Bong - Bong - Bong – the stroke of midnight, it’s here and I’m excited. I always get like this for World AIDS Day. It’s like a birthday or a special anniversary – married to the virus for eleven years! There must be something to commemorate that, silver, gold, diamond, ruby, even if it’s only paper, a testament to the fact I have survived the ‘marriage’ to HIV for that length of time.
Actually, I’ve just looked it up on Wikipedia and the eleventh wedding anniversary is steel – well, you definitely have to be made of steel to cope with HIV, although I most certainly didn’t want to ‘marry ‘it! But as in the case of many arranged marriages, I think I have made the best of a bad job and tried to get along with my unwelcome ‘spouse’ as best I could. So happy anniversary to me – to all of us living with HIV and long may we rein victorious.
Another reason for celebrating WAD this year for me is that I have fulfilled my goal of reaching a million hits to this website, in fact, thanks to you, it’s now way over that figure - 1,175, 026 since February this year when I installed my stat globe. All those red dots on the picture above are from where people have visited the site - and look, they nearly cover all the world!
How I love that globe and seeing all the visiting countries, so many, which could mean two things – the HIV population is growing at an alarming rate or that people are more interested in gaining awareness about HIV, which is what I set out to do by writing this blog at the outset in an attempt to reduce HIV related stigma.
When I first started hivine seven years ago there were only a handful of people blogging about HIV, but now there are many more brave bloggers out there prepared to speak out on behalf of those who can’t. We are becoming a united force and a force to be reckoned with thanks to the internet and social networking on face book and Twitter etc. There are ‘positive’ groups we can join where we can find support and gain a communal strength from each other, a worldwide joining of positive hearts and minds and of those who support us, which I hope hivine has contributed to. Because of this we no longer have to feel isolated and like social lepers, we have each other and there are thousands of us, millions even. I can’t begin to imagine how hard it must have been for those poor souls who had to struggle alone when the AIDS paranoia was at its height and so many people died or lost loved ones to this cruel disease. I feel a huge debt of gratitude to the early activists and how extremely brave they were – really when you think about it by fighting for the basic human rights of people living with HIV, especially in regard to medication, they gave us life – our HIV parents.
I like to think that the attitude of the world is changing slightly towards us but even if it isn’t, at least we still have each other – the hivine is growing and stretching all around the globe. Last look at the stat globe before the positive year ends - oh it's gone up to 1,82,866!
Goodnight great big positive world, hope you all have a wonderful WAD and please keep visiting me till the next one rolls around.
You know when you just have to laugh out loud and the more you know you shouldn’t, the more you want to? When you are HIV positive there aint much to laugh about as a general rule, so you have to take every chance you get - at least that's my way of dealing with it!
We were driving to see my nephew who is on tour playing with Ian Siegal world renowned singer and blues guitarist at The Met in Bury. We were in Packman’s Lord Smudges dad’s car because it’s more reliable not to mention bigger than my old rattletrap. Sitting inside its black leather interior is a bit like being swallowed by the belly of a whale, especially in the dark.
Luis was sitting in the back because even though I’ve told him a million times he can’t keep coming to ‘hingland’ unless he gets some front teeth and learns ‘hinglish’ being the stubborn Spanish hombre that he is, he has completely ignored me. Therefore he is still front toothless and having great difficulty mastering the Lancashire dialect in which Packman is fluent, albeit at times indecipherable, with his tuts thuts and onts. Me and Packman were chatting away in broad Blackburnian and eating fruit pastilles in the front - very rock n roll!
Brilliant, a parking space right outside the gig; then Packman noticed a sign saying taxis only, so we sped off quick before we got a ticket. Lost in Bury’s notoriously confusing one way system, we were getting further and further out of town. The stuck up Sat nav woman with her posh voice seemed to have dropped off.
“Wake up you snotty up cow, we’re going to be late,” I was screaming at her to no avail as we were forced to follow the ring road with no hope of doing a u turn. Eventually, some twenty minutes later, we made it back into town and parked up next to a pub, not far from The Met. Got out and waited for Luis to climb out of ‘belly of whale’ back seat. But no Luis.
“Maybe he’s nipped into the pub for a pee?” we scratch heads. “But can’t have done, we would have seen him wouldn’t we?” We peer into belly of the whale. Luis definitely not there. Where the f*** was he? Packman opened car door and had a feel around on the floor. Luis not on floor or anywhere to be found. We shake heads in confusion.
“How can we have lost him?” we ask ourselves, “He was definitely in car when we set off,” we confirmed. On saying that, Luis never talks much in company (unless he’s pissed) because ‘hinglish’ not too good, so how would we know?
We hurried off towards The Met and there standing outside the main entrance was Luis.
“Khow you get here?” I ask him laughing.
“Kkkkhow the (Spanish swearword) you think I get khere?” Luis definitely not laughing. Apparently, desperate for a fag he’d got out when we’d pulled up in the taxi rank.
“We didn’t notice,” I laughed, thinking it was quite amusing. Shouldn’t have laughed, was not a laughing matter, at least not for Luis.
“Muchias gracias,” he snarls sarcastically. Luis is hurt, on his Spanish dignity because we hadn’t even noticed his absence, a torrent of Spanish swear words issues forth from his frozen lips - it must have been quite cold waiting outside The Met for twenty minutes. He turns his Latino back on me. Had to stop laughing immediately and put on straight face.
“Sorry,” I apologize, but it was killing me trying to suppress the snorts of forbidden laughter. We went inside and took our seats in stony silence, but I could hardly contain myself, it had to come out as the actress said to the bishop, so I sent Luis off to the bar to get the drinks in. What a relief.
“It was soooo funny,” I cackled to Packman as soon as he’d gone, “when you looked on car floor. How could we have driven all that way and not noticed? Oh shush, he’s coming back.”
Poor Luis, he doesn’t ‘alf cop it in my blogs, although he says he doesn’t really mind. But then again, maybe if his ‘hinglish’ was a bit better he might! The gig was brilliant by the way and we all really enjoyed it, even though it got off to a bad start when Ian Siegel grabbed the mic and got an electric shock causing him to briefly lose it! Think it must have just been one of those nights for losing it - or in Luis’s case, Luising it!
Some relevant laughter quotes
“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will I'll go to it laughing.”
― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale
“I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.”
― Billy Joel
“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”
― Victor Borge
“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”
― William Shakespeare
“You don't stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.”
― Michael Pritchard
How I envision the HIV virus and what it means to me