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Author Topic: The 'Big Picture'  (Read 3659 times)

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Offline David_CA

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,246
  • Joined: March 2006
The 'Big Picture'
« on: September 05, 2006, 10:53:25 PM »
I've been out of town for a few days camping.  This campground is probably my favorite place to be.  Sure, there's a lot of drinking; often there's too much. There's a lot of sex; naturally, it's not all safer sex.  I see some self-destructive behavior there, but I see that in everyday life.  I'm sure some folks would say that some of my behavior is self-destructive.  It's often hot there; I'm not comfortable in extreme heat.  There were so many people there over the Labor Day weekend that the hot water ran out several times.

So, with all these negatives, why do we (my partner and I... and about 450 other guys this weekend) 'endure' the campground?  It's because we have fun... lots of fun.  There is no drama.  People do what they want to do.  Yeah, there were too many people for me to socialize with, but I did my best.  There are a few planned activities, but mostly we do what we want.  The worst day is always the last, because, like kids at summer camp, we don't want to leave.  Every trip to the campground is memorable in its own way.

Something about the campground brings out the best in people.  One can walk up to just about anybody's campsite and just start a conversation.  I can't think of many times we've walked past somebody and didn't speak.  Almost every day we're invited to eat, drink, socialize, or whatever with others.  People WANT to have a good time, and they do have a good time.

When one's thinking about an AMG, I think it's necessary to be realistic.  No, you won't like every event.  No, you won't like every person.  You'll see behavior you don't like.  People will bother you.  It's kind of like life in general, except you'll be around a LOT of other HIV+ people.  Realize this, and you'll likely enjoy the Gathering.  Expect perfection and you'll certainly be disappointed. 

Some people don't need to go to campgrounds, and some folks probably won't enjoy a Gathering.  Be realistic about what you expect, look at all the pics, PM individuals you respect and ask about their experiences.  Personally, I can't wait to go camping again... or for the next AMG!

David

Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
05-08-07 CD4 478 @28.1% VL 740
08-03-07 CD4 509 @31.8% VL 370
11-06-07 CD4 570 @30.0% VL 140
02-21-08 CD4 648 @32.4% VL 600
05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
08-21-08 CD4 725 @34.5%
11-11-08 CD4 672 @39.5%
02-11-09 CD4 773 @36.8%
05-11-09 CD4 615 @36.2%
08-19-09 CD4 770 @38.5%
11-19-09 CD4 944 @33.7%
02-17-10 CD4 678 @39.9%  
06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
09-21-10 CD4 685 @40.3%
01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
02-13-12 CD4 911 @41.4% VL<20
You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

Offline RAB

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,895
  • Joined March 2003
Re: The 'Big Picture'
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2006, 12:16:24 AM »
Thank you David for bringing a very important, necessary, and relevant perspective to the discussion.

I couldn't agree with you more.

RAB

Offline anniebc

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,951
  • AM member since 2003
Re: The 'Big Picture'
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2006, 12:41:33 AM »
Hi David'n'David

I'm glad you both had a great time at the campground, and thank you for reminding us that our holidays and our AMG's are what we make it..in a large group of people there will always be something that is not to our liking...but I'm glad you didn't let anything stop you from having a good time..as you said "Sh*t happens" in the real world and it's down to us on how we handle it.

Miss you both
Hugs
Jan :-*

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Never knock on deaths door..ring the bell and run..he really hates that.

Offline Robert

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,648
Re: The 'Big Picture'
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2006, 01:22:38 AM »
DAvid.

Lisa was worried about you and D. and Ernesto (the hurricane)  I told her you two were probably RUNNING AROUND NAKED

Was I right?   ;)

robert  ::)
..........

Offline david25luvit

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,409
  • Member since March 2005
Re: The 'Big Picture'
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2006, 03:32:49 AM »
Hey David n David.........


                        What can I say....BRAVO!  Couldn't have said it better myself.  And I am looking
forward to the
                  next AMG.
 And I certainly can't wait to see you guys again. 

