Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Lazy Bear -part one
Last Wednesday morning my beloved Lando drove me to Guerneville for my first in a long long time -(like maybe 10 years) adult vacation. We were going to set up camp in The Outback Campground located just before you enter downtown Guerneville nestled in the trees behind a defunct and melancholy amusement park. (Everytime I looked at the broken rollercoaster and ferris wheel it always made me feel a little blue.) When we walked into the campground I felt like I had entered a fairytale looking little forest with winding dusty little trails woven through it and a cute little cabin and welcome station. Orlando had registered us sometime ago, but I still had to pony up my share which was $30 a night for five nights. We had originally thought it was simply $150.00 for the both of us but that wasn't the case. I did some quick mental restructuring of my budget and felt I could handle it. $300 for the both of us seemed a little pricy for a stinky porta-potty and two showers that roughly over 10 dozen men had to share but it WAS our six month anniversary as a couple so-stinky-porta-potty -and -waiting- in- line- in- the-shower-with-a-suspect-propane-tank, HERE I COME!
I have to say it really was beautiful with the sun shining down through the green leaves. And the men at the campsite...all big and burly bearded fellows with these shy, but amiable folksy smiles, were walking on the pathways and greeted Lando and I with a warm hello. Not a single one seemed stand offish and appeared to be here to relax and have a good time. That would be the essence of Lazy Bear I guess. Of course there were the guys that had waited allllll year for Lazy Bear. These men lived in relatively rural parts of Northern California and didn't get the 'ahem' opportunities we citified gents from SF and Sacramento when it came to discreet anonymous encounters. They were about to unleash themselves from torturous cases of blue balls. These men all had a hungry glint in their eye and whenever they looked up and saw my impossibly handsome husbear I would quickly grab his hand or give him a kiss letting them know that...well... that it would be polite if they asked me first. That's all I'm sayin...
These rather happy hippies were the owners of the Out Back and they were a mixed lot. The females gave off a cheery mother earth quality with their untamed breasts and boisterous whiskey soaked voices. The men employed there looked like they ranged from sexy fresh-from-prison reprobates to those homicidal hill billies that cook up careless white families who's cars break down and the Mom and Dad end up as sausage meat while the brother gets flayed alive and hung up to dry but the beautiful blonde daughter escapes to tell the tale....sorry I digress. So the latter type of guy showed Lando and I the camping spot options available to us. He was quiet and made me a little nervous when I saw these long sharp claws he had for nails. However - it turned out he was just a little shy..he had a sweet little smile when you looked directly at him and thanked him. I got the impression that he didn't get many people actually saying "Thank you" or "I appreciate it" -both of which Orlando and I had said to him.
Then I mixed drinks while Lando set up the tent. Hey! Don't give me that look. I did some hauling and toting too and I told him where to put everything. After it was all up -we snuggled inside the tent and listened to the other campers busily setting up their own temporary homes and the wind rustled the leaves outside. Peaceful really....and then "YEE HAW!" reverberated through the campground and I jumped a little in Lando's arms. I looked bewildered. He chuckled, "Good thing you packed your earplugs, you're gonna need them. " Apparently the Bears were in heat. The men who bellowed out a YEE HAW like a champion rodeo king is named Hank Williams. I kid you not! At least that's what he told us his name was-but more on Hank later-The camp was largely made up of other volunteers for the event. Lazy Bear is a massive group effort. Its far more than just a bunch of furry men drinking, screwing, and dancing ...well I'd like to think it is anyway. A gentleman by the name of Harry Lit AKA Castrobear is the King of this party. The entire town of Guerneville becomes a FUNdraising party with a chunk of the proceeds going to HIV research and other AIDS related groups. That's really what Bears do -according to Harry-is raise money for those in need of it. Let me tell you -with Bear Tags (like a dog tag) going at $125 a pop and roughly 6000 men descending on one town to go to all these events, there was a whole lotta FUNds generated. I began to slowly meet the movers and the shakers of the Bear world-particularly the Sacramento group. -Orlando and I were volunteering two days of manning the registration booth to earn our Bear tags.( These tags would allow us to attend all the pool parties and give us discounts.) It was Orlando's idea to do registration. He felt it was a great way for The Bay Area Cub 2010 (C'est Moi) to meet who I could corral into MY cause -which is saving struggling non-profit theaters. Network Network Network.
