Saturday night was the first night of Pesach (be sure to really annunciate that gargled /ch/ at the end of the word; if you want to say it in English, it's "Passover"). Given its first night priority, a Seder was in order. I was unable to find a Seder to attend, however. And by "unable to find," I mean that nobody sought me out and invited me. That was how it worked for tonight (night #2), so I figured if that didn't happen for the first night, it wasn't meant to be. Instead of going to a Seder, then, I stayed home and worked on the heaping pile of homework I've had before me, then went to what I had heard was a good rock 'n roll gay bar. Apparently, "rock 'n roll", to those people, means playing techno remixes of pop and dance songs. I heard a techno version of Pink's "Get the Party Started", for instance. Once I realized that that was the song I was hearing, I promptly made to pour my beer over my head then rush up to the DJ and yell "See what you made me do? This shit is killing me!"
It's not that I have an aversion to pop. I am gay, after all. I can do the pop and dance music, but dammit, it has to be done right. And really, Pink just does not go well with all the leather and studs. Get with it, people.
The highlight of the evening, aside from leaving that place behind, was what I saw on my way back to the car. The area was really quite homey and nice, so long as you're looking to graffiti up some buildings and then score some cocaine. I didn't score any coke, myself, but I did happen to witness someone else doing just that. It was all I could do to not burst out "Holy shit, I'm watching a drug deal go down at a bus stop!" as I walked past the people exchanging their goods. It was awesome.
But I digress. For this, the second night, I dragged my Jewish ass to a friend's house for the Seder. She'd invited me like two months ago, and since I'd agreed to it back then, my Jewishness made it impossible for me to back out at the last second. Even after finding out that I was to bring a bathrobe to the event, and also to wear a turban throughout the Seder. Apparently, my friend's dad ("He's really weird!", she warned me) likes to have everyone dress up so we can really feel like we're fleeing the desert for freedom. Wow.
My friend had given me very specific directions on how to get to her house. She didn't realize who she was trusting with said directions, however, and I still managed to get lost twice before actually finding the house. I would have gotten lost a third time, as I was straining to find the house numbers listed on the street in this most Jewish of neighborhoods (one house had a giant menorah in the front yard). While scanning, I noticed one house had a sign that read "FROM SLAVERY TO FREEDOM" posted on the wall, and thus I knew I was in the right place.
I conveniently forgot my bathrobe, and was relieved that none was offered for me to wear. I did get offered a turban (a pillowcase held in place by a stretchy headband), though, and being a good sport, I caved and put the thing on. But not before first rooting through the large cardboard box and finding the one pillowcase that best complemented my attire (read: didn't make me break any of the china because it clashed so much).
The ceremony was held on the back porch, which had a tarp/tent to enclose the area. Spanning the two sliding glass doors was a timeline, covering Jewish history in its abridged entirety. Also included on the timeline were various and sundry other important historical events. Turns out my friend's dad is quite the historian. Throughout the Seder, he lectured us on history and brought to life many aspects of the Pesach story, and the story Jewish history tells. Despite the many oddities before me, I found myself captivated.
Throughout the evening, I sat next to a fabulous Jewish grandmother who, with every glass of wine, got progressively more motherly. So much so, in fact, that when she learned (I'm not sure how; I was enjoying the wine very much as well) that I was living with a non-Jew, and at that a female and unmarried one, she suggested I immediately get in touch with the American Jewish University and see if I could find housing through them.
And of course, it wouldn't be a Jewish event if someone didn't ask the obligatory questions about getting married and having kids. Never mind that tattoo of mine, which instantly appeared on my forehead the second I came out. You know, the one that says "I'M GAY" in cursive rainbow letters. To dodge the question, I snatched up my glass of wine and gulped down the remaining three-fourths of it. Damn, that wine was good.
The whole affair was so Jewish, I can't even say. Announcing a 5pm start time but not actually beginning until 6:30. Everyone carrying on and chattering away, starting out the Seder properly and then being so worn out toward the end that the latter parts were totally rushed through or else skipped entirely. Siblings squabbling over who would do what, and older ones demanding that the younger ones get their butts to the front and sing the damned song already. And all the while I sat there, totally enjoying myself (and laughing uncontrollably at all the shit going on) because for once I was not a part of the all the family drama. And oh, how nice a feeling that was.