Spontaneity is Just a Word by Shawn D.
This is an intro to a 20 year old piece. It was the first time I began to look at myself and my relationship with the gay community and drugs honestly. I believe we drink or do drugs in order to isolate or enhance feelings or emotions, and with speed in particular, our sexuality. But our bodies, emotions and sexuality are not single entities. And with drugs there is no such thing as an isolated effect in the body. I used speed to be what I thought was sexually viable in the gay community - quick, easy, accessible and ever-ready. However, what began as great fun, 20 years later left me feeling like the invisible man. I found that when I did connect with people on speed sexually, the only way to sustain it was with more speed. I'm not doing speed now, and I've never had much use for or been able to dance the twelve-step. I don't know what tomorrow will bring. I do know that at this point I am proud of me, and who I am, having survived 20 years of tweaking. Being insecure, timid, sexually unavailable and extremely vulnerable is real. So no matter what you think or feel when you see me and for those of you who think you knew or know me, I'm sure that I am now anything but the invisible man.
What follows first appeared in the Bay Area Reporter as a letter to the editor in 1977 - was that then, or is this now?
Maybe it was never that way. Just a victim of my visions. But I was here in this place. It seems not long ago, and it's true the times have changed. That was in the beginning. Before discos and dust joints, and one ridiculous store after another. There was a time of honesty and innocence on the street. There was spontaneity. In spite of our rejections from the mid-west, we were young and strong, and the wounds still healed themselves.
Sitting in the same place, a little older, forced into apathy, tunnel vision, magic comes now in bags measured in grams, hermetically sealed. I myself never wanted to see it all, to be so removed. Spontaneity is just a word. But I do and our lives revolved around Toad Hall and the Castro Cafe.
I miss our immature and not very butch spontaneity. I miss our pretending, if nothing else, that we were actually making love. The promises of phone calls, our fumbling in the dark, not sure who was going to wind up on top, when we made love without poppers and got off. San Francisco, the city of freedom, and us here, trapped in our several-city-block ghetto, our positions and desires in our back pockets, our feelings lay dormant or even dead. Speed, Quaaludes and booze masking our inability as human beings, and our humanness dying for the sake of being butch.
I hurt as I see the new refugees arrive in the city, families and friends left behind - the only visible common aspirations here are sex and money. We demand that they conform and not question our cynicism, our sexual war games, our violent homophobic acts of sex, men with men.
I will get over this bit of nostalgia, and head back up the street, being sure to play the game correctly. Same place, a few years older... Maybe it's better this way. No needs beyond our blatant sexuality. But I remember spontaneity, I remember when we were young and strong. When we were "getting high on us" in San Francisco, when we enjoyed getting high, and our conversations went beyond "What are you into?" A little older now, and it's true that times have changed and I have changed. Maybe I don't feel so much anymore. Spontaneity, after all, is just a word. But I remember those days of no speed, those times of magic, when I had freedom, even on Castro Street. And I made love without poppers and got off.
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