that acting governor Codey has declared an emergency in NJ, which isn't very surprising. The Garden State has LOTS of wetlands and it doesn't take much to overwhelm the eco-system there.

If there's one thing 9 years of sobriety has taught me, it's to try to find something good even in the worst situations. This is a good time for me to practice that.

So, even though I may be schvitzing...

if this had been February we'd be looking at 70" of snow now.

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