I had such a marvelous weekend, Gentle Reader! In a way, it was designed to be a practice run for European Vagabondage: hours of buses, crashing on someone’s couch, alone in a crowd of strangers, relying on my wits. I did learn a few valuable things from this weekend, and from my viewpoint while doing it, which is precisely what I was hoping for.
I got a lift from Miss P. to the bus, because in the unusual heat we’ve been having, the walk to the bus – about a half hour, under normal circumstances – would have been brutal, laden with luggage. She took me into town, beating the bus I would have been on by at least an hour. Three buses later, I arrived safely in Seattle, if a few hours early. Also, I learned that it is very difficult for me to write while on a bus. A pity, as I’d been counting on those otherwise wasted hours to get some work done.
I wandered some local streets in Aurora, looking for a corner shop or local cafe, some place to put down my bags for a while, use a public restroom, and write. I found no public restroom, but I did find a place to sit for a while: there was a park-like area labeled a “Pedestrian Underpass” connecting three bus lines and six different streets. Page after page flew by, and the people-watching was exquisite – the ninety-year-old man driving a rusting hot-rod with chain-doors and an two-man saw welded to the body; the young lady in vintage teagown, bonnet, and gloves; two teenagers on their first date.
When the wait was over, I practically sprinted the two blocks to my Aunt and Uncle Stone’s place. I adore staying with Uncle G. and Auntie T.; they’re such kind people, genuine and generous. They live in a house that’s over one hundred years old; when you find the gate concealed in the hedge, you’re transported to another world. A towering apple tree bedecked with hanging moss; the green house; a bronze, blind Justice stares at you when you enter. The circle of herbs for Absinthe is to the left, amidst more statuary; the still and the smoker are to the right.
The interior is equally intricate: the only modern electronica in evidence is Uncle’s laptop, which powers the music coming out from the antique console radio. The tiki bar can be seen through an archway, from any point in the living room; Aleister Crowley’s portrait passes judgement on you when you sit on the overstuffed chaise longue, or possibly on the various taxidermy pieces hither and yon.
Such conversation! Such cocktails! Such camaraderie! The Stones are swell. Auntie T. made up a bed for me on the chaise, and with a bowl of homemade absinthe sorbet – made according to a recipe developed for Gustave Eiffel upon completion of his tower – the sun sets on the trip’s first day.
Alarm, arise, ablutions; coffee and cigarettes. Now, staying with Auntie and Uncle, it’s one thing: we have the same vices, for the most part. I had to consider what I’d do staying with strangers, in the morning – I need a little bit of time to caress my coffee, and to inhale the burnt offerings that bring life. I haven’t quite figured that out. I was successful at taking a whore’s bath with the purpose-packed washcloth in their bathroom, then, as I was there for Pride, got myself dolled up. Auntie hasn’t posted the photos yet, but she was very helpful, lending me glitter from her goody bag from Burlycon, a burlesque convention. Let the words “Hot Pink Glitter Lips” speak for themselves. She took many photos, and you just know that I’m going to share them, when they’re up.
I think that I’ll leave you here for today, Gentle Reader, as I’m strolling down the walk in my ridiculous picture-hat and make-up, parasol poised and ready, heading for the bus in the sun. You may expect Part II on Friday.