|Skyline over the Bay, 2012|
When I was a boy, I played a solitary game with a lacrosse ball and the two story wall in the back yard of one of the houses we lived in. I bounced the ball off the wall according to arcane rules, and received a fixed number of points if I caught it. most throws were for 3 points, and 7 such throws consecutively gained me 21 points for a victory. I had to score exactly 21, which is, as you know, 3 times 7. My favorite numbers from my earliest memories have always been 3, 7, and 21.
But if I missed or overplayed one of the catches, the next available winning score was 32. Not sure why, but those were the rules. And I'd have to do some dipsydoodle throw with a non-three score to get there.
I'm thinking about 32 because today, New Year's Day, is the 32nd anniversary of my moving from Vancouver to San Francisco. January 1, 1981. Long ago and far away. Little did I know that it was a turning point in many ways. Reagan was inaugurated a few weeks later. AIDS was in our midst even though we did not know. Vancouver was on the cusp of being completely rebuilt, and San Francisco was a little further away from having its countercultural soul ripped out of its chest by an avalanche of filthy lucre.
But none of that interfered with my beating heart as I climbed on the plane that day. I was in tears as I waved goodbye to best friends; we'd spent New Year's Eve in a waterworks of a party at my old place. I left behind my partner, Gary Bandiera, who would join me a few months later.
Boundaries in life are funny things. Even when you see them, as I did 32 years ago, it is hard to comprehend what the flavor of life will be on the other side. And it has been many flavors. I have been a gay activist here, a student through three degrees, a nurse to my numerous friends impacted by the plague, and now a higher education professional. A long 32 years.
And in this upcoming 33rd year, I will celebrate in my adopted home my 60th birthday. It is a long way from a boy throwing a ball against a wall and trying to avoid having to count to 32. I've counted to 32 a different way now, and can only hope that I can continue to count.
First blog post in over a year, but bound and determined that there be many more.
Photos by arod.