Straight But Not Narrow

Spent yesterday down in Philadelphia, helping out my friend Robert Drake. In 1999, Drake was beaten nearly to death by a couple of queer-bashers in his apartment in Ireland, and has been slowly rehabbing since (he’s in a wheelchair now, and likely will be for the rest of his days). After the attack, his loved ones moved him back to Philadelphia, where he lived before moving to Sligo. Yesterday, I drove down from northern NJ to help move him into a new apartment. Turned out that most of the big move was done, with the furniture and TV getting moved on Thursday by Drake’s “chief operating officer,” Butch. The remaining job was moving 70-80 boxes of books to the home of Ed Hermance, owner of Giovanni’s Room, a queer bookstore on 12th & Pine in Philadelphia.

[For reference’s sake (and I know I’ll come off as vaguely homophobic here), I’m straight. I have a lot of queer friends, and one of the books Voyant has published is about as queer as it gets, but hey. Before he was attacked, Drake and I were walking to The Book Trader, and he mentioned that I fell into the “Straight, but not narrow” category. I was glad to find out this exists.]

After leaving Ed’s place, I met up with an old (girl)friend from grad school. We had tea at a little cafe (I quit drinking soda, particularly my greatest friend/deadliest nemesis, Cherry Coke, back in October), talked art and geopolitics, and probably riled some antiwar protestors at a nearby table. My pro-war stance and its rationale tend not to go over very well. My tea-companion, however, understood where I was coming from.

Many of my friends don’t. While my suburban coworkers tend to be much more in support of deposing Hussein, my friends tend to be against it. They tend to believe that it’s solely a blood-for-oil war. I understand where they’re coming from, and I don’t think it’s entirely wrong. Obviously, stabilizing the oil supply from that region would be a boon for America, Europe, and other industrialized countries. However, I’m not sure that these protestors are truly grasping the significance of 9.11 and the necessity of this pre-emptive military policy. I’ll write more about this later, when I’ve put it together more cogently.

PS: If you’re a charitable soul and want to help Drake out, make a tax-deductible contribution to the Robert Drake Health Fund, c/o Arch St. Meeting, 320 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA 19106, or call 215.629.0257.

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