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They called me Martha

Last night, I found myself at the Baltimore Gay Pride street party. It was after a long day indoors at Baltimore Barcamp and a nice after-party at Brewer’s Art. My long-time friend and I, dressed alike, as we often find ourselves in some mysterious sort of way, were headed out of Baltimore and back to the ‘burbs on a Saturday evening when we saw the street party.

“Hey, let’s stop by. They’ve got a DJ and some dancing. Let’s check it out,” I said. Adventurous and curious despite her suburban veneer, my friend said, “Yeah, let’s.”(Or something like that … I’m condensing for story-telling’s sake.)

baltimore gay pride street festival pic by spike55151We got a most-excellent, if not on-the-edge-of-illegal, parking spot and headed on over. It was great! Heavily Baltimore with its blue-collar roots and deep urban feel, yet a sweet, friendly, welcoming event all around. I’m sure my friend and I were causing our own degree of curiosity, with our matchy-matchy outfits, our big suburban handbags and our “They sure don’t look gay” vibe.

Several hours later, as we starting heading back to my car, a guy asked me, “Hey, are you going to dance in the street at the red light? Lots of people run out and dance before the stopped cars.”

Hah. Daughter of Eileen and Jim Newburn, dancers from the day they met til now, I said, “Sure,” and promptly headed out into the street as the light turned red.

I can’t say exactly what happened next. I only have my experience plus the story-telling of those who witnessed it, but apparently my appearance in the street caused a rapid and mass convergence, wherein in I was in the center of the group, dancing with a young woman who beelined her way to me. We danced, she and I, with a charged group dancing and shouting all around us.

As the light turned green and our insta-dance party broke up, I heard a lot of good-hearted laughter. And then I heard this: “She’s like Martha Stewart.” Then it echoed, and I kept hearing murmurs of “Martha.” Even “Hillary.”

There are times when I’m reminded of how suburban and middle-aged I am, and this was one of those moments. I like to think of myself how I feel–or at least want to feel: young, curious, a little cool/hip/chic. Alas, the Baltimore Gay Pride street dancers saw me in a different light, and They called me Martha.

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