It was 1992, and I was a waitress in
One woman I worked with, however, missed no opportunities to rail against the politics of helping those less fortunate. She grew up in
The managers were well aware that we did this, and offered no objections. Even if they weren’t crazy about giving away product, they realized that the sooner you got rid of the couple, the sooner you got rid of their smell – a significant factor when trying to encourage the appetites of customers. Also, in those days, in the wake of trickle-down, the streets of
But the little chick from
One day, I came in for my lunch shift and found the guys in the kitchen talking excitedly in Spanish and laughing. I asked them what was going on, and they told me that the Hawaiian chick had come in through the back gate, and had surprised George in the rear courtyard stealing a cantaloupe from the crates of produce that had just been delivered. They told me that she grabbed the cantaloupe and tried to wrestle it away from him. He fought just as hard to hang on to his stolen booty, and
Later, at the waiter meeting, the manager told us that we should never confront a thief in that manner. That it was dangerous. Ms.
“Why do you care?” I said to her, “It’s not your cantaloupe.”
“He was stealing,” she replied, “I’m not going to stand by and let someone steal.”
“He’s homeless. He was stealing food. He’s hungry.”
“I don’t care, he should get a job then.”
“Are you serious? He’s sixty years old, at least. He’s got half his teeth. He’s covered in sores. He’s addicted to alcohol. He’s barely coherent. What kind of job should he get?”
“90% of homeless people are homeless because they want to be.”
“What? Where’d you hear that? Convenient Theories for Republicans Weekly?
That made her mad.
“People choose to be homeless. They don’t have to be.”
I had just read an article in the Trib about
“Yeah, well, most of them just don’t want to work. They’re lazy.”
“Really? Tell me, do you have any original ideas about this issue at all? Or are they all your daddy’s?”
I remember she turned beet red and stomped off. Even though I felt like I was picking on someone half my size, I didn’t feel bad about it at all. Look, I don’t care if someone’s a conservative, as long as they can speak intelligently about why they feel that way. And if someone is old enough to be out of college and in the working world, they are old enough to be able to see that world for themselves and formulate their own opinions, instead of spewing whatever pre-fab hate their parents had filled them with before setting them loose on the rest of us.
After that day, whenever I worked with Ms.
And here’s the best part: I was never anything but completely accommodating and gracious about helping her out. Never was there one hint of gloating nor any bitching about being asked so many times during my shift to assist her. I was so nice to her, I don’t think she ever had any idea that I was also her tormentor. I was positively charitable.
Yeah, it was fun, but it accomplished nothing, save for inflating my already healthy sense of self-satisfaction. Because as unpleasant as it was for her to have to constantly ask for help from someone whom she knew full-on loathed her, I don’t think it made her a more humble or compassionate person.
I don’t know. I could be wrong.
I thought about the Hawaiian chick today, as I heard one of the owners of LA hangout El Coyote plead with gay activists not to boycott her restaurant. I don't know, it was something about the way she spoke, like she could not even believe that her tidy little world might not be exactly as she saw it.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
See, this woman from El Coyote had given money to Prop 8. She had done it because she’s a Mormon, and her church asked her to give money, and the way she expressed it, was what the church asks, you do. Whether that answer is honest, or merely self-serving, I have no idea. Apparently, she didn’t know her donation would be made public. In any case, she was found out, and now, now that she’s been found out, now she’s sorry about it. Now she is pleading with her gay clientele to excuse her and to continue to come to her restaurant and give her their hard-earned dollars, even though she has given her hard-earned dollars to the stripping of their rights.
She wants forgiveness. She wants it badly, although not badly enough to promise a contribution to the anti-8 movement. Because, again, her church would not approve. But above all, she doesn’t understand what she did wrong. She doesn’t understand why everyone is looking at her that way. All she did was what she was told to do. She says she loves the gay people who are her employees and her clientele. And she says she is following her faith when she helped to take rights away from those same people. What’s the problem?
She doesn’t understand what the problem is.
And she’s not alone. More and more people on the list of donors are finding themselves and the companies they work for being scrutinized due to their support of 8. Boycotts have been threatened against their businesses by gay people. They have been called bigots by gay people. It seems that gay people think themselves fit to stand in judgment of them.
Can I hear a “how dare they,” anyone?
I didn’t think so.