Thanks David for your input.  Glad to hear
                  you guys missed the storm. :-*
In Memory of
Raymond David McRae III
Nov. 25, 1972- Oct. 15, 2004
I miss him terribly..........

Offline David_CA

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,246
  • Joined: March 2006
Re: The 'Big Picture'
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2006, 05:35:04 AM »
Yeah, we missed the storm... thanks for asking.  It worked out well for us, as Georgia had cleared up (from the rain, etc) by the time we got there.  Of course, we'll both be cleaning up the yard for the next couple of days!  And Robert... how did you know?   ;)

David
« Last Edit: September 06, 2006, 05:38:13 AM by David_NC »
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
05-08-07 CD4 478 @28.1% VL 740
08-03-07 CD4 509 @31.8% VL 370
11-06-07 CD4 570 @30.0% VL 140
02-21-08 CD4 648 @32.4% VL 600
05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
08-21-08 CD4 725 @34.5%
11-11-08 CD4 672 @39.5%
02-11-09 CD4 773 @36.8%
05-11-09 CD4 615 @36.2%
08-19-09 CD4 770 @38.5%
11-19-09 CD4 944 @33.7%
02-17-10 CD4 678 @39.9%  
06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
09-21-10 CD4 685 @40.3%
01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
02-13-12 CD4 911 @41.4% VL<20
You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

Offline Moffie65

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,755
  • Living POZ since 1983
Re: The 'Big Picture'
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2006, 09:30:09 AM »
Thank you David for this refreshing perspective.  I too am one that feels very much as you do, and I so very much miss the Motorcycle Runs that I used to go on.  Your report brings back a rush of memories, and some very pleasant thoughts and memories.

I would love to have AMG in the woods, and do a camping routine, but I doubt it would work, as so many require the hustle and bustle of a city center.  Maybe we can push the gathering out of the center and into the fringe once in a while. 

At any rate, your post was a total joy to read and thanks for the refreshing reminder/perspective.

IN Love,
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline aztecan

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,404
  • 29 years positive, 57 years a pain in the butt
Re: The 'Big Picture'
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2006, 11:23:55 AM »
Hey David and David,

Thanks for the perspective and the visuals I concocted from it!  :o

Someone at this year's gathering, I believe it was Rocky, told me I probably have a good time no matter where I'm at.

I hope that is true. I do usually manage to have fun, regardless of the setting. Montreal was a great experience for me and I look forward to future gatherings.

I also miss the motorcycle runs. Who could forget the Sons of Apollo, Hijos del Sol, Rocky Mountaineers, etc.?

Life is what you make of it. You grab it by the horns and run with it.

Now, anyone know how to get stains out of a sleeping bag?

HUGS,

Mark
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline AlanBama

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,644
  • Alabama: the 'other' 3rd World Country!
Re: The 'Big Picture'
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2006, 02:11:00 PM »
Hey David

Glad you guys had a fun Labor Day at R.E. Campground....

You are so right, people are unbelievably friendly and loving at men's camps, for some reason....I think it is the freedom we feel there, the feeling of being somewhere we 'belong'.

That's the way I felt in Montreal also.  Very loved, very welcomed, and very much like I BELONGED there.

Hugs,
Alan
"Remember my sentimental friend that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard of Oz

Offline Lou-ah-vull

  • Member
  • Posts: 952
Re: The 'Big Picture'
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2006, 10:55:59 PM »
I agree that David and David offer a refreshing perspective.  I have lurked through much of the conversation, primarily respectful that some feel passionately about the Montreal experience.  In retrospect, I wish I met and talked with more people than I did.  I guess I usually wait until someone else initiates conversation (borderline shyness) and some may have interpreted my passiveness as being distanced or standoffish. 

I am sensitive that in a group our size many will be exposed to things they find distasteful.  David's recollection of the "campground" nicely provides a metaphor.  The larger the gathering (from 20 to 40) the more difficult it is for introverts to mingle and the greater divergence of behaviors.  It is unavoidable. 

I must admit that I love my creature comforts, so I tolerate a city hotel (or a resort) better than a rustic setting.  I must have hot water, a comfortable bed, and usually cable TV (although I hardly watched at all in Montreal.)

