Thursday, June 27, 2013

Marriage Equality, I Am Boring At Last.

The Supreme Court's rulings today were momentous, stupendous, fantastic. 
When I was a little gay boy there was nobody like me. Not on TV, not in magazines, nowhere.  There were whispers of fairies and faggots directed at boys "who didn't fit in."   At first I was told I walked funny, so I stopped walking funny.  Then I was told I was a "pretty boy" so I stopped fussing with my appearance. I was told I had a "funny laugh" so I started laughing with my mouth closed.
However, my naturally gregarious nature prevented me from turning invisible. But a strong wall of faux-masculinity, insults and eye-rolling got me through my teenage years relatively unscathed in regards to my homosexuality. At 19 I was arrested in a raid of a gay bar. The police gave me two options: pay a $1000 fine or have my name printed in the newspaper as a homosexual. I refused to pay the fine and hired a lawyer instead.
years later I fell in love with a single dad with a five year old son. Ah the scandal of two men raising a child! "A child needs the love only a mother can provide." was whispered in my ear more than once.
So here I am at 45 and I've gone from a secret gay, to sexual outlaw, to pioneering "gay dad", to über-gay Miamian. Then suddenly I'm legally married in 12 of the United States. The last part occurring between 9:59AM and 10:00AM on June 26th 2013. Talk about going from interesting to boring in the time it takes to figure out a Supreme Court decision.  The long fight to be boring. My husband and I have worked on numerous campaigns, suffered defeats, have given time and money in the fight to be boring.  The fight to be mundane, to protect our property, to protect our son, to protect ourselves.
To have a boring existence where you don't have to explain to a nurse who you are in relation to the patient. To live in an existence where your property can't be taken away from you by the government or greedy relatives should you or your spouse die or become incapacitated.
To live in a boring world where you know your child won't be taunted, teased or sidelined because he has two dads.
Safe is boring, Certainty is boring. Longevity is boring. Legal commitment is boring. Having the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else is boring. I want to be boring. I want that for me and for Florida and all people who want to be treated equally.
Now I realize there is a lot of work left to do. Yet words such as "elevated" and "dignity of individuals" and "equality" all used by the Supreme Court of the United States in reference to lesbians, gays and their children, makes me glad to be part of that long fight to be boring.
All in all the battle for boring has been exciting. I am looking forward to being boring just like everyone else.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Dame la Gasolina.....(Give me the Gasoline) A local's Guide to Miami's coolest gas stations.

A couple of years ago I was with my hubby heading to a party in the area south west of Little Havana, to locals it's called "La Souwesera." Needing to pick up some wine I remembered there was a Citgo nearby with a good wine selection. I hadn't been there in years. As we pulled up we noticed a bevy of expensive cars pumping gas and filling the parking lot. It was your typical Miami thing, Aston Martins, Rolls, Beemers, etc. I thought, well this is odd but they need to get gas too. 
Just another gas station, right?
In the back of the gas station, where the wine used to be was a small, and very chic tapas place called "El Carajo". There happened to be a wine tasting that night and all the Miami wine cognoscenti were there for the annual Beaujolais Nouveau tasting. It was such a weird juxtaposition. in front there were twinkies, lotto tickets, and your typical 7-11 fare, but just few feet more and you were in a chic wine tasting with candlelit tables and the best tapas in Miami. I mean, they could have added a car wash if they wanted more business, but a fancy tapas place? Today, the 7-11 decor is mostly gone, but you can still buy lotto tickets and gas, now it's considerably upscale, gone are the rows of chips and candies which are now replaced with great wines from around the world. 
Honey, don't forget to play lotto and get a slushy for dessert. 
My next favorite gas station is Dade Corners.  Since I was a little boy my dad loved to take us out to Shark Valley to see the gators.  Dade corners is on the corner of Crome Avenue and U.S. 41/8th Street/Tamiami Trail.  Long the hangout of the Harley-Davidson set, on any given day you can see all types there. From truckers to Honda Goldwingers.  It's your classic Florida tourist station. Here you can imagine some hapless tourist from the 50's driving up to fill up the old DeSoto. Inside you can purchase roadmaps, assorted Floridiana, and it even once had the cool machine that if you put in a dollar it would pour hot green plastic in a mold in the shape of a gator.  Now it is a gathering place where yuppie Harley riders mix in with Hell's Angels on the poker runs to the keys. Drop in the lost tourists, ATV riders, cyclists and you get a great feel for all the "outdoorsy" types you get in Miami-Dade County. On a side note: a friend noted that it has several unique octane blends that are recommended for European sports sedans which apparently are only found there. 

In "up and coming" MiMo district, aka Miami's Upper East Side there is the Europa Cafe.  Built from scratch the Europa Cafe is "at the curve" on Biscayne Blvd. Outside it's a gussied up Chevron, gas pumps and a great hand wash. Inside it's a chic and modern décor with plasma TVs, comfortable cowhide chairs and an area that can been closed off with a fabulous chain link curtain.  I have had several business meetings there. It comes across more as a first class lounge than a gas station.  The food is good and the coffee is strong. 


My next favorite station is the Art Deco station on Coral Way.  Not because it has a "surprise" on the inside. It's shows us that there was a time when things were built not just to be functional, but beautiful.  That something as mundane as a gas station could have flair and whimsy.  I know preservationists have battled hard to keep this gem from the wrecking ball, but honestly, isn't it worth it? 

Happy Summer Driving Folks! Add your own suggestions for Miami's coolest gas stations.

El Carajo International Tapas and Wines
2465 SW 17th Ave  Miami, FL 33145

Europa Car Wash and Cafe
6075 Biscayne Blvd. Miami, FL 33137

Dade Corners Travel Center,
 17696 SW Eighth St. (corner of Krome Avenue andTamiami Trail).

Southland Super Service Station
1700 Coral Way, Miami, FL