I didn't make an entry about the AIDS Walk because I was exhausted on Saturday. Utterly exhausted! I had a dream the night before that I overslept and missed the walk completely, and I kept waking up worried that I'd done just that.
So on 4 hours of sleep I headed to the Metro station at 6:15 Saturday morning. My stomach behaved itself (probably because all the bad stuff struck me on Friday morning, LOL) and I made it there without getting lost on the streets of DC :-)
This year was the 20th AIDS Walk Washington.
The Washington Post did a fair article about it here- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/07/AR2006100700706.html
-I checked in and got my spiffy volunteer T-shirt and my assignment: Freedom Plaza (which is where check-in was)
-I was put to work in the incentives tent! They moved it to the plaza this year, not in the Warner building like last year (which was cramped for those purposes). I've never worked incentives before, so that was LOTS of fun! I got to check in the teams and give them the shirts, hats, etc. that they got based on how much each team raised.
-I got to sit behind the table, at the front of the tent... not out of the rain and not out of the wind. And when both struck, water GUSHED down right on top of me from the tent overhang! It lightly rained most of the morning, but we did have about 10-20 minutes of HEAVY rain. I had my rain jacket on, but it didn't help too much at times. The temp was in the 50's and I wore gloves for a while, but it was hard to write and highlight my list that way. But I like the cold and wet and it was an adventure.
-My team captain was the same one as last year (Scott) and both he and his fag hag, Jen, remembered me from last year. Yay! They drive up from Richmond every year to do the walk (which is about 3-4 hours) and brought another friend in tow this year. Was nice seeing them and hanging with them again.
-Even though it was a "gloomy" day out, we still had an okay turnout. Less than 4,000 people showed up to walk in the cold and rain.
-Unfortunately, we ran out of T-Shirts for the walkers about an hour into it! Lots of people were annoyed about that (sorry people!) and I had to be one of the few to break the news to them. But we all wrote down their names and circled the team names on the master lists, so incentives could be ordered and given to them. Lots of people tried to convince us to give them fleeces instead. But as t-shirts were $50 and fleeces were $500 we didn't go for that. The pens stopped working in the cold, on the soaked paper... so that was an adventure. But we managed to make note of everyone.
-Just playing "It's a Beautiful Day" on the sound system so loud they can hear it in the White House doesn't actually make it a beautiful day when it's 52 degrees out and pouring rain.
-Witnessed a guy doing a fabulous
Mary Tyler Moore impression done in the middle of Freedom Plaza, hat and all, before the opening ceremony.
-We decided that, no matter how sweet the guy is when holding another's hand, a gay man just can't be called a fag hag. Spread the word.
-We didn't realize that our tent was just before the finish line, which wasn't really a finish line, just a few huge bunches of balloons that we got to pop when it was all over. So we didn't notice the first few people to walk by and finish, but once we realized it, our incentives tables turned into a self-proclaimed cheering section. But we all feel guilty about those first few people.
-I got to check in the DC One team. I knew they were walking and thought it would be great to meet the group since I'm a big One supporter. Iit was cool that I got to be the one to check them in.
-One team I checked in was a pair of guys (a little older than me and VERY cute) who raised more than $500 together. I asked them their team name and one guy said "Anastasia Beaverhausen". I laughed and looked at him funny, then looked down at my list and realized he was actually telling the truth. The guy leaned over and cracked up with a "Man, you mean they actually listed that as our name?" Much laughter was to be had by all. I gave them their incentives. They ended up as one of the first groups through the finish line.
-One team I checked in consisted of two older women and a cat. Yes, a cat. In a baby stroller with one of those nets covering it so the cat couldn't get out. The cat had a bed and toys and everything. I don't even remember what the cat looked like (was hard to see through the net) but it had a sign on the side I remember. Said something like "I represent all the pets left behind because of AIDS". Brought tears to my eyes, actually. Not that it takes much, but I thought it was very sweet.
We raised more than $500,000. Which is a pretty good figure for a rainy day. Unfortunately, it's not close to the amount raised back in the years. It's sort of sad that people don't see it as a big cause like they used to, because of all the drugs nowadays. But after seeing so many people touched by it at the walk, it's great to know there are still people out there willing to spend a Saturday helping. And thank you to everyone here who helped by donating! It really means so much to me. I'll be sending out thank you notes this week :-)