Friday, November 20, 2015

Reflecting on Road Rage

This morning, on my drive to work, I had a most remarkable experience. I stewed over it for more than two hours, then posted this to Facebook:

WARNING! If you get behind this car and the woman driving doesn't proceed because she's chatting on her cell phone, whatever you do, do NOT blow your horn to alert her to the situation. Otherwise, she will jump out of her car and yell at you and threaten you. That's what she did to me. Jeez! What a grump!

I thought that would allow me to put the incident to rest. But. It hasn't worked. I keep seeing her grey Victoria's Secret shirt and her bunched up hair, with that big mouth of hers not six inches from my face, yelling, "You don't want to fuck with me!" and, for a moment, I thought she was going to hit me. I just stared at her, thinking that if I didn't respond verbally, she would back off. And, she did.

I thought about giving her the finger and saying, "fuck you," but, in the nanosecond that it took me to choose NOT to do those things, I considered it would prevent things from escalating. Some folks are just looking for someone to go up against. For this particular individual, it wasn't going to be today and it wasn't going to be me.

The more I thought about what I coulda, woulda, shoulda done, the more I came to realize how vulnerable we are in our cars. Had I not had my window down enjoying the morning air, would she have smashed it? Had I attempted to back up and go around her, would that, could that have resulted in an ugly accident? And, the ferocity with which she attacked me, albeit verbally, and that element of surprise ... are those not the techniques the terrorists used in Paris and other locations around the world? What person thinks they're going to be shopping for bread or having dinner or sitting at a stop sign when some lunatic decides it's time to shoot them, bomb them, attack them, whether with weapons or with words? How are we to respond? Do we just sit there as I did or do we take action? And, how do we know which is the right thing to do?

After stewing over this for the better part of the day, I will make a conscious effort to be kind. I don't feel like being kind, to be perfectly honest. I feel like pounding some bitch's face in. But, I'm going to choose peace and joy and kindness. I'm also going to think about carrying my gun in my car.

If this was karma coming at me this morning, then I must be kind. Think kind thoughts. Do kind deeds. And, hope that wench in the black VW Jetta with Florida license plate 725LMK doesn't cross my path again. Next time I might not be so nice.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Freakin' Friday Fodder

There was a nice article in the Sun-Sentinel earlier this week about how the Mayor and Board of Commissioners of Wilton Manors had directed city staff to find an appropriate location within the city to fly the rainbow flag permanently.  I hoped that my neighbors who had shared their concerns over the flying of the flag in front of City Hall saw the article and that it would offer them some reassurance that they weren’t being rejected for being not-gay. I understood their feelings. More than once in the past week or so I have heard or read statements along the lines of, “It’s like they want to get rid of us.”  I have felt that way a time or two, myself, but, sloughed it off as me being too sensitive.

So, there I was, flipping through the online edition of the South Florida Gay News this morning, and on page 2, above the Table of Contents, the headline read “Wilton Manors City Commission Votes To Fly Rainbow Flag Permanently.” There were little photos of individuals with little quotes under them, so I zoomed in to see what folks had to say.

RJ Petrucci: “Yes the WM community should have an incredible favorable bias celebrating the gay residents and tourists that turned the ghetto slum of 1995 into a world famous upscale vacation destination in 2015.”

And, David Mann: “Str8s have the whole country to feel comfortable in; Wilton Manors gays have a few miles of city block.”

I read those quotations a couple more times, just to make sure I was understanding what was said. And, then, I realized that my heart hurt.

I’ve lived in Wilton Manors since April 1987. It wasn’t a “ghetto slum” then, or I wouldn’t have bought a home here. It was a perfect neighborhood for a family with kids. The elementary and high schools were within walking distance and Hagen Park was a block away. Instead of bars and restaurants lining Wilton Drive, there was a Junior League thrift store, an office supply store, a hair salon, an exercise studio, the Piggly Wiggly store, and Wings 'n Things, along with many other small businesses, all providing services to those of us who lived here. It wasn’t a slum. It was a small town in Florida.

And, as for us “str8ts” having the “whole country to feel comfortable in … “ I’ve been here 28 years. Where the heck am I going to go? I have invested nearly half my life in this city, as have many of my other not-gay neighbors. Where could we possibly go after all this time and “feel comfortable?” What a thoughtless comment that is ...

The word “divisive” was reportedly bandied about during the commission meeting when the decision was made to find a place for the rainbow flag. Now, I understand why. Those gay property owners who think they have somehow saved our city need to realize that all the “str8ts” who accepted them when they came here are as much a part of the city’s revitalization as they are.

I like the word “diversity” much more than I like that word, “divisive.” We're each one different, for sure, but, we're all human beings. It takes all of us, working together, to make our little island city a place of peace and prosperity. I sincerely hope a rainbow flag doesn’t spoil it.