Sunday, June 24, 2007

"I'm so gay it hurts," or My Gay Pride Weekend

Gay Pride Weekend is a meaningful milestone for me, given the fact that it's the anniversary of my move to San Francisco. Last weekend marked 15 years for me here in SF, which I think is as long as I lived in beautiful South Euclid, Ohio with my parents.

Guess which 15 years I enjoyed more.

Anyway, I haven't actually gone to the parade for a number of years, even though it's very inspiring and campy. I don't really have to, when the Dyke March roars right past my building. Unfortunately, I stayed in the bathtub for way too long this year, and I missed the whole thing (though I did get to enjoy the milling about afterwards).

After the march passed me by, I headed out to meet T at the Kabuki to see Ocean's Thirteen, which I found enjoyably silly and T found way too silly. Afterwards, we hopped on the 22 Fillmore, which was packed to the gills.

A man on the bus met up with a compatriot, who seemed like someone he'd gotten to know in jail or a treatment facility. He told him a very long story, which I cannot do justice, for the whole ride. I was on the edge of my seat.

The fellow had been on probation and parole, when he was crossing the street and was hit by a taxi. He began an altercation with the taxi driver about this, which led to him smashing the window of the taxi with his skateboard (an act he said the taxi driver had deliberately driven him to commit.)

The police came and arrested him, and beat him up so badly that his jaw was messed up. He said he had pictures. Because he was on parole and probation, it seemed very likely that he would be going to jail for seven years, especially since the police had neglected to mention that he had been hit by the taxi in their report.

But he found a witness, and persuaded the man, who didn't really want to get involved, to explain what he had seen (he didn't even end up paying him, though he offered to). On top of that, the hearing was scheduled for the late afternoon, and everyone wanted to go home very badly. As a result, our hero lucked out, and was assigned to many months of anger management counseling and a couple of years at Walden House.

Something had happened which led to the protagonist not staying at Walden House anymore, and he was on his way to visit "a little girl who's dying to see me" in Crocker Park. At this, the man's friend laughed in disbelief, thinking the girl was actually living in the park, but no.

The final phase of the story concerned a lawsuit the man planned to file against the City because the police beat him up. He said that he was going to see Heather Fong, San Francisco's police chief, to talk to her about it. And, he said that he'd even claim to be gay when he did it. "I'm gay as fuck," he said. "I'm so gay it hurts. I'll wrap myself in that fucking rainbow flag."

His friend laughed and called him crazy, while the gay men next to him shrunk away.

His friend was squeezed in right next to me, and he was a very large, soft man. He was also an exceptionally kind and patient listener, and gave the story his full, but quiet attention. I was quite tired, and I had a strong urge to lay my head on his shoulder and close my eyes.


tb said...

Great post, Linda. But if I may embellish this story a bit with my own fond memories:

I thought it might be useful to explain something about this witness our protagonist found. He was one of several witnesses that Our Protagonist claims was at the scene but who's statements were not included in the police report. Our Protagonist somehow got the phone number of one of these witnesses and called him. The witness saw on his Caller ID that the phone call was coming from jail and picked it up -- because his brother was in jail, and he figured it must be him. Instead, it was Our Protagonist, who convinced him to come down and testify on his behalf.

Also, the reason he wanted to impersonate a gay person when visiting Heather Fong was so he could call the beating a hate crime.

It was one of the most amazing bus rides of my life. This guy was spilling this story to just about everyone on the bus, while his pal listened intently as if they were the only two guys in earshot. I would have killed for a tape recorder.

Linda said...

I forgot about the guy's brother being in jail! That was a good part.

Margie in Oakland said...

This is exactly the reason more of us should ride public transportation. You can't make this stuff up. Dang.

Dinah said...

Well said.

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