Apathy is everywhere. I mean, who says it's just the snotty-nosed, frosted queers leaning over their high-rise balconies with sneers of liquor-breathed disinterest? This whole town is an underdressed tortoise pecking at the feces of the long-gone hare. We move slowly nowhere, treating our televisions like prison windows and staring at channels 65 through 73, pretending that something glamorous and rhythmic just happened. Short bus. Long town.
Case in point: My friend Tony and I reluctantly tumbled out of our Bright House stupor and into my slow-moving, beat-up sedan to muster a grand looking-up, along with other vibrant optimists, Thursday night. It was to be a chummy celebration of all that was going so very well with downtown. I mean, gawd, we've come a long way, baby. Just close your eyes and feel the bustle.
And so it was that we found ourselves at Antigua. The e-mail for the Downtown Orlando Partnership monthly social/networking event got our panties dirty, and that doesn't happen so much anymore.
"Antigua is a touch of the Caribbean in the heart of Downtown Orlando," it glossed through its electronic teeth. "Come experience the tropical feel of cascading waterfalls, the tropical fish and the cold refreshing libations at any of our many island bars. Sail over to Antigua."
Just imagine the possibilities.
"Can I wear my Brooks Brothers suit and pretend to be your bodyguard?" Tony asked, not joking.
"Only if I can hit Britney Spears with an SUV," I giggled, again not joking.
Even less funny was the actuality: no SUV, no Britney Spears (or even Lou Pearlman), and, well, Tony's tailored suit.
Chuffy middle-management mingled on cell phones about real estate and suburban sexuality.
"The bathrooms smell like, er, bathrooms," sniffed Tony, fecally, toes probably wet.
Anyway, we were overdressed, the crowd (only half of whom were wearing "My Name IS" nametags) was in khakis, and it all felt a little bit like a Midwestern high school reunion.
"I can't do a column about this," I threw my imaginary pen down. "It's too obvious."
So we set out to see how many asses we could brush against with our hands, and to create a childish tally of how many people there we might sleep with, even drunk. The answer? None. Although Tony does possess a particular propensity toward protruding bellies. But even those were buried in their Dockers.
Determined not to be swallowed up by my own bathroom-smelling apathy, I decided to hold out until the real weekend to find something around which to wrap my peroxided head. I hate the Caribbean, anyway.
But I love Michael Moore who is, we should add, larger than the Caribbean. And this being the weekend of both Fahrenheit 9/11 and the gay parade, surely my hair could top a brain that I rarely know about. A big, gay, politically active brain.
Fortunately, I'm faced with the opportunity to meld the two liberal pastimes into one pointy doily. A friend of mine is in cahoots with L.A. comedian Jason Stuart, he of the recurring pansy role on the semihit sitcom My Wife and Kids. Stuart's in town to grand marshal (in a car!) the gay street-stroll we call Pride, and has the afternoon off to take in the Moore movie. I meet up with them at the Enzian to play a little hairy Kerry and partake in some Bush shaving.
"Your people have contacted my people before," I pretend that I matter. "I've read your bio."
"Oh, and you still didn't come see the show," he sticks his L.A. nose up. Apparently, he was at the Improv awhile back. Oh.
In a game of bitchiness and polemics, it appears the scissors can easily cut the rock. Anyway, I like Jason. Enough, even, to engage in some line-waiting conversation about Barbra Streisand (gay-friendly AND political), long enough to nod off to talks about her directing abilities.
"She seems to make everything ... romantic!" he gushes.
"And, if I'm not mistaken, she's the last one to make Nick Nolte look cute," I play along.
Somebody, probably a Republican, should shoot us.
We talk endlessly (seemingly, anyway) about Babs' upcoming stint in the Meet the Parents sequel, like either of us really matter, while he cruises an early-20s handbag nearby. It all seems to be swirling down the low-lit drain of Streisand beigeness until he reveals that Wilson Cruz My So Called Rent Boy was to co-marshal this evening's parading nonevent. WHAT?
"But he just didn't show up." At exactly this moment, Jason disappears to me. I'm caught, once again, in the mismatched socks of Angela Chase, flipping my imaginary eggplant hair and assuming adolescent consternation. Why am I like that? Like what? Like that?
"Sit with us," Jason snaps my Cruz-ing back to the movie at hand. "I'll talk during the movie." Great.
"Where's your tape recorder?" he grills.
"Um, in my head."
And as we sit through the masterpiece that is Michael Moore's political indigestion, I casually overhear Stuart say things like, "Wow, Bush is cute," while slowly whittling away at my shock and awe. We both laugh big laughs at the make-up on/make-up off bits, like a couple of been-there fags, and nibble at tiny morsels of fruit and cheese clearly lost on Moore's midsection.
After, we disagree about something like progression and perception, cock-fighting some East Coast/West Coast civil war, an asshole in a Mercedes backs up and hits one of our entourage, redirecting our anger into more standard, less cerebral sneers.
Apathy drives a Mercedes. Apathy wins.