Fast Eddie

A somewhat recent transplant to San Francisco, I still frequently find myself in awe of the degree of unexpected and potent human interaction it facilitates.

My ironic status as an extroverted attention whoring single occupancy studio resident, coupled with my easy access to the 71L, has led me on regular solo adventures into the infamous Haight neighborhood. An unwavering exaggeration of this eccentric city at large, each of these adventures tends to produce its own unique flavor and, more often than not, the seeds of a meaningful connection.

A Canadian journalist interning in San Francisco and preparing for a harrowing move to New York to write for the Wall Street Journal. Intoxicating chats with “San Francisco thugs” ranging from Oakland inner city politics to the respective benefits of different “grill” styles. A pacifist liberal days from abandoning her comfortable city life to make new brothers and sisters of the armed forces as a U.S. Army medic stationed in Korea. Or perhaps the subject of today’s post: an alarmingly coherent, self-proclaimed prophet with sharp shoes and a recycled mink coat. This story is no more or less significant than any other, but its chronological prevalence makes it quick fodder for the idea it unwittingly inspired: this blog series.

I (along with an unusual addition to my Haightful adventures: a beautiful partner in crime) first encountered Fast Eddie following a brief stroll through Golden Gate park and a bit more time at one of its playground jungle gyms than “mature” adults should be allowed to enjoy. My overall constitution at the time rested somewhere between enlightenment and child like adoration for the world around me. The line between these two is likely blurrier than we’ve been led to believe 😉

This first encounter was little more than a graceful nod, a fleeting smile. We mused briefly over the surprising endurance of the sun on what was meant to be a particularly dreary day. Some time later, as my interest in exploration drew to a close and the parks exit loomed ever closer, Fast Eddie showed himself again. This time responding gingerly to a group of young, self-righteous drifters quipping obnoxiously about his out of place mink coat. He stopped for a moment to wave and wish them all a beautiful Sunday before carrying on with an unaffected bounce in his step.

Finding ourselves on the same fateful path, Eddie and I once again exchanged knowing smiles and nods, this time with undertones of recognition as he removed a glove to shake my hand. The street light’s timing paved the way for our ongoing exchange of courtesies. We continued past McDonald’s and its accompanying street toughs, Ronald himself catching a brief glimpse of our sidewalk waltz as the conversation meandered naturally from talk of our home towns to his days as a world traveler. He spoke briefly with conviction, but without judging or preaching, of the powerful company he kept as a man of god.

I’m miles removed from the shadow of even the world’s least adamant religious man. Yet even I mused for a moment, as the three of us walked together, that this must have been how Jesus happened upon his disciples: a generous smile, a positive demeanor, and a sincere interest in the people he came into contact with.

As we passed Amoeba Records, Eddie invited us to join him and, in a moment of mutual spontaneity, we accepted. He led us to the music listening stations with precision that gave him away as regular. The three of us danced together in a row and sang songs from the Doobie Brothers’ greatest hits before finally retiring to the inviting warmth of San Francisco’s urban landscape. As our time drew to a close, we chatted about his daughters, our studies, his new home, and even his dry cleaning woes before we parted ways.

In the simple things, and in the unexpected adventures it throws our way: Life is beautiful.

The sanctity of marriage

In the late 1800’s, people fought to keep marriage defined as the joining of a man and woman of the same skin color. It wasn’t long ago that some people felt interracial marriage would ruin the “sanctity of marriage”.

Yesterday, that same spirit of intolerance, using the same flawed arguments, succeeded in passing an amendment to the California state constitution to retroactively invalidate the matrimony of any two people of the same gender.

The first amendment and article six of the constitution of the United States of America guarantee the separation of church and state by saying that no religion shall be unfairly recognized by the government.

Yesterday, the people of California ensured that the Christian bible’s supposed definition of marriage is the only one that can be recognized by the state of California by voting “yes” on Proposition 8. Yesterday, a blind eye was turned to the constitution by pandering to the desires the world’s largest, most influential cult.

1) This is an obvious repeat of the controversy surrounding interracial marriages. The same arguments being used then are being used now.

Just like the joining of a black man and a white woman was considered impure prior to Loving v. Virginia, the joining of a woman and another woman is being construed as impure today.

Only the word we use to describe this perceived impurity has changed; “miscegenation” has become “abomination”.

2) The majority of the funding for the Prop 8 campaign came from outside of the state of California.

Over $40 million in campaign funding came from the state of Utah alone (want to guess which institution?). It’s clear that the desires of the people of California are being trumped by a tyrannical outside party with deep pockets.

3) It is not the state’s place to define marriage.

If two consenting individuals want to make a contract between themselves to join in matrimony, that is their contract to make and the government’s job to uphold. If they wish to call that contract “marriage”, it is their right to do so, and the government’s job to recognize it.

4) The wedding of two people of the same gender doesn’t directly impact the rights of heterosexual couples.

Inevitably when I speak to supporters of Prop 8, they feel that they are being slighted. I’ve yet to hear a compelling argument for how gay marriage directly impacts their lives. Just a bunch of fear mongering that the “moral fabric” of our country will be destroyed.

Let me get this straight. Getting married to a stripper of the opposite sex in Vegas… OKAY. Getting married to someone you dearly love of the same sex… BAD. Loud and clear.

Gay people will continue to be gay regardless of if you let them marry the people they love. If ever there were an incredible uprising of gay pride, it will be in the aftermath of this unconstitutional marriage of church and state; the only marriage that can be considered a true abomination.

I’m hopeful that the U.S. Supreme Court’s tradition of curtailing the state’s unholy affairs with religion in favor of civil liberties will hold strong when presented with the opportunity to overturn Prop 8 and all equivalent state amendments.