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Sometimes, I forget that we're in Texas.
There's a vote coming up soon here in Austin, on Proposition 2, to decide whether or not it's okay to let the gays get all hitched up. Seems like kind of a no-brainer for anyone with two neurons to rub together, but it turns out that there's plenty of people walking around here with something else in their skulls. Mayonnaise, perhaps, or maybe a pound or two of pea gravel. Either way, the debate is right up there with Intelligent Design, Flat Earthers, and those charming folks who are convinced that the moon landing was a hoax. Most of these other loonies, however, generally inclined towards violence, unlike our beloved gay-bashers. Here I was, thinking that Austin was a placid blue eye in the red shitstorm that is Texas, but every now and then, we get a reminder that people suck everywhere.
With the impending proposition coming up, there's been a flurry of flyers showing up downtown, proclaiming that we need to protect traditional marriage, that the homosexuals are trying to destroy america, blah, blah, blah. These flyers don't have the name of their sponsoring organization proudly inscribed on them, of course - hateful ignorance and cowardice often go hand in hand. Today, as I was walking back to the office from lunch, I was able to put a couple of faces to the campaign. Two Mexican men were standing on the corner of 8th and Congress, where our office building is, handing the flyers out to the lunch crowd. As I approached the first one, the other guy headed off up a side street, to stick their little hate letters under the windshield wipers of all the cars parked there. I asked the first pamphleteer if he knew who was behind this, or if he could tell me who hired him to hand out the flyers. He either didn't understand me, or pretended not to, as he just smiled, shrugged, and shook his head. I took off after the other guy, and as I followed him, I started pulling the flyers off of peoples' windshields.
Naturally, he turned around, without pausing, and asked me what the hell I was doing, and if I was a faggot. I replied that I wasn't, and asked if he knew which organization was printing up and distributing these flyers. His less than helpful response was, "Well, you look like a faggot!", but then he reconsidered, and changed his answer to, "Your momma!" I told him that I wasn't aware of any outfits that go by those names, but he was pretty insistent that it was "Your momma!" I'll have to remember to look that one up. So, up and back down the street we went, him putting under and me two cars behind, pulling out and crumpling up. He continued going on about Your Momma, and its sister organization, "Hey, Bitch!" Eventually, my wad of crumpled paper was getting a little unwieldy, so I stopped by a dumpster in a nearby alley to unload before continuing. This is where the little dude decided that further conversation regarding the details of his operation was necessary.
Always in favor of public debate, I stepped back out of the alley and into the street, where the public had a better look at us. Nobody seemed particularly interested, but I thought that it would only be polite to keep that option open for them. I had a meeting to get back for, so I headed back to the intersection on Congress, but he got up in my face a little bit along the way, growling about how he was sure that I was a faggot, and how he used to beat up guys like me all the time, and how he was gonna shoot me in the ass, and so forth. I angled around him and kept walking, but he followed a few steps behind, yelling about Your Momma again. I asked him if he wanted to keep calling me "faggot", or if he'd like some help coming up with something a little more creative, but he seemed pretty happy with his original selection of epithets.
Before crossing the main street to get back to work, I stopped and asked him if he could give me a little more information about the organization he was working with, but he seemed pretty stuck on the "shoot you in the ass" thing. I was just sort of chuckling at the little tizzy he'd worked himself up into, and we were fairly surrounded by the lunchtime crowd, so I figured that the actual likelyhood of him taking a shot at my ass - which he seemed quite fixated on - would be minimal, even if he were carrying. Before turning to leave him, I offered my hand for a goodbye handshake, and asked him what his name was. This final offense to his delicate sensibilities seemed to be a little bit too much for him to process; he just stood there and looked confused for a second, and then wrenched his face into a scowl again, and asked, incredulously, "What?" I put my hand out again, smiling. "What's your name, man?" And then, the spidey-sense kicked on, and I shifted my weight backwards, pulling my head out of the path of the angry little fist that was his answer. His pathetic attempt at a swipe at me wound up catching the bill of my LFG hat, and it hit the ground as he backed away. I had to laugh like hell.
I took a quick glance around at the office drones who were standing beside me, waiting for the light to change, studiously ignoring the little proto-scuffle that was happnening right next to them. Two of Austin's Finest rode by on their motorbikes, unconcerned with the everyday hootin' and hollerin' of the downtown street folk. I bent down to retrieve my hat as the noble christian crusader walked quickly off, still yelling about shooting something into my ass, and headed back to the office. I'm sitting here, thinking about how maybe I should have flagged down one of those cops, or just knock his sorry ass to the ground, but I'm pretty okay just living with the fact that he's a miserable, ignorant shit-heel, and I'm not. Maybe they'll be out again tomorrow. That'd be fun.
If you're in Austin, get out next Tuesday and vote. Let those atavistic fuckwads know what century it is.