On the WaterFront
I hesitated writing this blog, dear readers, because I wasn’t quite sure how to begin it. This happened yesterday, so one could conceivably assume that I simply didn’t have enough time to sit down at my computer and write it…though, you would be mistaken.
To be honest, the experience as a whole has left me somewhat shocked, shaken, and surprised.
I apologize in advance at the graphic language that may or may not appear in this blog posting. I’m not sure what will come out as I tell you my experience.
I was meeting a friend for lunch yesterday at noon, downtown Seattle. I arrived early, as is my custom, found parking, and decided to take advantage of the day by going and sitting on this little alcove area that overlooked the water and the new Ferris wheel on 1st and Union. I had some lines to highlight in a script, and found a spot next to a lovely fountain where I sat, with an unobstructed view of the Sound, the water rushing behind my back in the fountain, the sun bouncing off the water in front of me.
I was lost in my own world, simply enjoying my surroundings. Water is a place of rejuvenation for me, a place where I go to remind myself that there are things, forces bigger than myself, and in a completely woo-woo sense, to wash away whatever is troubling me, and let me continue on with my day-to-day activities, struggles or triumphs.
This day couldn’t have been more perfect. It was the last bastion of summer, before we head into the Seattle drizzle, and I was loving every moment of it, excited at the prospect that I was to be working as a guest artist in a play, and looking forward to meeting my new friends for sushi and wine.
Suddenly, I heard a voice from above, “What’s that?” I looked up, and there is this woman, about 30-ish, wearing a plaid shirt, yellow hoodie, her hair in pigtails, the rest hidden by a hat, her eyes behind sunglasses.
“It’s a script–” and that was all I was able to get out.
“You fucking faggot. You motherfucking faggot, with your pink highlighter, and your fucking attitude.”
“Excuse me?” I said.
“You fucking faggot, you deserve to die.”
“Ma’am, I don’t understand.”
“Why are you calling me ma’am?”
“Because I don’t know you.”
“You don’t understand huh?”
“I’m positive I don’t understand.”
“I bet you are. I bet you’re positive, and you take your fucking medication so you can go and spread your disease around to all your faggot friends. You deserve to rot in hell.”
“Ma’am, I’m not going to engage with you.”
“You’re not going to engage with me, huh? Why not?”
“Because you’re not saying anything nice and this isn’t constructive.”
“Fuck you, you dirty fucking faggot. You’re dripping with disease, and you’re a scourge on the earth, and you should be killed.”
I went silent. I wasn’t going to engage anymore. But I was visibly shaken. I didn’t know if she would lash out at me, hit me with her purse, what was in her purse, or what I should even do. I was trying to remain calm and cool throughout this entire process. She continued to berate me. Soon it became noise. And then she stopped. She then wandered away and then came back and said:
“No it’s not. It’s ugly. You’re fucking ugly. Your face is ugly. You deserve to fucking rot in hell. You’re disgusting.”
I remained as calm as I could under the circumstances, and let her continue her rant. Eventually she got tired of berating me, and wandered over to a nice elderly couple, also taking in the view. “You fucking kykes,” she screamed. “You should’ve died in Germany.”
The couple quickly moved away. Then a woman with her two young children entered the circle. They were carrying flowers. Sensing another victim, this woman went over to them, and said, “Nice flowers.” “Thank you. I just got them at the mark–” “You stupid chink. No one cares where you got your fucking flowers. You’re probably going to grind ’em up with a cat and eat them, anyway. What are you teaching your children? You should get out of this country.”
Her vitriol was acidic, her tongue, using the F-word much more than I’ve written in this blog posting. I stood up, as this woman’s attention was currently diverted, and went to find a police officer.
As I stated in the beginning, I was shocked. Appalled. Seattle is a pretty liberal place. And I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary. Yes, I’m a gay man. But was I actively promoting my gay lifestyle? No. I was someone who sat down to enjoy the view of the water, while waiting for a friend. And this woman — no, this monster — was completely and utterly baseless, offensive to anyone and everyone she could encounter. Harassing people on the street. Not for money, not for work, not even trying to promote a religious view. Whatever demons were in her head were causing her to spew such violent, complete and utter filth towards anyone who came near her.
In that split second while she was berating me, I thought of a few things. 1) How do I react? 2) What if she hits me? Then what? 3) What if I wasn’t who I am — a proud gay man, but a kid with no sense of himself, questioning his sexuality, questioning where his life was going? And this woman then went on the attack, bullying him with what she perceived to be a weakness, and causing this hypothetical kid to question even more to the point that he made a very rash decision, thinking things were never going to get better, and ended up killing himself?
I hope — and pray — that whatever demons this woman is facing, that she finds some inner peace and comes to terms with her hatred, her pure evilness, and has some sort of reconciliation at some point down the road. Her hate is not needed in this world. I am proud of who I am, and proud of who I love, and the choices I make.
I felt completely tested in this moment, tested in the sense that I had a decision to make. I could have screamed and yelled at her, reacted just as angrily, said something negative. What I really wanted to do was push her off the overlook into the traffic below and let her meet her demise there. But I remained cool. I remained calm, and tried to keep the situation from escalating any further than it already had. It was tough, but I managed to do so.
After I walked away, I realized I had a very important choice to make. Do I allow this woman to completely ruin the rest of my day? Or do I simply shake it off?
I chose the latter. This woman, her hate, her views are completely misguided. She knows nothing about me as a person, and her control over how I feel about myself is nonexistent. In fact, once this blog posting is complete, I will consider the matter resolved, as I have processed the entire situation, and move forward, on, and up.
I wish her the best. Whatever she is facing, it must be pretty horrible to have to take it out on people unsuspecting, people going about their lives, people simply being in this world.
And yet, I’m grateful for the experience. Not because I like being yelled at. No. Because I was able to show my mettle under pressure, and allow myself to be gracious, and practice patience. And above all else, forgiveness for her shortcomings.
I posted on Facebook, and was overwhelmed with the love I received back from family and friends, people who were behind me 100 percent. Though I didn’t post to make people feel sorry for me. That wasn’t the intention at all. The intent was to let people know that there are other people out there who are vicious, and who are cruel and will make judgments based on absolutely no fact whatsoever, except for what they choose to see. Those are the people I pity the most. Because like it or not, they are everywhere.
My friends and family: Thank you. Thank you for your words, thank you for your kindness and thank you for having my back. You are amazing, and I feel completely and totally blessed to know you.
And to this woman who approached me on the street. I forgive you.
And with that, I consider the matter closed.
Posted on September 9, 2012, in experiences, Thoughts and tagged blessing, calm, collected, cool, facebook, faggot, Ferris Wheel, forgiveness, forward, gay, gay bashing, graphic language, hate, hating, last bastion, Love, ranting, raving, Seattle. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.