Tomorrow is December 1 – World AIDS Day – so... today is World AIDS Eve.
Or something like that.
(And December 2, an even more privately important day: the day Reid died of AIDS in 1983.)
Last week I took a less cleaned-up, less – public version of my previous blog post to analysis. Discussion of all those references to death, aging, grief... S. pointed out something almost ridiculously obvious, which I couldn't see until she said it: that all the Aschenbach and Christou resonance is blowing up out of the roiling waves of a number of AIDS remembrances.
Because I don't have emotions about all that any more, do I... hmm.
Made a list of events I've been involved in this month for A. to publicize online –
- 7 November – all-day Skype conference with N., connecting the local NHS and PWAs and two countries in southern Africa about community AIDS care
- 13 November – presentation at city library on art and AIDS
- 22 November – ten-year anniversary of HIV patient group; lots of friends, nurses, doctors, etc.
- somewhere in there – television interview with Me In My Home, looking through books and talking about being a long-term survivor
- somewhere else in there – radio interview with me and A. at my office, talking about HIV testing and its importance, etc. – made by a pleasant young woman from a local radio station (she used her iPhone as the mic! I didn't know you could do that)
- last Thursday, 28 November – class lecture on music and AIDS
- 21 November, the banquet around Melinda's nomination for an NHS award related to the HIV patient group (remind us to tell you about the music some time... it is indeed possible to repeat the same tune too damned often)
- 27 November, the MESMAC conference on HIV testing – didn't do anything, was just in the audience
- and then two days from now, on Monday: the meeting of members of the PWA group and psychology students, when we tell them... all sorts of things about our lives. (I still need to phone more people to set this up....)
Honestly, I can't quite remember what I was planning on saying about all this.
Which may be the point: I (we) definitely know what I'm (we're) talking about when it comes to AIDS/HIV; but perhaps it is sometimes hard to focus on exactly what it is that we do know, or remember. Or really think, deep down.
It's too vast, I guess – too present, to see its outline –
I always tell my classes a story from the first time I taught a course about music and AIDS, back in Hong Kong, somewhere around 1999 or so. I'd been articulately powering through all sorts of ideas and information and materials, explaining poems and symbols associated with the AIDS Quilt Songbook; and I got around to the white balloons –
you remember white balloons: afternoons in the gentle green meadows of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, the balloons were a new symbol, because people didn't want to use traditional symbols (a time when many were angry at organized religions for their institutional callousness).
And I absolutely lost it: turning to the whiteboard, marker in hand, just stopped – couldn't move, and wasn't going to turn around...
Still don't know to this day if they noticed or not. Perhaps it's not so strange for a lecturer to freeze in mid-lecture, even for a couple of minutes; perhaps they thought I was just... thinking.
And now, I tell classes about what happening, to explain to them: it's the detail in the corner of your mind that catches you – not the big chunk of fear or loss: but the small, gentle symbol that you hadn't thought about for years...
But I've probably told you that story before, haven't I? Ah, well: Grandpa's getting old....