Smiling Like Mandela

December 6, 2013

This eve….I bundled up…in Southern California’s frigid 50 degree weather….. and ambled up to LaLa’s…..

the Friday evening mad dash was beginning ……of people trying to get home to put their feet up on the recliner…shoppers were bustling in both directions with their shopping bags….

I must say the more that I experience Gentrified areas…like West Hollywood and even Hollywood…I do love the “Melrose Village” area that I live in …as it is still a “poor” area of Tattoo Parlors…(the one up the street was having some biker meeting….about 20 choppers with their owners in front on the sidewalk …..smoking and drinking out of brown bags…displaying their tats in this cold weather…as I toddled past)

…..on this street of only two storied buildings …. you will find sex shops, a Subway shop, Antonio’s Mexican restaurant that I went to in the 70’s…., a lot of women and men’s shops – merchandise most likely made in China – no brand names that you would find in a posher area…..massage parlors, and the old “Groundlings Theatre” ( a comedy workshop and show business)…..that has been here forever….

which makes me think of radio BBC4 that I was listening to at the gym today…which was all about wonderful Mandela….

just to look at a picture of that man makes me smile…

but they were talking to this “drag” guy ….who was Mandela’s favorite comedian…..whose name escapes me …but he said that he was so touched by Mandela’s friendship….

this guy was able to do a wonderful impression of Botha…(the Prime Minister of South Africa from 1978 to 1984) who was an outspoken opponent of Black majority rule….he was a total misguided asshole…….

this comedian was asked by the BBC – what did he remember Most about Mandela – he said…”Ohh …his humor…..as with humor you are able to disarm your opponent….even though you are really cursing them…..which they do not realize as they are so taken back by your smile”

(Michelle Bell knows the talent that Mandela had…she can tell someone to Fuck Off with a smile and a laugh…and they seriously think she loves them)…

he went on to say that he does not consider himself a “comedian” but a “humorist”…as after you have attained a certain age…there IS a difference that you have learned from Life…..

he told Mandela…well Look at you NOW…according to Botha you were “our Osama Bin Laden” ….

and THEN you became the most Popular President in the World…

he said Mandela would howl with laughter

at Lala’s it was COLD…but I still asked to sit out on the patio….where only one other couple was seated… I got Dan…this skinny gay white boy……who I have only had twice or maybe three times before…as I usually get this beefy straight wonderful 37ish Argentinian…think his name is Tony….he loves the beach…..

(and the only reason I mention being gay or straight is that gays, like Black people/people of color,…have a bond with their own kind…..you have to be us to understand…..it has to do with being DISCRIMINATED against….

which makes me remember being with Mother at a cafe out on the sidewalk in London…she pointed out an attractive couple a few tables over…and I said yes they are attractive…but he is Gay….she said HOW do you know…I said it is just something gay people know…..then she asked me to point out more…which I did…

she was “Flabbergasted” ….years later I found out it was known as “Gaydar”

anyway back to Dan…he served me…I asked him how long he had worked at Lala’s…he said about 4 years….(he looks like he is in his 20’s)….

he said when I was younger….we use to come over the hill to here…and they WOULD serve us Sangria..(and he smiled and said we were underage)……..this was back in his college days…..

I was reading an article that Frank Rich (of the NY Times) wrote in this weeks New York mag…”The Sondheim Puzzle” about Stephen Sondheim…..he says his “work has touched me for more than half a century…”…since he listened to his records as a child….”when I didn’t know his name or much else”….but his records are one of “the few constants” in Rich’s life……

Rich is straight…Sondheim is Gay….they both are Jewish – Rich born in 1949 – Sondheim in 1930…..

the thing that got me was Sondheim’s childhood…he was born to well to do parents…according to Wikipedia his father “a distant figure, abandoned him and his mother” when he was 10..he had no brothers or sisters….

he “hated his mother..’When my father left her, she substituted me for him. And she used me the way she used him, to come on to berate, and beat me up on, you see. What she did for five years was treat me like dirt, but come on to me at the same time’……..at one point, she wrote him a letter saying that the ‘only regret ever she had was giving birth to him.’….when she died in the spring of 92 he did not attend her funeral”…..

(sigh)

so I asked Dan…when did his parents divorce…he said…I think when I was 2 months old……which I guess I gasped at…from his facial expression ……he lived with his mother for like the first 14 years…then moved in with his Dad….

I asked him if he had a boyfriend…(something I NEVER have asked ANYONE before…as one usually asks if one has a partner)….

he said Yes…we have been quite happy for 4 years….. which brought a smile to my lips…..

I walked down Melrose in the wind…thinking this will all be gone in 10 years to Gentrification ……… through the bikers – (their group had become larger…more TATS….(and why are all bikers I see in their late 30’s and older))……

past the 2.8 million dollar house that was built and sold 6 months ago on my street …..

up to mine…

and across the street from me is this sign that has ALWAYS bothered me…it is a For Sale sign…but it is Catywampus…I have been wanting to go over FOREVER to aright it .like one would a painting on your wall………..as it seemed to be held on the post by a string that ran through it below its post……

well I went to aright it …only to find out it was padlocked in place with those plastic ties people use for computers or handcuffing people….

I was TOTALLY amazed…it HAD to be a straight man…..as no woman or Gay guy would put up a sign that way…

I sighed…smiled like Mandela…and ambled on……………….

One Response to “Smiling Like Mandela”

  1. Richard Steele said

    Super storyAGAIN Sorry you missed the party in COLD Palm Springs last night, had a good time and missed you. R&R

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