In Stride with Pride

June 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm (Cussed Dumbers, That's not funny...)

What a lovely day to return to work. Having been off for five days, with all the mental anguish etc… I was hoping for a quiet come-back. When I saw the dude at the mall with the Burt Reynolds mustache and gold lame dress, I wondered if I’d finished hallucinating?

Oh yeah, it’s Pride Parade day.

Pride in Portland is like St Patrick’s Day. For one day, “Everyone is gay!” (Your choice of Kurt Cobain or Big Gay Al from South Park doing the voice.) It’s kinda cute. The “normal” folk come to peek from a distance to see what the fuss is about. For our gay/lez/trans family, it’s time to pull out all the flamboyant stops. For the most part, it’s one big loud, happy party. There are those who want to spoil.

I’ll get to them.

Right after I took over the register, got myself situated, an attractive woman bought a pack of cigarettes. She seemed nervous.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“May I ask you a quick question?” (I was tempted to reply “You already did,” but I’m trying to be less obnoxious.)”My daughter is fourteen. She’s an A student, been on national news, a good kid. She recently came out to me as a lesbian. Her girlfriend is eighteen, and I’m worried.”

“Well, she’s fourteen. She may not be a lesbian forever, but it seems like it to her right now. If she’s that smart, she may be rebelling a bit, or she may be. I wouldn’t worry too much.”

“Oh, that’s not it at all. I love her girlfriend, I have no problems with her being gay. She just wants to run with the crowd, and I don’t want her getting ‘bashed’.”

“If you’re cool with the girlfriend, let her know about the statutory rape charges she could face. I had a friend lose a phone and computer because she had innocent pictures on her phone, and the parents disapproved.”

“But how do you feel about turning them loose down here?”

“Miss, the gay community polices itself well, and there is SO much police presence down here. There is probably no better day to turn her loose. Let her test the waters. Tell her to be home by midnight, or whenever curfew is.”

“Oh, I’m staying downtown. She’s going to call me when she is done.”

“Call this number if you have any questions.” I wrote the store number on her receipt. “I’m here until midnight, and if she’s lost, I can probably figure it out if I hear what the landmarks are.”

“I knew I’d asked the right person. Thank you!” She left, reassured.

I have a fair-sized gay clientele, so business was good but no different than any other day. In fact, after downtown rolled up the sidewalk, it was back to tumbleweed city.

Until I left for home.

As I hurried out the door, beeline to the bus, I heard, “Later Hot Stuff!” It was not unusual for guys of every persuasion to make smartass comments like this. From behind, my hair is purty.

I turned to see who I might be saying ‘bye to. Four young white guys, drunk, stumbling up the street. I hoped the dirty look would be enough.

As I reached the front of the bar, I heard feet land right behind me. Someone had jumped on the steel sidewalk elevator cover, in an attempt to startle me. Guess what asshole, I live in a neighborhood where pitbulls jump out at you every other block. Instead of flinching, I stopped, spun around and got within inches of his face. “WHAT?”

He got a look at my fifty-year-old face, the one with the pissed off eyes and snarl that said more than any words. I looked at his friends. The only one allowed in Master P’s stores is possibly related to me. He knows I know his last name. I gave him a look, and he said, “Here, this place has pool tables. Let’s go in here…”

The four horsemen backed off, and I began getting pissed off. Then, again, at the bus stop. I hear four drunken white guys coming from the park, knocking shit over and yelling. I knew I had ten minutes until the bus. Shit. I cuddled Bill W. If we’re gonna play, first one’s gonna bleed…

Fortunately, two bus-buddies showed up, the numbers evened out, and the boisterous bunch took out their aggressions on a Willy Week box instead.

Two incidents in ten minutes? WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU SELF-ENTITLED SPOILED WHITE FUCKS? Does it really take four of you to stomp on “some sissy”?

Here’s a newsflash: Gay guys have been defending themselves a lot harder than you’ll ever have to. (Except maybe in court.) The meanest fight I’ve ever witnessed involved two gay guys, and a bystander died. I sure hope you pick the right guy to bash, and I hope he hurts you worse than you’ve ever been hurt in your life.

I hope I can watch. I will beam with Pride.


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