The Trip (a.k.a., Naoyuki & Richard visit Atlanta)

It was great, although it was marred by a migraine, which happens entirely too often when I travel.

In this particular case it was probably the result of eating MSG-laden hibachi beef at the Japanese restaurant on the southside of  Ann Arbor, the one to which we took Naoyuki's friend Scott, who'd agreed (hooray, hooray!) to watch Saki for me while we were gone.

I awoke at 6 a.m. with the beginnings of one. Two Imitrex got me to the airport in Flint and thence to Atlanta but by the time Eden picked us up at Hartsfield and we made it to Janet's the waves of nausea were beginning to roll in. A third Imitrex and an anti-nausea pill kept the worst at bay but I had to send Naoyuki and Keith, our host, off with the kids to Athens Pizza House for dinner without me. It finally dissipated around midnight and by Sunday morning I was feeling fine and dandy. Even so, I've decided to make a new travel resolution, i.e., nothing but ice cream the night before a trip! Ice cream is the one food that's never given me a migraine!

Sunday Naoyuki and I went to the Original Pancake House  (so gay, so gay!) on LaVista while Janet and the kids went to Sunday school at church. We caught up with them and Eden around 12, then went to the AMC 16 at North DeKalb Mall  to watch The Matrix Reloaded. Of course we'd just seen it the week before in Ann Arbor and even though I liked it I like Sunday afternoon naps better! When I figured out that no one was sitting to the right of me I lifted the seat arms and stretched out. I wasn't really planning to fall asleep but it happened anyway, resulting in the inevitable sonic vibrations. Every time I started up Emily reached over and whapped me on the cheek, which she seemed -- from my point of view! --  to take undue pleasure in.

That evening we had a pizza / ice cream party for various and sundry at Janet's house. It's just so much easier than trying to get everyone to a restaurant, not to mention cheaper and virtually no hassle for Janet, so it's a pretty good arrangement. In addition to Janet, the kids, Naoyuki and myself the attendees included Keith, our host; Eden, who came to my rescue when Jeremy passed away; Phil, who came to my rescue when I needed to fix up the house in Houston after it had been wrecked by the psycho con artist; Jeremy's college friend Manj and Rich and Cam and R and C's little boy, Mikey, who'd just turned 3 y.o.; and three of Emily's friends from Shamrock Middle School.

"My friends all want to meet you, Daddy!" Emily told me before I arrived, which prompted me to ask just what the heck she was telling 'em! "You've either told I'm cool, which they will find out is definitely NOT the case, or that I'm a freak, which is a bit nerve-wracking. Which is it?" She confessed that it was a little of both. They were quite delightful, regardless. I think they share with Emily a nonconformist streak;  under the circumstances I guess I could see how having a gaydad might be a status symbol!

David's friends, on the other hand, lordy gumdrops -- what a bunch of uptight 16 y.o.'s! About five of them showed up ("David's posse," we instantly dubbed them) so that Janet, who has the largest and most retrograde of land yachts (a 98 or thereabouts Buick Roadmaster stationwagon, fake woodsiding and the whole nine yards), could take them up to Marietta to go to this club, Cowboys, which has family nights ("no alcohol") on Sundays. The next day David said, a bit sheepishly, "Yeah, they're pretty homophobic alright," and added that he could never quite figure out why since they're all otherwise rebelling in some degree against their conservative Christian upbringing. Whatcha gonna do?

That night Naoyuki and I joined Eden at the Heretic, the best of all posssible gay bars, where we ran into another friend, the ever so delicious Robert. Lots of eye candy! Nothing like wall-to-wall shirtless, hunky gay guys on the night before a federal holiday, yum yum yum!

Monday we didn't have time for anything other than a wonderful lunch at Cowtippers, our most favoritest, specialest, oh-so-gay steakhouse in Midtown Atlanta. Then it was time to drop Phil and Keith home, run the kids by Janet's, head up to Roswell to give back the Xterra to Eden, and then have him drop us by the North Springs MARTA station for the trek back to Hartsfield.

Airport security was really a lot more efficient than I expected, especially considering the Code Orange status. When we arrived Saturday it took us a minute or two to realize that all people literally running down the C Concourse had probably got hung up in security checks. Eden pointed out that they'd been doing car checks, too, hence the decision to take MARTA Monday afternoon.

All in all, quite a good trip, especially since everyone seemed to appreciate Naoyuki and vice versa. Except for David and Emily I'm not actually physically related to any of them but Eden, Keith, Phil, Manj, Rich, Cam, Mikey and many others who call Atlanta home are "family" to me more so than my siblings et al. I had to explain to a straight friend recently what "intentional family" is all about but if he'd been at the pizza party Sunday night I don't think any explanations would have been necessary.

RPJ

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