I went to Miami to belatedly celebrate Peppar's birthday. When I arrived, we immediately went to an Indian reservation to buy cheap cigarettes, an outlet mall to buy my standard two blouses, and the movies. We saw "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."
Peppar and I used to have a standing date each Friday night to see a movie together, when she lived in New York. I was sort of depressed back then, and I think she was, too, so it was a great comfort to have this to look forward to throughout the week. Then, she got married, and her husband Michael stole her away to Florida. Sigh. That's why we saw the movie ... to recapture who we were years ago. Some people have nightclubs; I have a darkened theater. Still, I felt like we had shot our wad on the first day of the trip, and I then had to think of ways to fill my remaining day, which Peppar would not be present for (some family thing of hers).
After she left the following day, I went to the gym and then went for dinner to Lario's, Gloria Estefan's restaurant on Ocean Drive. I sat at the bar and told the bartender, in a slightly threatening fashion, to let me know when Gloria Estefan arrived, so that I could "be ready." He laughed nervously and then spoke in Spanish on his walkie talkie. Gloria Estefan never arrived to supervise her restaurant that evening, but I did enjoy some minced beef with egg and fried plaintain. I can't tell you in words how excited I would have been to see Gloria Estefan in the flesh; the words get in the way, as it were.
The following day, my last little day in Miami, I went to the beach. I put on the swimming trunks I had brought along and marched there, trying to hold my head up high and maintain my dignity. Along the way, a hostess in a restaurant smiled at the sight of me (as had the front desk person at my hotel, the Lords). I asked her if the trunks made me look gay, and she paused and then nodded twice, curtly. But I am gay in quotes, I thought as I marched the rest of the way, a little chastened.
Can you believe that I've never worn these swimming trunks in public, ever? I bought them, like, twelve years ago (from the Armani store)! So I wanted at least one picture in them in my lifetime, and I asked a hot, shirtless blonde if he would take my picture. "Can you believe I'm 39?" I asked him. "Yes, I can," he replied, and I was chastened again, just as the sea itself chastened me that day. (It was much too choppy to really swim in it, but I did try over and over, the sea laughing at me). I am a water sign, but I have developed in my old age a slight aversion to water. This visit to the beach was meant in part to reestablish a connection to the water, while avoiding drowning. In this, I was successful.
I feel like this trip was successful in many different ways, but I am excited to return to New York, where winter is tightening its grip, and where you may have a pair of swimming trunks you are anxious to wear, but have to opportunity to wear them, and where years may go by.