This morning, I drove down to Philadelphia. I had three purposes in mind. First off, I wanted to do a volunteer shift with the Former Place of Employment. Which could be weird, right? I've been doing that since I was given the axe. It goes down out on the streets, not back at HQ. The folks who work that outreach site are some of my favorites. And I'm really good at working with our clients. Those winning ways of mine. And the Wednesday site, sort of on the border between Center City and South Philly draws an interesting mix. There's some gay boys slamming crystal, some trans folks shooting hormones, and some delish goombahs from South Philly who are doing steroids. (I'm doing my best to convince one guy that it's not necessary to inject steroids into his biceps to make them better. But thankfully, it hasn't occurred to him to do that with silicon.)
After the volunteer shift ended at 1 p.m., I headed off to Pho 75, this amazing vietnamese place at 12th and Washington. Now, I love pho. For the uninitiated, it's sort of the national dish of Viet Nam. In a large bowl, you put rice vermicelli noodles, and then some raw beef. Over the top of that goes boiling beef broth that semi-cooks the beef. It's served with bean sprouts, basil, and lime. And I give several shots of hot sauce.
Pho is my Cherry Pez. (Remember in the movie Stand By Me: "If you were only going to have one food for the rest of your life and only that food, what food would you choose?" "That's simple. Cherry Pez."
Pho: so good and so good for you. It fills you up and it satisfies, but there's nothing in there to slow you down.
Post-pho, I went to the AIA Architecture and Design Bookstore. At the Former Place of Employ, we did a holiday gift exchange. The person who got me somehow heard that I get sexually aroused by architecture and headed there to shop. I got a bag, and inside was this way cool little key fob. Which I loved. And a card. In the card was a gift certificate. Now, there was a $20 limit on gifts. I figured the key fob was between five to ten. Much later, I saw that the gift certificate was for $50.
Which broke all the rules!!! But given that my gift giver is a force to be reckoned with in the Philadelphia House Ball scene, I'm guessing it's part of her insisting on doing everything Big.
So I've been looking forward to my trip to the AIA bookstore.
I got two books. The first is Desert America: Territory of Paradox, put out by Verb Monograph. Some amazing photographs, and the perspective in the text that I read grabs me. But the really really cool thing is a two-volume box set, Architecture In The 20th Century put out by Taschen. You have totally got to own that, whoever you are.
"Wuzzat?" you say, "Me plunk down lots of money for one of those architecture coffee table books?"
Not quite. This sells for $25.
Taschen is a publishing house with a mission: they're committed to architecture being truly a public art. (And of all the arts, it is, of course, the most public.) So that's why they put out this acclaimed and apparently definitive work at the low low low price of $25.
And then, there was the third aspect of my mission today. I went to Giovanni's Room, the LGBT bookstore in Philadelphia. Not to buy. I wanted to find their Horror section to copy down some names of publishers. Publishers who can expect to receive a copy of my Great (Gay) American (Werewolf) Novel(la). And there were about two feet of shelf space devoted to this genre. Gay horror, that is. Not gay werewolf erotica. In fact, it seemed to be all about gay vampires. Not a werewolf in sight. Which I guess could be good or bad.
I'm not going to go into why werewolves are way cooler than vampires. I've covered that before.
And then it was time to head north on i-95. I had to get to church.
Today, of course, is Ash Wednesday, marking the start of Lent. From the time I was a wee lad, I always found Lent to be mysterious and compelling. In a way, it's all about darkness. A time to meditate on your sins and smell the sulfurous fumes of hellfire and imagine a world without God. "Remember man, that you are dust, and to the dust you shall return."
Kinda sobering, huh?
So when I got into church, all frazzled because traffic was bad and I just made it in time, I sort of busted through the doors, ran up the aisle, did a quick genuflect, and dropped to my knees. And out came this extraordinary prayer...
"Lord God, Heavenly Father,
Break me, shatter me, destroy me. Let me enter into the sorrow and suffering and desolation of Christ in his Passion. Let me die with Christ during this season of Lent that I may rise with him on Easter.
In Jesus' name I pray.
Like... where did that come from?
Now what have I let myself in for?
Of course the intereesting thing is that it reads like bottoming in a heavy SM scene, huh?
Oh, and one more thing.
Today I wore my amazing Puma warm-up suit. Dark brown trimmed in turquoise. So 'Seventies Porn Star. Totally, "Catch me in 'The Harder They Cum'?" I was wearing that and my big ol' custom Wesco harness boots and a black knit skull cap. I felt Big and Bad. And that felt good.
And that's what I was wearing all day long. At the outreach site. At the AIA Bookstore. Getting my ashes at church.
I came from dust, and I'll return to dust, but in between, I'm gonna try to look hot.