Friday, February 22, 2008


The cartoon is courtesy of the blog you can reach by clicking on it and recommended by my dear friend Dodge who complains that I do not mention her enough in here. So I will take this moment to say that I desperately want a DVD of the biggest versions of all the fabulous pictures of our shared, lost youth that she has recently been scanning and uploading to Flickr. How about a cool dinner on me in exchange next time I am in Vancouver or you are here ... been a long time since you've been in fabulous San Francisco. And in that vein, to contextualize a few of those shots that I have brazenly appropriated ...

Dodge and I met at the Vancouver Vocational Institute (VVI) on Pender Street in Vancouver in 1975 when we both took a two-year course in printing technology. She got a job straight out of the program and has held it ever since ... the classic indispensable employee who basically owns the place. We discovered in each not only kindred spirits, but also, and more practically, inveterate indefatigable walkers. We used to perform a stunt called formation walking in which we walked as quickly as we could always abreast through the crowded underground Granville Mall while gandying about at lunchtime from VVI. We still have walks whenever we see each other ... either a long ramble through Stanley Park or particular "stations of the cross" type walk in North Beach. We missed each other last time I was in Vancouver.

Dodge also taught me photography ... she sold me my first Pentax SLR (which a long while later Gary accidentally left on our doorstep on Market Street in San Francisco from which it quickly disappeared into the ether.) Those were the days, kids, when cameras had film in them ... and film was expensive and time-consuming (we developed and printed our own B&Ws) ... so we had to be careful about shots. We shot each other a lot, and there are not a lot of photos of us together, so I guess this one will have to do. Gawd noze what foolishness led to this pose ... not even sure where this was taken.

We ended up living across the hall from each other in the still fabulous Banffshire on Jervis near the waterfront in Vancouver. We had what I would call a famous friendship ... not famous in the sense of Hollywood but in the sense of brilliant, celebrated, grand, peerless, splendid. I was a politically involuted (by which I refer to Clifford Geertz's notion of Javanese agriculatural involution as an intensifying of agriculture such that the continual addition of new mouths did not reduce per capita productivity ... the left was like that ... plenty of churn, faces added and subtracted, but the output remained the same both, paradoxically both per capita and in toto ... this is an idiotic digression born of my current reading of Roy Sorenson's A Brief History of the Paradox) so, back to it, I was a politically involuted gay activist and Dodge was a decidedly liberal non-politico. So our friendship was always a romp, an escape from the world-weary enthusiasms of the movement, and a space for being and reflecting and learning and loving.

I nicknamed her Dodge ... not sure why, but there was an car dealership called Plimley Dodge, and I started calling her Plimley and that eventually morphed into Dodge. She drove a small white truck (back in the days when small trucks were actually small), and I used to claim that you could actually count the putt-putts that it made as Dodge drove it ... we used to watch from the window of our apartment in the Banffshire as she drove up the alley ... and you could have a cup of coffee in the time it took her to drive a block. Not in a hurry behind the wheel, for damned sure.

Still not sure why I came up with the Plimley and Dodge nicknames, but they stuck. Leastwise the Dodge one did ... I used to string it out a little ... Dodge truck and wheel, Dodge duck and deal, and what not. No real meaning there either ... I just like doggerel and like applying it to friends.

Dodge and I were together through every great moment in our lives during those years, including the one pictured below when my parents and assorted siblings arrived one winter. This photo is my Dad, my lover of the time Gary, and Dodge crammed into the nether end of our tiny railway-shaped kitchen.

We had great trips too ... to Seattle a few times and to Victoria. Never made is to Saskatchewan whence Dodge originated ... she was a horsey person in her youth, and explained everything that I presently know about horses to me ... I think of you, Dodge, sometimes in the morning when the train stops at Hillside station which is right beside Bay Meadows race track, and the trainers are out giving the horses their daily dose of air and running and life as a horse should live.

But mostly we just walked and talked and talked and walked ... and entertained and sat around and talked. We had a great party one New Year's that actually had some undercover cop scope it out ... I recently stumbled across the leaflet we produced for that, and it is a real period piece. I'll try to scan it and upload it here at some point.

I used to joke that Dodge was the only person who bought tomatoes by the slice ... always frugal and never one to waste anything ... other than time spent wandering and wondering.

Vancouver and Dodge were my 20s ... funny how blurry-eyed we get thinking about the heroic periods of our lives ... and that is mostly our 20s. And anyone who mowed through Blogging Vancouver knows just how blurry-eyed one can get.

I miss you, Dodge. We gotta see each other more often. Photo below of two most beautiful people, Gary and Dodge.

Photos by Dodge or by someone else with Dodge's camera.

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