while waiting to have shabbat dinner in napa with a ladyfriend this past friday night a truck driving by us slowed down to howl mistaken gender specific pejoratives like “faggots” at us… strangely our reaction was to give each other a high five – as if we won the random prize of being witness to the four town high-school-aged idiots excited to drive through town with their buddies.
now back in the sacred city of san francisco where the sunday sun is warming up my day i now wonder a few things… like, i wonder if any of the correct terms were yelled at us like “dyke” instead of “faggot” we would have felt some form of outer sadness or fear and instinctively yelled back.
i used to bark back regardless of the correctness of the bite. i knew its intention was to make me afraid. and as stupid as i now know it is to engage with violent communication, back in my days in missouri and colorado terms like, “dyke,” “queer”,”bitch,” “faggot,” were heard on the regular. back then i had plenty to say in response. face to face someone walking by you on a sidewalk offended by your haircut or the way you walked incited such a term. back then those terms and that violent drama associated with them held so much more meaning to me.
maybe i have become numb to it all. or maybe by using the terms internally with my friends as a reclaiming tool i truly have devalued the terms. or maybe still, i now feel that my identity is safe and sacred within my family, within my community and most importantly within myself and therefore the action of giving a high five was like, “hell, yeah. they have nothing on us.”
regardless of reasonings we were both able to move on quickly from the incident to enjoy one of the most amazing meals of both of our lives at ubuntu on main street in napa. the food, the energy and the service were all divine. they also seated us in the front window and our hostess charmingly laughed with us when we told her about what happened just 20 feet away and said, “i can hardly believe that just happened in napa – but it is true fear and hate exists everywhere.”