My Lunch With Arnie

Thursday, March 13th, 2003 | Food, Friends, Marjorie Wood Gallery

I just stumbled up my hill, after a lunch with Arnie at Luna, or whatever they’re calling it now. We still call it the Castro Gardens. Arnie is about 70 now, still very active and as curmudgeony as when I met him. The thing I love about my lunches with Arnie is that he still treats me like a twinkie. I was 18 when I met him, and he still thinks of me as being that age. His lover and mine died around the same time, and we’re the last of our original group. I sometimes don’t even have cash in my wallet as I pull it out saying, “Let me get it this time,” and he throws a fit–“No, no… you’re an artist.” Fine with me, let him get the bill. He’s off to Israel where he’s endowing a fund for a Lesbian and Gay Studies scholarship at Hebrew University. He used to be a pilot for United. I think he flew me out here when I moved from Birmingham in ’84. Anyway, he’s having a private jet built for him that’ll be ready next year. I told him if he flew me to Paris I’d treat him to a chocolat at Francine’s. Arnie came to the Marjorie Wood Gallery opening Saturday night, thinking that Big Chris was married to Marjorie, and that the event was at their house. I told him Chris was my friend and that Marjorie Wood was a fictitious character based on the Barbara Bel Geddes role in Vertigo. He couldn’t comprehend it. “I am Midge,” I told him. “How are you going to make money?” he kept asking. “There’s no real space?” “What about Yoko Ono?” On leaving, he gulped down a viagra with the last of our wine, and hopped away with his hands in his pocket, meeting his 30-something playmate for an afternoon romp. He has two boyfriends, both of whom have lovers that don’t know about Arnie. The Other Woman Arnie, my buddy and neighbor.

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