In the Wild
How lucky I am, I was reflecting last night, to have friends who have friends who throw spectacular New Year's Eve parties.
This particular party was held in West Austin, near the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve. In fact, I'm not entirely certain it wasn't in the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve. It was certainly close enough as makes no difference. The couple who own the many acres of property have their own separate little houses at opposite ends of it, on the steep, rocky banks of a deep ravine. The houses are only maybe, oh, two hundred yards apart, but the topography of the area adds a lot. The wooded hills are traversed by hundreds of roughly hewn limestone steps. A creek runs through the middle.
Can you imagine a more perfect setting for lasting conjugal bliss? You'd have togetherness, but you'd also have privacy, and your own space, and you wouldn't have to launder anyone else's skivvies. Another excellent option would be to live in an ancient English manor house where you could have a whole wing to yourself. I'd like one of those boudoirs with an enormous, canopied four-poster bed on a dais and a ruffled dressing table where I could sit and primp while my lady's-maid brushed my hair. And, just in case the living arrangements were still not perfectly satisfactory, there'd be a secret passage for all my lovers.
But we're in Austin. Wild Basin will do.
Both the houses are small and cozy, but breathtaking - one of the guys is an architect - but the party setup is all at one end: not the end, as it turns out, where Kevin, Tony, Larry and I parked. So when we arrived, we immediately began descending the rough, rocky steps into the ravine, following the sound of merriment, our way lit by dozens of pale blue Chinese lanterns. Kevin had to carry the champagne I'd brought, because someone - someone who calls himself a geographer, despite having significant navigational difficulties with his iPhone; but I digress - didn't warn me that stiletto heels would be an extremely bad idea. Thank God the stairs all have railings. Not realizing how large a plot of land it was, I kept expecting every turn to reveal a house or patio full of the people whose laughter I could hear. Instead, we wound our way deeper and deeper into the ravine. Even the guys were having a little trouble with their footing, though this was largely because they were laughing so hard.
Finally we reached the bottom. The creek is traversed by a narrow rock dam, perhaps 8 inches wide. At this point I was no longer expecting to turn a corner and see the party, I was expecting to turn a corner and see giant, intricately timed chopping machinery that we'd have to dodge our way through. I had to sit down for a little while.
"The advantage of this," pointed out Larry, who has a wonderfully positive attitude, "is that if you're not sober enough to drive, you'll never actually make it to your car."
But we did eventually reach the party, where we were greeted with hot hard cider (I know it sounds kind of dirty, but it was a gay party), and stood inhaling its fragrant steam on the patio under the chilly stars. The night was perfect, being cold - perhaps mid 40's - but not enough so that you couldn't be comfortable outside, in a warm jacket, with a hot drink. From this vantage point, the Chinese lanterns strung here and there throughout the trees looked like a hundred tiny moons.
Our host led a tour back into the ravine to see where they're building a swimming hole fed by the creek, "our own little Barton Springs," he called it. When it's finished, it'll be fed by a 12-foot-high waterfall. So I need to be sure and send a thank-you for the hospitality, so I can get invited back! I'll wear flats.
Closer to midnight there were fireworks, big bright beautiful ones shot off from the site of the swimming pool. And there was amazing food and many, many extremely attractive men. In fact I was the only female person there. And yet I didn't get hit on even once! I guess that's the good thing about having so many wonderful gay friends: you can go out, you can experience the finest things in life, you can have a wonderful and exciting time, and you never have to worry about dealing with improper attentions from men. Never. Ever. You will never ever ever have that problem at all ever again as long as you live.
Ah well, who needs 'em; all straight men ever do is make demands without giving anything in return. My New Year's resolution this year is to be a bigger fag-hag. That way I get to go to all the cool parties.