Reading today that CNN’s Anderson Cooper confirmed he is gay reminded me of a very special moment I shared with someone who has now been my friend for at least 30 years.
Back in 1982 or so my friend and I were New York City cabbies. We drove for the same fleet. The fleet had two garages. One in Brooklyn and one on the west side of Manhattan. West 28th Street if memory serves.
We both drove the night shift which pretty much meant you were in your cab from on or about five in the evening to five in the morning. Twelve hour shifts. Hard work. To this day the most exhausting job I’ve ever had.
I picked up my cab from the Brooklyn garage and my friend, we’ll call him Nathan for the purposes of this missive, picked up his cab from the garage on West 28th. One morning I met him at his garage after he’d dropped off his cab after a shift. I was driving my cab. A few minutes later we were driving down Seventh Avenue when Nathan said, “What would you do if I told you I was gay?” Very rarely does life offer someone the gift of being asked a question like this, the gift of letting someone you love and care about know (in this case right away) that they are safe being who they are with you, that all is well. I answered: “I’d be really glad you felt safe enough with me to tell me.” “Well,” he said. “I am.”
Now, I am a hugger. Always have been. Frankly I think the world is running short on hugs. I hug my friends, male and female. It’s who I am. Anyway, as soon as Nathan and I had this truly wonderful moment, I realized that I needed to hug him as soon as possible because I did not want him, even for a moment, to think that revealing he was gay would somehow make hugging him uncomfortable for me. So, when I parked and we got out of my cab to go into a restaurant for breakfast I told him I loved him, was damned grateful he was my friend, and gave him a hug right then and there.
So kudos to the Anderson Coopers and Nathans of the world. They make the world a better place. How do I know this? Nathan is my friend.