12 JUNE 24, 2005
www.houstonvoice.com HOUSTON VOICE
VJ-^WDOint RICH ARENSCHIELDT
I ^^ What to do when it's time for a new
ride and you've never been good with
k-/ * bikes, trikes and automobiles.
Parade passes by
I'VE ALWAYS HAD TROUBLE WITH
wheeled objects. I was a scrawny kid with
ADHD before it was trendy (sometimes in
math class I'd say "Oh look...a chicken!").
My body and brain only rarely operated
in synch ronicity. During my prepubes-
cent dork-dom I had a childhood hero, an
amazing high school guy named Reese,
the only person on the planet able to successfully teach me how to ride a bike.
In an effort to accustom me to locomotion, Dad unwisely purchased a "mini-
bike" for us. My lesbian sis shares Evil
Knievel's genetic code - she loved it. But I
was a victim of circumstance. The helmet
slipped over my eyes and I plowed into
our 15-year-old-German Shepherd whose
severe hip dysplasia was not substantially improved as a result.
Eventually I learned to drive, only to
incinerate our Chevy Vega while traveling through a very ritzy neighborhood.
As the car flamed, a Zsa Zsa Gabor clone
appeared curbside and asked, "Do you
think you could have this moved? I'm
having a cocktail party at five."
I called my father. "Dad, the car's smoldering like Chernobyl. Can you come get
me?" He asked, "Well, SON, how the hell
did that happen?" Snottily I replied,
"Well DAD, I purposely lit a match and
threw it in the gas tank."
In the background I heard Mom
screaming, "Oh my God, is he hurt? Is he
burned? What? You didn't ask him if he
was hurt?" Oh goodie, Dad is about to get
hammered by his insurance agent and
his wife. Bark, bark, I'm in the doghouse.
AUTOMOTIVE GAY LIBERATION
arrived in the form of a 1980 Datsun—a
crappy car that matched my first
Montrose apartment perfectly. My gang of
slutty, funny friends lived at the bars at a
time when gays used to actually speak to
each other (before the Internet). At the
club we would snag guys with pinpoint
accuracy "Wanna go outside?"
Upon seeing my decrepit car in the
parking lot I would then witness my
future ex-husbands "cute guy/crappy
car" mental debate. What would he do?
Usually we just sat in the car and "listened to music." This was a euphemism
for "I'd like to mess around, do you think
we can do this without getting arrested?"
Invariably he would light a cigarette. I
hated smoke but my genitals didn't possess any taste buds, so what did I care?
We would sometimes exchange numbers,
but mostly it was just fluid. I've learned
not to be embarrassed by this — I have a
friend who let somebody "listen to
music," and the guy slept in his car for
The clunker's days were numbered.
Driving down Pacific Street (having lost my
muffler three blocks earlier) these queens
yell, "Get a new car!" at me (in unison).
Two weeks passed and I decided to purchase a baby grand piano instead. Seventy-
two hours later the Datsun car suffered an
aneurysm of imperial proportions.
Grousing to my Mom, she" acidly said,
"Maybe you can park your piano in the
driveway and drive IT to work." This was
typical — one minute she was petrified
that I've been automotivlely cremated and
in the next breath she said, "Your lack of
forethought is entirely your own fault."
Desperate, I slunk into a Hyundai dealership and bought a car from a guy with
one wandering eyeball. Willfully ignoring
his peculiar ophthalmologic condition
exhausted me -1 wanted to leave but
couldn't. I figured even a guy with a peripatetic pupil needed to earn a living.
The "Can From Korea" turned out to be
worthy despite the fact that the window
handle fell off every time I made a left
hand turn. This was only problematic
once: I was stopped by a policeman and
reached under the seat to retrieve the handle. I arose looking down his revolver barrel. Who knew that when you pee yourself,
the cops let you off with a warning?
EVENTUALLY I GRADUATED TO MY
dream car, something that bespeaks gay
respectability, safety and utter boredom —
a clunky and unreliable Volvo. It's a great
car but Swedish designers know nothing
about air-conditioning. She had to go to the
gynecologist last week as the result of a
lack of blowing power (a first). When my
mechanic called with that "thanks for paying for my wife's latest boob job" tone in
his voice, he said, "you need a new (insert
most expensive replacement part here) and
it will cost you (insert MasterCard limit
here)." I knew it was time for new ride.
Since some people define gay middle age
as the point when you start reminiscing more
about your past than anticipating events in
your future, I've decided to buck the trend.
Now that I know all the pitfalls of "coming
out" automotively I'm going to do it again
focusing this time only on the fun parts.
Look for me, I'll be driving one of
those hilarious little square cars -the
ones that you expect to see a dozen
clowns pop out of at any moment, a
"Scion" of my former self.
m Rich Arenschieldt is a frequent contribu-
*? tor to the Voice and can be reached
through this publication.
How do you
tinue tc maintain
a sense of Pride
amid all the anti-
gay rhetoric being
voiced and th<r^
anti-gay legislation that has been
Vou cant possibly lose your
sense of Pride when you are
chairing the Pride Parade — it is
very empowering! But there is
always work outside of Pride to
Stay proud! It's my party, and if
they want to join they can.
Otherwise, they need to stay on
their side of fhe line. They had
just better not cross it'
JIMMY PHILLIPS, 50
Because 1 am who I am'
SHY ANNE, 38
Change is not an option for me. I
believe those with an opposite
opinion are wrong and truly are
in need of change. Put yourself
out there, believe in yourself,
and great things always happen.
NICK BRINES, 34
We're going to have a hell of a
JACK VALINSKI, 51
Minister of propaganda
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