Shit got real earlier this month, so I booked a trip to Alaska. I’d been saying I wanted to go to AK for the last 5 summers. My buddy Dan gave me an open invitation to come stay with him. It took a slap in the face both professionally and personally, but I decided whatever the TSA had in store for me would be worth getting the hell out of here. Sandwiched between the annual Pride Parade (FAB-u-loussss!) and a birthday, my 10-day trip begins here.

After watching one of my friends act like a jerk at the parade, I was really glad to be heading out. In an odd turn of events, another person responsible for my hasty departure drove me to the airport. (It was the least he could do.)

I checked my bag, got my freedom grope, and buckled into my first-class seat on Alaska Air. First-class tickets were about the same price as coach by the time I booked, so, you know…

I love first class. Everyone sits down and shuts the hell up. There are no children, no inconsiderate mouth-breathers who mistake this for a city bus, and no one touching me or anything around me.

I arrive at Juneau’s tiny airport and Dan is waiting for me next to his kayak-topped Scion. You never know when you may need a kayak, right?

Dan is a changed man. I met him in Sacramento 5 years ago when we were both doing shitty. Our jobs (or lack thereof) were insufferable as were the people in our lives. He was overweight, I was underweight. We’d both been betrayed. We were super-fun to drink with. While our story was sad, it would be much sadder if we both hadn’t left California shortly after our acquaintanceship.

So Dan is now a happy, energetic picture of health, which would become endearingly annoying during the trip. Despite his having some years on me, he darted all over the place with my haggard ass in tow. Of course, I’m thankful for every minute of it.

The first place he took me was a pub called the Hangar out by the waterfront. The building in which the Hangar resides is like a tiny Pike Place Market. There are a few little shops and eateries, but nothing fancy.

I had a few glasses of wine while I waited for twilight in my new home for 10 days.