I know! You are looking at the title and thinking, "WTF!?!?" I will explain; read on.
I arrived in Chicago after leaving Indianapolis on Sunday in time to make it to Chuck Renslow's "White Party" which was his 80th birthday party. Everyone was there! Had a great time and I always enjoy seeing Chuck. He is an icon in our community and someone to whom I respect with all of my heart. Happy Birthday, Chuck!!!!
David was able to meet me in Chicago and was able to attend Chuck's party as well. In fact, he had arrived the day before and was able to spend some time with Howie (Master Z Chicago) and his wife, Becky. However, David flew home on Monday afternoon.
I was to stay in Chicago due to a fundraiser at The Leather Archives & Museum; however, it was cancelled, and since I already had my plane ticket, I figured I'd stay the extra few days and have some down time.
However, Rob (whom I had met at GLLA) had different plans for me. (Rob is Great Lakes Leather Sir 2008 and 1st runner up at International Leather Sir 2008) He asked if I wanted to go bike riding in downtown Chicago. Anyone that knows me, knows that I do not like riding bikes. It's not that I fear the actual bike; it's more-so that I fear dumb ass drivers on the road that are more worried about texting and talking on their phones and running me over. The other element to this is the fact that I do not hear cars coming until it's too late. By the time I hear them running over me - well, they are literally running over me. Too late for any reaction on my part.
But I decided to do it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Besides, I needed to see if I could handle it before I buy David and I bicycles. I don't want to spend a few hundred bucks on bikes only to find out that I hate them and the bike sits in the garage collecting dust.
So off Rob and I went. We got on the L and rode the L downtown and then started from "Millennium Park" (I think) and started pedaling with the Lake on one side of us and the city on the other. It was truly incredible to see the city in this manner (although it was a little while before I relaxed enough to start looking to my left and right rather than straight ahead while clinching the handlebars for dear life; and we were on a bike path! I know - I'm so butch.) Before long, I was comfortable enough to even carry on a conversation as we biked. After a few miles, I realized that my ass was numb from sitting so long on the bike. It didn't matter how I sat on the bike, my ass could not get comfortable. Thus, the nickname Numb Butt came out of Rob's mouth and he refers to me as that from time to time now and laughs hysterically. Glad I could entertain him . . . LOL
Suddenly the bike path ended and we had to ride on the open roads of Chicago. Now I was back to clinching the handles, grinding my teeth and trying to find a priest to read me my last rites, as I knew I would be flattened by some Soccer Mom in her Expedition while she smoked her cigarette, yelled at the kids in the backseat, ate her left over french fries from McDonald's that she had bought for breakfast that morning, spoke on the phone about how shitty her hair looked due to the humidity, and checked her lipstick in the rear view mirror. Jeffrey was going down and he knew it.
But I made it! All the way to Jon and Ken's home for dinner. Thank God!!!!!!!!! I was never so happy to see a home in a long time.
Jon and Ken had Joey, RJ, Rob, Jason and I over for dinner and it was FABULOUS! I do not remember eating a steak that was so tender!! Best piece of meat I've had in my mouth in a long time! The conversation was incredible and went on for a while. I cannot share what was said at dinner as the motto of "What is said and done at dinner, stays at dinner!". But needless to say, it was an incredible dinner. Thank you Jon and Ken!
The next day I spent it with Howie and Becky and we went to dinner and then to Bill's Blues to listen to the music. I realize that this Blog is to be spent speaking about my travels as IML; however, I want to share this story. We started listening to the music, just as we had done about eight weeks ago when I was in town. However, there was a major difference this time for me. I could not hear the music. I could feel the music's beat (as to the vibrations); however, the actual notes, the tones, etc. - nothing. It was just this cluster of noise that didn't make any sense. I looked around the room and everyone was clapping, or swaying, or whatever to keep the beat, but I didn't hear it. I removed my hearing aids, thinking maybe my hearing aids were acting up, but this didn't help at all. The 'noise' was softened substantially; however, it was still just noise. For the first time, I could not hear the music. When I got back to Howie's that night, I put my I-pod on to see if it was the same thing. I could hear the words, but the tones, the notes are all scrambled. I realized that on my Ipod, I know the music so well that I rarely truly "listen" to the music. I usually have it in to just fill up the silence. But when I try to hear the tones and the notes, it's just noise. I've memorized how the songs that I've listened to over and over again should sound, and that is why I didn't notice it before. But when I hear music I've never heard before, it doesn't make sense to me.
So I had a moment. I truly had a stupid little self-pity moment right there in Bill's Blues. Not that anyone noticed; however, I had my moment in my head, which is where I usually have them. Thanks to my husband, David, for reminding me that one day they will be able to do something to change this and that is what we have to cling to for now. We have to have hope, right? And thanks to Rob, who at least admitted he wished he had something profound to say at that time, but he didn't. I appreciate you just giving me a hug when you saw me. That meant alot to David to know that someone was able to offer me a hug at that time.
So that was my 'moment'. I didn't cry or lash out or anything. It was just one of those moments in my head where I thought, "Fuck! Why me!!" I'm find with it now. I guess everyone has 'moments' every now and then.
The next day, I departed Chicago for Dallas, but not before Rob took me on a tour of Chicago. It was great to see more of the city and to see Wrigley Field (Bear went to see the Cubs!!). Rob, thank you so much for spending time with me and taking time from your schedule to show me Chicago. You were a delight to spend time with and I appreciate everything so much.
Okay, I leave for Berlin on Sunday for Folsom Europe. I am beyond excited about it!!! We will have a blast!!! I cannot wait to tell all of you about it!!
Your Leather Brother,