Hank Williams (remember? Yee haw?) has NEVER missed a single Lazy Bear. He wears his Beartags from 14 years with pride. He'll smile at you with a wide toothy tobacco plug stained grin and tell you about how he almost didn't make it last year. His eyes all glassy from the cocktails, he sat down and shared with Lando and I his tale. He has a cane now. Last year he couldn't even get out the slightest "Yee haw" but he was here none-the-less. He lugged around an Oxygen tank through the streets and campgrounds of Guerneville. Some quack of a Doctor nearly killed him with steroids which he says left him with one and quarter of his lung. Lando and I told him that it was remarkable indeed that he could get up to that sort of volume on One and a quarter lung. "Watch this." he barked. Then he nearly split our eardrums with the most piercing YEE HAAAAAAW! you ever heard. I could just see some testosterone loaded cowboy trying to break in a wild mustang as he bellowed it. Immediately from other parts of the camp we heard several other YEE HAWs in response. Yep Good thing I brought those earplugs. He tottered back to his campsite with his cane and we went off to the Triple R Resort pool party. First I had to mix a cocktail to go in our handy little canteens -afterall we had spend $150 to stay here. We had to cut costs somewhere!
To say that the men at the pool were hot would be an understatement..quite frankly-it made me want to drink more-and wonder how I could spend more time at the gym. With my pale pale bod Orlando was always careful to find a shady spot for me and a sunny spot for him. We had doused me with SPF 70 spray. It was an impermeable seal that would stay on me through water and sweat. First we tested the hot tub -and had it all to our selves surprisingly! It was very nice and away from the hubbub of the pool madness. We also had a nice view of the crowd. Orlando pointed out Harry Lit -the ringmaster of all things Lazy Bear. He was the large hairy man (surprised?) with a smile and a microphone, urging the pool siders to purchase cocktails and burgers inside. Orlando had met him at the volunteer party a month prior that I couldn't attend because I was performing that day. Lando had given Harry a ride to the train station and in the car ride had explained that I had just won the Bay Area Cub title. Harry didn't know what that was because it really wasn't part of his rather large Bear enterprise. "What's that? " he asked Orlando. I decided Harry should find out who the Bay Area Cub was. In an extremely rare moment of poor timing I introduced myself, " Hi Harry, I'm P.A. Cooley, Orlando's Boyfri-" Harry's hand went up to quickly dismiss me and so he could make another announcement in the mic about the week's festivities. Then he was surrounded by other people deciding that he should know who THEY were. I lifted my chin to hide my embarrassment and walked back to Orlando. " I was shot down."
Orlando assured me that since it was only Wednesday there would be plenty of other opportunities for me to meet Harry. Almost within minutes of him saying that Harry came up behind me. " I am sorry -that was rude of me. There's just so much information I have to get out there. How are you P.A. ? " We shook hands. " Hi Harry, I'm the Bay Area Cub you've never heard about" I tried to sound amused. He said, " Well we will have to do something about that. Don't worry babe, I'll promote you" Then he walked away as quickly as he had come. It dawned on me right then. What the hell about me was there to promote and dammit why didn't I have a mission statement all figured out? I was here to meet people just like Harry to help me...but how and with what specifically? I knew I wanted to form a performance group and I knew that we wanted to perform with all the proceeds going to support non profit theater but how would I present it to people like Harry. I looked over at Lando. "Why didn't I get business cards made before this trip?" I swallowed a drink from my canteen and we moseyed over to another resort called " The Woods" -a clothing optional resort. Orlando would be in heaven being the avowed nudist he is. Me? Not so much..but I enjoyed the view. Afterwards we went back to the tent and since it was his night to cook he made us turkey burgers that were very yummy and Most of all -filling because I was very hungry and then we did what two men do who are hopelessly in love with one another do and afterwards headed back to the Triple R for the Kick Off Party. I ran into a friend who I was delighted to see had made it back from a stint in the military. He was hosting a private cocktail party in his room with a small group at the resort. YAY free drinks! It was good to see him despite the fact that we had one of those acquaintance-type-friendships. I hoped he wouldn't go back in the near future. I also got to meet the adorable Mike Tufu. Mike is a big Samoan who could be the POSTER boy for all events Bear. He and Lando had become buddies when Mike used to live in Redding. Dozens of guys had crushes on him and I was just one more. Yes Virginia - you CAN have a crush on another guy and still be in love with someone else. I loved watching the male bonding taking place between Orlando and Mike. They both sink into this ebonic urban slang which is...well it's kinda hot...(those of you who know me would understand)
Then we wobbled over to the Rainbow Cattle Company which was hoppin! Grrrrs and Woofs were all around us. Another round of drinks was purchased and I had just a little trouble -as did Orlando -keeping my balance. We joked around a bit, but I couldn't finish my drink. We said goodnight to Mike Tufu and staggered through town back to our tents. WE had NO trouble sleeping that night. Which reminds me ...I need a drink -I'll tell you all about the misadventures of the rest of the week in future blogs. This might be a four parter! Btw -getting up at 3 in the morning to take a piss in a porta potty that's 20 yards away in the ice cold dark is NOT a viable option. It was Hella frigid out in them woods so ....don't eat the blackberries at The Outback Campsite -well don't eat the ones close to the ground that border the campground...