Like a tree that just fell in my pants and went unnoticed by anyone but that ingrown hair on my left thigh, tonight promises to be full of insignificance. Why? Well, partially because it’s the evening of the invisible teardrop known as the Democratic primary, but also because I’ve overextended outside my cobblestoned comfort zone and into parts unknown. I’m in the fucking woods.
Actually, I’m in Parramore. I flipped a car here once. Nobody noticed.
On this hallowed, if ignored, evening the cause célèbre is one Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose inevitable ascendancy in Florida is currently being weighed down via television by pundit sandbags Chris Matthews and Tucker Carlson. More than a million Democratic voters have connected their arrows on their ballot slabs, and yet it’s as if nothing even happened at all. Nothing but John McCain, that is.
Politics aside, did you know that there’s a gay bistro in the middle of Parramore? Not even the new Postcard Parramore either, but deep in the socioeconomic throes of boarded-up windows, fenced parking lots and people-with-dreads walking nowhere in particular from prostitute corner to prostitute corner. Stonewall Bistro recently set up shop here with a name that means “gay” and has invited a number of decidedly non-Parramore types to celebrate a white woman who is, in fact, running against a black man. What a country.
“We parked at Church Street Station,” one pale celebrant nudges me. “We walked all the way down here. At a brisk pace. With
Ooh, I think I just dropped my race card.
Anyway, I’m not here to be heavy, I’m here to get drunk and pretend I’m a presidential woman. A task that isn’t as easy as it would seem, actually, as this is one of those peculiar affairs that involves a middleman ticket table and wine in plastic cups.
“Can I have a Hillary button?” I prick after purchasing six tickets for the liquor raffle.
“Sure,” a nice lady replies. But somehow in the passive-aggressive transaction my political Hillary shirt-piercing misses its mark and lands right in the bottom of somebody else’s beer. My mood is sinking. If a pin falls in a beer, etc.
Not to fear, though, as out of nowhere Scott Maxwell bounds into thigh-right (as he is often wont to do) and he looks more chipper than anybody in a suit ought to be allowed to. Naturally, I pull out my flip-photo book of our 17 imaginary children and proceed to recount the rises, the falls and the painful interventions recently applicable to each.
“Did you vote for my lady of honor, Hillary?” I bat exactly two eyelashes.
“I’m more of an Edwards man,” he defines futility.
And it only gets worse from there. Prior to the magnanimous arrival of Sir Maxwell, thigh-left was being occupied by wonder-twin-who-wears-dresses Sam Singhaus, and almost as soon as Maxwell invades our pink bucket of water, his eyes and attentions are plainly diverted to not me.
“You know,” he knows in Sam’s direction, “Real Radio once asked me to do drag for charity and I said that I would only do it if I could pair up with Miss Sammy.”
Flutter, flutter, flutter. What the fuck is happening?
“Get off my man!” I throw my torso between the two, elegantly.
And by the time a Watermark contributor arrives to snap our picture, Maxwell has completely disappeared, like maybe he was never even here at all.
Who is here in an all-of-the-sudden type of fashion, though, is Orange County commissioner Linda Stewart – you know, the one who talks really loud and goes all crazy-eyed. She’s decked out in some sort of jumpsuit that opens up to a Hillary T-shirt and is sporting a rhinestone Hillary pin and a child (wearing the same pin). The look might have been more effective with a Chihuahua, mind, but where better to bring a small child than a gay bistro in Parramore, right? Called to the makeshift stage, she bellows something about Fox News and CNN not liking Hillary and how our votes actually really really really will matter come that big musical-chairs game at the convention. A tree falls somewhere off in the distance.
Back inside, she’s scheming something up with Come Out With Pride parade organizer Jason Lowe, and I arrive just in time for this tidbit: “Well, you know Patty Sheehan has to be your queen, but there are all kinds of queens around here!” And in a display of never-ending allegiance to both citrus and the name of the county that employs her, she suggests that quite possibly she might want to crawl out of a mechanically peeling giant orange disco ball. My life is a mechanically peeling giant orange disco ball.
Or is it just a dead orange on a falling tree?
Hillary magically appears on a giant flat-screen to deliver the speech that reportedly doesn’t matter, and for a few moments of queer bistro solidarity, the chants of “Hil-lar-y” from the assembled crowd of Hillary haircuts actually feels like momentum. It doesn’t last.
“How long have you been voting?” comes a transient who’s wandered into this party that’s been plopped out of context and onto his turf.
“Forever,” I trip into existentialism. “And never.”
“Well, let me know if you ever need anything.” He clearly needs more than I do.
“Thanks,” I nod (off). That’ll be a real vote, a couple of trees and maybe some new firstname.lastname@example.org