I think some group gatherings in a less noisy environment will help some to get to know each other better.  As you  know, I keep saying nametags would have been extremely helpful.  I hope we can be sensitive to those who are uncomfortable in totally gay settings, but also sensitive to the need for gay people to not have to hide their affections or mannerisms in totally straight settings.  All of us managed well in Quebec City and there was no gay village per se at all. 

I just hope we continue to work on promoting the gathering.  I agree with David that our HIV+ status ties us together in a special and profound way.  This unity certainly helped me feel somewhat more comfortable and normal than I have felt in over a year.  I wish I had been less introverted.  Maybe I will be more outgoing the next time around.

Looking forward to the next AMG wherever it is (but hopefully, with hot water, comfortable bed, and yes, cable TV.)

Gary
Diagnosed Oct. 2005
10/05:  367 (26.2%), 24556 VL
01/06:  344 (24.6%), 86299 VL
04/06:  374 (22.0%), 87657 VL
05/06:  Began HAART 05/15/06, Combivir/Kaletra
07/06:  361 (27.8%), 1299 VL
10/06:  454 (32.4%), 55 VL
01/07:  499 (38.4%), UD
02/07:  Switched to Atripla 2/8/07
04/07:  566 (37.7%), UD
08/07:  761 (42.3%), UD
06/08:  659 (47.1%), UD
01/09:  613 (43.8%), UD
07/09:  616 (47.4%), UD
01/10:  530 (44.2%), UD
07/10:  636 (48.9%), UD
01/11:  627 (48.2%), UD
07/11:  840 (52.5%), UD
01/12:  920 (51.1%), UD
07/12:  857 (50.4%), 40
10/12:  UD
01/13:  710 (47.3%), UD
07/13:  886 (49.2%), UD
01/14:  985 (46.9%), UD
06/14:  823 (47.2%), UD

Offline Cliff

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,645
Re: The 'Big Picture'
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2006, 07:18:44 AM »
Hi David,

I'm glad you guys had fun at the camp grounds.  And a very nice post.  Though I've never been to one of those, I can imagine they are loads of fun!

stay well guy

cliff

Offline David_CA

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,246
  • Joined: March 2006
Re: The 'Big Picture'
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2006, 08:51:34 AM »
Hi everyone,

Thanks for the comments...

Tim - You're right, a camping type of gathering would be fun.  Even if we used cabins or a lodge, it might work.  Who's to say that we can't have a smaller gathering like this sometime?

Mark - Your visuals are likely pretty accurate!  ;)  Like you, I also generally have fun in most settings.  I think you're smiling in every picture you're in (except for maybe in the Chapel).  I'm not sure about how to get those stains out of a sleeping bag!

Alan - I think you've got it figured out.   "... the feeling of being somewhere we 'belong'." is it.

Gary - I also like my creature comforts.  When we go camping, we're generally so busy socializing that we don't get a chance to enjoy much more than decent heat or A/C, showers, and a comfy place to sleep.  See if you can find a campground for men nearby and check it out.  Maybe it'll help with some of that 'shyness' by making you feel more comfortable and 'normal'.

Cliff - We've been to a couple of these campgrounds.  One is about 3 hours away and the one we go to now is about 6.5 hours away.  It's by far the more fun of the two.  You should try one sometime when you back in the States.  I would imagine that there's some 'over there' too.

Take care,
David
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
05-08-07 CD4 478 @28.1% VL 740
08-03-07 CD4 509 @31.8% VL 370
11-06-07 CD4 570 @30.0% VL 140
02-21-08 CD4 648 @32.4% VL 600
05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
08-21-08 CD4 725 @34.5%
11-11-08 CD4 672 @39.5%
02-11-09 CD4 773 @36.8%
05-11-09 CD4 615 @36.2%
08-19-09 CD4 770 @38.5%
11-19-09 CD4 944 @33.7%
02-17-10 CD4 678 @39.9%  
06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
09-21-10 CD4 685 @40.3%
01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
02-13-12 CD4 911 @41.4% VL<20
You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

 


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