I didn’t come to D.C. thinking I would like it. I’ve already been twice—once in the Bangor High School Concert Band jacket, again in the “Sammy’s graduation” dress, and a third time, now, in a Franklin and Marshall t-shirt. I guess I just look skinny in the third.
I’ve enjoyed both my times in D.C., yet, by a certain point, I thought I’d think, “This stuff’s getting old.” But I guess not. It’s not every day in Bangor, Maine, or any day in Bangor, Maine, that you witness a drag queen pulling her black lace leg onto the shoulder of my father. And my father cringing in horror. No, that stuff never happens in Bangor, Maine.
We have a picture that, by this day and age of course, was texted to every single family member, even the ones we don’t talk to. Howard the Coward and Lacey the Grace.
It started yesterday. Before we even met the Queens, after two long bus rides from Bangor to Portland and Portland to Boston and a train to D.C., you could say that the days “dragged on.” Last night was Asian Fusion night with Cousin Jesse at a place called Perry’s about a block away from his grad school Johns Hopkins. I used to always call it John Hopkins. I guess you can understand why I never had the chutzpah to apply.
The following morning, we returned to Perry’s for the drag show brunch. It happens every Sunday, and the crowd goes wild. (Did I mention it was on Father’s Day?) It was my first ever drag show, so I didn’t know what to expect, except that you had to carry a lot of one’s to slip down their cleavage. Or their skirts. Or wherever they directed you. Point of story, it was entertaining and educational. Especially to equate my father with a staunch Conservative, the only man in the house who objected to a transvestite dragging his hand up to her boob. And of course my mom snapping a picture. And my cousin. And me clapping because my father was miserable. I think the final one performed “I Will Survive,” but it was really slow, so I’m not sure. I sometimes am quite adept at pinpointing songs that are played to a whisper in the background of restaurants. It was beautiful to hear her story about love and acceptance, and, I had trouble believing, about how her brother was the next performer…only he changed from a man to a woman as well? What? Two in one household? Whatever floats your boat I guess.
We talked quite a bit in AP English about photo essays. We read one by this famous soldier and author, of course, whose name I’ve forgotten. If this becomes a photo essay, Mom, can I please get that text of Dad with the shoulders and the lace and the heels and the leg? Much appreciated, Raechel’s Fan Club.
It was one of the best things I’ve ever seen, a thrilling exposé of how we’ve evolved as human beings. Then I remember, there was no sign outside the restaurant. There was no grand spank’n fluorescent light that blinked every two seconds declaring the invention of transvestites, or that they would dance around you and your kids and your eggs and your sausage and ask for at least a dollar. So maybe some people came in just expecting, I don’t know, food? Regardless, it was a positive experience and an educational one for the community. And I’ll stop getting corny right there. But on the bright side, no one, at least that I saw, outright left and declared it unconstitutional. It was something that I’m not going to forget. Not the scarring kind of thing you never forget. But the good kind.