Monday, October 17, 2011

October 5, 1991

My friend Kevin recently introduced me to a blog called "A Geek's Journal 1976." The writer draws from his teenage journals and adds contemporary comments, and it's always funny to read about his Farrah Fawcett poster or his purchase of a Playboy magazine.

It got me thinking about my own journals. I've kept journals my whole life. Many of my childhood journals are either at home with my mom or with my brother. I lapsed during high school, and I destroyed some of my college journals, because I later found all the drama embarrassing. (Now I wish I still had them.) But I still have my journals from 1989 to about 2006, around the time I started this blog.

I decided to go back and see what I was doing 20 years ago. So I dug out my 1991 journal and found this. Special "decoder" footnotes follow.


Everything's going pretty well lately. Kevin and I are assembling our Guavaween costumes, which are going to be hilarious this year. We're going as waitresses, and I got these great waitress uniforms from Goodwill, some big plastic earrings, plastic beads, glasses, and we ordered name tags -- mine says "Irene." (We decided to keep our old woman names from last year.) This is going to be a trip. Oh, I got a wig of course, a really black one. I think it's actually supposed to be worn by a black woman, but oh well! All I need now are some support hose or something, and some menus, and a bunch of pencils to carry around with me. Hope nobody robs me for my tips! Actually, I am a little concerned about violence this time -- we'll see what happens -- but I think our costumes may invite trouble.

My Peace Corps recruiter has said I need more experience to volunteer. So I'm arranging to work at Tampa General Hospital to get health experience, and I'm going to get certified in CPR. She said that would show that I have an interest in health, and I could work with people on nutrition and sanitation. Sounds good to me -- I just want to go! I've arranged to attend a TGH volunteer orientation meeting Oct. 21, and I have to keep in touch with my recruiter every two weeks. Part of me still can't believe I'm doing this, but I have to do something. I have to take a risk if I'm ever going to grow beyond what I'm doing now.

Tonight I'm supposed to go to John & Sue's house for dinner. Arthur's coming too, and we're going to meet Michelle somewhere later on. It should be fun. Michelle just got back from Europe, so I'm sure she'll have all kinds of tales to relate about that trip. She called me two nights ago, and I asked her if she was in Liechtenstein or something -- that was the first time I'd heard from her in a year or so! I think she wants to meet us tonight at The Chatterbox, which will be interesting since Sue and I both hate that place. Oh well, it's a small concession to go there, since it's been months since I've seen Michelle. Arthur's no doubt going to be a complete putz, since he says he's broke. He'll probably drink water all night. He'll be in his martyr mode.

Last night I called JM and we went to a cool movie at Tampa Theater -- something about a little boy growing up in the south of France called "My Father's Glory." It was great! The scenery of the French countryside and Marseilles was beautiful.

Next weekend I'm going to Atlanta with Paul and Karl and a friend of theirs named Lucas. We're going to some huge flea market thing, though I'm going mainly just for the trip. I don't really plan to buy unless I see some immensely rare piece of Cathay! Which is unlikely!


Guavaween is Tampa's big Halloween parade and celebration. I went with Kevin -- the same Kevin who introduced me to "A Geek's Journal 1976" -- two years in a row, both times in terrible drag. The first year we were old women, and the second year, well -- you can see the evidence up top. It's interesting that I thought going in drag might put me in danger, which seems unlikely in retrospect.

This was while I was in the process of signing up for the Peace Corps. John, Sue and Michelle are all college friends, and Arthur was a coworker who'd become a close friend.

JM is my brother. The Tampa Theater is a cinema in downtown Tampa that at the time showed foreign and indie films and old revivals.

Paul and Karl are college friends who I often joined on flea-marketing trips. I didn't want to buy anything in Atlanta because I was trying to downsize in preparation for Peace Corps. Lucas, who accompanied us on that trip, died of AIDS in the mid-'90s.

At the time I collected a '60s china pattern called Cathay, which looked like this:

I eventually assembled a ridiculously large set -- service for 12, I think -- but in the late '90s I whittled it down and finally gave the remainder to a thrift store in New York in 2004 or so. Adios, Cathay.


Kevin Wood said...

And just so everyone knows, we all (there were two or three more who dressed up with us) were a huge hit at Guavaween. We really worked the crowd, taking orders and giving coffee refills. Fun times!

Steve Reed said...

Yeah, I think there were four of us, Kevin -- and the other two were women! If I remember right, John didn't go with us but he did draw our fantastic "Rhonda's" menus.

Linda Sue said...

HAHA Very entertaining post! LOVE the Cathay stuff!!! You so should have kept it!Very cool. Hope the pooches are OK.
Great photo of the cutest (?) waitress in town.

The Bug said...

You were a great looking waitress! I didn't know you were in the Peace Corps - where did you go? Or can I find all this information on your blog if I take five minutes to try? :)

Dave said...

All I have to say is, WOW!

Merle Sneed said...

Very cool post. I didn't realize you had resumed your blog...sweet!

Kevin Wood said...

Hey Steve, I just remembered the name of that cheap Walgreen's lipstick you're wearing: Harlem Nocturne.

Steve Reed said...

LOL! I remember "Harlem Nocturne"! We bought it at a Walgreen's in downtown St. Pete!

Catalyst said...

Yeah, a great looking Irene! Love the eyes!