An article on Slog prompted a memory, which I posted as a comment over there, and then reshared on Facebook, and which also should be here.
Inside the Seattle Clinic That Survived the Darkest Days of AIDS, by Matt Baume, looks at a doctor and clinic whose career coincides with the time I have lived in Seattle.
My original comment on Slog:
my first apartment in seattle was the upstairs of a small house at the corner of 12th and Denny. Central Co-op was across the street. The lower floor was occupied by a band of midwives and doulas. There was no physical separation between our upstairs one-bedroom late-80s freshly remodeled space and the medical offices downstairs.
This was curious to me and after befriending the (curiously clearly non-breeder) breeder helpers downstairs, I asked why and how the place was remodeled in such a way, apartment upstairs, no door, medical facility downstairs.
They explained that the house had been owned by a gay couple, doctors, who had recognized the urgent need in the community for safe spaces and committed care.
They’d each passed away from AIDS sometime within a relatively recent timeframe. My impression was that the midwives and doulas were the first tenants after the former proprietors had passed. Occam then taught me in turn that I and my then-partner were the first tenants in what had been the doctors’ residence. I never learned their names. In common with Occam, they still taught me a great deal, and I suppose I should look up the property records to learn if I can write a note to their families.
Then in the discussion on Facebook another memory cropped up.
There was this one guy I met a couple times, never clocked his orientation, showed up somewhere with a pal from Bloomington some of you might remember, Dave Dushe. We had had a great time talking about obscure rock bullshit the first time we met. I remember actually thinking to myself, “Damn, Millen would love this dude” with absolutely no consciousness of anything other than this guy was funny and liked rock music.
Anyway, the second time I saw him he just looked like shit, and I didn’t beat around the bush, I was just like, “what the fuck is up, you look like a fucking junkie.”
He just unloaded on me. He was getting ready to go into hospice with AIDS and was so fucking mad about it. I eventually just had to turn and walk away but I give great credit to his rant. I will not post it here, but it was something else. In the moment, it wasn’t something that was emotionally affecting for me – I really just did not know the guy – but over time I have come to appreciate and admire it and to regret I did not try to record it in writing.
Old pal Jennifer Johnson noted to me that it was possible this fellow might have been suffering from AIDS dementia, which seems like a good guess. Anyway, it’s a damn shame he, and they, passed away.