Earle Ratcliffe

May 1998

After a month hiatus, I'm back. Hi. Lots happened, so let's get right to it.

I turned 20 in March. This was a huge personal milestone for me because I never thought I'd actually live to be 20. Suicide was always considered an option (although I never made the attempt), and try as I might, I couldn't see myself as being...happy enough to want to live. If only I could go back in time and give that scared, sad teenager a big hug.

(Nasty thoughts come to mind. Images of an anatomically impossible phrase we often use to tell people off appear on my mind's eye. All of a sudden, it makes sense... )

I joined the Community Choir, Vox Polaris. THAT was a big event for me. We have a saying: "Don't sing, unless it feels like you'll die if you don't". That rings so true for me. We had a week off, with the Easter Weekend (our rehearsals are Mondays), and when we finally got back today, it was like getting a fix. I'm addicted to singing. Go figure.

(Weird little thing happened during the typing of that last phrase. A little typo in the word "singing" made it into a rather funny statement. Use your imagination.)

I also joined the Youth Vocal Jazz Ensemble, called "Power Core". Haven't rehearsed with them yet, but will by the time this gets read. We're going to Vancouver for the Nationals (Vox Polaris was also invited, but we can't afford to go). That'll be fun. My second time in Vancouver, and my first in a city of more than 20,000 people since about a year and a half. The bus ride down is going to be hell. The director of the Power Core (and Vox Polaris, for that matter), is also the director of the children's choir, and they're coming too. Imagine, 17 hours on a bus with 40 6-13 year olds! At least a couple of the Power Core guys are cute...

Remember "Bobby", the guy who I wrote about in my first article? Well, he wrote me from Ottawa a while back. I told him about my columns at Oasis, and he read them. He quickly figured out who I meant by "Bobby" (I said something like "Bobby was a 10!"). Needless to say, I'm very glad he's on the other side of the country!

I was worried about "In & Out" coming to video (I work at a video store, remember?). I had a rather maddening encounter with a "lady" (and I use the term only in it's broadest sense), who wouldn't let her daughters rent "Philadelphia" because it was about "Homosexuals" (mentioned only in a harsh whisper). I had figured that "In &Out" would have caused a stink in this homophobic little town. Guess again. It's a hot renter, with everybody, even the potbellied rednecks (I think that this must be their spawning ground, there's so damn many of them). My worries were unfounded, I guess. Oh, and a very cute young thing was making eyes at me on two separate occasions... I almost asked him out, but was waylaid by an angry customer, who said I never gave him his videos. (I did, it was on camera, and the video miraculously returned about 10 minutes before he got there). What this caused was Mr. Tight-Buns to make his getaway (not that he won't be back....). And please, I don't mean anything offensive by the term "Tight-Buns". I'm not a shallow person. Which reminds me of a few favorite phrases of mine: "Way down deep, I'm a very shallow person" and "I guess you could say I'm sexist. I treat men like objects" (This one said by me to my straight male co-workers).

Work is pretty good. The chicks and I have a great time rating the guys that come in. We have a system to track them down in the store and bring them to attention to our other interested co-workers. Something like "Have you seen 'Air Force One'", meaning "look over at where that movie is on the wall". The standard replies are "I liked it" (yes, he's cute), "I didn't like it" (what, are you blind??) or "no I haven't seen it (who are you talking about). This is amusing, especially when the straight guys, who don't have a clue, get in on the conversation (yeah, that was a great movie, I liked the part where...).

I also started a lesbigay group at the college. Only one answer so far, a married, bisexual man in his 30's. Not my target audience, but it was nice to talk. Maybe next school year, I'll have more time to go further with it (it's email only right now, possibly why it's not as successful as I'd like).

And that's my last two months (well, more happened, but I have an exam in 10 hours, I haven't studied, and I need sleep).

Love you all, write me at <eratcliffe@kermode.net>

I get lots of email every day, so I might be a while in responding. After exams are over (this Friday), I'll respond to everyone who wrote me (and some have been waiting for a while for a response!)


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