It’s just after 10:00 a.m. and I just got done with the hardest part of my day – the three hour, kick-ass workouts I’m doing all winter to train for the Vancouver Marathon in May. As I stand in the transit center in downtown Duluth, Minnesota; waiting for the #6 Mainline bus going east, I look at my sweaty iPod earbuds and decide against cranking my music until the bus shows up (if ever). It’s been a while since I’ve been entertained by downtown Duluth street theater, and believe it or not, it’s good. The #6 shows up, we all get on, and I head for the least dirty, least smelly place towards the back. I’m greeted by two lovely gents who are carrying on about their ten year stint at Oak Park Heights prison, while I look out the window. I hear stories of despair, of violence, and then stories of local women that these two seem to have no problem describing, in disgusting graphic detail, what they are ‘into’ and what (un) likely happened with these girls. Five minutes later, I notice these two are coming up to their stop on 12th Ave E & Superior; near a telemarketing place thats known for hiring recently released prisoners. Good for them. At least these guys are trying.
In Duluth, generally, the further east you go, the more ‘90210’ it gets. So as we coast eastward along Superior St I’m guessing we are in for a quiet ride on this DTA bus. Guess again. A young black kid with the most ghetto fabulous, sparkling white North Face ski jacket that I’ve ever seen hops on. I’m jealous. He’s talking a mile a minute on his cell phone to (I’m assuming) someone who cares enough about his sexual encounters with girls whose names he can’t remember, but hey, he’s homeless, she had a place, they both wanted to get laid and I suppose that’s what passes for flirting/romance/foreplay in this heterosexual interracial wasteland. This kid is full of shit and obviously puffing his feathers so everyone can hear how this ‘motherfucking white bitch’ whupped his ass and even sunk her teeth into his chest bad enough that I could see he had gauze taped all over his chest. Why wasn’t he heading downtown to urgent care to get this looked at? I make a lot of assumptions on the bus…some wrong, but there’s a definite unspoken code especially this far north that some people come to Duluth the same way people escaped to Canada or Alaska: they’re running from something bad, they’re not giving their real name to nobody, which means any medical problem or crime against them can’t get reported. They’ll just have to live with it…that’s the price of this temporary freedom…risks of sickness, violence, and homelessness. So this kid goes on and on about ‘this white bitch’ who, by description, I’m guessing is about 15 (this kid is 25 at least). I glance to my left at the 70-something woman who has a look on her face that’s just beyond description. We make eye contact like we were both witnesses to some bad comedy act.
Finally the bus hits my ‘hood on Woodland Avenue, and I’m getting off…the bus. You know, I’m young, I’m cute, dare say I’m a catch, yet being gay here is very liberating…I feel like a unicorn. There might be a variety of races and classes here, but gays do not live here. You don’t have dates. You definitely never get laid. The closest it gets is time spent bitching about how much Minnesota sucks on gay.com. But if I don’t get a sex life, well, hell…at least all I have to do is hop on any Duluth Transit Authority bus and hear how the other 96% (aka straight society) lives. Can I just say this? I feel bad for straight girls and I hope you’re educating your guys. They don’t appear to understand the basics (wearing a clean pair of underwear twice a week, brushing teeth, wondering how many girls they’ve knocked up rather than knowing)…
Cue in Alice Deejay’s ‘Better off Alone’…!
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