Al Fresco

Last night as Tex and I emerged from the library where we’d been attending a Queer Book Group event*,  there was a short white man with a very healthy head of 70s-style hair standing on the steps.

“Registered voters!” he called out. “I can spot a couple of registered voters anywhere! I know them when I see them!’

We stopped, and he went on to explain that he and his silent, frozen friend who clutched the clipboard, were collecting signatures in order to put before the upcoming Town Meeting a very, very important issue, namely…outdoor seating. See, local restaurants have just been putting out chairs and tables higgelty piggelty and these two guys feel that unless someone does something quick, all hell will break out.

If anyone had been watching the scene on the library steps last night, I think they would have witnessed two middle-aged queers practically twisting their heads off like 2 extremely perplexed canines. The fellas wanted us to sign a petition about chairs?

Let me back up a moment. For the past, oh, 20 years and perhaps even longer than that, Tex and I have been in the thick of various civil rights struggles, including fighting racism, sexism, ableism, transphobia, homophobia, ageism, you know, that kind of thing. Yesterday, we’d spent most of the afternoon trying to recover from a one-two punch having to do with a straight ally at church offering to do something for the queer group and then reneging in a particularly clueless fashion. And for some reason, perhaps the stars or the season, or my rapidly retreating hormones, I had been feeling particularly small and old that day, and rather unfit for the daunting battles still looming. A person can’t be fired up all the time!

Back to the library steps. We were not at our sharpest (it was almost 9pm, after all) but we both immediately got very suspicious. I wondered if this guy was working for the Man, sneakily trying to curtail workers’ rights. Tex assumed the worst and thought the guy’s elderly aunt had been pushed out into the street by unruly seating arrangements and done in by a passing car. Finally, we snapped out of it, asked a few questions, like, is this a public safety issue and how did you become interested in this (yes, and he just thinks there should be some regulation before everyone just starts doing whatever they want), and in the end, we both signed. It was just some signatures so that Town Meeting considers the proposal.

This morning we checked in with each other: had it been a dream? aliens posing as humans, slightly behind in their fashion research? the shared hallucination of two hard-working queer activists brought on by the afore mentioned sucker punch? I guess we won’t know until Town Meeting, but the thing is, as my dear friend in Chile reminded me: there are other issues, you know. And sometimes, they involve al fresco dining.

What a world!**

*our town has a Lesbian Librarian! She started a Queer Book Group! It’s so much fun!!!

**Some of you may know that this is a direct quote from Chet, who is the dog half of the Chet and Bernie mystery series by Spencer Quinn – a Total Femme fave!

Published in: on January 30, 2014 at 9:56 PM  Leave a Comment  
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