The idea of vacating the city dawns while I'm drinking rum and shooing baby raccoons out of the kitchen. I know I have to act fast, though, if I'm going to catch the last ferry before the strikers shut it down. I rush around, stuffing a bag, leave the house, come back twice, pedal off like a demon, exclaiming in French and Spanish (English doesn't suit cycling), "Maudit! Una luna tan rosa!' I have never seen such a dark pink moon before.
By the time I board the ferry, the moon is orange, with a clearly defined laughing face turned at the 3/4 angle recommended by portrait photographers. When we dock, I invite myself to the home of a fellow passenger to conduct a liquor-cabinet inspection.
This is great! I never get inside anybody's door on the mainland. But while I'm visiting, another cunning raid is underway outside. Raccoons are unbuckling the bag on my bike, smearing banana on my towel and making off with the baguette meant to be my next day's chow. I'll have to eat flowers.
In the morning, I turn on the radio and find the Country Bunker show from North Carolina. Then I switch to news. The strike is on. Wonderful. I'm stranded. Well, almost. There is a water taxi, but I'll let that slip my mind. The strike is on! I have to hurry over to the public washroom to get some toilet paper before it's locked up.
I take a dip at Ward's beach. It's eerie to see Centre Island completely abandoned on a hot summer day.
Later, as lightning forks over the whitecaps, I'm glad to be marooned, ignoring the flimsy-looking little ferry replacement provided for the Islanders who aren't smart enough to tell their bosses there are no boats. Or maybe it's bosses that live on the Island now.
At the Gibraltar Point artists' studios, the Shadowland people are working on costumes for Buddies in Bad Times' Pride parade presentation. I must say I do like the shag-rug pubic triangles. Not in real life, though. My idea of a revealing costume is something with short sleeves.
I'm suddenly curious. Have the bare-naked men who frequent the "clothing optional' Hanlan's beach chartered a boat or flown in by helicopter? I approach the fenced-off compound ready to flee at the first sight of flesh. But the beach is covered with nothing more than cigarette butts. My 50-year-old, five-layer, knee-length bathing suit is still wet -- it takes days to dry. When will I ever have another chance to swim in these waters without another soul in sight? I guess I can be pretty persuasive. Wasn't that me frolicking stitchless in the Great Lake Ontario?
After two days that are worth two weeks, they ship me back to town, to zombie shoppers buying more plastic to pile on the sidewalks, and car drivers trying to crush me to death.
On Sunday, I'm trying to cross Yonge Street. I've somehow forgotten about that big parade endorsed by Julian Fantino. Who goes to that? Breeders and gay men from Buffalo, I think. Or maybe they were all just trying to cross Yonge Street at the same time.
By complete contrast, over in Allan Gardens the solar-powered Queer By Nature eco-fair, a cool alternative to hot pavement and disco trucks, is so low-key I almost miss it.
But I'm drawn to the other show in the park, the weekly session of the Jarvis Street Baptist Church. Testimonials, life stories, thin-voiced singers accompanied by accordion and organ. "There are people living today who will die tomorrow' is my kind of talk.
The fe- or shemale who runs up and flashes them fails to break the rhythm of these park veterans. Then they hand out copies of a sermon written in 1957 and invite us to their air-conditioned church. Maybe the friendly Queers can help them go solar on earth or figure out how to harness the fires of hell for use?