Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Two Most Terrifying Moments Of My Life

As I prepare to renovate my apartment living room later this month, I'm clearing out the space, including dozens of old photo albums. Perfect time to scan some vintage memories...

Picture it: I'm 15 years old (and a pretty typical contrary teenage jackass), traveling with my family on a three-week journey across the United States... from Virginia through the Midwest, into Chicago, Las Vegas, Utah, Idaho, the Dakotas, tipping into Victoria, Canada, down to Portland and the West Coast through Washington and California, into New Mexico, across Texas and eventually back to Virginia.

It was truly the adventure of a lifetime, and though I whined and bitched a good bit of the time, I locked in on so many hundreds of memories about our nation. Hell, in San Francisco, I recall seeing my first gay couple ever, two men with mustaches and flannel shirts holding hands (it was vintage 1978 homo fashion, after all), which has stayed with me to this day...

I was never particularly comfortable with heights and I tell you, seeing the Grand Canyon that July was easily the most terrifying experience of my life: a vast, endless hole just waiting to suck me in, never to be seen again. In the faded pics below, you can actually make it out that I am clutching the rail with white knuckles, bearing a fake smile (with braces!), convinced the earth is going to lurch and I'm going down... down... down...
Fast forward 18 years, when I ventured back to the West Coast with my partner at the time, Pook... We made our way to the Grand Canyon and I tell you what, the same terror came rushing back... In fact, note my hands gripping the rails same as the first time. Yeah, it's one of God's great triumphs, but twice is enough for me to dare being sucked into the big black hole. Memories shall prevail. *