Wednesday, September 27, 2017

As Imperfect as They Come

The problem with being Susie Sunshine is that people are unsettled when you're not.

Just as Hurricane Irma was bearing down on Florida, I heard from a friend who assured me he was safe, but threw in a BTW: that some of my blog posts were making him want to come up and slap some sense into me. "I've told you before, perfection can be a burden, so buck up."

Setting aside his unfounded opinion of me as the perfect woman, I still didn't get why I needed a slap, so I asked.

His response was swift. "My comment about needing to smack some sense into you comes from the tone of some of your blogs. You went all introspective on us. Not that it's a bad thing. But I look to you for a good, fun read about how you're enjoying yourself in particular and life in general. It is oddly painful to sense that you're down and it is further irritating to think that not everyone knows how fortunate they are to have you in their lives."

So while my inclination today would be to get all introspective about my life given recent events and conversations, I'm not going to go there.

As I was coming up from the pipeline walkway, I see two guys walking toward me, one with a pretty serious video camera in hand. "You're the perfect person to run into!" says the other, a member of the mayor's administration, a former neighbor and a long-time friend.

Introducing me to the cameraman, he explains to him that I always know the best things happening in Richmond on any given night, so they need my input for the tourism videos they're shooting over the next few days.

"I've got your email, but I don't have your phone number," he says, whipping out his phone. I look at him like he's gone crazy, reminding him that I have no cell phone.

"Still?" he asks incredulously while the cameraman gapes, looking at me like I've just announced I'm a cannibal or a leper or something else equally abhorrent. Still, my friend.

"I admire that," he says, which is a variation on what most people say when they discover that someone has opted out of 24/7 connectivity in 2017. "Wow."

When I got home, yesterday's social media feed was colorfully thick with reminiscing about Donnie "Dirtwoman" Corker, Richmond's best known transvestite for decades now, after his death was announced.

Although I used to see Dirtwoman semi-regularly when my walking route included Grace Street, it was my first meeting with him in 1987 that still stands out.

I'd been in Richmond for a year or so and had gone to the Village for the first time with some friends. Taking a seat at the bar next to an empty stool, I naturally turned when someone sat down on that stool. There sat an obese man in a blond wig wearing a dress and grinning at me.

"Don't worry, honey," he said. "I'm nothing but an old queen!"

How could I not like someone so comfortable with himself? And now, how could I not feel like an era has ended now that such a legendary Richmond figure has moved on?

My response was to drive to the country, pick black twig apples and eat more red meat than I've had in a year. Believe me, no one there thought I was anything close to perfect.

Jeez Louise, I can feel the metaphorical slaps coming at me nine ways to Sunday.


  1. You're still perfect to me. If you disagree it's just a reflection of your humility. Keep it upbeat girlfriend. When the tourism board comes a calling for input, it's a sign.

  2. Keeping it upbeat if only yo impress you!

  3. yes Karen... that certain era or whatever that Richmond had about it in the "70's" & "80's" is gone. Dirt Woman and other things gone or going. Like most times, something good has been lost & something good or different gained. VCU was a much smaller school, more down to earth. Grace St. actually had something to offer. The vibe was there. Things a bit gritty , maybe raw. Not as many choices but if you kept your eye open, you knew where to go, or what to avoid. Times change. nothing new.



  4. When I first moved here, Grace Street definitely had a different vibe, you're right. Now it feels sanitized and full of chain restaurants, which parents of young VCU students undoubtedly prefer. That said, I do like how places get better lit and safer once VCU rolls through them.

    The more things change and all...