Wednesday, May 11, 2016

An Affair to Remember (For a Change)

Earlier this spring, I was sent to cover the Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend. There was a time when this would have been a dream assignment. Three days of partying with thousands of lesbians while listening to live music would have pretty much been my idea of heaven when I was in my early-to-mid-twenties.

The thing is, though, that at 24 I never would have come home with the story. I would have told myself that to get the story, I needed to immerse myself in the experience. Three hangovers later, I would have come home with a pocket full of phone numbers I would never call and a notebook full of observations like “Rum & Coke rocks!” and “Melissa Etheridge smiled at me—I’m sure of it!”

Now, in my 40s, I have the connections and a track record that gets me sent on assignments like this. The thing is, though, that Dinah Shore no longer seems like the assignment of a lifetime. To a married woman who is really just a campfire guitar girl at heart, the idea of three days of thumping techno music in the desert with drunk lesbians on the make kind of sounds like hell.

But when the opportunity to go came my way, thanks to The Seattle Lesbian, I went, and I got the story. Lucidity has its advantages, and one is that now when I’m sent to do a job, I do it without blacking out or going home with a stranger. (I’m not saying I actually did these things when I was younger—I didn’t. But it wasn’t for lack of trying.)

My weekend in Palm Springs wasn’t all adulting. I did have some fun, starting with a road trip from the Bay Area to Southern California with two women whose company I enjoyed. I’d never met them; the carpool was organized by my editor at Girls That Roam, for whom I am also writing Dinah stories. The three of us, later joined by Pipi, who served as an official photographer, had a lot of fun in a fabulous house we rented. I did see some good music, and I did put down a few drinks, just nothing like what would have happened when I was younger.

I also had the chance to catch up with an old friend who lives part time in Palm Springs. Tobias was really my first friend—we moved to the same street when we were both about three years old. We lost touch for a while, then reconnected through Facebook. This reconnection was entirely virtual, and before Dinah Shore Weekend, it had been something like 25 years since we’d seen each other in person. It seems odd to go to a lesbian party and end up eating breakfast with a man but that’s how it worked out.

Getting older obviously isn’t all fun and games, but there are benefits. I now get assignments that I couldn’t have handled when I was young, and I’ve lived long enough that I’m able to know the joys of reconnecting with a long-lost friend. One thing I learned at the Dinah is that I’ll take that over a weekend spent inebriated any day.

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