Monday, 7 July 2008

Following the Rainbow

I really do believe that where my heart is i.e. what I love is where I usually find my treasures. Here's one example.

It all started when my mother asked me to buy two sympathy cards to give to a friend whose brother passed away recently. (One card was for her and the other was on behalf of another friend). Our local shop didn't have any in stock, which I thought was very odd. I promised mum I would buy them in town. I had in mind where I could get them.

I spent the day working in the library. A friend whom I haven't seen in a while came in. It's always invigorating speaking to him as I can discuss spiritual ideas with him and he understands. I figured if I could find a card shop nearby, I could get them and then travel back with my friend. Alas, it wasn't to be as all the shops in that area are closed during the weekend. I walked my friend to the bus stop and waited till his bus arrived then I crossed over to catch a bus into town.

I noticed most of the buses were only travelling part of the journey. When I got on the bus I asked the driver why and he said the buses weren't going further because the roads are closed due to a parade. Great! All this hassle just to get sympathy cards. Next to where I was sitting was a man ranting and raving about God knows what. I wasn't in the mood to listen to him so I swapped seats and sat at the back. When I got off the bus at the last stop, I noticed a shop nearby. Good, I can buy the cards from there. I picked up two cards and queued up to pay. Something told me my mother wouldn't like those cards. Just as I was pondering whether I should get the cards anyway, I noticed the man who had been ranting on the bus earlier walking into the shop. I took his presence as a sign that the cards were not appropriate, put them back, and made a speedy exit.

I went to the local bookshop and checked out their selection of cards. I had a feeling my mother wouldn't like those cards either. So I headed to the shop I had in mind. I thought I would use a shortcut to get me there. Bad idea! There were crowds of people hanging outside various pubs. What the hell is going on? I realised they were there for Pride London celebrating the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) lifestyle.

Pride London aims to promote equality and diversity through all of its campaigns. The two week Pride festival uses theatre, music, debate, art and entertainment to raise awareness of discrimination and the issues and difficulties affecting the lives of LGBT people around the world. Our Parade is an explosion of Pride in the heart of the capital, attracting over 500,000 people in a celebration of diversity. Through this we aim to promote a sentiment in favour of equality, uniting people in a celebrative atmosphere where all are welcome, and fostering a sense of community within the LGBT population. Overall, Pride London hopes to promote understanding and cooperation, as well as education in diversity, in order to get rid of the discrimination faced by LGBT people. About Pride London

I tapped a police officer on her shoulder and asked if the shops were open and she said yes. After fighting my way through the LGBT crowd, I was in Oxford Street, which looked pretty clear. Presumably, I had missed out on the parade. I headed to the card shop. Although they had a good selection of cards, I thought they were a tad pricey. I had a feeling my mother wouldn't appreciate paying that much for those cards. My mother also likes cards with meaningful words inside and those cards didn't resonate. Damn! Where are these bloody cards? I remembered another card shop up the road. I was hoping I would find the perfect cards in that shop.

As I walked towards the shop I thought of a friend who attended a Pride Parade while he was in America last year. He said he'd had a lot of fun. It's a shame I missed out on the parade. I noticed a man and a woman walking in front of me. I could see from the back of their t-shirts that they were the organisers of Pride. Both of them had number "8" on their shirts. Given that I have an obsession with the number 8, I read this as a sign. (Funnily enough, the friend who went to the American Pride last year also has (or used to have) a thing about the number 8). I asked the organisers if the celebration had finished. The man said there was a concert being held at Trafalgar Square which I could attend.

Finally I arrived at the card shop and found two sympathy cards that I knew were perfect for my mother: lovely designs, nice meaningful words and good value for money. Then I headed to Trafalgar Square.

Just as I was approaching the Square I noticed some people walking in front with identical t-shirts with the words: "Only one God, only one mediator Jesus Christ" I presumed they were Christians. Maybe they were on a crusade to covert the LGBT community to Christianity.

While I had been caught up with the crowd earlier, I had noticed a lot of people with rainbow flags, bracelets, hats, scarves etc. As I'm a huge fan of rainbows I asked a woman who had a flag what the rainbow symbolised. She said it was a Gay Pride symbol. I told her I wasn't aware of this. I said I'm not a lesbian or transgender but I love rainbows.

The Square was already crowded with all kinds of people, some in colourful outfits and wigs. The audience was like a moving rainbow. While Pride is not my scene, the love I felt from everyone was definitely my scene. I found a perfect space overlooking the square where I could watch the proceedings on the big screen. There was a woman on stage, dressed in pink, belting out a song I'd never heard of before. It was the first time I'd been to a concert where there is a sign interpreter. It was quite bizarre watching the interpreter doing sign language to the songs.

While I was enjoying the concert a young woman stood beside me. She asked me what the concert was about and I told her. I also shared my new knowledge about what the rainbows represented. She and her friend were from Belgium and on their way to Bulgaria for a month. As they had a few hours to kill they decided to take a trip down to central London; it was their first visit to London. She said they had simply followed the crowd and ended up at Trafalgar Square. I asked them where they were staying in Bulgaria. My friends said they had no set plans. They were just going to go with the flow and see what comes up. They watched the concert for an hour and then left to catch their flight.

I spoke to an older gay guy about the Rainbow symbol and he explained the history behind it and the Gay movement. I thanked him for the information and told him I love rainbows.

During the concert they announced that they were going to show the final episode of the British sci-fi, Dr Who, which has a gay actor in it. Dr Who is a time lord who travels back and forth in time. The night before I had watched the penultimate episode where in the cliff-hanger, the Daleks, a race of robots, had taken over Earth and were about to exterminate the human race. I didn't think I would be home on time to watch the final episode to find out whether the Doctor saves humans from certain destruction. The Universe had arranged it perfectly. After the final singer had performed, Freema Agyeman, one of the stars of "Doctor Who" introduced the episode and we watched it on the big screen. It was then something occurred to me.

Two nights before, I had an out of body experience (OOBE) where I saw this ugly and terrifying creature growling at me. (See The Final Conflict). I told the creature I loved it and it disappeared from sight. As we were watching Doctor Who on the big screen I noticed Davros, the leader of the Daleks, looked identical to the creature I'd seen in my OOBE. He even sounded like him. Could it be I'd in fact astral projected two days into the future? In other words, my future self had sent me a preview of what was to come. In that case, I was meant to be at the Square enjoying Pride with all my LGBT friends. I was meant to be sharing in the Rainbow experience.

Like all good drama, good did manage to prevail over evil. Doctor Who and his friends saved earth; and the evil Davros and his Daleks were destroyed.

What a dream of a day it turned out to be. If my mother hadn't asked me to get her sympathy cards, I wouldn't have been in that part of town.

It is possible that I was meant to have the experience anyway. After all, where my heart is i.e. my love of rainbows, is where I will always find my treasures.

I love rainbows.


Related articles: A Dream is A Dream is a Dream - Revisited; The Final Conflict; Getting in On the 8 Act; Everything is Working Out Perfectly; Why I Love Playing with Masks; What's New, Pussycat?; It's a Sign!; The Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow; Love is Magic - Part 2; Long Live Multiculturalism!; Peace Be With You; Sharing the Rainbow

Rainbow fractal designed by Ben Gilberti.