Orlando, I Love You

I have just come back from getting LIFE!
Thank you, Orlando family, for being what I needed at this stage in the game. As I mentioned a bit ago, things with the Happy Hour Group were falling apart, and I really needed some love and fun and friendship from people I've known and loved for 5 years.
True, I did start drinking at 7pm on July 4 and didn't stop until I went to bed on July 13.
True, my body feels absolutely beat up from all the drinking and the heat and the smokey bars…
But every wince of pain reminds me that I had a fucking good time with my people in Otown.
I am constantly fulfilled by the people there - when I walk into the Bear Den at the Parliament House after an absence of 18 months, but Derick, the bartender, remembers me and remembers what I drink? Now that's a kind of love. When I see people singing on Pat's Bearaoke nights and they remember that they've met me before and gosh it's been a long time bud damn it's good to see you… that's a kind of love.
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When I get the chance to be the official event photographer for a huge benefit concert that the Parliament House is throwing to help the victims of the Pulse Massacre, that, too, is a kind of love. Pat's recommendation is trusted, people know that I'm a kind of "regular" I suppose, and I get the gig.
I got to spend the first 5 nights with Pat, going to Game Night, going to Bearaoke, going to dinner with Bryan and him, going on hunts for hot men together for me to photograph, going back to the Parliament House to photograph porn starts who have been hired for Friday night's gogo boy party.
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And then Pat and Bryan went off to Provincetown and Bear Week.
So I got to spend the second half of my vacation with Jay and his boyfriend Ryan. We did more drinking, we did more eating, we captured a merman, we talked random strangers and friends into taking their clothes off in bars for my photography challenge… I got to see Scott and meet his new fiance Michael over cocktails and ribs. We talked politics, we talked Pride, we talked forgiveness. We discussed things, things I haven't had a chance to really talk with anyone about here in San Diego because my friendships here are new, and one avoids things like politics, religion, and diet in polite company.
And then, after almost two weeks in Florida, the time came to head home. I had so much fun with old friends and so very much fun with this new photography challenge that I came home renewed, recharged, and ready for more fun here in San Diego.
After all, Pride Weekend starts in just two days!
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