Cinderfella and the Kindness of Strangers


Gotta stay positive. Not always easy. But whatche feed grows. I have a lot to be grateful for. That’s where I’ll try to keep my focus for tonight.

I reckon when we try to make changes for the better, Resistance gets pissed and doubles his efforts. I’m sick of taking my emotional temperature every five minutes. In the course of each day, I feel like everything is wonderful at one point and then at another, I feel like there is no hope. But I’m just starting to change some longtime thought and  behavior patterns that were established based on my self-concept that was molded in less-than-ideal circumstances. I didn’t get it here overnight, I’m not gonna get out of here overnight.

The Apollo Ball is tonight in Birmingham. It’s a big gala event put on by and for the gays. I only found out that it was this weekend a few days ago when I learned that Spud was going. I remember when I lived in Alabama the last time, when I was at The University of Alabama, was the first time I heard of the Apollo Ball and its sponsoring organization. There’s also one in Tuscaloosa called the Druid Ball (I think). I used to think that these were events for people who were better than me because they were for people who had more money than me. I understand that that’s not true now. I did end up going to the Osiris Ball (a gay Mardi Gras ball—redundant) when I lived in Mobile so I feel like I have some idea what the Apollo and Druid events might be like. Mostly, I don’t really like these sort of things. I’m not  so much for functions where most everyone is drunk for the most part. But I did want to go by and see the decorations today. Spud and the people at his table where there bringing the decorations for that table. I was near the Boutwell Auditorium so I sent a text asking if it would be okay if I stopped by and said hello. I didn’t hear back but was sure that it would be okay. After all, it wasn’t like I was asking to crash the ball. When I got inside the auditorium, I got a text from Spud that said, “Sorry, no, it’s not okay if you come by.” I texted back and said, “I’m already here.” He appeared from backstage and said basically that I wasn’t welcome there. I left.

You really can believe me that I don’t want to be at that “ball” tonight. It’s so interesting how much my perception of such things has changed since I left Alabama and have seen and done so many things. I mean, for Chrissakes, I went to the Grammys so that my date could receive a Lifetime Achievement Grammy! But to be told that I wasn’t welcome to drop by to say hello to my friend and see the decorations today— well, you get it. In that moment I felt that old familiar feeling of rejection, like I’m not good enough, like I’m not wanted.

When I got to the parking deck, I learned that the pay booth didn’t take debit cards. All I had was a twenty. I had to make the cars behind me back up so I could park and go in search of change. I was really feeling like shit by this point. There were no business open around. I went back inside the auditorium lobby and found a sexy bearded man who I asked for change. He said he didn’t have any change but he had a couple of bucks in his truck. We jogged out there together where he gave me two dollars. The kindness of this stranger gave me a lift in my moment of sadness.

I’m not sure really how to process it all. I want to learn whatever lessons this painful experience might have for me. I don’t wish I was at the ball with Spud and all the other drinkers tonight. That you can believe. In fact, I probably could have gotten on the horn and scored a ticket if I wanted to and I have a tux hanging in the closet so it’s not really like I couldn’t have gone. Plus, (here I’ll be accused of being a self-hating gay man) I’ve had a few decades of “gay anthems” and drag queens on sequined floats; I reckon I’m ready for something else by which I can identify my community.

When I finally got free of the parking deck and went and hung out with two Marine buddies of mine. They talked shit about people and made me laugh in the way that only my fellow Marines can. We ate good food at a local barbecue joint and then went to an outdoor beer garden at a local brewery. It looked like a free-range farm for hot guys. (And I drank root beer don’t worry.) Pretty soon I was laughing and feeling much better. God, I love Marines.

But still, back home and sitting here alone on this bed that was not quite so empty last night. I must admit I feel lonely.

So Cinderfeller didn’t get to go to the ball. boo-boo. But I’m also pretty sure my Prince Charming isn’t there either.

See y’all tomorrow.

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