Sunday, Aug. 05, 2018 - 12:26 pm.
I went to Brighton yesterday, and maybe because the trip was such a joy, I don't feel exhausted like I usually do after an intensive day trip. I think I'm mentally still at the beach with Anna, with cool water at my toes and a couple of gay boys sunbathing nearby.
The trip was bookended with annoying entitled white dudebros, though. The first one appeared as early as 5:20 am, calling me "Stacey" and "Sharon", and opening his arms for a hug. I said "nope, sorry" politely and he left me alone. Then I cringed when I noticed he and one of his mates, and no-bo-dy-else went on the same coach as me. They both sat in First Class, I was in a standard seat. They left a few minutes later as the Stacey Sharon guy talked to me again, warning me that First Class was rubbish and there was no need to pay extra for that. Then they both left, thankfully.
I had a peaceful trip until London. The London-Brighton leg was filled with people attending Pride, like myself, in the latter city. The sun hit me on my face all the way there, and the crowd was loud. I had my bi pride flag and I used it as a pillow and to protect me from the sun. It was also a good thing I put on sunblock before leaving home, it did wonders, as I realize this morning. Anyways, this train was packed and the Brighton train station was rainbow madness.
There at the train station I met Anna, after years and years (neither of us can pinpoint how many) of knowing each other online. It felt like meeting with a long-time friend and I felt at home with her right away. So off we headed for breakfast, while I got excited by the sight of the sea, and by how it seemed that I had hit Gay Town (yes, I'm bi and I resent having gay used as a synonym for LGBT+, but I'm just being poetic here. Plus, it does sound nice. And gay).
After breakfast, we walked around a bit and went to see the Pride parade. Just for a while, because the parade was too long and the sun was burning the Earth. Then we walked along the shore, stopping for a cool drink and ice cream. I was so excited by the sea, yet overwhelmed by the sun and parties going on everywhere. But then Anna and I reached the pier and had a restful moment, with nice conversations, breeze and a wonderful view of the coast. This is what I came for, and it did not disappoint.
Then we went for a swim. I was on my ever-convenient period, but I dipped my feet in the water and it was the most delicious, cooler seawater I've ever felt. Anna and I set up camp next to a couple of boys, one of whom looked like Bobby from Queer Eye. The tide was rising and we kept moving our stuff up on the shore, and my camera was ruined by an unexpectedly long wave. Andrew, enthusiast as he is with gadgets, says I've had that camera for too long anyway and has already found a replacement. And he saved the photos I took with it.
(A few months ago, I made a drawing of one my Simeon cartoon characters reading at the beach, sitting on a towel with the bisexual flag colors. I love how many nice things that I draw or write about end up in my life; I had my bi flag out at the beach)
By then it was lunch time, and we went back into the city. Everywhere you looked was gay, gay, gay. I was really enjoying all the colorful people, but as we went through crowds I got the feeling many were just cis-straight people taking advantage of the spectacle. I know Pride is for everyone, but it reminded me of this study (from 2009, I think it was in New Zealand) that showed that Pride doesn't advance acceptance towards LGBT issues, and instead it's an instance of "suspended prejudice" and mixed fascination for most people. Lots of cishet people take a lot from this event and give nothing in return.
Anyway! Anna and I had a tasty vegan lunch and walked around some more, with Ziggy Stardust making his way into our conversations and the background. Then we decided we'd had enough of Pride partying and sought refuge in the library to cool down, until it was time for our trains back home.
We said goodbye in the same spot where we'd met, although the surroundings had dramatically changed in 10 hours. I left with my heart full of joy and gratitude towards Anna for having me over, and determined to return once or twice before my time in the UK is up. When I started following Anna online, I didn't think we'd ever get to meet in person; she's as brilliant, smart, caring, and kicksass as one would imagine by reading her, and even more so. Funny how life works. I still can't quite believe it.
The trains home were a bit of a mess, but my mood was too good to be ruined, thankfully. The tickets I bought were messed up, because there was no train at 17:08 that reached or called at the destination stated in the ticket. Luckily by now I'm more familiar with the system, and I was able to board an earlier train, although I was standing up for most of the journey.
The London train back home was chaotic. Four dudebros were at the table that had my seat. The response of the one in my seat to my pointing that out was something like "I'm not having the best day". Asshole. But I'm stupid, so I said I could seat nearby if no one else claimed the place where I'd sit. Well, of course someone else claimed it, which I knew would happen because I CAN READ THE SIGN THAT SAYS THIS SEAT IS RESERVED, but at least the fucker accepted to go away after that, without aiming the drama at me.
I almost gave up my seat because I'm stupid, but also because I had no interest in sharing a table with three dudebros. I heard one ask "if this really her seat?", but unfortunately I'm no good at confrontations, and yes, it was my seat. They didn't bother me, but one of them was engaged with fighting with his girlfriend over text message, and their semantic field suggested they were not the kind to respect women as people.
I just read my book, and eventually put on my headphones and doodled a skull, which reflected my frustration over a train journey ruined. I was hoping I'd get some peaceful time, with music, my notebook and a coffee, to collect my thoughts after a beautiful day. Instead I got a burping bro, who also put his foot on the seat next to me when his mate got up.
I have to repeat that they didn't bother me, only because I'm relieved about that. Afterwards, I could think of many ways I could have reacted differently to the jerk on my seat, beginning by removing "sorry" from my vocabulary, but maybe not reacting on time saved me some trouble. It sucks to have this as a consolation, but also, there seemed to be no train staff around (no one even checked the tickets) in case anything had happened.
When I got to the city, there was a long line to catch a cab, and no cabs. Another group of brodudes, who looked like how the ones from the train will look in 30 years, were growing restless behind me, and seemed ready to steal the next cab that came along. They yelled very rude things at an obese man who took a cab first BECAUSE HE WAS IN LINE FIRST. They insulted a guy who was before me because how one dares to use "one cab for one person".
I was ready to throw a kick if the one who was the leader jumped in front of me to take my cab. Instead, he touched my side, ugh, I felt his fingers brushing against the side of my stomach, and asked me something I did not understand, but I looked down on him (I was slightly taller than him and I tried to emphasize that), said "YES" in a deep voice, and hopped on quickly.
Again, I can think of many ways in which I could have responded to those assholes, and ways in which things could have gone wrong with them. But let's not think of that, OK? Fucking entitled white males, they are trash indeed. I was super happy after my day at Brighton, and I'm glad it left me in a solid mood, so at least when I got home I was still smiling and thinking of the good times I'd had, and mostly relieved I'd left all the dudebros behind.
Plus, thank heavens the person waiting for me at home was a man who is a decent human being.